Each year on 18 April the International Day of Monuments and Sites is celebrated around the world as we are all encouraged to explore heritage sites and monuments both locally and whilst travelling.
The day was conceived back in 1982 in partnership with UNESCO as a way to raise awareness of the rich heritage and architecture on our own doorsteps. We’re encouraged to explore our local towns and cities to take in the living landscapes, as well as travelling internationally to appreciate far-flung cultures and learn about their place in history.
The World Heritage List from UNESCO contains some 981 properties from all four corners of the globe, spanning both cultural and natural sites. Of particular importance are the 44 sites that have been marked as ‘in danger’, from the rich diversity within the Los Katíos National Park in Colombia, to the natural habitat of the precious mountain gorillas within the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Virunga has received worldwide attention from the WWF recently following reports of potential oil exploration – there are more details on how to get involved with the petition here.
Closer to home, the UNESCO site in Liverpool, in particular the Maritime Mercantile City region, is in danger following the decision to extensively redevelop Liverpool Waters. The vast Everglades National Park is also on the ‘at risk’ list. Home to more than 20 threated species including the Florida panther, manatee and alligator, the Everglades is also an important habitat for 400 different species of birds.
Other key UNESCO-listed sites to explore on the International Day of Monuments and Sites include the opulent Palace and Park of Versailles in France, the glorious Old City of Salamanca in Spain, which has been ruled by the Carthaginians, Romans and Moors, and finally, heading a little further afield, explore the mighty Great Wall which meanders for more than 20,000 kilometers across the heart of China.