World Heritage Day 2018 – Theme, History, All You Need to Know

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World Heritage Day 2018 – All You Need to Know

World Heritage Day is a day observed every year on 18th April to celebrate heritage of the world having ‘Outstanding Universal Value’. The main object is to raise awareness for preserving and caring our ancient valuable monuments and architectures all over the world. The other name of World Heritage Day is International Day for Monuments and Sites.

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.

Theme of World Heritage Day 2018

The theme for the ICOMOS International Day for Monuments and Sites (World Heritage Day) 2018 is: Heritage for Generations”.

The objective of World Heritage Day

The aim of the International Day for Monuments and Sites is to encourage local communities and individuals throughout the world to consider the importance of cultural heritage to their lives, identities and communities, and to promote awareness of its diversity and vulnerability and the efforts required to protect and conserve it.

Top 10 countries with most number of World Heritage Sites

Country Number of World Heritage Sites
Italy 53
China 52
Spain 46
France 43
Germany 42
India 36
Mexico 34
UK 31
Russia 28
USA 23

World Heritage Sites in India

1. Kaziranga in Assam 19. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) in Maharashtra
2. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam 20. Sun Temple at Konark in Odisha
3. Sundarbans National Park in West Bengal 21. Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur, Rajasthan
4. Western Ghats. These include Agasthyamalai Sub-Cluster, Periyar Sub-Cluster, Anamalai Sub-Cluster, Nilgiri Sub-Cluster, Talakaveri Sub-Cluster, Kudremukh Sub-Cluster, Sahyadri Sub-Cluster 22. Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, Rajasthan
5. Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh 23. Great Living Chola Temples in Tamil Nadu. They include Brihadeeswarar temple in Gangaikonda Cholapuram,  Airavateshwarar Temple in Darasuram, Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur.
6. Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya in Bihar 24. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu
7. Churches and Convents of Goa 25. Agra Fort in Uttar Pradesh
8. Humayun’s Tomb in Delh 26. Fatehpur Sikri in Uttar Pradesh
9. Red Fort Complex in Delhi 27. Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh
10. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park in Gujarat 28. Rani ki vav (The Queen’s Stepwell) in Patan, Gujarat
11. Group of Monuments at Hampi in Karnataka 29. Mountain Railways of India. They include Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in West Bengal, Nilgiri Mountain Railway in Ooty, Tamil Nadu, Kalka-Shimla Railway in Himachal Pradesh.
12. Group of Monuments at Pattadakal in Karnataka 30. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks in Chamoli district  of Uttarakhand
13. Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh 31. Hill Forts of Rajasthan. They include Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambhore, Amber Sub-Cluster, Gagron
14. Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh 32. Nalanda in Bihar
15. Khajuraho Group of Monuments in Madhya Pradesh 33. Khangchendzonga National Park In Sikkim
16. Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra 34. The Architectural Work Of Le Corbusier in Chandigarh
17. Ellora Caves in Maharashtra 35. Historic City of Ahmadabad in Ahmedabad, Gujarat
18. Elephanta Caves in Maharashtra 36. Qutb Minar in Delhi

 The History of World Heritage Day

So the first (and possibly most confusing?) part of World Heritage Day is that that actually isn’t it’s formal name. What is popularly known as World Heritage Day is actually called The International Day for Monument and Sites and was established in 1982 by the International Council for Monuments and Sites, or ICOMOS. This organization was established on the principles set forth in the Venice Charter, otherwise known as the 1964 International Charter on the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites.

The organization was founded after a need was identified to protect these valued locations, and it saw the coming together of experts from hundreds of related fields. These include architects, engineers, geographers, civil engineers, and artists and archaeologists. Each year they work to help ensure that some of the world’s most beautiful sites and important cultural monuments remain preserved for future generations.

Since it’s inception it has grown to include almost 10,000 members in over 150 countries all over the world. Of these 10,000 members over 400 are members from institutions, national committees, and international scientific committees, all working together to save important sites and identify new ones that need to be added to the watch list.

2016 saw the addition of Gorham’s Cave Complex in the UK, the Khangchendzonga National Park in India, and the Persian Qanat in the Islam Republic of Iran. It’s through the tireless efforts of its members and leadership that these places will be preserved for future generations.

How to Celebrate World Heritage Day

Perhaps the most important way to celebrate World Heritage Day is to search out those locations near you that count as World Heritage Sites, and perhaps pay them a visit. Before doing so research the site and find out what steps are needed to protect it, and respect them during your visit. If you’re feeling more proactive, then perhaps consider submitting a site that you feel is worthy of being protected for it’s cultural importance to ICOMOS. Don’t let an important site disappear from the world, do your part on World Heritage Day to raise awareness and preserve it for future generations.


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