The list, created in 1972, includes hundreds of manmade and natural sites, ranging from coral reefs to the Statue of Liberty and the Great Wall of China. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which administers the list, "seeks to encourage the identification, protection, and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity."
In announcing the nomination yesterday, Australian heritage minister Ian Campbell said, "I believe most Australians share my view that the Opera House is one of the world's most outstanding buildings deserving a place on the world's premier heritage list.... It is clearly a work of architectural and engineering genius that is internationally renowned."
The opera house was added to Australia's National Heritage List in July 2005.
The opera house was designed by then-unknown Danish architect Jêªrn Utzon in the late 1950s. Construction began in 1959 and was completed in 1973, but not before Utzon had left the project after clashing with government officials. (He agreed in 2002 to oversee renovations.) Often described as resembling a ship at full sail, the building is a dramatic presence in Sydney's harbor. It houses Opera Australia, the Australian Ballet, and other groups.
The World Heritage Committee will next meet to consider nominations in 2007.