In 1972, the World Heritage Convention became the first international legal instrument to recognize and protect cultural landscapes.
Cultural landscapes represent the "combined works of Man and Nature" referred to in Article 1 of the Convention.
They illustrate the evolution of society and human occupations over the ages, under the influence of the constraints and/or assets presented by their natural environment, and under the influence of successive social, economic and cultural forces, internal and external.
Cultural landscapes fall into three major categories (2008 Operational Guidelines, Annex 3):
In the Jurisdiction of Saint-Émilion, everything points out that Man and Nature have advanced together, by developing the cultivation of the vine that appeared more than 2,000 years ago.
A cultural landscape like that of the Jurisdiction is shaped by its history and geography. Religious architectures, wine-growing architectures or small familiar architectural heritage from past generations (vine huts, washhouses, watercress, mills, etc.) are all expressions of a society, of its know-how to be kept alive and transmitted to future generations.
It is important to note that the Convention recognizes the interaction between human beings and nature and the fundamental need to preserve the balance between the two.