It is also among one the three countries in the world with the most World Heritage sites with a total of 48 sites, including the Alhambra, the cathedral of Burgos and the works of Gaudí.
“Our country is, internationally, synonymous with heritage, culture and history, it is one of our best assets”, said the Secretary of State for Global Spain, Irene Lozano
With the inclusion of the Talavera de la Reina and El Puente del Arzo ceramics on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list last Wednesday, Spain has a total of 19 designations of this type, making it the first European country in this classification and the fourth in the world, behind China (40), Japan (21) and South Korea (20).
Talavera ceramics was the latest addition to the list of traditional, artistic and social expressions such as the Misterio de Elche and the Patum de Berga (the first to receive this distinction in 2008, five years after the UNESCO Convention created this classification), flamenco, the silbo gomero, the Fallas of Valencia, the Los Patios de Córdoba competition and the Mediterranean diet – which it shares with other countries.
Third country with the most world heritage sites
In addition to the more recent list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Spain stands out on the World Heritage List, in the first category established by UNESCO – after the 1972 Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage – which recognises properties and places which, due to their exceptional universal value, belong not only to their country but also to the common legacy of Humanity.
Spain, with a total of 48, is among the 3 countries in the world with the most UNESCO designations. Among them are Atapuerca, the Alhambra, the cathedrals of Burgos, León and Seville, and Gaudí’s work; historical cities such as Córdoba, Cáceres, Salamanca and Alcalá de Henares; natural parks such as the Teide National Park; and mixed (cultural and natural) sites such as Ibiza and Pirineos-Monte Perdido. The last one to join the list, in 2018, was the ancient Caliphate city of Medina Azahara, in Cordoba, while the Prado-Retiro area, in Madrid, maintains its candidacy pending a final decision by UNESCO.
Irene Lozano, Secretary of State for Global Spain stated that, “our country is, internationally, synonymous with heritage, culture and history, it is one of our best assets”, and leadership on UNESCO lists is “both recognition and irrefutable proof of how much we have contributed and can continue to contribute to the world”.
Lozano, believes that Spain’s cultural strength is “one of the main reasons why our country has consolidated its position as the world’s second largest tourist destination, both in terms of the number of foreign visitors and in terms of income”. In 2018, Spain once again reached a record number of visitors, with 82.6 million, with an increase in expenditure of 3.1% to reach almost 90 billion euros, according to data from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.