Exterior view of the Aachen Cathedral: Octagon (colored picture)- 1927
Colorized exterior view of the Aachen Cathedral in 1927. Germany.ullstein bild—Getty Images
Exterior view of the Aachen Cathedral: Octagon (colored picture)- 1927
ECUADOR-CULTURE-UNESCO-HERITAGE-QUITO
Galapagos Islands
Poland, Krakow Historic Centre
View of the town on Goree Island, off Cape Verde, an important selling-station for the Atlantic slave trade
Canada, Newfoundland, L'anse Aux Meadows Nhp, Replicas Of Norse Houses From 1000 Years Ago.
Part of the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde showing dwellings and kivas, The kivas may be distinguished by their circular shape. USA. Basketmaker and Pueblo. 12th c AD. Colorado.
Nahanni National Park Reserve (UNESCO World Heritage List, 1978), Northwest Territories, Canada.
Ethiopia, Lalibela, Rock-Hewn churches, Abba Libanos church
Ethiopian Highlands Semien mountains National Park with arid plateaux separated by valleys and rising to pinnacles creating unique Unesco World Heritage Site.
Interior of Wieliczka salt mine
Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Colorized exterior view of the Aachen Cathedral in 1927. Germany.
ullstein bild—Getty Images
1 of 12

See the 12 World Heritage Sites the U.N. Protected First

Nov 16, 2015

Monday marks the 70th birthday of UNESCO, the United Nations agency that was signed into being in London on Nov. 16, 1945. The organization, which aims to promote educational, scientific and cultural collaboration between nations, is perhaps best known today for maintaining the World Heritage List. That list comprises natural and cultural properties that, according to the World Heritage Committee's original operational guidelines from its establishment in 1977, "can be considered of outstanding universal value for the peoples of the world" and deserve protection.

These days, the List is a long one, with over 1,000 properties—but back in 1978, only these dozen sites made the first class of the list.

newsletter
History NewsletterStay on top of the history behind today’s news. View Sample
TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.