Around the world, 67 cultural sites deemed at-risk

Wed Oct 5, 2011 2:22pm EDT
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Greek cemetery, a British bus station, stone drawings in Peru and a New York box-shaped building are among the world's most at-risk cultural heritage sites, a monuments fund said on Wednesday.

This year there are 67 at-risk sites in 41 countries and territories on the biennial World Monuments Watch, compiled by the nonprofit New York-based World Monuments Fund, which helps support the preservation of such "treasured places."

The sites on the 2012 list illustrate a need to balance heritage concerns and the social, economic, and environmental interests of communities around the world, said World Monuments Fund President Bonnie Burnham.

"While these sites are historic, they are also very much of the present -- integral parts of the lives of the people who come into contact with them every day. Indeed, the Watch reminds us of our collective role as stewards of the earth and of its human heritage," Burnham said.

Among the sites listed is the First Cemetery of Athens, Greece, which is the oldest cemetery in the city and contains the graves of key Greek figures from the past two centuries. The fund said it is in need of preservation due to neglect.

The Preston Bus Station in Britain was once the world's largest bus station, but the fund said is now slated for demolition as part of a redevelopment scheme. It is listed by the fund with other modernist British sites -- Birmingham Central Library and London's South Bank Center.

"These and other buildings like them date from an era in which government had the resources and the will to create major civic buildings," the fund said. "They are too often seen as impediments to private-sector redevelopment."


<p>The geoglyph of a monkey is seen on the plains of the Nazca desert in southern Peru in this handout from June 2009. REUTERS/Carolina Castellanos/World Monuments Fund/Handout</p>