Locals Celebrate Placement of Ujumbe Palace on 2010 Watch

In the Comoros Islands, an African archipelago near Madagascar, the local community of Mutsamudu celebrated the placement of Ujumbe Palace on the 2010 World Monuments Watch, WMF's list of sites at risk.

Ujumbe Palace is a remarkable example of Swahili-Comorian architecture, ornamented with beautiful Arabo-Islamic calligraphy. Built by the Comoros' Sultans during the 18th century, the palace still holds a strong cultural and symbolic value for its inhabitants and, despite its iconic architectural features, it can be compared with other beautiful sites in Zanzibar or Lamu.

Watch listing has raised this endangered site to international attention, and, following the Watch announcement, a Franco-Comorian association received an award from UNESCO to undertake technical monitoring and emergency repairs. But technical assistance is needed to prepare a conservation plan and time is running out — part of this unique building collapsed in 2008. An inventory of the rich cultural heritage of Anjouan, the island on which the Palace is located, is also necessary to determine how local development and sustainable tourism can be improved.