By Rachel Chang
Nov 24, 2021
EXACTLY 75 YEARS AGO, UNESCO was formed to foster a global appreciation between cultures and at its very best, Instagram can do the same.
In 1978, the UN organization announced its first list of 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites, a designation that is widely considered the gold standard for landmarks around the world. Today, a total of 1,154 sites — 897 cultural, 218 natural, and 39 mixed — have earned a spot on the prestigious list.
To find out which of those is the most popular right now, creative resource company Design Bundles studied the number of times the UNSECO sites have been tagged on Instagram in 2021.
Topping the UNESCO list by a landslide is the historic center of Rome, with approximately 61.2 million posts on Instagram, followed by Rio de Janeiro with about 45 million and Venice and its lagoon with nearly 25.8 million. Rounding out the top 10 are Kiev with about 21.9 million, Florence’s historic center with 21.5 million, Prague‘s historic center with 17.7 million, Budapest with 14.7 million, Brasilia with 13.3 million, Saint Petersburg’s historic center with 12 million, and Quito with 9.9 million. All of these sites fall into the cultural category.
The highest natural UNESCO World Heritage site is also the top American location on Instagram: Yosemite National Park, coming in at 15th place with approximately 4.6 million posts. Two other U.S. landmarks are also in the top 30 — both are natural sites — with the Grand Canyon in 16th with about 4 million posts and Yellowstone in 25th place with about 2.8 million posts.
To determine the stats, the company took the top 145 UNESCO sites and analyzed how many times they had been tagged on Instagram this year.
- Historic Center of Rome: 61,244,436
- Rio de Janeiro: 45,039,569
- Venice and its Lagoon: 25,755,922
- Kiev: 21,914,502
- Historic Center of Florence: 21,516,815
- Historic Center of Prague: 17,731,077
- Budapest: 14,665,910
- Brasilia: 13,277,931
- Historic Center of Saint Petersburg: 11,987,336
- City of Quito: 9,854,551
- Old and New Towns of Edinburgh: 9,779,579
- Historic Site of Lyon: 9,400,931
- City of Verona: 5,661,681
- Rabat: 4,629,743
- Yosemite National Park: 4,611,905
- Grand Canyon National Park: 4,021,300
- Old Havana and its Fortification System: 4,017,138
- Cultural Landscape of Bali: 3,985,530
- Cathedral of Notre-Dame: 3,787,550
- Works of Antoni Gaudí: 3,451,098
- City of Luxembourg: 3,450,869
- Historic Center of Salzburg: 3,195,863
- Göreme National Park: 3,009,297
- Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks: 2,996,880
- Yellowstone National Park: 2,832,668
- Antigua Guatemala: 2,765,980
- Old City of Dubrovnik: 2,637,398
- Dorset and East Devon Coast: 2,629,228
- The Dolomites: 2,532,349
- Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch 2,261,394
According to UNESCO’s stats, the country with the most designated sites is Italy, with 58, followed by China with 56, Germany with 51, and France and Spain, both with 49. The U.S. has 24 sites total.