The Cyrene Amphitheatre, erected in the Sanctuary of Apollo by Greek settlers in the 6th Century B.C., is Africa’s largest ancient Greek site. Cyrene is considered one of the most important Classical Greek sites outside of Greece, yet the site is one of the most neglected and endangered UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Mediterranean Basin. Threats to the site include neglect, improper restoration and conservation intervention, looting and a lack of appropriate security protection.
Many Archaeologists, Historic Preservationists, and Scientific Conservationists around the world are working on to save our global heritage. When the Gulf War in Iraq started in the 90s one of my major concerns was obviously for the safety of the civilians, but I also thought about their cultural sites.
Sir Winston Churchill once said, “We shape our buildings, and afterward our buildings shape us.”
Cultural sites say a lot about society. We learn much about ancient Mesopotamia, the Orient, the Greeks and the Romans, Norse ancestors, through the records of their buildings and their cities, parts of which have stood for millennium. These sites hold communities together. When they are wiped out by development or war we not only loose entire communities but we loose our world heritage.
Global Heritage Fund, a local non-profit organization in Palo Alto, Ca is on a mission to save the earth’s most significant and endangered cultural heritage sites in developing countries and regions through scientific excellence and community development.