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Impact of climate change on the world’s most precious monuments

The Krak des Chevaliers – a 2013 UNESCO heritage-at-risk castle in the Syrian mountains of Jabal an-Nusajriya – is currently hosting rave events. The last one was attended by around 1,200 people. Among other concerns, experts are worried about the impact of the sound waves on the medieval structures of the monument. The former stronghold of the Knights of St John was damaged during hostilities in 2012-2013, and experts have been unable to reach it , since 2011, as in case of other sites on the aforementioned UNESCO list: the Kalat Salah ad-Din, a fortress from Byzantine times, and the ancient city of Bosra.

Due to climate change, temperatures in the Middle East are rising faster than in any other part of the world, so pyramids, castles, churches and other monuments in the region are at extreme risk of destruction. In Babylon, groundwater and droughts are causing buildings to collapse, in Egypt ancient stones are cracking and changing colour, in Jordan’s Petra buildings are threatened by landslides, and many other historic sites are exposed to fires, dust and sand storms, heavy rains, air pollution, increased soil salinity and rising sea levels.

The conservation organisation – English Heritage has identified six historic buildings in England most threatened by coastal erosion, rising sea and ocean levels and regular storms. These are the castles of Tintagel, Calshot, Hurst and Piel, Bayard’s Cove Fort and Harry’s Walls. In each case it is necessary to reinforce the walls and create a system of protection against the impact of the ocean.

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