Table of contents

Scenic natural beauty

How can it be judged?

The sites inscribed under criterion vii, known commonly as having the “wow” effect, are more than just stunning landscapes, and we take a close look at their unique qualities and conservation challenges.

Stories behind superlative scenery

The concept of aesthetics is no easier to deal with, being additionally affected by cultural differences.

Mount Huangshan Site of legendary beauty

Mount Huangshan’s landscape features imposing peaks, spectacular rocks, odd-shaped pines, and a sea of clouds.

Plitvice Lakes

The great art of nature

In 1979, Plitvice Lakes National Park was to be among the first natural sites worldwide inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The monarch butterfly An extraordinary voyage

The overwintering concentration of the monarch butterfly in the property is the most dramatic manifestation of the phenomenon of insect migration.

Splendour of Kenya Rift Valley lakes earns global recognition

Since its inscription in 2011, the Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley has been recognized as a natural property of outstanding beauty.

Wadi Rum Ancient desert landscape

The Wadi Rum Protected Area is a varied desert landscape spectacularly eroded over the course of geological time.


Forty years on: World Heritage and international law

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention. This article is the first of three in a series dedicated to the origins of the Convention and its evolution from 1972 to the present day.



Interview with Professor Christina Cameron, Canada Research Chair in Built Heritage, University of Montreal.

Interview with Herbie Hancock, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

Advisory Bodies

ICCROM’s involvement in World Heritage.


Educational Kit on underwater cultural heritage; Fifty-five new files for the intangible cultural heritage lists: Africa in the lead; Safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage in Kazakhstan; World Migratory Bird Day 2012; The wreck of the Titanic now protected by UNESCO.


World Heritage and Ramsar Wetlands – common goals in the Mediterranean; World Heritage embraces sustainable development; Sustainable tourism in the Everglades; Disaster, heritage and the city; Monitoring the Great Barrier Reef; Mexico’s archaeological discovery; New tool to explore World Heritage sites; Category 2 Centres: a functioning reality; Management training in Burgundy; World Heritage Law in Hungary; Experts meet on integrity; I Know Where I’m Going; A first for the Western Indian Ocean.

In Danger

Bamiyan safeguards; Grant to assist Mount Nimba; Oil exploration in Virunga.


Hour for the Earth; Patrimonito and Docomodake celebrate; In Memoriam for Professor Herb Stovel; Panasonic Youth Award; Japan celebrates Convention’s birthday; Luxury auction for heritage; World Heritage Volunteers 2012: Beyond Territories and Boundaries; The Case of the Lost World Heritage, 5th episode.