UNESCO World Cultural Heritage lead article

UNESCO World Cultural Heritage

Motivation and background to discuss UNESCO World Cultural Heritage on GlobalCulturalHeritage is explained here. The author has been editor in chief of the online journal Wissenschaft und Kunst of HHU-Düsseldorf, edited by Prof. Tepe. The biggest motivation to put this page about UNESCO World Heritage on the web is the several thousand photos of UNESCO World Heritage objects and other monuments worth seeing from all kinds of cities in the world, taken personally by the author of this page mainly but not only in Italy and Central Europe.

To see the image captions in  English click on the circular infopictogram  on the right below the enlarged photo.

„World Heritage or World Heritage Site is the designation given to monuments, ensembles and sites (World Cultural Heritage), as well as natural entities, geological and physiographical manifestations and natural sites (World Natural Heritage) of outstanding universal value, the recording, protection and conservation of which by States Parties are supported by UNESCO in accordance with the World Heritage Convention.“1

„The concept of cultural heritage dates back to Henri-Baptiste Grégoire, Bishop of Blois and French revolutionary, and was codified in the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of May 14, 1954.“2

UNESCO World Cultural or Natural Heritage Sites are inscribed on the World Heritage List under the following criteria3 (full citation footnote 3 beginning, Roman numerals have been changed to Arabic):

Cultural Heritage Criteria:
1. the properties represent a masterpiece of human creativity.
2. the properties demonstrate, for a period of time or in a cultural area of the world, a significant intersection of human values in terms of the development of architecture or technology, large-scale sculpture, urbanism, or landscape design.
3. the property represents a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to an existing or extinct culture.
4. the property represents an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble, or landscape that symbolizes one or more significant periods of human history.
5. the properties represent an outstanding example of an ancestral human settlement pattern, land or sea use typical of one or more particular cultures, or of the interaction between man and the environment, especially when the latter is threatened with extinction under the pressure of inexorable change.
6. the properties are linked in a direct or recognizable way to events or traditional ways of life, to ideas or beliefs, or to artistic or literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The committee agreed that this criterion should generally be used only in conjunction with other criteria).

Natural Heritage Criteria:
7. the properties exhibit outstanding natural features or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic significance.
8. the properties represent exceptional examples of the major stages of Earth history, including the evolution of life, significant geologic processes underway in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphologic or physiogeographic features.
9. the goods represent exceptional examples of significant ecological and biological processes underway in the evolution and development of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal, and marine ecosystems and plant and animal communities.
(10) The properties contain the most significant and typical habitats for the in situ conservation of biological diversity on Earth, including those containing threatened species that are of outstanding universal value for scientific reasons or for their conservation.
(Full citation footnote 3 end).

An important part of the UNESCO World Heritage images can be seen in particular in the articles about the northern Italian cities of Rome, Vatican City, Venice and Florence, they are embedded in the articles as compactly as possible in the overall history of the mentioned city. So you can read the 3000-year history of Rome on a few DinA4 pages.

Admittedly, other cities are also presented, but the UNESCO World Heritage Sites discussed so far are also expanded with articles on individual architectural highlights of the cities mentioned. This includes architectural milestones in a contemporary context, such as the Nuovo Corviale in Rome. Only the genesis of the individual building will be considered, not the history of the city. In addition, there will also be articles that deal with only a part of the city’s history if obvious, as in the case of articles on Warsaw or Dresden, for example.

Because the author calls Düsseldorf his hometown, there will be several articles about places worth seeing in NRW’s state capital. The focus is on architecture and Düsseldorf as a city of art and artists. After all, a large part of the most important artists of the last 100 years come from the Düsseldorf Art Academy.


1 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 16 November 1972 (German version).
2 Cf.: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/UNESCO-Welterbe.
3 UNESCO Centre for World Heritage: Guidelines for the Implementation of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, final version of June 2, 2017 as PDF.