Three Greek islands named among Europe’s most endangered sites

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Three Greek islands of Cyclades – Sifnos, Serifos, and Folegandros, have been named among Europe’s seven most endangered heritage sites for 2024. This designation comes as part of the Seven Most Endangered Program, a collaborative initiative between heritage organization Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute, which has been in operation since 2013.

According to ekathimerini.com, the program’s primary goal is to preserve threatened European heritage, whether it be from demolition, neglect, overexploitation, or conflict.

“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,” a statement said.

Photo: unsplash, Julie Karitinos

“The islands are at risk of losing their exceptional and authentic character as increasing tourist-oriented construction threatens to overshadow their inherent allure,” it added.

The nomination of these three islands to the program was submitted by Greek NGO Elliniki Etairia – Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage, with support from the mayors of the respective islands. 

The nominator strongly advocates for strategic policy-based measures to address the urgent challenges facing the Cyclades, proposing a comprehensive approach aimed at preserving the integrity of these islands. Among the immediate priorities outlined, is establishing a special spatial plan for tourism to regulate and manage activities, along with implementing a binding regional spatial plan for the South Aegean. The proposal also stresses the necessity of local urban plans to delineate landscape enhancement zones.

Source: ekathimerini.com

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