World Heritage Day is all about raising awareness of the importance of protecting and preserving various sites around the world that have achieved world heritage status. It provides us a chance to keep everyone informed and involved for the protection and preservation of these sites which are in vulnerable and dismal state. Also known as International Day for Monuments and Sites, each year this day is marked on 18th of April under a new theme and guidelines of International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) which was established in 1983 by approval of 22nd UNESCO General Conference to save this unique legacy. This significant day also raise and highlight the challenges involved in protecting World Heritage Sites.
What is a World Heritage Site?
A World Heritage site is classified as a natural or man-made area or a structure that is of international importance, and a space which requires special protection. UN and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are the authority that recognizes a world heritage site across the world. These sites are naturally and culturally important places which are considered to have some extra ordinary value all over the world such as the Pyramids of Egypt, the City of Venice, the Taj Mahal, Shalamar Gardens and Machu Picchu.
Theme of 2017: Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Tourism
The 2017’s theme is Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Tourism which has been chosen to link with the context of UN’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. It will allow communities to celebrate the positive impact of sustainable tourism and how it can empower communities and educate visitors. This year, it is the best opportunity to celebrate the positive outcomes of a deepening partnership between sustainable tourism development and cultural heritage conservation. One can get involved in participating this day by visiting and knowing about any of World Heritage Site of his country.
World Heritage Sites in Pakistan and Tourism Development
Pakistan has so far six (06) places that have been included in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. For being thousands of years old, these sites have a great history, cultural values and hence huge potential to attract tourists. These places must be properly maintained and protected in order to keep them in good shape and greater value for tourists’ attraction.
Other than these 6 sites there are also some other sites which are on the tentative list. The tentative list is of all those sites that are not yet become the world heritage sites but their inscription on that list is under consideration by UNESCO and Pakistani government. As per reports, UNESCO is agreed to add eight more Pakistani sites to world heritage list.
- Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro
The Archaeological Ruins of Moenjodaro are a metropolis of the Indus Civilization in Sindh. Its history goes back to around 2500BC and consists of unbaked bricks. The ruins show a very early system of town planning.
- Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Neighboring City Remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol
Takht-i-Bahi is the Buddhists ruin, which is located in Mardan, KPK. It was founded around the 1st century A.D and consists of hilltops of various heights. These ruins are included in the most prominent relics of Buddhism in Pakistan.
- Fort and Shalimar Gardens
The Fort and Shalimar Gardens in Lahore are the true reflection of Mughal civilization. It was built around 17th century and are now included in the world heritage sites list. The fort is built up of marble palaces and the beauty of gardens is priceless due to the magnificent ponds and waterfalls.
- Historical Monuments at Makli, Thatta
The Historical Monuments at Makli, Thatta are spread across 10 kilometers and consist of huge number of tombs. It is one of the largest Muslim necropolises in the world having a history that goes back to 14th century. The remnants of the city show a very unique view of early civilization of Sindh. A number of queens, kings and saints of earlier times are buried here.
- Rohtas Fort, Jhelum
This Rohtas Fort was built by Sher Shah Suri in 1541. It is spread around 16 kilometers in Jhelum, Pakistan. This fort is a very good example of the Muslim military architecture in the Asian region and included in the world heritage sites in Pakistan.
Taxila is a very complex archaeological site situated in the Rawalpindi district. Taxila was developed during the periods of Ashokan and Harrapan. It is thought to be one of the most important archaeological sites in whole Asia. The historical ruins of this site show the urban evolution of Indian subcontinent.