Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Pan Cogito Welcomes Pidhirtsi Castle-Palace Complex's Addition To World Monuments Fund's 100 Most Endangered Sites List, 2008

"Bombs in Iraq, better commutes in Ireland and melting ice caps are threatening the world's architectural and cultural gems, a nonprofit group said on Wednesday as it named 100 endangered monuments.

The World Monuments Fund's list for 2008 for the first time included climate change as a hazard for some of the world's great historic sites.

Surging development and commercialism, along with political conflict, also pose risk to sites such as the Church of the Holy Nativity in Bethlehem.

"On this list, man is indeed the real enemy," said Bonnie Burnham, president of the fund. "But just as we have caused the damage in the first place, we have the power to repair it."

The group said Peru's Machu Picchu is threatened by unchecked tourism and St. Petersburg's skyline will be changed forever if Gazprom's planned skyscraper is built for the state-controlled gas export monopoly.

Tara Hill in Ireland, considered a sacred landscape, is now threatened by the development of a highway meant to ease the commute from Dublin. Canada's Herschel Island, situated on the edge of the Yukon and home to ancient Inuit sites, could be washed away in melting permafrost, the group said.

Meanwhile, the war in Iraq has put that country's entire cultural heritage at grave risk, the nonprofit group said.

"The archeological sites of Iraq are being looted at an alarming rate and the loss is catastrophic," said Michelle Berenfeld, program manager at the fund. "Unlike objects in museums -- for which there is at least some record of their existence and in most cases where they came from -- objects that are stolen out of the ground are completely lost, forever." ...

Reuters "Global Warming, War, Development Threaten Historic Sites" New York Times June 6, 2007


Complete 2008 list at

Pidhirstsi Castle-Palace, near Lviv, Ukraine, Future European Union, is now "threatened by fire and abandonment" -- according to the World Monuments Fund Endangered Sites List, 2008.

"Pidhirtsi Castle was constructed by the Italian architect Andrea dell'Aqua between 1635 and 1640 for the Hetman (Cossack chief) of the Polish crown. Built for leisure rather than for defensive purposes, the castle-which remained in the hands of Polish military leaders into the eighteenth century-is a clear departure from previous castle constructions in the region. It is more of a country house or palace, with a landscaped French and English-style park and two churches. The proprietors of the complex also amassed a major collection of painting, sculpture, armor, and crafts, in a private collection now managed by the Museum of Fine Arts in L'viv, which has overseen the site since 1991. The site is designated part of the national cultural heritage of the Ukraine.

The complex underwent a number of renovations in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and suffered damage during the twentieth. During the Polish-Soviet War (1919-1921) the castle was seriously vandalized, and after World War II it was converted into a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients. At that time various unsympathetic were initiated, especially adaptations for drainage, water, and electrical systems. In 1956, a fire started by a lightning storm caused major damage, and during the Soviet regime the castle was at various times either abandoned or misused. All of these factors have resulted in the deterioration of the east and west galleries of the palace, infiltration of water into the foundations of the courtyard and the park, and the impending collapse of many walls. The Museum of Fine Arts is willing to return the Hetman's collection to Pidhirtsi if the means and technical expertise necessary to restore the castle can be found."

Source: World Monuments Fund, 100 Most Endangered Sites, 2008

Photo credit: (c) Vladyslav "Slav" Tsarynnyk and Lviv Ecotour. With thanks.


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