With his gradual withdrawal from political life and escape into an ideal poetic world, King Ludwig II of Bavaria (r. 1864-1886) is one of the most fascinating ruling personalities of the 19th century. Prevented by foreign and domestic political constraints from putting his idealized vision of his role as king into practice, with Neuschwanstein Castle and the palaces of Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee in their unspoilt natural settings the monarch created artificial alternative worlds in which he could immerse himself in far-distant places and past eras.
Neuschwanstein (1868-1886), which is inspired by the operas of Richard Wagner, features themes from the composer’s work in various rooms as well as in the building’s outward appearance (Tannhäuser, Tristan, Lohengrin, Parsifal, Der Ring des Nibelungen), and, together with the spectacular alpine backdrop, enabled Ludwig II to experience this poetic world in tangible, visual form.
In Linderhof (1870-1878) the king assembled a “theme park” consisting of an 18th-century style palace, Oriental buildings (Moorish Kiosk, Moroccan House and the Turkish Hall in the King’s House on Schachen) and recreated stage sets from Wagner’s world (Venus Grotto, the Hermitage of Gurnemanz and Hunding’s Hut); “a few paces,” he said, transported him into “a different time and place”.
Herrenchiemsee Palace (1878-1886), modelled on the Versailles of Louis XIV and Louis XV, was built by Ludwig II on an island secluded from the outside world, so that he could retreat undisturbed into the realm of the Bourbon Kings.
The water management system of the city of Augsburg has evolved in successive phases from the 14th century to the present day. It includes a network of canals, water towers dating from the 15th to 17th centuries, which housed pumping machinery, a water-cooled butchers’ hall, a system of three monumental fountains and hydroelectric power stations, which continue to provide sustainable energy today. The technological innovations generated by this water management system have helped establish Augsburg as a pioneer in hydraulic engineering.
Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří (Ore Mountains) spans a region in south-eastern Germany (Saxony) and north-western Czechia, which contains a wealth of several metals exploited through mining from the Middle Ages onwards. The region became the most important source of silver ore in Europe from 1460 to 1560 and was the trigger for technological innovations. Tin was historically the second metal to be extracted and processed at the site. At the end of the 19th century, the region became a major global producer of uranium. The cultural landscape of the Ore Mountains has been deeply shaped by 800 years of almost continuous mining, from the 12th to the 20th century, with mining, pioneering water management systems, innovative mineral processing and smelting sites, and mining cities.
Located in the eastern part of the Thuringian Basin, the Cathedral of Naumburg, whose construction began in 1028, is an outstanding testimony to medieval art and architecture. Its Romanesque structure, flanked by two Gothic choirs, demonstrates the stylistic transition from late Romanesque to early Gothic. The west choir, dating to the first half of the 13th century reflects changes in religious practice and the appearance of science and nature in the figurative arts. The choir and life-size sculptures of the founders of the Cathedral are masterpieces of the workshop known as the “Naumburg Master”.
The archaeological site of Hedeby consists of the remains of an emporium – or trading town – containing traces of roads, buildings, cemeteries and a harbour dating back to the 1st and early 2nd millennia CE. It is enclosed by part of the Danevirke, a line of fortification crossing the Schleswig isthmus, which separates the Jutland Peninsula from the rest of the European mainland. Because of its unique situation between the Frankish Empire of the South and the Danish Kingdom in the North, Hedeby became a trading hub between continental Europe and Scandinavia and between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Because of its rich and well preserved archaeological material, it has become a key site for the interpretation of economic, social and historical developments in Europe during the Viking age.
Modern humans first arrived in Europe 43,000 years ago during the last ice age. One of the areas where they took up residence was the Swabian Jura in southern Germany. Excavated from the 1860s, six caves have revealed items dating from 43,000 to 33,000 years ago. Among them are carved figurines of animals (including cave lions, mammoths, horses and cattle), musical instruments and items of personal adornment. Other figurines depict creatures that are half animal, half human and there is one statuette of a female form. These archaeological sites feature some of the oldest figurative art worldwide and help shed light on the origins of human artistic development.
Chosen from the work of Le Corbusier, the 17 sites comprising this transnational serial property are spread over seven countries and are a testimonial to the invention of a new architectural language that made a break with the past. They were built over a period of a half-century, in the course of what Le Corbusier described as “patient research”. The Complexe du Capitole in Chandigarh (India), the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo (Japan), the House of Dr Curutchet in La Plata (Argentina) and the Unité d’habitation in Marseille (France) reflect the solutions that the Modern Movement sought to apply during the 20thcentury to the challenges of inventing new architectural techniques to respond to the needs of society.
Quedlinburg, in the Land of Sachsen-Anhalt, was a capital of the East Franconian German Empire at the time of the Saxonian-Ottonian ruling dynasty. It has been a prosperous trading town since the Middle Ages. The number and high quality of the timber-framed buildings make Quedlinburg an exceptional example of a medieval European town. The Collegiate Church of St Servatius is one of the masterpieces of Romanesque architecture.
With 500 ha of parks and 150 buildings constructed between 1730 and 1916, Potsdam’s complex of palaces and parks forms an artistic whole, whose eclectic nature reinforces its sense of uniqueness. It extends into the district of Berlin-Zehlendorf, with the palaces and parks lining the banks of the River Havel and Lake Glienicke. Voltaire stayed at the Sans-Souci Palace, built under Frederick II between 1745 and 1747.
The Upper Harz mining water management system, which lies south of the Rammelsberg mines and the town of Goslar, has been developed over a period of some 800 years to assist in the process of extracting ore for the production of non-ferrous metals. Its construction was first undertaken in the Middle Ages by Cistercian monks, and it was then developed on a vast scale from the end of the 16th century until the 19th century. It is made up of an extremely complex but perfectly coherent system of artificial ponds, small channels, tunnels and underground drains. It enabled the development of water power for use in mining and metallurgical processes. It is a major site for mining innovation in the western world.