What Is a UNESCO Site?
You’ve probably heard of popular destinations being described as UNESCO sites, but what does this mean? Widely known by the acronym UNESCO, The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization is an entity aiming to preserve cultural and natural treasures around the world.
What is a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
Although murmurings of such an organization began as early as the 1920s, it was not until 1978 that the first World Heritage sites were announced with the addition of twelve honored sites, among them locations as diverse as Yellowstone National Park, the Galapagos Islands, and the Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia.
Since that time, over 1000 sites around the world have been named, crisscrossing the globe. To be considered for the UNESCO heritage list, the site must offer outstanding universal value and must meet at least one of ten selection criteria, including such reasons as representing masterpieces of human creative genius or a superlative natural phenomenon.
If country counting your traveling goal, a quest to visit each of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites would be epic. The sites cover the globe and encompass 161 “states parties,” or countries that signed and ratified the World Heritage Convention. Of the 1007 sites, 779 are cultural, 197 are natural, and 31 are mixed properties.
While many UNESCO World Heritage Sites are focused on scenic beauty, some are definitely urban in nature, some are historic, and some aren't even places...
The Mediterranean Diet, Greece, Italy, France, Spain...
Believe it or not, his last one is not a place but a diet (the good kind, of course!). The Mediterranean Diet, long praised by dietitians, was inscribed into the UNESCO list of intangible entries in 2013. This locally produced, farm-to-table, type of eating is as much about superior ingredients as it is about social interaction and a sense of community. It focuses on total lifestyle; good food, good exercise, and good community.