April 18th is celebrated annually around the world to preserve and promote cultural heritage sites. World Heritage Day, or The International Day for Monuments and Sites, is a day for all humans to remember the main role of cultural sites in understanding who they are or where they come from, and how important is to preserve and protect the world’s cultures. It aims to raise global awareness about the diversity and vulnerability of cultural heritage sites, the challenges for their conservation, the demand for international efforts to protect and preserve these invaluable heritages, as well as the benefits these efforts provide for communities.
The International Day for Monument and Sites was established on 18 April 1982 by the International Council for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and approved by the General Assembly of UNESCO in 1983. Regarding the importance of protecting the invaluable cultural heritage sites and monuments, the organization gathers together different experts in related fields such as architecture, geography, archeology, engineering, etc. each year. Conferences, lectures, seminars, workshops, roundtable discussions, interviews, articles in newspapers and magazines, publications, photo exhibitions, banners, and posters, awarding prizes to the people or organizations who have played an outstanding role in the conservation of cultural heritage, and visits to heritage sites and monuments are of the activities.
Every year, a theme is proposed by the ICOMOS. For example, the theme was “Heritage for Generations” in 2018. The 2019 theme is “Rural Landscapes”.
Today, the organization has nearly 10000 members in over 150 countries around the globe. They are devoted to ensuring the most important cultural sites are preserved well for future generations. Moreover, they make an attempt to identify new exceptional historical and archeological heritage sites worldwide that should be preserved for future generations. For example, Persian Qanat in Iran was added to the list in 2016.
Many of the heritage sites offer free admission on this day. Then, just do your part to preserve the World Cultural Sites for future generation by paying a visit to the cultural sites near you. Respect the sites and monuments during your visit, and consider submitting the sites to ICOMOS, if they are worth being preserved but have not been yet.