History is still very much alive in Germany, and 2,000 years of cultural change have certainly left their mark. Few other countries have such a wealth and breadth of fascinating sites of historical interest.
UNESCO has designated 46 of these attractions as sites of world cultural heritage that it considers of „exceptional universal importance to mankind“, thereby ensuring their protection under international conventions.
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES GERMANY: http://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/de
Northern Germany captivates visitors with its religious art treasures, its industrial monuments to the mining industry and its Hanseatic history. Hildesheim, for example, is blessed with beautiful ecclesiastical buildings, while fascinating mining and industrial heritage awaits in Goslar.
The Hanseatic towns and cities of Bremen, Lübeck, Wismar and Stralsund, meanwhile, make enthralling destinations with their historic old quarters, fine monuments, religious art and traditional brick-built architecture.
In the south, culture lovers will find an enchanting array of relics from the days of mighty conquerors and wandering monks. Both had a habit of bringing something with them, and usually leaving something behind as well.
Evidence of this long tradition can be found in southern Germany‘s superb world heritage sites, which include magnificent sacred buildings such as the Wieskirche Pilgrimage Church, Bamberg‘s imperial cathedral, Maulbronn‘s remarkable monastery and the Monastic Island of Reichenau. Würzburg Residenz palace is another fine historic attraction, while the Roman Limes border wall brings visitors closer to the rich history of the Roman empire.
Western Germany also boasts an impressive list of world heritage sites – Essen, for example, is home to what is surely the finest coal mine in the world, a number of castles and the famous Loreley rock are found along the romantic Upper Middle Rhine Valley, and impressive cathedrals await in Aachen, Cologne and Speyer.
Trier is home to a number of Roman monuments, and the sheer variety of Germany‘s natural and cultural heritage is well illustrated by the Roman Limes, Messel Pit Fossil Site, rococo-style Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust at Brühl, the famous abbey in Lorsch and Völklingen Ironworks, the largest ironworks in the Saarland.
The world heritage sites in eastern Germany are closely linked with illustrious names such as Martin Luther, Johann Sebastian Bach and the Bauhaus architects.
Steeped in artistic and cultural history, they include the Luther towns of Eisleben and Wittenberg, Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, the Prussian palaces of Berlin and Potsdam, the beautiful scenery of Bad Muskau, Dessau-Wörlitz and the Elbe Valley in Dresden, the clarity of the Bauhaus architecture in Dessau and Weimar, and Quedlinburg medieval architecture.