Encyclopedia of the Global Middle Ages: Sites

Since our coverage in the Encyclopedia of the Global Middle Ages has been particularly strong in East Asia and Eastern Europe, in this section on Sites we want to prioritize coverage of sites in Africa, the Americas, and Western Europe. Notwithstanding, we welcome submissions for all UNESCO sites and you can consult and sort a complete list of Unesco Sites for EGMA.

ARTICLE TITLE TYPE SECTION COUNTRY UNESCO SITE OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION
Ghadamès architectural exemplar Africa Libya Old Town of Ghadamès Ghadamès, known as ‘the pearl of the desert’, stands in an oasis. It is one of the oldest pre-Saharan cities and an outstanding example of a traditional settlement. Its domestic architecture is characterized by a vertical division of functions: the ground floor used to store supplies; then another floor for the family, overhanging covered alleys that create what is almost an underground network of passageways; and, at the top, open-air terraces reserved for the women.
3-4 additional sites architectural exemplar Africa
Chichen-Itza architectural exemplar Americas Mexico Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza This sacred site was one of the greatest Mayan centres of the Yucatán peninsula. Throughout its nearly 1,000-year history, different peoples have left their mark on the city. The Maya and Toltec vision of the world and the universe is revealed in their stone monuments and artistic works. The fusion of Mayan construction techniques with new elements from central Mexico make Chichen-Itza one of the most important examples of the Mayan-Toltec civilization in Yucatán. Several buildings have survived, such as the Warriors’ Temple, El Castillo and the circular observatory known as El Caracol.
Uxmal architectural exemplar Americas Mexico Pre-Hispanic Town of Uxmal The Mayan town of Uxmal, in Yucatán, was founded ca. CE 700 and had some 25,000 inhabitants. The layout of the buildings, which date from between 700 and 1000, reveals a knowledge of astronomy. The Pyramid of the Soothsayer, as the Spaniards called it, dominates the ceremonial centre, which has well-designed buildings decorated with a profusion of symbolic motifs and sculptures depicting Chaac, the god of rain. The ceremonial sites of Uxmal, Kabah, Labna and Sayil are considered the high points of Mayan art and architecture.
2-3 additional sites architectural exemplar Americas
Corvey architectural exemplar Europe, Central Germany Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey The site is located along the Weser River on the outskirts of Höxter where the Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey were erected between AD 822 and 885 in a largely preserved rural setting. The Westwork is the only standing structure that dates back to the Carolingian era, while the original imperial abbey complex is preserved as archaeological remains that are only partially excavated. The Westwork of Corvey uniquely illustrates one of the most important Carolingian architectural expressions. It is a genuine creation of this period, and its architectural articulation and decoration clearly illustrate the role played within the Frankish empire by imperial monasteries in securing territorial control and administration, as well as the propagation of Christianity and the Carolingian cultural and political order throughout Europe.
Kosovo architectural exemplar Europe, Central Serbia Medieval Monuments in Kosovo The four edifices of the site reflect the high points of the Byzantine-Romanesque ecclesiastical culture, with its distinct style of wall painting, which developed in the Balkans between the 13th and 17th centuries. The Dečani Monastery was built in the mid-14th century for the Serbian king Stefan Dečanski and is also his mausoleum. The Patriarchate of Peć Monastery is a group of four domed churches featuring series of wall paintings. The 13th-century frescoes of the Church of Holy Apostles are painted in a unique, monumental style. Early 14th-century frescoes in the church of the Holy Virgin of Ljevisa represent the appearance of the new so-called Palaiologian Renaissance style, combining the influences of the eastern Orthodox Byzantine and the Western Romanesque traditions. The style played a decisive role in subsequent Balkan art
Cologne Cathedral architectural exemplar Europe, Central Germany Cologne Cathedral Begun in 1248, the construction of this Gothic masterpiece took place in several stages and was not completed until 1880. Over seven centuries, successive builders were inspired by the same faith and a spirit of absolute fidelity to the original plans. Apart from its exceptional intrinsic value and the artistic masterpieces it contains, Cologne Cathedral testifies to the enduring strength of European Christianity.
Maulbronn Monastery architectural exemplar Europe, Central Germany Maulbronn Monastery Complex Founded in 1147, the Cistercian Maulbronn Monastery is considered the most complete and best-preserved medieval monastic complex north of the Alps. Surrounded by fortified walls, the main buildings were constructed between the 12th and 16th centuries. The monastery’s church, mainly in Transitional Gothic style, had a major influence in the spread of Gothic architecture over much of northern and central Europe. The water-management system at Maulbronn, with its elaborate network of drains, irrigation canals and reservoirs, is of exceptional interest.
Alberobello architectural exemplar Europe, West Italy The Trulli of Alberobello The trulli, limestone dwellings found in the southern region of Puglia, are remarkable examples of drywall (mortarless) construction, a prehistoric building technique still in use in this region. The trulli are made of roughly worked limestone boulders collected from neighbouring fields. Characteristically, they feature pyramidal, domed or conical roofs built up of corbelled limestone slabs
Granada architectural exemplar Europe, West Spain Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzín, Granada Rising above the modern lower town, the Alhambra and the Albaycín, situated on two adjacent hills, form the medieval part of Granada. To the east of the Alhambra fortress and residence are the magnificent gardens of the Generalife, the former rural residence of the emirs who ruled this part of Spain in the 13th and 14th centuries. The residential district of the Albaycín is a rich repository of Moorish vernacular architecture, into which the traditional Andalusian architecture blends harmoniously.
Ferrara architectural exemplar Europe, West Italy Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta Ferrara, which grew up around a ford over the River Po, became an intellectual and artistic centre that attracted the greatest minds of the Italian Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries. Here, Piero della Francesca, Jacopo Bellini and Andrea Mantegna decorated the palaces of the House of Este. The humanist concept of the ‘ideal city’ came to life here in the neighbourhoods built from 1492 onwards by Biagio Rossetti according to the new principles of perspective. The completion of this project marked the birth of modern town planning and influenced its subsequent development.
Pienza architectural exemplar Europe, West Italy Historic Centre of the City of Pienza It was in this Tuscan town that Renaissance town-planning concepts were first put into practice after Pope Pius II decided, in 1459, to transform the look of his birthplace. He chose the architect Bernardo Rossellino, who applied the principles of his mentor, Leon Battista Alberti. This new vision of urban space was realized in the superb square known as Piazza Pio II and the buildings around it: the Piccolomini Palace, the Borgia Palace and the cathedral with its pure Renaissance exterior and an interior in the late Gothic style of south German churches
Úbeda and Baeza architectural exemplar Europe, West Spain Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza The urban morphology of the two small cities of Úbeda and Baeza in southern Spain dates back to the Moorish 9th century and to the Reconquista in the 13th century. An important development took place in the 16th century, when the cities were subject to renovation along the lines of the emerging Renaissance. This planning intervention was part of the introduction into Spain of new humanistic ideas from Italy, which went on to have a great influence on the architecture of Latin America.
Belfries of Belgium and France architectural exemplar Europe, West Belgium Belfries of Belgium and France Twenty-three belfries in the north of France and the belfry of Gembloux in Belgium were inscribed in 2005, as an extension to the 32 Belgian belfries inscribed in 1999 as Belfries of Flanders and Wallonia. Built between the 11th and 17th centuries, they showcase the Roman, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles of architecture. They are highly significant tokens of the winning of civil liberties. While Italian, German and English towns mainly opted to build town halls, in part of north-western Europe, greater emphasis was placed on building belfries. Compared with the keep (symbol of the seigneurs) and the bell-tower (symbol of the Church), the belfry, the third tower in the urban landscape, symbolizes the power of the aldermen. Over the centuries, they came to represent the influence and wealth of the towns.
Fez artistic/cultural importance Africa Morocco Medina of Fez Founded in the 9th century and home to the oldest university in the world, Fez reached its height in the 13th–14th centuries under the Marinids, when it replaced Marrakesh as the capital of the kingdom. The urban fabric and the principal monuments in the medina – madrasas, fondouks, palaces, residences, mosques and fountains – date from this period. Although the political capital of Morocco was transferred to Rabat in 1912, Fez has retained its status as the country’s cultural and spiritual centre.
Marrakesh artistic/cultural importance Africa Morocco Medina of Marrakesh Founded in 1070–72 by the Almoravids, Marrakesh remained a political, economic and cultural centre for a long period. Its influence was felt throughout the western Muslim world, from North Africa to Andalusia. It has several impressive monuments dating from that period: the Koutoubiya Mosque, the Kasbah, the battlements, monumental doors, gardens, etc. Later architectural jewels include the Bandiâ Palace, the Ben Youssef Madrasa, the Saadian Tombs, several great residences and Place Jamaâ El Fna, a veritable open-air theatre.
Timbuktu artistic/cultural importance Africa Mali Timbuktu Home of the prestigious Koranic Sankore University and other madrasas, Timbuktu was an intellectual and spiritual capital and a centre for the propagation of Islam throughout Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its three great mosques, Djingareyber, Sankore and Sidi Yahia, recall Timbuktu’s golden age. Although continuously restored, these monuments are today under threat from desertification.
1-2 additional sites artistic/cultural importance Africa
San Agustín artistic/cultural importance Americas Colombia San Agustín Archaeological Park The largest group of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in South America stands in a wild, spectacular landscape. Gods and mythical animals are skilfully represented in styles ranging from abstract to realist. These works of art display the creativity and imagination of a northern Andean culture that flourished from the 1st to the 8th century.
3-4 additional sites artistic/cultural importance Americas
Rhine (Lorelei and Upper-Mid Valley) artistic/cultural importance Europe, West Germany Upper Middle Rhine Valley The 65km-stretch of the Middle Rhine Valley, with its castles, historic towns and vineyards, graphically illustrates the long history of human involvement with a dramatic and varied natural landscape. It is intimately associated with history and legend and for centuries has exercised a powerful influence on writers, artists and composers.
Florence artistic/cultural importance Europe, West Italy Historic Centre of Florence Built on the site of an Etruscan settlement, Florence, the symbol of the Renaissance, rose to economic and cultural pre-eminence under the Medici in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its 600 years of extraordinary artistic activity can be seen above all in the 13th-century cathedral (Santa Maria del Fiore), the Church of Santa Croce, the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace, the work of great masters such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli and Michelangelo.
Pisa artistic/cultural importance Europe, West Italy Piazza del Duomo, Pisa Standing in a large green expanse, Piazza del Duomo houses a group of monuments known the world over. These four masterpieces of medieval architecture – the cathedral, the baptistry, the campanile (the ‘Leaning Tower’) and the cemetery – had a great influence on monumental art in Italy from the 11th to the 14th century.
Mont-Saint-Michel artistic/cultural importance Europe, West France Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay Perched on a rocky islet in the midst of vast sandbanks exposed to powerful tides between Normandy and Brittany stand the ‘Wonder of the West’, a Gothic-style Benedictine abbey dedicated to the archangel St Michael, and the village that grew up in the shadow of its great walls. Built between the 11th and 16th centuries, the abbey is a technical and artistic tour de force, having had to adapt to the problems posed by this unique natural site.
Milan, convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci artistic/cultural importance Europe, West Italy Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci The refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie forms an integral part of this architectural complex, begun in Milan in 1463 and reworked at the end of the 15th century by Bramante. On the north wall is The Last Supper, the unrivalled masterpiece painted between 1495 and 1497 by Leonardo da Vinci, whose work was to herald a new era in the history of art
Ravenna artistic/cultural importance Europe, West Italy Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna Ravenna was the seat of the Roman Empire in the 5th century and then of Byzantine Italy until the 8th century. It has a unique collection of early Christian mosaics and monuments. All eight buildings – the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Neonian Baptistery, the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, the Arian Baptistery, the Archiepiscopal Chapel, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, the Church of San Vitale and the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe – were constructed in the 5th and 6th centuries. They show great artistic skill, including a wonderful blend of Graeco-Roman tradition, Christian iconography and oriental and Western styles
Batalha monastery artistic/cultural importance Europe, West Portugal Monastery of Batalha The Monastery of the Dominicans of Batalha was built to commemorate the victory of the Portuguese over the Castilians at the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385. It was to be the Portuguese monarchy’s main building project for the next two centuries. Here a highly original, national Gothic style evolved, profoundly influenced by Manueline art, as demonstrated by its masterpiece, the Royal Cloister.
Mudejar Architecture of Aragon artistic/cultural importance Europe, West Spain Mudejar Architecture of Aragon The development in the 12th century of Mudejar art in Aragon resulted from the particular political, social and cultural conditions that prevailed in Spain after the Reconquista. This art, influenced by Islamic tradition, also reflects various contemporary European styles, particularly the Gothic. Present until the early 17th century, it is characterized by an extremely refined and inventive use of brick and glazed tiles in architecture, especially in the belfries.
Stone Circles of Senegambia burial site Africa The Gambia / Senegal Stone Circles of Senegambia The site consists of four large groups of stone circles that represent an extraordinary concentration of over 1,000 monuments in a band 100 km wide along some 350 km of the River Gambia. The four groups, Sine Ngayène, Wanar, Wassu and Kerbatch, cover 93 stone circles and numerous tumuli, burial mounds, some of which have been excavated to reveal material that suggest dates between 3rd century BCE and 16th century CE. Together the stone circles of laterite pillars and their associated burial mounds present a vast sacred landscape created over more than 1,500 years. It reflects a prosperous, highly organized and lasting society.
Tomb of Askia burial site Africa Mali Tomb of Askia The dramatic 17m pyramidal structure of the Tomb of Askia was built by Askia Mohamed, the Emperor of Songhai, in 1495 in his capital Gao. It bears testimony to the power and riches of the empire that flourished in the 15th and 16th centuries through its control of the trans-Saharan trade, notably in salt and gold. It is also a fine example of the monumental mud-building traditions of the West African Sahel. The complex, including the pyramidal tomb, two flat-roofed mosque buildings, the mosque cemetery and the open-air assembly ground, was built when Gao became the capital of the Songhai Empire and after Askia Mohamed had returned from Mecca and made Islam the official religion of the empire.
2-3 additional sites burial site Africa
Tierradentro burial site Americas Colombia National Archeological Park of Tierradentro Several monumental statues of human figures can be seen in the park, which also contains many hypogea dating from the 6th to the 10th century. These huge underground tombs (some burial chambers are up to 12mwide) are decorated with motifs that reproduce the internal decor of homes of the period. They reveal the social complexity and cultural wealth of a pre-Hispanic society in the northern Andes
3-4 additional sites burial site Americas
Stećci Medieval Tombstone Graveyards * burial site Europe Bosnia / Montenegro / Croatia / Serbia Stećci Medieval Tombstone Graveyards * The serial property of 28 component sites includes a selection of 4,000 medieval tombstones (stećci) on the territory of four states: Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia
Jelling burial site Europe Denmark Jelling Mounds, Runic Stones and Church The Jelling burial mounds and one of the runic stones are striking examples of pagan Nordic culture, while the other runic stone and the church illustrate the Christianization of the Danish people towards the middle of the 10th century.
Kernavė burial site Europe Lithuania Kernavė Archaeological Site (Cultural Reserve of Kernavė) The Kernavė Archaeological site, about 35 km north-west of Vilnius in eastern Lithuania, represents an exceptional testimony to some 10 millennia of human settlements in this region. Situated in the valley of the River Neris, the site is a complex ensemble of archaeological properties, encompassing the town of Kernavė, forts, some unfortified settlements, burial sites and other archaeological, historical and cultural monuments from the late Palaeolithic Period to the Middle Ages. The site of 194.4 ha has preserved the traces of ancient land-use, as well as remains of five impressive hill forts, part of an exceptionally large defence system. Kernavė was an important feudal town in the Middle Ages. The town was destroyed by the Teutonic Order in the late 14th century, however the site remained in use until modern times.
Sutton Hoo burial site Europe United Kingdom not listed with UNESCO
Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad fortified site Africa Algeria Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad In a mountainous site of extraordinary beauty, the ruins of the first capital of the Hammadid emirs, founded in 1007 and demolished in 1152, provide an authentic picture of a fortified Muslim city. The mosque, whose prayer room has 13 aisles with eight bays, is one of the largest in Algeria.
Forts and Castles, Volta fortified site Africa Ghana Forts and Castles, Volta, Greater Accra, Central and Western Regions The remains of fortified trading-posts, erected between 1482 and 1786, can still be seen along the coast of Ghana between Keta and Beyin. They were links in the trade routes established by the Portuguese in many areas of the world during their era of great maritime exploration
2-3 additional sites fortified site Africa
Wartburg Castle fortified site Europe, West Germany Wartburg Castle Wartburg Castle blends superbly into its forest surroundings and is in many ways ‘the ideal castle’. Although it has retained some original sections from the feudal period, the form it acquired during the 19th-century reconstitution gives a good idea of what this fortress might have been at the height of its military and seigneurial power. It was during his exile at Wartburg Castle that Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German
Bellinzona fortified site Europe, West Switzerland Three Castles, Defensive Wall and Ramparts of the Market-Town of Bellinzona The Bellinzona site consists of a group of fortifications grouped around the castle of Castelgrande, which stands on a rocky peak looking out over the entire Ticino valley. Running from the castle, a series of fortified walls protect the ancient town and block the passage through the valley. A second castle (Montebello) forms an integral part of the fortifications, while a third but separate castle (Sasso Corbaro) was built on an isolated rocky promontory south-east of the other fortifications.
Castles of North Wales fortified site Europe, West United Kingdom Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd The castles of Beaumaris and Harlech (largely the work of the greatest military engineer of the time, James of St George) and the fortified complexes of Caernarfon and Conwy are located in the former principality of Gwynedd, in north Wales. These extremely well-preserved monuments are examples of the colonization and defence works carried out throughout the reign of Edward I (1272–1307) and the military architecture of the time.
Tower of London fortified site Europe, West United Kingdom Tower of London The massive White Tower is a typical example of Norman military architecture, whose influence was felt throughout the kingdom. It was built on the Thames by William the Conqueror to protect London and assert his power. The Tower of London – an imposing fortress with many layers of history, which has become one of the symbols of royalty – was built around the White Tower.
Castel del Monte fortified site Europe, West Italy Castel del Monte When the Emperor Frederick II built this castle near Bari in the 13th century, he imbued it with symbolic significance, as reflected in the location, the mathematical and astronomical precision of the layout and the perfectly regular shape. A unique piece of medieval military architecture, Castel del Monte is a successful blend of elements from classical antiquity, the Islamic Orient and north European Cistercian Gothic.
Mbanza Kongo governmental centre Africa Angola Mbanza Kongo, Vestiges of the Capital of the former Kingdom of Kongo The town of Mbanza Kongo, located on a plateau at an altitude of 570 m, was the political and spiritual capital of the Kingdom of Kongo, one of the largest constituted states in Southern Africa from the 14th to 19th centuries. The historical area grew around the royal residence, the customary court and the holy tree, as well as the royal funeral places. When the Portuguese arrived in the 15th century they added stone buildings constructed in accordance with European methods to the existing urban conurbation built in local materials. Mbanza Kongo illustrates, more than anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa, the profound changes caused by the introduction of Christianity and the arrival of the Portuguese into Central Africa.
Great Zimbabwe governmental centre Africa Zimbabwe Great Zimbabwe National Monument The ruins of Great Zimbabwe – the capital of the Queen of Sheba, according to an age-old legend – are a unique testimony to the Bantu civilization of the Shona between the 11th and 15th centuries. The city, which covers an area of nearly 80 ha, was an important trading centre and was renowned from the Middle Ages onwards.
Aksum governmental centre Africa Ethiopia Aksum The ruins of the ancient city of Aksum are found close to Ethiopia’s northern border. They mark the location of the heart of ancient Ethiopia, when the Kingdom of Aksum was the most powerful state between the Eastern Roman Empire and Persia. The massive ruins, dating from between the 1st and the 13th century A.D., include monolithic obelisks, giant stelae, royal tombs and the ruins of ancient castles. Long after its political decline in the 10th century, Ethiopian emperors continued to be crowned in Aksum
1-2 additional sites governmental centre Africa
Quirigua governmental centre Americas Guatemala Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quirigua Inhabited since the 2nd century CE, Quirigua had become during the reign of Cauac Sky (723–84) the capital of an autonomous and prosperous state. The ruins of Quirigua contain some outstanding 8th-century monuments and an impressive series of carved stelae and sculpted calendars that constitute an essential source for the study of Mayan civilization
Palenque governmental centre Americas Mexico Pre-Hispanic City and National Park of Palenque A prime example of a Mayan sanctuary of the classical period, Palenque was at its height between CE 500 and 700, when its influence extended throughout the basin of the Usumacinta River. The elegance and craftsmanship of the buildings, as well as the lightness of the sculpted reliefs with their Mayan mythological themes, attest to the creative genius of this civilization.
Chan Chan governmental centre Americas Peru Chan Chan Archaeological Zone The Chimu Kingdom, with Chan Chan as its capital, reached its apogee in the 15th century, not long before falling to the Incas. The planning of this huge city, the largest in pre-Columbian America, reflects a strict political and social strategy, marked by the city’s division into nine ‘citadels’ or ‘palaces’ forming autonomous units.
Tiwanaku governmental centre Americas Bolivia Tiwanaku: Spiritual and Political Centre of the Tiwanaku Culture The city of Tiwanaku, capital of a powerful pre-Hispanic empire that dominated a large area of the southern Andes and beyond, reached its apogee between 500 and 900 CE. Its monumental remains testify to the cultural and political significance of this civilisation, which is distinct from any of the other pre-Hispanic empires of the Americas.
Budapest governmental centre Europe Hungary Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue
Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow governmental centre Europe Russian Federation Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow Inextricably linked to all the most important historical and political events in Russia since the 13th century, the Kremlin (built between the 14th and 17th centuries by outstanding Russian and foreign architects) was the residence of the Great Prince and also a religious centre. At the foot of its ramparts, on Red Square, St Basil’s Basilica is one of the most beautiful Russian Orthodox monuments.
Novgorod governmental centre Europe Russian Federation Historic Monuments of Novgorod and Surroundings Situated on the ancient trade route between Central Asia and northern Europe, Novgorod was Russia’s first capital in the 9th century. Surrounded by churches and monasteries, it was a centre for Orthodox spirituality as well as Russian architecture. Its medieval monuments and the 14th-century frescoes of Theophanes the Greek (Andrei Rublev’s teacher) illustrate the development of its remarkable architecture and cultural creativity
Þingvellir governmental centre Europe Iceland Þingvellir National Park Þingvellir (Thingvellir) is the National Park where the Althing, an open-air assembly representing the whole of Iceland, was established in 930 and continued to meet until 1798. Over two weeks a year, the assembly set laws – seen as a covenant between free men – and settled disputes. The Althing has deep historical and symbolic associations for the people of Iceland. The property includes the Þingvellir National Park and the remains of the Althing itself: fragments of around 50 booths built from turf and stone. Remains from the 10th century are thought to be buried underground. The site also includes remains of agricultural use from the 18th and 19th centuries. The park shows evidence of the way the landscape was husbanded over 1,000 years
Vilnius governmental centre Europe Lithuania Vilnius Historic Centre Political centre of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the 13th to the end of the 18th century, Vilnius has had a profound influence on the cultural and architectural development of much of eastern Europe. Despite invasions and partial destruction, it has preserved an impressive complex of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and classical buildings as well as its medieval layout and natural setting.
Westminster governmental centre Europe United Kingdom Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church Westminster Palace, rebuilt from the year 1840 on the site of important medieval remains, is a fine example of neo-Gothic architecture. The site – which also comprises the small medieval Church of Saint Margaret, built in Perpendicular Gothic style, and Westminster Abbey, where all the sovereigns since the 11th century have been crowned – is of great historic and symbolic significance.
Poreč religious/ceremonial site Christian – early Croatia Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in the Historic Centre of Poreč The group of religious monuments in Porec, where Christianity was established as early as the 4th century, constitutes the most complete surviving complex of its type. The basilica, atrium, baptistery and episcopal palace are outstanding examples of religious architecture, while the basilica itself combines classical and Byzantine elements in an exceptional manner.
Pécs (Sopianae) religious/ceremonial site Christian – early Hungary Early Christian Necropolis of Pécs (Sopianae) In the 4th century, a remarkable series of decorated tombs were constructed in the cemetery of the Roman provincial town of Sopianae (modern Pécs). These are important both structurally and architecturally, since they were built as underground burial chambers with memorial chapels above the ground. The tombs are important also in artistic terms, since they are richly decorated with murals of outstanding quality depicting Christian themes
Pátmos religious/ceremonial site Christian – early Greece The Historic Centre (Chorá) with the Monastery of Saint-John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse on the Island of Pátmos The small island of Pátmos in the Dodecanese is reputed to be where St John the Theologian wrote both his Gospel and the Apocalypse. A monastery dedicated to the ‘beloved disciple’ was founded there in the late 10th century and it has been a place of pilgrimage and Greek Orthodox learning ever since. The fine monastic complex dominates the island. The old settlement of Chorá, associated with it, contains many religious and secular buildings.
Saint Catherine religious/ceremonial site Christian – early Egypt Saint Catherine Area The Orthodox Monastery of St Catherine stands at the foot of Mount Horeb where, the Old Testament records, Moses received the Tablets of the Law. The mountain is known and revered by Muslims as Jebel Musa. The entire area is sacred to three world religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The Monastery, founded in the 6th century, is the oldest Christian monastery still in use for its initial function. Its walls and buildings of great significace to studies of Byzantine architecture and the Monastery houses outstanding collections of early Christian manuscripts and icons. The rugged mountainous landscape, containing numerous archaeological and religious sites and monuments, forms a perfect backdrop to the Monastery
Jordan baptism site, “Bethany Beyond the Jordan” (Al-Maghtas) religious/ceremonial site Christian – early Jordan Baptism Site “Bethany Beyond the Jordan” (Al-Maghtas) The Baptism Site “Bethany beyond the Jordan” (Al-Maghtas) is located in the Jordan Valley, north of the Dead Sea. The site contains two distinct archaeological areas, Tell el-Kharrar, also known as Jabal Mar Elias, and the area of the Churches of St. John the Baptist. “Bethany beyond the Jordan” is of immense religious significance to the majority of denominations of Christian faith, who have accepted this site as the location where Jesus of Nazareth was baptised by John the Baptist. This reference encouraged generations of monks, hermits, pilgrims and priests to reside in and visit the site, and to leave behind testimonies of their devotion and religious activities, dating to between the 4th and the 15th century CE. At present, the site has regained a popular status as pilgrimage destination for Christians, who continue to engage in baptism rituals on site.
Bethlehem religious/ceremonial site Christian – early Palestine Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem The inscribed property is situated 10 km south of Jerusalem on the site identified by Christian tradition as the birthplace of Jesus since the 2nd century. A church was first completed there in ad 339 and the edifice that replaced it after a fire in the 6th century retains elaborate floor mosaics from the original building. The site also includes Latin, Greek Orthodox, Franciscan and Armenian convents and churches, as well as bell towers, terraced gardens and a pilgrimage route.
Aquileia religious/ceremonial site Christian – early Italy Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia Aquileia (in Friuli-Venezia Giulia), one of the largest and wealthiest cities of the Early Roman Empire, was destroyed by Attila in the mid-5th century. Most of it still lies unexcavated beneath the fields, and as such it constitutes the greatest archaeological reserve of its kind. The patriarchal basilica, an outstanding building with an exceptional mosaic pavement, played a key role in the evangelization of a large region of central Europe
Mtskheta religious/ceremonial site Christian – Eastern Church Georgia Historical Monuments of Mtskheta The historic churches of Mtskheta, former capital of Georgia, are outstanding examples of medieval religious architecture in the Caucasus. They show the high artistic and cultural level attained by this ancient kingdom.
Ohrid religious/ceremonial site Christian – Eastern Church Albania Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region A superlative natural phenomenon, Lake Ohrid provides a refuge for numerous endemic species of freshwater fauna and flora dating from the Tertiary period. Situated on the shores of the lake, the town of Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe. Built mainly between the 7th and 19th centuries, it has the oldest Slav monastery (St Pantelejmon) and more than 800 Byzantine-style icons dating from the 11th to the end of the 14th century. In the shallow waters near the shores of the lake, three sites testify to the presence of prehistoric pile dwellings, and the small Lin Peninsula is the site of the remains of an Early Christian church founded in the middle of the 6th century.
Kyiv religious/ceremonial site Christian – Eastern Church Ukraine Kyiv: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra Designed to rival Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, Kyiv’s Saint-Sophia Cathedral symbolizes the ‘new Constantinople’, capital of the Christian principality of Kyiv, which was created in the 11th century in a region evangelized after the baptism of St Vladimir in 988. The spiritual and intellectual influence of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra contributed to the spread of Orthodox thought and the Orthodox faith in the Russian world from the 17th to the 19th century.
Mount Athos religious/ceremonial site Christian – Eastern Church Greece Mount Athos An Orthodox spiritual centre since 1054, Mount Athos has enjoyed an autonomous statute since Byzantine times. The ‘Holy Mountain’, which is forbidden to women and children, is also a recognized artistic site. The layout of the monasteries (about 20 of which are presently inhabited by some 1,400 monks) had an influence as far afield as Russia, and its school of painting influenced the history of Orthodox art.
Haghpat and Sanahin Monasteries religious/ceremonial site Christian – Eastern Church – monastery Armenia Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin These two Byzantine monasteries in the Tumanian region from the period of prosperity during the Kiurikian dynasty (10th to 13th century) were important centres of learning. Sanahin was renown for its school of illuminators and calligraphers. The two monastic complexes represent the highest flowering of Armenian religious architecture, whose unique style developed from a blending of elements of Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture and the traditional vernacular architecture of the Caucasian region.
Gelati Monastery religious/ceremonial site Christian – Eastern Church – monastery Georgia Gelati Monastery Founded in 1106 in the west of Georgia, the Monastery of Gelati is a masterpiece of the Golden Age of medieval Georgia, a period of political strength and economic growth between the 11th and 13th centuries. It is characterized by the facades of smoothly hewn large blocks, balanced proportions and blind arches for exterior decoration. The Gelati monastery, one of the largest medieval Orthodox monasteries, was also a centre of science and education and the Academy it housed was one of the most important centres of culture in ancient Georgia.
Stari Ras and Sopoćani religious/ceremonial site Christian – Eastern Church – monastery Serbia Stari Ras and Sopoćani Stari Ras and Sopoćani is a serial property consisting of four separate components located in the Raška region of southern Serbia: Sopoćani Monastery, Djurdjevi Stupovi Monastery, Holy Apostles St Peter and St Paul Church (St Peter’s Church), and the archaeological site of the Medieval Town of Ras. The impressive collection of three ecclesiastical monuments dating from the 10th to the 13th centuries eminently illustrates the birth of artistic activity in medieval Serbia, which attained the highest standards in the art and culture of the Byzantine Empire and the regions of Central and Southeastern Europe. The unique architectural complex formed by numerous structures in Stari Ras (Old Ras), situated at a crossroads of eastern and western influences,testifies to the period from 12th to the early 14th centuries when the ancient town was the first capital of the Serbian state
Studenica Monastery religious/ceremonial site Christian – Eastern Church – monastery Serbia Studenica Monastery The Studenica Monastery was established in the late 12th century by Stevan Nemanja, founder of the medieval Serb state, shortly after his abdication. It is the largest and richest of Serbia’s Orthodox monasteries. Its two principal monuments, the Church of the Virgin and the Church of the King, both built of white marble, enshrine priceless collections of 13th- and 14th-century Byzantine painting
Ferapontov Monastery religious/ceremonial site Christian – Eastern Church – monastery Russian Federation Ensemble of the Ferapontov Monastery The Ferapontov Monastery, in the Vologda region in northern Russia, is an exceptionally well-preserved and complete example of a Russian Orthodox monastic complex of the 15th-17th centuries, a period of great significance in the development of the unified Russian state and its culture. The architecture of the monastery is outstanding in its inventiveness and purity. The interior is graced by the magnificent wall paintings of Dionisy, the greatest Russian artist of the end of the 15th century.
Rila Monastery religious/ceremonial site Christian – Eastern Church – monastery Bulgaria Rila Monastery Rila Monastery was founded in the 10th century by St John of Rila, a hermit canonized by the Orthodox Church. His ascetic dwelling and tomb became a holy site and were transformed into a monastic complex which played an important role in the spiritual and social life of medieval Bulgaria. Destroyed by fire at the beginning of the 19th century, the complex was rebuilt between 1834 and 1862. A characteristic example of the Bulgarian Renaissance (18th–19th centuries), the monument symbolizes the awareness of a Slavic cultural identity following centuries of occupation.
Armenian Monasteries of Iran religious/ceremonial site Christian – Eastern Church – monastery Iran Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran The Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran, in the north-west of the country, consists of three monastic ensembles of the Armenian Christian faith: St Thaddeus and St Stepanos and the Chapel of Dzordzor. These edifices – the oldest of which, St Thaddeus, dates back to the 7th century – are examples of outstanding universal value of the Armenian architectural and decorative traditions. They bear testimony to very important interchanges with the other regional cultures, in particular the Byzantine, Orthodox and Persian. Situated on the south-eastern fringe of the main zone of the Armenian cultural space, the monasteries constituted a major centre for the dissemination of that culture in the region. They are the last regional remains of this culture that are still in a satisfactory state of integrity and authenticity. Furthermore, as places of pilgrimage, the monastic ensembles are living witnesses of Armenian religious traditions through the centuries
Urnes Stave Church religious/ceremonial site Christian – other Norway Urnes Stave Church The wooden church of Urnes (the stavkirke) stands in the natural setting of Sogn og Fjordane. It was built in the 12th and 13th centuries and is an outstanding example of traditional Scandinavian wooden architecture. It brings together traces of Celtic art, Viking traditions and Romanesque spatial structures.
Lalibela religious/ceremonial site Christian – other Ethiopia Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela The 11 medieval monolithic cave churches of this 13th-century ‘New Jerusalem’ are situated in a mountainous region in the heart of Ethiopia near a traditional village with circular-shaped dwellings. Lalibela is a high place of Ethiopian Christianity, still today a place of pilmigrage and devotion
Sceilg Mhichíl religious/ceremonial site Christian – other Ireland Sceilg Mhichíl Sceilg Mhichíl is an outstanding, and in many respects unique, example of an early religious settlement deliberately sited on a pyramidal rock in the ocean, preserved because of a remarkable environment. It illustrates, as no other property can, the extremes of a Christian monasticism characterizing much of North Africa, the Near East, and Europe.
1-2 additional sites reflective of popular Christianity, instead of examples of fine cathedrals and monasteries religious/ceremonial site Christian – other
Šibenik religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – cathedral Croatia The Cathedral of St James in Šibenik The Cathedral of St James in Šibenik (1431-1535), on the Dalmatian coast, bears witness to the considerable exchanges in the field of monumental arts between Northern Italy, Dalmatia and Tuscany in the 15th and 16th centuries. The three architects who succeeded one another in the construction of the Cathedral – Francesco di Giacomo, Georgius Mathei Dalmaticus and Niccolò di Giovanni Fiorentino – developed a structure built entirely from stone and using unique construction techniques for the vaulting and the dome of the Cathedral. The form and the decorative elements of the Cathedral, such as a remarkable frieze decorated with 71 sculptured faces of men, women, and children, also illustrate the successful fusion of Gothic and Renaissance art.
Aachen Cathedral religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – cathedral Germany Aachen Cathedral Construction of this palatine chapel, with its octagonal basilica and cupola, began c. 790–800 under the Emperor Charlemagne. Originally inspired by the churches of the Eastern part of the Holy Roman Empire, it was splendidly enlarged in the Middle Ages.
Speyer Cathedral religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – cathedral Germany Speyer Cathedral Speyer Cathedral, a basilica with four towers and two domes, was founded by Conrad II in 1030 and remodelled at the end of the 11th century. It is one of the most important Romanesque monuments from the time of the Holy Roman Empire. The cathedral was the burial place of the German emperors for almost 300 years.
Hildesheim Cathedral religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – cathedral Germany St Mary’s Cathedral and St Michael’s Church at Hildesheim St Michael’s Church was built between 1010 and 1020 on a symmetrical plan with two apses that was characteristic of Ottonian Romanesque art in Old Saxony. Its interior, in particular the wooden ceiling and painted stucco-work, its famous bronze doors and the Bernward bronze column, are – together with the treasures of St Mary’s Cathedral – of exceptional interest as examples of the Romanesque churches of the Holy Roman Empire.
Naumburg Cathedral religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – cathedral Germany Naumburg Cathedral Located in the eastern part of the Thuringian Basin, the Cathedral of Naumburg, whose construction began in 1028, is an outstanding testimony to medieval art and architecture. Its Romanesque structure, flanked by two Gothic choirs, demonstrates the stylistic transition from late Romanesque to early Gothic. The west choir, dating to the first half of the 13th century, reflects changes in religious practice and the appearance of science and nature in the figurative arts. The choir and life-size sculptures of the founders of the Cathedral are masterpieces of the workshop known as the ‘Naumburg Master’.
Roskilde Cathedral religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – cathedral Denmark Roskilde Cathedral Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, this was Scandinavia’s first Gothic cathedral to be built of brick and it encouraged the spread of this style throughout northern Europe. It has been the mausoleum of the Danish royal family since the 15th century. Porches and side chapels were added up to the end of the 19th century. Thus it provides a clear overview of the development of European religious architecture
Durham Castle and Cathedral religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – cathedral United Kingdom Durham Castle and Cathedral Durham Cathedral was built in the late 11th and early 12th centuries to house the relics of St Cuthbert (evangelizer of Northumbria) and the Venerable Bede. It attests to the importance of the early Benedictine monastic community and is the largest and finest example of Norman architecture in England. The innovative audacity of its vaulting foreshadowed Gothic architecture. Behind the cathedral stands the castle, an ancient Norman fortress which was the residence of the prince-bishops of Durham.
Canterbury Cathedral religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – cathedral United Kingdom Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey, and St Martin’s Church Canterbury, in Kent, has been the seat of the spiritual head of the Church of England for nearly five centuries. Canterbury’s other important monuments are the modest Church of St Martin, the oldest church in England; the ruins of the Abbey of St Augustine, a reminder of the saint’s evangelizing role in the Heptarchy from 597; and Christ Church Cathedral, a breathtaking mixture of Romanesque and Perpendicular Gothic, where Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in 1170.
1-2 additional sites, e.g., York, Nidaros religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – cathedral
Tournai Cathedral religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – cathedral Belgium Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai The Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Tournai was built in the first half of the 12th century. It is especially distinguished by a Romanesque nave of extraordinary dimensions, a wealth of sculpture on its capitals and a transept topped by five towers, all precursors of the Gothic style. The choir, rebuilt in the 13th century, is in the pure Gothic style.
Modena Cathedral religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – cathedral Italy Cathedral, Torre Civica and Piazza Grande, Modena The magnificent 12th-century cathedral at Modena, the work of two great artists (Lanfranco and Wiligelmus), is a supreme example of early Romanesque art. With its piazza and soaring tower, it testifies to the faith of its builders and the power of the Canossa dynasty who commissioned it.
Chartres Cathedral religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – cathedral France Chartres Cathedral Partly built starting in 1145, and then reconstructed over a 26-year period after the fire of 1194, Chartres Cathedral marks the high point of French Gothic art. The vast nave, in pure ogival style, the porches adorned with fine sculptures from the middle of the 12th century, and the magnificent 12th- and 13th-century stained-glass windows, all in remarkable condition, combine to make it a masterpiece.
Amiens Cathedral religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – cathedral France Amiens Cathedral Amiens Cathedral, in the heart of Picardy, is one of the largest ‘classic’ Gothic churches of the 13th century. It is notable for the coherence of its plan, the beauty of its three-tier interior elevation and the particularly fine display of sculptures on the principal facade and in the south transept.
Reims Cathedral religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – cathedral France Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint-Rémi and Palace of Tau, Reims The outstanding handling of new architectural techniques in the 13th century, and the harmonious marriage of sculptural decoration with architecture, has made Notre-Dame in Reims one of the masterpieces of Gothic art. The former abbey still has its beautiful 9th-century nave, in which lie the remains of Archbishop St Rémi (440–533), who instituted the Holy Anointing of the kings of France. The former archiepiscopal palace known as the Tau Palace, which played an important role in religious ceremonies, was almost entirely rebuilt in the 17th century
Bourges Cathedral religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – cathedral France Bourges Cathedral The Cathedral of St Etienne of Bourges, built between the late 12th and late 13th centuries, is one of the great masterpieces of Gothic art and is admired for its proportions and the unity of its design. The tympanum, sculptures and stained-glass windows are particularly striking. Apart from the beauty of the architecture, it attests to the power of Christianity in medieval France
Burgos Cathedral religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – cathedral Spain Burgos Cathedral Our Lady of Burgos was begun in the 13th century at the same time as the great cathedrals of the Ile-de-France and was completed in the 15th and 16th centuries. The entire history of Gothic art is summed up in its superb architecture and its unique collection of works of art, including paintings, choir stalls, reredos, tombs and stained-glass windows.
Lorsch Abbey and Altenmünster religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – monastery Germany Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch The abbey, together with its monumental entrance, the famous ‘Torhall’, are rare architectural vestiges of the Carolingian era. The sculptures and paintings from this period are still in remarkably good condition.
Reichenau religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – monastery Germany Monastic Island of Reichenau The island of Reichenau on Lake Constance preserves the traces of the Benedictine monastery, founded in 724, which exercised remarkable spiritual, intellectual and artistic influence. The churches of St Mary and Marcus, St Peter and St Paul, and St George, mainly built between the 9th and 11th centuries, provide a panorama of early medieval monastic architecture in central Europe. Their wall paintings bear witness to impressive artistic activity.
Pannonhalma religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – monastery Hungary Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural Environment The first Benedictine monks settled here in 996. They went on to convert the Hungarians, to found the country’s first school and, in 1055, to write the first document in Hungarian. From the time of its founding, this monastic community has promoted culture throughout central Europe. Its 1,000-year history can be seen in the succession of architectural styles of the monastic buildings (the oldest dating from 1224), which still today house a school and the monastic community.
St. Gallen religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – monastery Switzerland Abbey of St Gall The Convent of St Gall, a perfect example of a great Carolingian monastery, was, from the 8th century to its secularization in 1805, one of the most important in Europe. Its library is one of the richest and oldest in the world and contains precious manuscripts such as the earliest-known architectural plan drawn on parchment. From 1755 to 1768, the conventual area was rebuilt in Baroque style. The cathedral and the library are the main features of this remarkable architectural complex, reflecting 12 centuries of continuous activity.
Müstair religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – monastery Switzerland Benedictine Convent of St John at Müstair The Convent of Müstair, which stands in a valley in the Grisons, is a good example of Christian monastic renovation during the Carolingian period. It has Switzerland’s greatest series of figurative murals, painted ca. CE 800, along with Romanesque frescoes and stuccoes.
Fountains Abbey religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – monastery United Kingdom Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey In the 18th century a designed landscape of exceptional beauty was created around the ruins of the Cistercian Fountains Abbey, in Yorkshire. The spectacular ruins of the 12th century abbey and water mill, the Jacobean mansion of Fountains Hall, the Victorian masterpiece St Mary’s Church and one of the most magnificent Georgian water gardens ever created, make this a landscape of outstanding merit.
3-4 additional sites, incl. Ireland and Scandinavia religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – monastery
Flemish Béguinages religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – monastery Belgium Flemish Béguinages The Béguines were women who dedicated their lives to God without retiring from the world. In the 13th century they founded the béguinages , enclosed communities designed to meet their spiritual and material needs. The Flemish béguinages are architectural ensembles composed of houses, churches, ancillary buildings and green spaces, with a layout of either urban or rural origin and built in styles specific to the Flemish cultural region. They are a fascinating reminder of the tradition of the Béguines that developed in north-western Europe in the Middle Ages.
Alcobaça Monastery religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – monastery Portugal Monastery of Alcobaça The Monastery of Santa Maria d’Alcobaça, north of Lisbon, was founded in the 12th century by King Alfonso I. Its size, the purity of its architectural style, the beauty of the materials and the care with which it was built make this a masterpiece of Cistercian Gothic art.
Vézelay religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – monastery France Vézelay, Church and Hill Shortly after its foundation in the 9th century, the Benedictine abbey of Vézelay acquired the relics of St Mary Magdalene and since then it has been an important place of pilgrimage. St Bernard preached the Second Crusade there in 1146 and Richard the Lion-Hearted and Philip II Augustus met there to leave for the Third Crusade in 1190. With its sculpted capitals and portal, the Madeleine of Vézelay – a 12th-century monastic church – is a masterpiece of Burgundian Romanesque art and architecture
Fontenay religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – monastery France Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay This stark Burgundian monastery was founded by St Bernard in 1119. With its church, cloister, refectory, sleeping quarters, bakery and ironworks, it is an excellent illustration of the ideal of self-sufficiency as practised by the earliest communities of Cistercian monks
Saint-Savin sur Gartempe religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – monastery France Abbey Church of Saint-Savin sur Gartempe Located in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, the Abbey Church of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, is an ancient abbey founded or refounded during the Carolingian era by Saint Benoît d’Aniane, father of western monasticism, under the protection of Charlemagne and his successors. Rebuilt in the 11th century, it bears witness to western Roman architecture with its well-balanced volumes. Its murals, executed at the end of the 11th or early 12th century, are an exceptional ensemble of medieval imagery. The edifice is mounted by a Gothic spire, of almost 80 metres in height, dating from the 14th century and reconstructed in the 19th century.
Assisi religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – monastery Italy Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco and Other Franciscan Sites Assisi, a medieval city built on a hill, is the birthplace of Saint Francis, closely associated with the work of the Franciscan Order. Its medieval art masterpieces, such as the Basilica of San Francesco and paintings by Cimabue, Pietro Lorenzetti, Simone Martini and Giotto, have made Assisi a fundamental reference point for the development of Italian and European art and architecture.
Tomar religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – monastery Portugal Convent of Christ in Tomar Originally designed as a monument symbolizing the Reconquest, the Convent of the Knights Templar of Tomar (transferred in 1344 to the Knights of the Order of Christ) came to symbolize just the opposite during the Manueline period – the opening up of Portugal to other civilizations.
Poblet Monastery religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – monastery Spain Poblet Monastery This Cistercian abbey in Catalonia is one of the largest in Spain. At its centre is a 12th-century church. The austere, majestic monastery, which has a fortified royal residence and contains the pantheon of the kings of Catalonia and Aragon, is an impressive sight.
Santa María de Guadalupe Monastery religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – monastery Spain Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe
San Millán Yuso and Suso Monasteries religious/ceremonial site Christian – Western Church – monastery Spain San Millán Yuso and Suso Monasteries The monastic community founded by St Millán in the mid-6th century became a place of pilgrimage. A fine Romanesque church built in honour of the holy man still stands at the site of Suso. It was here that the first literature was produced in Castilian, from which one of the most widely spoken languages in the world today is derived. In the early 16th century the community was housed in the fine new monastery of Yuso, below the older complex; it is still a thriving community today.
M’Zab Valley rural settlement/landscape Africa Algeria M’Zab Valley A traditional human habitat, created in the 10th century by the Ibadites around their five ksour (fortified cities), has been preserved intact in the M’Zab valley. Simple, functional and perfectly adapted to the environment, the architecture of M’Zab was designed for community living, while respecting the structure of the family. It is a source of inspiration for today’s urban planners.
Bassari rural settlement/landscape Africa Senegal Bassari Country: Bassari, Fula and Bedik Cultural Landscapes The site, located in south-east Senegal, includes three geographical areas: the Bassari–Salémata area, the Bedik–Bandafassi area and the Fula–Dindéfello area, each with its specific morphological traits. The Bassari, Fula and Bedik peoples settled from the 11th to the 19th centuries and developed specific cultures and habitats symbiotic with their surrounding natural environment. The Bassari landscape is marked by terraces and rice paddies, interspersed with villages, hamlets and archaeological sites. The Bedik villages are formed by dense groups of huts with steep thatched roofs. Their inhabitants’ cultural expressions are characterized by original traits of agro-pastoral, social, ritual and spiritual practices, which represent an original response to environmental constraints and human pressures. The site is a well-preserved multicultural landscape housing original and still vibrant local cultures
Ouadane, Chinguetti, Tichitt, and Oualata rural settlement/landscape Africa Mauritania Ancient Ksour of Ouadane, Chinguetti, Tichitt and Oualata Founded in the 11th and 12th centuries to serve the caravans crossing the Sahara, these trading and religious centres became focal points of Islamic culture. They have managed to preserve an urban fabric that evolved between the 12th and 16th centuries. Typically, houses with patios crowd along narrow streets around a mosque with a square minaret. They illustrate a traditional way of life centred on the nomadic culture of the people of the western Sahara.
Mapungubwe rural settlement/landscape Africa South Africa Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape Mapungubwe is set hard against the northern border of South Africa, joining Zimbabwe and Botswana. It is an open, expansive savannah landscape at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe rivers. Mapungubwe developed into the largest kingdom in the sub-continent before it was abandoned in the 14th century. What survives are the almost untouched remains of the palace sites and also the entire settlement area dependent upon them, as well as two earlier capital sites, the whole presenting an unrivalled picture of the development of social and political structures over some 400 years
Camagüey rural settlement/landscape Americas Cuba Historic Centre of Camagüey One of the first seven villages founded by the Spaniards in Cuba, Camagüey played a prominent role as the urban centre of an inland territory dedicated to cattle breeding and the sugar industry. Settled in its current location in 1528, the town developed on the basis of an irregular urban pattern that contains a system of large and minor squares, serpentine streets, alleys and irregular urban blocks, highly exceptional for Latin American colonial towns located in plain territories. The 54 ha Historic Centre of Camagüey constitutes an exceptional example of a traditional urban settlement relatively isolated from main trade routes. The Spanish colonizers followed medieval European influences in terms of urban layout and traditional construction techniques brought to the Americas by their masons and construction masters.
Joya de Cerén rural settlement/landscape Americas El Salvador Joya de Cerén Archaeological Site Joya de Cerén was a pre-Hispanic farming community that, like Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy, was buried under an eruption of the Laguna Caldera volcano ca. CE 600. Because of the exceptional condition of the remains, they provide an insight into the daily lives of the Central American populations who worked the land at that time
Mesa Verde rural settlement/landscape Americas USA Mesa Verde National Park A great concentration of ancestral Pueblo Indian dwellings, built from the 6th to the 12th century, can be found on the Mesa Verde plateau in south-west Colorado at an altitude of more than 2,600 m. Some 4,400 sites have been recorded, including villages built on the Mesa top. There are also imposing cliff dwellings, built of stone and comprising more than 100 rooms.
Chaco Canyon rural settlement/landscape Americas USA Chaco Culture For over 2,000 years, Pueblo peoples occupied a vast region of the south-western United States. Chaco Canyon, a major centre of ancestral Pueblo culture between 850 and 1250, was a focus for ceremonials, trade and political activity for the prehistoric Four Corners area. Chaco is remarkable for its monumental public and ceremonial buildings and its distinctive architecture – it has an ancient urban ceremonial centre that is unlike anything constructed before or since. In addition to the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, the World Heritage property includes the Aztec Ruins National Monument and several smaller Chaco sites managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Taos Pueblo rural settlement/landscape Americas USA Taos Pueblo This Pueblo Indian settlement in northern New Mexico, consisting of ceremonial buildings and facilities, and multi-storey adobe dwellings built in terraced tiers, exemplifies the living culture of a group of present-day Pueblo Indian people at Taos Pueblo. As one of a series of settlements established in the late 13th and early 14th centuries in the valleys of the Rio Grande and its tributaries that have survived to the present day, Taos Pueblo represents a significant stage in the history of urban, community and cultural life and development in this region. Taos Pueblo has been continuously inhabited and is the largest of these Pueblos that still exist, with its North and South Houses rising to heights of five storeys. Taos Pueblo and the people of the Pueblo itself claim an aboriginal presence in the Taos Valley since time immemorial.
Cahokia Mounds rural settlement/landscape Americas USA Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site Cahokia Mounds, some 13km north-east of St Louis, Missouri, is the largest pre-Columbian settlement north of Mexico. It was occupied primarily during the Mississippian period (800–1400), when it covered nearly 1,600ha and included some 120 mounds. It is a striking example of a complex chiefdom society, with many satellite mound centres and numerous outlying hamlets and villages. This agricultural society may have had a population of 10–20,000 at its peak between 1050 and 1150. Primary features at the site include Monks Mound, the largest prehistoric earthwork in the Americas, covering over 5ha and standing 30m high.
L’Anse aux Meadows rural settlement/landscape Americas Canada L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site At the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula of the island of Newfoundland, the remains of an 11th-century Viking settlement are evidence of the first European presence in North America. The excavated remains of wood-framed peat-turf buildings are similar to those found in Norse Greenland and Iceland.
Quebrada de Humahuaca rural settlement/landscape Americas Argentina Quebrada de Humahuaca Quebrada de Humahuaca follows the line of a major cultural route, the Camino Inca, along the spectacular valley of the Rio Grande, from its source in the cold high desert plateau of the High Andean lands to its confluence with the Rio Leone some 150 km to the south. The valley shows substantial evidence of its use as a major trade route over the past 10,000 years. It features visible traces of prehistoric hunter-gatherer communities, of the Inca Empire (15th to 16th centuries) and of the fight for independence in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Fertö / Neusiedlersee rural settlement/landscape Europe, Central and Eastern Hungary/Austria Fertö / Neusiedlersee Cultural Landscape * Two broad periods may be discerned: from around 6000 BCE until the establishment of the Hungarian state in the 11th century CE, and from the 11th century until the present. From the 7th century BCE the lake shore was densely populated, initially by people of the early Iron Age Hallstatt culture and by late prehistoric and Roman times’ cultures. In the fields of almost every village around the lake there are remains of Roman villas. The basis of the current network of towns and villages was formed in the 12th and 13th centuries, their markets flourishing from 1277 onwards. The mid-13th century Tatar invasion left this area unharmed, and it enjoyed uninterrupted development throughout medieval times until the Turkish conquest in the late 16th century. The economic basis throughout was the export of animals and wine. The historic centre of the medieval free town of Rust in particular prospered from the wine trade. Rust constitutes an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement representative of the area. The town exhibits the special building mode of a society and culture within which the lifestyles of townspeople and farmers form an entity. Its refortification in the early 16th century marked the beginning of a phase of construction in the area, first with fortifications and then, during the 17th-19th centuries, with the erection and adaptation of domestic buildings. The remarkable rural architecture of the villages surrounding the lake and several 18th-and 19th-century palaces add to the area’s considerable cultural interest. The palace of the township of Nagycenk, the Fertöd Palace, the Széchenyi Palace and the Fertöd Esterházy Palace are also exceptional cultural testimonies
Wachau rural settlement/landscape Europe, Central and Eastern Austria Wachau Cultural Landscape The Wachau is a stretch of the Danube Valley between Melk and Krems, a landscape of high visual quality. It preserves in an intact and visible form many traces – in terms of architecture, (monasteries, castles, ruins), urban design, (towns and villages), and agricultural use, principally for the cultivation of vines – of its evolution since prehistoric times.
Tauric Chersonese rural settlement/landscape Europe, Central and Eastern Ukraine Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora The site features the remains of a city founded by Dorian Greeks in the 5th century BCE on the northern shores of the Black Sea. It encompasses six component sites with urban remains and agricultural lands divided into several hundreds of chora, rectangular plots of equal size. The plots supported vineyards whose production was exported by the city which thrived until the 15th century. The site features several public building complexes and residential neighbourhoods, as well as early Christian monuments alongside remains from Stone and Bronze Age settlements; Roman and medieval tower fortifications and water supply systems; and exceptionally well-preserved examples of vineyard planting and dividing walls. In the 3rd century CE, the site was known as the most productive wine centre of the Black Sea and remained a hub of exchange between the Greek, Roman and Byzantine Empires and populations north of the Black Sea. It is an outstanding example of democratic land organization linked to an ancient polis, reflecting the city’s social organization.
Ohrid Lake rural settlement/landscape Europe, Central and Eastern Northern Macedonia Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region A superlative natural phenomenon, Lake Ohrid provides a refuge for numerous endemic species of freshwater fauna and flora dating from the Tertiary period. Situated on the shores of the lake, the town of Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe. Built mainly between the 7th and 19th centuries, it has the oldest Slav monastery (St Pantelejmon) and more than 800 Byzantine-style icons dating from the 11th to the end of the 14th century. In the shallow waters near the shores of the lake, three sites testify to the presence of prehistoric pile dwellings, and the small Lin Peninsula is the site of the remains of an Early Christian church founded in the middle of the 6th century.
Transylvania rural settlement/landscape Europe, Central and Eastern Romania Villages with Fortified Churches in Transylvania These Transylvanian villages with their fortified churches provide a vivid picture of the cultural landscape of southern Transylvania. The seven villages inscribed, founded by the Transylvanian Saxons, are characterized by a specific land-use system, settlement pattern and organization of the family farmstead that have been preserved since the late Middle Ages. They are dominated by their fortified churches, which illustrate building styles from the 13th to the 16th century.
Southern Öland rural settlement/landscape Europe, North Sweden Agricultural Landscape of Southern Öland The present-day agrarian landscape is characterized by several distinct and historically significant chronological strata, which together reflect a considerable chronological depth: a) the abandoned Iron Age landscape, b) the far-reaching medieval distinction between infields and pastures, with settlements structured as villages and c) the land distribution reforms of the 18th and 19th centuries, resulting in the redistribution of holdings and the erection of stone walls to mark the boundaries between them.
Laponia rural settlement/landscape Europe, North Sweden / Saami Laponian Area Archaeological remains attest to the arrival of early inhabitants to the Laponian area 6,000-7,000 years ago. The area was probably occupied towards the end of the last Ice Age, about 10,000 years BP, but no evidence of this has been found. The settlers were nomadic hunter-gatherers, subsisting principally on wild reindeer, and traces of their occupation are found in the form of hearths and house-foundations. The domestication of reindeer began about two thousand years ago. It evolved gradually, and in the 16th and 17th century the Saami migration with reindeer herds in an annual cycle was fully established.
Kujataa Greenland\ rural settlement/landscape Europe, North Greenland Kujataa Greenland: Norse and Inuit Farming at the Edge of the Ice Cap Kujataa is a subarctic farming landscape located in the southern region of Greenland. It bears witness to the cultural histories of the Norse farmer-hunters who started arriving from Iceland in the 10th century and of the Inuit hunters and Inuit farming communities that developed from the end of the 18th century. Despite their differences, the two cultures, European Norse and Inuit, created a cultural landscape based on farming, grazing and marine mammal hunting. The landscape represents the earliest introduction of farming to the Arctic, and the Norse expansion of settlement beyond Europe
Gammelstad, Luleå rural settlement/landscape Europe, North Sweden Church Town of Gammelstad, Luleå Gammelstad, at the head of the Gulf of Bothnia, is the best-preserved example of a ‘church village’, a unique kind of village formerly found throughout northern Scandinavia. The 424 wooden houses, huddled round the early 15th-century stone church, were used only on Sundays and at religious festivals to house worshippers from the surrounding countryside who could not return home the same day because of the distance and difficult travelling conditions.
Causses and Cévennes rural settlement/landscape Europe, Western France The Causses and the Cévennes, Mediterranean agro-pastoral Cultural Landscape mountain landscape interspersed by deep valleys that is representative of the relationship between agro-pastoral systems and their biophysical environment, notably through drailles or drove roads. Villages and substantial stone farmhouses on deep terraces of the Causses reflect the organization of large abbeys from the 11th century. Mont Lozère, inside the property, is one of the last places where summer transhumance is still practiced in the traditional way, using the drailles
Val d’Orcia rural settlement/landscape Europe, Western Italy Val d’Orcia The landscape of Val d’Orcia is part of the agricultural hinterland of Siena, redrawn and developed when it was integrated in the territory of the city-state in the 14th and 15th centuries to reflect an idealized model of good governance and to create an aesthetically pleasing picture. The landscape’s distinctive aesthetics, flat chalk plains out of which rise almost conical hills with fortified settlements on top, inspired many artists. Their images have come to exemplify the beauty of well-managed Renaissance agricultural landscapes. The inscription covers: an agrarian and pastoral landscape reflecting innovative land-management systems; towns and villages; farmhouses; and the Roman Via Francigena and its associated abbeys, inns, shrines, bridges, etc
Vall de Boí rural settlement/landscape Europe, Western Spain Catalan Romanesque Churches of the Vall de Boí The narrow Vall de Boí is situated in the high Pyrénées, in the Alta Ribagorça region and is surrounded by steep mountains. Each village in the valley contains a Romanesque church, and is surrounded by a pattern of enclosed fields. There are extensive seasonally-used grazing lands on the higher slopes.
Risco Caido rural settlement/landscape Europe, Western Canary Islands Risco Caido and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria Cultural Landscape Located in a vast mountainous area in the centre of Gran Canaria, Risco Caído comprises cliffs, ravines and volcanic formations in a landscape of rich biodiversity. The landscape includes a large number of troglodyte settlements — habitats, granaries and cisterns — whose age is proof of the presence of a pre-Hispanic culture on the island, which has evolved in isolation, from the arrival of North African Berbers, around the beginning of our era, until the first Spanish settlers in the 15th century. The troglodyte complex also includes cult cavities and two sacred temples, or almogarenes — Risco Caído and Roque Bentayga — where seasonal ceremonies were held. These temples are thought to be linked to a possible cult of the stars and Mother Earth.
Paquimé, Casas Grandes trading city Atlantic Mexico Archaeological Zone of Paquimé, Casas Grandes Paquimé, Casas Grandes, which reached its apogee in the 14th and 15th centuries, played a key role in trade and cultural contacts between the Pueblo culture of the south-western United States and northern Mexico and the more advanced civilizations of Mesoamerica. The extensive remains, only part of which have been excavated, are clear evidence of the vitality of a culture which was perfectly adapted to its physical and economic environment, but which suddenly vanished at the time of the Spanish Conquest.
Kunta Kinteh Island trading city Atlantic The Gambia Kunta Kinteh Island and Related Sites Kunta Kinteh Island is a small island in the Gambia River which joins the Atlantic Ocean. Its location in the middle of the river made it a strategic place to control the waterway. Visited by explorers and merchants in their search for a sea route to India it became one of the first cultural exchange zones between Africa and Europe. By 1456 the Island had been acquired by Portugal from local rulers and the construction of a fort began. Kunta Kinteh Island and Related Sites form an exceptional testimony to the different facets and phases of the African-European encounter, from the 15th to the 19th centuries. The River Gambia was particularly important forming the first trade route to the inland of Africa. The site was already a contact point with Arabs and Phoenicians before the arrival of the Portuguese in the 15th century. The region forms a cultural landscape, where the historic elements are retained in their cultural and natural context. The properties illustrate all the main periods and facets of the various stages of the African-European encounter from its earliest moments in the 15th Century through the independence period.
Djenné trading city Atlantic Mali Old Towns of Djenné Inhabited since 250 BCE, Djenné became a market centre and an important link in the trans-Saharan gold trade. In the 15th and 16th centuries, it was one of the centres for the propagation of Islam. Its traditional houses, of which nearly 2,000 have survived, are built on hillocks (toguere) as protection from the seasonal floods.
Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara trading city Atlantic Tanzania Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara The remains of two great East African ports admired by early European explorers are situated on two small islands near the coast. From the 13th to the 16th century, the merchants of Kilwa dealt in gold, silver, pearls, perfumes, Arabian crockery, Persian earthenware and Chinese porcelain; much of the trade in the Indian Ocean thus passed through their hands.
Hedeby and the Danevirke trading city Europe, North Germany Archaeological Border complex of Hedeby and the Danevirke The archaeological site of Hedeby consists of the remains of an emporium – or trading town – containing traces of roads, buildings, cemeteries and a harbour dating back to the 1st and early 2nd millennia CE. It is enclosed by part of the Danevirke, a line of fortification crossing the Schleswig isthmus, which separates the Jutland Peninsula from the rest of the European mainland. Because of its unique situation between the Frankish Empire in the South and the Danish Kingdom in the North, Hedeby became a trading hub between continental Europe and Scandinavia and between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Because of its rich and well preserved archaeological material, it has become a key site for the interpretation of economic, social and historical developments in Europe during the Viking age
Lübeck trading city Europe, North Germany Hanseatic City of Lübeck Lübeck – the former capital and Queen City of the Hanseatic League – was founded in the 12th century and prospered until the 16th century as the major trading centre for northern Europe. It has remained a centre for maritime commerce to this day, particularly with the Nordic countries. Despite the damage it suffered during the Second World War, the basic structure of the old city, consisting mainly of 15th- and 16th-century patrician residences, public monuments (the famous Holstentor brick gate), churches and salt storehouses, remains unaltered.
Stralsund and Wismar trading city Europe, North Germany Historic Centres of Stralsund and Wismar The medieval towns of Wismar and Stralsund, on the Baltic coast of northern Germany, were major trading centres of the Hanseatic League in the 14th and 15th centuries. In the 17th and 18th centuries they became Swedish administrative and defensive centres for the German territories. They contributed to the development of the characteristic building types and techniques of Brick Gothic in the Baltic region, as exemplified in several important brick cathedrals, the Town Hall of Stralsund, and the series of houses for residential, commercial and crafts use, representing its evolution over several centuries.
Quedlinburg trading city Europe, North Germany Collegiate Church, Castle and Old Town of Quedlinburg Quedlinburg, in the Land of Sachsen-Anhalt, was a capital of the East Franconian German Empire at the time of the Saxonian-Ottonian ruling dynasty. It has been a prosperous trading town since the Middle Ages. The number and high quality of the timber-framed buildings make Quedlinburg an exceptional example of a medieval European town. The Collegiate Church of St Servatius is one of the masterpieces of Romanesque architecture.
Bryggen trading city Europe, North Norway Bryggen Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen, is a reminder of the town’s importance as part of the Hanseatic League’s trading empire from the 14th to the mid-16th century. Many fires, the last in 1955, have ravaged the characteristic wooden houses of Bryggen. Its rebuilding has traditionally followed old patterns and methods, thus leaving its main structure preserved, which is a relic of an ancient wooden urban structure once common in Northern Europe. Today, some 62 buildings remain of this former townscape.
Visby trading city Europe, North Sweden Hanseatic Town of Visby A former Viking site on the island of Gotland, Visby was the main centre of the Hanseatic League in the Baltic from the 12th to the 14th century. Its 13th-century ramparts and more than 200 warehouses and wealthy merchants’ dwellings from the same period make it the best-preserved fortified commercial city in northern Europe.
Venice trading city Europe, Western Italy Venice and its Lagoon Founded in the 5th century and spread over 118 small islands, Venice became a major maritime power in the 10th century. The whole city is an extraordinary architectural masterpiece in which even the smallest building contains works by some of the world’s greatest artists such as Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and others.
Valencia trading city Europe, Western Spain La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia Built between 1482 and 1533, this group of buildings was originally used for trading in silk (hence its name, the Silk Exchange) and it has always been a centre for commerce. It is a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. The grandiose Sala de Contratación (Contract or Trading Hall), in particular, illustrates the power and wealth of a major Mediterranean mercantile city in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Provins trading city Europe, Western France Provins, Town of Medieval Fairs The fortified medieval town of Provins is situated in the former territory of the powerful Counts of Champagne. It bears witness to early developments in the organization of international trading fairs and the wool industry. The urban structure of Provins, which was built specifically to host the fairs and related activities, has been well preserved.
Tunis urban settlement Africa, North Tunisia Medina of Tunis Under the Almohads and the Hafsids, from the 12th to the 16th century, Tunis was considered one of the greatest and wealthiest cities in the Islamic world. Some 700 monuments, including palaces, mosques, mausoleums, madrasas and fountains, testify to this remarkable past.
Kairouan urban settlement Africa, North Tunisia Kairouan Founded in 670, Kairouan flourished under the Aghlabid dynasty in the 9th century. Despite the transfer of the political capital to Tunis in the 12th century, Kairouan remained the Maghreb’s principal holy city. Its rich architectural heritage includes the Great Mosque, with its marble and porphyry columns, and the 9th-century Mosque of the Three Gates.
Sousse urban settlement Africa, North Tunisia Medina of Sousse Sousse was an important commercial and military port during the Aghlabid period (800–909) and is a typical example of a town dating from the first centuries of Islam. With its kasbah, ramparts, medina (with the Great Mosque), Bu Ftata Mosque and typical ribat (both a fort and a religious building), Sousse was part of a coastal defence system.
Meknes urban settlement Africa, North Morocco Historic City of Meknes Founded in the 11th century by the Almoravids as a military settlement, Meknes became a capital under Sultan Moulay Ismaïl (1672–1727), the founder of the Alawite dynasty. The sultan turned it into a impressive city in Spanish-Moorish style, surrounded by high walls with great doors, where the harmonious blending of the Islamic and European styles of the 17th century Maghreb are still evident today.
Tétouan (Titawin) urban settlement Africa, North Morocco Medina of Tétouan (formerly known as Titawin) Tétouan was of particular importance in the Islamic period, from the 8th century onwards, since it served as the main point of contact between Morocco and Andalusia. After the Reconquest, the town was rebuilt by Andalusian refugees who had been expelled by the Spanish. This is well illustrated by its art and architecture, which reveal clear Andalusian influence. Although one of the smallest of the Moroccan medinas, Tétouan is unquestionably the most complete and it has been largely untouched by subsequent outside influences.
Loropéni urban settlement Africa, Sub-Saharan Burkina Faso Ruins of Loropéni The 11,130m2 property, the first to be inscribed in the country, with its imposing stone walls is the best preserved of ten fortresses in the Lobi area and is part of a larger group of 100 stone enclosures that bear testimony to the power of the trans-Saharan gold trade. Situated near the borders of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo, the ruins have recently been shown to be at least 1,000 years old. The settlement was occupied by the Lohron or Koulango peoples, who controlled the extraction and transformation of gold in the region when it reached its apogee from the 14th to the 17th century. Much mystery surrounds this site large parts of which have yet to be excavated. The settlement seems to have been abandoned during some periods during its long history. The property which was finally deserted in the early 19th century is expected to yield much more information.
Fasil Ghebbi (Gondar) urban settlement Africa, Sub-Saharan Ethiopia Fasil Ghebbi, Gondar Region In the 16th and 17th centuries, the fortress-city of Fasil Ghebbi was the residence of the Ethiopian emperor Fasilides and his successors. Surrounded by a 900m-long wall, the city contains palaces, churches, monasteries and unique public and private buildings marked by Hindu and Arab influences, subsequently transformed by the Baroque style brought to Gondar by the Jesuit missionarie
Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town urban settlement Africa, Sub-Saharan Ethiopia Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town The fortified historic town of Harar is located in the eastern part of the country on a plateau with deep gorges surrounded by deserts and savannah. The walls surrounding this sacred Muslim city were built between the 13th and 16th centuries. Harar Jugol, said to be the fourth holiest city of Islam, numbers 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, and 102 shrines, but the townhouses with their exceptional interior design constitute the most spectacular part of Harar’s cultural heritage. The impact of African and Islamic traditions on the development of the town’s building types and urban layout make for its particular character and uniqueness
Agadez urban settlement Africa, Sub-Saharan Niger Historic Centre of Agadez The historic centre of Agadez dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries, when the Sultanate of Aïr established itself there, encouraging the consolidation of Tuareg tribes and the development of trans-Saharan economic and cultural exchanges. Sedentarisation took place based around the former encampments, which led to an original street plan, which is still respected today. The historic centre includes a large amount of housing, and a well preserved palatial and religious ensemble, including a tall minaret made entirely of mudbrick. The old town is characterised by mudbrick architecture and a decorative style that are specific to the Aïr region. The traditional sultanate system is still in place, ensuring social unity and economic prosperity. It is a living historic centre inhabited by about 20,000 people
Xochicalco urban settlement Americas Mexico Archaeological Monuments Zone of Xochicalco Xochicalco is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a fortified political, religious and commercial centre from the troubled period of 650–900 that followed the break-up of the great Mesoamerican states such as Teotihuacan, Monte Albán, Palenque and Tikal.
Diquís urban settlement Americas Costa Rica Precolumbian Chiefdom Settlements with Stone Spheres of the Diquís The property includes four archaeological sites located in the Diquís Delta in southern Costa Rica, which are considered unique examples of the complex social, economic and political systems of the period CE 500–1500. They contain artificial mounds, paved areas, burial sites and, most significantly, a collection of stone spheres, between 0.7mand 2.57min diameter, whose meaning, use and production remain largely a mystery.
Copan urban settlement Americas Honduras Maya Site of Copan Discovered in 1570 by Diego García de Palacio, the ruins of Copán, one of the most important sites of the Mayan civilization, were not excavated until the 19th century. The ruined citadel and imposing public squares reveal the three main stages of development before the city was abandoned in the early 10th century.
Oaxaca and Monte Albán urban settlement Americas Mexico Historic Centre of Oaxaca and Archaeological Site of Monte Albán Monte Alban is the most important archaeological site of the Valley of Oaxaca. Inhabited over a period of 1,500 years by a succession of peoples – Olmecs, Zapotecs and Mixtecs – the terraces, dams, canals, pyramids and artificial mounds of Monte Albán were literally carved out of the mountain and are the symbols of a sacred topography. The grand Zapotec capital flourished for thirteen centuries, from the year 500 B.C to 850 CE when, for reasons that have not been established, its eventual abandonment began. The archaeological site is known for its unique dimensions which exhibit the basic chronology and artistic style of the region and for the remains of magnificent temples, ball court, tombs and bas-reliefs with hieroglyphic inscriptions.
Teotihuacan urban settlement Americas Mexico Pre-Hispanic City of Teotihuacan The holy city of Teotihuacan (‘the place where the gods were created’) is situated some 50 km north-east of Mexico City. Built between the 1st and 7th centuries A.D., it is characterized by the vast size of its monuments – in particular, the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, laid out on geometric and symbolic principles. As one of the most powerful cultural centres in Mesoamerica, Teotihuacan extended its cultural and artistic influence throughout the region, and even beyond.
El Tajin urban settlement Americas Mexico El Tajin, Pre-Hispanic City Located in the state of Veracruz, El Tajin was at its height from the early 9th to the early 13th century. It became the most important centre in north-east Mesoamerica after the fall of the Teotihuacan Empire. Its cultural influence extended all along the Gulf and penetrated into the Maya region and the high plateaux of central Mexico. Its architecture, which is unique in Mesoamerica, is characterized by elaborate carved reliefs on the columns and frieze. The ‘Pyramid of the Niches’, a masterpiece of ancient Mexican and American architecture, reveals the astronomical and symbolic significance of the buildings. El Tajin has survived as an outstanding example of the grandeur and importance of the pre-Hispanic cultures of Mexico.
Calakmul, Campeche urban settlement Americas Mexico Ancient Maya City and Protected Tropical Forests of Calakmul, Campeche The site is located in the central/southern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula, in southern Mexico and includes the remains of the important Maya city Calakmul, set deep in the tropical forest of the Tierras Bajas. The city played a key role in the history of this region for more than twelve centuries and is characterized by well-preserved structures providing a vivid picture of life in an ancient Maya capital. The property also falls within the Mesoamerica biodiversity hotspot, the third largest in the world, encompassing all subtropical and tropical ecosystems from central Mexico to the Panama Canal.
Fuerte de Samaipata urban settlement Americas Bolivia Fuerte de Samaipata The archaeological site of Samaipata consists of two parts: the hill with its many carvings, believed to have been the ceremonial centre of the old town (14th–16th centuries), and the area to the south of the hill, which formed the administrative and residential district. The huge sculptured rock, dominating the town below, is a unique testimony to pre-Hispanic traditions and beliefs, and has no parallel anywhere in the Americas.
Cuzco urban settlement Americas Peru City of Cuzco Situated in the Peruvian Andes, Cuzco developed, under the Inca ruler Pachacutec, into a complex urban centre with distinct religious and administrative functions. It was surrounded by clearly delineated areas for agricultural, artisan and industrial production. When the Spaniards conquered it in the 16th century, they preserved the basic structure but built Baroque churches and palaces over the ruins of the Inca city.
Avignon urban settlement ecclesiastical centre France Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon Bridge In the 14th century, this city in the South of France was the seat of the papacy. The Palais des Papes, an austere-looking fortress lavishly decorated by Simone Martini and Matteo Giovanetti, dominates the city, the surrounding ramparts and the remains of a 12th-century bridge over the Rhone. Beneath this outstanding example of Gothic architecture, the Petit Palais and the Romanesque Cathedral of Notre-Dame-des-Doms complete an exceptional group of monuments that testify to the leading role played by Avignon in 14th-century Christian Europe.
Albi urban settlement ecclesiastical centre France Episcopal City of Albi On the banks of the Tarn river in south-west France, the old city of Albi reflects the culmination of a medieval architectural and urban ensemble. Today the Old Bridge (Pont-Vieux), the Saint-Salvi quarter and its church are testimony to its initial development (10th -11th centuries). Following the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathar heretics (13th century) it became a powerful episcopal city. Built in a unique southern French Gothic style from local brick in characteristic red and orange colours, the lofty fortified Cathedral (late 13th century) dominates the city, demonstrating the power regained by the Roman Catholic clergy. Alongside the Cathedral is the vast bishop’s Palais de la Berbie, overlooking the river and surrounded by residential quarters that date back to the Middle Ages. The Episcopal City of Albi forms a coherent and homogeneous ensemble of monuments and quarters that has remained largely unchanged over the centuries.
Santiago de Compostela urban settlement ecclesiastical centre Spain Santiago de Compostela (Old Town) This famous pilgrimage site in north-west Spain became a symbol in the Spanish Christians’ struggle against Islam. Destroyed by the Muslims at the end of the 10th century, it was completely rebuilt in the following century. With its Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque buildings, the Old Town of Santiago is one of the world’s most beautiful urban areas. The oldest monuments are grouped around the tomb of St James and the cathedral, which contains the remarkable Pórtico de la Gloria.
1-2 additional sites in Europe that were primarily just diocesan or similar cities urban settlement ecclesiastical centre
Salzburg urban settlement Europe, Central Austria Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg Salzburg has managed to preserve an extraordinarily rich urban fabric, developed over the period from the Middle Ages to the 19th century when it was a city-state ruled by a prince-archbishop. Its Flamboyant Gothic art attracted many craftsmen and artists before the city became even better known through the work of the Italian architects Vincenzo Scamozzi and Santini Solari, to whom the centre of Salzburg owes much of its Baroque appearance. This meeting-point of northern and southern Europe perhaps sparked the genius of Salzburg’s most famous son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose name has been associated with the city ever since.
Vienna urban settlement Europe, Central Austria Historic Centre of Vienna Vienna developed from early Celtic and Roman settlements into a Medieval and Baroque city, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It played an essential role as a leading European music centre, from the great age of Viennese Classicism through the early part of the 20th century. The historic centre of Vienna is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, as well as the late-19th-century Ringstrasse lined with grand buildings, monuments and parks.
Mostar urban settlement Europe, Central Bosnia and Herzegovina Old Bridge Area of the Old City of Mostar The historic town of Mostar, spanning a deep valley of the Neretva River, developed in the 15th and 16th centuries as an Ottoman frontier town and during the Austro-Hungarian period in the 19th and 20th centuries. Mostar has long been known for its old Turkish houses and Old Bridge, Stari Most, after which it is named. In the 1990s conflict, however, most of the historic town and the Old Bridge, designed by the renowned architect Sinan, was destroyed. The Old Bridge was recently rebuilt and many of the edifices in the Old Town have been restored or rebuilt with the contribution of an international scientific committee established by UNESCO. The Old Bridge area, with its pre-Ottoman, eastern Ottoman, Mediterranean and western European architectural features, is an outstanding example of a multicultural urban settlement. The reconstructed Old Bridge and Old City of Mostar is a symbol of reconciliation, international co-operation and of the coexistence of diverse cultural, ethnic and religious communities.
Split urban settlement Europe, Central Croatia Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian The ruins of Diocletian’s Palace, built between the late 3rd and the early 4th centuries CE, can be found throughout the city. The cathedral was built in the Middle Ages, reusing materials from the ancient mausoleum. Twelfth- and 13th-century Romanesque churches, medieval fortifications, 15th-century Gothic palaces and other palaces in Renaissance and Baroque style make up the rest of the protected area.
Dubrovnik urban settlement Europe, Central Croatia Old City of Dubrovnik The ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, situated on the Dalmatian coast, became an important Mediterranean sea power from the 13th century onwards. Although severely damaged by an earthquake in 1667, Dubrovnik managed to preserve its beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains. Damaged again in the 1990s by armed conflict, it is now the focus of a major restoration programme co-ordinated by UNESCO.
Český Krumlov urban settlement Europe, Central Czechia Historic Centre of Český Krumlov Situated on the banks of the Vltava river, the town was built around a 13th-century castle with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements. It is an outstanding example of a small central European medieval town whose architectural heritage has remained intact thanks to its peaceful evolution over more than five centuries.
Prague urban settlement Europe, Central Czechia Historic Centre of Prague Built between the 11th and 18th centuries, the Old Town, the Lesser Town and the New Town speak of the great architectural and cultural influence enjoyed by this city since the Middle Ages. The many magnificent monuments, such as Hradcany Castle, St Vitus Cathedral, Charles Bridge and numerous churches and palaces, built mostly in the 14th century under the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV.
Telč urban settlement Europe, Central Czechia Historic Centre of Telč The houses in Telc, which stands on a hilltop, were originally built of wood. After a fire in the late 14th century, the town was rebuilt in stone, surrounded by walls and further strengthened by a network of artificial ponds. The town’s Gothic castle was reconstructed in High Gothic style in the late 15th century.
Kutná Hora urban settlement Europe, Central Czechia Kutná Hora: Historical Town Centre with the Church of St Barbara and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec Kutná Hora developed as a result of the exploitation of the silver mines. In the 14th century it became a royal city endowed with monuments that symbolized its prosperity. The Church of St Barbara, a jewel of the late Gothic period, and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec, which was restored in line with the Baroque taste of the early 18th century, were to influence the architecture of central Europe. These masterpieces today form part of a well-preserved medieval urban fabric with some particularly fine private dwellings.
Bamberg urban settlement Europe, Central Germany Town of Bamberg Bamberg is located in southern Germany in the north of Bavaria. It is a good example of a central European town with a basically early medieval plan and many surviving ecclesiastical and secular buildings of the medieval period. When Henry II, Duke of Bavaria, became King of Germany in 1007 he made Bamberg the seat of a bishopric, intended to become a ‘second Rome’. Of particular interest is the way in which the present town illustrates the link between agriculture (market gardens and vineyards) and the urban distribution centre. From the 10th century onwards, Bamberg became an important link with the Slav peoples, especially those of Poland and Pomerania. During its period of greatest prosperity, from the 12th century onwards, the architecture of this town strongly influenced northern Germany and Hungary. In the late 18th century Bamberg was the centre of the Enlightenment in southern Germany, with eminent philosophers and writers such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and E.T.A. Hoffmann living there.
Kraków urban settlement Europe, Central Poland Historic Centre of Kraków The Historic Centre of Kraków, the former capital of Poland, is situated at the foot of the Royal Wawel Castle. The 13th-century merchants’ town has Europe’s largest market square and numerous historical houses, palaces and churches with their magnificent interiors. Further evidence of the town’s fascinating history is provided by the remnants of the 14th-century fortifications and the medieval site of Kazimierz with its ancient synagogues in the southern part of town, Jagellonian University and the Gothic cathedral where the kings of Poland were buried.
Toruń urban settlement Europe, Central Poland Medieval Town of Toruń Torun owes its origins to the Teutonic Order, which built a castle there in the mid-13th century as a base for the conquest and evangelization of Prussia. It soon developed a commercial role as part of the Hanseatic League. In the Old and New Town, the many imposing public and private buildings from the 14th and 15th centuries (among them the house of Copernicus) are striking evidence of Torun’s importance.
Banská Štiavnica urban settlement Europe, Central Slovakia Historic Town of Banská Štiavnica and the Technical Monuments in its Vicinity Over the centuries, the town of Banská Štiavnica was visited by many outstanding engineers and scientists who contributed to its fame. The old medieval mining centre grew into a town with Renaissance palaces, 16th-century churches, elegant squares and castles. The urban centre blends into the surrounding landscape, which contains vital relics of the mining and metallurgical activities of the past
Levoča, Spišský Hrad, and other monuments urban settlement Europe, Central Slovakia Levoča, Spišský Hrad and the Associated Cultural Monuments Spišský Hrad has one of the largest ensembles of 13th and 14th century military, political and religious buildings in eastern Europe, and its Romanesque and Gothic architecture has remained remarkably intact.
Bardejov urban settlement Europe, Central Slovakia Bardejov Town Conservation Reserve The town’s surviving urban plan, with a regular division of streets around a spacious market square, is an indication of European civilization from the 13th to 14th centuries. Burghers’ houses, dating from the first half of the 15th century, surround three sides of the square and document the highly developed burgess culture. The fourth side of the square is closed by the Roman Catholic Church of St. Giles, a three-naved Gothic basilica with a precious collection of eleven late Gothic altars. The Renaissance town hall occupies the centre of the square. The historic core of the town is encircled by the fortification system which was, at the time of its construction, one of the most advanced in Central Europe. The area of the town’s historic core was declared a Town Conservation Reserve in 1950. Bardejov also has a well-preserved small Jewish suburb. This quarter, developed over the 18th century around a synagogue (1725-1747), still contains a unique set of surviving buildings from that era: a kosher slaughter house, some ritual baths, and a meeting building (Beth Hamidrash)
Berne urban settlement Europe, Central Switzerland Old City of Berne Founded in the 12th century on a hill site surrounded by the Aare River, Berne developed over the centuries in line with a an exceptionally coherent planning concept. The buildings in the Old City, dating from a variety of periods, include 15th-century arcades and 16th-century fountains. Most of the medieval town was restored in the 18th century but it has retained its original character.
Trier urban settlement Europe, Central Germany Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier Trier, which stands on the Moselle River, was a Roman colony from the 1st century AD and then a great trading centre beginning in the next century. It became one of the capitals of the Tetrarchy at the end of the 3rd century, when it was known as the ‘second Rome’. The number and quality of the surviving monuments are an outstanding testimony to Roman civilization.
Regensburg urban settlement Europe, Central Germany Old town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof Located on the Danube River in Bavaria, this medieval town contains many buildings of exceptional quality that testify to its history as a trading centre and to its influence on the region from the 9th century. A notable number of historic structures span some two millennia and include ancient Roman, Romanesque and Gothic buildings. Regensburg’s 11th- to 13th-century architecture – including the market, city hall and cathedral – still defines the character of the town marked by tall buildings, dark and narrow lanes, and strong fortifications. The buildings include medieval patrician houses and towers, a large number of churches and monastic ensembles as well as the 12th-century Old Bridge. The town is also remarkable for the vestiges testifing to its rich history as one of the centres of the Holy Roman Empire that turned to Protestantism.
Bremen urban settlement Europe, Central Germany Town Hall and Roland on the Marketplace of Bremen The Town Hall and the statue of Roland on the marketplace of Bremen in north-west Germany are outstanding representations of civic autonomy and sovereignty, as these developed in the Holy Roman Empire in Europe. The old town hall was built in the Gothic style in the early 15th century, after Bremen joined the Hanseatic League. The building was renovated in the so-called Weser Renaissance style in the early 17th century. A new town hall was built next to the old one in the early 20th century as part of an ensemble that survived bombardment during the Second World War. The statue stands 5.5m tall and dates back to 1404.
Tallinn urban settlement Europe, North Estonia Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn The origins of Tallinn date back to the 13th century, when a castle was built there by the crusading knights of the Teutonic Order. It developed as a major centre of the Hanseatic League, and its wealth is demonstrated by the opulence of the public buildings (the churches in particular) and the domestic architecture of the merchants’ houses, which have survived to a remarkable degree despite the ravages of fire and war in the intervening centuries
Riga urban settlement Europe, North Latvia Historic Centre of Riga Riga was a major centre of the Hanseatic League, deriving its prosperity in the 13th–15th centuries from the trade with central and eastern Europe. The urban fabric of its medieval centre reflects this prosperity, though most of the earliest buildings were destroyed by fire or war. Riga became an important economic centre in the 19th century, when the suburbs surrounding the medieval town were laid out, first with imposing wooden buildings in neoclassical style and then in Jugendstil. It is generally recognized that Riga has the finest collection of art nouveau buildings in Europe.
Birka and Hovgården urban settlement Europe, North Sweden Birka and Hovgården The Birka archaeological site is located on Björkö Island in Lake Mälar and was occupied in the 9th and 10th centuries. Hovgården is situated on the neighbouring island of Adelsö. Together, they make up an archaeological complex which illustrates the elaborate trading networks of Viking-Age Europe and their influence on the subsequent history of Scandinavia. Birka was also important as the site of the first Christian congregation in Sweden, founded in 831 by St Ansgar
Rauma urban settlement Europe, North Finland Old Rauma Situated on the Gulf of Botnia, Rauma is one of the oldest harbours in Finland. Built around a Franciscan monastery, where the mid-15th-century Holy Cross Church still stands, it is an outstanding example of an old Nordic city constructed in wood. Although ravaged by fire in the late 17th century, it has preserved its ancient vernacular architectural heritage.
Edinburgh urban settlement Europe, North United Kingdom Old and New Towns of Edinburgh Edinburgh has been the Scottish capital since the 15th century. It has two distinct areas: the Old Town, dominated by a medieval fortress; and the neoclassical New Town, whose development from the 18th century onwards had a far-reaching influence on European urban planning. The harmonious juxtaposition of these two contrasting historic areas, each with many important buildings, is what gives the city its unique character.
Brugge urban settlement Europe, Western Belgium Historic Centre of Brugge Brugge is an outstanding example of a medieval historic settlement, which has maintained its historic fabric as this has evolved over the centuries, and where original Gothic constructions form part of the town’s identity. As one of the commercial and cultural capitals of Europe, Brugge developed cultural links to different parts of the world. It is closely associated with the school of Flemish Primitive painting.
Arles urban settlement Europe, Western France Arles, Roman and Romanesque Monuments Arles is a good example of the adaptation of an ancient city to medieval European civilization. It has some impressive Roman monuments, of which the earliest – the arena, the Roman theatre and the cryptoporticus (subterranean galleries) – date back to the 1st century BCE. During the 4th century Arles experienced a second golden age, as attested by the baths of Constantine and the necropolis of Alyscamps. In the 11th and 12th centuries, Arles once again became one of the most attractive cities in the Mediterranean. Within the city walls, Saint-Trophime, with its cloister, is one of Provence’s major Romanesque monuments.
Lyon urban settlement Europe, Western France Historic Site of Lyon Humans have settled at this site destined for urbanization for more than two thousand years and built a city whose stages of development are still visible today: from the Roman vestiges of antique Lugdunum to the medieval streets on the slopes of Fourvière and the Renaissance dwellings of Vieux-Lyon, from the peninsula with a wealth of classical architecture to the slopes of Croix-Rousse with its very particular canut dwellings, which bear witness to an essential page in the history of the labouring classes of the 19th century.
San Gimignano urban settlement Europe, Western Italy Historic Centre of San Gimignano San Gimignano delle belle Torri’ is in Tuscany, 56 km south of Florence. It served as an important relay point for pilgrims travelling to or from Rome on the Via Francigena. The patrician families who controlled the town built around 72 tower-houses (some as high as 50 m) as symbols of their wealth and power. Although only 14 have survived, San Gimignano has retained its feudal atmosphere and appearance. The town also has several masterpieces of 14th- and 15th-century Italian art.
Naples urban settlement Europe, Western Italy Historic Centre of Naples From the Neapolis founded by Greek settlers in 470 BCE to the city of today, Naples has retained the imprint of the successive cultures that emerged in Europe and the Mediterranean basin. This makes it a unique site, with a wealth of outstanding monuments such as the Church of Santa Chiara and the Castel Nuovo.
Siena urban settlement Europe, Western Italy Historic Centre of Siena Siena is the embodiment of a medieval city. Its inhabitants pursued their rivalry with Florence right into the area of urban planning. Throughout the centuries, they preserved their city’s Gothic appearance, acquired between the 12th and 15th centuries. During this period the work of Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini was to influence the course of Italian and, more broadly, European art. The whole city of Siena, built around the Piazza del Campo, was devised as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape.
Urbino urban settlement Europe, Western Italy Historic Centre of Urbino The small hill town of Urbino, in the Marche, experienced a great cultural flowering in the 15th century, attracting artists and scholars from all over Italy and beyond, and influencing cultural developments elsewhere in Europe. Owing to its economic and cultural stagnation from the 16th century onwards, it has preserved its Renaissance appearance to a remarkable extent.
Verona urban settlement Europe, Western Italy City of Verona The historic city of Verona was founded in the 1st century B.C. It particularly flourished under the rule of the Scaliger family in the 13th and 14th centuries and as part of the Republic of Venice from the 15th to 18th centuries. Verona has preserved a remarkable number of monuments from antiquity, the medieval and Renaissance periods, and represents an outstanding example of a military stronghold.
Palermo urban settlement Europe, Western Italy Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale Located on the northern coast of Sicily, Arab-Norman Palermo includes a series of nine civil and religious structures dating from the era of the Norman kingdom of Sicily (1130-1194): two palaces, three churches, a cathedral, a bridge, as well as the cathedrals of Cefalú and Monreale. Collectively, they are an example of a social-cultural syncretism between Western, Islamic and Byzantine cultures on the island which gave rise to new concepts of space, structure and decoration. They also bear testimony to the fruitful coexistence of people of different origins and religions (Muslim, Byzantine, Latin, Jewish, Lombard and French).
Évora urban settlement Europe, Western Portugal Historic Centre of Évora This museum-city, whose roots go back to Roman times, reached its golden age in the 15th century, when it became the residence of the Portuguese kings. Its unique quality stems from the whitewashed houses decorated with azulejos and wrought-iron balconies dating from the 16th to the 18th century. Its monuments had a profound influence on Portuguese architecture in Brazil.
Porto urban settlement Europe, Western Portugal Historic Centre of Oporto, Luiz I Bridge and Monastery of Serra do Pilar Archaeological excavations have revealed human occupation at the mouth of the Douro River since the 8th century BC, when there was a Phoenician trading settlement there. By the 5th century the town had become a very important administrative and trading centre. In the succeeding centuries it was subjected to attacks and pillage by successive groups, including Swabians, Visigoths, Normans, and Moors. By the early 11th century, however, it was firmly established as part of the Castilian realm. Expansion came in the 14th century with the construction of massive stone town walls to protect its two urban nuclei: the original medieval town and the hitherto extramural harbour area. The Historic Centre of Oporto is located within the line of these Fernandine walls (named after Dom Fernando, in whose reign they were completed in 1376), together with some smaller areas that retain their medieval characteristics. This area conserves to a large extent Oporto’s medieval town plan and urban fabric, along with some later monumental insertions as well as the two remaining sections of the Fernandine walls
Guimarães urban settlement Europe, Western Portugal Historic Centre of Guimarães The historic town of Guimarães is associated with the emergence of the Portuguese national identity in the 12th century. An exceptionally well-preserved and authentic example of the evolution of a medieval settlement into a modern town, its rich building typology exemplifies the specific development of Portuguese architecture from the 15th to 19th century through the consistent use of traditional building materials and techniques
Cordoba urban settlement Europe, Western Spain Historic Centre of Cordoba Cordoba’s period of greatest glory began in the 8th century after the Moorish conquest, when some 300 mosques and innumerable palaces and public buildings were built to rival the splendours of Constantinople, Damascus and Baghdad. In the 13th century, under Ferdinand III, the Saint, Cordoba’s Great Mosque was turned into a cathedral and new defensive structures, particularly the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos and the Torre Fortaleza de la Calahorra, were erected.
Oviedo urban settlement Europe, Western Spain Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias 6 In the 9th century the flame of Christianity was kept alive in the Iberian peninsula in the tiny Kingdom of the Asturias. Here an innovative pre-Romanesque architectural style was created that was to play a significant role in the development of the religious architecture of the peninsula. Its highest achievements can be seen in the churches of Santa María del Naranco, San Miguel de Lillo, Santa Cristina de Lena, the Cámara Santa and San Julián de los Prados, in and around the ancient capital city of Oviedo. Associated with them is the remarkable contemporary hydraulic engineering structure known as La Foncalada
Ávila urban settlement Europe, Western Spain Old Town of Ávila with its Extra-Muros Churches Founded in the 11th century to protect the Spanish territories from the Moors, this ‘City of Saints and Stones’, the birthplace of St Teresa and the burial place of the Grand Inquisitor Torquemada, has kept its medieval austerity. This purity of form can still be seen in the Gothic cathedral and the fortifications which, with their 82 semicircular towers and nine gates, are the most complete in Spain.
Segovia urban settlement Europe, Western Spain Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct The Roman aqueduct of Segovia, probably built ca. CE 50, is remarkably well preserved. This impressive construction, with its two tiers of arches, forms part of the setting of the magnificent historic city of Segovia. Other important monuments include the Alcázar, begun around the 11th century, and the 16th-century Gothic cathedral
Cáceres urban settlement Europe, Western Spain Old Town of Cáceres The city’s history of battles between Moors and Christians is reflected in its architecture, which is a blend of Roman, Islamic, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance styles. Of the 30 or so towers from the Muslim period, the Torre del Bujaco is the most famous.
Salamanca urban settlement Europe, Western Spain Old City of Salamanca This ancient university town north-west of Madrid was first conquered by the Carthaginians in the 3rd century BCE It then became a Roman settlement before being ruled by the Moors until the 11th century. The university, one of the oldest in Europe, reached its high point during Salamanca’s golden age. The city’s historic centre has important Romanesque, Gothic, Moorish, Renaissance and Baroque monuments. The Plaza Mayor, with its galleries and arcades, is particularly impressive.
Medina Azahara urban settlement Europe, Western Spain Caliphate City of Medina Azahara The Caliphate city of Medina Azahara is an archaeological site of a city built in the mid-10th century CE by the Umayyad dynasty as the seat of the Caliphate of Cordoba. After prospering for several years, it was laid to waste during the civil war that put an end to the Caliphate in 1009-1010. The remains of the city were forgotten for almost 1,000 years until their rediscovery in the early 20th century. This complete urban ensemble features infrastructure such as roads, bridges, water systems, buildings, decorative elements and everyday objects. It provides in-depth knowledge of the now vanished Western Islamic civilization of Al-Andalus, at the height of its splendour.
Lombard sites urban settlement Europe, Western Italy Longobards in Italy. Places of Power (568-774 CE) The Longobards in Italy, Places of Power, 568-774 CE comprises seven groups of important buildings (including fortresses, churches, and monasteries) throughout the Italian Peninsula. They testify to the high achievement of the Lombards, who migrated from northern Europe and developed their own specific culture in Italy where they ruled over vast territories in the 6th to 8th centuries. The Lombards synthesis of architectural styles marked the transition from Antiquity to the European Middle Ages, drawing on the heritage of Ancient Rome, Christian spirituality, Byzantine influence and Germanic northern Europe. The serial property testifies to the Lombards’ major role in the spiritual and cultural development of Medieval European Christianity, notably by bolstering the monastic movement.
Cuenca urban settlement Europe, Western Spain Historic Walled Town of Cuenca Built by the Moors in a defensive position at the heart of the Caliphate of Cordoba, Cuenca is an unusually well-preserved medieval fortified city. Conquered by the Castilians in the 12th century, it became a royal town and bishopric endowed with important buildings, such as Spain’s first Gothic cathedral, and the famous casas colgadas (hanging houses), suspended from sheer cliffs overlooking the Huécar river. Taking full advantage of its location, the city towers above the magnificent countryside.
Třebíč urban settlement Jewish Czechia Jewish Quarter and St Procopius’ Basilica in Třebíč The ensemble of the Jewish Quarter, the old Jewish cemetery and the Basilica of St Procopius in Třebíč are reminders of the co-existence of Jewish and Christian cultures from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The Jewish Quarter bears outstanding testimony to the different aspects of the life of this community. St Procopius’ Basilica, built as part of the Benedictine monastery in the early 13th century, is a remarkable example of the influence of Western European architectural heritage in this region.
3-4 additional sites, e.g., Kazimierz, Cordoba, in Belarus/Ukraine etc. urban settlement Jewish