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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ancient Landmarks on Verge of Vanishing

Do you know that some of the ancient landmarks on Earth are on verge of vanishing? May be we should start join the preservation group to protect, restore and develop these sites for generations.......

Cradle of Medieval Architecture, Turkey

Photograph by Umit Bektas

Damaged frescoes in the Church of St. Gregory of Tigran Honents tell a story of neglect in the medieval city of Ani, now part of Turkey. Settled by Armenians in the 10th and 11th centuries, Ani holds churches and other buildings that helped inspire the Gothic style across Europe. The city was abandoned in the 14th century, when all Armenians were forced to leave under Turkish rule. Today the unprotected ruins are prone to looting and vandalism.

Chersonesos, Ukraine

Photograph by Wojtek Buss

The recently restored Saint Volodymyr Cathedral {background} stands in contrast with the ruins of a basilica dating back to the sixth century A.D. in Chersonesos, Ukraine . The area, on the southwestern tip of the Crimean Peninsula, was settled as early as the sixth century B.C. Once famed for its wines and coinage, the carefully planned city of Chersonesos went on to become one of the richest Byzantine civilizations on the Black Sea. But Chersonesos is now being "loved to death" due to unmanaged tourism and the pressures of urban development.

Hisham's Palace, Palestinian

Photograph by David Silverman

The eighth-century Umayyad palace was still under construction when it was damaged and covered by sand during an earthquake around A.D. 747. The ruins lay forgotten until archaeologists rediscovered them in 1934. Today experts have a basic understanding of the historic site, but they fear much of the palace's surviving remains may disappear as Jericho continues to expand its urban and agricultural developments.

Swahili Settlement, Lamu, Kenya

 Photograph by Bobby Haas

A mosaic of tightly clustered rooftops decorates an aerial view of Lamu, Kenya, one of the oldest and best preserved Swahili settlements in East Africa. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the old town of Lamu dates back to the 12th century and still boasts many traditional architectural styles of Swahili culture. Major threats to the site include a proposed port project and infrastructure for the oil industry. 

Mahasthangarh, Bangladesh

Photograph by Susan Liebold

Dating back to the third century B.C.,Mahasthangarh in Bangladesh is one of the earliest urban archaeological sites in South Asia. Parts of the ancient capital were in use until the 18th century A.D., and the site is still sacred to Hindus. But years of neglect, looting, vandalism, and lack of funding have damaged Mahasthangarh.

Chronicles of Nineveh, Iraq

Photograph by Randy Olson

The rebuilt gates and mud-brick walls around the ancient city of Nineveh, near modern-day Mosul, Iraq, are popular tourist attractions. Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire from 705 to 612 B.C., but the city was reduced to rubble by attacks from Medes, Babylonians, and Susianians. Archaeologists found the "lost" city in the mid-19th century and began excavations and reconstructions.Still—like many of the sites on the Global Heritage Fund list—Nineveh suffers from the pressures of modern society.

Palace of San-Souci, Haiti

Photograph by James P. Blair

Sometimes called the Versailles of the Caribbean, Haiti's Palace of San-Souci was constructed in the early 19th century by freed slaves to be the royal residence of King Henri Christophe I. But the king's subjects revolted in 1820, forcing him into hiding in the palace, where he eventually committed suicide. Once elaborately furnished, the palace crumbled in an 1842 earthquake, and today the ruined structure is rapidly deteriorating due to poor drainage and neglect.

Mirador Basin, Guatemala

Photograph by George P. Mobley

The Mirador Basin in Guatemala, considered the cradle of Maya civilization, sits adjacent to the well-known Classical Maya ruins in Tikal National Park, including the Great Plaza of Tikal, seen above in an aerial picture. The four cities in the Mirador Basin predate Tikal by as much as 1,200 years, but the Mirador ruins continue to lie abandoned under 2,000 years' worth of jungle growth. Threats to the approximately million-acre {405,000-hectare} site include looting, slash-and-burn agriculture, and illegal logging.

Taxila, Pakistan

Photograph by James L. Stanfield

A complex of caves, monasteries, and mosques, the city of Taxila in Pakistan was a crossroads of industry in the ancient Middle East. Four distinct settlement sites—each belonging to different time periods—show the evolution of urban development over the course of five centuries, beginning in the sixth century B.C., according to the Global Heritage Fund. Today the ruins and nearby Taxila Museum suffer from insufficient management—some areas of the site serve as garbage dumps, for example. Other threats include looting, the toll of regional war, and uncontrolled mine blasts that shake excavated artifacts from museum shelves.

Famagusta, Cyprus

Photograph from Photolibrary

Above, the ruins of an ancient gymnasium stand inFamagusta, Cyprus, once considered among the richest cities in the world. Founded as early as the third century B.C., Famagusta served as a key trading port and a center for political relationships between the Middle East and Europe. Lack of attention, lack of funding, and gradual deterioration of the monuments in Famagusta are threatening the ancient city's potential for survival.

Fort Santiago, Philippines

Photograph by Joel Nito

Spanish settlers constructed the historic walled fortress of Fort Santiago in the district in the 16th century. Much of Intramuros was heavily damaged by U.S. Air Force bombings during World War II. Today the greatest threat to the restored site is modernization. International chains—including Starbucks and McDonald's—are found within Fort Santiago's walls, and developers in Manila seem eager for further expansion.

Maluti Temple, India

Photograph by Sourav De

Only 72 of the original 108 terra-cotta temples remain intact in the 18th-centuryvillage of Maluti, India. The temples were built during the Pala dynasty by devotees of the Hindu goddess Mowlakshi. Other temples at the site were dedicated to Shiva, Durga, Kali, and Vishnu. Today, neglect, poor drainage, and overgrown vegetation are taking a toll on the complex.

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