More than a hundred islets off the coast of Pohnpei form the ceremonial site of Nan Madol. Ruins of stone palaces, temples, and tombs dating from 1200 to 1500 A.D. reveal the Pacific Island culture of the Saudeleur dynasty. In 2016, Nan Madol was listed "in danger" due to mangrove overgrowth, storm surge, and stonework collapse.

Nan Madol, Micronesia

More than a hundred islets off the coast of Pohnpei form the ceremonial site of Nan Madol. Ruins of stone palaces, temples, and tombs dating from 1200 to 1500 A.D. reveal the Pacific Island culture of the Saudeleur dynasty. In 2016, Nan Madol was listed "in danger" due to mangrove overgrowth, storm surge, and stonework collapse.
Photograph by Paul Chesley, Nat Geo Image Collection

25 Cultural and Natural Wonders in Danger

Climate change, armed conflict, and development threaten some of Earth's greatest treasures—the World Heritage in Danger List calls for their safeguarding.

Each year the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization recognizes cultural and natural sites for their outstanding value to humanity, ranging from beautiful natural landscapes to humankind’s most ingenious constructions.

But as storms batter coastlines, development encroaches on wildlife habitats, and armed conflict devastates communities, millennia of humanity’s shared heritage are at risk.

Established in 1972, Article 11.4 of the 1972 UNESCO convention instituted the List of World Heritage in Danger to recognize sites in need of protection from a wide range of threats, including urban and tourism development, armed conflict, natural disasters, and abandonment. The aim of the list is to increase international awareness, encourage countermeasures, and thwart future damage.

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