On Monday, the World Monuments Fund announced its 2018 World Monuments Watch List, which includes 25 sites of cultural heritage threatened by human conflict, urbanization, climate change and natural disasters which span 30 countries and territories around the world.

During the announcement, World Monuments Fund President Joshua David dwelled upon the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the Caribbean and the Gulf, as well as the two earthquakes that hit Mexico this past September. While the first priority in the wake of any disaster is the safety and well-being of local residents, he stressed the importance of preserving heritage in the recovery process of communities as a whole. These recent natural disasters led to the inclusion of ‘Disaster Sites of the Caribbean, the Gulf, and Mexico’ on the 2018 Watch List.

Included on the 2018 World Monuments Watch, the Buffalo Central Terminal complex includes an iconic art deco office tower, 2017. (Joe Casico/ World Monuments Fund)

Also included on the watch list are several sites threatened by conflict. The Souk of Aleppo, Syria, which has served as the beating heart of the old city for hundreds of years and was recently ravaged by fire, the Al- Hadba’ Minaret in Mosul, Iraq, which was destroyed by ISIL this past summer, and the Sukur Cultural Landscape in Nigeria, which has become a target of Boko Haram, have been included.

A general view of Al-Madina Souq in January 10, 2017 in Aleppo, Syria. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

Other sites were selected out of less dire circumstances. The Central Train Terminal of Buffalo, New York, is in an increasingly derelict state after about four decades of abandonment and neglect. Even though there are several advocacy groups trying to find a future use for the building, the World Monuments Fund decided to place it on the 2018 list to help reinforce those efforts.

A second United States site was a group of 14 unassuming houses, places of worship and various community spaces in Alabama that have been selected for their connection to the American civil rights movement. This nomination not only highlights a significant part of American history but also represents an era of worldwide social rights transformations. 

The Ben Moore Hotel, featured as one of the Alabama Civil Rights Sites on the 2018 Watch List. (William Abranowicz/World Monuments Fund)

World Monuments Fund President Joshua David stated, “By building an international coalition, the World Monuments Watch protects both the sites themselves and the shared history they embody. Sites like the 25 on the 2018 Watch are where we come together as citizens of the world and renew our commitment to justice, culture, peace, and understanding.”

The full list of 2018 Watch Sites includes:

  1. Disaster Sites of the Caribbean, the Gulf, and Mexico
  2. Government House, St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda
  3. Sirius Building, Millers Point, Sydney, Australia
  4. Ramal Talca-Constitución, Talca Province, Chile
  5. Grand Theater, Prince Kung’s Mansion, Beijing, China
  6. Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue, Alexandria, Egypt
  7. Takiyyat of al-Gulshani, Cairo, Egypt
  8. Potager du Roi, Versailles, France
  9. Post-Independence Architecture of Delhi, India
  10. Al-Hadba’ Minaret, Mosul, Iraq
  11. Lifta, Jerusalem, Israel
  12. Amatrice, Italy
  13. Kagawa Prefectural Gymnasium, Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture, Japan
  14. Jewish Quarter of Essaouira, Morocco
  15. Sukur Cultural Landscape, Madagali Local Government Area, Nigeria
  16. Historic Karachi, Pakistan
  17. Cerro de Oro, Cañete Valley, Peru
  18. Tebaida Leonesa, El Bierzo, León, Spain
  19. Souk of Aleppo, Aleppo, Syria
  20. Chao Phraya River, Bangkok, Thailand
  21. Blackpool Piers, Blackpool, United Kingdom
  22. Buffalo Central Terminal, Buffalo, New York, United States
  23. Alabama Civil Rights Sites, Alabama, United States
  24. Old City of Ta’izz, Ta’izz, Yemen
  25. Matobo Hills Cultural Landscape, Matobo, Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe
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