As this semester approached I was not sure what to expect coming into this class. When I initially signed up for this class I looked up the definition online of World Heritage, “A natural or man-made site, area, or structure recognized as being of outstanding international importance and therefore as deserving special protection. Sites are nominated to and designated by the World Heritage Convention (an organization of UNESCO).” As I read this brief definition of World Heritage I found that this would be something very interesting to learn about. We are constantly surrounded by buildings such as the Great Wall of China and the statue of liberty though we fail to realize there beauty and attributes as much as we should which is why the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization was created to ensure that we do know the places that are of great importance naturally or culturally throughout the globe. As these sites are then enlisted as a World Heritage site it allows the sites to be managed and ensure nothing will disrupt its outstanding universal value.
However, before I began taking this course I had no idea UNESCO even existed. I would assume something like that would exist though I was never aware of what or where it is. Personally I believe that UNESCO should express the site more vocally and display it more often. I feel as though World Heritage, in a way, is shadowed behind other events such as Disneyland and if it is broadcasted it seems not as interesting as other subjects (which I disagree with).
One of my favorite subjects after learning about the various sites this semester would definitely be Mark Twain’s hometown, Hannibal. What I find so fascinating about this is how this entire town is based single-mindedly on false heritage. People go there and of course there is outstanding universal, though, there is no real authenticity within this site. Hannibal was created by the town folk as a way to represent Mark Twain’s stories and in a way bring to light the town and shadow it away from its other past events such as slavery. Which is why this town is not a world heritage site, for the simple fact of its lack of authenticity and its overall false image.
Overall this semester was very interesting to learn about world heritage. I am thankful for taking this class because now I have a new outlook on the way I look at world heritage sites and I can figure out why exactly it became a world heritage site now knowing about UNESCO.