Bonn Unesco has designated the Lower Germanic Limes as part of the border of the ancient Roman Empire as a new World Heritage Site. Part of it is also the former Roman camp north of today's Bonn.
Suddenly, everything happened very quickly: In the morning, Central European Time, it was said that the decision would be postponed until Wednesday. On Tuesday afternoon, the longed-for news arrived from the Chinese city of Fuzhou: The Lower Germanic Limes has been included in the list of World Heritage Sites. Thus, the city of Bonn can also now adorn itself with this seal. This is because the former Roman camp in what is now the north of Bonn was part of the chain of fortifications along the Rhine from Remagen to its mouth - also known as the "wet Limes". Accordingly, a group from regions in Rhineland-Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia and the Netherlands had jointly applied for the title. Other Lower Germanic Limes sites include Alfter, Bornheim and Swisttal.
"This is great news," said Lord Mayor Katja Dörner in an initial reaction. Bonn, she said, is aware of the importance of its Roman heritage and will take this obligation into due consideration in future decisions affecting the surroundings of the archaeological monuments. Dörner spoke of additional tourism starting points that would be gladly used together with the partners. The cross-border cooperation had proven itself. A Limes cycle path had been mentioned as a possible project during the application phase.
NRW's Minister of the Interior, Ina Scharrenbach (CDU), was also pleased with the success: she said the decision in the current situation was "also an encouragement for all people in North Rhine-Westphalia, because it shows what historical and cultural treasure our state has. We can be proud of that." According to Scharrenbach, the decision also honors the work of the application partners, who for years "have worked tirelessly and at the highest scientific level to ensure that the unique sites are now recognized as World Heritage Sites. I would like to thank all those involved for their efforts and their persistent commitment," she said.
There had been isolated criticism of this commitment, at least in Bonn. As reported, a group of residents from Castell had denied that the city administration was making a serious effort to achieve the title of World Heritage Site. They feared that the current densification on Graurheindorfer Strasse and Rosental in particular could run counter to the project, but this fear was ultimately not borne out.
Also declared World Heritage Sites on Tuesday were the so-called Schum sites of Mainz, Worms and Speyer - cemeteries and architectural remains from Jewish life in the Middle Ages. In North Rhine-Westphalia, there are six Unesco World Heritage Sites so far: Aachen and Cologne Cathedrals, Augustusburg and Falkenlust Castles in Brühl, the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen, and Corvey Monastery.
Original text: Rüdiger Franz
Translation: Mareike Graepel