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Discover 5 spectacular ‘cultural landscape’ World Heritage sites designated by UNESCO

29 January 2016

In 2016 the Lake District is bidding for World Heritage status under the ‘cultural landscape’ category. As defined by the UNESCO panel, a cultural landscape must ‘represent the combined works of nature and of man’.

Let’s take a look at some of the unique and spectacular places around the world that the Lake District could potentially be listed alongside if we are lucky enough to be granted World Heritage status.


1. Pyrénées - Mont Perdu, France/Spain

The Pyrénées-Mont Perdu area between France and Spain is an outstanding cultural landscape which combines scenic beauty with a socio-economic structure that has its roots in the past and illustrates a mountain way of life that has become rare in Europe. This outstanding mountain landscape, which spans the contemporary national borders of France and Spain, is centered around the peak of Mount Perdu.

2. Costiera Amalfitana, Italy

The Amalfi coast is an area of great physical beauty and natural diversity. It has been intensively settled by human communities since the early Middle Ages. There are a number of towns such as Amalfi and Ravello with architectural and artistic works of great significance. Costiera Amalfitana is an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape, with exceptional cultural and natural scenic values resulting from its dramatic topography and historical evolution.

3. Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea , Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 

(Photographed above) The site consists of an exceptional urban setting encompassing the key natural elements that have shaped and inspired the development of the city: from the highest points of the Tijuca National Park’s mountains down to the sea. They also include the Botanical Gardens, established in 1808, Corcovado Mountain with its celebrated statue of Christ, and the hills around Guanabara Bay, including the extensive designed landscapes along Copacabana Bay which have contributed to the outdoor living culture of this spectacular city. Rio de Janeiro is also recognized for the artistic inspiration it has provided to musicians, landscapers and urbanists.

4. Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

In 1993 Tongariro became the first property to be inscribed on the World Heritage List under the revised criteria describing cultural landscapes. The mountains at the heart of the park have cultural and religious significance for the Maori people and symbolize the spiritual links between this community and its environment. The park has active and extinct volcanoes, a diverse range of ecosystems and some spectacular landscapes.

5. Lushan National Park, China

Mount Lushan, in Jiangxi, is one of the spiritual centres of Chinese civilization. Buddhist and Taoist temples, along with landmarks of Confucianism, where the most eminent masters taught, blend effortlessly into a strikingly beautiful landscape which has inspired countless artists who developed the aesthetic approach to nature found in Chinese culture.


Find out more about the Lake District’s bid for World Heritage status, take a look at our helpful list of FAQs Don’t forget to show your support by backing the bid on our homepage and sharing your Lake District photos and videos using our hashtag #lakedistrictbid


Information source: UNESCO World Heritage Centre 1992-2015

About the author

World Heritage Team

Coordinating World Heritage Site communications on behalf of the Lake District National Park Partnership