Mankind’s greatest buildings, cultural landscapes and areas of natural beauty must be preserved for the future. On the 50th anniversary of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, we visit four World Heritage Sites in Europe.

In 2022, UNESCO celebrates the 50th anniversary of its World Heritage Convention – the idea of a global heritage that belongs to all peoples and must therefore be protected by the world community. Its mission is to preserve the world’s most beautiful and valuable buildings, cultural landscapes, monuments and areas of outstanding natural beauty for generations to come. This agreement has been ratified by 197 states. The international World Heritage Committee is responsible for deciding what is of outstanding value to humanity. To be included on the World Heritage List, a site must be of exceptional universal significance and of irreplaceable value. Starting out as a short list of twelve "treasures" from seven countries, it now includes over one thousand cultural and natural sites worldwide that are considered worthy of protection. We introduce four very different World Heritage Sites in Europe: Arles, the Amalfi Coast, Tallinn and Aachen Cathedral. Sensual, visually powerful and told from today's perspective, each part in the series illustrates just how decisively these cultural assets still shape our cultural memory and determine our perspectives today.