JUST THE NUMBERS
Protecting Our Heritage Since UNESCO added the first entries from Latin America and the Caribbean to its World Heritage List in 1978 (the city of Quito and the Galapagos Islands, both in Ecuador), the number of UNESCO-protected cultural and natural heritage sites in the region has grown to 127 out of a worldwide total of 936. Intended as a selection of sites around the world that are cultural or natural treasures, the list includes 89 cultural, 35 natural and three mixed sites in Latin America and the Caribbean. The most recent additions were in 2011: the Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia, the Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison in Barbados, and the León Cathedral in Nicaragua. by Mathias Mondino
Belize Barrier Reef
Reserve System (Belize)
Rio Plátano Biosphere
Coro and its Port
capital of Brazil,
built in 1956 to
ambitions and industrial power. Its planners,
Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa, wanted to
create a symmetrical city where urban elements
flow in harmony with the overall design; the
capital is often compared to a bird in mid-flight.
Located on the
of the Yucatán
its name from an ancient Mayan language
and means “Origin of the Sky.” Vegetation
provides a habitat for numerous species
of birds and other animals. This natural World
Heritage site has tropical forests, mangroves
and a barrier reef.
Los Katios National
Archaeological Zone (Peru)
(Cultural) The cap-
ital city of the em-
pire of the same
was a center of An-
city reached its apogee between A.D. 500 and
900, and its remains testify to the cultural and
political significance of the civilization. Its
architecture and art are distinct from the other
pre-Hispanic empires of the Americas.
Humberstone and Santa
Laura Saltpeter Works (Chile)
Six of the region’s sites are listed as being “In Danger.”
UNESCO has determined these sites face imminent
threats. UNESCO uses the designation to increase
public awareness and help protect the environment. Three en-
dangered sites in the region are cultural and three are natural.
of La Santísima
Trinidad de Paraná
and Jesús de
(Cultural) There were 30
Jesuit missions in total, 8 in
Paraguay, 15 in Argentina
and 7 in Brazil. Built in 1706 by Jesuit architect Juan
Bautista Prímoli, the mission of Santísima Trinidad de
Paraná was the capital of the region of Guayrá. The
mission’s decorations reflect the spirit of its conception,
with its fusion of Christian and native artistic elements.
Over the centuries it has remained a center of worship.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: JULIA WATERLOW/E YE UBIQUITOUS/CORBIS; MIKE THEISS/ULTIMATE CHASE/CORBIS; EITAN SIMANOR/ROBER T HARDING WORLD IMAGERY/CORBIS; MACDUFF EVERTON/CORBIS.
SPRING 2012 160 Americas Quarterly 2