Spain is in the Top 3 Countries in the World with the most World Heritage Sites. Currently, Spain has 45 different recognized Heritage sites across the country; In addition to 14 Intangible Cultural Heritage human treasures. This Ranks Spain as first in Europe according to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List (only to be tied with Croatia).
I haven’t been to every site or witnessed every human treasure myself, but hopefully, by shining a spotlight on these places and events, you will find something that calls you for your next visit to Spain!
What is UNESCO and World Heritage?
UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The organization is part of the United Nations scope with the purpose “to contribute to peace and security” through the promotion and protection of educational, scientific and cultural aspects of the countries involved. Doing this increases respect for these different aspects of different nations.
A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area which has been officially recognized by the United Nations as “being important to the collective interests of humanity.” Sites are selected on the basis of having cultural, historical, scientific or some other form of significance, and they are legally protected by international treaties.
Sites include the Architecture of Gaudí, The Cave Paintings of the Iberian Peninsula, and the Silk Exchange in Valencia (and obviously much more). View all of Spain’s World Heritage Sites here.
- Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzín, Granada
- Antequera Dolmens Site
- Aranjuez Cultural Landscape
- Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida
- Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco
- Archaeological Site of Atapuerca
- Burgos Cathedral
- Catalan Romanesque Churches of the Vall de Boí
- Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville
- Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain
- Cultural Landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana
- Heritage of Mercury. Almadén and Idrija
- Historic Centre of Cordoba
- Historic City of Toledo
- Historic Walled Town of Cuenca
- La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia
- Las Médulas
- Monastery and Site of the Escurial, Madrid
- Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias
- Mudejar Architecture of Aragon
- Old City of Salamanca
- Old Town of Ávila with its Extra-Muros Churches
- Old Town of Cáceres
- Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct
- Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona
- Palmeral of Elche
- Poblet Monastery
- Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde
- Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza
- Rock Art of the Mediterranean Basin on the Iberian Peninsula
- Roman Walls of Lugo
- Routes of Santiago de Compostela: Camino Francés and Routes of Northern Spain
- Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe
- San Cristóbal de La Laguna
- San Millán Yuso and Suso Monasteries
- Santiago de Compostela (Old Town)
- Tower of Hercules
- University and Historic Precinct of Alcalá de Henares
- Vizcaya Bridge
- Works of Antoni Gaudí
What is an Intangible Cultural Heritage Human Treasure?
Cultural heritage is not just about historic buildings and monuments, but also about the traditions celebrated throughout generations within a community. These traditions can include “performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge, and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.” These events are important for maintaining cultural diversity in a world that seems to be getting smaller and smaller. By learning and experiencing these different cultural aspects we encourage a mutual respect of different communities.
One of my favourite Intangible Cultural Heritage events in Spain is Las Fallas in Valencia. You can view all of Spain’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Human Treasures here.
*Information Taken from UNESCO Website
Have you ever visited any of these sites or events? Which was your favourite? Let me know in the comments below!