Since 1983, after the approval by the 22nd UNESCO General Conference, International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) has been celebrating the International Day of Monuments and Sites. The theme of the erstwhile World Heritage Day in 2017 is Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Tourism. This theme was carefully chosen to relate it with the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
A nation’s heritage describes its cultures, traditions and values. Hence, this priceless legacy from the ancestors ought to be protected and preserved. This day gives an opportunity to spread awareness among the people about the importance, vulnerability and the measures to conserve the cultural heritage. Another objective for observing the day is the cultural exchange among humans. Cultural exchange gives a clear apprehension about the credos and principles of different countries. Hence, it engenders a peaceful coexistence.
“Preserving the past for the future”
Thereby, we present to you those heritage sites which the public has chosen to be the Wonder of the World.
1. Christ the Redeemer
An Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ in the 2016 Olympic Games host city is an ideogram of Christianity across the globe.
This sensational structure was created by the combined efforts of a French sculptor Paul Landowski, a Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, a Romanian sculptor Gheorghe Leonida and a French engineer Albert Caquot. This awe-inspiring statue weighs 635 metric tons and is 30-metre tall. Situated at the apex of the Mount Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, the figure is made of concrete and a mosaic of many triangular soapstone. It is the largest sculpture of its type in the world.
2. Machu Picchu
Located in the Cusco Region, Machupicchu district in Peru, these ancient Incan ruins has been one of the favorite destinations among tourists.
These ruins comprises of palaces, temples and homes which may have been constructed for a ceremonial or military purpose, or as a retreat for the royals. They are surrounded by the stormy and chaotic Urubamba River flowing in the Sacred Valley, on three sides. The location makes these remains suitable for any of the above motives.
Due to the lack of written language, no information about why the Incas built this heritage site or abandoned it can be found. In 1911, an american historian Hiram Bingham introduced this isolated place and brought it to the international attention. At present, majority of the building have been reconstructed to give its visitors a better comprehension of the place.
After the introduction of this Lost City to the western world, it soon found its place among the Seven Wonders of the World. UNESCO described it as one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage.
Petra, a city in Jordan which lies on the slope of Mount Jebel al-Madhbah is of great historic and archaeological significance. This Rose City was built by the Nabataeans who inhabited in the city for more than thousand years. They utilised the location of the city in laying the foundation of a trading hub. The place is not only famous for its rock architecture of vibrant vermilion, moon white and pink colors, but also for its water conduit system.
In 1812, a Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt introduced this rose-red city half as old as time to the world. The colossal scarlet mountains with its amazing structure gives a glimpse of those civilizations which are extremely different from the modern ones.
4. Taj Mahal
Symbolising the eternal love, this incredible paragon of Mughal architecture has bestowed a new limelight to India.
The Mughal emperor Shah Jahan constructed this jewel of Muslim art to accommodate the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, his dearest wife. Ustad Isa, the master architect of this heritage site had efficiently captured varied moods of Mumtaz in this ivory white marble mausoleum. Amongst the varied shades of colour that Taj reveals daily, the best are the shades of the blush in the morning and shinning gold in the moonlight. It took approximately 20 years and 20,000 labourers and artists to create this renowned beauty.
5. The Colosseum in Rome
The partially ruined oval amphitheatre in Rome — The Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre ever built on this planet. Its original Latin name was Amphitheatrum Flavium.
In AD 72, the emperor Vespasian laid the foundation of this monument. This structure had the capacity to hold approximately 50,000–80,000 spectators. The place was mostly used for gladiator contests, executions, animal hunts and re-enactments of famous battles and dramas. It has found its way on the Italian version of the five-cent euro coin. Despite being ruined by the natural and man-made catastrophes, it still pulls a large number of tourists.
6. The Great Wall of China
The main aim behind its construction was to protect the borders of the Chinese states and empires against invasion by foreigners. Furthermore, it allowed the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road.
This longest wall in the world is a collection of several walls built during the 7th century BC which were later joined together. The most famous among these walls is the one built by Qin Shi Huang during 220–206 BC. The fortifications is made up of stone, brick, wood, and many other materials.
7. Chichen Itza
The most visited heritage site in Mexico was once a large pre-Columbian city made by the Maya people. This site reveals the mixture of the architectural styles of Mexico, Puuc and Chenes.
This pyramid structure comprises of a number of square terraces and staircases on each of the four sides of the temple. It is a fine sight during the spring and autumn equinoxes. The sun creates a series of triangular shadows creating an illusion of a serpent crawling down the stairs.
World Heritage Sites by UNESCO
In addition to the above, our Mother Land provides shelter to a wide range of marvellous edifices. The list of world heritage sites by UNESCO is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_World_Heritage_Sites
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Also published on Medium.