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December 12/ 2004
- Press Releases

Text prepared by ICCROM for Tourist Guidebook
Guidelines for the Responsible Tourist

Cultural heritage is fragile property that can deteriorate both slowly and rapidly due to human and natural phenomena. Although this damage cannot be stopped completely, your behavior can help to delay this process. How can you contribute to the preservation of this patrimony for future generations?

Here are a few suggestions:

• Willingly accept certain bans (do not touch, do not photograph, do not run) or restrictions (the closing of certain places, obligatory routes, the presentation of art works by rotation, controlled number of visitors, etc.). These measures have not been taken to annoy you, but rather to limit the negative impact of crowds on places that are ancient and so much more fragile than they appear.

• Remember that every touch, and even the most innocent tiny shake becomes harmful when repeated by 1,000, 10,000, 100,000 people. Never think of a single action, but one that is repeated a thousand times for many days.

• During your visit, consider that you are walking on stones that are sometimes more than a thousand years old. Wear suitable shoes, and keep high heels and studded soles for another occasion.

• When you find yourself in a closed and crowded area, such as a tomb or a frescoed chapel, pay attention to your backpack: you could brush up against the walls and ruin the frescoes.

• Statues, monuments and ancients walls are not meant to be rock faces to scale. They have survived over the centuries and are old and fragile; they could crumble from the weight of your body. Avoid climbing on top of them to take photos or to be photographed.

• Although the desire to be immortal is an innate element of the human nature, resist the temptation to engrave your name or to express your feelings on columns, monuments, and the frescoes in the places you are visiting.

• Would you like to take home as a souvenir a piece of the mosaic you have admired so much? How many visitors with the same wish would it take before the mosaic disappeared forever?

• Whoever removes cultural property of any kind (a marble fragment, a small terracotta vase, a coin, etc.) open the channel to systematic theft and illicit trafficking of art works. Beware of buying objects of unknown origin and do not attempt to take them out of the country; in most countries you risk serious penalties.

• Historic and archaeological site are not dustbins, take your rubbish with you!

• Be respectful of the atmosphere of places that invite meditation and silence, by avoiding any noise pollution (shouts, honking, radios, cellular, phones, etc.)

The protection of our cultural heritage depends on each one of us, and concerns us all.


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