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Historic Center Of Kastoria, Greece, Among Europe’s 7 Most Endangered

The city of Kastoria, Greece, today.

The city of Kastoria, Greece, today.

Europa_Nostra_7_most_endangeredThe neighborhoods of Dolcho and Apozari that constitute the surviving historic center in Kastoria, Greece, have been included in the list of seven most endangered monuments in Europe, according to an announcement made by leading European heritage organization Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute (EIB-I) at an event in Vienna, Austria, which is hosting this year’s European Heritage Congress.

The 7 Most Endangered for 2014 were selected by Europa Nostra’s Board from the 11 sites shortlisted by an international advisory panel, comprising specialists in history, archaeology, architecture, conservation and finance. Nominations were submitted by civil society organizations and public bodies from all over Europe.

Greece’s nomination for “The 7 Most Endangered” was submitted by Elliniki Etairia – Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage in cooperation with the Municipality of Kastoria.

Mansion in Apozari, Kastoria, Greece.

Mansion in Apozari, Kastoria, Greece.

Also listed as most endangered are: Historic Stage Machinery of the Bourla Theater, Antwerp, Belgium; Citadel of Alessandria, Italy; Carillons of the Mafra National Palace, Portugal; Wooden Churches in Southern Transylvania and Northern Oltenia, Romania; Colour Row Settlement in Chernyakhovsk, Russia; and Synagogue in Subotica, Serbia.

This list is, first and foremost, a call to action. Public and private stakeholders at local, national and European levels are urged to join forces to save the monuments and sites which tell our shared story and which should not be lost for future generations,” said Denis de Kergorlay, Executive President of Europa Nostra.

Heritage specialists from Europa Nostra and financial experts from the European Investment Bank Institute will visit the 7 sites, together with the nominators, after the summer.

The multidisciplinary teams will assess the sites and contribute to the development of viable solutions, in close cooperation with national and local public and private bodies. “Our conclusions will be presented by the end of the year,” said Guy Clausse, Acting Dean of the European Investment Bank Institute.

Neighborhoods of Dolcho and Apozari, Kastoria, Greece

Mansion in Dolcho, Kastoria, Greece.

Mansion in Dolcho, Kastoria, Greece.

The lakeside mountain city of Kastoria is one of the most distinguished in Southeast Europe. It has an unequaled number of medieval churches dating from the 9th to the 15th centuries, while its 18th-19th century mansions, founded on the wealth brought in by the fur trade, are among the finest in the wider region. Today the two neighborhoods of Dolcho and Apozari constitute the surviving historic center which contains 370 listed buildings, 351 in private and 19 in public hands.
Since World War II, the city has suffered considerable damage as a result of population growth and the construction of contemporary apartment blocks. The economic crisis and high unemployment rates have aggravated the situation. Local authorities, NGOs and private partners have joined efforts to restore the historic buildings but increased national and European support is needed. Its rehabilitation would be a vital tool to overcome the crisis at the local level.
Most of the buildings are owned by the Greek State through the Municipality of Kastoria.

“The 7 Most Endangered” program was launched in January 2013 by Europa Nostra with the European Investment Bank Institute as founding partner and the Council of Europe Development Bank as associated partner. It was inspired by a successful similar project run by the US National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The 7 Most Endangered” is not a funding program. Its aim is to serve as a catalyst for action and to promote “the power of example.”

Photos: Courtesy of Elliniki Etairia – Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage and Municipality of Kastoria

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