The Antiquities Department is inviting the public to take part online in a dialogue around the notion of “sharing” in culture, heritage and responsibility.
In a statement issued on the occasion of International Day for Monuments and Sites which is marked on April 18, the department noted that because of the coronavirus pandemic, no events are being organised but the public is being urged to celebrate from home.
In particular, through uploading relevant material and stories on its Facebook and Instagram accounts, it invites participants to take part in a dialogue around the notion of “sharing” in culture, heritage and responsibility.
“The underlying objective is to urge the public to celebrate this important International Day, by staying at home and following the measures taken by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cyprus for the safety of all citizens. In the light of our shared cultural traits, we will make It!
The department’s statement:
April 18 has been designated by UNESCO as the International Day for Monuments and Sites, following a proposal by ICOMOS.
Each year the day is celebrated with a different topic and related events, aiming at raising public awareness with regards to the significance of cultural heritage.
The Department of Antiquities said it shares the belief, also expressed by international organizations for culture and the European Commission, that modern-day challenges can be addressed based on the knowledge of the past and the heritage of humanity.
Unfortunately, this year’s pandemic and the potential dangerous consequences of the coronavirus, prevent us from organizing events to celebrate the day. Yet, the difficult times faced by all states, across the globe, attest to the need to collaborate and support each other, on a personal, communal and by-communal level; such a global unity can only be achieved by following the human values represented by our culture.
Based on this reality, the most appropriate theme to celebrate this year’s International Day for Monuments and Sites is that of “Shared Cultures, Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility”,as it highlights the importance of shared actions in order to address the great challenges faced by human societies. This worldwide pandemic is another reminder of the interdependencies between societies and the tight affiliations that exist among their cultures.
This year’s topic encompasses issues of cultural identity at a time of vast migration and population shift, armed conflict, and environmental destruction. The core of Shared Cultures is the connection, which exists among multiple and diverse social groups and communities, through common values apparent in landscapes, practices and material culture. It also recognises that, in some instances in the past, shared cultural practices,customs and ideology were not transmitted smoothly, but were rather forced upon populations. Moreover, some indigenous cultures were not willing to share their knowledge, while, we also recently witnessed the destruction of cultural symbols and artefacts, and the subsequent brutal consequences upon World Cultural Heritage.
All of the aforementioned features are also present in the Cultural Heritage of Cyprus, as the island became the bridge, through the ages, for the transfer of artefacts, ideas and people, between cultures from the East to the West, and vice-versa, due to its geographic location.
The prevailing conditions were not always peaceful, but it is these exchanges that led to our distinctive, shared culture, comprising local and imported cultural traits dating to different periods. Even today, because of its vicinity to a region severely affected by armed conflict, Cyprus plays an important role in rescuing this shared heritage.
Furthermore, the Department of Antiquities, by implementing diverse activities relating to the management, conservation, upgrading and interpretation of the archaeological sites, monuments and museums across the island, creates the solid basis for the protection of our shared culture and shared heritage. At the same time, it takes part in the international endeavours to fight against the illicit trafficking and trade of cultural property. Undoubtedly, the preservation of the values reflected in our culture entails and promotes the Shared Responsibility all should adopt towards society, so as to overcome all modern-day challenges for a brighter future.
Within this context, through the International Day for Monuments and Sites, the Department of Antiquities wishes to first underline the social role of our Shared Culture, both at a local and an international level. The message of solidarity, support, love, understanding and acceptance is transferred by those common and diverse cultural traits of our Shared Heritage; it also encourages us to recognise the shared responsibility to unite and overcome the profound social changes and overall consequences of this pandemic.
The Department of Antiquities invites the public to explore these ideas through the use of technology and Social Media Platforms. In particular, through uploading relevant material and stories in its Facebook and Instagram accounts, it invites participants to take part in a dialogue around the notion of “sharing” in culture, heritage and responsibility. The underlying objective is to urge the public to celebrate this important International Day, by staying at home and following the measures taken by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cyprus for the safety of all citizens. In the light of our shared cultural traits, we will make It!