There are 981 World Heritage Sites all around the world standing as examples of the cultural heritage of times that have passed. These places are named by the UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, to have recognition and represent an important cultural or physical significance to humanity. The categorize the sites into three: cultural, natural or mixed. The UNESCO has ten criteria that help determine if a specific location will make the list. These include if it represents a masterpiece, or is outstanding architecturally speaking. Six of these criteria will determine it is a cultural site and the other 4 will determine a natural site. There are countries around the world that have a larger concentration of World Heritage Sites such as Italy, China, Spain, France, and Germany. Italy leads with 51 sites, closely followed by China with 40. Spain has 45 sites, France 42 and Germany 41. Most of the sites in these countries are considered to be cultural sites, preserving the architectural structures in Europe and the years of history found in them. Although they do have a few natural or mixed sites as well.
A few of these locations have been mentioned in previous articles like when naming some of the most breathtaking ancient architectural wonders, in the Kenny Slaught, but in this post, the center of attention will be those architectural noteworthy World Heritage Sites in the country that has the most than any other country. Italy, with its 51 sites holds the lead and does so due to its hugely appraised and marveled historical and traditional recognized sites. This post will focus on the most antique sites, of these 51, that have truly astonishing and marvelous architecture that have lasted for decades.
Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci
This complex, besides being considered as a remarkable architectural structure, also has on its north wall a masterpiece of all ages painted by the one and only Leonardo da Vinci between 1495 and 1497. The Last Supper came to grace the walls nearly 30 years after it had been built, and it truly has brought this already historic architectural building, to be on every visitor’s must-do list when visiting Italy. It was included in the list of World Heritage Sites because of criteria i and ii. Despite the bombings of 1943 and conservation issues of the painting due to Da Vinci’s experimental techniques, it remains standing and conserved by constant restoration that have actually led to new discoveries.
Piazza del Duomo, Pisa
This plaza was selected as a World Heritage Site due to its compliance with four of the ten criteria: i, ii, iv and vi, it stands in a green pasture, made up of four architectural masterpieces: the baptistery, the cathedral, the Leaning Tower or the campanile and finally the cemetery. The construction of the cathedral, St. Mary of the Assumption, started in 1064. It too has had some restorations along the years, including the replacement of its doors in 2595, due to the original doors being burnt down. One of the most famous icons of this plaza is the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the campanile. This was the last of the buildings to be built, which started in 1173, and it continued to be constructed over the next 177 years. The final touch, which was the bell-chamber was added in 1372. The leaning of the tower is due to the fact that during its first five years of construction, the soil on the south side was week and caused the building to sink at this end. The construction was put on standstill for a century, and when it restarted the soil had stabilized itself. While building the rest, the other floors were built with a slant to adjust for the leaning of the tower.
It made the list of the World Heritage Sites in 1995 for representing the criteria number iv and v. This historic settlement is a reflection of what at the time was being down by companies to better adjust themselves to their workers needs. This company town or model village was built to house workers of a textile manufacturer by Cristoforo Benigno Crespi in 1878. The village had a clinic, a school building, cemetery, church, wash-house and a theater.
There are many more, which will be mentioned in future posts such as Castel del Monte, The Trulli of Alberobello, Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico), Padua, Cathedral, Torre Civica and Piazza Grande, Modena, and Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata. These are just to mention a few of the beautiful and amazing architectural wealth you can find in Italy. The history is almost in every street, town and village when you go to Italy, reason why it’s no surprise that it is at the top of the list for being the home to the most World Heritage Sites in the world.