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The World Heritage List was established under terms of the Convention Concerning the Protection of World Culture and Natural Heritage adopted in November 1972 at the 17th General Conference of UNESCO.

The Convention states that a World Heritage Committee "will establish, keep up-to-date and publish" a World Heritage List of cultural and natural properties, submitted by the States and considered to be of outstanding universal value.

One of the main responsibilities of this Committee is to provide technical co-operation under the World Heritage Fund for the safeguarding of World Heritage Sites to States whose resources are insufficient. Emergency assistance is also available under the Fund in the case of properties severely damaged by specific natural or man-made disasters or threatened with imminent destruction.

The Committee named 12 sites in 1978, 44 in 1979, 26 in 1980, 28 in 1981, 24 in 1982, 28 in 1983, 22 in 1984, 31 in 1985, 18 in 1986, 42 in 1987, 36 in 1988, 7 in 1989, 17 in 1990, 23 in 1991, 21 in 1992, 32 in 1993, 29 in 1994. *Small discrepancies in numbers may be due to different methods of numbering sites, and overlapping of sites into two countries.

The list currently contains 440 different properties around the world.

Three Slovak sites were included on the World List of Cultural Heritage at the session of the Committee of World Heritage in Cartagena, Columbia, in December 1993. These are: Banská Štiavnica, a Medieval mining settlement with all the typological elements of a free royal town, and its surrounding technological sites; the reserve of Vlkolínec, a very well preserved characteristic settlement with traditionally constructed houses and undisturbed environment; and finally the Medieval urban complex of Spiš Castle (the seat of feudal power), Spišské Podhradie (the settlement below the Castle), and the Spiš Chapter (centre of Church power and administration), with the Church of the Holy Spirit at Žehra. Slovakia had been trying to have these sites listed since 1991, after the former Czecho-Slovak Federal Republic in 1990 had accepted the Agreement on World Legacy Protection, approved by the General Conference of UNESCO in Paris in 1972.

On NOvember 30, 200 Bardejov in Eastern Slovakia was added to the World Heritage Sites list.



Published in the Slovak Heritage Live newsletter Volume 3, No. 4, Winter 1995
Copyright © Vladimir Linder 1999 
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The above article may not be copied, reproduced, republished, or redistributed by any means including electronic, without the express written permission of Vladimir Linder. All rights reserved.