Following Rob Wilson's post about unacceptable behaviour at WHS ("A Total Lack of Respect") I was led to consider the things I have done at WHS which are no longer allowed (there may be more but, unless I have been back to a site I probably wouldn't know). Perhaps I shouldn't publicize some of these and, hopefully, none of them will be considered equivalent to scratching graffiti on a monument – most were perfectly "acceptable" when done, but they do show how the growth of mass tourism has forced changes in the regime for controlling visitors.
I suspect that most of the other posters on this forum are too young to have seen such changes within their travelling life time but some of you might have seen some examples yourselves to share with us. In any case use these as an indication that even today's regimes are likely to have to change as tourist numbers continue to spiral. I fear what visiting many WHS is going to be like in another 10-20 years as the middle classes in China and India increase and use their wealth to travel in large numbers. No doubt the pressure of crowds, ever more stringent "health and safety" regulations, increased sensitivity to local traditions/preservation requirements and the fears of terrorism etc will result in yet more limitations as to where one can go and what one can do. The lesson, as always, is GO WHILE YOU CAN! Indeed I am often very thankful that I visited so many of today's WHS before mass tourism was a significant factor in their management. I certainly don't believe that any of the following actions caused permanent damage/hurt in those far off days and, on most of the listed occasions, I remember relatively few (or even zero) other visitors around
a. Climbing to the top of Khufu's Pyramid (1978). Not really allowed then but poorly policed.
b. Sitting on the Intihuatana stone ('Hitching Post of the Sun') Machu Picchu (1973). There was no rope around it then and it was regarded as "perfectly acceptable"
c. Sitting on a Sarsen stone at Stonehenge (1959). No fence or entrance fee in those days.
d. Visiting the Crown (and Torch? – I think so but can't be absolutely sure if that was just a dream!) of the Statue of Liberty (1963). Closed now for security and crowd control.
e. Climbing Uluru (1981) - still allowed today but "frowned upon" because of tribal sensibilities. In those days the main disincentive was provided by the number of memorial plaques to those who had lost their lives whilst doing it and the place was still called "Ayers Rock"!
f. Taking flash photos in the Tombs of the Nobles - Thebes (1978). And all the other tombs too but the Tombs of the Nobles were particularly unsupervised – usually with a couple of ghaffirs each holding a "mirror" to provide light down to the bottom of the steps.
g. Walking across the very top tier of the Pont du Gard (1959)
h. Visiting (as a non-Muslim) the Dome of the Rock (1964 – when Jerusalem was in Jordan)
i. Staying overnight in a tomb/cave at Petra (1964). No entry barrier or fee to enter.
j. Spending at least an hour in a Pharaonic tomb in the Valley of the Kings, Thebes (1978) - now limited to 5 minutes!
k. Walking on the flat roof of the National Congress Building Brasilia (1980) – security was much stricter by 1999.
l. Climbing to the top of the Pyramid of the Magician, Uxmal and El Castillo, Chitzen Itza (1985). Now both forbidden.
m. Wandering the Alhambra and Nasrid Palace without any "time restrictions" (1977). Now tickets are time stamped for specific "windows"