World Heritage Sites UNESCO

heritage includes....

the features belonging to the culture of a particular society, for example: traditions, language, buildings..

After the Second World War, it became increasingly apparent that world heritage was under threat.

OUTSTANDING, IRREPLACEABLE, UNIQUE sites of UNIVERSAL VALUE were subject to destruction due to decay, social and economic change.

Aswan Dam and Abu Simbel

The destruction of such heritage would constitute serious impoverishment to future generations and mankind as a whole.

For these reasons, on November 17 1972, UNESCO adopted a convention to ensure the survival of such sites by ensuring:



provision of resources

diffusion of knowledge

fostering intervention

The World Heritage Committee was set up to compile and update a list of properties of outstanding value to be protected under the Convention.


Today there are 167 States parties, 1073 sites of which 832 are cultural, 206 are natural and 35 are mixed.

where are the sites located?

Which country has the largest number of WHS?


The Criteria for Selection

To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria.

These criteria are explained in the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention which, besides the text of the Convention, is the main working tool on World Heritage.

Until the end of 2004, World Heritage sites were selected on the basis of six cultural and four natural criteria. With the adoption of the revised Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, only one set of ten criteria exists.

Selection criteria


to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;


to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;


to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;


to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;


to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;


to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria);


to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;


to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;


to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;


to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

Success stories....


The Old City of Dubrovnik in Croatia The ‘pearl of the Adriatic’, dotted with beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings had withstood the passage of centuries and survived several earthquakes. In November and December 1991, when seriously damaged by artillery fire, the city was immediately included on the List of World Heritage in Danger. With UNESCO providing technical advice and financial assistance, the Croatian Government restored the facades of the Franciscan and Dominican cloisters, repaired roofs and rebuilt palaces. As a result, in December 1998, it became possible to remove the city from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Wielickza salt mine

The Wieliczka Salt Mine, near Cracow in Poland This property was inscribed in 1978 as one of the first twelve World Heritage sites. This great mine has been actively worked since the 13th century. Its 300 kilometres of galleries contain famous works of art with altars and statues sculpted in salt, all of which were seriously threatened by humidity due to the introduction of artificial ventilation at the end of the 19th century. The site was placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1989. During nine years of joint efforts by both Poland and the international community, an efficient dehumidifying system was installed, and the Committee, at its session in December 1998, had the satisfaction of removing the site from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Properties are still threatened by natural disasters and human activitiesWatch the BBC news item and answer the questions:

Watch the BBC news item and answer the questions:

  1. Which two human activities threaten the Great Barrier Reef?
  2. Why is the Grand Canyon under threat?
  3. What percentage of the world's surface is comprised of World Heritage sites?
  4. Which other human activities endanger World Heritage sites?


Created with images by lapping - "brihadishvara temple thanjavur" • lapping - "brihadishvara temple thanjavur" • auntmasako - "egypt aswan abu simbel" • opencontent - "UNESCO World Heritage Logo" • TeroVesalainen - "question mark why problem" • TyB - "Tomb Of The Diver, Paestum" • fjaka - "dubrovnik croatia kings landing" • James St. John - "Rock salt (halitite) (Klodawa Salt Dome, Zechstein Formation, Upper Permian; Klodawa Salt Mine, central Poland) 1" • ThoroughlyReviewed - "Vision Dream Success Accomplish - Must Link to https://thoroughlyreviewed.com" • exfordy - "Modern miners' electric train" • APHKPHOTOGRAPHY - "myanmar burma asia" • tanfelisa - "Stonehenge" • Free-Photos - "grand canyon majestic sky" • david.orban - "Paleochristian mosaic in Aquileia" • luisaferretti81 - "rocca calascio san marino castle"

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