Everyday people all over the world celebrate their cultural heritage, simply by living their lives in a way that embodies who they are and where they came from. But one day a year is set aside to celebrate the joint history and heritage of the human race. World Heritage Day encourages us to celebrate all the worlds cultures, and to bring awareness to important cultural monuments and sites, and to espouse the importance of preserving the world’s cultures.
The History Of World Heritage Day
So the first (and possibly most confusing?) part of World Heritage Day is that that actually isn’t it’s formal name. What is popularly known as World Heritage Day is actually called The International Day for Monument and Sites and was established in 1982 by the International Council for Monuments and Sites, or ICOMOS. This organization was established on the principles set forth in the Venice Charter, otherwise known as the 1964 International Charter on the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites.
The organization was founded after a need was identified to protect these valued locations, and it saw the coming together of experts from hundreds of related fields. These include architects, engineers, geographers, civil engineers, and artists and archaeologists. Each year they work to help ensure that some of the world’s most beautiful sites and important cultural monuments remain preserved for future generations.
Since it’s inception it has grown to include almost 10,000 members in over 150 countries all over the world. Of these 10,000 members over 400 are members from institutions, national committees, and international scientific committees, all working together to save important sites and identify new ones that need to be added to the watch list.
2016 saw the addition of Gorham’s Cave Complex in the UK, the Khangchendzonga National Park in India, and the Persian Qanat in the Islam Republic of Iran. It’s through the tireless efforts of its members and leadership that these places will be preserved for future generations.
How to Celebrate World Heritage Day
Perhaps the most important way to celebrate World Heritage Day is to search out those locations near you that count as World Heritage Sites, and perhaps pay them a visit. Before doing so research the site and find out what steps are needed to protect it, and respect them during your visit. If you’re feeling more proactive, then perhaps consider submitting a site that you feel is worthy of being protected for it’s cultural importance to ICOMOS. Don’t let an important site disappear from the world, do your part on World Heritage Day to raise awareness and preserve it for future generations.