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A World Heritage Site is a place (such as a building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, or mountain) that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as being of special cultural or physical significance.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 UNESCO member states which are elected by the General Assembly.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

The programme catalogues, names, and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund. The program was founded with the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage,<ref>Convention Concerning the Protection of World's Cultural and Natural Heritage</ref> which was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972. Since then, 191 states parties have ratified the Convention, making it one of the most adhered to international instruments. Only Liechtenstein, Nauru, Somalia, South Sudan, Timor-Leste, and Tuvalu are not Parties to the Convention.

As of July 2015, 1031 sites are listed: 802 cultural, 197 natural, and 32 mixed properties, in 163 states parties.<ref name="list">World Heritage List, UNESCO World Heritage Sites official sites.</ref><ref name="New sites">Sites in Germany and Italy bring to 19 the number of sites inscribed on the World Heritage List this year, UNESCO World Heritage Sites official sites.</ref> According to the sites ranked by country, Italy is home to the greatest number of World Heritage Sites with 51 sites, followed by China (48), Spain (44), France (41), Germany (40), Mexico (33), and India (32). UNESCO references each World Heritage Site with an identification number; however, new inscriptions often include previous sites now listed as part of larger descriptions. Consequently, the identification numbers exceed 1,200, even though there are fewer on the list.

While each World Heritage Site remains part of the legal territory of the state wherein the site is located, UNESCO considers it in the interest of the international community to preserve each site.


World Heritage Site sections
Intro  History  Selection criteria   Statistics   Territorial division  See also  References  External links  

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