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World Heritage Site Plaques

Author Colvin
#1 | Posted: 19 Aug 2016 20:52 
When I visit a World Heritage Site, one of the things I try to look for are the plaques that commemorate the World Heritage Site inscription. As I've read through the reviews on this site, I've noticed that several contributors, including Clyde and Emilia, do the same. I also noticed there was no forum topic covering the location of any of these plaques, so I thought I would start one in case anyone would like to add other plaque locations that they have located.

Please note that these should be considered as SPOILERS for anyone who likes to search for the plaques without any preparation beforehand. Here are some of the plaques I've found (locations based on the last visit I made to the site):

Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks -- Mount Robson plaque located at Mount Robson Visitor Center (July 2007)
Québec City -- located outside the Château Frontenac near the north end of Terrasse Dufferin (November 2011)

Brú na Bóinne -- located inside the Brú na Bóinne visitor centre (September 2015)

Quseir Amra -- located on rock outside Quseir Amra (March 2015)
Um er-Rasas -- located on wall at Umm ar-Rasas Visitor Center (March 2015)

United States:
Chaco Culture -- located outside the Chaco Culture Visitor Center (July 2016)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park -- located on the wall next to the sidewalk on the south side of the Newfound Gap parking area (May 2016)
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park -- located outside the Kilauea Visitor Center (January 2011)
Independence Hall -- located inside the security screening building on the east side of Independence Hall; see a ranger for access once past security (February 2016)
Mammoth Cave National Park -- located inside the Mammoth Cave Visitor Center (August 2014)
Mesa Verde National Park -- located on the wall outside the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum at the Spruce Tree Terrace (May 2016)
Taos Pueblo -- no longer present, though allegedly one is on order (July 2016)
Yellowstone National Park -- located on the basement floor of the museum at the Albright Visitor Center at Mammoth Hot Springs (August 2015)
Yosemite National Park -- located outside the Yosemite Valley Vistor Center (April 2015)

Author pikkle
#2 | Posted: 20 Aug 2016 22:10 
I believe some have multiple or do we only consider the "main" (first, biggest, most detailed?) plaque, as in Luxembourg City & It's Fortifications. I believe there's one overlooking the lower city, one in the limes, and perhaps one at Fort Thüngen/Acorn Fort? I would consider the one inside the limes the "officiele" plaque if pressed.

Author Colvin
#3 | Posted: 20 Aug 2016 22:48 
I think you're right -- I'm pretty sure there are sites that have multiple plaques. I've only seen the plaque at Mount Robson for the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, but I'm fairly certain the other components of the WHS (such as Banff, Jasper, and Yoho) have their own plaques. I don't know which, if any, of the plaques would be considered the main/official plaque.

Author Zoe
#4 | Posted: 16 Jan 2019 13:03 
I was going to ask the same: is there an official plaque? I have seen the bronze one most of the time, Persepolis has one in glass but I guess it's not the original version, often I see the framed paper version (or is that separate?). Some places may not display it anywhere, large landscapes for example.

Would be cool to have a picture for each site. I hadn't considered that it would be a spoiler for anyone.

Author Solivagant
#5 | Posted: 17 Jan 2019 03:48 | Edited by: Solivagant 
A few points on this subject
a. I don't believe there is any such thing as "AN official" WHS plaque in the sense of there "having" to be "one" such article for each WHS which is, in some way, more important than any others which might be erected
b. The Operational Guidelines (OG) contain a section (Paras 268 -274) which commences "Properties inscribed on the World Heritage List should be marked with the emblem jointly with the UNESCO logo, which should, however, be placed in such a way that they do not visually impair the property in question."
c. It goes on to state "Once a property is inscribed on the World Heritage List, the State Party should place a plaque, whenever possible, to commemorate this inscription". Note - "a property" "should" and "whenever possible". So - presumably, if a WHS consists of multiple "properties" then each "should" have a plaque and, in any case the production/location of a plaque is an "ideal" situation rather than an essential requirement.
d. The section provides "guidelines" for the content of any such plaques - in particular the use of the Emblem, mention of OUV/Convention, languages used, location to be chosen and even a draft text
e. Nowhere is it stated what material should be used - so, although "brass" is the most common it isn't a requirement. I find particular pleasure in identifying some notice board or plaque produced in "non standard" format - often handpainted on some scratty piece of wood or metal - with an emblem which fails totally to meet the strict guidelines of proportion required by UNESCO - these have generally appeared in countries like Bangladesh and Ethiopia- but maybe even there the dead bureaucratic hand of UNESCO is now asserting itself. FAR more important than actually doing something positive to assist preservation! Multiple versions of plaques for a WHS so that each location has one are very common. I think of the Monasteries of Popocatapetl - Every one we visited had its own nicely and correctly designed brass plaque.
f. The guidelines require that the plaque and other uses of the emblem be placed so as not to detract from the site. I think of Kazan where each of the tower roofs has been given a topping consisting of a WHS emblem - not very "Authentic!!!
g. Zoe's "Framed paper version" is indeed a totally separate article from any "plaque". This seems to be officially titled the "Certificate of Inscription". It is not mentioned at all in the OGs but does seem to be provided to the SP for each and every inscription and to provide an opportunity for the UNESCO Director General to attend a formal presentation somewhere within the State Party's boundaries (but not necessarily those of the inscribed site????!!!!!) to hand it over, make speeches and "glad hand" etc. See on the UNESCO Web site -
h. Whether the SP sends on the Certificate to the WHS would seem to be up to them. Multiple copies of these "Certificates" can exist - whether these are original or photocopies I know not. I remember that Tarnowski Gory was still awaiting its copy from the Polish Ministry of Culture through the post! Recently we visited both Le locle and La Chaux de Fonds. The former has a copy in the Town Hall and the latter in the WHS exhibition room. I have noticed also that they get changed when official titles change. Whether this happens "automatically" or on demand I also know not!.
i. Just as many of us "WH Travellers" look out for a "Plaque" I have no doubt that many of us also look out for a "Certificate of Inscription". Some times we find one, sometimes the other and sometimes both!! I remember in Verla Board Mill being told that I couldn't photograph the Certificate proudly framed on the wall because photography inside the WHS buildings wasn't allowed
j. More interesting possibly than just listing the location of every plaque might be stories about unusual or unusually placed ones and those are perhaps best included in the review. Mine of Tel Aviv for instance describes the only one which I discovered - "there is one on the pavement in the tree-lined central walkway of Rothschild at the first X roads south of 84 Rothschild!". And that for the Bangladesh Sundarbans - "Those who like to get a photo of the sign showing the UNESCO logo and title of each site will need to go to Hiron Point. I was told that this was the only place where the inscription is recognised. However, because of problems ensuing from the fact that this is a coastguard and naval site most of the boat trips miss it out nowadays!"

Author Zoe
#6 | Posted: 10 Jan 2020 23:15 
To pick this up again, I was looking for a plaque at Belize's Half Moon Caye but didn't scout the entire island. Would be interesting to add plaque info into the trivia section. I had mentioned in my review that the Revillagigedo Islands one is at a dive site under water. Probably the craziest location of them all.

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 World Heritage Site Plaques

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