- World Heritage Site
a place or structure included on an official list produced by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO. Places are chosen for the list because they are considered to be ‘of outstanding universal value’, often for historical reasons, and are therefore preserved. There are several in Britain, including Hadrian’s Wall, Stonehenge, the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey. World Heritage Sites in the US include Grand Canyon National Park, Independence Hall and the Statue of Liberty.
* * *Any of various areas or objects designated as having "outstanding universal value" under the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.This convention, adopted by UNESCO in 1972, provides for international cooperation in preserving and protecting cultural and natural treasures throughout the world. Each site on the list is under strict legal protection by the government of the nation in which it is situated. Among the cultural sites are many of the world's most famous buildings. The ratio of cultural to natural sites on the list is roughly three to one.
* * *any of various areas or objects inscribed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) ( UNESCO) World Heritage List. The sites are designated as having “outstanding universal value” under the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. This convention, which was adopted by UNESCO in 1972, provides a framework for international cooperation in preserving and protecting cultural treasures and natural areas throughout the world. For a list of select World Heritage sites, see below (World Heritage site).There are three types of sites: cultural, natural, and mixed. Cultural heritage sites include hundreds of historic buildings and town sites, important archaeological sites, and works of monumental sculpture or painting. Natural heritage sites are restricted to those natural areas that (1) furnish outstanding examples of the Earth's record of life or its geologic processes, (2) provide excellent examples of ongoing ecological and biological evolutionary processes, (3) contain natural phenomena that are rare, unique, superlative, or of outstanding beauty, or (4) furnish habitats for rare or endangered animals or plants or are sites of exceptional biodiversity. Mixed heritage sites contain elements of both natural and cultural significance. The ratio of cultural to natural sites on the World Heritage List is roughly 3 to 1, and several new sites are added to the list each December.World Heritage designations often boost local economies by encouraging tourism; in addition, UNESCO funds numerous efforts to preserve and restore sites in developing nations. Sites subject to unusual levels of pollution, natural hazards, or other problems may be placed on the associated List of World Heritage in Danger until improvements are made.Selected UNESCO World Heritage sites Selected UNESCO World Heritage sitesSelect World Heritage sites are provided in the table.Additional ReadingPatrimonio del mundo, 12 vol. (1997), is an extensively illustrated encyclopedia of World Heritage sites arranged by geographic region. The Encyclopedia of World Art, 15 vol. (1959–68, rev. printing 1972; two supplements 1983, 1987), includes maps, diagrams, and descriptions of numerous archaeological sites; whereas Brian M. Fagan (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Archaeology (1996), is a concise reference. The Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed. (1954– ), discusses the history and architecture of historic cities and ruins in Africa and Asia. Feature articles on World Heritage sites, as well as extensive photography, are provided in UNESCO's World Heritage Review (quarterly), and The UNESCO Courier (monthly). See also selected articles in Archaeology (monthly) and National Geographic Magazine (monthly).
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