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Authenticity only applies to cultural properties and to the cultural aspects of ‘mixed’ properties. Authenticity can be seen as the link between attributes and Outstanding Universal Value.

According to paragraph 82 of the Operational Guidelines, a World Heritage property ”[] may be understood to meet the conditions of authenticity if their cultural values (as recognized in the nomination criteria proposed) are truthfully and credibly expressed through a variety of attributes”.

A set of general attributes which may be conveying or expressing the property’s Outstanding Universal Value is suggested, and includes:

  • form and design;
  • materials and substance;
  • use and function;
  • traditions, techniques and management systems;
  • location and setting;
  • language and other forms of intangible heritage;
  • spirit and feeling; and
  • other internal/external factors.

The concept of Authenticity is described in the Operational Guidelines paragraphs 79-86.

A comprehensive definition of authenticity in relation to cultural heritage is contained in the Nara Document on Authenticity which was drafted in 1994 in Nara, Japan.

Source(s): Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention