Every day 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 world’s cultures, and to bring awareness to important cultural monuments and sites, and to espouse the importance of preserving the world’s cultures.

Learn about World Heritage Day

World Heritage Day, which is also known as the International Monuments and Sites Day, celebrates the work carried out by the ICOMOS – International Council on Monuments and Sites. The day is all about increasing the awareness of the importance of the diversity of cultural heritage and preserving it for generations in the future. Ancient monuments and buildings are an asset to us all around the world. However, they need to be protected to ensure that they continue to be an asset for years and years to come. Therefore, the day is a collective effort of communities around the globe. 

On this day, there are a number of different events that happen all over the world. This includes a wide range of activities, conferences, and visits to heritage sites and monuments. For those who are unaware, a heritage site is basically a place that is of cultural significance. It preserves the legacy of intangible attributes and physical artifacts of a society or group that is inherited from previous generations. 

There are truly some incredible heritage sites and monuments around the world. This includes the Machu Picchu, which is situated in the lush and mountainous terrain high above the Urubamba River in Peru. There are lots of amazing sights in Egypt, and the Pyramids of Giza are one of them. Other places of note include Bagan in Myanmar, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and the Great Wall of China. 

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 a 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.

There is a theme that is assigned to each World Heritage Day. We would definitely recommend taking a look at the theme for each year, as it will help to give you some direction regarding how to celebrate the day. For example, some of the themes in recent years have included the likes of “Rural Landscapes” and “Shared Cultures, Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility.”

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.

You should also take a look online to see if there are any events going on in your local area in honor of World Heritage Day. You will find that a lot of events take place to try and increase awareness regarding the preservation of important buildings and monuments. You can get involved in one of these events so that you can lend your support to these important causes. It should not be too difficult to find out what is going on in your local area. If your community has a local Facebook group, you can refer to this for more details. 

It is also a good idea to spread awareness regarding this day with the people that you know. This is something you can do with ease via social media. You can post a message that informs your friends, followers, and family members of this day and encourage them to post something too. You could post a photo of one of the best international sites you have visited or one that is on your bucket list, and then ask your followers to reply with their choice. This is a great way of getting everyone involved and raising awareness about this date!

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