Kambos of Chios Island in Greece, has been shortlisted for the unenviable title of one of the seven most endangered historic sites in Europe. Kambos area belongs to fourteen endangered heritage sites from European countries that have now been shortlisted for the 7 Most Endangered programme 2016!
All over Europe monuments and heritage sites are in danger due to lack of resources or expertise, to neglect or inadequate planning. To find a sustainable future for these important sites, the leading heritage organisation Europa Nostra and the EIB Institute have teamed up to organize the 7 Most Endangered programme. The seven selected sites which will be unveiled at a public event in Venice on 16 March 2016, will receive support by Europa Nostra and the EIB Institute.
Kambos is located on the island of Chios in the east Aegean. It is a semi‐rural area within the city limits that exemplifies the coexistence of Byzantine, Genoese and local architectural styles and influences, dating back to the 14th century. Situated on a fertile plain along the east coast of the island, it consisted, principally, of more than 200 estates containing orchards (typical agro‐eco‐systems), mansions and churches. The existing urban tissue includes historic buildings from the 14-18th centuries as well as neoclassical buildings from the beginning of the 20th century. The Kambos of Chios site is an excellent historic example of the coexistence of habitation and production that is still meaningful and alive today. Built out of the local stone, it constitutes an ensemble of exceptional beauty.
The site is under permanent threat due to the inability of the owners to maintain the properties and to unsuitable uses and provisions that were introduced by the 2008 Urban Plan for Chios. To avoid further deterioration of the site and alteration of its unique character, and in the context of the European Cohesion Policy and European Strategy 2000, a number of actions are proposed regarding issues of building conservation and restoration, infrastructure, the orchards’ cultivation and traffic regulation, among others.
It is hoped that the nomination, submitted by Elliniki Etairia ‐ Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage in cooperation with The Chios Society of Friends of Kambos, which acts on behalf of the individual owners, will raise awareness of the preservation of the area, helping to draw further support for its restoration within Europe and potentially from much further afield.
The sites were shortlisted by a panel of experts in history, archaeology, architecture, conservation, project analysis and finance.
They included the
Archaeological site of Ererouyk and village of Ani Pemza, Armenia;
Palace of Justice in Brussels, Belgium;
Patarei Sea Fortress in Tallinn, Estonia;
Helsinki-Malmi Airport, Finland;
Colbert Swing Bridge in Dieppe, France;
Castle in Divitz, Germany;
Kampos of Chios, Greece;
Venice Lagoon, Italy;
Castle Rijswijk, the Netherlands;
Y-block in Oslo, Norway;
Valflores Palace and Estate, near Lisbon, Portugal;
Convent of St. Anthony of Padua, Extremadura, Spain;
Ancient city of Hasankeyf and its surroundings, Turkey;
Mavisbank House in Midlothian, near Edinburgh, the United Kingdom.
The final list of seven sites will be selected by the board of Europa Nostra.
Europa Nostra is a pan-European federation of heritage non-governmental organizations which is also supported by a wide network of public bodies, private companies and individuals. Covering 40 countries in Europe, the organisation is said to be “the voice of civil society committed to safeguarding and promoting Europe’s cultural and natural heritage”. The commitment of various public and private firms and the engagement of the local communities to rescuing those sites were also considered essential. Another important criterion was the potential of the sites to serve as a “resource and a driver of sustainable development for the wider region in which they are located”.