World Heritage Day – otherwise known as the International Day for Monuments and Sites – has arrived.
Saturday 18th April marks the official day in which we’re encouraged to reflect on our world’s beautiful cultural history. Celebrations usually include visiting the museums, exhibits and other historical points of interest that the holiday was created to commemorate – but of course, exploring isn’t on the cards for any of us this year.
That’s not to say we can’t still enjoy a little culture, though. We did some digging and discovered three wonderful ways that you can celebrate World Heritage Day from home… read on for inspiration.
1. Take a virtual tour
In light of recent events, many European museums are offering brilliant tours online – all for free! From Italian relics to the artworks of Delacroix, these are a few of our favourite options from around the world.
Vatican Museums – Vatican City, Italy
The Vatican Museum has seven incredible tours on their website right now. Wander the beautiful halls of the New Wing, see the world-famous Sistine Chapel up close, walk among the statues in the Chiaramonti Museum and more – the choice is yours. Our recommendation? Start off with a quick spin around Raphael’s Rooms. Encased by stunning artwork and bathed in natural light, you’re bound to be (digitally) dazzled.
The Louvre – Paris, France
There’s more to The Louvre than the Mona Lisa. The four virtual tours they’re currently offering are testament to that. See the remains of the museum’s moat, marvel at intricate ceilings, stand in the presence of pharaohs in their Egyptian Antiquities room or enjoy their enchanting exhibit, “The Advent of the Artist”. Each option is unique – providing something for every type of culture lover – and, better yet, is available at the click of a button. Ready to explore?
Rijksmuseum – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Dive into an engrossing Dutch tale with a compelling – and beautifully-painted – cast of characters. Rijksmuseum’s “Experience the Night Watch” tour takes you on a step-by-step journey through 17th century painter Rembrandt van Rijn’s famous masterpiece – uncovering the secrets of the people within, and revealing hidden stories along the way. There’s so much to discover.
The Dalí Theatre-Museum – Girona, Spain
Few have been able to resist the pull of Salvador Dalí, whose zany creations have seen travellers visit his museum from the world over. And now you can too… without leaving your couch. Sink into a world of pure imagination on this comprehensive tour of The Dalí Theatre-Museum, and experience the virtual art trip of a lifetime.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York City, USA
While this isn’t technically a virtual tour, The Met’s digital offering is too spectacular to ignore. They’ve put together a fascinating Timeline of Art History, which weaves together the museum’s wonderful works of art with stories, essays and cultural insights. The level of detail that’s gone into this project is truly astonishing – don’t miss it.
2. Plan your next trip
Better days are ahead. Days in which we’ll be free to travel once more – exploring other countries and their fascinating cultures to our hearts’ content. So why not look ahead, and celebrate World Heritage Day by planning your next adventure?
At Historic Hotels of Europe, we offer some amazing itineraries that’ll help you make the most of every holiday. See below for two of our most culture-focused options – ideal for fans of World Heritage Day – and ensure your next trip is full of historic delights.
Hellenic Architecture: The Greek Design Pioneers
With ancient treasures at every turn, Greece is every bit as glorious and atmospheric as you’d imagine. Step back in time on a classical tour of Hellenic wonder, from the healing village of Epidaurus to the deeply cultural Palace of Knossos.
From Dragons to Fairytales: A History of Castles in Wales
This tour will guide you through Wales’ history of fortresses, from opulently-decorated castles to historic battlegrounds. From north to south, this itinerary allows you explore the majestic and magical medieval castles of Wales.
3. Make a donation
Our world would be much bleaker without the dazzling places that tell its stories. Play a part in preserving global history by donating to one of the wonderful organisations that keep it safe – protecting our historic spaces so that they can be appreciated for generations to come. Here are two organisations that’ll ensure your money goes a long way.
Contribute to the valuable upkeep of some of the world’s most gorgeous areas and architecture by donating to UNESCO directly. Money given to this non-profit goes straight into projects that are used to protect World Heritage sites around the world – a fitting investment for World Heritage Day.
7 Most Endangered Programme
This initiative identifies monuments, sites and landscapes across Europe that are in danger, and stirs communities into action to preserve the seven that are most at risk. Help keep these endangered spaces alive by contributing to their cause, and ensure that none of Europe’s oldest legacies are ever lost.
How will you spend World Heritage Day?
From taking a tour to planning your next trip and contributing to the conservation of cultures around the world, there are many ways to celebrate World Heritage Day – and pay tribute to our rich history from indoors. Enjoy!
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