A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for having cultural, historical, scientific or other forms of significance. The sites are judged to contain “cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity”


Nominated sites must be of “outstanding universal value” and must meet at least one of the ten criteria.


“To represent a masterpiece of human creative genius”

i. “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”
ii. “To bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living, or which has
iii. “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
iv. “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”
v. “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”.


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


A country must first identify its significant cultural and natural sites in a document known as the Tentative List. Next, it can place sites selected from that list into a Nomination File, which is evaluated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites and the World Conservation Union. A country may not nominate sites that have not been first included on its Tentative List. The two international bodies make recommendations to the World Heritage Committee for new designations. The Committee meets once a year to determine what nominated properties to add to the World Heritage List.