Cathedral in Kars on WMF watch list

Cathedral in Kars on WMF watch list

The Cathedral of Mren in the eastern province of Kars has been announced as one of the cultural and historical heritages in the world that should be preserved by the World Monuments Fund (WMF).

The World Monuments Watch list, which was initiated by WMF in 1996, launched its watch list for 2014. WMF President Bonnie Burnham said that 67 works from 41 countries and regions were under risk and should be preserved. Among them is the 7th century Cathedral of Mren in Kars.

“Constructed during the Byzantine-Persian wars and at the beginning of the Arab conquests, the cathedral represents a moment of creation and collaboration during a time of major destruction. Mren is representative of the churches built in medieval Armenia and Georgia. It is thought to be the largest preserved domed basilica from seventh-century Armenia, built with rubble masonry and decorated with interior frescoes and a ceramic tile roof. The settlement ceased to exist after the Turkmen invasions in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and the cathedral has been abandoned and exposed to the elements for hundreds of years,” the WMF website explains about the cathedral.

For the first time, all heritage sites in Syria and Mali have been included on the list, which is normally dedicated to individual sites, AFP reported. Mali and Syria have some of the oldest sites on the list, with the cliff of Bandiagara known to have been inhabited tens of thousands of years ago.

The citadel in Aleppo, the northern Syrian city torn apart by a 30-month civil war, dates back to the early Bronze Age, 3300-2200 BC. “In Syria, the ongoing civil conflict has a terrible toll on monuments and sites which continues. We placed the entire country of Syria in the watch list,” said WMF president Burnham.

The city of Venice, which has been overrun by cruise-ship traffic and tourists, and New Jersey’s Hudson River Palisades are also among 67 sites that need to be preserved.