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30 DE ‘Welterbe’ Sites for UNESCO World Heritage Day

Above: Cologne at dusk, 26 May 2016 (HL).

Every year UNESCO-Welterbetag (UNESCO World Heritage Day) in Germany is celebrated on the first Sunday in June. I highlight the following UNESCO World Heritage Sites (WHS) in Germany which I’ve visited.

  1. Aachen Cathedral (Aachener Dom)
  2. Alfeld, Fagus factory (Fagus-Werk)
  3. Bamberg Old Town (Bamberger Altstadt)
  4. Berlin, Modernism Housing Estates
  5. Berlin, Museum Island (Museumsinsel)
  6. Blaubeuren, Ice Age caves
  7. Bremen Roland (Bremer Roland)
  8. Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)
  9. Dessau Bauhaus
  10. Dessau-Wörlitz, Garden Kingdom
  11. Eisenach Wartburg
  12. Eisleben* Luther sites: Luthers Geburtshaus, Luthers Sterbehaus
  13. Essen Zollverein
  14. Goslar, Rammelsberg Ore Mines
  15. Hamburg Commerical- & Warehouse Districts (Kontorhausviertel, Speicherstadt)
  16. Hildesheim, St. Michael’s & St. Mary’s
  17. Höxter, Corvey Abbey
  18. Kassel, Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe
  19. Lorsch Abbey
  20. Lübeck Old Town (Lübecker Altstadt)
  21. Potsdam Palaces and Parks
  22. Regensburg Old Town (Regensburger Altstadt)
  23. Reichenau Island
  24. Speyer, Imperial Cathedral (Kaiserdom)
  25. Unteruhldingen, Prehistoric Pile Dwellings (Pfahlbauten)
  26. Upper Middle Rhine Valley (Oberes Mittelrheintal)
  27. Wadden Sea (Wattenmeer)
  28. Weimar Bauhaus
  29. Weimar Classicism
  30. Wittenberg* Luther sites: Lutherhaus, Stadtkirche
  31. Würzburg Residence (Residenz)

In 2018 World Heritage Day in Germany takes place on June 3.
In 2018 findet der deutsche UNESCO-Welterbetag am 3. Juni statt.

* The Luther sites in Eisleben and Wittenberg are inscribed as a single UNESCO WHS.


Aachen Cathedral (Aachener Dom)

Alfeld, Fagus Factory (Fagus-Werk)

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A building with glass corners sets a new architectural standard in 1911. The Fagus factory building is considered one of the first buildings of the Modern Age, particularly with steel and glass construction, and a feature of unsupported windows at the corners of the building. Fagus company founder Carl Benscheidt commissioned architect and Bauhaus founder, Walter Gropius, to create and build a factory for making shoes. “Fagus” is Latin for “beech tree”, and shoe lasts constructed from beech wood were sold and distributed around the world in the manufacture of shoes. Today, the building is still a working factory. Fagus creates plastic lasts milled to precise specifications for specific designs by shoe companies. Also on-site is GreCon which produces systems for fire-detection and fire-extinguishing. As a unique living monument, the Fagus factory building was inscribed in 2011 as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Alfeld, NI, 🇩🇪 – 28 Sep 2017 (© HL). With a population of about 21-thousand, Alfeld is about 50 minutes by train south from Hannover in the German federal state of Lower Saxony.

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Bamberg Old Town (Bamberger Altstadt)

Berlin, Modernism Housing Estates

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House at Gartenstadtweg 29. In the southeast borough/district of Treptow-Köpenick, the Gartenstadt Falkenberg (Falkenberg Garden City) by Bruno Taut is the oldest of six settlements around the city of Berlin. The "Garden City" is related to Ebenezer Howard's idea of living in a cooperative settlement with access to green space. The combination of bright colours and specific building details are expressions of new (early 20th-century) architecture and urban composition. The Garden City settlement is also known as the Tuschkastensiedlung or "Paintbox Housing Estate." All six settlements around the German capital city have been inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site "Berlin Modernism Housing Estates" since 2008. Berlin-Grünau, 🇩🇪 – 11 Oct 2017 (© HL).

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Berlin, Museum Island (Museumsinsel)

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The Berlin Museumsinsel is an island consisting of five museums built between 1824 and 1930: Alte Nationalgalerie (left-centre), Altes Museum, Bode-Museum, Neues Museum, and Pergamonmuseum. These museums represent individual artistic and historical significance, the continuing development of what museums should mean to society, and the achievement of a grand central civic project. I made this picture of Museum Island near the Buchhandlung Walther König bookstore that I visit whenever I can for the location (duh) and their arts- and photography-books. Berlin's Museuminsel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. (In 2017 findet der deutsche UNESCO-Welterbetag am 4. Juni statt.) Berlin, BE, 🇩🇪 – 3 Dec 2015 (© HL).

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Blaubeuren, Ice Age caves

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I’m your 40-thousand year old Venus. In the southeast corner of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, the Swabian Jura (Swabian Alb) mountains hosts a number of caves which contains important archaeological discoveries. About 40 to 50 thousand years ago, the area was at the edge of the extended Alpine glaciation (Würm period), and was home to early humans living in caves and surrounding river valleys, including an early version of the Danube. The above picture is of the “Venus” figure discovered in 2008 in the Hohle Fels cave near the town of Blaubeuren. The sculpture is 6 centimetres (2.4 inches) tall and is a female figure dating back to about 40-thousand years. The figure is representative with a ring for the head. The prominent breasts and broad hips suggest a symbol for fertility; surface abrasions imply the figure was worn as charm or pendant. My thanks to the Urgeschichtliches Museum (urmu) Blaubeuren for their kind support and permitting me to photograph (for hours!) within the museum. The Ice Age caves in the Swabian Alb were inscribed to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in June 2017. Blaubeuren, BW, 🇩🇪 – 26 Sep 2017 (© HL).

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Bremen Roland (Bremer Roland)

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Built in 1404 AD/CE, the Roland statue in Bremen’s market square is associated with the 8th-century AD/CE Frankish leader and Margrave of Brittany, a paladin of Charlemagne’s imperial court. The statue was built to represent rights and privileges associated with the free imperial city of Bremen. The Old City Hall (out of frame to the right) saw its start as Gothic in the early 15th-century with Renaissance style renovations in the early 17th-century. Bremen’s City Hall and Roland statue have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004. The first Sunday in June is UNESCO World Heritage Day in Germany. (In 2017 findet der deutsche UNESCO-Welterbetag am 4. Juni statt.) Bremen, HB, 🇩🇪 – 4 Jan 2013 (© HL).

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Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)

Dessau Bauhaus

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"Clear economical lines, transparent glass corners." We take for granted how we see much of the basics of 21st-century design and architecture derived from the Bauhaus movement in early 20th-century Germany. Simpler and less-ornate meant cleaner lines, and the idea an entire building wall could consist of (supported and reinforced) glass, let alone having a building's corner be glass instead of solid wood, brick, or plaster were ideas big, revolutionary, and perhaps a little heretical against accepted architecture. Design and form, form and function, and functionally designed architecture were all to be created and stand independently of class or economic status. Bauhaus main building, Dessau, Germany – 28 Oct 2016 (SP, SaxonyAnhalt)

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Dessau-Wörlitz, Garden Kingdom

Eisenach Wartburg

Eisleben Luther sites: birth & death houses

Essen Zollverein

Goslar, Rammelsberg Ore Mines

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Mining history over a millennium. Based on archaeological digs in the area, mining activity and some form of ore extraction here in the northern reaches of the Harz mountains in central Germany occurred up to 3000 years ago. At Rammelsberg mountain (635 metres / 2083 feet), mining for ore had gone uninterrupted for about 1000 years until its closure in 1988. ​With an age between 360 and 420 million years old (Devonian period), the rock yielded rich deposits of minerals including copper, gold, silver, lead, and zinc. For the economic and cultural contributions to the region, land, and continent over centuries and intact remnants to all phases of mining operations, the Rammelsberg mine was inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. Goslar, NI, 🇩🇪 – 29 Sep 2017 (© HL). From Hannover, a train takes about an hour to reach the town of Goslar with about 51-thousand residents.

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Hamburg Kontorhausviertel, Speicherstadt

Hildesheim, St. Michael’s & St. Mary’s

Höxter, Corvey Abbey

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1181 years old, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Schloss/Kloster Corvey was inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014 as one of the most important expressions of Carolingian architecture. The Westwork (at right) is the only remaining structure in the entire complex that dates back to the Carolingian era; at left is the west wing of the Baroque monastery. Corvey began life in the late-8th to early 9th-century as an idea for a church group to move beyond its borders and go on missions throughout the lands. One group in particular began their journey from house Corbie on the river Somme in present-day northern France. Thanks to Emperor Ludwig der Fromme (the Pious) and as part of Charlemagne's initial desire to "Christianize" Saxon lands, construction began at this location next to the Weser river in 822 AD/CE. The Benedictine monastery, "Corbeia nova" (New Corbie), was inaugurated in 836 AD/CE. Höxter, NW, 🇩🇪 – 4 Oct 2017 (© HL). #Weserbergland

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Kassel, Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe

Lorsch Abbey

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This gatehouse (or royal hall) is a very prominent feature of the former Benedictine abbey whose founding goes back to the 8th-century AD/CE. The abbey contained one of the most important library collections in medieval Germany, including the "Lorsch Pharmacopoeia," one of the first documents highlighting the importance of science and medicine in the development of new healing methods, independent of (and, where some were concerned, interfering with) the practice of the "divine plan" for healing sickness. It's not entirely clear what the purpose of the gatehouse was for, but what's known is that the gatehouse is one of the finest examples of Carolingian architecture and one of the oldest pre-Romanesque buildings in Germany. All that's left today of the abbey are the gatehouse, part of the church, monastery wall, and a couple of administrative buildings. Since 1991, the UNESCO World Heritage Site listing includes the remnants of the abbey and of the nearby "Altmünster" monastery in what is now the town of Lorsch in the German state of Hesse/Hessen. Lorsch, HE, 🇩🇪 – 20 Sep 2017 (© HL).

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Lübeck Old Town (Lübecker Altstadt)

Potsdam Palaces and Parks (Schlösser und Parks)

Regensburg Old Town (Regensburger Altstadt)

Reichenau Island

Speyer Imperial Cathedral (Kaiserdom)

Unteruhldingen, Prehistoric Pile Dwellings

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In and around what are now the Alps, humans in the Stone to Bronze Age began building dwellings with long poles (“piles”) on the shorelines of lakes for food, security, mobility, and trade. People eventually moved inland as seas rose. The lack of oxygen in deep waters meant that traces of human presence like piles and other organic remnants (e.g., clothes, food, etc.) did not suffer extreme deterioration. Pile dwellings have been found in 6 nations (🇦🇹🇫🇷🇩🇪🇮🇹🇸🇮🇨🇭) and are all presently under water, which means access is obviously restricted. Archaeological “digs” underwater means education opportunities at the surface, including the carefully researched reproductions at the Pfahlbauten Museum on the northeastern shore of Lake Constance. Shown here are reproductions of 5 pile dwellings from the nearby Unteruhldingen-Stollenwiesen site from about 970 BC/BCE. Additional evidence of human settlement and daily life going back several thousand years provides important clues to piece together the origin story of our species. A total of 111 pile dwelling locations are part of the same inscription as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011. Unteruhldingen (near Konstanz), BW, 🇩🇪 – 23 Sep 2017 (© HL).

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Upper Middle Rhine Valley (Oberes Mittelrheintal)

Wadden Sea (Wattenmeer)

Weimar Bauhaus

Weimar Classicism

Wittenberg Luther sites: Luther House, Town Church

Würzburg Residence (Residenz)

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Built between 1720 and 1744, the Würzburg Residenz (Residence) was the seat of prince-bishops until the mediatization (secularization) process in 1802-1803. Today, the Residence is one of the most important baroque palaces in Europe. The surrounding Court Gardens were redesigned beginning in 1770 to fit within the city walls. In World War 2, the March 1945 Allied bombing raid lasted less than one-half hour and destroyed 89% of the inner city including a large portion of the Residence. Art historian and US Army 2nd Lieutenant John Skilton was stationed in Würzburg from June to October 1945 as officer of the Monuments and Fine Arts Section. Thanks to his tireless efforts, support from the US Army, and experts from the city, restructuring proceeded to rebuild and save the city’s landmark. In 1981, the Würzburg Residence was inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Residenz Südgarten (Residence South Garden), Würzburg, 🇩🇪 – 17 Oct 2017 (© HL).

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Map of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany, by Joatan Preis Dutra (July 2016)

I made all of the (Instagram) photos on visits between 2009 and 2017. Images for the German UNESCO Commission and the map of World Heritage Sites in Germany are from Wikimedia. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at as

3 Responses to “30 DE ‘Welterbe’ Sites for UNESCO World Heritage Day”

    • fotoeins

      Thanks, Timo! Weimar serves “double duty” with 2 sets of World Heritage Sites: Weimar Classicism, and Bauhaus in Weimar. As you may recall and like most small German cities, Weimar is equally compact but their buses work well, too. Try and spend a little extra time exploring why Weimar is still a little bit of a “hidden secret” within Germany; I’d include Erfurt as well by proximity.

      Liked by 1 person

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