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World Heritage Convention

Decision 34 COM 8B.41
Cultural Properties - Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (Mexico)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-10/34.COM/8B and WHC-10/34.COM/INF.8B1.Add,

2. Inscribes the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, Mexico, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (ii) and (iv);

3. Adopts the following statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

Brief synthesis

The Camino Real de Tierra Adentro constitutes a part of the Spanish Intercontinental Royal Route from Mexico City to Santa Fe. The property, consists of five existing urban World Heritage sites and 55 other sites related to the use of the road, such as bridges, former haciendas, historic centres/towns, a cemetery, former convents, a mountain range, stretches of road, a mine, chapels/temples and caves within a 1,400 km stretch of the road between Mexico City and the Town of Valle de Allende. The Camino was an extraordinary phenomenon as a communication channel. Silver was the driving force that generated the wealth and commitment of the Spanish Government and the will of colonists to 'open up' the northern territory for mining, to establish the necessary towns for workers and to build the forts, haciendas, and churches. The outcome of this highly profitable process was the development of mines, and the construction of the road and bridges, the establishment of multi-ethnic towns, with elaborate buildings that reflect a fusion of Spanish and local decoration, an agricultural revolution in the countryside centered on large hacienda estates with churches, and the movement of peoples up and down the road, facilitated to a great degree initially by settlements of muleteers, all of which led to the development of a distinctive culture along the route. Ultimately the wealth of silver led to massive economic development in Spain and other parts of Europe and a period of great economic inflation. The impact of the road was enormous in terms of social tensions as well as ultimately social integration between the many people that came to be involved in the economic development. The structures in the property together reflect some aspects of this interchange of ideas and people along the southern stretch of the road.

Criterion (ii): The Camino Real de Tierra Adentro became one of the most important routes to bond the Spanish Crown with its northern domains in the Americas. Along the southern part of the route is a collection of sites related to work in mines and haciendas, merchant trading, military, evangelism and the administrative structure designed to control the immense territory from the Spanish metropolitan hub, adapted to the local environment, materials and technical practices, that reflect an outstanding interchange of cultural and religious ideas.

Criterion (iv): An ensemble of sites along the southern part of the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, including examples of buildings, architectural and technological ensembles, illustrate a significant stage in human history - the Spanish colonial exploitation of silver and the transformation of associated rural and urban landscapes.


The component parts of the serial nomination illustrate the variety and diversity of functions and physical components that reflect the impact of the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. Some of the parts are vulnerable to inadequately controlled development, particularly of new roads, the disturbance of landscape settings, and physical neglect of fabric. 


The specific way individual components reflect the overall impact of the road need to be set out more clearly in order that their individual contributions can be better reflected and understood, particularly in the case of existing inscribed World Heritage properties.

Management and protection requirements

Considerable legal protection is in place at federal, state and local levels. In terms of archaeology, the sites and particularly the road itself are less well protected. The conservation condition of most of the 60 nominated properties is generally good.

Management arrangements exist at federal level, trough the National Institute on Anthropology and History (INAH), and at state level in each of the ten states concerned.  The management systems for the majority of the components are adequate and the overview role of the INAH is appropriate. Although there is no overall coordinated formal management framework for all components, the National Conference of Governors has committed to support the project of the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro through the formation of a coordinating work group.

There is a need to define and protect the setting of the nominated sites beyond the proposed buffer zones when related to landscape structures; to put in place legal protection for all the individual sites; and to establish an overall coordinated management system that encompasses all the sites;

4. Notes that the five properties already inscribed on the World Heritage List remain separate inscriptions from the serial inscription of the cultural route, although they are clearly linked to its development;

5. Requests that the State Party report by 1 February 2011 for consideration by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011 that:

a) Provides a succinct statement on how the component site were selected;

b) Expands the buffer zone to include the landscape setting in those locations along the stretches of the road that are important for the context of the route and;

c) Reports on progress on the implementation of the new law on the protection of cultural routes and the overarching formal coordinated management framework, which includes all of the components within the boundary of the property;

6. Takes note that this serial property will not be extended through the inclusion of additional component parts within Mexico.

Decision Code
34 COM 8B.41
Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
States Parties 1
Report of the Decisions Adopted By the world heritage committee At its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010)
Context of Decision