Mexico tops the Americas in UNESCO’s World Heritage List
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was founded in 1945 with the aim of contributing peace and security to the world through education, science, culture and communications. The Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage was founded in 1972 merging from two separate movements, the first focusing on the preservation of cultural sites, and the other dealing with the conservation of nature.
Every year the UNESCO publishes the World Heritage List, which lists objects (such as a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that is listed by UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance. The list is a catalogue of sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity.
In the 2010 classification, Mexico is ranked on top six along with Spain, France, Italy, Germany and China out of the 148 countries participating in the UNESCO list, followed by the United Kingdom and India, with 28 and 27, respectively. Of these 29, only four are natural heritage, so the 25 remaining are cultural heritage –not natural beauty-, which speaks of the worldwide importance of Mexican culture. However, when it comes to the Americas Mexico has the honor of being on with more objects that any other country are considered heritage for humanity.
In the list of objects that are considered heritage for humanity in Mexico we can point out the historic centers of cities such as Morelia, Puebla, Zacatecas and Guanajuato, as well as impressive Mexico City with its Aztec-Spanish unique cultural syncretism. Even though San Miguel de Allende, still remains a small town, it is considered an important heritage to humanity because of the wealth of its colonial art. More recently we can find the Agave Landscape and Ancient Industrial Facilities of Tequila, another small town in western Mexico, home of Mexico’s most famous liquor and one of the most popular in the world.
We can also find pre-Hispanic cities such as Teotihuacan, founded by the Mexicas, Chichen Itza and Palenque from the Mayan culture and El Tajin, from the Olmec culture. Likewise, more contemporary buildings, such as Hospicio Cabañas or the main campus of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), are also considered to be of great importance and cultural value, and that for, world heritage.
Mexico´s cultural legacy to the world is, and has been, unique, powerful, and unmatched. The vast and outstanding contribution to architecture and the profound influence that its people have had with universal culture, in pre-Hispanic, colonial or present times, is an example of what Mexico is all about today. This is Mexico´s legacy to the world.