Spotlight on Spain’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Traditions

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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).

Spain's UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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.

Cultural (40)

Natural (3)

Mixed (2)

 

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.

Falconry, a living human heritage
Valencia Fallas festivity
Summer solstice fire festivals in the Pyrenees
Mediterranean diet
Fiesta of the patios in Cordova
Festivity of ‘la Mare de Déu de la Salut’ of Algemesí
Revitalization of the traditional craftsmanship of lime-making in Morón de la Frontera, Seville, Andalusia
Chant of the Sybil on Majorca
Flamenco
Human towers
Irrigators’ tribunals of the Spanish Mediterranean coast: the Council of Wise Men of the plain of Murcia and the Water Tribunal of the plain of Valencia
Whistled language of the island of La Gomera (Canary Islands), the Silbo Gomero
Mystery play of Elche
Patum of Berga

 

*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!

28 thoughts on “Spotlight on Spain’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Traditions

  1. My best friend is in Spain all the time. And I was there just once. But even if I know there is so many beauty and lands I am not so attached by the country. On other hand I believe if I will go there I will be in love 🙂

    1. I think it really depends on your lifestyle and what you look for in traveling. Some people love seeing landscape and nature, some historic buildings and others just want to eat and drink! Spain has so much to offer, I am sure there is something there you will fall in love with 😉

  2. Wow, I really didn’t realise that there were so many heritage sites and festivals/traditions in Spain! It makes me want to book a trip there right now. I’ve been to Barcelona and seen Gaudi’s architecture (which is like nothing else!) but there’s so much more to see!

  3. I just watched the video link to the Human Towers and Canary Island Whistling Language. Astounding information in both. Your post just inspired me to make a new promise to myself…read up on one Unesco Protected heritage everyday!

  4. That was a great post on the heritage of Spain. Very informative article, sounds really interesting that Spain has this much UNESCO heritage sites. This post is definitely helpful for those visiting Spain.

  5. I have to admit, I didn’t know Spain had that many UNESCO sites! That is an interesting fact. I love Spain and its culture/history, its pretty amazing. So cant wait to get back out there and explore (and I might try and tick off some places on this list).

  6. I had no idea that Spain had so many of these sites. Many I’ve never heard of! I’m planning a trip to Spain next year so I’ll definitely use this post to help me with my itinerary.

  7. I had no idea that Spain had so many UNESCO world heritage sites. I knew that they had quite a few but I’ve never seen a complete list before. I think we have only seen a couple of these UNESCO sites in Spain.

  8. Thanks for sharing. I didn’t realize Spain had so many World Heritage sites. I’m heading to Mallorca in a few weeks and Barcelona next year. I will keep an eye out for some of these.

  9. I hope you’ve done and seen them all, but the rest of us must make multiple trips to Spain to experience these things. I would tell people to focus on the experiences first, and the places second.

    1. Like I said in the post, I haven’t seen or done them all. That being said, everyone has different preferences of the things they wish to see, so having a thorough list like this can ensure nature, culture, history and art lovers all have a chance to experience something amazing in one country!

  10. Spain really is amazing country. I have been only in Barcelona but I fell in love with architecture, people and way of life. I would love to visit all of these

  11. Wow! This is really amazing to know about Spain and its heritage, really wonder how the architecture has been built. Seems you had a wonderful time out here knowing about the heritage and its monuments.
    Keep posting
    Cheers 🙂

  12. I had no idea there were so many UNESCO sites in Spain! I’ve only been to one so far — Alhambra when I was on my Erasmus year abroad in Granada — but have high hopes to knock a few more off the list this year.

  13. Out of all of these I have only seen Gaudi’s works so I guess that is an excuse to head back to Spain. I love the idea of intangible heritage though, something that is often overlooked by travellers.

  14. I didn’t know the Old Town of Cáceres was a UNESCO site, I’ve driven past it so many times, I’ll make an effort to stop there next time. It’s interesting to read about all the Cultural heritage events going on in Spain too.

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