39 sites in Germany full the “outstanding universal value” criteria to be awarded UNESCO world heritage status. The first was Aachen Cathedral in 1978, the most recent: 2014 Corvey Abbey.
World heritage sites are locations of decisive importance for the history and social development of that country. In Germany they range from a prehistoric fossil pit to the pioneering Bauhaus school of design.
The first sites to be put on the UNESCO list were buildings – mostly churches and palaces such as the Würzburg Residence or Cologne Cathedral. They were followed by historic centers and cultural complexes – such as the medieval old town of Lübeck and the Museum Island in Berlin.
The status has also been given to sites that testify to Germany’s industrial heritage, e.g. the Zollverein Coal Mine complex in Essen. Plus, of course, the country’s natural heritage such as the sensitive ecosystem of the Wadden Sea shared with Denmark.