Wed | May 25, 2016

Port Royal nominated for world heritage list

Published:Monday | April 18, 2011 | 12:00 AM
The remnants of Fort Charles in Port Royal. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

JAMAICA JOINS the rest of the world in marking today as the International Day for Monuments and Sites.

The day has been celebrated since 1982 when it was first adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The theme for this year is the 'Cultural Heritage of Water'.

The Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) has invited Jamaicans to reflect on the importance of this day and the importance of preserving our heritage resources.

JNHT said our bodies of water have played an integral role in development. This, the organisation, said could be seen from the growth of early Taino villages along the banks of rivers and the sea coast, to the development of Port Royal as a major transshipment point in the 17th century.


"Many of our ancestors came here by ships and landed at various ports across the island that were built to facilitate transportation." said JNHT.

In observing this year's theme, the International Council On Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) has noted that water "has also been the catalyst for the development of significant cultural practices, which have generated intangible cultural heritage values. It has inspired poetry, literature, artistic endeavour such as painting, dance and sculpture. It has informed and inspired the development of philosophies and religious practices."

The observation of International Day for Monuments and Sites was first proposed by ICOMOS, which is an international non-governmental organisation of professionals, dedicated to the conservation of the world's historic monuments and sites.

cultural heritage

ICOMOS explains that "each year a theme is selected to help focus the celebration and promotion of cultural heritage across the world."

JNHT said Jamaica has been blessed with a number of resources and it is working to protect them for future generations.

The organisation said the underwater city of Port Royal is now being submitted for nomination on the world heritage list.

When the 1692 earthquake struck, 13 acres of the bustling city were submerged. Archaeological excavations have yielded an immense amount of materials that inform us as to what life was like in the 17th century.

JNHT said there were several opportunities which arise from Port Royal being a part of this world heritage list. They include: prestige and world recognition; increased tourism visits to the site; improved business opportunities for local community.