World Heritage Sites

The UNESCO World Heritage List includes more than a thousand properties of outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

World Heritage

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre is responsible for the World Heritage List. The first inscription was in 1978. Since then UNESCO has developed the criteria and added an average of 20-30 sites each year.

In 2021 it includes 1,154 sites in 167 “States Parties” (countries). A site is categorised as cultural heritage (897 sites), natural (218) or a mix of the two (39 sites).

On this page you will get to learn more about the heritage sites and where they are. Moreover, Sandalsand’s large collection comes on display. The reader will get a four-way path into this collection. First, on a map. Second, in a table. Third, in a video.

Last but not least, there are links to articles on Sandalsand which describe each visited site. 

 

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About the World Heritage Sites

Properties on the World Heritage List, must (a) be of outstanding universal value and (b) meet at least one of the ten selection criteria. There are six for cultural sites and four for natural sites.

 

Culture

(i) to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;

(ii) 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;

(iii) to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilisation which is living or which has disappeared;

(iv) 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;

(v) 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;

(vi) 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);

 

Nature

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

(viii) 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;

(ix) 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;

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

 

Some thoughts

Some sites have been removed from the list. There have been controversies between the WHC and a country relating to the future development of the site (like a particular bridge in Germany). Other removals have been obvious because the criteria are no longer met (such as the extinction of a particular bird in Oman).

UNESCO’s sign is found on many World Heritage Sites. The one pictured here is from Bryggen, in Bergen, Norway.

Bryggen, Bergen

With these cases in mind, one should note that the WHC operates a list of 52 properties in danger (2021). An inscription on the World Heritage List is generally regarded as an honorary tribute. It will also boost both commercial and preservation activities in or at the site.

Step one is to raise an awareness worldwide to the importance of preserving these sites for future generations. The next step is to do something about it, in other words to set up a conservation plan for the site. The final step is to live by it. These are very demanding tasks for all parties, and there are undoubtedly both economic and culture factors at play here.

Relative distribution of sites

When we look at the full site map, we immediately notice the prevalence of sites in Europe. Nonetheless, almost the entire world is covered. That is actually no little achievement for the world community.

The following illustrations follow the WHC categorisation of world regions and show the relative distribution of sites between them.

%

Arab States

%

Africa

%

Latin America and the Caribbean

%

Asia and the Pacific

%

Europe and North America

Sites on a map

Drag and zoom on the map below to find sites visited by Sandalsand in more detail. Click on a marker to reveal the name and open the article about it. You will find the same links further down this page.

Sites in a table

Here are the same sites in a table. Show more rows at a time, sort the table as you like, or search for a specific term. Click on a link to open that particular post. The year indicates Sandalsand’s first visit to the site.

Official Number and Title of SiteCountryVisit
#0002 - City of QuitoEcuador1987
#0020 - Ancient City of DamascusSyria1986
#0021 - Ancient City of AleppoSyria1986
#0023 - Site of PalmyraSyria1986
#0029 - Cracow's Historic CentrePoland2010
#0030 - Historic Centre of WarsawPoland2013
#0031 - Auschwitz Birkenau - German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945)Poland2010
#0032 - Wieliczka Salt MinePoland2010
#0055 - Røros Mining Town and the CircumferenceNorway1993
#0058 - Urnes Stave ChurchNorway2012
#0059 - BryggenNorway1993
#0080 - Mont-Saint-Michel and its BayFrance1991
#0083 - Palace and Park of VersaillesFrance1991
#0086 - Memphis and its Necropolis - the Pyramid Fields from Giza to DahshurEgypt2005
#0087 - Ancient Thebes with its NecropolisEgypt2005
#0089 - Historic CairoEgypt2005
#0091 - Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le MuraHoly See, Italy1991
#0093 - Santa Maria delle Grazie (Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci)Italy2013
#0095 - Old City of DubrovnikCroatia2006
#0121 - Kathmandu ValleyNepal2015
#0124 - Historic Town of Ouro PretoBrazil1987
#0131 - City of VallettaMalta2008
#0148 - Old City of Jerusalem and its WallsPalestina, Israel1986
#0169 - Würzburg Residence with the Court Gardens and Residence SquareGermany2002
#0174 - Historic Centre of FlorenceItaly1991
#0204 - Old Havana and its FortificationsCuba2003
#0217 - Ancient City of NessebarBulgaria2010
#0228 - Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon BridgeFrance1991
#0232 - Humayun's Tomb, DelhiIndia2017
#0233 - Qutb Minar and its Monuments, DelhiIndia2017
#0247 - Hill Forts of RajasthanIndia2017
#0251 - Agra FortIndia2017
#0252 - Taj MahalIndia2017
#0255 - Fatehpur SikriIndia2017
#0260 - Sangay National ParkEcuador1987
#0263 - Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in LisbonPortugal2013
#0264 - Monastery of BatalhaPortugal2013
#0267 - Old City of BerneSwitzerland2002
#0271 - Pilgrimage Church of WiesGermany2002
#0272 - Hanseatic City of LübeckGermany1991
#0273 - City of CuzcoPeru1987
#0274 - Historic Sanctuary of Machu PicchuPeru1987
#0284 - Chitwan National ParkNepal2015
#0286 - Vatican CityHoly See1991
#0292 - Cologne CathedralGermany1990
#0300 - Historic District of Old QuébecCanada2016
#0307 - Statue of LibertyUnited States of America2015
#0313 - Historic Centre of CórdobaSpain2012
#0314 - Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzí­n, GranadaSpain2012
#0320 - Works of Antoni Gaudí­Spain2007
#0326 - PetraJordan1986
#0344 - Pont du Gard (Roman Aqueduct)France1991
#0351 - Painted Churches in the Troodos RegionCyprus2014
#0352 - Rock Art of AltaNorway2020
#0356 - Historic Areas of IstanbulTurkey1986
#0357 - Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of CappadociaTurkey1986
#0361 - Historic Centre of ÉvoraPortugal2013
#0369 - Giant's Causeway and Causeway CoastUnited Kingdom1994
#0373 - Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated SitesUnited Kingdom2005
#0383 - Cathedral, Alcazar and Archivo de Indias in SevilleSpain2012
#0394 - Venice and its LagoonItaly1991
#0395 - Piazza del Duomo, PisaItaly1991
#0400 - Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrassy AvenueHungary1990
#0426 - Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and Saint Margaret's ChurchUnited Kingdom1976
#0428 - City of BathUnited Kingdom2005
#0430 - Frontiers of the Roman EmpireUnited Kingdom, Germany2005
#0438 - The Great WallChina1985
#0439 - Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and ShenyangChina1985
#0441 - Mausoleum of the First Qin EmperorChina1985
#0460 - Trinidad and the Valley de los IngeniosCuba2003
#0479 - Town of Luang PrabangLaos2009
#0485 - Hierapolis-PamukkaleTurkey1992
#0488 - Tower of LondonUnited Kingdom1976
#0495 - Strasbourg - Grande ÎleFrance1991
#0500 - Historic Centre of LimaPeru1987
#0505 - Monastery of AlcobacaPortugal2013
#0509 - Mosi-oa-Tunya / Victoria Falls
Zambia, Zimbabwe2018
#0522 - Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Ubeda and BaezaSpain2012
#0527 – Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kiev-Pechersk LavraUkraine2018
#0532 - Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and BerlinGermany1990
#0541 - Vilnius Historic CentreLithuania2013
#0543 - Itchan KalaUzbekistan2014
#0545 - Kremlin and Red Square, MoscowRussia2011
#0550 - Historic Centre of San GimignanoItaly2007
#0558 - SkogskyrkogårdenSweden2014
#0559 - Royal Domain of DrottningholmSweden2016
#0576 - Historic City of AyutthayaThailand2015
#0583 - Fortress of SuomenlinnaFinland2018
#0600 - Paris, Banks of the SeineFrance1991
#0601 - Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint-Rémi and Palace of Tau, ReimsFrance2001
#0602 - Historic Centre of BukharaUzbekistan2014
#0603 - Samarkand - Crossroad of CulturesUzbekistan2014
#0616 - Historic Centre of PragueCzech Republic1990
#0617 - Historic Centre of Cesky KrumlovCzech Republic1990
#0623 - Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management SystemGermany2002
#0625 - Mir Castle ComplexBelarus2018
#0657 - Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra in Sergiev PosadRussia2011
#0668 - AngkorCambodia2009
#0688 - Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)Japan1985
#0696 - Kronborg Castle (Kronborg Slot)Denmark2012
#0707 - Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, LhasaChina1985
#0717 - Historic Centre of SienaItaly1991
#0722 - Rice Terraces of the Philippine CordillerasPhilippines1985
#0723 - Cultural Landscape of SintraPortugal2013
#0730 - Crespi d'AddaItaly2013
#0738 - Jongmyo ShrineSouth Korea2019
#0754 - Lake BaikalRussia2011
#0755 - Historic Centre of OportoPortugal2013
#0775 - Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome)Japan1985
#0784 - Historic Centre of the City of SalzburgAustria1990
#0786 - Palace and Gardens of SchönbrunnAustria1990
#0789 - Historic Centre of the City of PienzaItaly2017
#0795 - Maritime GreenwichUnited Kingdom1979
#0816 - Changdeokgung Palace ComplexSouth Korea2019
#0822 - Historic Centre (Old Town) of TallinnEstonia2013
#0840 - Vinales ValleyCuba2003
#0846 - Classical WeimarGermany1990
#0847 - Castle of the Teutonic Order in MalborkPoland2017
#0852 - Historic Centre of RigaLatvia2013
#0855 - Flemish BéguinagesBelgium2017
#0857 - La Grand-Place, BrusselsBelgium1990
#0880 - Summer Palace, an Imperial Garden in BeijingChina1985
#0881 - Temple of Heaven: an Imperial Sacrificial Altar in BeijingChina1985
#0885 - Historic Centre of ShakhrisyabzUzbekistan2014
#0896 - Museumsinsel (Museum Island), BerlinGermany1990
#0933 - The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and ChalonnesFrance1991
#0934 - Laurisilva of MadeiraPortugal1994
#0943 - Belfries of Belgium and FranceBelgium2017
#0946 - Old Bridge Area of the Old City of MostarBosnia and Herzegovina2006
#0959 - Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of ValparaisoChile1988
#0971 - Churches of ChiloéChile1988
#0973 - Bardejov Town Conservation ReserveSlovakia1990
#0990 - Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco and Other Franciscan SitesItaly2017
#0996 - Historic Centre of BruggeBelgium2017
#0998 - Central Amazon Conservation ComplexBrazil1987
#1004 - Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing DynastiesChina1985
#1005 - Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (Brussels)Belgium2017
#1018 - EphesusTurkey1986
#1026 - Val d'OrciaItaly1991
#1033 - Historic Centre of ViennaAustria1990
#1046 - Alto Douro Wine RegionPortugal2013
#1066 - Upper Middle Rhine ValleyGermany2002
#1067 - Historic Centres of Stralsund and WismarGermany1990
#1097 - Ensemble of the Novodevichy ConventRussia2011
#1100 - Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the SeaBrazil1987
#1110 - Historic Centre of MacaoChina1985
#1150 - Liverpool - Maritime Mercantile CityUnited Kingdom2010
#1152 - Thingvellir National ParkIceland2016
#1187 - Struve Geodetic ArcBelarus, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Sweden, Ukraine2020
#1195 - West Norwegian Fjords - Geirangerfjord and NærøyfjordNorway1993
#1196 – Architectural, Residential and Cultural Complex of the Radziwill Family at Nesvizh
Belarus2018
#1202 - Urban Historic Centre of CienfuegosCuba2003
#1221 - Rideau CanalCanada2016
#1229 - Crac des Chevaliers and Qal'at Salah El-DinSyria1986
#1230 - Sulaiman-Too Sacred MountainKyrgyzstan2014
#1239 - Berlin Modernism Housing EstatesGermany2020
#1240 - Stari Grad PlainCroatia2006
#1245 - San Marino Historic Centre and Mount TitanoSan Marino2007
#1248 - South China KarstChina1985
#1270 - Historic Centre of CamagüeyCuba2003
#1278 - Historic Monuments and Sites in KaesongNorth Korea2019
#1298 - Stoclet HouseBelgium2017
#1308 - Paraty and Ilha Grande – Culture and BiodiversityBrazil1987
#1319 - Royal Tombs of the Joseon DynastySouth Korea2019
#1338 - The Jantar Mantar, JaipurIndia2017
#1349 - Seventeenth-century canal ring area of Amsterdam inside the SingelgrachtNetherlands1998
#1387 - University of Coimbra - Alta and SofiaPortugal2013
#1427 - Mount EtnaItaly2008
#1430 - Namib Sand SeaNamibia2018
#1432 - Okavango Delta Botswana2018
#1433 - Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, BethlehemPalestina1986
#1433 - The Grand CanalChina2011
#1452 - Bursa and Cumalikisik, the Birth of the Ottoman EmpireTurkey1986
#1457 - Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural LandscapeTurkey1986
#1486 - Rjukan-Notodden Industrial Heritage SiteNorway1996
#1588 - BaganMyanmar2013
#1605 - Jaipur City, RajasthanIndia2017

Sites on YouTube

Watch this Youtube playlist with 73 videos from heritage sites.

Sites in 61 countries

It could be that “heritage tourism” is spreading along with the eco-tourism trend. Sandalsand has only in later years become conscious of it.

It was never my idea to become a collector of heritage sites, but I have nonetheless been to a large number. In recent years I have become more intent to visit a “world heritage” when I travel in a country or region. I suppose that may be one of the purposes of such an official list in the first place.

In any case, I am not satisfied that I visited the pleasant town of Weimar in Germany without exploring the examples of Bauhaus architecture. Likewise, I went to the town of Pécs in Hungary without a look at the Early Christian Necropolis. (To my possible excuse: Neither of them was on the List at the time of my visit.)

Sandalsand’s list is a representative summary of UNESCO’s. It covers the world and the majority are in Europe. Also, it features sites in both (all) categories: 161 cultural, 12 natural, and 4 combined sites.

Read about each site in a separate article. It includes:

  • The official and my personal descriptions of the site
  • A link to the official UNESCO web page
  • My photographs or video
  • A link to the article(s) describing the context of my visit(s)

The articles offer short introductions to fabulous destinations around the world. Enjoy!

 

Here they are, all World Heritage Sites visited by Sandalsand. You will find the most recent first. In my view, they are all lovely destinations.

It is not down in any map; true places never are. (Herman Melville)

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