UNESCO names Bayreuth opera house cultural heritage site | News | DW | 30.06.2012
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UNESCO names Bayreuth opera house cultural heritage site

The Margravial Opera House in Bayreuth has been named a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO. The opulent venue is one of the few remaining Baroque-era opera houses in Europe, and is about to shut for renovations.

The majority of a panel of experts voted in favor of adding the opera house in Bavaria to the Cultural Heritage List on Saturday.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - better known as UNESCO - reached the decision at its 36th conference, taking place in St. Petersburg, Russia, this year.

The Margravial Opera House in Bayreuth, known as the Markgräfliche Opernhaus Bayreuth in German, was built midway through the 18th century, and is one of the few remaining opera houses of the era.

The building has been extensively restored and will close again for further renovations later this year.

The nature of the stage attracted legendary German composer Richard Wagner to the city, where he later commissioned the construction of the Bayreuth Festspielhaus - the venue for the annual Bayreuth Festival.

A view of the interior at the Margravial Opera House

The depth of the stage is said to have attracted Wagner and his dramatic tendencies

More than 900 sites of cultural or natural beauty or significance are protected entrants on UNESCO's World Heritage List, and the Margravial Opera House on Saturday became the 37th such site in Germany.

The criteria for selection revolve primarily around a site's universal value to society, coupled with long-term plans to secure it for future generations. Some 30 potential sites are being evaluated at the conference in St. Petersburg.

msh/mkg (dapd, dpa)