The complete area of the historic centre of Rust is listed and regarded as one of the most picturesque structures of its kind. The many old town houses dating back from the 16th to the 19th century have well-looked after Baroque or Renaissance facades with beautiful window and portal frames, bowfronts, heraldic and stucco decorations. The town centre comprises an area of approx. 9 hectares and is lived in by 320 citizens of Rust.
The historic town centre is protected by the "Hague Convention for the protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict". Blue-white signs mark the individual properties.
In 1975 the "royal free city" of Rust was selected by the commissioner of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg to become one of the model town for the European year or architectural heritage alongside Salzburg and Krems and it was a conscious decision to choose a small town where - contrary to many other historical towns - there are no residential quarters, which were in danger of falling derelict. Rust was chosen, because there was a vital and not a revitalised town. The houses still maintain their original function as homes or businesses of the citizens of Rust.
In 2001, the old town of Rust was entered into the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites together with the region of Fertö-to/Lake Neusiedl.
Rust has been awarded the title of "Most beautiful town in the province of Burgenland" for its measures to preserve its historic buildings and culture a few times now.