Unesco has recognized the Art Nouveau ensemble on Darmstadt's Mathildenhöhe and the three German health resorts of Baden-Baden, Bad Ems and Bad Kissingen as a new world heritage site. The responsible committee of the UN Organization for Education, Science, Culture and Communication (Unesco) made the decision on Saturday at its current meeting in Fuzhou, China. The Unesco designated Baden-Baden, Bad Ems and Bad Kissingen, together with eight other European health resorts, as “Great Baths of Europe” as World Heritage. The Unesco committee made the decision at its 44th meeting. Only cultural and natural sites of outstanding universal value are awarded the coveted title.
The “Great Baths of Europe” are health resorts that gained international importance from the late 18th century to the early 20th century. Natural thermal waters are the basis of a tradition of European bathing culture that spans epochs. The eleven spa towns that received the World Heritage title also include Spa (Belgium), Vichy (France), Bath (United Kingdom) and Karlsbad, Franzensbad and Marienbad from the Czech Republic.
In the cityscape, the health resorts stand out to this day with buildings that are geared towards medical, therapeutic and social functions. “In these sophisticated places of health care, leisure and socializing, architectural prototypes and an urban planning typology emerged for which there was no previous parallel,” said Baden-Baden about the nomination.
The President of the German Unesco Commission, Maria Böhmer, welcomed the award of the German health resorts Baden-Baden, Bad Ems and Bad
Kissingen together with eight other European baths as a new world heritage site.
"With their spa tradition and their urban planning features, they express the phenomenon of the European spa town in a unique way," said Böhmer on Saturday following the decision of the Unesco committee.
"Europe is reflected in the spa towns"
“Europe is reflected in the face of today's award-winning spa towns,” said Böhmer. “Diversity and unity go hand in hand here. The tradition of spas and their special architecture, their similarities and peculiarities are revealed here like nowhere else. ”The application was drawn up by Germany together with Belgium, France, Great Britain, Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic.
The tradition of the cure has developed in a special way in Europe, emphasized the Unesco.
Spa towns with their own urban planning type emerged around mineral springs.
The bathing culture flourished between 1700 and the 1930s.
The knowledge about the healing power of water was systematically examined and applied.
From England to Romania, around 1500 large and small health resorts were built.
Architects of high standing were required to design drinking halls, spa houses, colonnades, grand hotels, but also private villas and sacred buildings for religious communities.
There were also spa gardens, parks, theaters and casinos.
1100 world heritage sites in 167 countries
The World Heritage Committee will meet online and on site until July 31st. It is made up of 21 elected signatory states to the World Heritage Convention. As a rule, it decides annually on the registration of new cultural and natural sites in the World Heritage List and deals with the condition of the registered sites. Because of the pandemic, the conference was postponed last year. There are more than 1,100 cultural and natural sites in 167 countries on the World Heritage List. 51 of them are considered threatened. Germany now has 47 world heritage sites.
On the agenda are a total of five applications with German participation: This Saturday also includes the Mathildenhöhe artists' colony in Darmstadt and on Sunday the Danube Limes as part of the Roman border. On Tuesday it will be about the Jewish cultural heritage in Mainz, Speyer and Worms and the Lower Germanic Limes