The representation of heritage can be different among different people. This is because people can represent heritage in means of cultural representation, personal values, languages, or in forms of intangible items. UNESCO has, defines the representation of world heritage, as outstanding universal value to humanity. Therefore the selection process of UNESCO criteria list is often criticized because not all forms of heritage representation can be understood based on the criteria formed by UNESCO
The representation of heritage in relation to UNESCO is developed “for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.” When a site is part of the World Heritage List, he site is protected since it holds “universal value.” The preservation of heritage is important, since heritage is what defines us; it defies our accomplishment, and our values. However, not all sites that represent authentic heritage, is protected and therefore often lost. The reason why some heritage sites are not represented is because they are often small, undeveloped countries that do not have a loud voice in comparison to a European or Western country. These small, undeveloped countries do indeed have authentic heritage but its need for preservation is often overlooked.
The representation of heritage can also be seen in forms of intangible heritage. These intangible items represent who we are and therefore are important in the representation of heritage. These intangible items can include, languages that we speak, a family or cultural inheritance, and practices of heritage. Our identity is carried in these intangible and cultural practices, and this is why it is important to preserve these practices. Our family recipes and stories must be inherited by future generation in order to pass on our legacy since these practices also represent our heritage.
The representation of how we interpret a well-known heritage site can cause a site to loose its significance in culture, its significance to its native people, or be misinterpreted. For example, Machu Picchu is a very important culture site to its native people, and holds the foundations to their culture, but we often fail to notice this part and instead take importance of the site itself. Moreover the site is believed to have all is cultural building intact when it reality “the colonial rule that ensued, entailed for the Indians the destruction of their good, the loss of their most sacred traditions…” (Metrauz, The History of the Incas) and therefore there in order to reconstruct the site authenticity some site where reconstructed.
Heritage can identify us in many ways, but also can be misinterpreted. The heritage of a community or culture can be recognized worldwide, as in world heritage sites, or can its recognition be among a small group of community member. Either way, heritage is important and it represents our culture values and it carries a legacy for future generation.