World Heritage Day, also known as International day for monuments and sites is celebrated worldwide on 18th April each year. The main reason behind its observance is to raise awareness about historical monuments and preserving them, and also being joyful about our heritage and making the world a better place.
The World Heritage Day was brought up in the discussion by ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) in 1982, and this proposal was accepted by UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) in 1983 during 22nd general conference.
ICOMOS further adds that this day is globally recognised to protect and safeguard the rich historical sites and monuments with cultural heritage rooted in the past with them.
World Heritage Day is all about educating people about the importance of their own heritage and also to spread awareness about respecting and valuing the culture and heritage of others’ too. The main message of World Heritage Day is basically to spread the knowledge of our rich cultural diversity and to look after the diverse ancient culture.
It also encourages the young minds to promote the sole message in the coming generations so that the chain of preservation and awareness doesn’t break. For example, conserving and promoting the rich and valuable Khajuraho temple as a national heritage site increased the curiosity in the tourists’ minds and thus increased the tourism and development rate.
World Heritage Day is important because it aims at protecting and cooperating to value and safeguard the heritage from all around the world. Also, the conservation is important for the current and the future generations.
This special day raises the public awareness not only about the cultural heritage and all the efforts and attempts to protect it but also the dark side where it shows the unprotected and vulnerable part of this whole process.
Theme for 2021- “Complex pasts, diverse futures”:
Each year has a different theme and this year the theme is “Complex pasts, diverse futures”, looking at the past years the ancient times weren’t always fascinating and full of royal luxury, some were extremely violent and full of cruelty.
Everyone has their own perspective to look at these things, whether it is on the positive or negative side. For example, a monument that was built hundreds of years ago can represent victory for some people and can represent the war which took place years ago, it totally depends on the point of view and can cause a long debate and can bring out all opinions about it, which can lead to a diverse and knowledgeable future.
This year ICOMOS wants people from various religious backgrounds to set aside their differences and come forward and spread the message of solidarity among different cultures.
Top 5 World heritage sites according to UNESCO:
1. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
2. Taj Mahal, India
3. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
4. Easter Island, Chile
5. Petra, Jordan