The Oxford dictionary defines a monument as, “A statue, building, or other structure erected to commemorate a notable person or event”.
Monuments lead us down the path of understanding our past and connecting it to our present. Across the world, there are numerous monuments of great cultural significance that serve to commemorate the remarkable work and culture of the people that lived there long before. Every country’s cultural heritage is marked by the historical monuments that communicate to the onlooker, the region’s past, traditions, and Historical Significance.
Yet, some of these significant monuments are on the cusp of destruction or are being destroyed. The threat to these monuments is multiple such as vandalism, climate change, the way they were made, grandeur, and their architectural compliance.
The History behind World Heritage Day
A country’s heritage is important and administrations around the world are taking measures to see that their cultural heritage does not suffer.
To aid the governments’ efforts, The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) declared 18 April to be the International Day for Monuments and Sites, commonly known as World Heritage Day, in 1982, and UNESCO adopted it in the same year at its 22nd General Conference.
ICOMOS was created in response to a need to safeguard these important sites, and it brought together professionals from hundreds of different professions. Architects, engineers, geographers, civil engineers, artists, and archaeologists are among them. They work every year to help protect some of the world's most stunning locations and vital cultural monuments for future generations.
Every year on the International Day for Monuments and Sites, ICOMOS puts forth a theme as a focal point for that particular year. This theme can be followed by the organization or any of its members. The World Heritage Day theme, 2022 is Heritage and Climate through open, productive, and intergenerational debates, building on last year's theme "Complex Pasts: Diverse Futures."
What is a World Heritage Site
An international convention overseen by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), protects a landmark or area as a World Heritage site. UNESCO marks World Heritage sites based on their cultural, historical, scientific, or other value.
Locations that are deemed to possess "cultural and natural treasures of outstanding value to humanity (OUV)" from around the world a marked as WHS.
A World Heritage Site (WHS) must be a geographically and historically recognizable landmark with a distinguishing cultural or physical significance in order to be regarded as such. Ancient ruins or historical constructions, for example, could be found in towns, deserts, woods, islands, lakes, monuments, mountains, or wilderness areas. A World Heritage site can represent a significant human achievement and serve as a source of inspiration for others.
A World Heritage site may record our extraordinary accomplishments as humans and provide proof of our intellectual footprint on this planet for generations.
How you can celebrate the day
- One of the most effective ways to commemorate World Heritage Day is to look for World Heritage Sites near you and pay them a visit. Before you do so, learn about the site and the precautions that must be taken to protect it, and follow them during your visit. If you're feeling more proactive, consider presenting a site that you believe deserves to be protected because of its cultural significance to ICOMOS. Don't allow a significant place to crumble from the face of the earth; on World Heritage Day, do your part to promote awareness and ensure that it is preserved for future generations.
- Another way to mark the day would be by looking up volunteering opportunities online. The preservation and conservation of a monument are based on many direct and indirect factors. Volunteering directly with nonprofits that work to protect heritage sites or those NGOs that work for the environment or education can be an indirect way of helping these landmark sites. Chezuba is an online volunteering platform that connects enthusiastic individuals with the causes that matter the most to them.
- Attend World Heritage Day events in your area. You'll notice that many activities are held to raise awareness about the importance of preserving important structures and monuments. You can participate in one of these events to show your support for these worthwhile causes. Finding out what's going on in your neighborhood shouldn't be too tough. If your neighborhood has a Facebook group, you can look there for further information.
It is clear that historical monuments are extremely valuable. It is also necessary to conserve, maintain, and properly maintain them in order to extend their lives. It will let future generations have access to their forefathers' expertise and enlighten them with a wealth of information.
Chezuba has partnered with nonprofits supporting various crucial causes such as Art & Culture, Education, the environment, etc. to choose from. It is never too late to start focusing on bringing about a meaningful change. Take your step toward change today.