World Heritage Sites: A Complete Guide to 936 UNESCO World Heritage Sites


Updated for 2012, this guide fully describes every official UNESCO World Heritage site.

In 1959, UNESCO launched an international campaign to safeguard the world's most important cultural, natural and mixed sites, which led to the first World Heritage List. In clear text and photographs describing each site, this updated and revised edition of World Heritage Sites details all 936 sites on the list, including the 25 added in 2011.

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Updated for 2012, this guide fully describes every official UNESCO World Heritage site.

In 1959, UNESCO launched an international campaign to safeguard the world's most important cultural, natural and mixed sites, which led to the first World Heritage List. In clear text and photographs describing each site, this updated and revised edition of World Heritage Sites details all 936 sites on the list, including the 25 added in 2011.

Covering 153 countries, the World Heritage List is a valuable tool in the battle to preserve cultural and natural heritage. Its strict criteria mean only the most extraordinary and important sites make it onto the list, such as the Statue of Liberty, the Great Barrier Reef, the Historic Center of Vienna, Vatican City, the Bikini Atoll Nuclear Test Site, Robben Island, Ancient Damascus, and the Tower of London. At the same time, failure to maintain the criteria can result in being delisted, as was the Dresden Elbe Valley in 2009.

Some of the new sites added in 2011 and included in this book are:

  • Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia
  • Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison, Barbados
  • Saloum Delta, Senegal
  • Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley
  • Fagus Factory in Alfeld, Germany
  • Ningaloo Coast, Australia
  • Ancient Villages of Northern Syria
  • Citadel of the Ho Dynasty, Vietnam
  • Petroglyphic Complexes of the Mongolian Altai
  • The Persian Garden, Iran

Featuring gorgeous photographs and updated maps, World Heritage Sites is uniquely comprehensive.

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Editorial Reviews

Outpost Magazine - Ryan Murdock
[Review for previous edition] This volume is a must for the serious traveller's bookshelf.
Resource Links Vol. 16 No. 4 - Victoria Pennell
[Review for previous edition] This book contains a tremendous amount of information about these well-known and not-so-well known historical and natural areas which UNESCO has identified as being of outstanding value to humanity. This book would be a great addition to reference sections of public and junior and senior high school libraries.
San Francisco West County Times - Ann Tatko-Peterson
[Review for previous edition] You won't find a guidebook that comes closer to painting a complete picture about such a large body of tourism haunts.
Shelf Life
[Review for previous edition] Impressive...a true travelogue throughout the book, as we are taken to the most beautiful sites the world has to offer, further proof of why UNESCO wants to preserve them for future generations, to enjoy centuries from today. In the meantime, we get to enjoy their charm, right in our hands.
St. Paul Pioneer Press - Ellen Creager
[Review for previous edition] Think of it as the world's greatest hits.
Valley Times - Ann Tutko-Peterson
[Review for previous edition] Firefly Books is the first to compile a guidebook that attempts to cover all of the World Heritage sites.... It's a fascinating look at these remarkable sites.
Victoria Times-Colonist - Candace Fertile
[Review for previous edition] Whether your gift recipient is a traveller or someone who prefers to travel imaginatively in the comfort of home, World Heritage Sites is a splendid gift. With more than 650 colour photos, the book is a luscious visual treat. And as some sites are grievously damaged (Angor Wat) or destroyed (Buddhas of Bamiyan), the book is a record of what exists now and what once was.
Waterloo Region Record
[Review for previous edition] The cover boasts a gorgeous photo of the pyramids of Giza in Egypt. The back shows the Taj Mahal, pink in the light of dawn. And in between there are more than 800 pages-and almost two kilograms' worth -that are filled with information about natural and cultural wonders from every corner of the globe. In a way, the book is a book of dreams - for people with the travel bug or those who just like to imagine what it would be like to see places the forces of nature and human ingenuity have wrought. All of these places are sites of physical or cultural significance on a list maintained by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). Canada is well represented, with 15 sites, most of which are of natural rather than historic value.
Westworld - Rob Howatson
[Review for previous edition] Most places-to-see-before-you-die books are a dime a dozen, but this one comes with the moral authority of the United Nations. World Heritage Sites: A Complete Guide to 878 UNESCO World Heritage Sites features gorgeous photos ands pithy descriptions of Earth's most culturally, historically and geologically significant locations.
[Review for previous edition] Really a great and informative publication!
ABC News - Beth J. Harpaz
[Review for previous edition] Pat Carrier, owner of the Globe Corner, says his customers have been very enthusiastic about World Heritage Sites.
Blog on Books
[Review for previous edition] [A] good introduction to the range and scope of this global preservation program.
Booklist - Craig Bunch
[Review for previous edition] Highly attractive and informative.... What makes this compact, sturdily covered and bound paperback an invaluable reference book is its coverage of the complete list of the current sites.... Though the phrase "recommended for all libraries" is overused, no school, public, or academic library could go wrong including the very affordable World Heritage Sites in both reference and circulating collections. The official World Heritage Web site, which includes many additional photographs and features, is also highly recommended. YA: For teens, this very browsable book will provide numerous historical, geographic, aesthetic, and perhaps even moral lessons.
Canadian Jewish News - Sheldon Kirshner
[Review for previous edition] Guides you to visually thrilling locales around the world.
Denver Post - Kyle Wagner
[Review for previous edition] World Heritage Sites is a great reminder that it isn't just land that we need to protect, but the hundreds of thousands of treasures from ancient civilizations, cultural relics, natural habitats and other sites important to human history.... This guide arranges them chronologically by the year they were designated by UNESCO, and offers color photos, a brief history and explanation of their further significance, the criteria that put them on the list and, for some of the sites, additional trivia.
Oregon Live - Terry Richard
[Review for previous edition] Instead of reading about places you may already be familiar with, this book will take you around the world to the best natural and manmade features on the planet.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781770850231
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 8/23/2012
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 872
  • Sales rank: 784,521
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 2.10 (d)

Meet the Author

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was founded in 1945 with the ambitious goal to build peace in the minds of men and women through education, social and natural science, culture and communication.

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