World Heritage Site


October 20, 2021

World Heritage Site is the official name of the areas registered in the World Heritage List, or in its English sense World Heritage List, of the World Heritage Convention. The Convention, adopted by the UNESCO General Conference on November 16, 1972, aims to identify and maintain the list of those sites that represent particularities of exceptional importance from a cultural or natural point of view. The Convention Committee, called the World Heritage Committee, has developed precise criteria for the inclusion of sites on the list.According to the latest update made at the meeting of the 44th World Heritage Committee in July 2021, the The list is made up of a total of 1153 sites (of which 896 cultural, 218 natural and 39 mixed) present in 167 countries around the world. As of 2021, Italy is the country with the most UNESCO sites in the world (58 sites), followed by China (56 sites) and Germany (51 sites).

Distribution of the World Heritage Sites


Since 1992 another list has been added to the main list, known as the World Memory Register, which contains the documentary collections of universal interest. As of October 2015, it includes 348 registered heritages (between individual assets and documentary complexes), distributed in 81 countries. In 1997 the concept of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity was also defined, a proclamation of intangible cultural masterpieces. In 2001, the concept of the submerged heritage of humanity also saw the light, but at the moment it has only been ratified by 14 countries. Within the work of UNESCO, the MAB program, Man and the Biosphere, has among its tasks that of identifying areas of particular environmental value and with peculiar anthropic characteristics to which the qualification of biosphere reserve is given. However, the MAB program is not formally party to the World Heritage Convention. As of 2013, the European Union has a total of 367 world heritage sites.

List of World Heritage Sites

Nominations to the World Heritage List

World Heritage Sites in Danger

Cross-border assets

UNESCO considers the possibility of recognizing sites whose extension crosses the borders of the States, therefore called cross-border. In the case, for example, of the ancient primordial beech forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe, the heritage includes sites in 18 states, while in that of the geodetic arch of Struve the heritage extends into 10 states (at the creation of the arch , 1816-1855, were only two; they increased following the political events of Scandinavia, the Russian Empire and the Soviet state). The nation that has the most cross-border sites is Italy (6), while Italy and Switzerland have the most in common (3).

Breakdown of UNESCO heritage by country

Selection criteria

Until the end of 2004, there were six criteria for cultural heritage and four criteria for natural heritage. In 2005 this was changed so that there is only one set of ten criteria. Designated sites must be of "outstanding universal value" and meet at least one of the ten criteria. Since 1992, interactions between man and the environment have been recognized as cultural landscapes.

Cultural criteria

(I) Representing a masterpiece of human creative genius. (II) Witness a considerable cultural change in a given period in both archaeological and architectural, technological, artistic or landscape fields. (III) Bringing unique or exceptional testimony to a cultural or civilization tradition. (IV) To offer a prominent example of a type of architectural or landscape or technological construction illustrating one of the periods in human history. (V) Be a prominent example of human interaction with the environment

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