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Public-images-osm logo.svg historic
2014 Bystrzyca Kłodzka, mury obronne 05.jpg
Used for describing various historic features Edit this description in the wiki page. Edit this description in the data item.
Group: historic
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areas (and multipolygon relations)should not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
Documented values: 76
Useful combination
See also
Status: de facto

The historic=* key is used to tag features that still exist or of which traces are observable, and that are of historic interest, or where the feature class is generally of historical interest (e.g. wayside shrines are tagged like this, even if they were set up yesterday).

For features which no longer exist, use life cycle prefixes.

Many historic sites are important tourist destinations.

Note that individual tags are outcome of organic tag growth use (see ATYL) and as result there is not really possible to specify some nice characteristic shared by all historic=* objects. Some attempted to declare that historic=* is used only for objects that are historically significant, but it does not match actual use.


This key can be used on every observable feature that has a historical meaning, regardless of

  • historical importance. For example, inclusion in an authoritative listing of historic sites, or a special protected status is not a requirement.
  • size, and in particular the degree to which it influences the visible landscape.
  • interest to the OSM community.

Common examples are:

  • Castles
  • Historical transport infrastructure, such as Roman roads or disused railway tracks
  • Historical sites of large-scale mineral extraction

Usage in non-historic features

  • Wayside shrines are tagged historic=wayside_shrine, even if they are modern.
  • Memorials are tagged historic=memorial, even if they are modern (presumably every memorial is referring to history in some sense).

When not to use

The tag historic=* is used to identify subjects that relate to human history.

However, if the feature is also a cultural heritage or has other historic importance, historic=* can be used alongside other tags.

How to map

The key can be used on any OSM object (node way area relation) that represents a real-world feature which qualifies for this tag (see above).

Additional tags

  • historic:civilization=* – roughly which civilization (or ancient culture) has built the feature, or is somehow else connected to it.
  • historic:period=* – for describing a narrower period.


The value of historic=* is used to characterize the type of feature. The range of possible values is open, but if one of the values listed below can be used to adequately describe the feature, it should be used.

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This table is a wiki template with a default description in English. Editable here.

Possible tagging mistakes

If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!

See also