Happy World Heritage Day!
“Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.”(UNESCO)
World Heritage Sites are natural or man-made sites that define the standards in our perception of the natural world and our civilisation. The institution of World Heritage aims to educate people about respectful coexistence, by promoting the appreciation of different cultures around the world. By highlighting the outstanding universal value of masterpieces and unique parts of the natural environment, it also promotes the need to preserve such assets for future generations and to protect them from physical, aesthetic and conceptual threats.
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 November 1983.
The mission of the UNESCO World Heritage Center is to actively protect and promote World Heritage, highlighting the universal value of culture. Extending beyond physical monuments and sites, UNESCO also aims to protect theIntangible Heritage, taking the concept of World Heritage even further.
The Acropolis of Athens, a unique monument of one of the most influential cultures in human history, was recognised as a World Heritage site in 1987. In acknowledgement of its gravity and symbolic presence throughout history, UNESCO has stated that the Acropolis can be seen as the symbol of World Heritage itself: “Illustrating the civilizations, myths and religions that flourished in Greece over a period of more than 1,000 years, the Acropolis, the site of four of the greatest masterpieces of classical Greek art – the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erectheum and the Temple of Athena Nike – can be seen as symbolizing the idea of world heritage” (UNESCO Ref.404, 2006 document).
Admission to Greece’s museums and archaeological sites is free on Thursday on the occasion of World Heritage Day.
World Heritage Day is designed to raise public awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it.
The theme for 18 April 2013 – The International Day for Monuments and Sites – is the Heritage of Education.
Several events have been organized for Thursday at the Archaeological Museum in Athens, the capital’s Epigraphical Museum, the Archaeological Museum of Patra, the archaeological site of Mystras and the Delphi Archaeological Museum.