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World Heritage

Cultural and natural heritage sites of outstanding universal value  
Photo: © Alexander Eugen Koller

World Heritage

The cultural and natural heritage of humanity

What do the Wachau Cultural Landscape, the Egyptian pyramids, the Great Barrier Reef and the Inca city of Machu Picchu have in common? They are all stunning testimonies to cultures of the past; unique natural landscapes, the destruction of which would be an irreplaceable loss for all of humanity. Protecting them should therefore not be the responsibility of one single country but rather a task for the international community.

The World Heritage Convention (“Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage”) is the world’s most crucial tool, agreed upon by the international community for the protection of their cultural and natural heritage. Its aim is to help protect and sustainably preserve the cultural and natural landmarks of outstanding universal value.

The World Heritage List currently contains 1,121 natural and cultural sites from 167 countries. Austria is represented on the list with 10 World Heritage sites. Being inscribed on the World Heritage List is simultaneously an honour and a duty. The sites must be preserved for future generations with the help of national protective measures and appropriate management.