In response to a proposal by ICOMOS, 18 April was designated as The International Day for Monuments and Sites by UNESCO in 1982. Each year a theme is selected to help focus the celebration and promotion of cultural heritage across the world. The aim is to explore cultural heritage beyond the select group of sites on the World Heritage List and to encourage local communities and individuals to consider the importance of cultural heritage to their lives, identities and communities. The theme agreed for 2011 is the ‘Cultural Heritage of Water’.
Water is one of the key resources required to sustain life. It has led to the development and generation of significant material culture in the form of items, technology and places. How to obtain it, how to store it, how to harness its power and conserve it has motivated human endeavor in a myriad of ways. It has also been the catalyst for the development of significant cultural practices, which have generated intangible cultural heritage values. It has inspired poetry, literature, artistic endeavor such as painting, dance and sculpture. It has informed and inspired the development of philosophies and religious practice. The cultural heritage of water, therefore relates not only to the technology and architecture that humankind has developed to manage, utilize and celebrate its life giving properties but also to those intangible values that have shaped our beliefs and practices.
Download the essay "The cultural heritage of water" [PDF, 1.6 MB] by Dr. Susan McIntyre-Tamwoy (Australia ICOMOS/James Cook University)
“Cultural Heritage of Water” website
Source: UNESCO/Natural Sciences