UNESCO’s World Heritage List, which has been growing steadily over the last thirty years, is considered by many to be the first example of a modern international cultural policy. Here, as a basic principle, cultures have equal rights.
1.052 cultural and natural sites from 165 states are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Buildings, urban areas and archaeological sites, monuments to industrial history and cultural landscapes can become part of the world cultural heritage. World natural heritage covers important ecosystems, testaments to evolutionary history, natural paradises and protected reserves for animals and plants.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites are places of cultural encounter and understanding between peoples. They provide the opportunity to enhance the knowledge about oneself by exploring ones own and other cultures.
Annually, UNESCO’s intergovernmental World Heritage Committee examines which sites should be added to the World Heritage List. For the state concerned, recognition as a World Heritage Site goes hand in hand with the commitment to ensure the continued protection of humanity’s common heritage.
"World Heritage Sites are ambassadors for UNESCO"
(Walter Hirche, Chairman of the German Commission for UNESCO)