Pavlopetri, an ancient underwater city off Vatika Bay in the southeastern Peloponnese, Greece, was listed on the 2016 World Monuments Watch issued by the World Monuments Fund in October 2015. It was listed along with other cultural heritage sites at risk including Amedy in Iraq, Kua Ruins in Tanzania, and Shukhov Tower in Russia.
Pavlopetri, a Bronze Age city that was occupied from the third millennium until 1100 B.C, is the oldest submerged city in the world. The surviving archaeological remains include traces of buildings, courtyards, streets and burial places. Currently Pavlopetri is threatened by pollution, damage caused by ships anchoring, looting and pillaging, as well as infrastructure construction projects such as pipelines and power plants.
Pavlopetri was nominated to, and sponsored for, the World Monuments Watch list by the Alliance for the Restoration of Cultural Heritage (ARCH), a nongovernmental agency based in Washington, D.C. The listing of Pavlopetri on the Watch will help call public attention to the threats it faces and will foster public participation in its protection.
The World Monuments Watch launched in 1996 and is issued every two years by the World Monuments Fund, an independent organization devoted to saving the world’s treasured places. The Watch calls international attention to threatened cultural heritage sites around the world and provides opportunities for local communities to participate in the protection of cultural heritage sites alongside preservation agencies, governments, corporate sponsors, and others. The list is compiled by a panel of international heritage experts in the fields of archaeology, architecture, art history, and conservation.
The underwater ruins of Pavlopetri are an example of underwater cultural heritage that could benefit from the protection of the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. The Convention is intended to enable States to better protect their submerged cultural heritage by setting out basic principles for the protection of underwater cultural heritage, providing a detailed State cooperation system, and providing widely recognized practical rules for the treatment and research of underwater cultural heritage.