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UNESCO properties  Switzerland celebrates its heritage sites

Switzerland is home to 12 of the world’s 1,052 UNESCO world heritage sites, and a special weekend of events hopes to bring people in to explore these unique places.

Switzerland’s heritage sites are mostly classified as “cultural” areas of significance, though three out of the 12 are on the United Nations cultural organisation’s list because of their value in terms of nature.

The old city of Bern with its cobbled streets, deep cellars and covered walkways has been on the list since 1938, as a location showing medieval development in Europe. And the “Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch” site, first added to the list in 2001, stands out as the largest glaciated area in Europe. Apart from its natural beauty, the area also provides insights into how mountains were formed and how climate change is affecting the planet. 

To be included on the list, sites have to be of “outstanding universal value” and they have to fit at least one of 10 different requirements, such as “contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance”.

The other Swiss UNESCO heritage sites all reveal something of Swiss culture or European history, whether in terms of religion, engineering or society.

The World Heritage Daysexternal link programme beginning on June 9 includes tours of the areas and a chance to meet expert guides.

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