World Heritage Day is observed every year on 18 April. It is celebrated to raise the awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage, monuments, sites, the efforts required to protect and conserve it and to draw attention towards its vulnerability.
We all know that Ancient buildings and monuments are an asset for us and for the world. Therefore, Heritage Day is a collective effort of the communities in the world to do the needful. This day maintain the cultural legacy and make people to think about its susceptibility.
‘Heritage’ refers to some valued objects or property or monuments having cultural or natural or historical significance that must be preserved and passed on by one generation to another. This includes practices or traditions or characteristics that are carried forward through the years.
What is a World Heritage site?
A World Heritage site is classified as a natural or man-made area or a structure that is of international importance, and a space which requires special protection.These sites are officially recognised by the UN and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, also known as UNESCO.UNESCO believes that the sites classified as World Heritage are important for humanity, and they hold cultural and physical significance.
Theme of World Heritage Day 2018
World Heritage Day 2018 Theme is “Heritage for Generations”.
History of World Heritage Day
World Heritage Day is celebrated every year on 18 April to preserve the human heritage and to recognise all the efforts of relevant organizations. The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in 1982 announced, 18 April as the World Heritage Day. This was approved by General Assembly of UNESCO in 1983, with an aim of enhancing awareness about the importance of cultural heritage, monuments and to conserve them.
The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) organisation was established on the principles set forth in the Venice Charter, also known as the 1964 International Charter on the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites.
How many World Heritage Sites are there in the UK?
There are 31 sites in the UK, and British Overseas Territories.
These include places such as Stonehenge, Blenheim Palace and the Forth Bridge.
How many World Heritage Sites are there globally?
In total there are 1,052.
Of these, 814 are cultural, 203 are natural and 35 are mixed.
Fifty-five of these are in danger, including the birthplace of Jesus, Church of the Nativity and Pilgrimage Route in Bethlehem.
Why is World Heritage Day important?
The day seeks to raise awareness of the challenges involved in protecting World Heritage Sites.
2017 will allow communities to celebrate the positive impact of sustainable tourism – how it can empower communities and educate visitors.
Why do we celebrate World Heritage Day?
Ancient Monuments and architectures are reflection of glory of our vibrant past. They show the origin and cultural evolution of our civilization. Each heritage site has its own value which represents the diversity in culture, art, religion, thoughts etc. Therefore it’s important to spread awareness about the importance of our common heritages i.e. the World Heritage Sites. Efforts are needed to recognise and protect our ancient buildings, temples, monuments or other natural structures from being destroyed. It is not just a day to visit heritage sites but also to spread awareness about our tradition, culture, art and languages.
Another objective of celebrating this day is to define the World Heritage in both natural and cultural terms. These World Heritage Sites have exceptional interest and universal value to the mankind. Thus, collective efforts are required to protect our monuments and sites, and other
How can I get involved?
There are many sites in the UK celebrating, with activities such as water-based fun, craft activities, yarnbombing and much more.
Previous year full list of UK activities can be found here.
How to celebrate World Heritage Day:
ICOMOS, the International Council for Monuments and Sites has given a number of suggestions to celebrate the World Heritage Day:
- One should pay a visit to monuments and sites, and do restoration works, possibly with free admission
- Publicity through articles in newspapers and magazines, as well as television and radio broadcasts
- Hanging banners in town squares or principal traffic arteries calling attention to the day and the preservation of cultural heritage
- Organize conferences and interviews on heritage issues
- Organize discussions in cultural-centres, city halls, and other public spaces to convey the message
- Exhibitions (photos, paintings, etc)
- Publication of books, post-cards, stamps, posters
- Awarding prizes to organisations or persons who have made an outstanding contribution to the conservation and promotion of cultural heritage or produced an excellent publication on the subject.
- Inaugurate a recently restored monument
- Special awareness raising activities amongst school children and youth
- Promotion of “twinning” opportunities between organizations, defining areas for co-operation; exchange of speakers; organisation of meetings and seminars, or the editing of joint publications.
How many countries of the world have World Heritage Sites?
According to UNESCO list, in July 2017 there were total 1,073 World Heritage Sites in 167 different countries. Out of this 832 sites are cultural, 206 are natural sites and 35 sites are mixed (i.e. cultural plus natural) sites.
World Heritage Committee divided member countries into 5 geographic zones. These zones are as follows-
- Arab States
- Asia and the Pacific
- Europe and North America
- Latin America and the Caribbean
Top 10 countries with most number of World Heritage Sites
Below is the list of top ten countries in terms of most number of World Heritage Sites:
Italy (53); China (52); Spain (46); France (43); Germany (42); India (36); Mexico (34); UK (31); Russia (28); USA (23)
World Heritage Sites in India
In India there are 36 Heritage Sites. Names are given below:
|1. Agra Fort||21. Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi|
|2. Ajanta Caves||22. Mountain Railways of India|
|3. Ellora Caves||23. Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya|
|4. Taj Mahal||24. Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka|
|5. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram||25. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park|
|6. Sun Temple, Konârak||26. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus)|
|7. Kaziranga National Park||27. Red Fort Complex|
|8. Keoladeo National Park||28. The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur|
|9. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary||29. Western Ghats|
|10. Churches and Convents of Goa||30. Hill Forts of Rajasthan|
|11. Fatehpur Sikri||31. Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area|
|12. Group of Monuments at Hampi||32. Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat|
|13. Khajuraho Group of Monuments||33. Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) at Nalanda, Bihar|
|14. Elephanta Caves||34. Khangchendzonga National Park|
|15. Great Living Chola Temples||35. The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement|
|16. Group of Monuments at Pattadakal||36. Historic City of Ahmadabad|
|17. Sundarbans National Park|
|18. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks|
|19. Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi|
|20. Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi|