Europe spa towns get World Heritage status

Baden-Baden is among 11 'significant Spa resort' cities that have become World Heritage sites.
Baden-Baden is among 11 'significant Spa resort' cities that have become World Heritage sites.

Eleven European spa towns have been jointly awarded World Heritage status by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, recognising their key role in European society more than a hundred years ago.

In an unusual "transnational" designation, the 11 resorts that jointly put forward the "Great Spas of Europe" proposal were collectively awarded the coveted World Heritage status on Saturday by the UN committee, which has its annual meeting this year in the Chinese city of Fuzhou

Cited for the international significance they achieved as health resorts from the late 18th to the early 20th centuries, the towns sharing the award include the famous German resorts of Baden-Baden, Bad Ems and Bad Kissingen; Carlsbad and Marienbad in the Czech Republic, Spa in Belgium, Vichy in France and Bath in Britain.

As well as the inscription of new sites on the World Heritage list, the committee also has the power to remove those when their "outstanding universal value" is no longer deemed to be present.

Earlier in the week, Liverpool's historic waterfront in Britain became only the third site to be removed from the UNESCO list since it was inaugurated in 1972.

Since its inscription on the list in 2004, "Liverpool - Maritime Mercantile City" had already been placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2012, due to concerns about the "Liverpool Waters" development, the construction of high-rise buildings, damages to infrastructure and poor management.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the committee cancelled its annual meeting last year, meaning that it has a backlog of some 39 proposals to consider during this session.

The committee is scheduled to continue its deliberations until July 31.

Australian Associated Press