Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera HouseLocation: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Visited: Sept 16, 2014

Site Type: Cultural

Inscribed: 2007

Background and Opinion:

The Sydney Opera House is an iconic structure in Australia marking a deviation from traditional architecture of the 20th century. Many consider it a masterpiece and its setting in Sydney Harbor adds to the ambiance.

Sydney Harbor

It is really hard to hide my disappointment when it comes to this site. I had been looking forward to seeing this building, world heritage or not, for as long as I can remember. From a distance, it looked nice, but the closer we got, the less impressive it was. 

The material the roof is made of is reminiscent of bathroom tiles. While it is a pretty building, at the end of a day, it is just another modern building. Why not Taipei 101 or the Shanghai World Trade Center? I am not sure if it was just the timing, but we were not allowed to enter at all. From the outside looking in, it didn’t look that impressive to be honest.

Personally, I feel that this was another example of UNESCO finding a reason to fit this into their list instead of it being a worthy addition (much like The Last Supper). While it is definitely worth a look if you are already in Sydney, there is nothing historical about it to warrant someone crossing the globe to see it.

Sydney Opera House 2


1) Completeness and Originality (6 out of 15): It is in good condition for relatively new building. However, with that said, how is it possible that there was already heavy construction in the area? It hasn’t been THAT long.

2) Extensiveness of the Site (0 out of 15): Seriously takes like 5 minutes to get over it. Unlike the Coliseum for example, there is no awe as to “how it used to be.” The Opera House is no more than 40 years old.

3) Cultural Significance (0 out of 25): I strongly doubt this affects anyone anywhere besides a sense of pride for Australians.

4) Personal Impact (3 out of 15): If I wasn’t just here on a layover, I would be very pissed. I am glad I saw it, but there surely must be a LOT more to Australia.

5) Logistics (4 out of 10): It is actually quite easy to get to. However, the price of the train and anything to eat in the area is absurd.

6) Uniqueness (2 out of 20): It is a building. Granted, it is a very cool looking building, but hardly unique.

Combined Score: 15/100

Is this a good score? Find out how it compares with other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in our rankings.

Curious how the scores are derived? Check out the scoring criteria.

Julio Moreno
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