The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage established in 1972. Following the breakup of Soviet Union, Armenia succeeded the convention on 5 September 1993.
Presently there are three world heritage sites listed by UNESCO in Armenia, and each of Armenia’s three UNESCO World Heritage sites hold significant religious and historical significance. Two of these sites are inscribed based on cultural criteria, and only one meets both cultural and natural criteria. Besides the three, there are four others on the tentative list.
Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin
These two monasteries were important centres of learning during 10-13th centuries. Sanahin was renowned for its school of illuminators and calligraphers. The two monastic complexes represent the highest flowering of Armenian religious architecture, whose unique style developed from a blending of elements of Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture and the traditional vernacular architecture of the Caucasian region.
The cathedral and churches of Etchmiadzin and the archaeological remains at Zvartnots graphically illustrate the evolution and development of the Armenian central-domed cross-hall type of church, which exerted a profound influence on architectural and artistic development in the region.
The monastery of Geghard contains a number of churches and tombs, most of them cut into the rock, which illustrate the very peak of Armenian medieval architecture. The complex of medieval buildings is set into a landscape of great natural beauty, surrounded by towering cliffs at the entrance to the Azat Valley.
Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Among the cultural elements of Armenia, the UNESCO list includes:
musical instrument duduk and its music, symbolism and craftsmanship of Khachkars, Armenian epic “Sasuntsi David”, traditional Armenian bread “Lavash”.
- Duduk and its music (2008)
- Armenian cross-stones art. Symbolism and craftsmanship of Khachkars
- Armenian epic of “David of Sassoun”
- Lavash, the preparation, meaning and appearance of traditional armenian bread
- Kochari, armeninan traditional group dance