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From Georgia to Grimsby: campaign seeks to save Europe’s neglected heritage sites

A  corridor in the Buzludzha Monument in Bulgaria, which was created for the country’s Communist party.
State of play … a corridor in the Buzludzha Monument in Bulgaria, which was created for the country’s Communist party. Photograph: Evgeni Dinev

An aerial cableway in Georgia, a modernist monument in Bulgaria and an ice factory in Grimsby, are among 12 heritage sites that have been shortlisted by a campaign that is highlighting Europe’s most at-risk cultural monuments.

Heritage federation Europa Nostra, which works with Unesco and the EU, lobbies to protect cultural and natural heritage across the continent and represents national and local heritage groups. The shortlist is part of its 7 Most Endangered initiative that will lead to monuments receiving exposure, as well as guidance from Europa Nostra experts about preservation.

Aerial cableway network. Chiatura, Georgia
Chiatura’s aerial cableway network, Georgia. Photograph: Nikoloz Mchedlidze

The aerial cableway network in Chiatura, Georgia, was built in 1913 by the mining industry. Though some of its cableways can still be enjoyed as a tourist attraction, many have deteriorated and been closed. The network’s need to secure funding led to it being shortlisted.

In Bulgaria, the Buzludzha Monument was shortlisted. Work started on the building (created for the Bulgarian Communist party) in 1974 and it was opened in 1981. The brutalist building resembles a flying saucer and the interior is covered in mosaics. It is a location popular with those who visit abandoned and derelict sites but could be preserved and developed for tourism, as well as for the benefit of Bulgaria’s national history.

The Buzludzha Monument, Bulgaria
The Buzludzha Monument, Bulgaria. Photograph: Les Johnstone

The UK features on the shortlist in the form of Grimsby Ice Factory. The earliest surviving ice factory in the country, it was built in 1900 and is now in a very poor condition; it is hoped that being shortlisted will help it secure funding to be developed into a visitor attraction.

Other sites on the list include prehistoric rock art sites in the province of Cádiz, Spain, the Castle of Sammezzano in Tuscany and a group of 12 post-Byzantine churches in Albania that have been damaged through war and natural disasters.

Ice Factory, Grimsby. Designed by the engineer WF Cott, the factory dates from 1900.
Ice Factory, Grimsby. Designed by the engineer WF Cott, the factory dates from 1900. Photograph: Andy Marshall/World Monuments Fund

Denis de Kergorlay, executive president of Europa Nostra, said: “This shortlist is, first and foremost, a call to action. We urge public and private stakeholders at local, national and European levels to join forces to rescue the heritage gems which tell our shared story and which must be saved for future generations.”


This article titled "From Georgia to Grimsby: campaign seeks to save Europe’s neglected heritage sites" was written by Will Coldwell, for theguardian.com on Thursday 18 January 2018 06.00am

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