Cultural Corridors of South East Europe


World Heritage

World Heritage

The idea of creating an international movement for protecting heritage emerged at the beginning of 20th century. Later, the international treaty called Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage developed from the merging of two separate movements: the first focusing on the preservation of cultural sites, and the other dealing with the conservation of nature. The Convention is adopted by UNESCO in 1972 and since then, 184 countries have ratified it. By regarding heritage as both cultural and natural, the Convention reminds us the way in which people interact with nature, and of the fundamental need to preserve the balance between the two.

The World Heritage emblem represents the interdependence of the world’s natural and cultural diversity. While the central square symbolizes the results of human skill and inspiration, the circle celebrates the gifts of nature. The emblem is round, like the world, a symbol of global protection for the heritage of all humankind.

World Heritage 2006, UNESCO
The focal point and coordinator within UNESCO for all matters related to World Heritage in the World Heritage Center, established in 1992. It acts as the Secretariat of the World Heritage Committee and forms part of the UNESCO Culture Sector.
For over thirty years, UNESCO works with countries around the world to identify World Heritage sites that merit recognition as part of the common heritage of Humankind and to ensure their safekeeping for future generation. At present the World Heritage List includes 851 properties inscribed in three categories:
World Cultural Heritage – 660 sites;
World Natural Heritage – 166 sites and
World Cultural and Natural Heritage (a combination of the two) – 25 mixed sites.
Their splendour enriches our lives and illustrates the diversity of our planet and its inhabitants. They are ours to share, to cherish and to respect.

Now more than ever, our World Heritage is our shared heritage!

World Heritage in South East Europe

Information sources: UNESCO official website; World Heritage Centre; Our World Heritage - UNESCO brochure, April 2004