November 16, 2015 11:00 AM EST

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.

Write to Lily Rothman at lily.rothman@time.com.

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