April 18: World Heritage Day

International Day for Monuments and Sites (World Heritage Day)
“Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.”

The Parthenon

Logo of World Heritage - Patrimonio Mundial - Patrimoine Mondial

The Acropolis of Athens is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site (UNESCO, 1987), “[…] symbolizing the idea of world heritage” (UNESCO, 2006)

World Heritage Sites are natural or man-made sites that define the standards in our perception of our civilisation and the natural world. The institution of World Heritage aims to educate people about respectful coexistence: it promotes the appreciation of the world’s cultural and natural landscape in its diversity, importance, and beauty. By highlighting the outstanding universal value of unique parts of the natural and cultural environment, the concept of World Heritage emphasises the need for the preservation of natural and cultural heritage for future generations and its protection from physical, aesthetic and conceptual threats.

Read about UNESCO’s World Heritage mission

The proposal to celebrate World Heritage was first made on 18 April 1982 at the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) symposium in Tunisia. This suggestion was subsequently approved by the Executive commitee, as well as by the UNESCO General Conference in 1983.

To promote the universal concept of World Heritage, ICOMOS suggests some ideas on how to celebrate World Heritage Day:

  • 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
  • Organising discussions in cultural-centres, city halls, and other public spaces
  • Exhibitions (photos, paintings, etc)
  • Publication of books, post-cards, stamps, posters
  • Awarding prizes to organisations 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 ‘twinning’ opportunities between organizations, defining areas for co-operation; exchange of speakers; organisation of meetings and seminars, or the editing of joint publications.

How are you celebrating World Heritage this year?

Share your Acropolis-themed creation