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Public-images-osm logo.svg historic
City wall avila.png
Used for describe 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 areasmay be used on relations
Documented values: 55
Useful combination
See also


Status: de facto


The historic=* key is used to identify features that are of historic interest. For features which no longer exist see Comparison of life cycle concepts and Date namespace.


The value in the tag historic=* is used to characterise the type of feature. The range of possible types is open, but wherever possible, contributors will wish to use values that will be widely recognised and are in common use. Wherever possible, it is preferable to use one of the core values that are listed, defined and illustrated in the table at the page historic=*.

For features which no longer exist see lifecycle prefix and Comparison of life cycle concepts.


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This table is auto-generated. See Taginfo/Taglists for a documentation on it. This table is a wiki template with a default description in English. Editable here.

When can this key be used?

A very large number of features could be regarded as having some historic interest, but this tag should not be used indiscriminately. Each contributor is responsible for determining whether a feature or event is of sufficient importance to justify use of this tag. In selecting features to be marked as historic contributors should consider factors such as:

  • The degree to which the subject is generally considered to be of historical importance. For example, inclusion in an authoritative listing of historic sites, or a special protected status is not a requirement, but might be considered as supporting evidence that a feature is sufficiently important. There is a list of heritage registers at  List of heritage registers (note that many of these registers cover natural heritage as well as historic sites). See also heritage=*
  • The size of the feature, and in particular the degree to which it influences the visible landscape. The use of the tag historic=* with large features, such as castles is relatively common. The tag historic=* has also been used to explain human activity that has an impact on the landscape - such as large-scale mineral extraction, or abandoned transport infrastructure.
  • The benefit of highlighting destinations that are of potential interest to a map user. Many historic sites are now important tourist destinations.
  • The degree to which the subject is of interest to the OSM community. For example, the historical transport infrastructure, including roman roads, and disused railway tracks, is often identified in this way

The tag historic=* is always used to identify subjects that relate to human history. Geological features, and palaeontological sites (places containing the remains of ancient life-forms) are described using the tag geological=*. The tag historic=* is not intended for features that are considered an important part of the natural heritage. It should only be used with aspects of the cultural heritage that are also of historic importance. Where appropriate it can be used alongside other tags, such as heritage=*, or landuse=*.

Note that in some cases the suggestions above are hard to apply. For example it is standard to use historic=wayside_shrine also for modern shrines and historic=memorial for all memorials, also ones not historic in any kind.

See also