UNESCO in Germany
Only the finest monuments have the honour of bearing the UNESCO World Heritage title, and Germany is home to some of the finest on offer. There are 41 sites in Germany on the UNESCO World Heritage list. They range from historical buildings and cathedrals to exceptional natural landscapes and even whole towns, all unique in their field and each one as spectacular as the last.
Every one of Germany’s World Heritage Sites is worth a visit, so hop on the ferry to France or Holland and start discovering some of the best historical sites in Europe.
Here’s our list of some of the best and most historical UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany.
Header image credit: ©Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Bernd Weingart
Museumsinsel (Berlin’s Museum Island) is made up of five world-renowned museums that sit on an island in the River Spree right in the heart of the city centre. The unique collection of galleries and museums house treasures from 6,000 years of human history, so it’s no wonder it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.
Each museum was designed to establish a connection with the art it houses. The importance of the museum's collections – which trace the development of civilizations throughout the ages – is enhanced by the urban and architectural quality of the buildings.
Image credit: Domenico Citrangulo
Town of Bamberg
Bamberg, renowned for its narrow alleys, romantic gardens, medieval and baroque building fronts and its wonderfully preserved old town centre, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993. Must-see places include the Imperial Cathedral, the medieval Old Court and the Old Town Hall that sits right in the middle of the River Regnitz. Bamberg also boasts a total of nine breweries that brew 50 different beers. There are many pubs in the old town but a short walk up the hill is Spezial-Keller (or "Spezi-Keller"), where the beautiful beer garden offers by far the best views of the old town and the cathedral.
Image credit: Magnetismus
Margravial Opera House
The beautiful Baroque Margravial Opera House was built between 1744 and 1748 in the town of Bayreuth in Northern Bavaria. It is one of Europe's few surviving theatres of the period and has been extensively restored to its former glory.
It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012 and is constructed entirely of wood, which has been beautifully carved and painted, making it one of the most unique and opulent opera houses in the world.
The Opera House is still functioning even today as a living performance site for musical theatre and the acoustic conditions can still be experienced in their original state as they were when it was first built.
Image credit: ©Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung Frahm
Wartburg Castle was originally built in the Middle Ages and is situated on a 410-meter precipice overlooking the town of Eisenach. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999, it is one of the best-preserved medieval fortresses in Germany, and at almost 1,000 years old, it is possibly Germany's most famous castle. The castle consists of two impressive courtyards, a three-storey palace, a collection of half-timbered buildings and a large cistern for the castle's water supply. From the battlements there is a sheer drop with a spectacular view of the surrounding forest and the town below. The castle is big so make sure you set aside at least half a day so you’re not rushing to see everything.
Image credit: Robert Scarth
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