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Blog post | September 10, 2015

Moving a Crane at Phnom Bakheng

After restoration work at the northeast corner of Angkor’s Phnom Bakheng temple was completed at the end of June, the WMF team started focusing its efforts on the north elevation. To this end, it was necessary to move the smaller crane originally located at the northeast corner to the new location.
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Blog post | September 10, 2015

Unexpected Journey at World Monuments Fund

Each year, WMF hosts a summer intern from the Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design (WHSAD). Angela Huang, an incoming senior at the school, joined us for six weeks this summer. Below, Angela shares her experience of working at our office.
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Blog post | September 09, 2015

Joniškis Red Synagogue

The synagogue complex in Joniškis, Lithuania, features two immediately contiguous synagogues that served as a center of Jewish life in the town until World War II. The Red Synagogue, a Neo-Gothic brick building built in 1865, and the White Synagogue, which dates to 1823, were abandoned following the war and reused for various purposes which had left them in a state of serious disrepair. The Red Synagogue was used as a warehouse and an apartment was built into one corner of the building, while the White Synagogue was converted into a gymnasium.
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On June 1, 2015, I started my summer internship at World Monuments Fund in New York City. For me, born and raised in a 300-person, remote village in Aragon (Spain), the opportunity to work in the Empire State Building was kind of an American dream. I had been living in New York for a year then, studying for an MS degree in Historic Preservation at Columbia University thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship, but I was still mesmerized by the city’s skyscrapers, especially the Empire State Building.
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Blog post | July 30, 2015

Hinglajgarh: Mysteries of a Medieval Fort

Amidst a dry deciduous forest in the northeastern part of Madhya Pradesh state, there is an elaborate yet buried historic fortified city presently known as Hinglajgarh. Geographically, the site is in a catchment area of the grand Chambal River, and rivulets—or channels—called Mandaleshwari nulla and Txakeshwar nulla protect the site from three sides. This valley—80 to 100 feet deeper than the plateau—is inhabited by wildlife and thick vegetation.
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Blog post | July 30, 2015

Dhar Fort Conservation

Located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Dhar is an important medieval town and the erstwhile capital of Malwa. It is associated with Raja Bhoj of Paramār dynasty (800 - 1327 A.D.) and is believed to have derived its name from the sharp swords of its rulers. The fort, which is located to the north of the town, has a rock cut reservoir or baoli (stepped well) and a fortification wall of the same period. Gateways and other buildings of the fort are from different periods including Tughlaq, Malwa Sultanate, Mughal, Maratha (Pawar), and British.
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Why is the Gulganj Fort so significant that it is a state protected monument by the Government of Madhya Pradesh? This question frustrated us since our first visit to the site in May 2013. Compared to other magnificent forts of Madhya Pradesh, such as Raja Mahal and Jehangir Mahal in Orchha or the Forts of Dhar and Mandu, Gulganj was rather “ordinary.” Located on a spur, 30 kilometers (98 miles) from the main city in a small settlement, the highly overgrown and vandalized Gulganj Fort, with its entire roof curiously missing, left us looking for even more answers.
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Situated in the wilderness and agricultural fields on the outskirts of the village of Gajnikhedi in District Ujjain, stands the quaint Chamunda mata Temple Complex. The core temple complex covers an area of approximately 8 acres and comprises a main shrine and a few chattris and sati pavilions, as well as a baoli (stepped wells). This temple is dedicated to the Saptamatrikas, or seven goddesses. Per Indian mythology, these seven goddesses are described as possessing dangerous qualities and are ferocious in nature, representing a destructive force.
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As a conservation professional working at various heritage sites, my interactions with the local individuals—the common man— has left a lasting impression on me. Leaving aside the technical process and jargon associated with it, I want to share my experiences at these heritages sites and the impact our work has on local communities. The initiative—the Madhya Pradesh Monuments Project at Ramnagar—is a ray of hope that has left a positive impact on the “common man” and can create more and more ripples of positive influence.
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Blog post | July 08, 2015

WMF Celebrates Rome’s Treasures

Rome never ceases to surprise. It is a modern, thriving city that absorbs more than 6 million visitors each year and yet there are still treasures to explore and places to see that are little known. WMF’s 50th anniversary has been the inspiration for a series of donor trips to visit places that have been a special focus for WMF over the years, and in June, we explored the places in Rome where WMF has assisted in the conservation of ancient, medieval, and Renaissance sites. It was a treat to be one of the staff members introducing the sites to our donors.
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