World Heritage Sites- Mexico

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Mexico - World Heritage Sites


World Heritage Mexico sites:

Agave Landscape and Ancient Industrial Facilities of Tequila

Valles Region, Jalisco State
N20 51 47 W103 46 43

The 34,658 ha site, between the foothills of the Tequila Volcano and the deep valley of the Rio Grande River, is part of an expansive landscape of blue agave, shaped by the culture of the plant used since the 16th century to produce tequila spirit and for at least 2,000 years to make fermented drinks and cloth. Within the landscape are working distilleries reflecting the growth in the international consumption of tequila in the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, the agave culture is seen as part of national identity. The area encloses a living, working landscape of blue agave fields and the urban settlements of Tequila, Arenal, and Amatitan with large distilleries where the agave ‘pineapple' is fermented and distilled. The property is also a testimony to the Teuchitlan cultures which shaped the Tequila area from AD 200-900, notably through the creation of terraces for agriculture, housing, temples, ceremonial mounds and ball courts.


Ancient Maya City of Calakmul, Campeche

Calakmul Municipality, Campeche Province
N18 07 21 W89 47 00

Calakmul, an important Maya site set deep in the tropical forest of the Tierras Bajas of southern Mexico, played a key role in the history of this region for more than twelve centuries. Its imposing structures and its characteristic overall layout are remarkably well preserved and give a vivid picture of life in an ancient Maya capital.

Criterion i The many commemorative stelae at Calakmul are outstanding examples of Maya art, which throw much light on the political and spiritual development of the city. Criterion ii With a single site Calakmul displays an exceptionally well preserved series of monuments and open spaces representative of Maya architectural, artistic, and urban development over a period of twelve centuries. Criterion iii The political and spiritual way of life of the Maya cities of the Tierras Bajas region is admirably demonstrated by the impressive remains of Calakmul. Criterion iv Calakmul is an outstanding example of a significant phase in human settlement and the development of architecture.


Archaeological Monuments Zone of Xochicalco

Municipalities of Temixco and Miacatlan, Morelos State
N18 48 37 W99 16 30

Xochicalco is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a fortified political, religious and commercial centre from the troubled period of 650��"900 that followed the break-up of the great Mesoamerican states such as Teotihuacan, Monte Albán, Palenque and Tikal.

Criterion (iii): Xochicalco is an exceptionally well preserved and complete example of a fortified settlement from the Epiclassic Period of Mesoamerica. Criterion (iv): The architecture and art of Xochicalco represent the fusion of cultural elements from different parts of Mesoamerica, at a period when the breakdown of earlier political structures resulted in intensive cultural regroup-ing.


Archeological Zone of Paquimé, Casas Grandes

Municipality of Casas Grandes, State of Chihuahua
N30 22 33 W107 57 20

Paquimé, Casas Grandes, which reached its apogee in the 14th and 15th centuries, played a key role in trade and cultural contacts between the Pueblo culture of the south-western United States and northern Mexico and the more advanced civilizations of Mesoamerica. The extensive remains, only part of which have been excavated, are clear evidence of the vitality of a culture which was perfectly adapted to its physical and economic environment, but which suddenly vanished at the time of the Spanish Conquest.

Criterion iii: Paquimé Casas Grandes bears eloquent and abundant testimony to an important element in the cultural evolution of North America, and in particular to prehispanic commercial and cultural links. Criterion iv: The extensive remains of the archaeological site of Paquimé Casas Grandes provide exceptional evidence of the development of adobe architecture in North America, and in particular of the blending of this with the more advanced techniques of Mesoamerica.


Central University City Campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

Mexico City
N19 19 56 W99 11 17

The ensemble of buildings, sports facilities and open spaces of the Central University City Campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), was built from 1949 to 1952 by more than 60 architects, engineers and artists who were involved in the project. As a result, the campus constitutes a unique example of 20th-century modernism integrating urbanism, architecture, engineering, landscape design and fine arts with references to local traditions, especially to Mexico’s pre-Hispanic past. The ensemble embodies social and cultural values of universal significance and is one of the most significant icons of modernity in Latin America.


The Central University City Campus of UNAM bears testimony to the modernization of post-revolutionary Mexico in the framework of universal ideals and values related to access to education, improvement of quality of life, integral intellectual and physical education and integration between urbanism, architecture and fine arts. It is a collective work, where more than sixty architects, engineers and artists worked together to create the spaces and facilities apt to contribute to the progress of humankind through education.

The urbanism and architecture of the Central University City Campus of UNAM constitute an outstanding example of the application of the principles of 20th Century modernism merged with features stemming from pre-Hispanic Mexican tradition. The ensemble became one of the most significant icons of modern urbanism and architecture in Latin America, recognized at universal level.

Criterion (i): The Central University City Campus of UNAM constitutes a unique example in the 20th century where more than sixty professionals worked together, in the framework of a master plan, to create an urban architectural ensemble that bears testimony to social and cultural values of universal significance.

Criterion (ii): The most important trends of architectural thinking from the 20th century converge in the Central University City Campus of UNAM: modern architecture, historicist regionalism, and plastic integration; the last two of Mexican origin.

Criterion (iv): The Central University City Campus of UNAM is one of the few models around the world where the principles proposed by Modern Architecture and Urbanism were totally applied; the ultimate purpose of which was to offer man a notable improvement in the quality of life.

Since all the fundamental physical components of the original ensemble remain and no major changes have been introduced, the property satisfies the required conditions of integrity and authenticity. The campus conserves unaltered its essential physical components: urban design, buildings, open spaces, circulation system and parking areas, landscape design and works of art. Functions have not changed over time. The existing physical components therefore express the historic, cultural and social values of the ensemble, and its authenticity of design, materials, substance, workmanship and functions.

At the national level, the Central University City Campus of UNAM was listed as a National Artistic Monument in July 2005, in the framework of the Federal Law on Archaeological, Artistic and Historic Monuments and Zones. At the local level, the UNAM Campus and the Olympic stadium are defined as heritage conservation zones in the framework of the District Programme for Urban Development (1997) of Coyoacán Delegation, one of the administrative units of Mexico City. Since the University is an autonomous organization, it has its own offices in charge of maintenance and conservation of the campus. Among them, the Governing Plan for University City (1993) rules the future growth of the University facilities, uses of land and maintenance of the campus. The Integral Plan for the University City (2005) constitutes the current management plan for the campus. The physical components are in a good state of conservation, and the process of ageing is controlled by means of plans of maintenance and preservation of both free and constructed spaces. The Office for Special Projects of UNAM developed and implements the Integral Plan for the University City (September 2005). With the aim of implementing and monitoring the Plan, the University will create the University City Management Programme (PROMACU).


Earliest 16th-Century Monasteries on the Slopes of Popocatepetl

Morelos and Puebla States Municipalities: Atlatlauhcan, Cuernavaca, Tetela del Volcan, Yautepec, Ocuituco, Tepoztlan, Tlayacapan, Totolapan, Yecapixtla and Zacualpan de Amilpas in Morelos. Calpan, Huetotzingo and Tochimilco in Puebla.
N18 56 05 W98 53 52

These 14 monasteries stand on the slopes of Popocatepetl, to the south-east of Mexico City. They are in an excellent state of conservation and are good examples of the architectural style adopted by the first missionaries ��" Franciscans, Dominicans and Augustinians ��" who converted the indigenous populations to Christianity in the early 16th century. They also represent an example of a new architectural concept in which open spaces are of renewed importance. The influence of this style is felt throughout the Mexican territory and even beyond its borders.


El Tajin, Pre-Hispanic City

Etat de Veracruz, municipalité de Papantla
N20 28 35 W97 22 39

Located in the state of Veracruz, El Tajin was at its height from the early 9th to the early 13th century. It became the most important centre in north-east Mesoamerica after the fall of the Teotihuacan Empire. Its cultural influence extended all along the Gulf and penetrated into the Maya region and the high plateaux of central Mexico. Its architecture, which is unique in Mesoamerica, is characterized by elaborate carved reliefs on the columns and frieze. The 'Pyramid of the Niches', a masterpiece of ancient Mexican and American architecture, reveals the astronomical and symbolic significance of the buildings. El Tajin has survived as an outstanding example of the grandeur and importance of the pre-Hispanic cultures of Mexico.


Franciscan Missions in the Sierra Gorda of Querétaro

State of Querétaro de Arteaga (Sierra Gorda region)
N21 12 15.8 W99 27 50.8 Multiple Locations

The five Franciscan missions of Sierra Gorda were built during the last phase of the conversion to Christianity of the interior of Mexico in the mid-18th century and became an important reference for the continuation of the evangelization of California, Arizona and Texas. The richly decorated church façades are of special interest as they represent an example of the joint creative efforts of the missionaries and the Indios. The rural settlements that grew around the missions have retained their vernacular character.


Criterion ii: The Sierra Gorda Missions exhibit an important interchange of values in the process of evangelisation of central and northern Mexico, and the western United States. Criterion iii: The five Sierra Gorda missions bear witness to the cultural encounter of the European missions with the nomadic populations of central Mexico, remaining a significant testimony to this second phase of evangelisation in North America.


Historic Centre of Mexico City and Xochimilco

District Federal. Delegations: Cuauhtemoc, Venustiano Carranza et Xochimilco
N19 25 06 W99 07 58

Built in the 16th century by the Spanish on the ruins of Tenochtitlan, the old Aztec capital, Mexico City is now one of the world's largest and most densely populated cities. It has five Aztec temples, the ruins of which have been identified, a cathedral (the largest on the continent) and some fine 19th- and 20th-century public buildings such as the Palacio de las Bellas Artes. Xochimilco lies 28 km south of Mexico City. With its network of canals and artificial islands, it testifies to the efforts of the Aztec people to build a habitat in the midst of an unfavourable environment. Its characteristic urban and rural structures, built since the 16th century and during the colonial period; have been preserved in an exceptional manner.


Historic Centre of Morelia

Michoacan. Mairie de Morelia
N19 42 16 W101 11 30

Built in the 16th century, Morelia is an outstanding example of urban planning which combines the ideas of the Spanish Renaissance with the Mesoamerican experience. Well-adapted to the slopes of the hill site, its streets still follow the original layout. More than 200 historic buildings, all in the region's characteristic pink stone, reflect the town's architectural history, revealing a masterly and eclectic blend of the medieval spirit with Renaissance, Baroque and neoclassical elements. Morelia was the birthplace of several important personalities of independent Mexico and has played a major role in the country's history.


Historic Centre of Oaxaca and Archaeological Site of Monte Albán

Etat de Oaxaca de Juarez, municipalites de Oaxaca, Xoxocotlan et Cuilapan
N17 03 43 W96 43 18

Inhabited over a period of 1,500 years by a succession of peoples ��" Olmecs, Zapotecs and Mixtecs ��" the terraces, dams, canals, pyramids and artificial mounds of Monte Albán were literally carved out of the mountain and are the symbols of a sacred topography. The nearby city of Oaxaca, which is built on a grid pattern, is a good example of Spanish colonial town planning. The solidity and volume of the city's buildings show that they were adapted to the earthquake-prone region in which these architectural gems were constructed.


Historic Centre of Puebla

Etat de Puebla, municipalites de Puebla, San Pedro Cholula et San Andres Cholula
N19 02 50 W98 12 30

Puebla, which was founded ex nihilo in 1531, is situated about 100 km east of Mexico City, at the foot of the Popocatepetl volcano. It has preserved its great religious structures such as the 16th��"17th-century cathedral and fine buildings like the old archbishop's palace, as well as a host of houses with walls covered in tiles (azulejos). The new aesthetic concepts resulting from the fusion of European and American styles were adopted locally and are peculiar to the Baroque district of Puebla.


Historic Centre of Zacatecas

Zacatecas State, Zacatecas Municipality
N22 46 00 W102 33 20

Founded in 1546 after the discovery of a rich silver lode, Zacatecas reached the height of its prosperity in the 16th and 17th centuries. Built on the steep slopes of a narrow valley, the town has breathtaking views and there are many old buildings, both religious and civil. The cathedral, built between 1730 and 1760, dominates the centre of the town. It is notable for its harmonious design and the Baroque profusion of its façades, where European and indigenous decorative elements are found side by side.


Historic Fortified Town of Campeche

State of Campeche
N19 50 47 W90 32 14

Campeche is a typical example of a harbour town from the Spanish colonial period in the New World. The historic centre has kept its outer walls and system of fortifications, designed to defend this Caribbean port against attacks from the sea.


Criterion (ii): The harbour town of Campeche is an urbanization model of a Baroque colonial town, with its checkerboard street plan; the defensive walls surrounding its historic centre reflect the influence of the military architecture in the Caribbean. Criterion (iv): The fortifications system of Campeche, an eminent example of the military architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries, is part of an overall defensive system set up by the Spanish to protect the ports on the Caribbean Sea from pirate attacks.


Historic Monuments Zone of Querétaro

Etat Querétaro, municipalité de Querétaro
N20 35 W100 22

The old colonial town of Querétaro is unusual in having retained the geometric street plan of the Spanish conquerors side by side with the twisting alleys of the Indian quarters. The Otomi, the Tarasco, the Chichimeca and the Spanish lived together peacefully in the town, which is notable for the many ornate civil and religious Baroque monuments from its golden age in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Committee decided to inscribe the nominated property on the basis of cultural criteria (ii) and (iv) considering that the site is of outstanding universal value and an exceptional example of a colonial town whose layout symbolizes its multi- ethnic population. It is also endowed with a wealth of outstanding buildings, notably from the 17th and 18th centuries.


Historic Monuments Zone of Tlacotalpan

State of Veracruz, Tlacotalpan Municipality
N18 36 30 W95 39 30

Tlacotalpan, a Spanish colonial river port on the Gulf coast of Mexico, was founded in the mid-16th century. It has preserved its original urban fabric to a remarkable degree, with wide streets, colonnaded houses in a profusion of styles and colours, and many mature trees in the public open spaces and private gardens.


Criterion ii: The urban layout and architecture of Tlacotalpan represent a fusion of Spanish and Caribbean traditions of exceptional importance and quality. Criterion iv: Tlacotalpan is a Spanish colonial river port on the Gulf coast of Mexico which has preserved its original urban fabric to an exceptional degree. Its outstanding character lies in its townscape of wide streets, modest houses in an exuberant variety of styles and colours, and many mature trees in public and private open spaces.


Historic Town of Guanajuato and Adjacent Mines

Etat de: Guanajuato. Municipalite: Guanajuato
N21 01 01 W101 15 20

Founded by the Spanish in the early 16th century, Guanajuato became the world's leading silver-extraction centre in the 18th century. This past can be seen in its 'subterranean streets' and the 'Boca del Inferno', a mineshaft that plunges a breathtaking 600 m. The town's fine Baroque and neoclassical buildings, resulting from the prosperity of the mines, have influenced buildings throughout central Mexico. The churches of La Compañía and La Valenciana are considered to be among the most beautiful examples of Baroque architecture in Central and South America. Guanajuato was also witness to events which changed the history of the country.


Hospicio Cabañas, Guadalajara

Jalisco, Guadalajara
N20 40 26 W103 20 23

The Hospicio Cabañas was built at the beginning of the 19th century to provide care and shelter for the disadvantaged ��" orphans, old people, the handicapped and chronic invalids. This remarkable complex, which incorporates several unusual features designed specifically to meet the needs of its occupants, was unique for its time. It is also notable for the harmonious relationship between the open and built spaces, the simplicity of its design, and its size. In the early 20th century, the chapel was decorated with a superb series of murals, now considered some of the masterpieces of Mexican art. They are the work of José Clemente Orozco, one of the greatest Mexican muralists of the period.


The Committee decided to inscribe this property on the basis of criteria (i), (ii), (iii) and (iv), considering that the Hospicio Cabañas is a unique architectural complex, designed to respond to social and economic requirements for housing the sick, the aged, the young, and the needy, which provides an outstanding solution of great subtlety and humanity. It also houses one of the acknowledged masterpieces of mural art.


Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California

States of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, Sinaloa, and Nayarit
N27 37 36.012 W112 32 44.988

The site comprises 244 islands, islets and coastal areas that are located in the Gulf of California in north-eastern Mexico. The Sea of Cortez and its islands have been called a natural laboratory for the investigation of speciation. Moreover, almost all major oceanographic processes occurring in the planet’s oceans are present in the property, giving it extraordinary importance for study. The site is one of striking natural beauty in a dramatic setting formed by rugged islands with high cliffs and sandy beaches, which contrast with the brilliant reflection from the desert and the surrounding turquoise waters. It is home to 695 vascular plant species, more than in any marine and insular property on the World Heritage List. Equally exceptional is the number of fish species: 891, 90 of them endemic. The site, moreover, contains 39% of the world’s total number of species of marine mammals and a third of the world’s marine cetacean species.


Criterion (ix): The property ranks higher than other marine and insular World Heritage properties as it represents a unique example in which, in a very short distance, there are simultaneously “bridge islands” (populated by land in ocean level decline during glaciations) and oceanic islands (populated by sea and air). Moreover, almost all major oceanographic processes occurring in the planet’s oceans are present in the property, giving it extraordinary importance for the study of marine and coastal processes. These processes are indeed supporting the high marine productivity and biodiversity richness that characterize the Gulf of California.

Criterion (vii): The serial property is of striking natural beauty and provides a dramatic setting due to the rugged forms of the islands, with high cliffs and sandy beaches contrasting with the brilliant reflection from the desert and the surrounding turquoise waters. The diversity of forms and colours is complemented by a wealth of birds and marine life. The diversity and abundance of marine life associated to spectacular submarine forms and high water transparency makes the property a diver’s paradise.

Criterion (x): The diversity of terrestrial and marine life is extraordinary and constitutes a unique ecoregion of high priority for biodiversity conservation. The number of species of vascular plants (695) present in this serial property is higher than that reported in other marine and insular properties included in the WH List. The number of species of fish (891) is also highest when compared to a number of marine and insular properties. In addition the marine endemism is important, with 90 endemic fishes. The serial property contains 39% of the world’s total number of marine mammal’s species and a third of the world’s total number of marine cetacean’s species. In addition the serial property includes a good sample of the Sonora desert ecosystems, considered one of the richest deserts in the world from the desert biodiversity point of view.


Luis Barragán House and Studio

Mexico City
N19 25 6 W99 11 54

Built in 1948, the House and Studio of architect Luis Barragán in the suburbs of Mexico City represents an outstanding example of the architect’s creative work in the post-Second World War period. The concrete building, totalling 1,161 m2, consists of a ground floor and two upper storeys, as well as a small private garden. Barragán’s work integrated modern and traditional artistic and vernacular currents and elements into a new synthesis, which has been greatly influential, especially in the contemporary design of gardens, plazas and landscapes.


Criterion (i): The House and Studio of Luis Barragán represents a masterpiece of the new developments in the Modern Movement, integrating traditional, philosophical and artistic currents into a new synthesis.

Criterion (ii): The work of Luis Barragán exhibits the integration of modern and traditional influences, which in turn have had an important impact especially on the design of garden and urban landscape design.


Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve

N19 36 23 W100 14 30

The 56,259 ha biosphere lies within rugged forested mountains about 100 km northwest of Mexico City. Every autumn, millions, perhaps a billion, butterflies from wide areas of North America return to the site and cluster on small areas of the forest reserve, colouring its trees orange and literally bending their branches under their collective weight. In the spring, these butterflies begin an 8 month migration that takes them all the way to Eastern Canada and back, during which time four successive generations are born and die. How they find their way back to their overwintering site remains a mystery.



The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve World Heritage property protects key overwintering sites for the monarch butterfly. The overwintering concentration of butterflies in the property is a superlative natural phenomenon. The millions of monarch butterflies that return to the property every year bend tree branches by their weight, fill the sky when they take flight, and make a sound like light rain with the beating of their wings. Witnessing this unique phenomenon is an exceptional experience of nature.

Criterion (vii): The overwintering concentration of the monarch butterfly in the property is the most dramatic manifestation of the phenomenon of insect migration. Up to a billion monarch butterflies return annually, from breeding areas as far away as Canada, to land in close-packed clusters within 14 overwintering colonies in the oyamel fir forests of central Mexico. The property protects 8 of these colonies and an estimated 70% of the total overwintering population of the monarch butterfly’s eastern population.


The property includes more than half of the overwintering colonies of the monarch butterfly’s eastern population. They provide a good sample of the areas that are essential for maintaining this superlative natural phenomenon. The maintenance of the standing forest and the microclimates that they create is the key management requirement, thus any threat to the forests is of utmost concern. Illegal logging is a known threat to the property with potential direct impacts on its Outstanding Universal Value. Public use has been increasing and the levels of visitation and infrastructure provided require careful control both in relation to impacts on the ecosystem and the quality of experience provided by the property to visitors. Due to its migratory nature, the maintenance of the overwintering phenomenon also requires attention to the conservation of the monarch butterfly by those countries through which it travels during its life cycle.

Requirements for Protection and Management

The principal focus of protection and management should be to prevent illegal logging in the property. Priorities to achieve this include concerted planning and action between all relevant federal, state and local agencies, and work with local communities on environmental protection and the provision of alternative livelihoods to logging. As the overwintering phenomenon is a significant attractor to visitors, management also needs to be directed to achieving sustainable public use of the property. This should respect the quality of the visitor experience and promote benefit-sharing mechanisms for local communities as an incentive to enhance their support to the conservation of the property. Continued investment in coordinated continent-wide management of the migratory phenomenon is a further important dimension of site management. Achieving all of these priorities requires the provision of adequate and sustained institutional and financial support.


Pre-Hispanic City and National Park of Palenque

State of Chiapas, Municipality of Palenque
N17 29 00 W92 03 00

A prime example of a Mayan sanctuary of the classical period, Palenque was at its height between AD 500 and 700, when its influence extended throughout the basin of the Usumacinta River. The elegance and craftsmanship of the buildings, as well as the lightness of the sculpted reliefs with their Mayan mythological themes, attest to the creative genius of this civilization.


Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza

Etat de Yucatan, Municipalité de Tinum
N20 40 W88 36

This sacred site was one of the greatest Mayan centres of the Yucatán peninsula. Throughout its nearly 1,000-year history, different peoples have left their mark on the city. The Maya and Toltec vision of the world and the universe is revealed in their stone monuments and artistic works. The fusion of Mayan construction techniques with new elements from central Mexico make Chichen-Itza one of the most important examples of the Mayan-Toltec civilization in Yucatán. Several buildings have survived, such as the Warriors’ Temple, El Castillo and the circular observatory known as El Caracol.


Pre-Hispanic City of Teotihuacan

Municipalities of Teotihuacan De Arista and San Martin De Las Piramides
N19 41 30 W98 50 30


The holy city of Teotihuacan ('the place where the gods were created') is situated some 50 km north-east of Mexico City. Built between the 1st and 7th centuries A.D., it is characterized by the vast size of its monuments ��" in particular, the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, laid out on geometric and symbolic principles. As one of the most powerful cultural centres in Mesoamerica, Teotihuacan extended its cultural and artistic influence throughout the region, and even beyond.


Pre-Hispanic Town of Uxmal

Etat de Yucatan, municipalites Muna et Santa Elena
N20 21 42 W89 46 13

The Mayan town of Uxmal, in Yucatán, was founded c. A.D. 700 and had some 25,000 inhabitants. The layout of the buildings, which date from between 700 and 1000, reveals a knowledge of astronomy. The Pyramid of the Soothsayer, as the Spaniards called it, dominates the ceremonial centre, which has well-designed buildings decorated with a profusion of symbolic motifs and sculptures depicting Chaac, the god of rain. The ceremonial sites of Uxmal, Kabah, Labna and Sayil are considered the high points of Mayan art and architecture.


The Committee decided to inscribe the nominated property on the basis of cultural criteria (i), (ii) and (iii) considering that the site is of outstanding universal value. The ruins of the ceremonial structures at Uxmal represent the pinnacle of late Mayan art and architecture in their design, layout and ornamentation, and the complex of Uxmal and its three related towns of Kabáh, Labná and Sayil admirably demonstrate the social and economic structure of late Mayan society.

Protective town of San Miguel and the Sanctuary of Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco

Guanajuato Region
N20 54 52 W100 44 47

The fortified town, first established in the 16th century to protect the Royal Route inland, reached its apogee in the 18th century when many of its outstanding religious and civic buildings were built in the style of the Mexican Baroque. Some of these buildings are masterpieces of the style that evolved in the transition from Baroque to neoclassical. Situated 14 km from the town, the Jesuit sanctuary, also dating from the 18th century, is one of the finest examples of Baroque art and architecture in the New Spain. It consists of a large church, and several smaller chapels, all decorated with oil paintings by Rodriguez Juárez and mural paintings by Miguel Antonio Martínez de Pocasangre. Because of its location, San Miguel de Allende acted as a melting pot where Spaniards, Creoles and Amerindians exchanged cultural influences while the Sanctuary of Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco constitutes an exceptional example of the exchange between European and Latin American cultures. Its architecture and interior decoration testify to the influence of Saint Ignacio de Loyola’s doctrine.



The Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona presents an exceptional and dramatic display of mountain building through continental collision. The property is distinguished by the clear three-dimensional exposure of the structures and processes that characterise this phenomenon in a mountain setting, its history of study, and its ongoing contribution to geological sciences.

Criterion (viii): Earth’s history, geological and geomorphic features and processes: The Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona provides an exceptional display of mountain building tectonics and has been recognised as a key site for geological sciences since the 18th century. The clear exposure of the Glarus Overthrust is a key, but not the only significant, feature. The exposures of the rocks below and above this feature are visible in three dimensions and, taken together, have made substantial contributions to the understanding of mountain building tectonics. Its geological features can be readily appreciated by all visitors. The property can be differentiated from other similar sites by the combination of the clear exposure of the phenomenon in a mountain setting, its history of study, and its ongoing contribution to geological sciences.


The property contains the full range of tectonic features necessary to display the phenomenon of mountain building. Key attributes of the site include the Glarus Overthrust and the associated folded and faulted geological exposures above and below it. Other key attributes of the property are the accessibility of the features in three dimensions, and access to the thrust surface of the Glarus Overthrust. Associated intangible values relate to the importance of the property as a formative site for the geological sciences; and the features that were part of these studies remain visible and in good condition in the present day.

Requirements for Protection and Management

The major exposures of the geological features are within protected areas and are substantially unthreatened. The primary management issue is to allow the natural processes of slope erosion to continue. Other key management issues relate to the continued provision of safe visitor and research access and protection of key features such as the exposures of the thrust surface. The communication of the key values of the property is also an important priority and continued investment and enhancement of visitor interpretation and education strategies are required.


Rock Paintings of the Sierra de San Francisco

State: Lower California Sud Municipality
N27 39 20 W112 54 58.0

From c. 100 B.C. to A.D. 1300, the Sierra de San Francisco (in the El Vizcaino reserve, in Baja California) was home to a people who have now disappeared but who left one of the most outstanding collections of rock paintings in the world. They are remarkably well-preserved because of the dry climate and the inaccessibility of the site. Showing human figures and many animal species and illustrating the relationship between humans and their environment, the paintings reveal a highly sophisticated culture. Their composition and size, as well as the precision of the outlines and the variety of colours, but especially the number of sites, make this an impressive testimony to a unique artistic tradition.


Sian Ka'an

Quintana Roo, Cozumel et Felipe Carrillo Puerto
N19 23 00 W87 47 30

In the language of the Mayan peoples who once inhabited this region, Sian Ka'an means 'Origin of the Sky'. Located on the east coast of the Yucatán peninsula, this biosphere reserve contains tropical forests, mangroves and marshes, as well as a large marine section intersected by a barrier reef. It provides a habitat for a remarkably rich flora and a fauna comprising more than 300 species of birds, as well as a large number of the region's characteristic terrestrial vertebrates, which cohabit in the diverse environment formed by its complex hydrological system.


Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino

Basse Californie Sud, Municipality of Mulege
N27 47 32 W114 13 40

Located in the central part of the peninsula of Baja California, the sanctuary contains some exceptionally interesting ecosystems. The coastal lagoons of Ojo de Liebre and San Ignacio are important reproduction and wintering sites for the grey whale, harbour seal, California sea lion, northern elephant-seal and blue whale. The lagoons are also home to four species of the endangered marine turtle.


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