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.

It includes 1,199 sites in 168 “States Parties” (countries). A site is categorised as cultural heritage (933 sites), natural (227) 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.

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

The featured illustration with intricate carvings, is a detail from the Monastery of Batalha, Portugal.









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.


(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);


(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 also 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 56 properties in danger (2023). 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. The basis of these number are all WHC sites.


Arab States




Latin America and the Caribbean


Asia and the Pacific


Europe and North America

Sites on YouTube

Watch this Youtube playlist with 73 videos from heritage sites.

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. Find all WHC sites on another Sandalsand map.

I have had my doubts what to do with Liverpool. It was once a World Heritage Site, but was delisted by UNESCO following a controversy with the city authorities. It is my hope it will be re-enlisted some time in the near future, so I have kept the article. However, I removed it from this map as well as from the table below.

Sites in a table

Here are the same sites in a table but with less information compared to the map markers above. 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. 

Official Number and Title of SiteCountry
#0002 - City of QuitoEcuador
#0020 - Ancient City of DamascusSyria
#0021 - Ancient City of AleppoSyria
#0023 - Site of PalmyraSyria
#0029 - Cracow's Historic CentrePoland
#0030 - Historic Centre of WarsawPoland
#0031 - Auschwitz Birkenau - German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945)Poland
#0032 - Wieliczka Salt MinePoland
#0055 - Røros Mining Town and the CircumferenceNorway
#0058 - Urnes Stave ChurchNorway
#0059 - BryggenNorway
#0080 - Mont-Saint-Michel and its BayFrance
#0083 - Palace and Park of VersaillesFrance
#0086 - Memphis and its Necropolis - the Pyramid Fields from Giza to DahshurEgypt
#0087 - Ancient Thebes with its NecropolisEgypt
#0089 - Historic CairoEgypt
#0091 - Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le MuraHoly See, Italy
#0093 - Santa Maria delle Grazie (Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci)Italy
#0095 - Old City of DubrovnikCroatia
#0121 - Kathmandu ValleyNepal
#0124 - Historic Town of Ouro PretoBrazil
#0131 - City of VallettaMalta
#0148 - Old City of Jerusalem and its WallsPalestina, Israel
#0169 - Würzburg Residence with the Court Gardens and Residence SquareGermany
#0174 - Historic Centre of FlorenceItaly
#0204 - Old Havana and its FortificationsCuba
#0217 - Ancient City of NessebarBulgaria
#0228 - Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon BridgeFrance
#0232 - Humayun's Tomb, DelhiIndia
#0233 - Qutb Minar and its Monuments, DelhiIndia
#0247 - Hill Forts of RajasthanIndia
#0251 - Agra FortIndia
#0252 - Taj MahalIndia
#0255 - Fatehpur SikriIndia
#0260 - Sangay National ParkEcuador
#0263 - Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in LisbonPortugal
#0264 - Monastery of BatalhaPortugal
#0267 - Old City of BerneSwitzerland
#0271 - Pilgrimage Church of WiesGermany
#0272 - Hanseatic City of LübeckGermany
#0273 - City of CuzcoPeru
#0274 - Historic Sanctuary of Machu PicchuPeru
#0284 - Chitwan National ParkNepal
#0286 - Vatican CityHoly See
#0292 - Cologne CathedralGermany
#0300 - Historic District of Old QuébecCanada
#0307 - Statue of LibertyUnited States of America
#0313 - Historic Centre of CórdobaSpain
#0314 - Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzí­n, GranadaSpain
#0320 - Works of Antoni Gaudí­Spain
#0326 - PetraJordan
#0344 - Pont du Gard (Roman Aqueduct)France
#0351 - Painted Churches in the Troodos RegionCyprus
#0352 - Rock Art of AltaNorway
#0356 - Historic Areas of IstanbulTürkiye
#0357 - Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of CappadociaTürkiye
#0361 - Historic Centre of ÉvoraPortugal
#0367 - Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St Peter and Church of Our Lady in TrierGermany
#0369 - Giant's Causeway and Causeway CoastUnited Kingdom
#0373 - Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated SitesUnited Kingdom
#0383 - Cathedral, Alcazar and Archivo de Indias in SevilleSpain
#0392 - Temple of Apollo Epicurius at BassaeGreece
#0393 - Archaeological Site of DelphiGreece
#0394 - Venice and its LagoonItaly
#0395 - Piazza del Duomo, PisaItaly
#0400 - Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrassy AvenueHungary
#0404 - Acropolis, AthensGreece
#0426 - Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and Saint Margaret's ChurchUnited Kingdom
#0428 - City of BathUnited Kingdom
#0430 - Frontiers of the Roman EmpireUnited Kingdom, Germany
#0438 - The Great WallChina
#0439 - Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and ShenyangChina
#0441 - Mausoleum of the First Qin EmperorChina
#0455 - Meteora
#0460 - Trinidad and the Valley de los IngeniosCuba
#0479 - Town of Luang PrabangLaos
#0485 - Hierapolis-PamukkaleTürkiye
#0488 - Tower of LondonUnited Kingdom
#0491 - Sanctuary of Asklepios at EpidaurusGreece
#0495 - Strasbourg - Grande îleFrance
#0500 - Historic Centre of LimaPeru
#0505 - Monastery of AlcobacaPortugal
#0509 - Mosi-oa-Tunya / Victoria FallsZambia, Zimbabwe
#0511 - Archaeological Site of MystrasGreece
#0517 - Archaeological Site of OlympiaGreece
#0522 - Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Ubeda and BaezaSpain
#0527 - Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kiev-Pechersk LavraUkraine
#0532 - Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and BerlinGermany
#0537 - Monasteries of Daphni, Hosios Loukas and Nea Moni of ChiosGreece
#0541 - Vilnius Historic CentreLithuania
#0543 - Itchan KalaUzbekistan
#0545 - Kremlin and Red Square, MoscowRussia
#0550 - Historic Centre of San GimignanoItaly
#0558 - SkogskyrkogårdenSweden
#0559 - Royal Domain of DrottningholmSweden
#0576 - Historic City of AyutthayaThailand
#0583 - Fortress of SuomenlinnaFinland
#0600 - Paris, Banks of the SeineFrance
#0601 - Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint-Rémi and Palace of Tau, ReimsFrance
#0602 - Historic Centre of BukharaUzbekistan
#0603 - Samarkand - Crossroad of CulturesUzbekistan
#0616 - Historic Centre of PragueCzech Republic
#0617 - Historic Centre of Cesky KrumlovCzech Republic
#0623 - Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management SystemGermany
#0625 - Mir Castle ComplexBelarus
#0657 - Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra in Sergiev PosadRussia
#0668 - AngkorCambodia
#0688 - Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)Japan
#0689 - As-Salt - The Place of Tolerance and Urban HospitalityJordan
#0696 - Kronborg Castle (Kronborg Slot)Denmark
#0699 - City of Luxembourg: its Old Quarters and FortificationsLuxembourg
#0707 - Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, LhasaChina
#0717 - Historic Centre of SienaItaly
#0722 - Rice Terraces of the Philippine CordillerasPhilippines
#0723 - Cultural Landscape of SintraPortugal
#0730 - Crespi d'AddaItaly
#0738 - Jongmyo ShrineSouth Korea
#0754 - Lake BaikalRussia
#0755 - Historic Centre of OportoPortugal
#0775 - Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome)Japan
#0784 - Historic Centre of the City of SalzburgAustria
#0786 - Palace and Gardens of SchönbrunnAustria
#0789 - Historic Centre of the City of PienzaItaly
#0795 - Maritime GreenwichUnited Kingdom
#0816 - Changdeokgung Palace ComplexSouth Korea
#0822 - Historic Centre (Old Town) of TallinnEstonia
#0840 - Vinales ValleyCuba
#0846 - Classical WeimarGermany
#0847 - Castle of the Teutonic Order in MalborkPoland
#0852 - Historic Centre of RigaLatvia
#0855 - Flemish BéguinagesBelgium
#0857 - La Grand-Place, BrusselsBelgium
#0880 - Summer Palace, an Imperial Garden in BeijingChina
#0881 - Temple of Heaven: an Imperial Sacrificial Altar in BeijingChina
#0885 - Historic Centre of ShakhrisyabzUzbekistan
#0896 - Museumsinsel (Museum Island), BerlinGermany
#0933 - The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and ChalonnesFrance
#0934 - Laurisilva of MadeiraPortugal
#0941 - Archaeological Sites of Mycenae and TirynsGreece
#0943 - Belfries of Belgium and FranceBelgium
#0946 - Old Bridge Area of the Old City of MostarBosnia and Herzegovina
#0959 - Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of ValparaisoChile
#0971 - Churches of ChiloeChile
#0973 - Bardejov Town Conservation ReserveSlovakia
#0990 - Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco and Other Franciscan SitesItaly
#0996 - Historic Centre of BruggeBelgium
#0998 - Central Amazon Conservation ComplexBrazil
#1004 - Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing DynastiesChina
#1005 - Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (Brussels)Belgium
#1018 - EphesusTürkiye
#1026 - Val d'OrciaItaly
#1033 - Historic Centre of ViennaAustria
#1046 - Alto Douro Wine RegionPortugal
#1066 - Upper Middle Rhine ValleyGermany
#1067 - Historic Centres of Stralsund and WismarGermany
#1084 - Royal Botanic Gardens, KewUnited Kingdom
#1097 - Ensemble of the Novodevichy ConventRussia
#1100 - Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the SeaBrazil
#1110 - Historic Centre of MacaoChina
#1143 - Vegaøyan - The Vega ArchipelagoNorway
#1152 - Thingvellir National ParkIceland
#1187 - Struve Geodetic ArcBelarus, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Sweden, Ukraine
#1192 - Qal’at al-Bahrain – Ancient Harbour and Capital of DilmunBahrain
#1195 - West Norwegian Fjords - Geirangerfjord and NærøyfjordNorway
#1196 - Architectural, Residential and Cultural Complex of the Radziwill Family at NesvizhBelarus
#1202 - Urban Historic Centre of CienfuegosCuba
#1221 - Rideau CanalCanada
#1229 - Crac des Chevaliers and Qal'at Salah El-DinSyria
#1230 - Sulaiman-Too Sacred MountainKyrgyzstan
#1239 - Berlin Modernism Housing EstatesGermany
#1240 - Stari Grad PlainCroatia
#1245 - San Marino Historic Centre and Mount TitanoSan Marino
#1248 - South China KarstChina
#1270 - Historic Centre of CamagüeyCuba
#1278 - Historic Monuments and Sites in KaesongNorth Korea
#1298 - Stoclet HouseBelgium
#1308 - Paraty and Ilha Grande - Culture and BiodiversityBrazil
#1319 - Royal Tombs of the Joseon DynastySouth Korea
#1329 - At-Turaif District in ad-Dir'iyahSaudi Arabia
#1338 - The Jantar Mantar, JaipurIndia
#1349 - Seventeenth-century canal ring area of Amsterdam inside the SingelgrachtNetherlands
#1361 - Historic Jeddah, the Gate to MakkahSaudi Arabia
#1364 - Pearling, Testimony of an Island EconomyBahrain
#1387 - University of Coimbra - Alta and SofiaPortugal
#1427 - Mount EtnaItaly
#1430 - Namib Sand SeaNamibia
#1432 - Okavango DeltaBotswana
#1433 - Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, BethlehemPalestina
#1433 - The Grand CanalChina
#1452 - Bursa and Cumalikisik, the Birth of the Ottoman EmpireTürkiye
#1457 - Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural LandscapeTürkiye
#1486 - Rjukan-Notodden Industrial Heritage SiteNorway
#1542 - Dilmun Burial MoundsBahrain
#1564 - Al-Ahsa Oasis, an Evolving Cultural LandscapeSaudi Arabia
#1588 - BaganMyanmar
#1605 - Jaipur City, RajasthanIndia
#1613 - Great spa towns of EuropeUnited Kingdom
#1618 - Paseo del Prado and Buen Retiro, a landscape of Arts and SciencesSpain
#1635 - Nice, Winter Resort Town of the RivieraFrance

Sites in 65 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. 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: 182 cultural, 12 natural, and 5 combined sites.

Read about each site in separate articles. They include:

  • 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, the World Heritage Sites visited by Sandalsand. In my view, they are all lovely destinations.

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











World Heritage