UNESCO award: four German sites are world heritage

Status: 07/24/2021 4:04 p.m.

UNESCO has recognized the three German health resorts of Baden-Baden, Bad Ems and Bad Kissingen as new world heritage sites – as has the Mathildenhöhe artists’ colony. It recognizes an outstanding universal value.

Germany can decorate itself with four new world heritage sites. The UN Organization for Education, Science, Culture and Communication (UNESCO) has named Baden-Baden, Bad Ems and Bad Kissingen together with eight other European health resorts as “Great Baths of Europe” as World Heritage. The Mathildenhöhe artists’ colony in Darmstadt was also recognized as a world heritage site. The responsible committee of UNESCO made the decision at its 44th meeting in the Chinese city of Fuzhou.

Only cultural and natural sites of outstanding universal value are awarded the title. The “Great Baths of Europe” are health resorts that gained international importance from the late 18th century to the early 20th century. Natural thermal waters are the basis of a tradition of European bathing culture that spans epochs.

Eleven cities in seven countries honored

A total of eleven cities in seven countries were honored in which closed architectural ensembles testify to the spa culture to this day. The application was drawn up by Germany together with Belgium, France, Great Britain, Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic. Spa (Belgium), Vichy (France), Bath (United Kingdom) as well as Karlsbad, Franzensbad and Marienbad in the Czech Republic are also spa towns that have received the World Heritage title. In the cityscape, the health resorts stand out to this day with buildings that are geared towards medical, therapeutic and social functions.

“In these sophisticated places of health care, leisure and socializing, architectural prototypes and an urban planning typology emerged for which there was no previous parallel,” announced the city of Baden-Baden.

Tradition of the cure in Europe

The State Minister for International Cultural Policy in the Federal Foreign Office, Michelle Müntefering, welcomed the decision. With their spa tradition and their urban planning features, the award-winning locations “express the phenomenon of the European spa town in a unique way”. She is very happy about the success of the eleven European spa towns.

Maria Böhmer, President of the German UNESCO Commission (DUK), explained: “The tradition of the spa and their special architecture, their similarities and peculiarities are revealed here like nowhere else.” The tradition of the cure has therefore developed in a special way in Europe.

New UNESCO World Heritage: Bad Ems an der Lahn with its spa hotel and state spa house

Image: picture alliance / blickwinkel / W

Bad Kissingen in Bavaria was also honored.

Image: dpa

Enthusiasm in Bavaria over the title for Bad Kissingen

“This is great news for Bad Kissingen and for the entire cultural region of Bavaria,” said Art Minister Bernd Sibler in Munich. “Bad Kissingen as a health resort of unbelievable diversity convinced with a mixture of lived tradition and modernity.” The Lower Franconian city is part of the major spa towns in Europe and symbolizes the European idea of ​​community and cohesion. “I am proud that with Bad Kissingen we now have a total of nine World Heritage Sites in the Free State.”

“With its sophisticated architecture by Max Littmann and Friedrich von Gärtner, Bad Kissingen is clearly one of these illustrious names,” said the head of the Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation, Mathias Pfeil. “The idea that people had of wellness and spa in the late 18th to the early 20th century can still be experienced in Bad Kissingen today.”

Bad Kissingen’s Lord Mayor Dirk Vogel saw the World Heritage title as a great opportunity for the small town in Lower Franconia. Now it is easier to win companies and citizens for the city, “because with the recognition we are now in the Champions League in the public perception of German cities,” he said in a video clip that could be seen on the municipality’s website . “We don’t want to become a museum, we want to live history with a claim here in Bad Kissingen.”

Darmstadt Mathildenhöhe excellent

The Art Nouveau ensemble of the Mathildenhöhe artists’ colony in Darmstadt was also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Mathildenhöhe from the turn of the 20th century consists of the wedding tower, a Russian chapel, buildings, park and sculptures. The artist colony is considered to be the intersection of modern architecture – not just an Art Nouveau ensemble, but a step towards the Bauhaus.

Peter Behrens was one of the first artists to later teach the Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius. The intention to build the colony at the end of the 19th century was by no means just of a cultural, but of a tangible economic nature. Due to a lack of natural resources, the Hessian Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig saw an economic upswing only guaranteed by more quality in the factories and brought artists of all stripes to Darmstadt.

Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt: The ensemble of the wedding tower, Russian chapel, park and sculptures is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Image: dpa

More than 1100 cultural and natural sites in 167 countries

The World Heritage Committee is composed of 21 elected signatory states to the World Heritage Convention. As a rule, it decides annually on the inscription of new cultural and natural sites on the World Heritage List and deals with the condition of the inscribed sites.

There are more than 1,100 cultural and natural sites in 167 countries on the World Heritage List. 51 of them are considered threatened. Germany now has 47 world heritage sites.

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