At the invitation of Minister-President Reiner Haseloff and in her capacity as Chair of the World Heritage Committee, on 5 March Minister of State Maria Böhmer visited the Francke Foundations in Halle on the Saale river and the Naumburg Cathedral in Land Saxony‑Anhalt. Both sites are candidates to be inscribed on the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage List.
In the Francke Foundations the Minister of State showed her admiration for the international reach of Francke’s idea ‑ the educational institution he set up and his social reforms served as an example all around the world, even in India and the US, educational institutions had been set up based on his model.
Böhmer praised the preservation of the historical buildings, too:
Land Saxony‑Anhalt has the most World Heritage sites in Germany and shows an exemplary commitment to preserving them. Indeed, outstanding work has been done to renovate the Francke Foundations which were severely neglected before reunification. This is important for the authenticity of the sites, and an important criterion of the World Heritage Committee’s assessment.
The Foundations are on the UNESCO World Heritage Committee’s Tentative List, meaning they will be applying to be declared a World Cultural Heritage in the coming year.
The Naumburg Cathedral ‑ a world‑class cultural heritage
Minister of State Böhmer concluded her trip by visiting the Naumburg Cathedral ‑ at this year’s session the World Heritage Committee is set to decide on whether to designate the Cathedral along with the elegant high medieval landscape along the rivers Saale and Unstrut, as a World Cultural Heritage. The meeting will take place in Bonn in June and will be chaired by the Minister of State.
Following her visit, Böhmer issued the following statement:
I found the lifelike statues of the Naumburg benefactors deeply moving. The Cathedral as well as the landscape which surrounds it certainly constitute a world‑class heritage. Nevertheless, there is fierce competition from the over 40 sites striving to be inscribed on the list.
The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) will hold an expert member’s vote in May. Böhmer would like to use her chairmanship to strengthen this technical element, thus avoiding politicisation. Commenting on this, she referred to the ad‑hoc working group she has set up which is drafting reform proposals to be presented in Bonn in June.