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31 Places You Should See Before They Disappear Forever

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    Photo: Courtesy of Bob Schalkwijk/World Monuments Fund.

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    This story was originally published on November 13, 2015.

    If nothing is done, the world could lose some of its most treasured landmarks and monuments.

    That's the depressing warning the World Monument Fund is spreading with its 2016 list of endangered sites across the globe.

    Fifty places across 36 countries made the group's 2016 World Monument Watch list, a biennial call for increased preservation efforts for cultural-heritage sites. The list includes places as diverse as cave temples, churches, elaborate country estates, and World War II concentration camps. In some cases, entire villages or regions are deemed in danger.

    “The 2016 Watch includes many extraordinary places that deserve to be celebrated because they represent high moments of human culture," World Monuments Fund President Bonnie Burnham said in a statement. "Worldwide concern would strengthen our ability to save them."

    There isn't one specific threat faced by these treasures. Pressure to demolish such sites to make way for new developments, a lack of funding for preservation, and devastation caused by environmental disasters are major problems. The earthquake in Nepal that left thousands dead earlier this year, for example, destroyed many major cultural-heritage sites there. War and conflict are also prime culprits — this year's list includes an "Unnamed Monument," meant to highlight sites destroyed, sometimes intentionally, during conflicts and times of political unrest.

    Information about all 50 sites, including an interactive map, are available on the World Monuments Fund website. Click through to see the stunning photos of some of the places the world must rally to save.

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  2. Photo: Courtesy of Maija Kairamo/World Monuments Fund.

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  3. Photo: Courtesy of Tommy E. Kain/World Monuments Fund.

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  4. Photo: Courtesy of Sadiq Toffa/World Monuments Fund.

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  5. Photo: Courtesy of 2015 Leon Lock/World Monuments Fund.

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  6. Photo: Courtesy of Acción Pública para la Defensa del Patrimonio Aragonés (APUDEPA)/World Monuments Fund.

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