Crater lake

CRATER LAKE (1,950ft deep) is situated in a 7,700-year-old caldera in the Cascades of south-central Oregon, United States.

crater lake twilight

It is famous for its intense blue colour and the clarity of its water.  The lake is the deepest in the US and, the third and the ninth deepest in the world, depending on whether average or maximum depth is measured.  Though no rivers flow into or out of it, its waters are replaced every 250 years through rain and snowfall.

Crater lake

A post caldera cinder cone forms WIZARD ISLAND.  Crater Lake is also known for the OLD MAN OF THE LAKE, a full-sized tree which is now a stump that has been bobbing vertically in the lake for over a century.  The low temperature of the water has slowed the decomposition of the wood, hence the longevity of the bobbing tree.

There are two islands in Crater Lake  : WIZARD ISLAND, formed from a cinder cone that erupted after Crater lake began to fill with water, and the smaller PHANTOM SHIP, which has seven different trees living on it.  There are also colonies of violet-green swallows and several varieties of wildflowers and lichens living there.

Crater lake top view

While having no indigenous fish populations, the lake was stocked  from 1888 to 1941 with a variety of fish.  Several species have formed self-sustaining populations.  Due to several unique factors, mainly that the lake has no inlets or tributaries, the waters of Crater Lake are some of the purest in the world because of the absence of pollutants.  The lake has relatively high levels of dissolves salts, total alkalinity and conductivity.

crater lake

The Klamath Tribe of Native Americans, who may have witnessed the collapse of Mount Mazama and the formation of Crater Lake, have long regarded the lake as a sacred site.  Their legends tell of a battle between the Sky God (SKELL) and the God of the Underworld (LLAO).  Mount Mazama was destroyed in the battle, creating Crater Lake, called GIIWAS in the Klamath language.  The tribe used Crater Lake in “vision quests”, which often involved  climbing the caldera walls and other dangerous tasks.  Those who were successful in such quests were often regarded as having more spiritual powers.  The tribe still holds Crater lake in high regard as a spiritual site.

Since 2002, one of the State’s regular-issue license plate designs has featured Crater Lake.  The commemorative  Oregon State Quarter, which was released by the US Mint in 2005, features an image of Crater Lake on its reverse.


Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

MOUNT RAINIER is the highest mountain of the Cascade Range.  It is a large STRATO VOLCANO and is located 87 km southeast of Seattle.

It is the most topographically prominent mountain in the contiguous Us and the Cascade Volcanic Arc, with a summit of 14,411ft.  Mount Rainier is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, and is on the DECADE VOLCANO LIST.  Because of its large amount of glacial ice, it could potentially produce massive LAHARS (volcanic mud-flows)that could threaten the entire PUYALLUP River Valley.

Mount Rainier scenery

Mount Rainier was first known as TALOL or TACOMA or TAHOMA by the Native Americans.  One hypothesis of the word origin is that TACOMA means “larger than Mount Baker”.  TA (larger) + KOMA (Mount Baker).  In 1890, the US Board of Geographic Names declared that the mountain would be known as RAINIER.

On clear days it dominates the south-eastern horizon and can be seen from as far as Portland, Oregon and Victoria British Columbia.  But on a cloudy morning, when the cloud-heights are just right, the rising sun can catch the peak from below and cast a long shadow on the underside of the cloud.  This only happens during the fall and winter when the sun rises farther to the south and is in the exact position where Mount Rainier blocks the first rays of morning light.

Mount Rainier lake

With 26 major glaciers and of permanent snowfields, Mount Rainier is the most heavily glaciated peak.  The summit is topped by two volcanic craters, each more than 1,00oft in diameter, with the larger east crater overlapping the west crater.  Geo-thermal heat from the volcano keeps areas of both craters with nearly 3.2km of passages.  A small “crater lake”, about 130 x 30ft in size and 16ft deep, the highest in North America with a surface elevation of 14,203ft, occupies the lowest portion of the west crater below more than 100ft of ice and is accessible only via the caves.

Mt Rainier sunset

The broad top of Mount Rainier contains three named summits.  The highest is called the COLUMBIA CREST, the 2nd summit is POINT SUCCESS and it has a topographic prominence of about 138ft, so it is not considered a separate peak.  The lowest of the 3 summits is LIBERTY CAP, which overlooks Liberty Bridge, the Sunset Amphitheatre and the dramatic Willis Wall.  High on the eastern flank of Mount Rainier is a peak known as LITTLE TAHOMA PEAK, an eroded remnant of the earlier, much higher, Mount Rainier.

Mount Rainier Summit Lake

Mount Rainier is a STRATO VOLCANO and its early volcanic deposits are estimated at more than 840,000 years old.  The early deposits formed a “proto-Rainier” or an “ancestral” cone.  The volcano is highly eroded with glaciers and appears to be made mostly of ANDESITE.  Many years ago, a large chunk of the volcano slid away, and this massive avalanche removed the top of Mount Rainier, bringing its height down to 14,00ft.  Subsequent eruptions of lave and TEPHRA built up the modern “summit cone” until about as recently as 1,000 years ago.

Although Mount Rainier is an a “active volcano”, as of 2010 there was no evidence of an “imminent” eruption.  However, an eruption could be devastating for all areas surrounding the volcano and there could e loss of life and property.
LAHARS  from Mount Rainier pose the most risk to life as about 150,000 people live on top of old LAHAR deposits and such lahars could cause tsunamis capable of producing PYROCLASTIC FLOWS and expelling lava.

Mount Rainier climb

The volcanic risk is somewhat mitigated by “lahar-warning signs”  and “escape route signs” in Pierce County.  5-10 “shallow” earthquakes, over 2-3 days, take place from time to time, in the region of 13,000ft below the summit., and are thought to be caused by the circulation of hot fluids beneath Mount Rainier.  SEISMIC SWARMS are common features at volcanoes and are rarely associated with eruptive activity.  A 2009 “swarm” produced the largest number of events of any swarm at Rainier, since “seismic monitoring” began over 2 decades earlier.  Yet another swarm was observed in 2011.

Mount Rainier climbing routes

Mountain climbing on Mount Rainier is difficult, involving traversing the largest glaciers in the US.  Most climbers require 2-3 days to reach the summit and climbing teams demand experience in glacier travel, self-rescue and wilderness travel.  About 8,000-13,000 people attempt the climb each year.  Mount Rainier is also popular for winter sports —– snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Ascending to 14,410 ft above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as an ICON in the Washington landscape.  It is the most glaciated peak spawning 6 major rivers.  Sub-alpine wildflower meadows ring the icy volcano, while ancient forest cloaks Mount Rainier’ slower slopes.  A LIFETIME OF DISCOVERY AWAITS.

Sonoran Desert

Sonoran Desert

SONORAN DESERT is a North American desert which covers a large part of the South – western United States in Arizona and California and of North-western Mexico in Sonora, Baja California and Baja California Sur.  It is the hottest desert in Mexico, with an area of 280,  The western portion of the United States passes through the Sonoran Desert.

In phytogeography, the Sonoran Desert is within the Sonoran Floristic Province of the MADREAN REGION in south-western North America, part of the HOLARCTIC KINGDOM of the northern Western Hemispheres.
The Sonoran Desert includes 60 mammal species, 350 bird species, 20 amphibian species, over 100 reptile species, 30 native fish species, over 1,000 native bee species and more than 2,000 native plant species.  The Sonoran Desert area southwest of Tucson and near the Mexican border is vital habitat for the only population of Jaguars living within the US.  The Colorado River Delta, was once an ecological hotspot within the Sonoran Desert, fuelled by the flow of fresh water through the Colorado River in this otherwise dry area, but the Delta has been greatly reduced in extent due to the damming and use of the river upstream.

Sonoran Desert landscape

Many plants not only survive, but thrive in the harsh conditions of the Sonoran Desert.  Many have evolved to have specialized adaptations to the desert climate.  The Sonoran Desert’s bi-seasonal rainfall pattern results in more plant species than any other desert in the world.  The Sonoran Desert includes plant genera and species from the Agave family, Palm family, Cactus family, Legume family and numerous others.

Sonoran Desert sunrise

The Sonoran Desert is the only place in the world where the famous SAGUARO CACTUS grows.  CHOLLA, beavertail, hedgehog, fish hook, prickly pear, night-blooming cereus and organ pipe are other “taxa” of cacti found here.  Cactus provides food and homes to many desert mammals and birds, with showy flowers in reds, pinks, yellows and whites, blooming most commonly from late March through June, depending on the species and seasonal temperatures.

CREOSOTE bush, BUR SAGE dominate valley floors.  Indigo bush and Mormon tea are other shrubs that may be found.  Wildflowers of the Sonoran Desert include desert sand verbena, desert sunflower and evening primroses.  Ascending from the  valley up BAJADAS, various sub-trees such as velvet mesquite and Palo Verde, desert ironwood, desert willow and Crucifixion thorn are common, as well as multi-stemmed ocotillo.  Shrubs, found at higher elevations, include whitethorn, acacia, fairy duster and jojoba.  In the desert, on Baja California ——– elephant tree and BOOJUM tree occur.

Sonoran Desert panorama

The California Fan Palm is found in the Colorado Desert section of the Sonoran desert, the only native palm in California, among many other introduced ARECACEAE genre and species.  It is found at spring-fed oases, such as in ANZA BORREGO Desert Park, Joshua Tree National Park and the KOFA National Wildlife Refuge.

Many wildlife species, such as Sonoran pronghorn antelopes, desert bighorn sheep and the endemic Bailey’s pocket mouse use ironwood, cacti species and other vegetation as both shelters from the harsh climate and a water source.  Other mammals include predators such as mountain lions, coyotes and prey such as black-tailed jackrabbits and round-tailed ground squirrels.

Sonoran Desert sunset

The Sonoran Desert is recognized as a exceptional birding area within the US.  41% of all terrestrial bird species found in the US can be seen here during some part of the year.  Roadrunner (distinguished by its preference for running over flying as it hunts scorpions, tarantulas, rattlesnakes and lizards) is also found here.

Sideling Hill

Sideling Hill

SIDELING HILL also known as SIDE LONG HILL is a long, steep, narrow mountain ridge in the RIDGE-&-VALLEY (or ALLEGHENY Mountains) physiographic province of the Appalachian Mountains located in Washington County in western Maryland and adjacent West Virginia and Pennsylvania, USA.  The highest point on the ridge is Fisher Point, at 2,310ft in Fulton County, Pennsylvania.

It is a SYNCLINE Mountain, in a region of “downward folded” ( a fold in which the strata on either side dip inward towards the axis) rock strata between two “upward folded” ANTICLINES.  The ridge is capped by an erosion-resistant conglomerate and sandstone of early CARBONIFEROUS geologic age, the PURSLANE sandstone of the POCON formation.  The ridge’s slopes are formed much more easily eroded kinds of rock, including the DEVONIAN-MISSISSIPPIAN Rockwell Formation, with long, narrow valleys paralleling the ridge on either side.  This topographic inversion, in which the “structural low” becomes a “topographic high”, is also seen at Town Hall, the next major ridge to the west and a structural twin to SIDELING HILL.

Sideling hill tunnel

The Rockwell Formations were deposited during the early MISSISSIPIAN, about 330 – 345 million years ago.  At the road-cut, approximately 450ft of the Rockwell Formation are exposed and consist of inter-bedded tan and grey-green, clay-rich sandstones, grey-green to dark-grey shales and grey to dark-grey sandy siltstones.  In places, thin shaly coals are inter-bedded with shales and siltstones.  An even rarer and indeed unusual lithology —— termed DIAMICTITE——– is present approximately 70ft above the base.  A DIAMICTITE is a very poorly sorted to under-sorted rock composed of clay, silt, sand, pebbles or cobbles.

Sideling Hill natural folds

Most of the crest of SIDELING HILL is forested primarily with various deciduous-leafed species such as oaks and hickories, along with occasional evergreen pines.  A highway rest-stop, located near the astern side of  Sideling Hill road-cut on Interstate 68 west of Hancock, includes a pedestrian-bridge crossing I -68, connecting the eastbound and westbound rest areas and offering views of the cut, in which stopping is prohibited.

Sideling Hill tunnel new

The rest stop formerly included the Sideling Hill Exhibit Centre, a 4-level geological museum and travel information centre which opened in 1991.  Due to state budget cuts, this facility was closed on August 15, 2009, saving the state about $110,000 annually.  Before its closing, the centre served about 95,000 visitors a year, at a cost of about $1.16 per visitor.

Balancing rocks

A BALANCING ROCK is a naturally-occurring geological formation featuring a large rock or boulder, sometimes of substantial size, resting on other rocks that often look precariously balanced.  In reality, these rocks appear to be balancing but are, in fact, firmly connected to a base rock by a pedestal or stem.
Here are a few of the “Balancing Rocks” :


(1) KRISHNA’S BUTTER BALL :  This is a curious tourist attraction in Mahabalipuram, a town about 60km south of Chennai, that is famous for its stone carvings.  The “Butterball” is a giant balancing rock, and is 5 metres in diameter, perched on a smooth slope, seemingly defying all laws of physics.  The rock’s awkward position makes it quite popular with locals and tourists alike as it makes for an interesting backdrop for some whacky photographer  It is a common sight to see visitors placing their hands under the rock and posing for pictures, and that looks as though they are holding it up. The rock provides welcome shade if you dare to sit underneath it, and the local children have discovered that the slippery nearby hillside also makes a great “natural slide”.

balancing rock Utah

(2) BALANCING ROCK, Utah, is one of the most popular features of ARCHES NATIONAL PARK.  It is located next to the park’s main road, at about 9miles from the park’s entrance.  The total height of Balancing Rock is about 39metres, with the Balancing Rock rising 16.75m above the base.  The big rock on top is the size of 3 school buses.  Until recently, Balancing Rock had a companion —– a similar, but much smaller “balance rock”, named “Chip Off The Old Block”, which fell during the winter of 1975 — 1976.

Balancing rock Digby

(3) BALANCING ROCK, Digby, Nova Scotia : This Balancing Rock is in Saint Mary’s Bay on Long Island, and seems to defy gravity as it stands on its end at the edge of the rock below.  The metres high column of rock is attached by 2 small sections with a gap that you can look through.

Idol rock Brimham

(4) IDOL ROCK, Brimham Moor :  Many curious rock formations are scattered over 50acres on Brimham Moor.  One of them is the Idol Rock, precariously balanced on top of a smaller rock.  The rocks eroded by water, glaciation and wind, have taken amazing shapes.  Many of the formations suggest all manner of things, including elephants, hippos, bears and mushrooms.


(5) MUSHROOM ROCK, Kansas :  Located in the Smoky Hills region of Kansas, this rock was formed through a process of non-uniform erosion and weathering, in which a hard mass of Dakota Sandstone resisted erosion while the underlying softer stone weathered away, forming a “mushroom” shape.  There are 2 “mushrooms” and a giant “shoe rock” as well.

CHIREMBA Balancing Rocks

(6) CHIREMBA Balancing Rocks, Zimbabwe : They are located 13km southeast of Harare, in Epworth.  Although strange balancing rocks are found all over Zimbabwe, this particular one became famous after being featured in Zimbabwean currency.  The balancing rocks have been used as a metaphorical theme to explain the importance of development coupled with preserving the fragile environment of Zimbabwe as similar to that of the Balancing Rocks found in Epworth, Matopos and in other areas.

Mexican hat rock Utah

(7) MEXICAN HAT, Utah, is located on Highway163, 24miles west of Bluff, in Utah.  The name MEXICAN HAT comes from a curiously “sombrero-shaped”, 60ft wide by 12ft thick rock out-cropping on the northeast of town.

Devils marbles

(8) DEVILS MARBLES, Australia, are amongst the most famous Australian rocks, located south of Tennant Creek.  These huge, red, rounded granite boulders vary in size, from 50cm up to 6metres across, and they are strewn across a large area.  Many of them seem impossibly balanced on top of each other.

kjeragbolten Norway

(9) KJERAGBOLTEN, Norway :  This is a massive 5 cubic metre boulder wedged into a crevasse on the edge of the KJERAG mountain in LYSEFJORDEN, Norway.  The block of stone is suspended 984mtres above a deep abyss.  Despite its impressive appearance, it is easily accessible on foot without any special equipment.  The whole of the KJERAG mountain is a popular hiking area, and KJERAGBOLTEN is a favourite photo spot.


(10) GOLDEN ROCK, Burma :  KYAIK-HTIYO or KYAIKTIYO (in Burmese), perched atop a cliff near Yangon, is one of the most sacred sites in Burma.  According to legend the Golden Rock, itself, is precariously perched on a strand of the Buddha’s Hair.  The rock seems to defy gravity, as it perpetually appears to be on the verge of falling down the hill.  At the top f the rock is built a small pagoda and covered with gold leaves pasted on by devotees.  A glimpse of the “gravity-defying” Golden Rock is believed to be enough of an inspiration for any person to turn to Buddhism.

On the verge of extinction – 2

continued from Part 1, which you can read here : On the verge of extinction


(13) HASANKEYF, Turkey : This ancient town along the River Tigris has a history that stretches back 1000s of years, but that might come to an end in 2015, with the completion of a dam that will likely flood it, affecting about 50,000 people.  Controversy around the project and loss of International funding have deterred Turkey from continuing construction, with the promise that artefacts will be re-located and the townsfolk compensated.


(14) BATTERSEA POWER STATION, London :  The area surrounding one of London’s most “iconic” buildings, is now a construction site of 1,300 apartments, a hotel and 350,000 sq.ft of retail and restaurant space.  The chimneys of the power station are currently being demolished and replaced..  Even though the developers must respect the building’s status as being of special architectural or historic interest, Grade 11*, new high-rise blocks will soon obscure some of the most dramatic views of the station.

Machiya House Japan

(15)  MACHIYA HOUSES, Tokyo : The oldest among these traditional townhouses date back to the 17th century, but they are disappearing rapidly to make space for modern buildings. : their maintenance is difficult and construction of new ones has been prohibited since the end of World War -2.  After the World Monuments Fund put them on its “watch list”, a private company has started refurbishing some of them as “tourist accommodation”.


(16) PICASSO MURALS, Oslo :  Picasso’s first attempt at concrete murals adorn the walls of 2 government buildings in Oslo, called H-Block and Y-Block.  Both were heavily damaged during the ANDERS BREIVIK bombings in 2011, and, given the high cost of repairs —- estimated to be $70million —- a proposal has been made to demolish them and re-locate the murals.  But the public opinion is divided, as the artwork was designed specifically for these buildings.

Robinhood Gardens London

(17) ROBIN HOOD GARDENS, London :  This “streets in the sky” housing estate, in East London, is yet another example of British BRUTALIST architecture in Britain.  Demolition has already started at the site with a “last-ditch bid” on-going to stop it.  Previous attempts to get the structure listed as a “historical landmark” have failed, notwithstanding the support from several famed architects, including ZAHA HADID.


(18) ISLAND OF MOZAMBIQUE :  A unique blend of Portuguese influence and local architecture has granted the inclusion of this fortified city on UNESCO’S World Heritage List in 1991.  After destruction caused by a typhoon in 1994, it was also included in the World Monument Fund’s “watch list”, a warning confirmed last year due to new threats from an anticipated growth in tourism and the necessity for a sensible conservation plan.

Portland public services building

(19) PORTLAND PUBLIC SERVICES BUILDING, Portland, USA : This 15-storey municipal office block was completed in 1982, but due to structural problems, it already needs renovations to the tune of $175million.  An early example of “post-Modernism” in a major city, it attracts diverging opinions, with many supporting its proposed demolition to make space for something new entirely.  Yet, in 2011, it was included in the US National Register of Historic Places.

Little Green Street

(20) LITTLE GREEN STREET, Kentish town, London : Immortalized by the KINKS in their 1966 video for the song DEAD END STREET, this is one of London’s few “intact Georgian streets” –It hasn’t changed much since 1780.  The dozen houses in the cobblestoned thoroughfare are protected historical buildings, but the land behind them is sought after by developers to build a new “gated complex”, which would turn the delicate 2.5-metre-wide street into a “truck route”.


(21) POMPEII, Italy :  This world-famous Roman site is slowly crumbling to pieces : rainstorms have become harbingers of destruction as water has never been drained properly and the soil is now highly unstable.  With 3 distinct walls and an entire building coming down in just the last 5yrs, Italy’s UNESCO Commissioner has recently declared that “Pompeii is destined to collapse entirely”.


(22) PRESTON BUS STATION, Lancashire :  Opened in 1969, the massive bus station in the Northern England city of Preston, is an “iconic” example of BRUTALISM, a movement named after the materials, not the aesthetics —— it originates from the French —- BETON BRUT or RAW CONCRETE.  Avoiding demolition in 2013, the building is now the subject of an international competition to turn it into a YOUTH CENTRE.


(23) MELNIKOV HOUSE, Moscow : Designed by famed Russian avant-garde architect —————- Konstantin Melkinov —– this iconic “cylindrical” building, finished in 1929, was for long his private residence and stands in stark contrast with traditional Soviet structures.  Now inhabited by the designer’s grand-daughter, it is risk of collapse due to excavation works for a nearby underground parking lot, which have already caused cracks in the structure.


(24) ROYAL PALACE at CASERTA, Italy : The “world’s largest palace” (by volume) ——- over 2million cubic metres ——- this 18th century UNESCO HERITAGE SITE was commissioned by Bourbon King Charles — 111, to rival France’s Versailles.  It has appeared in STAR WARS and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE films.  But the structure has faced chronic neglect : a roof section collapsed in 2014 and renovation plans have been slowed down by bureaucracy.

House of Wonders

(25) HOUSE OF WONDERS, Zanzibar :  In 1883, when it was built, this was one of the most modern buildings in East Africa : the 1st to have electricity and an elevator.  Situated in STONE TOWN, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000, it is today a museum of Swahili culture, but work needs to be done to preserve its structural integrity, after a corner of the structure collapsed in 2012.

Go see these magnificent and iconic structures ——- before it’s too late :  threatened by neglect, the elements, changing architectural trends or ruthless developers, they are all FIGHTING A HARD BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL.

———— Jacopo Prisco (CNN)

On the verge of extinction

There are many magnificent structures on the “verge of extinction”  Let’s look at the ones that are in UNESCO’S List of World Heritage in Danger.

Jerusalem Old City

(1) OLD CITY OF JERUSALEM : No other site has spent more time on UNESCO’S List of World Heritage in Danger (since 1982).  A holy city for 3 different religions, it attracts millions of tourists with over 200 monuments, including the majestic DOME of the ROCK.  But, political tension has hardened relations between Israel and UNESCO, preventing any preservation plans for moving forward.


(2) PETRA :  It is also called ROSE CITY due to the colour of its stone.  The ancient city of Petra is Jordan’s main tourist attraction and that’s the problem : touching and rubbing hands, as well as wind and rain erosion, are eating away at the surface of the AL KHAZNEH Temple, which has receded by 1.5inches in the last century.  Camels and donkeys are also contributing to the erosion of the pathways and excess humidity may threaten the structural stability of the dry sandstone.


(3) TEUFELSBERG NSA STATION, Berlin : During the Cold War, there was a “listening station” run by the US National Security Agency to eavesdrop on the Eastern Bloc.  Today, abandoned and severely damaged, it serves as a decadent vantage point over the city and as a striking testament to Berlin’s past, as it sits on a hill built out of “war rubble”  ———— DEVIL’S MOUNTAIN.  But year after year, the degradation of the vandalized structure is becoming evident.


(4) VICTORIAN GAS HOLDERS, UK :  They’ve been out of use since the 1960s, but they are undeniably a picturesque element of British culture.  The National Grid, the entity that controls the power network in the UK, owns about 500 gas holders and has started dismantling them to sell the land to house builders.  A petition has been launched to save those in London’s BETHNEL GREEN, which date back to 1866.


(5) YEMREHANNA KRISTOS, Ethiopia :  This AKSUMITE style church is located in a cave perched on a mountain ridge at the altitude of 2,700mts, 42km from the nearest city.  This has helped its preservation, but the construction of a new road, leading to the site, and a modern wall across the entrance —— plus recent evidence of structural failure —— have earned it a spot on the 2014 Watch List of the World Monuments Fund.


(6) NAKAGIN TOWER, Tokyo :  A fine example of METABOLISM, an architectural movement, that takes inspiration from biological growth, the Nakagin Tower consists of 140 independent capsules that function as “living cells” and can be individually removed.  Completely in 1972 and now mostly “uninhabited”, it’s been under threat of demolition for nearly a decade due to its “prized real estate” and is now in desperate need of renovation.


(7) UNION TERMINAL, Cincinnati : Built in 1933, at the height of the ART DECO movement, this was a central hub for Cincinnati’s railways until 1972.  Then it became a shopping mall, before becoming converted to a museum in 1990.  But, it is in dire need of a structural makeover, and it was include in the National Trust’s 2014 list of America’s most Endangered historical places.  A campaign is on-going to gather funds for the proposed renovations.


(8) DJINGAREYBER MOSQUE, Timbuktu :  The “oldest” of the 3 Great Mosques of Timbuktu, it was attacked by Al-Qaeda-linked group ANSAR DINE in 2012, shortly after its re-appearance on UNESCO’S List of Endangered Sites.  2 tombs were destroyed, along with several shrines in the area.  This is not the only threat to the historical landmark, which is also facing problems derived from urbanization, climate change and desertification.


(9) OLD BUILDINGS OF BEIRUT :  As if decades of Civil War and bombardments weren’t enough, the remaining old buildings, of Beirut, are now under threat by property developers who are looking to create new luxury blocks on real estate, currently occupied by traditional structures.  Many have been deemed “unfit for living”, pushing residents away : less than 350 Heritage Buildings now remain.


(10) LIVERPOOL MARITIME MERCANTILE CITY : It is an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004.  It played a crucial role in the development of the British Empire and included several listed buildings over a stretch of about 4km.  The proposed construction of a $8.7billion development —- complete with a 50-storey skyscraper —- has granted the inclusion of the site in the Heritage in Danger List, as one of only two in Europe.

Berlin gas lamp

(11) BERLIN’S GAS LAMPS : No other city in the world has as many gas lamps as Berlin : There are over 40,000, but there used to be twice as many.  They’re going fast, replaced by greener and more efficient electric fixtures —— according to the World’s Monuments Fund, they’re disappearing at the rate of 1000 a year.  Heritage enthusiasts maintain that the lamps are symbolic of the city’s urban landscape and must, therefore, be preserved.


(12) POTOSI, Bolivia :  This colonial city, one of the highest in the world (4,090mts), has recently been included on UNESCO’S List of World Heritage in anger, due to five centuries of mining activity in the mountain that dominates the city —- CERRO RICO.  Rich in silver ore, the mountain has been left “porous” and “unstable”, and is now at risk of collapse, with portions of the summit already starting to crumble.