The primary qualification for receiving the UNESCO World Heritage designation is that it must be “of outstanding universal value and meet at least one of ten selection criteria,” but is limited to “countries that have signed the World Heritage Convention” who pledge to protect the sites being put forward for consideration in the international World Heritage Programme whose committee administers the fund that helps defer the costs of maintaining these locations and determines whether a site is no longer being properly managed and in danger of being removed from the World Heritage List. Sites added to the list however remain the legal territory of the state it’s located within. Since the programme’s founding in 1972 a hundred and ninety states have ratified the convention making it one of the most adhered to of international instruments with only the Bahamas, Liechtenstein, Nauru, Somalia, South Sudan, Timor-Leste, and Tuvalu not signing on as signatories. As of 2013 there are 981 sites on the listing with Italy coming in at the top thanks to it being home to forty-nine World Heritage sites.

Istanbul, Turkey

Athens, Acropolis