The World Heritage Convention establishes which are the natural and cultural sites that may be inscribed in the World Heritage List. It fixes the duties of its State Parties concerning the identification of those sites, as well as their performance relating its protection and preservation. By signing the Convention, each country pledges not only to ensure the maintenance of the sites situated on its territory, as well as to protect its cultural and natural heritage.
Portugal became a member of this Convention in 1979, according to Decree no.49/79, of June 6th.
Of the 690 sites of 122 States that the World Heritage Committee inscribed in the World Heritage List (529 Cultural sites, 138 Natural sites and 23 mixed sites) 12 are situated on national territory:
1983 Central Zone of the Town of Angra do Heroísmo in Azores
1983 Monastery of the Jerónimos and Tower of Belém in Lisbon
1983 Monastery of Batalha
1983 Convent of Christ in Tomar
1988 Historic Centre of Évora
1989 Monastery of Alcobaça
1995 Cultural Landscape of Sintra
1996 Historic Centre of Porto
1998 Prehistoric Rock-Art Sites in the Côa Valley
1999 The Laurissilva Forest of Madeira
2001 Historic Centre of Guimarães
2001 Alto Douro Wine Region
2004 Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture