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UNESCO World Heritage in Thuringia
Culture. Nature. History. Tradition.
Places with special historical significance such as Wartburg Castle or the Bauhaus University. Natural landscapes worthy of protection such as the primeval forest in the Hainich. Valuable handicraft techniques or traditions such as blueprinting or playing skat. Thuringia is full of important natural and cultural treasures.
We show you where Luther translated part of the Bible. Where Goethe and Schiller wrote history. Where nature is wild and reclaiming its habitat. Where garden gnomes, beer or Christmas decorations are made by hand.
Come with us on a journey through the World Heritage Land of Thuringia!
Friedrich Schiller and skat
Card playing with heart and mind
No, Friedrich Schiller did not play skat – the game was only developed from 1810 in Altenburg. But the poet liked to play cards, night after night with friends. He spent the last years of his life in Weimar and became friends with Goethe. His most important places of activity from that period are now part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site Classical Weimar; the game of skat is in both the Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Thuringia State Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Goethe and wine
A glass in his honour
A great poet who liked drinking wine. And a wine culture that is in the Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage and also has deep roots in Thuringia. Welcome to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site Classical Weimar and to the Saale-Unstrut Region.
Garden gnomes and beer
A toast to the pointy hats
They are both perfect for outdoors: the garden gnome loves the front garden, beer tastes best at a festival outdoors. The German summer would not be half as pleasant without them. Flying visits to two of Thuringia’s small breweries and to the garden gnomes from Gräfenroda. The gnomes are in the Thuringia State Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage – the beer in the Nationwide Inventory.
Bauhaus and blue printing
Printing and design made in Thuringia
It came from Weimar – and conquered the world from there. The Staatliches Bauhaus, founded in Weimar in 1919, was the most important art school in the early 20th century. Its premises have been a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site since 1996. Blue printing, on the other hand, lives on in many places in Erfurt – and has been regarded by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage since 2018, as a traditional artisanal technique. What connects the two?
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Thuringia
The majestic "Grande Dame" of Thuringia
Wartburg Castle – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Wartburg Castle, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999, is not only the most important castle in Germany but also a location with its own distinctive charm and dignity. Here are five reasons why everyone needs to visit Wartburg Castle at least once in their life...
Bauhaus UNESCO World Heritage sites in Weimar
More than 100 years ago, the most influential art school of the early 20th century opened its doors in Weimar. Its founder, Walter Gropius, couldn’t have known back then that the revolutionary ideas of the Bauhaus would go on to conquer the world, and would continue to influence the work of many architects and designers to this day. Although there are authentic Bauhaus locations all over Thuringia, Weimar should be at the top of your must-see list, as it has three Bauhaus sites that were awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1996.
World Heritage in Weimar
A German Classic?
Weimar boasts a wealth of UNESCO World Heritage, with a total of 19 individual sites. The Classical Weimar ensemble comprises 16 locations, while ‘Bauhaus and its sites in Weimar, Dessau and Bernau’ includes three sites in Weimar. Weimar is steeped in culture; it offers encounters with literary history and celebrated intellectuals around every corner. The leading thinkers of the classical era were Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, Martin Wieland and Gottfried Herder, but women such as the Duchess Anna Amalia and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna also had influential roles. We have brought some aspects of classical Weimar to life – featuring the people and stories associated with the individual locations.
Woodland going wild again
UNESCO World Heritage Hainich National Park
What would the world look like without us? If there weren’t any people, just nature, completely untouched. Beech trees as far as the eye can see, the air filled with a fungal, earthy aroma. The Hainich region is one of the last remnants of the ancient woodland that once covered large swathes of central Europe. At around 130 square kilometres, it is Germany’s largest unbroken area of deciduous forest. Its southern section is a national park, which became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Ancient Beech Forests of Germany in 2011. Although at first glance its natural landscape might not seem quite as spectacular as chalk cliffs, coral reefs or canyons, it is nevertheless unique and provides a very special habitat for many rare species.
Culture and Heritage
Very briefly sorted and explained
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
World Heritage Sites refer to monuments and ensembles (World Cultural Heritage) as well as geological and physiographical manifestations of natural sites (World Natural Heritage) of outstanding universal value, whose protection and preservation by the States Parties are supported by UNESCO under the World Heritage Convention. UNESCO World Heritage sites are beacons in the German cultural landscape, which attracts millions of cultural tourists from all over the world every year with more than 6,500 museums, the densest theater and opera landscape in the world, and internationally renowned events. With 51 sites, Germany ranks third among the countries with the most World Heritage sites worldwide. Thuringia is among them, with the Wartburg in Eisenach, Classical Weimar, the Bauhaus sites in Weimar and the Hainich National Park.
UNESCO Biosphere Reserves
UNESCO biosphere reserves are internationally representative model regions. They realize sustainable development and preserve the natural and cultural landscape within the framework of the UNESCO program "Man and the Biosphere" (MAB). There are 18 biosphere reserves in Germany (as of 2019). They occupy about 4 percent of Germany's land area, have a core zone for process protection or the preservation of natural dynamic processes. Of the 18 biosphere reserves in Germany, 16 are recognized by UNESCO. In Thuringia, for example, there is the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Rhön or the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Thuringian Forest. In the case of the Südharz, for example, international recognition is being sought.
UNESCO Memory of the World
The directory of the UNESCO Memory of the World program serves to preserve the documentary heritage of mankind and to ensure free access to significant documents. The Thuringian World Documentary Heritage in Germany includes: Early writings of the Reformation movement (Gotha, Jena, Weimar), Goethe's literary estate (Weimar) and manuscripts of the book "Al-Masaalik Wa Al Mamaalik" (Gotha).
Intangible Cultural Heritage
In 2003, UNESCO adopted the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Germany acceded to the Convention in 2013. In addition to the confirmed cultural expressions, a list of expressions in urgent need of preservation is maintained (currently 59 entries). There are also a number with model projects in which the objectives of the Convention are being implemented in an exemplary manner. Examples of intangible cultural heritage in Germany are falconry (2016 together with 17 other countries) or organ building and organ music (2017) or the game of skat (2016). In addition to the federal inventory, there is a Thuringian state inventory. Entries in it include the kindergarten idea according to Froebel, the watercress, the garden gnomes from Gräfenroda or the Thuringian sausage culture.
European Heritage Label
The seal is awarded to heritage sites in Europe that have made a lasting contribution to the creation of today's Europe (milestones). These heritage sites cover the time span from the beginning of Europe's civilization until today and honor or symbolize European ideals and values as well as the history and integration of Europe. Since 2013, these sites have been selected for their symbolic value or role in history, for example. The sites bring the European Union and its citizens closer together. For Thuringia, this includes e.g. Network of Iron Curtain Sites (Border Museum Eichsfeld, Point Alpha) and Network of Reformation Sites (Luther House Eisenach, Protestant Augustinian Monastery Erfurt).