Geographical systematization of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Keywords: UNESCO World Heritage, cultural sites, natural sites, mixed sites, «endangered» sites, intangible cultural heritage sites


The article presents the results of inventory checking of objects of natural and cultural heritage of mankind. Preservation of cultural heritage has been noted as an important task during any period in history. The article specifies what objects can be considered cultural or natural heritage of mankind. We describe what advantages the status of world heritage site give to the site itself and to the country as a whole. The existence of the UNESCO World Heritage List allows one to identify a number of unresolved issues regarding the protection and preservation of cultural heritage in the countries. Despite the fact that the UNESCO World Heritage List is the object of scientific attention of many authors, the data presented in their publications are outdated and therefore unable to provide current coverage of the geographical structure of the World Heritage, as it is quite dynamic and changing every year. We analyzed researches on the chosen subject by domestic and foreign authors, finding that the main array of scientific publications for the query “UNESCO World Heritage” offers studies of the effects of UNESCO sites on tourist flows or the tourist brand of the region or country. At the same time, there is a range of scientific publications criticizing the very existence of the UNESCO World Heritage List, as well as the current criteria for nomination and inclusion of sites in the UNESCO World Heritage, uneven distribution of sites between developing and developed countries – geopolitical axis “North – South” and the lack of effective protection and conservation mechanisms in the UNESCO and even in the UN, even for places already included in the List of Sites. At the same time, there is a lack of geographical research on the distribution of the UNESCO World Heritage sites and complete absence of research on the territorial organization of intangible cultural heritage sites. A historiographical analysis of UNESCO World Heritage sites has been carried out, and the dynamics of changes in the number of sites has been analyzed. The article presents structural-territorial analysis of the distribution of objects : we determined absolute and relative indicators of the number of objects by macroregions and types, analyzed the typological ratio of objects within the regions, and identified the leading and outsider countries of each region. A cartographic model of the distribution of objects by the planet is presented. The expediency of regular monitoring of the current state of recreational and tourist resources of world importance and analysis of the tendency of deterioration or improvement of the related situation regarding non-compliance with the norms of protection and preservation of cultural and natural monuments is substantiated. We also analyzed the territorial distribution of the “Under threat” list, which includes 53 objects from 33 countries. The article contains our ideas about the prescriptive rather than the recommendatory nature of the remarks of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, which could radically effect the elimination of all processes that threaten UNESCO sites. Territorial analysis of the distribution of intangible cultural heritage of mankind has been carried out.

Author Biography

Mariya V. Lushchyk
Lviv Polytechnic National University, Lviv, Ukraine


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How to Cite
Lushchyk, M. (2022). Geographical systematization of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Journal of Geology, Geography and Geoecology, 31(2), 352-362.