31 Places You Should See Before They Disappear Forever

Photo: Courtesy of Bob Schalkwijk/World Monuments Fund.
This story was originally published on November 13, 2015.

If nothing is done, the world could lose some of its most treasured landmarks and monuments.

That's the depressing warning the World Monument Fund is spreading with its 2016 list of endangered sites across the globe.

Fifty places across 36 countries made the group's 2016 World Monument Watch list, a biennial call for increased preservation efforts for cultural-heritage sites. The list includes places as diverse as cave temples, churches, elaborate country estates, and World War II concentration camps. In some cases, entire villages or regions are deemed in danger.

“The 2016 Watch includes many extraordinary places that deserve to be celebrated because they represent high moments of human culture," World Monuments Fund President Bonnie Burnham said in a statement. "Worldwide concern would strengthen our ability to save them."

There isn't one specific threat faced by these treasures. Pressure to demolish such sites to make way for new developments, a lack of funding for preservation, and devastation caused by environmental disasters are major problems. The earthquake in Nepal that left thousands dead earlier this year, for example, destroyed many major cultural-heritage sites there. War and conflict are also prime culprits — this year's list includes an "Unnamed Monument," meant to highlight sites destroyed, sometimes intentionally, during conflicts and times of political unrest.

Information about all 50 sites, including an interactive map, are available on the World Monuments Fund website. Click through to see the stunning photos of some of the places the world must rally to save.
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Photo: Courtesy of Maija Kairamo/World Monuments Fund.
Vyborg Historic Center (Russia)
Vyborg Castle, a fortress originally dating from the 13th century, with the Vyborg Historic Center in the distance.
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Photo: Courtesy of Tommy E. Kain/World Monuments Fund.
Bunce Island (Sierra Leone)
The exterior wall of the main house, seen from the southwest.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sadiq Toffa/World Monuments Fund.
Bo-Kaap (South Africa)
A procession along Bo-Kaap’s Chiappini Street to mark the Islamic New Year.
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Photo: Courtesy of 2015 Leon Lock/World Monuments Fund.
Brussels Palace of Justice (Belgium)
A view of the northwestern façade reveals the scale of the Brussels Palace of Justice.
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Photo: Courtesy of Acción Pública para la Defensa del Patrimonio Aragonés (APUDEPA)/World Monuments Fund.
Averly Foundry (Spain)
Interior of the model shop of Averly Foundry, which closed in 2013, and appears to have been frozen in time.
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Photo: Courtesy of Fundación Patrimonio Desierto de Atacama/World Monuments Fund.
Chug-Chug Geoglyphs (Chile)
The Chug-Chug Geoglyphs are located along an ancient caravan route that connected two oases, the Calama and Quillagua.
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Photo: Courtesy of The National Trust of Korea/World Monuments Fund.
Simwonjeong (South Korea)
A view of the Simwonjeong Pavilion and the surrounding garden from the east.
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Photo: Courtesy of Archifact Architecture & Conservation Ltd, Adam Wild/World Monuments Fund.
Former Apia Courthouse (Samoa)
View of the former courthouse from Ififi Street, with the Apia harbor in the distance.
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Photo: Courtesy of Amedy Culture Center Archive/ World Monuments Fund.
Amedy (Iraq)
A recent view of the hilltop of Amedy from the north.
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Photo: Courtesy of Elena Ghibaudo/World Monuments Fund.
Figuig (Morocco)
Construction of new earthen bricks walls in the Ksar Lamaiz.
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Photo: Courtesy of Marcus Binney/World Monuments Fund.
Wentworth Woodhouse (United Kingdom)
The Whistlejacket Room at Wentworth Woodhouse, named after the famous painting of the Marquess of Rockingham’s favorite horse by George Stubbs (1724-1806).
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Photo: Courtesy of: René Fan/World Monuments Fund.
Cultural Heritage Sites of Nepal (Nepal)
Debris in the Kathmandu Durbar Square following a major earthquake.
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Photo: Courtesy of 2013 Roberto Davide/World Monuments Fund.
World War II Concentration Camps (Italy)
The Fossoli Concentration Camp, located near the town of Carpi in the Province of Modena.
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Photo: Courtesy of Carlos Domenech/World Monuments Fund.
Colonial Churches of Santiago de Cuba (Cuba)
Nave and altar of the 18th-century church of Nuestra Señora del Carmen in Santiago.
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Photo: Courtesy of E. Crocker, Crocker Ltd/World Monuments Fund.
San Esteban del Rey Mission (United States)
The mission complex of San Esteban del Rey in New Mexico as seen from the east, with the church on the left.
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Photo; Courtesy of Julien Venner, Fondation Marengo/World Monuments Fund.
Traditional Architecture of Mauritius (Mauritius)
The 19th-century Euréka house has been converted into a museum and is an attractive destination.
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Photo: Courtesy of Charles Albanese FAIA/World Monuments Fund.
Mission San Xavier del Bac (United States)
The façade of Mission San Xavier del Bac in Arizona, known as the “White Dove of the Desert” thanks to its bright limewashed exterior.
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Photo: Courtesy of INTACH, Ladakh Chapter/World Monuments Fund.
Gon-Nila-Phuk (India)
Cave Temples and Fort Paintings in Cave No. 3, one of two meditation caves out of the five that are still easily accessible.
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Photo: Courtesy of Michael Calderwood/World Monuments Fund.
Chapultepec Park (Mexico)
The Cárcamo de Dolores, designed in 1951 as the main water-collection point from the distant Lerma River, features a fountain designed by Diego Rivera.
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Photo: Courtesy of Jala Makhzoumi, the Civil Campaign for the Protection of Dalieh el Raouche.
Dalieh of Raouche (Lebanon)
A growing community campaign is calling for the protection of the Dalieh of Raouche, unaltered, for public use.
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Photo: Courtesy of Eduardo Luis Rodríguez/World Monuments Fund.
El Vedado (Cuba)
The Church of St. John Lateran in El Vedado, built in 1926 by architect Joaquín Weiss.
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Photo: Courtesy of Piere Blanchard/World Monuments Fund.
Kua Ruins (Tanzania)
View of the ruins of a Kua mosque.
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Photo: Courtesy of Municipalidad Distrital de Barranco/World Monuments Fund.
La Ermita de Barranco (Peru)
The front façade of the Gothic-style Ermita de Barranco.
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Photo: Courtesy of Nelson Kon, Institute Lina Bo and P.M. Bardi/World Monuments Fund.
Ladeira da Misericórdia (Brazil)
View of the three restored colonial buildings and Coaty Restaurant (left) on the Ladeira da Misericórdia.
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Photo: Courtesy of Francisco Bilou/World Monuments Fund.
Água da Prata Aqueduct (Portugal)
The aqueduct as it crosses the road leading from Évora to Arraiolos, marked by a small tower.
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Photo: Courtesy of Bob Schalkwijk/World Monuments Fund.
Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso (Mexico)
José Clemente Orozco’s mural series, created between 1923 and 1926, can be seen from the main courtyard.
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Photo: Courtesy of Instituto Nacional de Cultura/World Monuments Fund.
Fortifications of Portobelo (Panama)
San Gerónimo Fort is the largest and most impressive of the Fortifications of Portobelo.
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Photo: Courtesy of Ștefan Bâlici /World Monuments Fund.
Roșia Montană Mining Landscape (Romania)
A representative example of a traditional rural house in the area of Roșia Montană.
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Photo: Courtesy of Omar Arregui, UNESCO/World Monuments Fund.
Church and Convent of San Francisco (Ecuador)
View of the patio and main cloister of the Church and Convent of San Francisco.
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Photo: Courtesy of Ahmed Ali Osman/World Monuments Fund.
Sabu-Jaddi Rock Art Sites (Sudan)
An example of the rock drawings that survive at Sabu-Jaddi.
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Photo: Courtesy of Mitsuo Inagaki/World Monuments Fund.
Early-20th-Century Architecture in Tsukiji (Japan)
The Yuasa merchant house in Tsukiji, in the modern kanban kenchiku, or signboard architecture style.