The Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City is a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site in Liverpool, England. It comprises six locations in the city centre of Liverpool including the Pier Head, Albert Dock and William Brown Street, and includes many of the city's most famous landmarks. UNESCO received the city council's nomination for the six sites in January 2003 and in September of that year sent ICOMOS representaitves to carry out an evaluation on the eligibility for these areas to be given World Heritage Status. In March 2004 ICOMOS recommended that UNESCO inscribe the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City as a World Heritage Site.
The area was inscribed during the 28th session of the World Heritage Committee in 2004 under cultural criteria ii, iii and iv. Its inclusion by UNESCO was attributed to the fact that it was 'the supreme example of a commercial port at a time of Britain's greatest global influence'. In 2012 the site was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger due to the proposed construction of Liverpool Waters project. It is one of only two endangered World Heritage Sites in Europe (the second endangered site are Medieval Monuments in Kosovo).
The Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City comprises six separate locations throughout the centre of the city, each of which relates to a different component and time in the Liverpool's maritime history. The inscripted sites extend for approximately 4 km north-south along the city's waterfront and stretch approximately 1 km east-west. In total it covers an area of 136 hectares.
The Pier Head
The Pier Head is the focal point of Liverpool's waterfront and is dominated by three of its most recognisable landmarks: The Liver Building, The Port of Liverpool Building and the Cunard Building. Collectively referred to as the Three Graces, they stand as a testament to the great wealth in the city during the late 19th and early 20th century when Liverpool was one of the most important ports in the world. Initially plans existed to add a 'fourth grace' to area, named The Cloud and designed by Will Alsop, however this fell through in 2004.
The Stanley Dock Conservation Area
The Stanley Dock Conservation area is located to the north of the Pier Head and includes huge swathes of Liverpool's docking heartland. Within the site are several docks including Stanley Dock, Collingwood Dock, Salisbury Dock and Clarence Graving Dock; parts of the Leeds Liverpool Canal and associated canal locks; and many smaller features such as bridges, bollards and capstans. Two of the Clarence Graving Docks are notable as the oldest docks still in use in the city today, dating back to 1830, although their full development wasn't completed until 1848. Amongst the buildings in the area are the Victoria Clock Tower and Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse, one of the largest brick buildings in the world.
Having received the nomination for the area in January 2003, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) travelled to Liverpool in September of that year to carry out an evaluation on behalf of UNESCO. The ICOMOS evaluation analysed the city in relation to its nomination document, looking at four key areas: conservation, authenticity and integrity, comparative evaluation and outstanding universal value.