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Entire Iraq in world monument list

June 22, 2005 12:13 IST

A Roman aqueduct in Spain, New York City's hotly debated lollipop building and the entire country of Iraq are among the World Monuments Fund's list of 100 most endangered sites announced.

"This is the first time we have listed a country as endangered, and I think that we can all understand that every site in Iraq that is significant in terms of cultural heritage is at risk today," Bonnie Burnham, president of the
World Monuments Fund, said on Tuesday.

She said thousands of important sites in Iraq, known as the cradle of civilisation, are at risk from war, looting and neglect.

Feisal Amin al-Istrabadi, Iraq's deputy United Nations ambassador, who attended the news conference at the fund's Manhattan offices, said, "It is not only the heritage of Iraq that is at stake here.... It is in fact the world heritage."

The organisation's 2006 World Monuments Watch List includes 100 sites in 55 countries. The biennial watch list was begun in 1995 by the fund, a New York-based nonprofit organisation dedicated to historic preservation.

By focusing attention on the sites, the fund seeks to raise money for their protection and to spur local governments to protect their cultural heritage.

While this year's list includes antiquities such as the Segovia Aqueduct, a miracle of Roman engineering, and the ninth-century Haji Piyada Mosque in Afghanistan, there also are nine 20th century sites. They include Oscar Niemeyer's International Fairground in Tripoli and Richard Neutra's Cyclorama Center in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, which is facing demolition in 2007.


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