World Heritage Day

The Western Isles is blessed with St Kilda, Falkirk with the Antonine Wall and Lanark has its New Lanark site.

These are special places and it’s not just local residents who think so.

Sites like these are special on a global level, having being recognised as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

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Their universal appeal and value is deemed as outstanding as they are a lasting reflection of life past and present.

“Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today and what we pass on to future generations,” said a UNESCO spokesman.

“Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.”

World Heritage Day is marked each year on April 18.

It gives people around the globe a chance to re-new their interest and appreciation in the cultural and natural gems on their doorstep.

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In Scotland there are just six sites which hold World Heritage Status – St Kilda, Antonine Wall, the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, New Lanark, The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh and the Forth Bridge.

And this unique half dozen will be celebrated at a day of fun and free activities at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh on April 18 when Scotland’s World Heritage sites will be brought to life.

Each of the six sites will have its own stall so that members of the public can learn more about them.

Visitors will be able to handle replica Neolithic and Roman artefacts, dress up as a 19th century mill worker from New Lanark or take part in a range of craft activities – from making a Roman sword to building a St Kilda mailboat.

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There will be a World Heritage Site trail for visitors to follow through the Museum, exploring the displays to find amazing artefacts from all the sites.

Lesley Macinnes, head of the world heritage team at Historic Environment Scotland, said: “Scotland’s World Heritage Sites span thousands of years and thousands of miles.

“But you’re never more than a few hours from a place of worldwide significance in our country.

“This event at the National Museum of Scotland offers tasters of each site to enable visitors to plan their own trips to explore them.”

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A new addition this year will be a Scottish Ten stall, where the digital team will demonstrate how they’re using cutting edge 3D technology to create digital models of, and learning products for, each of the sites.

Although the data collected is primarily used as a conservation tool, the information can also be utilised for computer games and apps to design a highly accurate representation of the landscape.

The new app is being developed using augmented reality technology to allow visitors to truly explore the Antonine Wall.

Visitors to the National Museum will also have a chance to put on virtual reality glasses and try out some of the technology.

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Lesley added: “World Heritage sites are places or buildings which, by definition, represent the most significant examples of the globe’s cultural or natural heritage.

“We are very fortunate in Scotland to have six sites which qualify for this status.

World Heritage Day provides an opportunity for people to get together on one day of the year, to celebrate and learn more about these unique sites which span thousands of years and as many miles.

Lesley added: “I would encourage everybody to come along and enjoy our free, interactive events.”

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Melissa Reilly, New Lanark Trust marketing officer, said: “As one of Scotland’s six World Heritage Sites, New Lanark is proud to once again be taking part in the World Heritage Day celebrations on April 18.

“We are always keen to share the story of New Lanark and let as many people as possible know about the fascinating history of our unique village.”

The World Heritage Day event at the National Museum of Scotland will run from 11am to 4pm on April 18 and entry is free and non-ticketed.

Pictured is St Kilda village, the residents of the Island were evacuated in August 1930.