A place must meet specific criteria as a cultural or natural site designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. For example, the site reflects worldwide customs, beliefs, ideas, or works of art; provides a significant measure of architecture; marks a pivotal period in Earth’s history; or is home to natural environments where diverse biology is conserved.
UNESCO World Heritage Convention recognized various sites of cultural and natural importance around the world.
Some countries have been honored with multiple UNESCO World Heritage Site designations. In the 1970s, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee began its work.
The top twenty countries with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites have different reasons for being in the top 15. The countries are discussed below.
1. Italy (58)
Due to its history, it is one of Italy’s most Unesco World Heritage Sites. It has the highest number of world heritage sites, with 58. The first Italian sites were designated as World Heritage Sites in 1979. Two cultural sites in Italy are the Villa Romana del Casale and the Castel del Monte.
Verona has a population of just over 258,000 people. It is a historic city with over 2,000 years of urban construction and architecture to boast about. It was also mentioned in Shakespeare’s classic play as the house of Romeo and Juliet.
Over 5% of Unesco’s global list comprises 58 declared cultural and natural landmarks, with another 40 spots up for consideration as possible additions.
The Amalfi Coast, Florence’s Historical Center, Tuscany’s Medici Villas and Gardens, Rome’s Historical Center, Villa d’Este, Tivoli, Venice, its Lagoon, and many more are among the other attractions.
With 94 million tourists visiting each year, Italy is the third most visited country in the world. Italy’s rich culture, cuisine, history, fashion, and art and its stunning coastline and beaches, mountains, and irreplaceable ancient structures attract visitors. Another important reason is that Italy has more World Heritage Sites than any other country (58).
2. China (56)
One of the world’s earliest civilizations is found in China. As a result, China is the second-largest country on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, with 56 sites. In addition, there are 37 culturally significant sites, 14 natural sites, and four mixed sites (cultural and natural).
The Great Wall of China, Zhoukoudian, the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, and Ming Tombs are well-known tourist attractions. China’s Great Wall was built as a fortress along China’s northern borders to protect the country from nomadic steppe nomads.
Ushan National Park, located in Jiangxi Province in Central China, is one of China’s most stunning natural places. Mount Lu, one of the country’s most well-known mountains, is located here. Visitors to China should also visit the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, home to more than 30% of the world’s giant pandas, an endangered species.
The majority of China’s 101 prominent historical and cultural cities are more than 1,000 years old. Every year, the China National Tourism Administration promotes a tourism theme. With its 72 peaks, Wudang Mountain is a Taoist sacred location that preserves one of China’s most complete and large-scale ancient architecture.
3. Germany (51)
Germany possesses a lot of cultural sites as a result of its history as the Roman Empire and later as the Holy Roman Empire and the German Empire. There are 51 historic sites in all.
Many tourists focus on the country’s cultural aspects throughout their journeys in Germany. In addition, Germany’s 30 UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites provide an exciting opportunity to view both natural and cultural “wonders.”
Potsdam and Berlin’s Palaces and Parks encompass around 1,200 acres of parkland and 150 structures. In addition, numerous palaces and parks can be found along the banks of the Havel river and Lake Glienicke.
4. Spain (49)
The first Spanish sites were included on the UNESCO list in 1984. Spain has a long history that consists of the Roman Empire as well as its formidable international empire. Spain has 49 items on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Cordoba Mosque, the Alhambra and the Generalife, the Escorial Monastery and Site, Park Guell, Palau Guell, and Casa Mila are Spanish sites. Spain’s most notable heritage sites are the Burgos Cathedral, Hercules Tower, Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain, Ibiza, Altamira Cave, Cordoba’s Historical Center, Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain.
5. France (49)
With 49 sites on the World Heritage List, France is tied with Spain for the most. It includes 39 cultural sites, five natural properties, and one mixed property. Two of France’s great cultural treasures are the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Palace of Versailles.
France may rank fifth in the world in terms of UNESCO sites (behind Italy, China, and Spain), yet many of them are overlooked by visitors.
Chartres Cathedral, the Gulf of Porto, Bordeaux, and Vézelay, a historic fortress town encircled by an outstanding canal, is France’s most recognized attractions.
6. India (40)
There are 30 cultural World Heritage Sites in India and seven natural World Heritage Sites. One of the most well-known is the Taj Mahal. India now boasts 40 World Heritage Sites, thanks to the most recent inclusion to the UNESCO list.
UNESCO has designated 30 cultural sites, seven natural sites, and one mixed site. The Taj Mahal, Khajuraho, Hampi’s ruins, the Ajanta Caves, the Ellora Caves, and Bodh Gaya are all well-known attractions of India.
The Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Emperor Shah Jahan erected it in honor of his wife, Mumtaj Mahal.
7. Mexico (35)
Mexico has 35 World History Sites, representing an incredible range of natural and cultural heritage. As a result, Mexico is the ideal destination for history and environment enthusiasts.
Other well-known heritage sites are Jalisco, Franciscan Missions in Querétaro, Oaxaca, Monte Alban archaeological site, Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, and Historic Town of Guanajuato. Mexico has the most World Heritage Sites of any country on the continent and is the world’s seventh-largest list.
8. United Kingdom (33)
There are 33 World Heritage Sites in the UK. In addition, the United Kingdom has a variety of culturally significant landmarks dating back to its time as a global empire.
Avebury in Wiltshire, Bath Assembly Rooms in Somerset, East Pool Mine in Cornwall, Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire, and Studley Royal Water Garden in Yorkshire are among the most notable. England’s only natural World Heritage site is the Jurassic Coast.
The Lake District National Park is designated as an internationally significant cultural landscape. St Martin’s Church is England’s oldest church. It was founded during the early phases of converting the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity.
9. Russia (30)
Due to its rich history and enormous geographic expanse, Russia boasts a variety of sites. There are 30 UNESCO World Heritage sites in the area, 16 of which are cultural and 10 of which are natural.
The Moscow Kremlin and Red Square, Novodevichy Convent, Church of the Ascension, Kolomenskoye, Historic Center of Saint Petersburg, and Kizhi Pogost are among the most well-known attractions. Lake Baikal, located in southeastern Siberia, is the world’s deepest and oldest lake. Because of its age (25 million years) and solitude, it is one of the world’s most biodiverse freshwater habitats.
10. Iran (26)
Iran’s numerous historical landmarks provide remarkable insight into the country’s natural and cultural treasures. With 26 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Iran is one of the ten countries with the most cultural heritage sites.
Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran, Bam and its Cultural Landscape, Bisotun, Maymand Cultural Landscape, Golestan Palace, Gonbad-e Qabus, and many others are prominent landmarks.
The first entry on this list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Iran is the Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran. The Lut Desert is the most recent addition to the list, and it is also the sole natural location. Unfortunately, it is also one of the hottest and driest regions, with surface sand temperatures averaging 70 degrees Celsius.
11. Japan (25)
The numerous cultural and natural wonders of Japan provide a multitude of treasures to discover. In Japan, there are 25 world heritage sites. In addition, Horyuji Temple, Himeji castle, ancient Kyoto monuments, ancient Nara monuments, and many others are cultural heritage sites.
From Ancient Kyoto’s Historical Monuments to Himeji Castle, a hilltop complex is recognized as the ideal of Japanese castle design.
12. USA (24)
The first places in the United States to be included were Mesa Verde National Park and Yellowstone National Park. There are a total of 24 historic locations in the area.
The Statue of Liberty in New York, designed by Frederic Bartholdi and donated by the French in 1886, is one of the country’s cultural landmarks. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Architecture was the most recent addition to the list.
13. Brazil (23)
Brazil is not just the home of soccer but also a popular tourist destination around the world. The Rio de Janeiro fiesta is one of the most well-known and most prominent in the world. It has a significant impact on the culture of Brazil.
In Brazil, exotic landscapes, cascading waterfalls, sun-kissed beaches, and gorgeous National parks for wildlife and majestic mountains abound. The Historic Town of Ouro Preto was the first Brazilian monument designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980.
Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas Reserves, Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas Reserves, Central Amazon Conservation Complex, Central Amazon Conservation Complex, and others are among the heritage sites.
14. Australia (20)
After Brazil, Australia has a total of 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. That is because Australia was one of the first countries to sign the World Heritage Convention. As a result, there are 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Australia. Twelve are Natural World Heritage Sites, and 12 are Cultural World Heritage Sites.
Australian Convict Sites, Sydney Opera House, Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens, Greater Blue Mountains Area, Australian Fossil Mammal Sites, and others are Australia’s World Heritage sites.
15. Canada (20)
Canada, like Australia, has a total of twenty UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In addition, Canada has been a member of the World Heritage Convention since 1976.
It’s challenging to think about Canada’s most well-known regions without thinking of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The Canadian Rockies are home to four national parks: Banff, Jasper, Yoho, and Kootenay, as well as one of the world’s most famous fossil sites, the Burgess Shale Formation.
Natural heritage sites are Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Gros Morne National Park, and Joggins Fossil Cliffs.
Heritage refers to our inherited heritage from previous generations and what we live with today and pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both life-giving and inspirational resources.
The potential of sites to raise financing, primarily from the private sector, is enhanced when they are designated as World Heritage sites—in addition, being selected as a World Heritage Site adds an extra layer of protection.
Regardless of the land, World Heritage sites belong to all peoples of the world.
Read More 10 Different Cultures Around the World