From a bathhouse in Japan to a bazaar in Pakistan to Batammariba dwellings in Benin and Togo, the World Monuments Fund’s 2020 Watch list, announced Tuesday, highlights 25 diverse sites with deep local significance in need of timely attention.
The sites span five continents and vary widely in scope. Some are specific structures, like the San Antonio Woolworth Building in Texas, the Choijin Lama Temple in Mongolia, and the Alexan palace in Egypt. Others cover broader areas, like the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru, Tusheti National Park in Georgia, and Port-au-Prince’s Gingerbread Neighborhood in Haiti.
Still others include categories of structures, like traditional Burmese teak farmhouses in Myanmar and traditional houses in an old Jewish neighborhood in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Another subset comprises historic physical infrastructure, like the Bennerley Viaduct in England, the Canal Nacional in Mexico, and traditional water management systems in India’s Decan Plateau.
Anyone can nominate a site, and the list includes sites that have received significant public attention in the last year, like Notre Dame de Paris and Bears Ears National Monument. Selections are made, according to a New York Times article on this year’s list, on the basis of the cultural significance of each site, the difficulties it faces, and the World Monuments Fund’s practical ability to advance conservation of the particular site. Once a site is selected, the World Monuments Fund seeks to collaborate with local partners in designing a conservation program tailored to the site’s needs.
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), which provided support for the 2020 Watch, has given the World Monuments Fund repeated support since 1999 and was honored at the organization’s annual Hadrian Gala in 2016. SNF provided support and Foundation staff attended the 2019 Hadrian Gala, held Tuesday October 29, 2019, in New York City. View the Event Program.
SNF believes that specific, physical sites, as focal points for community engagement, can serve as a touchstone for the preservation and celebration of our world’s achievements.