5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and their value in today's world

Ever wondered what would be the present value of world heritage sites? Let us explore the value of five of them

5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and their value in today's world

What is World Heritage?

World Heritage is our legacy from the past with outstanding value. The world lives with its heritage and passes it on to future generations. Thus, the World Heritage is an irreplaceable and most precious course of life and inspiration. It is the collective natural and cultural heritage of the world that is an eternal source of inspiration and pride to the population all around the globe. 

Places as diverse and unique as the Taj Mahal of India, wilds of East Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Aachen Cathedral in Germany, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and the Baroque Cathedrals of Latin America make up our world’s heritage. The concept of world heritage is exceptional because of its universal application. The enchanting and magnificent world heritage sites belong to all the people of the world. 

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UNESCO’s Convention for World Heritage

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) aims to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This noble ideal of UNESCO is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in the year 1972.

The people of the world are living in various countries but the exceptional concept of world heritage makes them global citizens who partake in the celebration and preservation of the collective heritage of the world. It makes the boundaries of differences disappear and unites the people of the world by making them realise that the collective heritage of the world inspires one and all. 

There are more than two thousand world heritage sites. It will be interesting to see the current value of some of the architectural wonders of cultural and historical importance. We have chosen 5 monuments of immense significance. Let us explore when these monuments were built, where those are located and what would be the value of construction in today’s context. 

1 The Taj Mahal, India

Taj Mahal is a quintessential manmade wonder that attracts thousands of visitors from across the world. This one of its palaces is named Taj Mahal which means "Crown of the Palaces". Located on the south bank of the Yamuna River in Agra, it is an ivory-white marble mausoleum. In 1632, one of the greatest Mughal Emperors Shah Jahan commissioned to build Taj Mahal to house the tomb of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Taj Mahal also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan. The tomb is the centerpiece. This magnificent complex is spread over 17-hectare (42-acre) which includes a mosque and a guest house. A crenellated wall surrounds the gardens around the palace. In the 17th century, the cost of construction of the great Taj Mahal is known to have cost around Rs 32 million. This monument of historical and cultural importance cannot be built again. However, it is interesting to know that in today’s times the construction cost itself would be more than USD 1 billion. 

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2 The Statue of Liberty, USA

Originally known as Liberty Enlightening the World, The Statue of Liberty is an iconic world heritage site located in the United States of America. The United States has received it from France. It was gifted to celebrate the alliance of France and USA during the Revolutionary War. A sculptor named Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi designed the statue. The iron framework underneath the copper plating is designed by Gustave Eiffel, the man who designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris. 2,250,000 francs (USD 250,000) were raised to create the statue. United Nations of America and France raised funds for the construction. The current value of USD 250,000 would be around USD 5,866,982.09.

3 Pyramid of Giza, Egypt

The Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur are declared to be World Heritage Sites in the year 1979. The manmade wonder, Pyramid of Giza shines as the symbol of Egypt and the great Egyptian civilisation. The Great Pyramid of Giza is also known as the Pyramid of Khufu. It is one the largest and the oldest of the three pyramids located in the pyramid complex of Giza. The Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the eight wonders of the world. The most astonishing fact is that this is an ancient monument that is largely intact. Even if we use modern day technology like helicopters, trucks and computers, it would be impossible to recreate the pyramids of Egypt. The Great Pyramid of Giza is constructed around 4,500 years ago. Hypothetically speaking, if today’s humans ever plan to replicate the pyramids then the estimated cost would be between USD 5 billion to USD 10 billion. 

4 Palace of Westminster, UK

The medieval Palace of Westminster is amongst the many World Heritage Sites in the UK.  A public competition was held to choose the architect Charles Barry to design a new Palace of Westminster. It took 30 years to build the palace for an approximate cost of a little over £2 million. According to the inflation calculator of the Bank of England, the conversion of £2 million in 2019 will be £233,852,631.58. which is £233 million.

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5 Eiffel Tower, France

The unmistakable Parisian landmark is the iconic metal structure called Eiffel Tower. This symbol of love and human ingenuity was built in the year 1887. The original tower cost around 8 million francs in 1889 (roughly, USD 40 million in modern currency). Interestingly, the Eiffel Tower has been declared the most valuable monument in Europe - worth 435 billion euros (£343 billion). 

It is indeed an amusing activity to estimate the cost of some of these magnificent and one of its kind wonder of the world. however, UNESCO has defined what is called the “outstanding value”. UNESCO declares “Outstanding Universal Value means cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity.” Take this short quiz before you block your dates for your international trip


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