In 1983 UNESCO established 18th of April as the International Day for Monuments and Sites. The designation of this day aims to raise public awareness about the diversity and vulnerability of the world’s built monuments and heritage sites and the efforts required to protect and conserve them. In addition, each year has a different theme. The 2016 theme for the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) International Day on Monuments and Sites celebrated is: The Heritage of Sport, looking ahead to the Olympics in Brazil, is The Heritage of Sport.
This day is also commonly known as World Heritage Day. However, whilst UNESCO is the organization that lists World Heritage Sites, this day is not just about the listed sites, but brings attention to all cultural heritage places and landscapes of international, national and local significance.
The World Heritage Day is also a good day to create educational and informative projects for students and educators. For example The UNESCO site gives details of success stories and successful restorations as well as world heritage sites in danger.
In addition, ICOMOS also gives a list of ways for the public to celebrate the day or the week:
- Visits to monuments and sites, and restoration works, possibly with free admission
- Articles in newspapers and magazines, as well as television and radio broadcasts
- Hanging banners in town squares or principal traffic arteries calling attention to the day and the preservation of cultural heritage
- Inviting local and foreign experts and personalities for conferences and interviews
Organizing discussions in cultural-centers, city halls, and other public spaces
- Exhibitions (photos, paintings, etc)
- Publication of books, post-cards, stamps, posters
- Awarding prizes to organizations or persons who have made an outstanding contribution to the conservation and promotion of cultural heritage or produced an excellent publication on the subject.
- Inaugurate a recently restored monument
- Special awareness raising activities amongst school children and youth
- Promotion of collaborative opportunities between organizations, defining areas for co-operation’ exchange of speakers; organization of meetings and seminars, or editing of joint publications.