Preserving cultural heritage

Safeguarding cultural heritage of mankind
Safeguarding cultural heritage
Protecting cultural heritage

Article 1 of the World Heritage Convention defines cultural heritage as: monuments: architectural works, works of monumental sculpture and painting, elements or structures of an archaeological nature, inscriptions, cave dwellings and combinations of features, which are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science; groups of buildings: groups of separate or connected buildings which, because of their architecture, their homogeneity or their place in the landscape, are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science; sites: works of man or the combined works of nature and man, and areas including archaeological sites which are of outstanding universal value from the historical, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological point of view.

Cultural heritage is now taken to include both the built-heritage and the non-physical heritage. The latter is composed of the signs and symbols passed on by oral transmission, artistic and literary forms of expression, languages, ways of life, myths, beliefs and rituals, value systems and traditional knowledge and know-how. Importance is increasingly attached to the search for "roots" for improved quality of life and cultural development. This broader connotation of cultural heritage provides a challenge for national and international action that is increasingly difficult to meet.


The 'non-physical' monuments are even more important than stones: our languages, crafts, music and ways of acting together in our communities every day. These are the gestures and forms of expression which make us human: our consciousness of our relationship with the past and the future within our present.

Interpreting heritage
Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions