Damaged frescos in the Church of St. Gregory of Tigran Honents attest to the neglect in the medieval Armenian city of Ani, presently located in Turkey. Situated within a militarized zone near the present-day Turkish-Armenian border, Ani is one of the 12 cultural-historical sites that are on the verge of destruction, as said by a report released back in October 2013 by the Global Heritage Fund based in San Francisco, California.
Ani houses churches and many other buildings that inspired the Gothic architectural style throughout Europe. Populated since roughly the 5th century, Ani was abandoned in the 14th century when the newly established Turkish rule forced the Armenians to leave. And today, the defenseless ruins of the city are highly vulnerable to looting and vandalism.
According to the report, similar sites throughout the world hold significant cultural and archaeological value as well, and they are all at risk due to looting, unsustainable tourism, inefficient management, development pressures, and wars or other conflicts.
Jeff Morgan, the executive director of the Global Heritage Fund, said, “I don’t think they’ll vanish completely. They’ll just be ruins that are far less than they could be.” The preservation group also argued that modest investments could allow for the restoration and development of these sites for sustainable tourism. —John Roach
by peopleOfAr.com source: news.nationalgeographic.com