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Bavaria’s Danube Limes becomes UNESCO world heritage site

The Danube Limes, which stretches through southern Germany to Slovakia and marks the borders of the Roman Empire, was added to the World Heritage List on Friday.

Bavaria's Danube Limes becomes UNESCO world heritage site
The Danube in Lower Bavaria in the district of Kelheim. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Armin Weigel

Welcoming the decision, heritage experts said ancient sites smattered along the meandering river Danube Limes were an “outstanding testimony” to Roman civilisation. 

Germany has now submitted six successful applications in the current series of UNESCO meetings, which has been running since July 16th and will continue until Saturday.

Four applications have previously been successful this year: the spa towns of Bad Ems, Baden-Baden and Bad Kissingen; the Lower Germanic Limes; the Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt; as well as Jewish sites in Speyer, Worms and Mainz.

Only cultural and natural sites of outstanding universal value are designated as world heritage.

Before the decision on Friday, tension had risen after Hungary left the joint application with Germany, Austria and Slovakia at short notice. The committee then postponed the decision that was actually planned for Monday and initially set up a working group for further deliberations.

READ ALSO: Travel: Five stunning UNESCO sites that tell Germany’s history

In pointed comments made after the announcement, Michelle Müntefering, Minister of State for International Cultural Policy in the Foreign Office, described the accolade as a sign of international cooperation.


A sign points the way to an old Roman defence frontier. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Armin Weigel

“The Danube Limes not only honours a special landscape of monuments, but also recognises the longstanding cooperation with Austria and Slovakia.” she said. “The task now is to add sites in the eastern section of the Danube to the western sections of the Limes.”

The Danube ‘connected different worlds’

“For the Romans, the Danube was not just a natural border, it was also an important connection route for goods and, above all, for ideas,” said Maria Böhmer, President of the German Commission for UNESCO. “The Danube Limes not only separated, but also connected very different worlds.

READ ALSO: UNESCO adds spa towns in France, Germany and Austria to World Heritage list

“It is an outstanding testimony to Roman civilisation, whose strength has always been to absorb external influences,” said Böhmer. “I am delighted that the World Heritage Committee has honoured the Danube Limes today.”


The remains of a roman fort near the Danube. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Armin Weigel

The registered section of the Danube Limes runs over 600 kilometres from Lower Bavaria via Austria to Slovakia. For centuries soldiers and their families were stationed there, working and living on the “wet Limes”.

The 77 sub-areas of the transnational world heritage site include ground monuments, such as the remains of legionary camps, forts and civil settlements. 

The Lower Germanic Limes was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List on Tuesday. The borders of the Roman Empire are thus recognized as World Heritage from Scotland to Slovakia.

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LIVING IN GERMANY

REVEALED: The most commonly asked questions about Germans and Germany

Ever wondered what the world is asking about Germany and the Germans? We looked at Google’s most searched results to find out – and help clear some of these queries up.

Oktoberfest
Hasan Salihamidzic, the sports director of FC Bayern, arrives with his wife at Oktoberfest in full traditional dress. Photo: picture alliance/dpa |

According to popular searches, Germany is the go-to place for good coffee and bread (although only if you like the hard kind) and the place to avoid if what you’re looking for is good food, good internet connection and low taxes. Of course, this is subjective; some people will travel long stretches to get a fresh, hot pretzel or a juicy Bratwurst, while others will take a hard pass.

When it comes to the question on the bad Internet – there is some truth to this. German is known for being behind other rich nations when it comes to connectivity. And from personal experience, the internet connection can seem a little medieval. The incoming German coalition government has, however, vowed to improve internet connectivity as part of their plans to modernise the country.

There are also frequent questions on learning the German language, and people pointing out that it is hard and complicated. This is probably due to the long compound words and its extensive grammar rules, however, as both English and German are Germanic languages with similar words in common, it’s not impossible to learn as an English-speaker.

Here’s a look at some of those questions…

Why is German called Deutsch? Whereas ‘German’ comes from the Latin, ‘Deutsch’ instead derives itself from the Indo-European root “þeudō”, meaning “people”. This slowly became “Deutsch” as we know it today. It can be a bit confusing to English-speakers, who are right to think it sounds a little more like “Dutch”, however the two languages do have the same roots which may explain it.

And why is Germany so boring? Again, probably a generalisation, especially given that Germany has a landmass of over 350,000 km² with areas ranging from high rise, industrial cities to traditional old town villages and even mountain ranges, so you’re sure to find a place that doesn’t bore you to tears.

Perhaps it is a question that comes from the stereotype that Germans are obsessed with strict about rules, organised and analytical. Or that they have no sense of humour – all of these things being not the most exciting traits. 

Either way, from my experience I can confirm that, even though there is truth to German society enjoying order and rules, the vast majority of people are not boring, and I’m sure if you come to Germany you’ll meet many interesting, funny and exciting people. 

READ ALSO: 12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Germany

When it comes to the German weather, most people assume a cold and cloudy climate, however this isn’t entirely true. While the autumn and winter, especially in the north, comes with grey skies and sub-zero temperatures, Germany can have some beautiful summers, with temperatures frequently rising above 30C in some places.

Unsurprisingly, the power and wealth of the German nation is mentioned – Germany is the largest economy in Europe after all, with a GDP of 3.8 trillion dollars. This could be due to strong industry sectors in the country, including vehicle constructions (I was a little surprised to find no questions posed on German cars), chemical and electrical industry and engineering. There are also many strong economic cities in Germany, most notably Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg.

READ ALSO: Eight unique words and phrases that tell us something about Germany

Smart and tall?

Why are Germans so tall? They are indeed taller than many other nations, with the average German measuring a good 172.87cm (or 5 feet 8.06 inches), however this may be a question better posed to the Dutch, who make up the tallest people in the world.

Why are Germans so smart? While this is again a generalisation – as individuals have different levels of intelligence in all countries – this question may stem from Germany’s free higher education system or their seemingly efficient work ethic. Plus there does seem to be some scientific research behind this question, with a study done in 2006 finding that Germans had the highest IQ in Europe.

So, while many of the questions posed about Germany and Germans on Google stem from stereotypes, we can confirm that some aren’t entirely made up. If you’re looking to debunk some frequently asked questions about France and the French, check out this article by our sister site HERE.

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