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International Day for Monuments and Sites

  • Category
    History
  • Published
    22nd Apr, 2020

The International Day for Monuments and Sites or World Heritage Day is observed every year on April 18 to promote cultural heritage.

Context

The International Day for Monuments and Sites or World Heritage Day is observed every year on April 18 to promote cultural heritage.

Background:

  • On 18 April 1982 on the occasion of a symposium organised by ICOMOS in Tunisia, the holding of the "International Day for Monuments and Sites" to be celebrated simultaneously throughout the world was suggested.
  • The International Council for Monuments & Sites (ICOMOS) is a non-governmental organization that works on preserving and conserving heritage sites worldwide.
  • This project was approved by the Executive Committee who provided practical suggestions to the National Committees on how to organise this day.
  • The idea was also approved by the UNESCO General Conference who passed a resolution at its 22nd session in November 1983 recommending that Member States examine the possibility of declaring 18 April each year “International Monuments and Sites Day”.
  • This has been traditionally called the World Heritage Day.

Analysis

What is 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.

    UNESCO:

    • UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
    • Founded in 1945, it seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences and Culture.
    • UNESCO's programmes contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in Agenda 2030, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015.

     

  • What is World Heritage Day? 

    • World Heritage Day, every year is observed on April 18, to conserve the human heritage and appreciate the efforts of all organizations that work for the preservation of this heritage.
    • Theme: Every Year ICOMOS proposes a theme for celebrating the ‘World Heritage Day’. The theme for World Heritage Day for the year 2020 is ‘Shared Culture’, ‘Shared heritage’ and ‘Shared responsibility’, which is important as an expression for global unity with current world wide health crisis. 
      • The theme reflects the global context of heritage as part of cultural identityat a time of rapid population shift, conflict, and environmental uncertainty.
      • The theme recognises that heritage – whether places, landscapes, practices, or collections – are frequently connected with and valued by multiple and diverse groups and communities.
      • At its core, the overarching theme is concerned with the relationships between cultures or cultural groups and their collective responsibility for the care and safeguarding of the significant attributes, meanings, and values of heritage.
    • The main objective of celebrating this event is to preserve the heritage of the three categories i.e, natural, cultural and mixed for the next generation and put its relevant efforts in front of the world.
    • Today, there are a grand total of 1,121 UNESCO World Heritage Sites worldwide, of which 869 are cultural, 213 are natural and 39 are a mixture.
    • 53 of these are in danger. India has a total of 35 world heritage sites, of which 27 are cultural, 7 natural & one mixed site.

    World Heritage Sites in India:

    • UNESCO World Heritage Convention which was established in 1972, recognised various sites of cultural and natural importance around the world.
    • After the latest addition to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, India has now 38 World Heritage Sites, and that makes India with the 6th largest number of World Heritage Sites in the world.

There are 30 cultural sites, 7 natural sites and 1 mixed as recognised by UNESCO.

Cultural World Heritage Site

S.No.

Site

State

S.No.

Site

State

1.

Taj Mahal

Agra

16.

Capitol Complex

Chandigarh, Punjab

2.

Khajuraho

Madhya Pradesh

17.

The Historic City of Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad

3.

Hampi

Karnataka

18.

The Pink City - Jaipur

Jaipur

4.

Ajanta Caves

Maharashtra

19.

The Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai

Mumbai

5.

Ellora Caves

Maharashtra

20.

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka

Madhya Pradesh

6.

Bodh Gaya

Bihar

21.

Churches and Convents of Goa

Goa

7.

Sun Temple, Konark

Odisha

22.

Hill Forts of Rajasthan

 

8.

Red Fort Complex

Delhi

23.

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park

Gujarat

9.

Sanchi

Madhya Pradesh

24.

Qutub Minar and its Monuments

New Delhi

10.

Chola Temples

Tamil Nadu

25.

Mountain Railways of India

 

11.

Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram

Tamil Nadu

26.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus),

Maharashtra

12.

Humayun’s Tomb

New Delhi

27.

Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University),

Bihar

13.

Jantar Mantar

Jaipur, Rajasthan

28.

Elephanta Caves,

Maharashtra

14.

Agra Fort

Uttar Pradesh

29.

Group of Monuments at Pattadakal

Karnataka

15.

Fatehpur Sikri

Uttar Pradesh

30.

Rani Ki Vav

Patan, Gujarat

Natural World Heritage Sites

S.No.

Site

State

S.No.

Site

State

1.

Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary

Assam

5.

Manas Wild Life Sanctuary

Assam

2.

Sundarbans National Park

West Bengal

6.

Keoladeo National Park

Rajasthan

3.

Great Himalayan National Park

Himachal Pradesh

7.

Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks

Uttarakhand

4.

Kanchenjunga National Park

Sikkim

8.

Western Ghats

 

 

Cultural and Natural Mixed World Heritage Site

Khangchendzonga National Park

Sikkim

Importance of heritage sites in India:

  • A sign of our proud history: Our heritage sites provide layers and layers of information about our ancestors and our origin. Without heritage, there would be no history or culture to identify with.
  • Sense of place: Heritage adds character and distinctiveness to an area, heritage is a fundamental in creating a ‘sense of place’ for a community.
  • Social inclusion: Increased community values and greater social inclusion can be achieved through a focus on heritage matters.
  • Shared understanding: The heritage places are an excellent local educational resource for people of all ages. Learning about the history of a place is a good way of bringing communities together through a shared understanding of the unique cultural identity heritage places give to an area.
  • Tourism: Heritage tourism is huge and IT helps drive the economy of several people by providing them employment. Preserving heritage sites thus help sustain the local economy, creating jobs, and even generating capital.
  • Investment:An attractive heritage environment assists in attracting external investment as well as maintaining existing businesses of all types.

 

Significance of World Heritage Day:

  • World Heritage is the shared wealth of humankind. Protecting and preserving this valuable asset demands the collective efforts of the international community.
  • This special day offers an opportunity to raise the public's awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it, as well as draw attention to its vulnerability.

Conclusion:

Heritage, whether tangible or intangible is our history. India has remains of civilizations dating back over 5000 years. These heritage sites are symbols of our history, which gives us a sense of pride. Cultural heritage is a mirror of our traditions. Areas where the heritage is understood and valued tend to be better looked after than those where heritage items have no link with the community.  Such links help to foster civic responsibility and citizenship and contribute to everyone’s quality of life.

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