On UNESCO World Heritage Centres

I, the narrator and performer of this weblog am presently located at a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, where I am to meet the author who is in transit from his stela so we can go back to work in the United States. We want New Orleans to be a UNESCO World Heritage Centre and are not sure why it isn’t.

890 “properties” are now UNESCO World Heritage Centres. Centres I have visited, either before or after they became World Heritage Centres, or both, include:

Austria: Salzburg, Vienna;
Belgium: Brugge, Brussels;
Bolivia: Potosí;
Brazil: Fernando de Noronha, Ouro Preto, Olinda, Salvador;
Canada: Québec;
Chile: Chiloe;
Cuba: Havana;
Denmark: Jelling, Kronborg, Roskilde;
Ecuador: Quito;
France: Amiens, Arles, Avignon, Bourges, Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Chartres, Fontainebleau, Le Havre, Loire Valley, Mont Saint-Michel, Nancy, Paris, Pont du Gard, Reims, Strasbourg, Versailles, Vézère Valley;
Germany: Cologne;
Greece: Acropolis, Olympia;
Guatemala: Antigua;
Holy See: Rome, Vatican City;
Honduras: Copán;
Italy: Agrigento, Dolomites, Florence, Ferrara, Naples, Padua, Pisa, Ravenna, Rome, San Gimignano, Siena, Venice, Verona, Vicenza;
Luxembourg: Luxembourg;
Mexico: most, although not quite all, of the listed centres;
Morocco: Fez, Meknes, Marrakech;
Netherlands: Amsterdam;
Nicaragua: León Viejo;
Peru: all but three of the listed centres;
Portugal: seven of the listed centres;
Spain: very many, although fewer than I would have thought, of the listed centres;
Switzerland: Berne, St. Gall;
UK: Tower of London;
US: Chaco Culture, Carlsbad Caverns, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, Mammoth Cave, Olympic National Park, Redwood National Park, Statue of Liberty, Taos, Yellowstone, Yosemite.

Without counting I would say that is about 10%, which is not a large proportion, but then again is quite a few for a lay person.

My question is, what do you think of these centres? I am all for having them and as I say, I want New Orleans to be one – and Port of Spain, Trinidad, for that matter. But some of them were also large gentrification projects and have a theme park aspect to them. What do you think?


5 thoughts on “On UNESCO World Heritage Centres

  1. Am I missing something here? None of the U.S. centres appear to be urban. Okay, the Statue of Liberty is close to one! Who makes these decisions?

    Rhetorical question since I believe New Orleans should definitely be a World Heritage Centre–especially if that would keep the city from demise. Such a resilient place, so badly treated for so long by so many. And very special.

  2. These are the criteria:

    It’s my understanding they target places they think the national government lacks either the means or the will to preserve.

    I suspect there aren’t more of them in the US because we should have the means to preserve, and also because we are so bad at paying UN dues. I don’t know, though. Maybe I should ask UNESCO. Everyone I mention World Heritage Centre status in Louisiana, the responses I get are blank looks and nobody is interested in learning what World Heritage Centres are; maybe we prefer to let New Orleans go. I’ll see if I can ask UNESCO, though.

  3. Here’s now you get nominated. Your country has to do it for you (it seems you can’t do it directly); it also has to promise to do its part. Who got the US sites on the list, I wonder, and on behalf of what other sites did they apply? Would N.O. and Louisiana politicians, many of whom actually hate New Orleans, Blackness, and international cooperation, be willing to get together and ask the Federal government for support to get this status? I am starting to see the problems, although I would really like them to be superseded. http://whc.unesco.org/en/nominations/

  4. Maybe it is time for THE PEOPLE to decide. While I realize that in the rational world, saying does not make it happen, here’s what you have me dreaming. Residents of N.O. decide to call their place “A World Heritage Centre”–quotation marks included.

  5. A grass roots organization needs to focus on it. I personally think they could work nicely in tandem with Levees.org, which has really taken off. My godson is actually the one who should create this organization but he is involved in a similar, although in my jaded view more futile project. I don’t think I can talk him into this one. Maybe I should start a Facebook Group.

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