As countries across the globe mark this year’s World Heritage Day, also known as International Day for Monuments and Sites,
Coordinator of South-South Tourism Roundtable Steering Committee, Dr. Piriye Kiyaramo has again stressed the importance of preserving our cultural and natural heritage which abound in the south-south geopolitical area.
Monuments and memorials can reflect values, important stories, and power, and they serve as reminders that history is not just in books, but all around us.30
Speaking with newsmen in Uyo on Tuesday, Dr. Kiyaramo who is currently on tour of states in the south-south zone in respect of a forthcoming regional event in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, called for synergy between the public and private sectors to preserve the cultural and natural heritage sites in the south south region.
He noted that the world heritage day provides authorities and communities to raise awareness about the importance of protecting cultural heritage with a view to celebrating the diversity of the world’s heritage, adding that visiting cultural sites has a way of connecting people to their past.
“Through visiting these heritage sites and historic places where history has occurred, makes us find our roots. History as a subject allows us to feel like we are part of something much bigger than we may see in the neighbourhood.
“Visiting historic buildings and monuments humbles us, while inexplicably making us to feel stronger because we are part of this vast chain of humanity. They connect us to other cultures.
“By seeing places from the past in other areas, we are able to relate to those people. You can see similarities between their culture and yours, as well as the differences. Both of which help us feel a deeper understanding about others.
“Historic buildings and monuments help us to realize the fact that we are not alone in whatever situation we may find ourselves. Throughout time immemorial, people have grappled with the same issues”, Dr. Kiyaramo maintained.
According to the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, cultural heritage sites include historic buildings, important archaeological sites, monumental sculpture or painting, adding that
an historic building is generally considered to be a building or structure that has some kind of ‘historic value’, that people in the present are connected to it via past events in some way.
“A church in Bayelsa State may look different than a church in AkwaI bom State, but they express the same purpose of uniting people who are looking for a place to express their faith.
“I enjoy seeing the subtle variations in public buildings wherever I travel to. Uyo has wonderful cultural and natural heritage sites that are begging for due attention. The grandness of a building often indicates the importance it is given by a society. We should take deliberate steps to preserve our public buildings which add to the aesthetic beauty of the city.
Historical places let us be voyeurs into the past. They give us the chance to time travel and pull back the curtain on a different age. They allow us to fantasize. We can live like the rich and famous, while on a tour to some beautiful palace, until the palace closes for the day. Wander in the gardens of kings. Drink wine in a cafe where philosophers met.
“Pretend to hear the roar of the crowd at a gladiatorial game. Visiting a historic site is similar to another favorite pastime. It is escapism at its finest. Through historical interpretation we can give voice to those who no longer have one and resurrect the past.
“One doesn’t necessarily set out to gain an education through travel, but invariably one discovers something about a place or the people who inhabited it and can then share the stories they acquired with others. It’s a beautiful thing to allow kids to visit historical places like historic buildings and monuments”, he said.
World Heritage Day, also known as International Day for Monuments and Sites, is observed every year on April 18th to raise awareness about the importance of protecting cultural heritage and to celebrate the diversity of the world’s heritage.
The idea of celebrating World Heritage Day was proposed by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in 1982 and was later approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 1983.