15 Must-See Endangered Cultural Treasures

Some of the world's most precious historic and artistic sites can be visited today—but might be gone tomorrow

Endangered Sites:

Fenestrelle Fortress, Italy

By T. A. Frail
The "Great Wall of the Alps" covers 320 acres and is one of the largest fortified structures in Europe

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

By Abigail Tucker
The place where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born has survived invasions, rebellions and earthquakes

Chan Chan, Peru

By Bruce Hathaway
About 600 years ago, this city on the Pacific coast was the largest city in the Americas

The Hill of Tara, Ireland

By Amanda Bensen
A new tollway will pass close by the archaeologically rich complex that is the spiritual heart of the country

The City of Hasankeyf, Turkey

By Diane M. Bolz
A new hydroelectric dam threatens the ancient city, home to thousands of human-made caves

Xumishan Grottoes, China

By Lyn Garrity
This collection of ancient Buddhist cave temples dates back to the fifth and tenth centuries, A.D.

Historic Route 66, U.S.A.

By Megan Gambino
The 2,400 mile highway was eclipsed by interstate highways that bypassed neon signs of roadside diners

Dampier Rock Art Complex, Australia

By Laura Helmuth
Today, over 500,000 rock carvings mark the walls of caves on the northwestern coast of Australia

Visoki Decani Monastery, Kosovo

By Kathleen Burke
The 14th century abbey is one of the best preserved medieval churches in the entire Balkans

Jaisalmer Fort, India

By Anika Gupta
In Rajahstan, the northwestern desert state of India, the famed fort has withstood sandstorms and earthquakes

Centennial Baptist Church, U.S.A.

By Marian Smith Holmes
Built by a self-taught black architect, the Arkansas church has hosted leaders in the black community for over a century

Chinguetti, Mauritania

By Jeanne Maglaty
The rapidly expanding Sahara Desert threatens a medieval trading center that also carries importance for Sunni Muslims

Port City of Coro, Venezuela

By Karen Larkins
A Spanish colonial port city has been preserved in spite of centuries of hurricanes and attacks from coastal pirates

Herschel Island, Canada

By Sarah Zielinski
An abandoned island off the coast of the Yukon Territory holds a unique place in the history of the Pacific whaling industry

Famagusta Walled City, Cyprus

By Helen Starkweather
Located in the midst of high-volume shipping lanes, a forgotten city with multiple European influences could be lost forever without an intervention


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