UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Spain. World Heritage Sites in Spain by UNESCO as the Alhambra, the Cathedral of Seville and Salamanca Old City among others.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was founded by the United Nations in 1945 to contribute to international peace and security through education, culture, science and communication. UNESCO’s headquarters is in Paris and it has 195 member states and 8 associate members.
UNESCO helps communities with their local development, placing special emphasis on the natural resources and national cultural values of those communities, which must be preserved during the process of modernization and progress. The organization focuses its work on teaching literacy, training teachers, and creating and maintaining learning centers.
UNESCO promotes the qualification of World Heritage in three different aspects: cultural heritage, natural heritage, and intangible heritage. The category of mixed heritage can also be added (heritage that features a combination of two or three of these aspects).
The declaration of World Heritage accreditation is international recognition that implies honor and the responsibility of preserving and maintaining the site, the area, or the tradition that has been accredited.
Spain has an impressive number of World Heritage Sites. The World Heritage Cities of Spain Group (Grupo Ciudades Patrimonio de la Humanidad de España, or GCPHE) is a select grouping of cities that includes, in alphabetical order: Cáceres, Córdoba, Cuenca, Ibiza, Mérida, Salamanca, San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Santiago de Compostela, Segovia, Tarragona y Toledo. Each one of these towns features unique historical, architectural, and scenic natural characteristics that make them deserving of international attention.
Spanish landscapes that have received World Heritage accreditation include Tenerife’s Teide National Park (Spain’s most visited park), Garajonay National Park in Gomera, Canary Islands, Doñana National Park in Andalucia, and Monte Perdido within the Pyrenees and Monte Perdido National Park (which is shared by Spain and France) and Ibiza, which is accredited for both its cultural and nature heritage.
Notable examples of Spain’s World Cultural Heritage include: Granada’s site ensemble of the Alhambra, Generalife and Albaicín, the Cathedral of Burgos, the architectural works of Gaudí, the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragón, the site ensemble of Seville’s Cathedral, Alcázar fortress, and the General Archive of the Indies, the Camino de Santiago, the Llotja de la Seda (silk exchange) in Valencia, Las Médulas in Leon, and the Palua de la Música Catalana, and the Hospital de San Pablo, both in Barcelona.
Finally, Spain’s Intangible World Cultural Heritage is composed of a diverse range of representations such as the popular and traditional Misterio de Elche in Alicante, the Patum Festival in Berga (in the province of Barcelona), Silbo gomero (a whistling language from the Canary Island of Gomera), The Song of the Sibyl in Mallorca, flamenco, the Castells of Catalonia, the Mediterranean diet, and the Festival of Patios in Cordoba.
New accreditations in Spain are currently being evaluated and are expected to be added to UNESCO’s world heritage list in the near future, such is the case with the Fallas Festival of Valencia, the Biosphere Reserve of Montseny in Catalonia, and the Tamboradas, which are celebrated annually over Easter week in different towns along Spain’s eastern seaboard.
Spain is a mosaic of cities, places, and long standing traditions that are not only celebrated within Spain, but are also internationally recognized as cultural aspects of great prestige. Spain is an ideal destination for anyone interested in experiencing rich culture and learning the Spanish language.