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The UNESCO World Heritage List includes more than a thousand properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage. 

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre (WHC) is responsible for the List which (as of latest additions in 2016) includes 1,052 sites in 163 “States Parties” (countries).

A site may be characterised by its cultural heritage (814 sites), natural (203) or being a mix of the two (35 sites). Over the years, since 1978 when the first site was inscribed on the list, the criteria have evolved and of course the number of sites has increased (on average 20-30 each year).

To be included on the World Heritage List, properties 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.

UNESCO's 10 selection criteria


(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 civilization 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 sites have been removed from the list, sometimes due to a controversy between the WHC and the country over questions relating to development of the site (like a particular bridge in Germany) or due to the hard fact that the criteria are no longer met (such as the extinction of a particular bird in Oman). The overall view is that inscription on the list is regarded as an honorary tribute as well as a boost for both commercial and preservation activities in or at the site.


Heritage sites on this website

It may be that “heritage tourism” is spreading along with the eco-tourism trend. I have only in later years become strongly aware of the combination of the list and the places I have travelled. I am not a collector of heritage sites, but have over the years been to more than a hundred of them.

I have even become more intent on visiting a “world heritage” when going to a country or region. I suppose that may be one of the purposes of such an official list in the first place.

UNESCO’s sign is found on all World Heritage Sites. The one pictured here is from the site called Bryggen, in Bergen, Norway.

In any case, it was not satisfactory to discover that I visited the pleasant town of Weimar in Germany without seeing the examples of Bauhaus architecture, or the town of Pécs in Hungary without having a look at the Early Christian Necropolis. (To my possible excuse: Neither of them was on the List at the time of visit.)

I have been to 152 sites in 53 countries, so far. My personal list is included further down on this page. My sites are in both (all) categories: cultural sites (140), natural sites (9), and the combined cultural and natural sites (3).

Sandalsand is presenting World Heritage sites in the following countries: (Click the arrow to open or close the list.)

Hide or unhide the list of countries



Bosnia and Herzegovina










Czech Republic







Holy See






















San Marino








United Kingdom

United States



What can you discover?

On this website each visited site is presented with its own entry. Each entry includes:

  • The official and my private descriptions of the site
  • A link to the official UNESCO web post
  • My own photographs or  video
  • A link to the post describing the context of my visit(s)

If you are not interested in all the details offered on other pages, including UNESCO’s own, this collection makes for wonderful browsing of fabulous sites from around the world. Enjoy!

Drag and zoom on the map below to see the sites in more detail, and click on a marker to reveal the name of the heritage site.


Videos on YouTube

In 2009 I collected some photos and made a video. “The World’s Most Important Heritage Sites” I called it. The UNESCO’s World Heritage List included at that time 878 cultural and natural sites of outstanding universal value.

The film shows my first 92 of them. Since then more sites have been added to the list and I have a lot more.


You are also invited to watch my Youtube playlist with 68 videos from different heritage sites.


Which 152 sites?

Show more rows at a time, sort the table as you like or search for a specific term. Click on the links to open the post describing the site.

Official Number and Title of SiteCountryFirst visit
WHC List #0002 - City of QuitoEcuador1987
WHC List #0020 - Ancient City of DamascusSyria1986
WHC List #0021 - Ancient City of AleppoSyria1986
WHC List #0023 - Site of PalmyraSyria1986
WHC List #0029 - Cracow's Historic CentrePoland2010
WHC List #0030 - Historic Centre of WarsawPoland2013
WHC List #0031 - Auschwitz Birkenau - German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945)Poland2010
WHC List #0032 - Wieliczka Salt MinePoland2010
WHC List #0055 - Røros Mining Town and the CircumferenceNorway1993
WHC List #0058 - Urnes Stave ChurchNorway2012
WHC List #0059 - BryggenNorway1993
WHC List #0080 - Mont-Saint-Michel and its BayFrance1991
WHC List #0083 - Palace and Park of VersaillesFrance1991
WHC List #0086 - Memphis and its Necropolis – the Pyramid Fields from Giza to DahshurEgypt2005
WHC List #0087 - Ancient Thebes with its NecropolisEgypt2005
WHC List #0089 - Historic CairoEgypt2005
WHC List #0091 - Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le MuraHoly See, Italy1991
WHC List #0093 - Santa Maria delle Grazie (Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci)Italy2013
WHC List #0095 - Old City of DubrovnikCroatia2006
WHC List #0121 - Kathmandu ValleyNepal2015
WHC List #0124 - Historic Town of Ouro PretoBrazil1987
WHC List #0131 - City of VallettaMalta2008
WHC List #0148 - Old City of Jerusalem and its WallsPalestina, Israel1986
WHC List #0169 - Würzburg Residence with the Court Gardens and Residence SquareGermany2002
WHC List #0174 - Historic Centre of FlorenceItaly1991
WHC List #0204 - Old Havana and its FortificationsCuba2003
WHC List #0217 - Ancient City of NessebarBulgaria2010
WHC List #0228 - Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon BridgeFrance1991
WHC List #0260 - Sangay National ParkEcuador1987
WHC List #0263 - Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in LisbonPortugal2013
WHC List #0264 - Monastery of BatalhaPortugal2013
WHC List #0267 - Old City of BerneSwitzerland2002
WHC List #0271 - Pilgrimage Church of WiesGermany2002
WHC List #0272 - Hanseatic City of LübeckGermany1991
WHC List #0273 - City of CuzcoPeru1987
WHC List #0274 - Historic Sanctuary of Machu PicchuPeru1987
WHC List #0284 - Chitwan National ParkNepal2015
WHC List #0286 - Vatican CityHoly See1991
WHC List #0292 - Cologne CathedralGermany1990
WHC List #0300 - Historic District of Old QuébecCanada2016
WHC List #0307 - Statue of LibertyUnited States of America2015
WHC List #0313 - Historic Centre of CórdobaSpain2012
WHC List #0314 - Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzín, GranadaSpain2012
WHC List #0320 - Works of Antoni GaudíSpain2007
WHC List #0326 - PetraJordan1986
WHC List #0344 - Pont du Gard (Roman Aqueduct)France1991
WHC List #0351 - Painted Churches in the Troodos RegionCyprus2014
WHC List #0356 - Historic Areas of IstanbulTurkey1986
WHC List #0357 - Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of CappadociaTurkey1986
WHC List #0361 - Historic Centre of ÉvoraPortugal2013
WHC List #0369 - Giant's Causeway and Causeway CoastUnited Kingdom1994
WHC List #0373 - Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated SitesUnited Kingdom2005
WHC List #0383 - Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in SevilleSpain2012
WHC List #0394 - Venice and its LagoonItaly1991
WHC List #0395 - Piazza del Duomo, PisaItaly1991
WHC List #0400 - Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy AvenueHungary1990
WHC List #0426 - Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and Saint Margaret's ChurchUnited Kingdom1976
WHC List #0428 - City of BathUnited Kingdom2005
WHC List #0430 - Frontiers of the Roman EmpireUnited Kingdom, Germany2005
WHC List #0438 - The Great WallChina1985
WHC List #0439 - Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and ShenyangChina1985
WHC List #0441 - Mausoleum of the First Qin EmperorChina1985
WHC List #0460 - Trinidad and the Valley de los IngeniosCuba2003
WHC List #0479 - Town of Luang PrabangLaos2009
WHC List #0485 - Hierapolis-PamukkaleTurkey1992
WHC List #0488 - Tower of LondonUnited Kingdom1976
WHC List #0495 - Strasbourg – Grande îleFrance1991
WHC List #0500 - Historic Centre of LimaPeru1987
WHC List #0505 - Monastery of AlcobaçaPortugal2013
WHC List #0522 - Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and BaezaSpain2012
WHC List #0532 - Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and BerlinGermany1990
WHC List #0541 - Vilnius Historic CentreLithuania2013
WHC List #0543 - Itchan KalaUzbekistan2014
WHC List #0545 - Kremlin and Red Square, MoscowRussia2011
WHC List #0550 - Historic Centre of San GimignanoItaly2007
WHC List #0558 - SkogskyrkogårdenSweden2014
WHC List #0559 - Royal Domain of DrottningholmSweden2016
WHC List #0576 - Historic City of AyutthayaThailand2015
WHC List #0600 - Paris, Banks of the SeineFrance1991
WHC List #0601 - Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint-Rémi and Palace of Tau, ReimsFrance2001
WHC List #0602 - Historic Centre of BukharaUzbekistan2014
WHC List #0603 - Samarkand – Crossroad of CulturesUzbekistan2014
WHC List #0616 - Historic Centre of PragueCzech Republic1990
WHC List #0617 - Historic Centre of Český KrumlovCzech Republic1990
WHC List #0623 - Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management SystemGermany2002
WHC List #0657 - Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra in Sergiev PosadRussia2011
WHC List #0668 - AngkorCambodia2009
WHC List #0688 - Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)Japan1985
WHC List #0696 - Kronborg Castle (Kronborg Slot)Denmark2012
WHC List #0707 - Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, LhasaChina1985
WHC List #0717 - Historic Centre of SienaItaly1991
WHC List #0722 - Rice Terraces of the Philippine CordillerasPhilippines1985
WHC List #0723 - Cultural Landscape of SintraPortugal2013
WHC List #0730 - Crespi d'AddaItaly2013
WHC List #0754 - Lake BaikalRussia2011
WHC List #0755 - Historic Centre of OportoPortugal2013
WHC List #0775 - Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome)Japan1985
WHC List #0784 - Historic Centre of the City of SalzburgAustria1990
WHC List #0786 - Palace and Gardens of SchönbrunnAustria1990
WHC List #0795 - Maritime GreenwichUnited Kingdom1979
WHC List #0822 - Historic Centre (Old Town) of TallinnEstonia2013
WHC List #0840 - Viñales ValleyCuba2003
WHC List #0846 - Classical WeimarGermany1990
WHC List #0852 - Historic Centre of RigaLatvia2013
WHC List #0857 - La Grand-Place, BrusselsBelgium1990
WHC List #0880 - Summer Palace, an Imperial Garden in BeijingChina1985
WHC List #0881 - Temple of Heaven: an Imperial Sacrificial Altar in BeijingChina1985
WHC List #0885 - Historic Centre of ShakhrisyabzUzbekistan2014
WHC List #0896 - Museumsinsel (Museum Island), BerlinGermany1990
WHC List #0933 - The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and ChalonnesFrance1991
WHC List #0934 - Laurisilva of MadeiraPortugal1994
WHC List #0946 - Old Bridge Area of the Old City of MostarBosnia and Herzegovina2006
WHC List #0959 - Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of ValparaísoChile1988
WHC List #0971 - Churches of ChiloéChile1988
WHC List #0973 - Bardejov Town Conservation ReserveSlovakia1990
WHC List #0998 - Central Amazon Conservation ComplexBrazil1987
WHC List #1004 - Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing DynastiesChina1985
WHC List #1018 - EphesusTurkey1986
WHC List #1026 - Val d'OrciaItaly1991
WHC List #1033 - Historic Centre of ViennaAustria1990
WHC List #1046 - Alto Douro Wine RegionPortugal2013
WHC List #1066 - Upper Middle Rhine ValleyGermany2002
WHC List #1067 - Historic Centres of Stralsund and WismarGermany1990
WHC List #1097 - Ensemble of the Novodevichy ConventRussia2011
WHC List #1100 - Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the SeaBrazil1987
WHC List #1110 - Historic Centre of MacaoChina1985
WHC List #1150 - Liverpool - Maritime Mercantile CityUnited Kingdom2010
WHC List #1152 - Thingvellir National ParkIceland2016
WHC List #1195 - West Norwegian Fjords - Geirangerfjord and NærøyfjordNorway1993
WHC List #1202 - Urban Historic Centre of CienfuegosCuba2003
WHC List #1221 - Rideau CanalCanada2016
WHC List #1229 - Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-DinSyria1986
WHC List #1240 - Stari Grad PlainCroatia2006
WHC List #1245 - San Marino Historic Centre and Mount TitanoSan Marino2007
WHC List #1248 - South China KarstChina1985
WHC List #1270 - Historic Centre of CamagüeyCuba2003
WHC List #1349 - Seventeenth-century canal ring area of Amsterdam inside the SingelgrachtNetherlands1998
WHC List #1387 - University of Coimbra - Alta and SofiaPortugal2013
WHC List #1427 - Mount EtnaItaly2008
WHC List #1433 - Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, BethlehemPalestina1986
WHC List #1452 - Bursa and Cumalıkızık: the Birth of the Ottoman EmpireTurkey1986
WHC List #1457 - Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural LandscapeTurkey1986
WHC List #1486 - Rjukan-Notodden Industrial Heritage SiteNorway1996
WHC List #1230 - Sulaiman-Too Sacred MountainKyrgyzstan2014
WHC List #0847 - Castle of the Teutonic Order in MalborkPoland2017
WHC List #0232 - Humayun’s Tomb, DelhiIndia2017
WHC List #0233 - Qutb Minar and its Monuments, DelhiIndia2017
WHC List #0247 - Hill Forts of RajasthanIndia2017
WHC List #0255 - Fatehpur SikriIndia2017
WHC List #0251 - Agra FortIndia2017
WHC List #0252 - Taj MahalIndia2017
WHC List #1338 - The Jantar Mantar, JaipurIndia2017


All WHC Sites

Here they are, the illustrations of all World Heritage Sites introduced on Sandalsand. The posts are sorted according to the date of the first visit, with the most recent on top. Tip: Click on a picture to access the post or browse the pictures. They are all so lovely destinations.