Definition: UNESCO World Heritage List


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972. 

World Heritage is the designation for places on Earth that have been added to the World Heritage List to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. In 2010, the World Heritage List included 911 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage. These include 704 cultural, 180 natural and 27 mixed properties in 151 States Parties. Places on the World Heritage List are unique and diverse. 

Cultural heritage refers to monuments, groups of buildings and sites with historical, aesthetic, archaeological, scientific, ethnological or anthropological value. The sites on the cultural heritage list include cities, mosques, temples, churches, palaces, historic centres, granaries and many more.
Eurostat, "Cultural Statistics", Edition 2011, Eurostat Pocketbooks, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2011

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