The International Day for Monuments and Sites is an international observance day which is also known as World Heritage Day, held on every 18th of April to celebrate the cultural importance of the world to make people aware of the importance of cultural monuments and sites and to preserve the world culture. This day offers an opportunity to raise public awareness about the cultural heritage diversity and the efforts to protect and conserve the monuments.
On 18 April 1982, at a symposium occasion organized by ICOMOS in Tunisia, it was proposed that the holding of the “International Day for Monuments and Sites” was held simultaneously around the globe. The Executive Committee approved this proposal, that presented the suggestions to the National Committees with concrete advice about how to coordinate this day.
The UNESCO General Conference also approved the proposal, which adopted a resolution at its 22nd session in November 1983 proposing that the Member States will examine the possibility of establishing an “International Day of Monuments and Sites” on 18 April each year. Traditionally, it was known as World Heritage Day.
Theme for International Day of Monuments and Sites
On the occasion of International Day for Monuments and Sites, every year ICOMOS proposes a theme to celebrate this day. This year the theme of International Day for Monuments and Sites 2021 is “Complex Pasts: Diverse Futures“
The preservation of cultural heritage needs a careful study of the history, as its practice demands future provision. Debates have come to a close in recent years over omission and erasure of some sources, and the advantage of individual histories over others. Addressing disputed history thus requires complicated interviews, ignoring partial opinions and representations of the past.
The Convention of the World Historical Monument (1972) notes that “The deterioration or destruction of a cultural or natural heritage object constitutes a dangerous degradation of the world’s patrimony.” However, imbalances continue to occur in terms of the identification, understanding and eventually preservation of different cultural manifestations.
With the current global outbreak of epidemic and prevention measures in different countries around the world, ICOMOS encourages you to celebrate an International Day for Monuments and Sites in accordance with local and national authorities’ directives to ensure participant protection.
The International Day for Monuments and Sites 2021 is inspired by the cross-cutting discourse hosted by ICOMOS initiatives such as the inaugural ‘Diversify/Decolonize Heritage!’ Workshop (launched in July 2020), several symposia dedicated to the themes of ‘Shared Cultures, Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility,’ workshops on Human Rights and Heritage Management, and several more.
In addition, some heritage objects were destroyed or damaged for what they symbolize (e.g., Bamiyan’s Buddhas), thus rejecting any sense of sharing or cultural tolerance. More usually, place values may be contested in the work of heritage, leading to debates about their protection.
How to celebrate International Day of Monuments and Sites remotely?
There are many ideas to celebrate this day remotely, you can post photos and information which are related to the theme in your country and the heritage or activities, like brief (under 30 seconds) slideshows or videos. Ensure that explanations, quotes or information for each picture and hashtags are included. You can upload heritage and cultural images connected with a theme to the ICOMOS Photobank.
Use these hashtags to join 18 April celebrations: