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A monument is a type of - usually three-dimensional - structure that was explicitly created to commemorate a person or event, or which has become relevant to a social group as a part of their remembrance of historic times or cultural heritage, due to its artistic, historical, political, technical or architectural importance.
In more recent times, monumental structures such as the Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower have become iconic emblems of modern nation-states.
The term monumentality relates to the symbolic status and physical presence of a monument.
Examples of monuments include statues, (war) memorials, historical buildings, archeological sites, and cultural assets.
If there is a public interest in its preservation, a monument can for example be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Prehistoric tumuli, dolmens, and similar structures have been created in a large number of prehistoric cultures across the world, and the many forms of monumental tombs of the more wealthy and powerful members of a society are often the source of much of our information and art from those cultures.
As societies became organized on a larger scale, so monuments so large as to be difficult to destroy like the Egyptian Pyramids, the Greek Parthenon, the Great Wall of China, Indian Taj Mahal or the Moai of Easter Island have become symbols of their civilizations.
They can be used to educate the populace about important events or figures from the past, such as in the renaming of the old General Post Office Building in New York City to the James A.
A monument can be a language symbol for a unity of several monuments [...] or only for a single one, but in a broader sense it can also be used in nearly all knowable planes of being.
[...] What is considered a monument always depends on the importance it attributes to the prevailing or traditional consciousness of a specific historical and social situation.” Basically, the definition framework of the term monument depends on the current historical frame conditions.
Farley Building (James Farley Post Office), after former Postmaster General James Farley.
To fulfill its informative and educative functions a monument needs to be open to the public, which means that its spatial dimension as well as its content can be experienced by the public, and be sustainable.