Germany has no fewer than 46 UNESCO World Heritage Sites; but the country’s very first, back in 1993, was right here in SouthWest Germany. That was Maulbronn Monastery. Today, SouthWest Germany boasts seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites; added in 2021 were Baden-Baden, as one of the Great Spa Towns of Europe.
The Cistercian monastery of Maulbronn, founded in 1147, is considered to be one of the most complete and best-preserved medieval monastery complexes north of the Alps. The life and work of the Cistercian Order from the 12th to the 16th century can be illustrated in detail.
The architectural work of Le Corbusier - an outstanding contribution to modernity
A cross-continental artistic masterpiece, an architectural answer to the global social questions of modern society - Le Corbusier's architectural work is unique in many ways. It consists of 17 buildings and ensembles in seven countries, including Argentina, Belgium, France, India, Japan and Switzerland. Two houses of the Weissenhofsiedlung in Stuttgart also belong to the World Heritage Site. A representative sample of the work of the Swiss-French architect has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as a transnational series in 2016.
Frontiers of the Roman Empire: Upper German-Raetian Limes
The Roman Empire is one of the greatest empires that ever existed. The Upper Germanic-Raetian Limes is part of the Roman border fortifications with castles, watchtowers, walls and palisades with which the former world power demarcated its empire from free Germania. The World Heritage Site ‘Frontiers of the Roman Empire: Upper German-Raetian Limes’ covers an area of about 250 square kilometres and passes through more than 150 municipalities and 20 administrative districts in the four federal states Bavaria, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg.
Monastery island Reichenau
The monastery island Reichenau in Lake Constance is an outstanding example of the religious and cultural role of a large Benedictine monastery in the Middle Ages. The three Romanesque churches of the island from the 9th to the 11th century illustrate the early medieval architecture in Central Europe.
Caves and ice age art of the Swabian Alb
When the first modern humans settled in Europe during the last Ice Age 43,000 years ago, they also settled in the numerous caves of the Swabian Alb that offered protection. Here they left behind the oldest mobile works of art in the world, whose significance for the understanding of human history and the development of the arts is unique worldwide.
Prehistoric lake dwellings at Lake Constance
The prehistoric lake dwellings around the Alps are relics of past settlements from the Late Neolithic, the Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age. Among the important finds are the oldest wheel finds in Europe as well as the oldest textiles in Europe, which date from around 3000 BC. Dugouts, wheels and carts provide important insights into trade and mobility in early settlement communities.
Baden-Baden: Europe’s most elegant spa town
In 2021, UNESCO named Baden-Baden as a World Heritage Site, one of the Great Spa Towns of Europe. This group designation recognizes the historic and cultural importance of 11 towns in seven countries. Of course, when it comes to history, Baden-Baden has long been a must-visit destination. The Romans came for the 12 natural thermal springs, praising their healing qualities, both physical and spiritual. From 1700 onwards, Europe’s aristocracy flocked here to “take the waters”. The addition of the elegant Kurhaus and its casino in the 1800s made Baden-Baden the “summer capital of Europe”. And improvements continued. The magnificent Neo-renaissance Friedrichsbad spa was Europe’s most modern when it opened in 1877. Today, this riverside town is as elegant as ever, with magnificent gardens and parks, top-class art, music and theatre – and the sophisticated casino. As for the unique spa experience, that continues to thrive, with both traditional and modern treatments, which are open to all