Mathildenhöhe artists’ colony.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Germany’s rich cultural heritage has been further recognised by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), after seven new locations in the country were awarded World Heritage Site status during the 44th Unesco meeting in China (Fuzhou, online meeting, July 16-31).
With the updated official Unesco list counting more than 1,000 sites in 167 countries around the world, Germany now boasts 51 recognised World Heritage Sites - the third highest of any nation globally after Italy (58) and China (56). Germany’s World Heritage Sites comprise three natural locations and 48 cultural locations.
As a key destination to experience natural and cultural treasures, GCC visitors, among others, can discover a plethora of diverse World Heritage Sites along eight routes in Germany, which begin and end near international airports, making them easily accessible from regional gateways.
Due to their uniqueness and authenticity, all Unesco World Heritage Sites in Germany are considered significant for humanity and are therefore under special protection.
The new Unesco World Heritage Sites now recognised in Germany include the Mathildenhöhe artists’ colony in Darmstadt, the Lower Germanic Limes, The Danube Limes as well as historic spa resorts in Baden-Baden, Bad Ems and Bad Kissingen, which secured the title of World Heritage’s ‘Great European Baths’.
“With this year’s new additions, 51 natural and cultural heritage sites in Germany now hold the ‘Unesco World Heritage’ seal of quality. The international attention granted to the country’s human and natural history continue to elevate Germany’s appeal as a globally-recognised travel destination.
“We now sit at the top of the list of countries travellers are willing to visit in the Europe, averaging 22 per cent, or five per cent higher than last year,” said Petra Hedorfer, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB).
Founded in 1899 by the Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig, Mathildenhöhe artists’ colony has been noted as a historic centre of modern-day architecture and art in Europe.
Prior to the turn of the century, aspiring architects and artists had the opportunity to turn their ideas into experimentation, inspiring what is now known as the Bauhaus art movement. The location includes a wedding tower designed by the architect Joseph-Maria Olbrich, seen as a landmark of the city and an excellent vantage point over the Rhine-Main plain. The colony was a centre for emerging reform movements in architecture, arts and crafts. The buildings of the colony were created by its artist members as experimental early modernist living and working environments. The Lower Germanic Limes (boundary) is now noted as a World Heritage Site as part of the ‘Borders of the Roman Empire’ series. The river formed a natural border between the Roman province, where life across 44 towns, forts, legionary camps and temples formed the roots of today’s large cities, including Bonn and Cologne.
The Danube Limes follow the course of the Danube River from what is known today as Bad Gögging in Bavaria, through Austria and Slovakia. As the second-longest river in Europe, the Roman military frontiers stretch approximately 600-kilometres and has contributed to the development of the cultural landscape. Parts of the earlier facilities are still visible today and are carefully developed for tourists to visit — the archaeological sites ‘document niedermünster’ and the ‘Porta Praetoria’ in Regensburg are key examples of popular destinations.
The Lower Germanic Limes was also the former frontier between the Roman province of Germania inferior and Germania Magna. They separated that part of the Rhineland left of the Rhine as well as the Netherlands, which was part of the Roman Empire, from the less tightly controlled regions east of the Rhine. The Lower Germanic Limes was not a fortified limes with ramparts, ditches, palisades or walls and watchtowers, but a river border, similar to the limites (boundary) on the Danube and Euphrates. Together with the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes, the Lower Germanic Limes forms part of the Limes Germanicus.
With European spa culture peaking between the 1700 and the 1930s, Germany’s abundant spa towns around mineral springs have far more than historic and medical significance: the major urban developments created architectural framework for recreation, cultural and social life. Not only have the German spa towns of Baden-Baden, Bad Ems and Bad Kissingen been recognised by the Unesco, eight additional European spa towns have also been awarded listings.
GNTB is Germany’s national tourism organisation. It works on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) to represent Germany as a tourist destination and is funded by the Ministry in accordance with a decision taken by the German Bundestag. Working with the German travel industry and private-sector partners and trade associations, it develops strategies and marketing campaigns to promote Germany’s positive image abroad as a tourist destination and to encourage tourists to visit the country. The GNTB has 27 foreign agencies that cover more than 40 markets around the world. Its head office in Frankfurt, Germany, is home to strategic departments such as Business Intelligence, Business Development and Brand Communications for Destination Germany. The Fuzhou Declaration called for the full engagement of governments, international organisations, civil society organisations, private sector and other key stakeholders, to protect the World Heritage sites and protect them against threats to cultural and natural heritage sites, in particular when exposed to armed conflicts, natural calamities or illicit trafficking of cultural and natural heritage assets.
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