The scientific file
Cluniac sites and exceptional universal value (EUV)

The scientific committee will establish an international list showing the EUVs of the Clunisian heritage. But first they will be dealing with a difficult task : to produce a definition of a clunisian site.

What ?

At its foundation, in 1994, the EFCS needed a term which describes those places which are linked to the history of Cluny. « A Clunisian site » was chosen by the members of this emerging network because it allowed us to include all those places which allowed the Clunisian monks to carry out their « Opus Dei » : monastries – certainly – but also secular « churches », agricultural holdings, wineries, deaneries, chateaus, villages, palaces and colleges….Clunisian sites are made up of a collection of lands and buildings, all managed by the monks, and whose characteristics and functions varied, from the religious to the political, passing via economics, the artistic and the social, noting that these varied categories , particular to our own times, would have had no real meaning to the monks.

How many ?

Their considerable diversity makes it really difficult to determine the exact number. One thing we do know is that we find them throughout Europe from Ireland to Portugal and from France to Poland….as far as Jerusalem ! Numbers such as 1200, 1300 or 1400 are often found when historians write on the subject. Each time, however, it is impoossible to trace the source of these various figures. But checking the overlaps on a number of lists established by well-known universities reveal around 2000 sites.


Once the Clunisian sites have been identified, the scientific committee then has to decide on their EUVs. That is to say in what way do they show a really exceptional cultural importance that trancends national boundaries and which show the same priceless character for the benefit of present and future generations of all humankind. This is an essential criterion for inscription as a World Heritage site.