UNESCO Welterbe: Bad Kissingen
UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Bavaria is home to ten UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Each one different from the next. The list includes prehistoric relics and remnants from the Romans as well as medieval towns and Baroque art. One of them is even a striking industrial monument. Here we introduce you to these ten cultural highlights in Bavaria

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UNESCO World Heritage in Bavaria

Bavaria has a vast and diverse natural and cultural heritage, which includes unique cultural landscapes, parks and natural areas, in addition to architectural and artistic masterpieces and evidence of social and technological developments.

Currently, UNESCO has designated ten special sites in Bavaria as World Heritage Sites, including the Augsburg Water Management System, the Würzburg Residence, the Margravial Opera House in Bayreuth and the Old Town of Bamberg.

Our list gives you an overview of all ten World Heritage Sites in Bavaria.

Filmreif Augsburg: Auch das Wasserwerk am Roten Turm ist eine beliebte Filmkulisse

The Augsburg Water Management System

Channels Overflowing with History

Augsburg’s water system is 800 years old. It represents a unique example of urban water management and has been developed over centuries. The system supplied people with drinking water and service water for energy, hygiene and sewage disposal. It is worth noting that drinking and process water have been strictly separated since the 15th century.

The World Heritage Site includes 22 structures that form the basis of a canal network: Weirs, water pumping stations, power stations, wells and a canoe route. The water is supplied by the Lech, Wertach and Singold rivers and springs. At the Hochablass, a weir and sluice complex in the south of Augsburg, the Lech River's water is still diverted for most of the canals. In the past, it was mainly used to power mills.

The drinking water flowed to Augsburg from the spring area to the south, the city forest. It reached the upper town by means of water towers with pumping stations. In the modern era, Augsburg has become famous throughout Europe for its effective water management. With the industrialization of the 19th and 20th centuries, the demand for hydropower grew. The canal system was then expanded and numerous hydroelectric power stations were built. One spectacular use came in 1972, when an old canal was transformed into the world’s first artificial whitewater canoe course for the Olympic Games in Munich.

More about the World Heritage Site
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Kurgarten mit Arkadenbau des Bayerischen Staatsbad Bad Kissingen

Spa Town & Bad Kissingen State Spa

The Pinnacle of Drinking Culture

Bad Kissingen is located on the Franconian Saale River in Lower Franconia. The town has been known for its drinking and spa treatments since the 16th century. Starting in the 18th century, it developed into a world spa and in its heyday between 1830 and 1930 attracted international guests, many coming from England and Russia.

In 2021, Bad Kissingen, along with ten other important spa towns in Europe (“Great Spas”) became World Heritage Sites, owing to the town having the oldest spa gardens (created in 1738) and the largest ensemble of historic spa buildings in Europe, with the Wandelhalle and Regentenbau buildings also serving as outstanding examples of early 20th century architecture.

Bad Kissingen is the only Great Spa with historical facilities for the extraction and use of brine. Brine, or water with a high content of mineral salts, used to be an important remedy. And last but not least, the spa town upholds intangible values such as the tradition of “healing water served by the fountain women”, regular spa concerts performed by its own philharmonic orchestra and regular boat trips on the Saale River.

More about the World Heritage Site: welterbe.badkissingen.de (only in German)

Bamberg ist Weltkulturerbestadt und hat viel Tradition und Kultur zu bieten

The Old Town of Bamberg

Franconian Rome

The episcopal and imperial city in the heart of Franconia is situated on seven hills. It is also known as “Franconian Rome”. Bamberg’s Old Town is considered a unique work of urban art from the period between the High Middle Ages and the Baroque era and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993. It is notable for its 1,200 architectural monuments dating from the 11th to 18th centuries. The Old Town is overlooked by the Romanesque imperial cathedral of St. Peter and St. George with its four towers and the famous statue of the Bamberg Horsemen from the time of the Hohenstaufen dynasty inside.

The baroque Neue Residenz Palace and the Alte Hofhaltung, or Old Court, complement the cathedral square. Other highlights include the Brückenrathaus, the Old Town Hall that was built into the Regnitz River, the Rose Garden, with its view over the Old Town, the tanners’ houses along the Alter Kanal, or Old Canal, the milling district and the “Little Venice” fishermen’s village. What you won’t find on the UNESCO list but is just as deserving of world cultural recognition is Bamberg beer, especially the famous spicy smoked beer.

More about the World Heritage Site: bamberg.info
More tips for Bamberg

Markgraefliches Opernhaus

The Margravial Opera House in Bayreuth

The opera house in Bayreuth  is a masterpiece of baroque theatre architecture. It was constructed from 1744 to 1748 and is one of the few original theatre buildings of its time in Europe. The foremost theatre architect of the time, Giuseppe Galli Bibiena, planned and executed its construction, commissioned by the margrave couple Friedrich and Wilhelmine von Brandenburg-Kulmbach, sister of the Prussian King Friedrich II. The building was commissioned for the wedding of her daughter Elisabeth Friederike Sophie.

The Italian-style Logentheater opera house is entirely made of wood and canvas, set as a self-supporting structure within a stone building shell. It is regarded as one of a kind throughout the world, not least because of its exuberant carved and painted decorations. The splendour of its colour is overwhelming. The acoustics of the house can still be experienced as they could in the 18th century. Operas and concerts are still performed in the house today. 275 years after the opening of the opera house, yet another highlight opened its doors in the neighbouring Redoutenhaus building with its new World Heritage Centre and Opera House Museum.

More about the World Heritage Site: Bayreuth-Tourismus.de
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Old Town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof

A Boomtown

The Old Town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof (on the north bank of the Danube) boasts the largest stock of Romanesque and Gothic architecture north of the Alps. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 2006. The area contains 1,000 monuments and extends over 183 hectares, which is the equivalent of 256 football pitches. Regensburg reached this size around the year 1320. At the time, the city was booming as a transhipment centre on the continental trade routes to Italy, Bohemia, Russia and Byzantium. It was during this period, the 12th to 14th centuries, that it began to take shape.

St. Peter’s Cathedral stands proudly in the centre and is visible from afar. It is the only Gothic cathedral in Bavaria. Building work came to an end when the city ceased to be a trading metropolis in the late Middle Ages. As a result, large parts of the Old Town have endured through the centuries with exceptional unity. Regensburg’s Old Town is the only medieval city in Germany that has been preserved in its entirety and is still functioning today.

More about the World Heritage Site: regensburg.de
More tips for Regensburg


Die UNESCO nahm die Würzburger Residenz 1981 ins Welterbe auf

The Würzburg Residence and Court Gardens

The Zenith of Baroque Grandeur

Würzburg Palace is one of the most magnificent residential buildings of its time. The former “abode” of the prince-bishops of the Schönborn family was built between 1720 and 1744 and later enclosed by a magnificent court garden. Artists from all over Europe worked on the building in Würzburg. It exhibits elements of French palace architecture, Viennese Baroque, and palace and sacred buildings from northern Italy. To put it succinctly, it is a European synthesis of the arts and belongs in the same league as the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna or the Versailles Palace near Paris.

The Würzburg court architect Balthasar Neumann oversaw the huge construction project. Alongside virtuoso sculptors and carvers, the greatest fresco painter of the 18th century, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, turned the magnificent “Staircase” into the artistic highlight of the castle complex with the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. The residence was badly damaged during the war and then carefully restored. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981.

More about the World Heritage Site: wuerzburg.de/residenz
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Römermuseen: Lebensgroße Darstellung eines römischen Soldaten im Museum Quintana in Künzig

Frontiers of the Roman Empire: the Danube limes

For almost half a millennium, the Danube formed the frontier of the Roman Empire. The remains of the military installations and settlements on the western section of the Danube limes have been part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage since 2021. In a total of five 'Roman museums on the Bavarian Danube limes' in Kelheim, Regensburg, Straubing, Künzing and Passau, your customers can visit some impressive finds and find out more about the life of the Romans on the Danube.

Mit der Zille auf die Roseninsel im Starnberger See

Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps

How did people live in the Stone and Bronze Ages (approx. 4,400 to 850 B.C.)? Why did they build wooden dwellings on stilts by lakes, rivers and moors? The sites where prehistoric pile dwellings have been found, 111 in total and spread over six states, tell of the life of the people in those times. Two of those sites are in Bavaria: Rose Island in the Starnberger See and the prehistoric settlement Pestenacker near Landsberg. Today, as museums, they give us important insights into the trade and mobility of the settlers. 

Limesturm in Erkertshofen: Einziger steinerner Nachbau in Deutschland

Frontiers of the Roman Empire: the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian limes

At 550 kilometres, the limes is Europe's longest ground monument and forms the World Heritage site 'Frontiers of the Roman Empire'. The 'Upper Germanic-Rhaetian limes' is a section of the frontier between the Rhine and the Danube and was built starting in 120 A. D. from Bad Hönningen / Rheinbrohl on the Rhine to the fort at Eining, a Roman castra, on the Danube. It consisted of ramparts, trenches, watchtowers and forts, several of which your customers can still visit today. Or they can follow the limes on its cycle and hiking paths. 

Wieskirche an der Romantischen Straße

The Wieskirche at Steingaden

Light floods the high-ceilinged room, golden adornments glitter on the walls, the white marble effulges. The Pilgrimage Church of the Scourged Saviour at Wies rises up against the backdrop of the Ammergau Alps. It was built following a lachrymal miracle. On 14 June 1738, the peasant woman Maria Lory said she had seen tears in the eyes of a figure depicting the suffering Jesus. This occurrence was the origin of the pilgrimage to the scourged saviour in the district of Wies near Steingaden. The pilgrimage church has been part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage since 1983. 

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