The Dallas Morning News features a piece on World Heritage sites. Lynn O'Rourke Hayes notes that "The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization works to preserve significant and inspirational places worldwide. Designated World Heritage sites, they're as diverse as Yellowstone National Park, Shark Bay in Australia and the historic center of Vienna, and they symbolize the world's collective history, culture and landscape. Reviewing the list of 911 World Heritage locations provides an impressive history lesson. Here are five your family would enjoy." >>>
Unesco's World Heritage Committee makes the decisions on whose in. On the criteria: "To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria. . . . The criteria are regularly revised by the Committee to reflect the evolution of the World Heritage concept itself."
A handful of the sites in China: Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang; Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor; Mogao Caves; Mount Taishan; Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian; The Great Wall . . .
A few in the United States: Mesa Verde National Park; Yellowstone National Park; Independence Hall; Statue of Liberty; Hawaii Volcanoes National Park . . .
A building, town, area, or natural feature designated a World Heritage Site can still sink into the sands of time. The Australian reports that "Historic treasures across Italy, from the fabled Golden House built by the emperor Nero to the Colosseum, are at risk of collapse. The treasures are under threat because of official neglect and budget cuts, heritage experts say."
It helps to have a thriving economy and a relatively corruption-free political order.