The sea levels are rising, that’s for sure. In February, scientists reported after the analysis of satellite data, that the increase will be in the future to accelerate.

in Addition, a storm threatening floods and coastal erosion, a number of cities and coastal areas. But not only today’s settlements are affected also the cultural heritage could sink in the water. Scientists have shown in a new study, dozens of Unesco world heritage sites in the Mediterranean are in the long term, threatened or likely to disappear.

Many tourist attractions, especially in Italy, Croatia and Greece were affected, the authors write to Lena Reimann of the University of Kiel, in the Journal “Nature Communications”. Therefore, the culture should be protected monuments from the consequences of climate change.

Already the heritage of the 49 surveyed the world sites in low-lying coastal areas of the Mediterranean sea 37 from a so-called the storm of the century flood threatened – your risk is in each year a percent. 42 sites are threatened by potential coastal erosion. Up to the year 2100, the flood risk could increase in the Region overall, up to 50 percent, and the erosion is likely to be affected risk by up to 13 percent – where the individual monuments far more.


The danger of Floods is, therefore, particularly high in the Northern Adriatic area: The lagoon of Venice, the Renaissance city of Ferrara in the Po Delta and the Basilica of Aquileia. In Croatia, the historic city of Trogir and the Cathedral of St. James in ŠSibenik count, said author Reimann. But that does not mean that all sites are going down, it is also only a part of the monuments could be affected.

Erosion is according to the study, particularly dangerous for the archaeological sites Tyros in Lebanon, Pythagorio and Heraion on the Greek island of Samos, and Ephesus in Turkey as well as in Tarragona, Spain. Only two of the studied Unesco sites, the Medina in Tunisia, and Xanthos-Letoon in Turkey, by any of the two risks until the end of the 21st century. Century affected, the researchers write.

In their study, the researchers used four different climate scenarios of how much sea levels could rise by the year 2100. Due to the global warming, ice and glacier melt, the water level increases. The more the sea level rises, the higher the risk is. Protection measures, which were taken at some sites, were not included in the study, said Reimann.

map of world heritage sites in the Mediterranean sea

The researchers show different ways to address the Problem. There is a General awareness of the danger had to be created. The people should be made clear, which would mean a loss of the sites. On the other, better coast could help the protection, but it is very expensive. An example of Venice. There are mechanical barriers in the lagoon, which can be approached at high water.

But if that helps in the long term? “Venice, we will not lose, this is a controversial issue,” said Anders levermann from the Potsdam Institute for climate impact research, one of the researchers on the same topic. The question was only when. “It may take centuries.” The development was slow but “unstoppable”. While there is of customization options. This would have to be very large. “The Mediterranean sea, you can’t do that.”

you Could enable in case of emergency, the entire base of the monument of culture, as is happening in Egypt at the famous temple complex of Abu Simbel? In some cases, as in the case of the Cathedral of SŠibenik in Croatia this was even possible, says the study. However, it is not a real Option, because the buildings are strongly associated with their location and many so-lovely to be so full and important. In addition, it would be for very large archaeological sites, not possible, or gigantic cost.