Purpose Built Visitor Centre

WHS which contain a purpose-built Visitor/Interpretative Centre since inscription, or in conjunction with the inscription process.

Many WHS have installed visitor centres to improve the "visit experience" and generate revenue. In many cases these have been modern purpose-built structures constructed within the core or buffer zones and have therefore been subject to strict planning considerations - with the involvement of UNESCO where the site is already inscribed or subject to AB evaluation where construction preceded inscription.

The building must have been constructed anew as a "Visitor Centre" for the site and not merely have been converted from or significantly use a pre-existing building. Provide a link describing the building, photo, architects, date of construction etc and indicate whether it is inside the core or buffer zone. (Centres beyond both are excluded). Excluding buildings at archaeological sites which were constructed purely as museums.

Connected Sites

Site Rationale Link
Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch
Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe In Core Zone. 2011
Brú na Bóinne Buffer Zone 1997
Coa Valley and Siega Verde Museum of Art and Archaeology of the Côa Valley (2009), within Archaeological Park (possibly in Buffer Zone of the WHS)
Ellora Caves Buffer zone, inaugurated 2013.
Giant's Causeway In Core Zone. 2013
Göbekli Tepe
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump In core zone. 1987. Leblond and tnrs.
Jeju "A new visitor centre has been built at Mt Hallasan, which on completion in 2008 will provide 1,500 m2 of floor space for exhibitions, conferences and management offices. Construction of new visitor centres at Manjang cave and Ilchulbong will begin in 2008. There are also plans to construct a special Jeju World Natural Heritage Centre." - AB Evaluation
Jelling Buffer zone, 1997-2000
Masada Opened 1999. In core zone. Described in Nom File (Dated Sept 2000) as being part of the Masada Development Project which commenced in 1995 and was designed to minimise interference with views of and from the site. See
Megalithic Temples of Malta Ggantija Heritage Park (2013)
Messel Pit In Buffer Zone. 2010 ("The basic idea for the design of buildings was provided by the oil shale itself. The upright wall panels made of exposed concrete remind us of the stratification of the oil shale. Walking through the building, we get the impression alike to move through the different soil layers.The spatial structure takes us into another world. It has little in common with ordinary buildings and is rather reminiscent of a sculpture. Integrated into the outer envelope is the massive concrete wall of the former waste transshipment station. So prehistory and recent history of the Messel Pit were linked" (Odenwald.de).
Monte San Giorgio Core Zone - in Swiss village of Meride. Opened 2012 . By Mario Botta
Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes under construction (opening 2015)
Panamá Panama Viejo Visitor Centre. Architect - not known. See link. This states the inauguration date to be 2004, but a 2009 Mission recommended "Relocation of the projected visitor's facility at a considerable distance from the Main Square and the Cathedral Tower to preserve the visual integrity of the site and its setting;". The 2013 report states "The mission visited the new visitor facilities and museum located at the main entrance of Panama Viejo. Located in two buildings, new facilities include administrative area of the Patronato Panamá Viejo, laboratories and exhibition areas that facilitate interpretation of the site by visitors. The mission considers that the 2009 recommendation is fully implemented"
Peninsula Valdes Core Zone date unknown. "Centro de Visitantes Istmo Carlos Ameghino". situated 22kms inside the Area Natural Protegida" on the road to Puerto Pyramides
Pont du Gard 2000, Buffer zone ("On each bank of the Gardon River a welcoming and information centre has been built, placed 500m from the Pont du Gard in order to be out of sight when walking on the monument")
Rapa Nui In Core Zone at Orongo. 2011
Stone Spheres of the Diquís A new Museum/Visitor Centre was opened at Finca 6 in Dec 2013
Stonehenge In core zone - Due to open Dec 2013.
Studley Royal Park In Core Zone 1992
Twyfelfontein 2005, Core Zone "Designed in accordance with the Burra Charter (ICOMOS rev 1999) to have the least possible physical and aesthetic impact and to be reversible" (Nom File)
Vegaøyan Vega Verdensarvsenter. "The World Heritage Center was officially opened on June 13, 2019 with, among others, HKH Crown Prince Haakon present."
Wadi Al-Hitan Year unknown but after nomination file was written, core zone (see link)


Do you know of another WHS we could connect to Purpose Built Visitor Centre?

Send it to me!

A connection should:

  1. Not be "self evident"
  2. Link at least 3 different sites
  3. Not duplicate or merely subdivide the "Category" assignment already identified on this site.
  4. Add some knowledge or insight (whether significant or trivial!) about WHS for the users of this site
  5. Be explained, with reference to a source