Museo Altamira

Altamira, world heritage

The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage was approved at the 17th General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, held in Paris from 17 October to 21 November 1972. The goal of the convention was to guarantee international protection of the cultural and natural assets uniquely relevant to each state, as well as introduce methods for cooperation and collaboration in terms of conservation.

The convention establishes the World Heritage Committee whose mission is to update and publish the World Heritage List containing items of cultural and natural heritage with exceptional universal value according to the established criteria and the List of World Heritage in Danger, adding to the list sites whose protection requires considerable conservation work.

Upon request by the Spanish government, the cave of Altamira was included in the World Heritage List in 1985 on account of representing a unique artistic embodiment of human genius and providing an exceptional record of a lost civilisation.

In 2008, a further 17 caves with rock art in northern Spain were added as an extension to the existing Altamira declaration. The site now appears in the list under the title Cave of Altamira and Palaeolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain, representing the apogee of the art and an exceptional example of human creation.

The inclusion obliges the states owning sites included in the list to ensure the protection, conservation and evaluation of heritage through the application of legislation, scientific, technological and cultural apparatus, and the concerted action of all public services.

Altamira on theWorld Heritage Convention website



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