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International Day for Monuments and Sites – April 18, 2023

The International Day for Monuments and Sites is observed on April 18 all around the world every year. The goal is to raise awareness of cultural heritage diversity, the vulnerability of sites and monuments, and the measures needed to maintain and conserve them. Every year, the International Council of Monuments and Sites (I.C.O.M.O.S.) sets a theme for initiatives organized by its members, national and international committees, and anyone else interested in commemorating this day. The organization invites participants to focus on contentious and complex narratives about cultural heritage, to encourage the development of new discourses based on a respectful and inclusive approach. Addressing erroneous or contentious historical interpretations appears to be critical to preserving our heritage, given that the deterioration or extinction of any cultural property, as stated by the UNESCO 1954 and 1972 treaties, causes harm to mankind as a whole.

History of International Day for Monuments and Sites

The International Day for Monuments and Sites was developed by I.C.O.M.O.S. in 1982 and was later adopted by UNESCO during its 22nd General Conference. I.C.O.M.O.S. suggests a theme for activities to be arranged by its members, I.C.O.M.O.S. National and International Scientific Committees, Working Groups, and partners, as well as anybody else who wants to participate in commemorating the day. Cultural heritage conservation necessitates both a critical evaluation of the past and a commitment to the future. In recent years, debates concerning the deletion and erasure of some narratives, as well as the prioritization of certain stories over others, have heated up. As a result, dealing with contentious history necessitates lengthy discussions to avoid skewed perspectives and interpretations of the past.

“The deterioration or extinction of any item of cultural or natural heritage represents a damaging impoverishment of the legacy of all nations of the world,” according to the World Heritage Convention in 1972. However, there are still disparities in the recognition, interpretation, and, ultimately, conservation of various cultural manifestations.

The first International Day for Monuments and Sites, on the other hand, took place in 2001 with the theme “Save Our Historic Villages.” Organizations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization support the day (UNESCO). There are a variety of activities taken on all across the world on this day. This comprises a variety of activities, as well as conferences and excursions to historical places and monuments. For the uninitiated, a heritage site is essentially a culturally significant location. It protects a society’s or group’s intangible and physical artifacts that have been passed down through the generations.

International Day for Monuments and Sites timeline

1964
International Year of Monument

UNESCO establishes the International Year of the Monument to offer better global coverage in the perception of a monument as a building or historical site of exemplary character and significance.

1982
First Developed

I.C.O.M.O.S. creates the International Day for Monuments and Sites and UNESCO eventually adopts it at its 22nd General Conference.

2001
First Celebrated

The first International Day for Monuments and Sites takes place with the theme "Save Our Historic Villages."

2015
50th Anniversary

The 50th anniversary of the formation of I.C.O.M.O.S. and the U.S./I.C.O.M.O.S. partnership is celebrated.

International Day for Monuments and Sites FAQs

Is there a difference between World Heritage Day and International Monuments and Sites Day?

Every year on April 18, World Heritage Day, also known as International Day for Monuments and Sites, is commemorated.

What are the categories of the heritage name?

Cultural heritage and natural heritage are the two categories of heritage. Cultural heritage includes historic structures, monuments, and collections of information about how people lived such as photographs, paintings, stories, newspapers, and books. Mountains, rivers, and any terrain are examples of natural heritage.

Which country has the most World Heritage Sites designated by UNESCO?

Italy has the world’s highest concentration of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Following the UNESCO committee’s yearly announcement of additional sites, the country now has 58 world heritage sites.

How to Observe International Day for Monuments and Sites

  1. Go to a workshop or conference

    Participate in one of the workshops or conferences on the preservation of monuments and heritage sites near your place. You will get a full-hand experience by going in!

  2. Look for an open house at a historical landmark

    On International Monuments and Sites Day, National Historic Landmarks are free to visit. You are already celebrating the day by taking part in special Open House Day programming and festivities!

  3. Field trips to monuments and heritage sites

    Taking kids out of the classroom to visit a historical site or museum is one of the finest methods to get them enthused about history. Schools can travel around the country to deepen young people's awareness of our country's history.

5 Interesting Facts About World Heritage Sites

  1. 1,092 World Heritage Sites

    They are split into 845 cultural sites, 209 natural sites, and 38 mixed sites.

  2. Largest World Heritage Sites

    The Phoenix Islands Protected Area in Kiribati is the largest world heritage site, covering 408,250 km².

  3. Smallest World Heritage Sites

    The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc, Czech Republic, has the smallest world heritage site at 200 m².

  4. Restricted to women

    Okinoshima Island in Japan and Mouth Athos in Greece are both off-limits to women, both are exclusively male religious societies.

  5. Removed from World Heritage list

    Only two sites have ever been removed from the list of world heritage sites: Oman's Arabian Oryx Sanctuary and Germany's Dresden Elbe Valley.

Why International Day for Monuments and Sites is Important

  1. It raises awareness

    Raise awareness about the richness of cultural assets, the vulnerability of sites and monuments, and the measures required to safeguard and conserve them. The day promotes cultural significance while also emphasizing the numerous hurdles to doing so.

  2. It celebrates all the world’s cultures

    It urges us to celebrate all of the world's cultures. It also aims to advocate the preservation of the world's cultures.

  3. It keeps our integrity as people

    Culture and its heritage reflect and define values, beliefs, and aspirations, and hence define a people's national identity. It is critical to preserve our cultural history because it protects our identity as people.

International Day for Monuments and Sites dates

YearDateDay
2023April 18Tuesday
2024April 18Thursday
2025April 18Friday
2026April 18Saturday
2027April 18Sunday

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