Eleven Spa Towns inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site

• Eleven Spa Towns across Europe inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
• The decision to inscribe the site was made 24 July 2021 at the 44th Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Fuzhou (China)

Eleven spa towns across Europe, including Baden-Baden (Germany), Spa(Belgium), and Bath (UK), have been jointly inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Great Spa Towns of Europe is a ‘transnational serial’ UNESCO World Heritage Site formed of eleven famous historical thermal spa towns and cities across seven countries. Together, they represent the grandest and most significant spa towns that changed the culture of Europe between 1700 and 1930.

Spa towns used natural mineral waters to treat pain and disease in the days before modern medication. Treatments included ‘taking the waters’, applying mineral and thermal water, drinking cures, bathing, irrigations, hydrotherapy, and mud treatments. Each town shares unique urban layouts and significant architectural buildings, including notable spa buildings and visitor facilities such as spa houses, colonnades, churches, theatres, casino houses, and dedicated hotels and
boarding houses.

While the Bader Lexicon of 1854 lists 652 major European spas, only a handful of the grandest spas now survive in their original form. The eleven Spa towns jointly inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites represent the most authentic and best examples of this European phenomenon.
The eleven towns are:
1. Baden bei Wien (Austria)
2. Spa (Belgium)
3. Františkovy Lázane (Czechia)
4. Karlovy Vary (Czechia)
5. Mariánské Lázne (Czechia)
6. Vichy (France)
7. Bad Ems (Germany)
8. Baden-Baden (Germany)
9. Bad Kissingen (Germany)
10.Montecatini Terme (Italy)
11. City of Bath (United Kingdom)

Today, these spa towns continue to fulfill many of their roles, with people able to bathe in or drink the waters in traditional and modern facilities. Visitors can enjoy walking, hiking, and other activities in the “therapeutic landscape” of parks and gardens and the wider countryside

Previous UNESCO related articles on APSWC.org

By Andrew Jacka, Chairman, APSWC based on Media Releases.

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