List of World Heritage Sites in Peru

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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972.[1] Peru ratified the convention on February 24, 1982, making its historical sites eligible for inclusion on the list.[2]

The first sites within Peru were inscribed on the list at the 7th Session of the World Heritage Committee, held in Florence, Italy in 1983: "City of Cuzco" and the "Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu".[3] As of 2010, Peru has 11 sites on the World Heritage List. Seven are listed as cultural sites, two as natural, and two as mixed, meeting both cultural and natural selection criteria, as determined by the organization's selection criteria.[2] Only six of Peru's twenty-five regions are represented, with Ancash, Cuzco, and Lima regions each containing multiple sites.[2]

In 1997, a wildfire among the hills adjacent to Machu Picchu threatened the site until fire fighters could cut a ring of trees to prevent the fire from spreading to the ruins.[4][5] In early 2010, heavy rainfall affected Machu Picchu and Cuzco. On January 25, 2010, 2,000 tourists were stranded near Machu Picchu when a landslide blocked the railroad connecting the site with Cuzco. The tourists were evacuated by ten helicopters, including four from the United States military on loan from the embassy in Lima.[6][7]

World Heritage Sites

The table lists information about each World Heritage Site:

Name: as listed by the World Heritage Committee
Region: of the 25 regions of Peru1
Period: time period of significance, typically of construction
UNESCO data: the site's reference number; the year the site was inscribed on the World Heritage List; the criteria it was listed under: criteria (i) through (vi) are cultural, while (vii) through (x) are natural; sites meeting both criteria are categorized as "mixed sites"
Description: brief description of the site
  In danger In danger
Name Image Region Period UNESCO data Description
City of Cuzco Cathedral of Cuzco Cuzco  15th and 16th centuries 273; 1983; iii, iv Cuzco was developed by the Inca king Pachacutec, who ruled the Kingdom of Cuzco as it expanded to become the Inca Empire in the 15th century. It became the most important city of the Inca Empire, divided into distinct areas for religious and administrative use, and surrounded by an organized system of agriculture, artisan, and industrial uses. The Spanish conquered the empire in the 16th century. They built Baroque churches and buildings over the Inca ruins. Cuzco is one of the highest cities in the world.[8][9]
Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu Machu Picchu Cuzco  15th and 16th centuries 274; 1983; i, iii, vii, ix At 2,340 metres (7,680 ft) above sea level, the site of Machu Picchu was constructed as an expansive mountain estate around the middle of the 15th century, and abandoned approximately 100 years later. It includes walls, terraces, and buildings constructed from rock that is earthquake-resistant.[10] The city was home to about 1,200 people, mostly priests, women, and children. It was left abandoned prior to the Spanish arrival in Cuzco most likely due to smallpox.[11][12]
Chavín (Archaeological Site) Chavín de Huantar Ancash  2nd and 1st centuries, BC 330; 1985; iii The Chavín culture developed in the Andean highlands between 1500 and 300 BC. The site is now known as Chavín de Huantar, which served as the center. The site consists of a complex of terraces and squares cut from rock. It is believed the Chavín were primarily a religious-based society whose influence resulted from their culture, rather than aggressive expansion. [13][14]
Huascarán National Park Taulliraju Mountain in Huascarán National Park Ancash  N/A 333; 1985; vii, viii Huascarán National Park is located in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range of the Andes. It surrounds Huascarán, the tallest peak in Peru. The physical environment includes glaciers, ravines, and lakes, while the park is home to several regional animal species. The national park is uninhabited, but native llamas and alpacas graze in the lowlands.[15][16]
Chan Chan Archaeological ZoneIn danger Chan Chan La Libertad  9th to 15th centuries 366; 1986; i, iii The city of Chan Chan served as the capital of the Chimú culture. The Chimú kingdom developed along the coast of northern Peru. Chan Chan is divided into nine walled units indicating political and social division. The Chimú were conquered by the Inca in 1470. The site was listed to the List of World Heritage in Danger when it was first inscribed, as the adobe constructions are easily damaged by heavy rain and erosion.[17][18][19]
Manú National Park Manú National Park Cuzco  N/A 402; 1987, 2009 (modified); ix, x The park spreads over 1,500,000 hectares (5,800 sq mi) and from 150 metres (490 ft) to 4,200 metres (13,800 ft) above sea-level. Manú is home to 1,000 bird species, over 200 species of mammals (100 of which are bats), and over 15,000 species of flowering plants. Jaguars have been seen throughout the national park. The giant otter and giant armadillo are just a few rare species found in the national park.[20] Prior to being recognized as a World Heritage site in 1987, it was designated as a biosphere reserve in 1977. [21][22]
Historic Centre of Lima Plaza de Armas, Lima Lima Province1  16th to 18th centuries 500; 1988, 1991 (extended); iv Lima was founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535 as La Ciudad de los Reyes (City of the Kings). Until the middle of the 18th century, it was the most important city in Spanish South America. The architecture and decoration combine the style of both the local population and Europe, such as in the Monastery of San Francisco. Also, hospitals, schools and universities were built. San Marcos University was built in 1551. The city’s social and cultural life was organized within these places, giving Lima a convent image which characterized its urban profile until half of the 20th century.[23]
Rio Abiseo National Park San Martín  N/A 548; 1990, 1992 (extended); iii, vii, ix, x The park was created in 1983 in order to protect the region's rainforest habitat. The park is home to many endemic species such as the yellow-tailed woolly monkey, which was thought to be extinct. The site is also listed under cultural criteria, as over 30 Pre-Columbian sites have been discovered since 1985.[24]
Lines and Geoglyphs of Nazca and Pampas de Jumana Nazca monkey Ica  1st century 700; 1994; i, iii, iv The large designs in the Nazca Desert are believed to have been created by the Nazca culture between 400 and 650 AD. They were created by scratching lines into the ground surface. Designs include animals such as a monkey and hummingbird, plants, and geographic shapes on a large scale. It is believed that they served a ritualistic purpose. [25][26]
Historical Centre of the City of Arequipa Cathedral of Arequipa Arequipa  16th century 1016; 2000; i, iv Arequipa is built primarily on top of sillar, a white volcanic rock, the product of nearby El Misti volcano. The architecture of the city is known for its combination of traditional indigenous styles with the new techniques of the European colonial settlers.[27]
Sacred City of Caral-Supe Caral Lima  20th century BC 1269; 2009; ii, iii, iv The archaeological site belonged to the Norte Chico civilization that inhabited the area during the Late Archaic period. Caral is one of 18 complex urban settlements in the region and features many monuments and pyramids. Caral is the earliest known American settlement. A quipu recovered from the site demonstrates its influence on later Andean cultures.[28]

Tentative list

Pachacamac site
Cathedral of Cajamarca

In addition to sites inscribed on the World Heritage list, member states can maintain a list of tentative sites that they may consider for nomination. Nominations for the World Heritage list are only accepted if the site was previously listed on the tentative list.[29]

As of 2016, Peru recorded seven sites on its tentative list. The sites along with the year they were included are:[30]

  1. Archaeological Complex of Pachacamac (1996)
  2. Historic Center of the City of Trujillo (1996)
  3. The Great Inka Trail: state transportation system originally named 'Qhapac Ñan' (2001)
  4. The Historic Centre of Cajamarca (2002)
  5. Lake Titicaca (2005)
  6. Sistema Vial Andino/Qhapaq Ñan (2010)
  7. Kuelap Archaeological Complex (2011)

Both "The Great Inka Trail: state transportation system originally named 'Qhapac Ñan' " and "Sistema Vial Andino/Qhapaq Ñan" include the Inca road system—a complex of approximately 40,000 kilometres (25,000 mi) of roads that connected the Inca Empire. It was built by laborers and engineers using bronze and stone tools.[8] While "The Great Inka Trail" is an entry exclusive to Peru,[2] "The Sistema Vial Andino/Qhapaq Ñan" is a site also listed by Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador. The movement to include the road system was initiated with Peru's addition of it to the tentative list in 2001. Argentina and Chile joined the movement shortly afterwards. On January 29, 2003, the six Andean states approached the World Heritage Centre, requesting that it take charge of coordinating the joint project.[31]


1. ^ Lima Province is the only one of the 195 provinces of Peru not within a region.


  1. ^ "The World Heritage Convention". UNESCO. Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Peru". UNESCO. Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Report of the Rapporteur". UNESCO. January 1984. Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Fire At Machu Picchu, Peru, 6–11 September". UNESCO. September 12, 1997. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Machu Picchu Ruins Said to Escape Fire". Washington Post. September 9, 1997. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Torrential rains cause death and damage at Peruvian World Heritage sites". UNESCO. January 28, 2010. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  7. ^ Antezana, Fabiola (January 26, 2010). "Hundreds Stranded in Tourist Town of Machu Picchu". ABC News. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ "City of Cuzco". UNESCO. Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu". UNESCO. Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Machu Picchu". Archaeological Sites. Minnesota State University. October 14, 2004. Archived from the original on August 27, 2010. Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Chavín (Archaeological Site)". UNESCO. Retrieved September 22, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Chavín de Huantar, Peru". Global Heritage Network. Archived from the original on October 23, 2010. Retrieved October 24, 2010. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Huascarán National Park". UNESCO. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Chan Chan Archaeological Zone". UNESCO. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Chan Chan Archaeological Zone – Threats to the Site". UNESCO. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Historia". Complejo Arqueologico de Chan Chan (in Spanish). Patrimonio Mundial de la Humanidad. Archived from the original on September 12, 2011. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Manú National Park". UNESCO. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  22. ^ "Conservation". The Living Edens – Manu. Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  23. ^ "Historic Centre of Lima". UNESCO. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Rio Abiseo National Park". UNESCO. Retrieved September 24, 2010. 
  25. ^ "Lines and Geoglyphs of Nazca and Pampas de Jumana". UNESCO. Retrieved September 27, 2010. 
  26. ^ Brown, David & Helaine Silverman. "New evidence for the date of the Nazca lines". Antiquity. 65 (247): 208–220. Retrieved September 27, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Historical Centre of the City of Arequipa". UNESCO. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Sacred City of Caral-Supe". UNESCO. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Tentative Lists". UNESCO. Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
  30. ^ "Tentative Lists (Peru)". UNESCO. Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
  31. ^ "Main Andean Road – Qhapaq Ñan". UNESCO. Retrieved September 21, 2010. 

External links

  • Comisión Nacional Peruana de Cooperación con UNESCO (in Spanish)
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