Europa Nostra: The Cycladic islands are at risk from overtourism and uncontrolled construction


The islands are in danger of losing their original character

The international organisation Europa Nostra issued a danger signal for the islands of the Cyclades, especially Sifnos, Serifos and Folegandros.

According to a related announcement at the end of last month, the Greek Cyclades Islands entered the preliminary list of 11 of Europa Nostra and their candidacy is supported by ELLET, so they are in the final selection of the seven threatened monuments and cultural heritage sites of Europe.

The purpose is to protect them from over-tourism and uncontrolled construction.

Europa Nostra is a pan-European organisation for Cultural Heritage, which represents citizens' organisations working to safeguard Europe's cultural and natural heritage.

"The Cyclades, renowned for their unique charm and rich culture, find themselves grappling with a myriad of challenges posed by the surge in tourism development and rampant construction. Despite driving economic growth, this brings along a host of environmental, cultural, and social issues, including the degradation of natural resources, damage to cultural and natural heritage, water scarcity, waste management problems, and socio-economic disparities. The islands are at risk of losing their exceptional and authentic character as increasing tourist-oriented construction threatens to overshadow their inherent allure," a relevant announcement emphasises.

Finally, it is noteworthy that among the threatened places and monuments is the church of Agios Georgios in Hatay.

"The earthquake of 6 February 2023 has led to the collapse of parts of the building, damage to the dome, and the formation of cracks in the walls. Negligence can further exacerbate structural issues.

"Without corrective measures, further damage to the church’s roof and dome could increase the risk of the entire building collapsing The walls of the church should be repaired and restored using the fallen and collapsed materials.

"Analogous process should be followed in the vaults, sealing cracks and fissures. The estimated costs of reconstruction of this important historic monument amount to up to 600,000 euros."

The most endangered monuments and sites

The 11 most endangered monuments and heritage sites in Europe for 2024 are:

  • Archaeological Site of Muret e Portës, Durrës, ALBANIA
  • Amberd Historical and Cultural Reserve, ARMENIA
  • Palais du Midi, Brussels, BELGIUM
  • Working-class Housing (courées) in Roubaix-Tourcoing, FRANCE
  • Cycladic Islands, notably Sifnos, Serifos and Folegandros, GREECE
  • Church of San Pietro in Gessate, Milan, ITALY
  • Synagogue of Siena, ITALY
  • Palace in Sztynort, northern Masuria, POLAND
  • Home of the Yugoslav People’s Army in Å abac, SERBIA
  • Greek Orthodox Church of St. Georgios, Altınözü / Hatay province, TURKEY
  • Iron Gate of Antioch, Antakya / Hatay province, TURKEY
    READ MORE: 2,000-Year-Old Frieze Recovered from Temple of Zeus.

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