11 European heritage sites shortlisted for the 7 Most Endangered Programme 2023


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On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the 7 Most Endangered Programme in 2023, Europa Nostra – the European Voice of Civil Society Committed to Cultural and Natural Heritage – and the European Investment Bank Institute have just announced the 11 most threatened heritage sites in Europe shortlisted for this year’s  edition of the programme.

The 11 most endangered monuments and heritage sites in Europe for 2023 are:

Kortrijk Railway Station, Kortrijk, BELGIUM

The first railway station in Kortrijk was built in 1839, following the European trend of Neoclassicism. It was heavily bombed in 1944. The station was rebuilt in 1951 to a new design by the Belgian architect Pierre Albert Pauwels. The rebuilding of the station followed the Expo 58 style, a “discussion” between neoclassical and contemporary elements. The iconic building is now threatened to be demolished for the development of a new station.

Domain and Royal Museum of Mariemont, Morlanwelz, BELGIUM

Located about 50km south of Brussels, this 45-hectare domain is an important European ‘lieu de mémoire’, dating back to the 16th century. In 1754, a Neoclassical palace was built upon the foundations of the original castles. However, it was destroyed during the French revolution. The ruins of the palace were once part of the park’s open-air museum and backdrop to archaeological collections. They are now in imminent danger of collapse, thus this area remains inaccessible to researchers and visitors alike.

Partisan Memorial Cemetery, Mostar, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Built in 1965 in the town of Mostar, the Partisan Memorial Cemetery is one of the largest anti-fascist monuments in the Balkans. It features some 700 individual tombstones as grave markers of freedom fighters from the Yugoslav Partisan movement. The monument was designed by the famous Yugoslav architect Bogdan Bogdanović. The cemetery has been, and still is, one of the region’s contested heritage sites. This has resulted in repeated acts of vandalism up until June of 2022, which received widespread condemnation.

Tchakvinji Fortress, Zugdidi, GEORGIA

Built between the 2nd and 5th centuries, the Tchakvinji Fortress remained in use until the 18th century. Since the Hellenistic period, the fortress has been related to the silk roads. It also served as a shelter for the locals during the pre-revolution period of Tsarist Russia. Abandoned for over two centuries, the monument has suffered from deterioration and has been exposed to severe weather conditions.

Sisters’ House Ensemble, former Moravian settlement in Kleinwelka, GERMANY

The Sisters’ House Ensemble (“Schwesternhaus”) is located in Kleinwelka, a former Moravian settlement in Saxony, Germany. The Moravian community, founded in the early 18th century, originates from religious refugees from Moravia in today’s Czechia. The Moravian settlement began to decline by the 20th century. Tenants started gradually moving out due to low housing standards. Since then, the abandoned ensemble of buildings has been hardly used and has fallen into decay.

Mansion (“Konaki”) of Gidas, Alexandreia, GREECE

Located in the small town of Alexandreia, the Mansion (“Konaki”) of Gidas was probably built in the early 20th century. The name of the site derives from the Turkish term “Konak”, which means mansion. Its style belongs to the era of Ottoman Μodernisation and showcases the skills of wandering Balkan craftsmen. During its 40 years of dereliction, there was no protection or any act of conservation of the Mansion of Gidas.

Herman Ottó Museum, Miskolc, HUNGARY

The Herman Ottó Museum in Miskolc is a fine example of Renaissance architecture. It housed a Reformed Church School between 1560 and 1902. In the 1920s, the building was home to the Borsod-Miskolc Museum and functioned as the sole public library of the city. Despite being classified as a Monument of National Importance in 1951-1958 by the Hungarian Government, the building has fallen into decay.

Memento Park, Budapest, HUNGARY

Designed by Ákos Eleőd, Memento Park is a history museum, educational centre, artistic action ground and tourist attraction. The resting place of statues which used to symbolise communist ideology in the streets of Budapest between 1945-1989. Opened in 1993, Memento Park is Europe’s first, and until today only, propaganda statue collection within a politically neutral setting. It has been operated and maintained by a business organisation, with support of a public benefit foundation since 2007. The operators undertake general maintenance, but income is insufficient for expert conservation.

Cultural Landscape of Paštrovska Gora, MONTENEGRO

Paštrovska Gora is located in south-central Montenegro. It consists of many small villages from various phases of history, including the Ilyrian, Medieval, Venetian and Austro-Hungarian periods. The historical buildings and archaeological remains are surrounded by outstanding natural heritage. Paštrovska Gora was greatly affected by an earthquake in 1979. Since then, many monuments have remained destroyed. Moreover, this cultural and natural landscape is threatened by potentially damaging developments, namely a plan to install a wind farm of 19 turbines and a plan to build a four-lane motorway.

Cultural Landscape of Sveti Stefan, Paštrovići, MONTENEGRO

Sveti Stefan is a 15th-century fortified town, built as the cultural and administrative heart of the Paštrovići region. The 1.2-hectare islet, with its stone houses and four churches, is connected by a low bridge to the mainland in close proximity to Miločer Park. The park includes a 1930s summer residence of a Yugoslav royal family, two beaches and a botanical garden. The government of Montenegro is urged to limit the building development and fully claim the region as public.

Watermills of Bistrica, Petrovac na Mlavi, SERBIA

This unique complex of mills for grinding grain and rolling cloth was created between the 19th century and the mid-20th century. The architecture of the watermills presents the folk characteristics of Balkan rural structures, namely small-scale and wooden constructions. Today, the watermills are under the threat of destruction due to their long-term abandonment and exposure to harsh weather conditions.

The Executive President of Europa Nostra, Prof. Dr. Hermann Parzinger, stated: “This shortlist covers a wide variety of monuments and heritage sites which are facing different types of serious threats. The local communities and civil society organisations are deeply committed to preserving these remarkable examples of our shared heritage, but they need broader support. We therefore call on local, regional, national and European stakeholders, both public and private, to join forces with Europa Nostra and our network of members and partners to secure a viable future for these shortlisted sites.”

Prof. Dr. Hermann Parzinger added: “The 7 Most Endangered Programme, which brings together the cultural heritage expertise and advocacy of Europa Nostra and the technical assessment and financial expertise of the European Investment Bank, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. On behalf of Europa Nostra, I wish to thank the European Investment Bank (EIB) and its Institute as well as all the experts, professionals and volunteers for their significant contribution to saving Europe’s endangered heritage through this meaningful programme”.

The Director of the European Investment Bank Institute, Shiva Dustdar, said: “The EIB Institute is proud to contribute to safeguarding Europe’s endangered heritage through the 7 Most Endangered Programme with our long time partner Europa Nostra. For 10 years now, this catalytic programme has been facilitating the transfer of know-how and experience between different partners and countries. It is innovative in its format, useful in its purpose and shows the cohesive power of cultural heritage which connects European people and communities”.

The selection of the shortlisted sites was made on the basis of the outstanding heritage significance and cultural value of each of the sites as well as on the basis of the serious danger that they are facing today. The level of engagement of local communities and the commitment of public and private stakeholders to saving these sites were considered as crucial added values. Another selection criterion was the potential of these sites to act as a catalyst for sustainable development and as a tool for promoting peace and dialogue within their localities and wider regions.

The 11 endangered heritage sites were shortlisted by an international Advisory Panel, comprising experts in history, archaeology, architecture, conservation, project analysis and finance. Nominations for the 7 Most Endangered Programme 2023 were submitted by member organisations, associate organisations or individual members of Europa Nostra from all over Europe as well as by members of the European Heritage Alliance.

The final list of 7 Most Endangered heritage sites in Europe for 2023 will be unveiled in April.

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