Mankind and nature; both in their own unique ways have created the sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. This seems obvious but it is worthwhile reflecting on this simple fact…
Our Place is currently developing a multi HD-screen interactive exhibition concept with this title which celebrates both cultural [man] and natural [nature] sites to showcase many of the hundreds of significant locations which we have now archived.
But, unfortunately these two great forces of creativity can also cause major destruction to these treasured places.
The tragic losses, both human and cultural caused by the recent Nepalese earthquake and the senseless and deliberate destruction of ancient cultural sites in the Middle East by myopic extremists are frightening reminders of what happens when these forces turn against the things we hold as precious.
Our recent editorial on the deliberate destruction of history being undertaken by ISIS was well received (view here) and we are pleased to see that UNESCO has now set up a special social media initiative to raise awareness about the issue and help focus people on this ongoing travesty. The #unite4 heritage project is particularly aimed at the Arabic world and encourages people to unload photos and show support of their heritage sites.
While damage caused by geophysical events often can’t be avoided (even though properly engineered restoration can help preserve many fragile places), destruction by human neglect or deliberate action can be fought by raising public awareness and involvement in supporting these global assets. We can all contribute to this ideal.
The two sites that we are launching online today are both representative examples of creations by the Hand of Man and by the Forces of Nature.
The Korean Namhansanseong Emergency Palace is a good example of a carefully restored cultural site, and the Iguaçu National Park with its spectacular waterfalls is a great example of the benefits we all can see from the preservation of our natural wonders.
They are there for all of us the visit and enjoy. Make certain that you do that if you can and then share the experience with others.
If not these sites, then visit and celebrate heritage ones in your own neighbourhoods. Spread the word, preserve the world.
Geoff Steven, CEO