World heritage sites are places or monuments deemed of great historical or cultural importance and often receive protection and money from the UNESCO organization in order to keep them well preserved and in place for generations to come but sometimes, due to adverse conditions such as climate or war, these sites become under severe threat of completely disappearing. Here we look at 7 that may not be with us for long.
1. Archaeological Site of Ererouyk and The Village of Ani Pemza – Armenia
On the border of Turkey and Armenia, Ererouyk is an ancient site to what was the region’s most important religious places of worship. A medieval chapel that now sits crumbling in ruins, it dates right back to the 6th century and is a wonderful example of early Christian architecture. Unfortunately, lack of any sort of tourist trade has meant a lack of preservation, although a carefully thought out plan could save the building.
2. Patarei Sea Fortress – Tallinn, Estonia
A two-century-old sea fortress that once defended the coastline, became an army barracks and then held political prisoners. With such a varied and rich history, it is no surprise it is a heritage site but the harsh climate of the area has led to a rapid deterioration. Still, a cultural attraction, the fortress sees many tourists but parts of it are completely sealed off due to structural instability. There are plans for renovation that would see it become either a museum or residential building but these are still in the planning stages and may not happen before it slips into the sea.
3. Helsinki-Malmi Airport – Finland
A pre-WWII airport that is still in use, there are plans to decommission its aviation status as it is no longer for commercial flights and the expansion the city needs the room. There aren’t many pre-WWII airports in Europe because of, well…WWII but this was one of the first purpose-built for commercial flights and is the best preserved on the continent. Personal aviators and flight schools still use it but it may soon have to make way for residential developments.
4. Colbert Swing Bridge – Dieppe, France
The last of the large, operating swing bridges in Europe, the Colbert swing bridge is actually built with the same materials that the Eiffel tower was. It remains an important example of 19th-century mechanization but it has been decided that the bridge should be replaced by something more modern. However, a historic and cultural foundation has stepped in, to try and get the bridge protected as a landmark and restored to its former glories.
5. Kampos of Chios – Greece
A stunning little town on the Greek coastline, it is a higledy-piggledy hodge-podge of buildings from the 14th century onwards filled with churches, houses, and estates built with local stone in an array of styles. Many of the neoclassical buildings have fallen into disrepair due to misuse and the inability to care for them whilst actions are being discussed on how to save and maintain them, these talks encompass land use, infrastructure, and tourism and may take some time to implement.
6. Convent of St. Anthony of Padua – Extremadura, Spain
A 15th-century convent with a gothic style church and renaissance chapels, the convent of St. Anthony was fallen on hard times and is in severe disrepair despite being a religious monument of significant cultural impact. The historical society of Hispania Nostra, as well as the local government, have stepped in to implement plans to encourage its regeneration and to attract tourism.
7. Ancient City of Hasankeyf – Turkey
A city of Roman ruins built on the banks of the river Tigris, it is a 12,000-year-old settlement with artifacts from the 12th and 15th centuries dotting its crumbling streets. With plans to build a hydro-electric dam nearby, 80% of the area will be flooded with no plans on saving any of it.