Culture and nature

World Heritage

1,092 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 167 countries worldwide make the history of mankind and of the planet tangible. 44 of them are located in Germany. World Heritage Sites are witnesses of past cultures, artistic masterpieces and unique natural landscapes.

The protection and preservation of these sites is the responsibility of the entire international community. It is ensured through the application of the key instrument for cultural policy and nature conservation - the 1972 World Heritage Convention.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee decides whether a site is included on the World Heritage List. The main criterion for inscription is the unique universal value of a site. Recognition as a World Heritage Site comes with obligations: countries must preserve their heritage sites for future generations. In Germany, responsibility is shared between the federal and state governments. The German Commission for UNESCO supports the implementation of the World Heritage Convention in Germany by means of activities on international cooperation, the exchange of knowledge on World Heritage and on the preservation of endangered World Heritage Sites.

World Heritage in danger

Armed conflicts, climate change, natural disasters, decay and construction projects threaten World Heritage Sites. Deliberate destruction of cultural heritage has been part of terrorists’ strategy to attack societies for years. In order to protect endangered sites, UNESCO works for solutions via diplomatic means. It trains local experts, ensures that the protection of cultural heritage is taken into account in peacekeeping missions, implements reconstruction measures with local populations and fights the illicit trade of cultural objects and the exploitation of natural sites.

World Heritage Sites in Germany

  • Aachen Cathedral (1978)
  • Speyer Cathedral (1981)
  • Würzburg Residence with the Court Gardens and Residence Square (1981)
  • Pilgrimage Church of Wies (1983)
  • Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust at Brühl (1984)
  • St Mary's Cathedral and St Michael's Church at Hildesheim (1985)
  • Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier (1986)
  • Hanseatic City of Lübeck (1987)
  • Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin (1990, 1992, 1999)
  • Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch (1991)
  • Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management System (1992, 2010)
  • Town of Bamberg (1993)
  • Maulbronn Monastery Complex (1993)
  • Collegiate Church, Castle and Old Town of Quedlinburg (1994)
  • Völklingen Ironworks (1994)
  • Messel Pit Fossil Site (1995)
  • Cologne Cathedral (1996)
  • Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar, Dessau and Bernau (1996, 2017)
  • Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg (1996)
  • Classical Weimar (1998)
  • Wartburg Castle (1999)
  • Museumsinsel (Museum Island), Berlin (1999)
  • Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz (2000)
  • Monastic Island of Reichenau (2000)
  • Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen (2001)
  • Historic Centres of Stralsund and Wismar (2002)
  • Upper Middle Rhine Valley (2002)
  • Town Hall and Roland on the Marketplace of Bremen (2004)
  • Muskauer Park / Park Mużakowski (2004)**
  • Frontiers of the Roman Empire (1987,2005,2008)**
  • Old town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof (2006)
  • Berlin Modernism Housing Estates (2008)
  • Wadden Sea (2009)**
  • Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe (2011)**
  • Fagus Factory in Alfeld (2011)
  • Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps (2011)**
  • Margravial Opera House Bayreuth (2012)
  • Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe (2013)
  • Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey (2014)
  • Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District with Chilehaus (2015)
  • The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement (2016)**
  • Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura (2017)
  • Archaeological Border complex of Hedeby and the Danevirke (2018)
  • Naumburg Cathedral (2018)

** Transnational, serial site with sub-areas in other countries (the given years refer to recordings of German sub-areas)