At GoUNESCO, we’re focused on creating experiences that make heritage fun. In 2015, we did that through our travel challenges, award-winning series of heritage runs, and student program. We also did that by building a platform for people everywhere to draw attention to their local heritage sites while simultaneously creating their own unique experiences to make heritage fun. We call that platform #makeheritagefun and on December 20th, we planned the third edition of this series of events. At its simplest, #makeheritagefun involves individuals or groups of people visiting a local heritage site, taking photos and sharing their experiences on social media using the #makeheritagefun hashtag. Read about the first two editions here and here.
We began spreading the word about the event among the GoUNESCO intern community, previous #makeheritagefun event co-ordinators as well as our partner organizations in early December. Interest in the event spiked – especially in Africa and Europe – when we launched applications for the GoUNESCO Internship Program and provided prospective interns the option of attending a local #makeheritagefun event. We created a centralized registration form to track volunteers, attendees and coordinators in the different cities around the world – individuals in 100 cities and over 25 countries expressed interest this time around! As in previous editions of the event, we encouraged coordinators to let their imaginations run free when planning the event though we did share with them a cookbook with suggestions on how to go about organizing an event, and promotional material they could use to publicize the event. Many created their own promotion material and in some instances translated our promotional material into their local languages.
We had participation in cities across 5 continents across the world. People used Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to share their experiences online. View this Tagboard link to view social media shares. Reports from some of the city events are below. Our thanks to the co-ordinators for sending this information and photos.
City Event Reports from Europe
Coordinators – Gordana Milanovic, Dusanka Gojic
In Belgrade, a group of heritage enthusiasts led by Gordana and Dusanka visited the Street of King Peter. This part of the city has over fourteen monuments representing different layers of the city’s history, cultures and religion. The group visited the Orthodox Church of Saint Michael, Bistro Question Mark, Princess Ljubica’s Residence, the National Bank of Serbia, School of King Peter I, buildings in Art Nouveau style, Jewish museum and municipality building and Bajrakli Mosque. They received support from Europa Nostra and a project titled Beo Patrimonium dealing with the promotion and perception of Belgrade’s cultural heritage.
Coordinator – Levente Kollár
In Budapest, Levente, and a group of participants including two guides toured the Buda Castle District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The guides regaled them with stories about the medieval and the modern history of the District. The story of the area was especially interesting again because the Hungarian Government is currently planning to relocate some of the state institutions back to the District after a long break from the end of the Second World War. The endpoint of the tour was the Mathias Church where a professional from the church’s staff joined the group and gave them access to the newly opened tower – which is generally not open to tourists.
Coordinator – Diletta Nicastro, cultural association Decumano Sud, Diana Maria Bof, Ufficio Mantova e Sabbioneta – Patrimonio Mondiale Unesco
We had a special group of event co-ordinators across Italy led by Diletta Nicastro, author of the Italian Saga ‘Il mondo di Mauro & Lisi’, focussed on Unesco World Heritage sites. Two groups explored sites in Rome – the Scalinata Trinità dei Monti (Spanish Steps), Chiesa di San Giuseppe a Capo Le Case and the Piazza Esedra which they visited right before watching the new Star Wars movie. Another group led by a fan of the book series visited the local Christmas market in the Dolomites. In Mantova, the #makeheritagefun event was organized by Ufficio Mantova e Sabbioneta – Patrimonio Mondiale UNESCO in tandem with the opening of the new Mantova and Sabbioneta Heritage Center.
A detailed report (in Italian) is available here.
Coordinator – Niki Platia
Niki and her friends spent the evening walking in their favorite neighborhood in Athens while listening to the Jazz notes of street musicians playing in the shadow of Acropolis, with the view of the archaeological sites of the Roman Agora of Athens and the Tower of Winds (under restoration), and the Acropolis ruins above all! People in other parts of Europe (London, UK and Catalunya, Spain) also took part in the #makeheritagefun event by visiting local heritage sites.
City Event Reports from South East Asia
Coordinators – Shumail Hassan
Shumail and his friends gathered at the Pakistan Monument, Islamabad and then headed to the Laok Virsa Museum, where they attended a Heritage Exhibition of the Chitrali People. This was the first time we had Pakistani representation in a #makeheritagefun event and hope to see greater participation in the coming months!
Coordinators – Surbhi Anand, Tanya Chandel, Abhinav Chauhan, Amit Das, Fahad Farooq, Eshita Goyal, Eshita Sharma, Vandana Varma, Himani, Nashit
Delhi has always been one of the most well-attended #makeheritagefun events. Like in previous editions, the local coordinators did a great job identifying a heritage site, planning a fun educational activity, promoting the event, and ensuring everyone had a great day exploring Delhi’s local heritage – this time at Purana Qila. A treasure hunt was conducted across the 7 monuments within the complex and the three winners were given GoUNESCO certificates! Some of the coordinators were past, present and prospective interns from the evergrowing GoUNESCO student community.
Coordinators – Asha Gopinathan
Asha and her team decided to draw attention to the invisible urban heritage in Thiruvanathapuram – specifically the 135-year old Attakulangara School and the need to ensure its preservation. They planned a heritage hunt to educate locals about the history and significance of the school and the neighboring Chalai Bazaar. About 35 people participated – quite a large number for an early Sunday morning activity – and their event got quite a lot of local press coverage. Read reports about it in The New Indian Express and The Hindu.
Coordinators – Kushagra Anand
In Jammu, a group of heritage enthusiasts visited Mubarak Mandi, the seat of the Dogra Dynasty which was established in 1710.
Coordinators – Mansoor Ali, Ajay Reddy
In Bengaluru, about 10 Bangaloreans visited the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens to mark Gustav Krumbiegel’s 150th birth anniversary as well as to create awareness about the heritage structures associated with him in Lalbagh. The walk ended with local snacks at the famous MTR restaurant in Mavalli.
Coordinators – Vasundhara Kar
Vasundhara, a former GoUNESCO intern and conservator at The City Palace, Udaipur led her friends through a tour of the famous Udaipur City Palace and its neighboring school. The 400-year old City Palace is of course well known for its appearance in the 1983 James Bond movie – Octopussy.
City Event Reports from Africa
Coordinators – Merci Kimani, Towett Ng’etich
For the first time this December, the #makeheritagefun platform had participation from the African continent. Local heritage enthusiasts and students visited the Nairobi Railway Museum, located right next to the Nairobi Railway Station and explored all the historic locomotives on display.
Coordinators – Immaculee Katounke
Immaculee and her friends decided to explore Togo’s natural and intangible heritage. They visited a waterfall and then, watched a traditional dance performance in a village setting!
City Event Reports from the Americas
Mexico City, Mexico
Coordinator – Jacky Coriolis
Jacky, with support from scouts.org and Mensajeros de la Paz, planned a series of events in the historic center of Mexico City, at the Prehispanic City of Teotihuacan, at the Central University City Campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), at the Historic Monuments Zone of Queretaro, and at the Historic Centre of Oaxaca. Groups also explored intangible heritage such as festivities dedicated to the dead at San Andres Mixquic, and Cuetzalan.
Coordinator – Sandra Graus
Sandra and her students made a trip to Zaña, a village located on the north coast of Peru and was a very important city in the XVI century. The place was last visited by the Spaniards when they came to conquer the country. They made some beautiful religious buildings while they lived here, but in 1606 a devastating flood destroyed the entire city. Since that tragedy, Zaña lost its title of “principal city” and all the survivors moved to other places and its great buildings stayed in ruins. Now Zaña in spite of being a small place has these great ruins of the Church and the convent of “San Agustín”. The group explored the church’s Gothic domes and baroque facades, took a lot of pictures and ate some authentic local cuisine.
Co-ordinator – Oshane Robinson
Oshane did a ceremonial hike to the peak, paying homage to its inscription to the World Heritage Site List as the first Mixed World Heritage Site within the Caribbean, the group consisted of representatives from our Ministry of Youth and Culture, The Jamaica Heritage Trust, The Jamaica Forestry Department, students from the University of The West Indies Mona and the University of Technology, a couple from England who are volunteers with the Blue Mountain Foundation and members of the Japanese Embassy and the Japanese Peace Corps. They hiked all the way to the peak where the representative from the Japanese Embassy spoke on the importance of World Heritage and the importance of including the local communities to ensure the legacy of the past remains with us and can be handed down to future generations. Oshane spoke about the importance of heritage in identifying who we are as a people and encouraged everyone to visit at least one historical site each month. Being that the site is a mixed site and they were on the natural side of the declared property they had experts speaking about the importance of preserving the area.