What is World Heritage?

What is World Heritage?

Sado ginzan oji no kako emaki (Picture scroll of mining operation in Sado silver mine in the Edo period), collection of Sado City Board of Education

World Heritage sites are irreplaceable treasures created by the formation of the earth and history of mankind, passed down from the past to the present, and to be passed on to our future generations. UNESCO adopted the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (commonly known as the World Heritage Convention) at the 17th UNESCO General Assembly in 1972 as an international treaty to establish an international cooperative framework for the protection and conservation of the World Heritage as the "common heritage of mankind."
(*Taken from the UNESCO website)

As of October 2023, there are 1,199 World Heritage Sites (933 Cultural Heritage Sites, 227 Natural Heritage Sites, and 39 Mixed Heritage Sites), with 195 countries that are parties to the Convention.

Types of World Heritage Sites

There are three types of World Heritage Sites.

  • ▲ Taj Mahal (India)
    Cultural Heritage Sites

    Monuments, buildings, ruins, cultural landscapes, etc., with Outstanding Universal Value

    Examples: The Great Wall of China, the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, etc.

  • ▲ Yellowstone National Park (USA)
    Natural Heritage Sites

    Landforms and geology, ecosystems, and habitats of endangered animals and plants, etc., with Outstanding Universal Value

    Examples: Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, etc.

  • ▲ Machu Picchu (Peru)
    Mixed Heritage Sites

    Sites combining the values of both cultural and natural heritage

    Examples: Meteora in Greece, Tikal National Park in Guatemala, etc.