Nara Document of Authenticity

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International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)


International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)



Available in

English, French


This document elaborates on the various aspects of determining and specifying credibility and value of cultural heritage. It can be accessed at the website of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Besides English, this document can also be read in French.

The document derives its name from Nara, a historic city in Japan, that hosted the ‘Conference on Authenticity,’ in 1994. This document is a compilation of the opinions of experts from 28 countries. It highlights the importance of acknowledging cultural diversity while determining authenticity of heritage in accordance with the World Heritage Convention. 

ICOMOS is dedicated to the development of common doctrines for the protection of cultural heritage sites and monuments, the evolution and circulation of knowledge, the creation of improved conservation techniques, and the promotion of cultural heritage significance.

This unique non-governmental, democratic not-for-profit international organisation is associated with UNESCO, as an Advisory Body of the World Heritage Committee for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention. The creation of ICOMOS in 1965 is the outcome of initial conversations between architects, historians and international experts that began in the early twentieth century and eventually materialized in the adoption of the Venice Charter in 1964.

Some of the contents of the document are:

  • Preamble of the ‘Nara Document on Authenticity’
  • Values and authenticity in conserving cultural heritage
  • Role of cultural and heritage  diversity in determining cultural value
  • Definitions of conservation and information sources