Landmarks refer to any natural or man-made structures that are recognized by the public of a particular place or city. They are considered to be as important as the orientation and planning of a city. When a person visits a city for the first time, they tend to map the city through these Landmarks. It is the only element that makes the city memorable for a person. It can be any character of the building/element that makes it as a Landmark, say: The color, Orientation of openings, Location of the Building, Function or any event that has happened in it. A city without Landmarks can hardly be seen because they create a new language for the city. Whenever a city is named, our mind automatically tends to think of certain Landmarks. For example:
Eiffel Tower – Paris
The great wall of China – China
Taj Mahal – India and so on.
Human memory adapts itself to new places and regularly creates mental images, it helps them in making decision of spatial aspects, to find the shortest route from work, and navigate a safe route when it is dark, a site for a new house or business, and it also helps in making decision while going on a vacation. It is not something which is constant, it keeps changing in accordance with time, age and environment.
Landmark helps in creating such a mental representation of the place and connects them with the mind of people. A city always grows by recreating its spatial planning as well as the infrastructures residing in it. The characteristics and importance of landmarks are well described in ‘The image of the city’ book by Kevin Lynch. In which, the pros and cons of a good example of a city’s landmarks are well explained. Lynch has introduced new methods to study a city through a few processes such as mental mapping, wayfinding, etc., for which landmarks are the key element. The five important elements which help in creating an image of the city.
Landmarks can be classified into :
- Geological and Meteorological Landmarks
- Biological Landmarks
- Man-made Landmarks
Geological and Meteorological landmarks: These are landmarks that are formed by geological, meteorological and astronomical matters.
Biological landmarks: These are formed by other living creatures on Earth except man.
Man-made landmarks: Landmarks that are created or built by man are referred to as Man-made ones. These are usually tangible elements that are located in a site of intangible heritage.
TRICHY – Hub of Culture and Tradition
Trichy which was formerly called ‘Trichinopoly’ is a city with a variety of Landmarks that are remembered by the public to date. This city is located almost at the geographic center of Tamilnadu. This city is a home of a number of temples including Rockford, Erumbeeswarar, Srirangam, Thiruvanaikaval, etc., Each temple with its own unique architectural character stands out to be a wonderful landmark among the public.
While talking about the important landmarks and buildings of this city, there is a certain history that has made the place a strong landmark even today. Landmarks can be both experiential and aesthetical. One such experiential landmark in Trichy is the Gandhi market, which has been a place of trade and chaos for a long time. It is not only a functional vegetable market but it also carries the day-to-day life of every worker. There are various shops, temples, and small structures that have made the place a strong landmark. These factors were surveyed and documented to find out what has made each place a landmark for the public. The commonly mentioned factors were the small petty shops of sweets and other eatables, religious structures – Temples, mosques and churches, and other places that enhanced the sensory aspect of the public.
These places, irrespective of their sizes, have created a strong mental image among the public, and it is impossible to imagine Gandhi market or Trichy without these places.
Usually, when people visit a place for the first time or for the nth time, they make reference and make a psychological mapping so that they reach their destination on time. It can be their daily route from their work to home or home to work or to any other place. One such mapping was done for Gandhi market mapping some major buildings which are located at the closest proximity to it.
A landmark may not only be a historic structure it can also be a recent creation by man such as theatre, recreational space, social gatherings, etc., It helps people to connect themselves with the city. Even, a city’s skyline seen from a particular place can create a strong impact. A landmark is something that can either be built or be made depending on its characters and functions. It enriches and enhances the Urban quality of a city. Although planning and architectural factors play a vital role in an urban context, the landmarks also have an equal role to play. Hence, a city is well perceived and remembered by the landmarks it has.