The Granada Convention was adopted on 3 October 1985 in Granada (Spain) and came into force on 1 December 1987 (Council of Europe Treaty Series no. 121). It is open for signature by member states and for accession by non-member states and the European Community.

The adoption of the Convention was both a consecration and a new beginning - a consecration because it marked twenty years of European co-operation on architectural heritage and a new beginning because this was the first time that an international treaty had included the principles of integrated conservation.

The main purpose of the Convention is to reinforce and promote policies for the conservation and enhancement of Europe's heritage. It also affirms the need for European solidarity with regard to heritage conservation and is designed to foster practical co-operation among the Parties. It establishes the principles of "European co-ordination of conservation policies" including consultations regarding the thrust of the policies to be implemented.