A Greek Orthodox orphanage in Büyükada (formerly Prinkipo), Turkey has been included in Europa Nostra’s programme ‘Europe’s 7 Most Endangered’ for 2018.

Situated off the coast of Istanbul, the five-storey building was designed in 1899 by French architect Alexandre Vallaury and to this day is considered to be the largest wooden building on the continent, and the second largest in the world.

Elaborately decorated with wooden columns in the grand hall and panelled ceilings, the 206 room site was an orphanage until it was closed in 1964 and since then has remained closed.

A fire in 1980, along with wear and tear from natural elements over the years has seen the building become increasingly decrepit with sections of the roof and corner posts having fallen off, and assessed risk of further collapse.

On the Europa Nostra website, the leading heritage organisation suggested that the most appropriate use for the orphanage in future would be for it to house a Centre of Environmental and Interreligious Dialogue, as conceived by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The orphanage was selected by the Board of Europa Nostra from 12 shortlisted sites by a panel of specialists across a range of disciplines, including history, archaeology, architecture, conservation, project analysis and finance.

Also making it on the list are the Post-Byzantine Churches in Voskopoja and Vithkuqi in Albania, Austria’s Historic Centre of Vienna, the Buzludzha Monument in Bulgaria, the David Gareji Monasteries and Hermitage in Georgia, the Constanta Casino in Romania, and the UK’s Grimsby Ice Factory.

“This newest list of 7 Most Endangered comprises rare treasures of Europe’s cultural heritage that are in danger of being lost,” said President of Europa Nostra, Maestro Plácido Domingo.

“The local communities are deeply committed to preserving these important examples of our shared heritage but need broader European support. I therefore call on local, regional, national and European stakeholders, both public and private, to join forces to secure a viable future for these sites.”

Experts from Europa Nostra will visit the seven sites over the coming months with key stakeholders to formulate feasible action plans for the buildings’ futures by the end of the year.

‘Europe’s 7 Most Endangered’ programme was launched in January 2013 by Europa Nostra with founding partner, the European Investment Bank Institute.

See ‘Europe’s 7 Most Endangered’ buildings here: