You have probably come across some of the popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites postcards. The UNESCO Sites are some of the best places to travel to in the entire world and receiving a postcards from one of these sites is just as neat. But what is UNESCO, and how are the sites picked? We’ll try to answer some of those questions in this post.
UNESCO stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The UNESCO World Heritage program was born in 1952. It sought to identify and designate sites around the world that were significant in one of three areas: education, science or culture.
The reason UNESCO was founded was because of a need to safeguard ancient temples in Egypt in 1952. Egypt had decided to build the Aswan High Dam, but this was going to flood the ancient temples of Abu Simbel and Philae. The United Nations wanted to protect these sites and so the UNESCO World Heritage Sites program was started.
Many countries from the UN came to help out and protect the sites in Egypt, which led to other protection campaigns for various other sites throughout the world. In 1965, the United States championed a draft convention to start a World Heritage Trust, which would protect these scenic, natural and historic sites. This was eventually adopted by the UN in 1972.
Sites are chosen to become World Heritage Sites by nomination from the group of 180 countries, which are called the States Parties. Countries in the group nominate sites within their territory that they want included and then they are voted on based on various criteria. After meeting these criteria for cultural and historical significance, a site becomes an UNESCO World Heritage Site and is given resources for protection and preservation from the World Heritage Trust.
Today, there are more than 800 of these sites in many different countries all over the world. You can learn more about them on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites website.
Have you visited many UNESCO sites? Which one is your favourite? :)