WMF Journal


March 21, 2012

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Tradition and Modernity Meet in Hạ Long Bay

Posted by Ken Feisel, Art Director
Hạ Long Bay

I'm in the back of a stuffy tourist van bound for Hạ Long Bay, barreling down the middle of a barely passable, pothole-filled road just east of Hanoi. After ten days working on World Monuments Fund projects in Cambodia, I figured a few days of vacation on a cruise among the bay's countless limestone karsts would be nice and relaxing. Which it probably will be, if my traveling companion and I survive this shuttle bus ride from hell. So for now the driver is screaming at someone on his cell phone as he swerves back and forth across the road trying to dodge the oncoming traffic, the potholes, and random bicycles, pushcarts, tuktuks, and water buffalo. The woman in front of me just unwrapped a lox-and-onion sandwich, and as the smell of it blends with the heavy Hà Nội smog, we're all turning a bit green. Ah, the joys of international travel.

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March 19, 2012

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Hadrian’s Villa, Near Tivoli, at Risk

Posted by Bernard Frischer, Professor of Archaeology and Classics, University of Virginia
World Monuments Fund

Hadrian's Villa, the UNESCO World Heritage site near Tivoli, Italy, is at risk. It joins nearby Ponte Lucano—on the 2010 World Monuments Watch—as a site that requires the attention of everyone who cares about preserving the world's cultural heritage.

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March 16, 2012

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One Year After the Japan Earthquake: A Journey, Part V

Posted by Henry Tzu Ng, Executive Vice President
World Monuments Fund

The commitment, if not fervor, to save these three buildings blazes forth in the eyes and words of the representatives of the local community with whom we are meeting. They come from city hall, cultural offices and university history departments who are working to save these landmarks. They feel these buildings are Kesennuma’s iconic structures. What would be the point of rebuilding their community if you do not save this history?

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March 16, 2012

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Reflecting on the March 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami and Looking to the Future

Posted by Mitsuo Inagaki, Japan Representative, World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund

“This is all about going back to basics of cultural properties preservation.” That is the phrase echoed by my counterparts in Japan. It’s become the core principle of the SOC (Save Our Culture) project to save cultural heritage that has the most meaning nationally and locally. In normal days, even with peaks and troughs affecting our daily lives, there are always people and communities that live and work here. It is within this environment that I’ve been working in cultural heritage conservation, but I’ve never had the thought, what if both are lost? Four months passed following the events of March 11, 2011 until I was able to make my first eye-opening journey to tsunami-afflicted communities in Tohoku, including Kesennuma. Since then, determining how best to rebuild the afflicted societies remains the most pressing issue.

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March 16, 2012

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A Message from Japan's Foundation for Cultural Heritage and Art Research about Save Our Culture

Posted by Shigeru Muraki Deputy Secretary-General, Foundation for Cultural Heritage and Art Research
World Monuments Fund

Currently, there are 91 Nationally Selected Important Preservation Districts in Japan where groups of traditional buildings are protected. Among them, six districts were affected by the earthquake. Sawara city in Chiba Prefecture is such a case. It is a well-known city, a part of which has been preserved as a historic commercial district that prospered in the Edo period (seventeenth–nineteenth centuries). About 70% of its 92 historic structures were affected. Along with ceilings and walls, the most severely damaged were the roofs including caved-in ridge tiles, falling tiles and cracks, peeling and caved-in external walls. People in this city are earnestly taking action to recover this important historic district.

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