The International Day for Monuments and Sites is celebrated annually on April 18 all over the globe. The objective is to raise awareness of the diversity of cultural heritage, the vulnerability of sites and monuments, and the necessary maintenance and conservation measures. The International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) chooses a theme each year for initiatives organised by its members, national and international committees, and anyone else interested in commemorating this day. To encourage the development of new discourses based on a respectful and inclusive approach, the organisation invites participants to concentrate on contentious and complex narratives about cultural heritage. Given that the deterioration or extinction of any cultural property, as stated in the UNESCO 1954 and 1972 treaties, causes damage to humanity as a whole, addressing erroneous or contentious historical interpretations appears crucial to the preservation of our heritage.
The background of International Day for Monuments and Sites
ICOMOS created the International Day for Monuments and Sites in 1982, and UNESCO later endorsed it at its 22nd General Conference. I.C.O.M.O.S. proposes a theme for activities to be organised by its members, I.C.O.M.O.S. National and International Scientific Committees, Working Groups, and associates, as well as anyone else who wishes to observe the day. Conservation of cultural heritage requires both a critical evaluation of the past and a commitment to the future. In recent years, there have been acrimonious discussions regarding the deletion and erasure of certain narratives, as well as the prioritisation of certain stories over others. In order to avoid skewed perspectives and interpretations of the past, engaging with contentious history necessitates in-depth discussions.
According to the 1972 World Heritage Convention, “the deterioration or extinction of any item of cultural or natural heritage represents a detrimental impoverishment of the legacy of all nations” Nevertheless, there are still disparities in the recognition, interpretation, and ultimately conservation of diverse cultural manifestations.
In contrast, the first International Day for Monuments and Sites was celebrated in 2001 under the theme “Save Our Historic Villages.” The day is supported by organisations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). On this day, a variety of activities are carried out across the globe. This includes a diversity of events, including conferences and excursions to historical sites and monuments. To the uninitiated, a heritage site is fundamentally a location with cultural significance. It safeguards the tangible and intangible artefacts of a society or group that have been handed down through the generations.
5 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT WORLD HERITAGE SITES
845 cultural sites, 209 natural sites, and 38 mixed locations make up the total.
The Phoenix Islands Protected Area in Kiribati is the largest site on the World Heritage List, encompassing a total area of 408,250 km2.
At 200 square metres, the Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc, Czech Republic, is the tiniest world heritage site.
Okinoshima Island in Japan and Mouth Athos in Greece are both men-only religious societies that prohibit women.
Only two sites have ever been taken off the list of world heritage sites: the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman and the Dresden Elbe Valley in Germany.
INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR MONUMENTS AND SITES DATES