From masterpieces of creative genius to beautiful natural landscapes, these sites reveal the most compelling chapters of Earth’s history.
Best of the best: That’s the lofty standard for making the World Heritage List. Nations lobby hard to get their glorious buildings, wilderness, and historic ruins on the list, a stamp of approval that brings prestige, tourist income, public awareness, and, most important, a commitment to save the irreplaceable.
In November 1972 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) inaugurated the list by adopting a treaty known as the World Heritage Convention. Its continuing goal is to recruit the world community in identifying cultural and natural properties of “outstanding universal value.”
UNESCO officials do not see the list as a mere trophy case of superlative places. World Heritage status commits the home nation to protect the designated location. And if a site—through natural disaster, war, pollution, or lack of funds—begins to lose its value, nations that have signed the treaty must assist, if possible, in emergency aid campaigns. As of January 2017, 193 of the world’s nations have signed the treaty.
The World Heritage program has scored high-profile successes.
Read more from source: What Is UNESCO World Heritage