The number of sites that are protected by UNESCO’s World Heritage status has grown in recent weeks and now totals 1,073. There have been 21 new additions to the list this year, including our own stunning Lake District. So, which places in Europe can now boast this important honour? Here are four that you may wish to visit or admire from afar.
Caves and Ice Age Art - Swabian Jura, Germany
The Swabian Jura, or Swabian Alps as they are also known, is a mountain range in the south of Germany. This is thought to be one of the first places inhabited by modern humans when they moved to Europe during the ice age. Intricate excavations of caves in this region have uncovered important finds that show us early human behaviour and art. Six caves in particular have revealed carvings, cave paintings and musical instruments that date back as far as 43,000 years.
The caves can be seen via a hiking trail which connects them from the town of Blaubeuren. The caves are closed for most of the year but the annual Blaubeuren Cave Hike on 1st May allows people to walk the route, visit the caves and pose questions to archaeologists.
Kujataa - Greenland
The farming landscape found in this part of southern Greenland is a great demonstration of unity shown by the Inuit and Norse people who settled in the area. The latter started arriving here in the 10th century and established the first farming community within the Arctic. Using a mix of farming, grazing and seal hunting, they have worked together to create a flourishing way of life in this harsh climate.
Tarnowskie Góry Mine - Poland
Not only has this mine in the south of Poland given the world large quantities of lead and zinc, its water management system was able to supply towns in the local area. Much of the lead excavated was enriched with silver, meaning the town was quickly given independent mining status. Although all operations stopped in 1912, each part of the process can still clearly be seen today. Visitors start their journey in an interactive museum, highlighting the techniques used during excavation, before being taken underground and touring the mine in boats. The closest city to the mine is Katowice, to which there are direct flights from the UK.
Venetian Works of Defence – Italy, Montenegro, Croatia
This UNESCO-protected site consists of 15 different locations across Italy, Montenegro and Croatia spanning a region known as the Stato da Terra. These defensive fortifications were built by the Republic of Venice to keep potential European conquerors at bay. These are some of the first examples of something known as ‘alla modernaI bastioned’ fortifications, a new type of defence created to protect against weapons using gunpowder. These ideas would later spread across the continent. Fortifications that are part of the site include the city walls of Kotor, Bergamo and Zadar.
These new additions, and the rest of the sites that are now part of UNESCO’s list, will be protected and conserved for years to come. If you would like to visit these or any of the others in Europe, we can help you plan your trip. Here are some of the other UNESCO World Heritage Sites we can take you to. Call us on 0800 988 3369 for more information.