Watch Highlights

Since 1996, the World Monuments Watch has helped hundreds of heritage sites achieve positive change in the face of contemporary challenges.

By capitalizing on the attention raised by Watch listing, local entities have leveraged support for Watch sites totaling over $180 million. WMF has contributed an additional $90 million toward projects at more than 275 Watch sites.

Find out more about how the Watch can make a difference:

COMMUNITY ACTION

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Machiya in Kamigyō ward, 2008
Machiya in Kamigyō ward, 2008
The Watch can help to energize communities and promote collective action at heritage sites. After the Chiloé Churches in Chile were included on the 1996 Watch, WMF helped to restore several of the structures and supported specialized training for local communities in traditional crafts and interpretation methods. A local group in Taxco de Alarcón, Mexico, nominated the baroque church of Santa Prisca to the 2000 Watch. Since then, WMF has supported this strong community effort to stabilize and restore the church, reversing years of neglect. Following inclusion of the Kyoto Machiya Townhouses on the 2010 Watch, WMF supported a model conservation project to foster machiya restoration and strengthen networks within the community. To promote community action, WMF has also launched Watch Day, an opportunity to enhance public engagement at Watch sites through locally designed events.

ENHANCED PROTECTION

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Damiya Dolmen Field, 2010
Damiya Dolmen Field, 2010
Even though it is not an official designation, inclusion of a site on the Watch, in conjunction with local action, can help to improve heritage protection. After a symposium, workshops, and public demonstrations following the 2010 Watch, the legislature of Buenos Aires approved the expansion of the historic district in the city’s center. In Jordan, the Department of Antiquities announced the creation of the Damiya Dolmen Archaeological Park (Watch 2010), which will protect a significant portion of these Bronze Age vestiges. The nominators of Corozal and Mount Hope Cemeteries (2010 Watch) advocated for legal protection of the heritage of the “Silver People,” who are interred in these cemeteries, and a law was enacted by Panama’s National Assembly in 2012.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

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WorlWaterfront view, Kampung Cina, 1998
Waterfront view, Kampung Cina, 1998
Balancing preservation concerns and new development is important to ensuring quality of life and a sustainable built environment. The Watch has helped to promote dialogue about heritage and growth in locales around the world. The Japanese port town of Tomo, Fukuyama, was threatened for many years by a landfill and bridge project that would have negatively impacted the historic waterfront. Following inclusion on the Watch in 2002 and 2004 and local campaign efforts, the project was halted by the Prefecture of Hiroshima. In Kampung Cina, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia (1998, 2000, 2002 Watch), a waterfront development plan was adapted to prevent the demolition of vernacular shophouses and traditional Malay timber structures to ensure conservation of the district. Following the 2008 Watch, with the official urging of the World Heritage Committee, the plan to construct a skyscraper that would have dramatically altered the skyline of St. Petersburg, Russia, was reconsidered and moved to a new site outside the historic city.

REVITALIZATION AND REUSE

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Al-Qasem Palace
Al-Qasem Palace, 2004
The Watch has included many heritage sites that have found new public or private uses, or have been reinvented to fit contemporary, changing needs. In Belgium, following the 1998 Watch, the Wortel Colony Estate was transformed into a recreational park, which has been embraced by the surrounding community. The Ushuaia Prison, in Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego, was restored following the 1998 Watch, and today it houses the Museo Marítimo y del Presidio. In the West Bank, the ruins of Al-Qasem Palace (2004 Watch) were restored by Riwaq, a Palestinian cultural heritage organization, for use by the Urban and Regional Development Center of An-Najah National University. In Dresden, Germany, the Festspielhaus Hellerau was restored following the 1996 Watch, and today it houses a number of different arts institutions. And in New York, the Seventh Regiment Armory (2000 Watch) hosts numerous events and performances that take advantage of its vast historic drill hall.

ENHANCED PUBLIC ACCESS

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Easter Island, Orongo Visitor Center, 2011
Easter Island, Orongo Visitor Center, 2011
Through the Watch, WMF has collaborated with national authorities and other organizations in projects to develop, promote, and re-envision the presentation of heritage sites. The conservation of the Temple of Hercules (1996 Watch) and the Temple of Portunus (2006 Watch) in Rome’s Forum Boarium led to a reassessment of the significance and interpretation of this ancient commercial area. At the ruins of the Jesuit mission complex of San Ignacio Miní (1996 Watch) in Argentina, WMF helped create a new permanent exhibit for the existing site interpretation center. And on Easter Island, WMF helped develop a conservation and interpretation program that resulted in the construction of a new visitor center near the Orongo ceremonial village (1996, 2000 Watch). The visitor center provides an introduction to Rapa Nui National Park and helps to monitor and manage visitation to the fragile site