Taos, New Mexico
October 13, 2009
--Built by the Pueblo people more than a thousand years ago, the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico (pictured) is one of nine U.S. landmarks on the 2010 World Monuments Watch List, released October 9 by the World Monuments Fund.
Development in heavily touristed Taos is encroaching on the adobe ensemble of ceremonial sites and individual homes, also a United Nations World Heritage site. For instance, a new cell tower blocks a view that is vital to the Pueblo people's sun rituals, said Erica Avrami, director of research and education for WMF.
That's why the Pueblo's tribal council is working to "ensure that their way of life survives in the face of a lot of these changes that are happening around them," Avrami said.
Since 1996, the WMF has released a biennial list of the world's most threatened architectural and cultural sites. An independent panel of five preservation experts created the 2010 Watch List, which includes 93 sites in 47 countries.
(Related pictures: "Best and Worst Historic Sites Rated."
"I don't think preservationists want to pickle everything they can," Avrami noted. "The reason why we do what we do is to improve quality of life--we believe that preserving our heritage makes us better citizens and makes society better engaged and more aware of what happened in the past, so we can build a better future."
Photograph by National Park Service, courtesy World Monuments Fund