UNESCO World Heritage List

From beginning to mid of 2012, I started to have a keen interest in the UNESCO World Heritage List and started to make an effort to steer my travel destinations to the places in the list. I think it is fantastic that we have a list of sites that are the “treasures of the world”, important to humankind in terms of history, aesthetic, and natural preservation, and should be cared by everyone no matter where you’re from.

I’d love to be a part of it and in my little way promote these sites to more people. On this page I’m listing the sites that I have been to and the plan is to write about them one by one based on my personal experience. In August 2012 I did my first head-count and at the time I had been to 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For my number to date, see below.

Looking at the complete list, looks like the countries that give you the most bang for the bucks are China, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain! They each have tons of sites! The next ones to note are Russia, United Kingdom, India, and Mexico. Considering the size of Mexico in comparison to United States, Mexico has so much more to offer, surprisingly!

I highly recommend Fotopedia Heritage iPad app for excellent photographs of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A new set of pictures comes out every few days, covering one site at a time (sometimes a country at a time covering the highlights). Note: they have closed down

July 2015 update: The World Heritage Committee added 24 sites in June-July 2015, bringing the number from 1007 to 1031 sites in 163 countries. 2 sites inscribed AFTER I visited them (Ephesus and Singapore Botanical Gardens). And in result I reached 81 sites (in 24 countries)!

Sept 2016 update: 21 sites were added in 2016, bringing the number to 1052 sites. (Mostly in Africa, India, and Middle East)

2017 update: 26 sites were added, bringing the total number to 1073 sites. Easy to reach addition is English Lake District, which I should go to soon.

95 sites out of 1073 properties

Australia (8 sites)
Australian Convict Sites (i.e. Port Arthur – Tasmania, Cockatoo Island – NSW) (2010)
Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens (2004)
Sydney Opera House (2007)
Gondwana Rainforests of Australia (NSW-Queensland coast) (1986)
Great Barrier Reef (1981)
Greater Blue Mountains Area (2000)
Wet Tropics of Queensland (northern Queensland) (1988)
Tasmanian Wilderness (1982)

Austria (3 sites)
City of Graz – Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg (1999) – visited in 2015
Historic Centre of Vienna (2001)
Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn (1996)

Belgium (2 sites)
Historic Centre of Brugge
Belfries of Belgium and France * (SHARED with France)

Bulgaria (2 sites)
Boyana Church (1979)
Rila Monastery (1983)

Cambodia (1 site)

Canada (1 site)
Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks (Banff)

China (1 site)
Historic Centre of Macao

Czech Republic (1 site)
Historic Centre of Prague

Estonia (1 site)
Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn

France (3 sites)
Paris, Banks of the Seine
Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon Bridge
Pyrénées – Mont Perdu * (SHARED with Spain)

Germany (1 site)
Museumsinsel (Museum Island), Berlin (1999)

Greece (3 sites)
Acropolis, Athens (1987)
Archaeological Site of Delphi (1987)
Medieval City of Rhodes (1988)

Holy See (1 site)
Vatican City

Hungary (1 site)
Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue (1987) – visited in 2015

Indonesia (4 sites)
Borobudur Temple Compounds
Prambanan Temple Compounds
Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra
Cultural Landscape of Bali Province: the Subak System as a Manifestation of the Tri Hita Karana Philosophy

Ireland, Republic of (1 site)
Brú na Bóinne – Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne (1993)

Italy (7 sites)
Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura * 11 (SHARED with Holy See)
Historic Centre of Florence
Piazza del Duomo, Pisa
Venice and its Lagoon
Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto)
City of Verona
Genoa: Le Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli

Korea, Republic of (South Korea) (1 site)
Changdeokgung Palace Complex

Latvia (1 site)
Historic Centre of Riga

Malaysia (1 site)
Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca

Morocco (7 sites)
Archaeological Site of Volubilis (1997)
Historic City of Meknes (1996)
Medina of Essaouira (formerly Mogador) (2001)
Medina of Fez (1981)
Medina of Marrakesh (1985)
Medina of Tetouan (formerly known as Titawin) (1997)
Rabat, Modern Capital and Historic City: a Shared Heritage (2012)

Netherlands (2 sites)
Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout
Seventeenth-century canal ring area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht

Poland (4 sites)
Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945) (1979)
Historic Centre of Kraków (1978)
Historic Centre of Warsaw (1980)
Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines (1978)

Romania (2 sites)
Historic Centre of Sighişoara (1999)
Villages with Fortified Churches in Transylvania (1993,1999)

Singapore (1 site)
Singapore Botanical Gardens (2015)

Slovenia (1 site)
Škocjan Caves (1986) – visited in 2015

Spain (10 sites)
Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzin, Granada (1984)
Archaeological Ensemble of Tarraco (2000)
Cathedral, Alcazar and Archivo de Indias in Seville (1987)
Historic Centre of Cordoba (1984)
Historic City of Toledo (1986)
La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia (1996)
Palau de la Musica Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona (1997)
Palmeral of Elche (2000)
Poblet Monastery (1991)
Works of Antoni Gaudi (1984)

Turkey (6 sites)
Archaeological Site of Troy (1998)
Ephesus (2015) – special because it was inscribed AFTER I visited it :)
City of Safranbolu (1994)
Historic Areas of Istanbul (1985)
Goreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia (1985)
Hierapolis-Pamukkale (1988)

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (14 sites)
Blenheim Palace (1987)
Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey, and St Martin’s Church (1988)
City of Bath (1987)
Durham Castle and Cathedral (1986)
Frontiers of the Roman Empire (1987)
Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast (1986)
Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (2004)
Maritime Greenwich (1997)
Old and New Towns of Edinburgh (1995)
Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church (1987)
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (2003)
Saltaire (2001)
Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites (1986)
Tower of London (1988)

United States of America (3 sites)
Yosemite National Park (1984)
Independence Hall (1979)
Statue of Liberty (1984)

Viet Nam (1 site)
Ha Long Bay


Sites that are shared are only counted as one (counted in the country that appears higher in the alphabetical order)

Granted there are a few that I’m not too proud of. For example I haven’t been inside of the Papal Palace in Avignon because we didn’t have enough time, but I’ve been there in front of it. The natural sites are a bit tricky, since the sites are usually very big, and I’ve usually just been to a small part of it. But I’d count them in. And if I get another chance in the future to revisit those sites with a higher level of appreciation, I totally would!


13 Responses

  1. JoV
    JoV · October 9, 2013 at 19:36:46 · →

    Gosh, I better start my own list soon! even if just to know how many sites I have visited! :)

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  5. Babak Fakhamzadeh
    Babak Fakhamzadeh · July 20, 2015 at 02:26:43 · →

    You might like http://theplacesihavebeen.com, where you can keep track of the WHSs you’ve visited and compare your list with those of your friends.

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