Fuzhou (dpa) – Germany receives two new World Heritage sites. For the first time, Unesco has honored Jewish cultural property in Germany, with the coveted prize awarded to the so-called Schum sites in Mainz, Worms and Speyer as the cradle of European Jewish community.
The Lower Germanic Limes which is part of the border of the former Roman Empire has also been classified as a New World Heritage Site. The responsible committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) surprisingly made the decisions Tuesday at its meeting in Fuzhou, China.
After the allocation of the spas Baden-Baden, Bad Ems and Bad Kissingen with eight other European baths and the artist colony Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt this weekend, Germany can decorate itself with a total of four new titles from the World Heritage at the current meeting. Only cultural and natural sites of “outstanding universal value” are listed as World Heritage.
The sites of Schum in Mainz, Worms and Speyer in Rhineland-Palatinate are places of the Jewish Middle Ages and are also called “Jerusalem on the Rhine”. Schum is an abbreviation of the first medieval Hebrew letters of cities. In Mainz, the old cemetery is part of the heritage of the Jewish people. About 1000 years after the first burials, many historic tombstones can still be found. There is also a Jewish cemetery in Worms, as well as an area with a synagogue, a ritual bath (mikveh) and a museum. Speyer had an equally rich Jewish community life.
After the discussion of the Danube limes as part of the border of the Roman Empire had to be transferred the day before to a working group for procedural reasons, the attribution of the Lower German limes took place. smooth. Both sections have been nominated for individual inscription as part of the “Borders of the Roman Empire” World Heritage series. The 400-kilometer-long Lower Germanic Limes with its forts and legionary camps runs along the Rhine. We also talk about “wet limes”.
Applicants are residents: the Netherlands as well as North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate. The border section begins at Rheinbrohl in Rhineland-Palatinate and ends at the North Sea in the Netherlands. In NRW, there are 220 kilometers between Bonn and Kleve. The border region was a center of ancient culture and the beginning of the cities of the Rhineland. Roman traces include military installations, shrines, statues and everyday objects.
“Along the Rhine, the Romans developed forts and settlements from which large cities like Cologne, Bonn and Nijmegen should develop,” said the president of the German Unesco Commission, Maria Böhmer. “They owe their development to the fact that the limes was not used to isolate itself, but also always served as an exchange between Rome and its neighbors.”
The inclusion of the Lower Germanic Limes in World Cultural Heritage aims to bridge a gap between two already protected sections – the Upper German-Raetian Limes as well as Hadrian’s Wall and another in Britain. A decision on the Danube Limes can possibly be expected on Friday.
Hungary having quickly abandoned the joint candidacy with Germany, Austria and Slovakia, Unesco was faced with an “unprecedented case”. The International Council for the Preservation of Monuments (Icomos) pointed out that, outside Hungary, around 400 kilometers of the Danube Limes and therefore more than half of the border had been withdrawn from the application.
The World Heritage Committee meets online and on site until Saturday. It is made up of 21 elected states signatories to the World Heritage Convention. As a general rule, it decides each year on the inscription of new cultural and natural sites on the World Heritage List and takes care of the state of the inscribed sites. Due to the pandemic, the conference was postponed last year. There are over 1,100 cultural and natural sites in 167 countries on the World Heritage List. 51 of them are considered threatened. Germany now has 50 World Heritage sites.