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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 2017) includes 1,073 sites in 167 “States Parties” (countries).

A site may be characterised by its cultural heritage (832 sites), natural (206) 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.

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

Looking at the full map of such sites, what comes to mind is the prevalence of sites in Europe. Nonetheless, almost the entire world is covered and that is actually no little achievement for the world community.

Raising the awareness worldwide to the importance of preserving these sites for future generations is step one. The next step is to do something about it, in other words creating a conservation plan for the site and as the final step – to live by it. These are very demanding tasks for all parties, and there are undoubtedly both economic and culture factors at play here. 


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 conscious of the combination of the list and the places I have travelled. I was never 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.

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

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



I have been to 159 sites in 53 countries, so far

In some respects my list is a condensation of UNESCO’s, with its more than a thousand sites: The world is covered, but the majority is in Europe. My sites are in both (all) categories: cultural sites (147), natural sites (9), and the combined cultural and natural sites (3).

Each visited site is presented with its own article and 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!


My sites on a map

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.



My sites in a table

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. The year indicates my first visit to the site.


Official Number and Title of SiteCountryFirst visit
#0855 - Flemish BéguinagesBelgium2017
#0943 - Belfries of Belgium and FranceBelgium2017
#0996 - Historic Centre of BruggeBelgium2017
#1005 - Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (Brussels)Belgium2017
#1298 - Stoclet HouseBelgium2017
#0002 - City of QuitoEcuador1987
#0020 - Ancient City of DamascusSyria1986
#0021 - Ancient City of AleppoSyria1986
#0023 - Site of PalmyraSyria1986
#0029 - Cracow's Historic CentrePoland2010
#0030 - Historic Centre of WarsawPoland2013
#0031 - Auschwitz Birkenau - German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945)Poland2010
#0032 - Wieliczka Salt MinePoland2010
#0055 - Røros Mining Town and the CircumferenceNorway1993
#0058 - Urnes Stave ChurchNorway2012
#0059 - BryggenNorway1993
#0080 - Mont-Saint-Michel and its BayFrance1991
#0083 - Palace and Park of VersaillesFrance1991
#0086 - Memphis and its Necropolis - the Pyramid Fields from Giza to DahshurEgypt2005
#0087 - Ancient Thebes with its NecropolisEgypt2005
#0089 - Historic CairoEgypt2005
#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
#0093 - Santa Maria delle Grazie (Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci)Italy2013
#0095 - Old City of DubrovnikCroatia2006
#0121 - Kathmandu ValleyNepal2015
#0124 - Historic Town of Ouro PretoBrazil1987
#0131 - City of VallettaMalta2008
#0148 - Old City of Jerusalem and its WallsPalestina, Israel1986
#0169 - Würzburg Residence with the Court Gardens and Residence SquareGermany2002
#0174 - Historic Centre of FlorenceItaly1991
#0204 - Old Havana and its FortificationsCuba2003
#0217 - Ancient City of NessebarBulgaria2010
#0228 - Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon BridgeFrance1991
#0232 - Humayun's Tomb, DelhiIndia2017
#0233 - Qutb Minar and its Monuments, DelhiIndia2017
#0247 - Hill Forts of RajasthanIndia2017
#0251 - Agra FortIndia2017
#0252 - Taj MahalIndia2017
#0255 - Fatehpur SikriIndia2017
#0260 - Sangay National ParkEcuador1987
#0263 - Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in LisbonPortugal2013
#0264 - Monastery of BatalhaPortugal2013
#0267 - Old City of BerneSwitzerland2002
#0271 - Pilgrimage Church of WiesGermany2002
#0272 - Hanseatic City of LübeckGermany1991
#0273 - City of CuzcoPeru1987
#0274 - Historic Sanctuary of Machu PicchuPeru1987
#0284 - Chitwan National ParkNepal2015
#0286 - Vatican CityHoly See1991
#0292 - Cologne CathedralGermany1990
#0300 - Historic District of Old QuébecCanada2016
#0307 - Statue of LibertyUnited States of America2015
#0313 - Historic Centre of CórdobaSpain2012
#0314 - Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzi­n, GranadaSpain2012
#0320 - Works of Antoni GaudíSpain2007
#0326 - PetraJordan1986
#0344 - Pont du Gard (Roman Aqueduct)France1991
#0351 - Painted Churches in the Troodos RegionCyprus2014
#0356 - Historic Areas of IstanbulTurkey1986
#0357 - Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of CappadociaTurkey1986
#0361 - Historic Centre of ÉvoraPortugal2013
#0369 - Giant's Causeway and Causeway CoastUnited Kingdom1994
#0373 - Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated SitesUnited Kingdom2005
#0383 - Cathedral, Alcazar and Archivo de Indias in SevilleSpain2012
#0394 - Venice and its LagoonItaly1991
#0395 - Piazza del Duomo, PisaItaly1991
#0400 - Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrassy AvenueHungary1990
#0426 - Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and Saint Margaret's ChurchUnited Kingdom1976
#0428 - City of BathUnited Kingdom2005
#0430 - Frontiers of the Roman EmpireUnited Kingdom, Germany2005
#0438 - The Great WallChina1985
#0439 - Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and ShenyangChina1985
#0441 - Mausoleum of the First Qin EmperorChina1985
#0460 - Trinidad and the Valley de los IngeniosCuba2003
#0479 - Town of Luang PrabangLaos2009
#0485 - Hierapolis-PamukkaleTurkey1992
#0488 - Tower of LondonUnited Kingdom1976
#0495 - Strasbourg - Grande îleFrance1991
#0500 - Historic Centre of LimaPeru1987
#0505 - Monastery of AlcobacaPortugal2013
#0522 - Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Ubeda and BaezaSpain2012
#0532 - Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and BerlinGermany1990
#0541 - Vilnius Historic CentreLithuania2013
#0543 - Itchan KalaUzbekistan2014
#0545 - Kremlin and Red Square, MoscowRussia2011
#0550 - Historic Centre of San GimignanoItaly2007
#0558 - SkogskyrkogårdenSweden2014
#0559 - Royal Domain of DrottningholmSweden2016
#0576 - Historic City of AyutthayaThailand2015
#0600 - Paris, Banks of the SeineFrance1991
#0601 - Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint-Rémi and Palace of Tau, ReimsFrance2001
#0602 - Historic Centre of BukharaUzbekistan2014
#0603 - Samarkand - Crossroad of CulturesUzbekistan2014
#0616 - Historic Centre of PragueCzech Republic1990
#0617 - Historic Centre of Cesky KrumlovCzech Republic1990
#0623 - Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management SystemGermany2002
#0657 - Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra in Sergiev PosadRussia2011
#0668 - AngkorCambodia2009
#0688 - Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)Japan1985
#0696 - Kronborg Castle (Kronborg Slot)Denmark2012
#0707 - Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, LhasaChina1985
#0717 - Historic Centre of SienaItaly1991
#0722 - Rice Terraces of the Philippine CordillerasPhilippines1985
#0723 - Cultural Landscape of SintraPortugal2013
#0730 - Crespi d'AddaItaly2013
#0754 - Lake BaikalRussia2011
#0755 - Historic Centre of OportoPortugal2013
#0775 - Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome)Japan1985
#0784 - Historic Centre of the City of SalzburgAustria1990
#0786 - Palace and Gardens of SchönbrunnAustria1990
#0795 - Maritime GreenwichUnited Kingdom1979
#0822 - Historic Centre (Old Town) of TallinnEstonia2013
#0840 - Vinales ValleyCuba2003
#0846 - Classical WeimarGermany1990
#0847 - Castle of the Teutonic Order in MalborkPoland2017
#0852 - Historic Centre of RigaLatvia2013
#0857 - La Grand-Place, BrusselsBelgium1990
#0880 - Summer Palace, an Imperial Garden in BeijingChina1985
#0881 - Temple of Heaven: an Imperial Sacrificial Altar in BeijingChina1985
#0885 - Historic Centre of ShakhrisyabzUzbekistan2014
#0896 - Museumsinsel (Museum Island), BerlinGermany1990
#0933 - The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and ChalonnesFrance1991
#0934 - Laurisilva of MadeiraPortugal1994
#0946 - Old Bridge Area of the Old City of MostarBosnia and Herzegovina2006
#0959 - Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of ValparaisoChile1988
#0971 - Churches of ChiloéChile1988
#0973 - Bardejov Town Conservation ReserveSlovakia1990
#0998 - Central Amazon Conservation ComplexBrazil1987
#1004 - Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing DynastiesChina1985
#1018 - EphesusTurkey1986
#1026 - Val d'OrciaItaly1991
#1033 - Historic Centre of ViennaAustria1990
#1046 - Alto Douro Wine RegionPortugal2013
#1066 - Upper Middle Rhine ValleyGermany2002
#1067 - Historic Centres of Stralsund and WismarGermany1990
#1097 - Ensemble of the Novodevichy ConventRussia2011
#1100 - Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the SeaBrazil1987
#1110 - Historic Centre of MacaoChina1985
#1150 - Liverpool - Maritime Mercantile CityUnited Kingdom2010
#1152 - Thingvellir National ParkIceland2016
#1195 - West Norwegian Fjords - Geirangerfjord and NærøyfjordNorway1993
#1202 - Urban Historic Centre of CienfuegosCuba2003
#1221 - Rideau CanalCanada2016
#1229 - Crac des Chevaliers and Qal'at Salah El-DinSyria1986
#1230 - Sulaiman-Too Sacred MountainKyrgyzstan2014
#1240 - Stari Grad PlainCroatia2006
#1245 - San Marino Historic Centre and Mount TitanoSan Marino2007
#1248 - South China KarstChina1985
#1270 - Historic Centre of CamagüeyCuba2003
#1338 - The Jantar Mantar, JaipurIndia2017
#1349 - Seventeenth-century canal ring area of Amsterdam inside the SingelgrachtNetherlands1998
#1387 - University of Coimbra - Alta and SofiaPortugal2013
#1427 - Mount EtnaItaly2008
#1433 - Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, BethlehemPalestina1986
#1452 - Bursa and Cumalikisik, the Birth of the Ottoman EmpireTurkey1986
#1457 - Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural LandscapeTurkey1986
#1486 - Rjukan-Notodden Industrial Heritage SiteNorway1996
#0789 - Historic Centre of the City of PienzaItaly2017
#0990 - Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco and Other Franciscan SitesItaly2017


My sites 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. 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 73 videos from different heritage sites.


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. They are all so lovely destinations.