List of World Heritage Sites in Poland

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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972.[1]

There are 16 World Heritages Sites in Poland.[2] The first two sites were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1978. Three of the sites, Belovezhskaya Pushcha / Białowieża Forest, Wooden Tserkvas of Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine, and Muskauer Park / Park Mużakowski are shared with neighboring countries (Belarus, Ukraine and Germany respectively).

Poland also has six sites on the tentative list as well as 16 entries in the Memory of the World Programme.

World Heritage Sites[edit]

UNESCO lists sites under ten criteria; each entry must meet at least one of the criteria. Criteria i through vi are cultural, whereas vii through x are natural.[3]

  * Transnational site

World Heritage Sites
Site Image Location (voivodeship) Year listed UNESCO data Description
Historic Centre of Kraków Krakow rynek 01.jpg Lesser Poland 1978 29bis; iv (cultural) The city of Kraków, chartered in 1257, is the old capital of Poland. The historic centre encompasses three urban ensembles, the medieval City of Kraków, the Wawel Hill complex (the royal residence together with the Wawel Cathedral where the kings are buried), and the town of Kazimierz, including the suburb of Stradom, which was shaped by Catholic and Jewish residents. Kraków was a city of arts and crafts, a meeting place of East and West. The city retains a high level of integrity and includes buildings and features in styles from the early Romanesque to the Modernist periods. A minor boundary modification of the site took place in 2010.[4]
Auschwitz Birkenau, German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940–1945) Auschwitz-birkenau-main track.jpg Lesser Poland 1978 31; vi (cultural) Auschwitz was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II. It was the largest of the German concentration camps. The World Heritage Site covers Auschwitz I, the base camp, Auschwitz II–Birkenau, the extermination camp, and a mass grave of inmates.[5] The site was originally listed as "Auschwitz Concentration Camp", but upon Poland's request renamed as "Auschwitz Birkenau" with the subtitle of "German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940–1945)"[6]
Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines Wieliczka-saltmine-kinga.jpg Lesser Poland 1978 32ter; iv (cultural) Wieliczka and Bochnia contain deposits of rock salt which has been mined since the 13th century. Hundreds of kilometres of tunnels in both mines also contain works of art, such as sculptures carved in salt and underground chapels. The mines also illustrate the development of mining technologies in Europe. Wieliczka was first listed individually in 1978. In 1989 it was added to the list of World Heritage in Danger due to the threats posed to the sculptures by the humidity. Following a conservation programme, it was removed from the endangered list in 1998. A minor boundary modification took place in 2008. The Bochnia Mine was added in 2013.[7][8]
Białowieza Forest* Białowieski Park Narodowy03 23a.jpg Podlaskie 1979 33; vii (natural) Białowieża Forest is a large forest complex, including extensive old-growth forests, on the border between Poland and Belarus. It is an example of the Central European mixed forests terrestrial ecoregion, and a range of associated non-forest habitats, including wet meadows, river valleys, and other wetlands. The area is home to the largest free-roaming population of European Bison, as well as wolf, lynx, and otter. The Polish part of the site was first added to the list in 1979. The part in Belarus, Belovezhskaya Pushcha, was added in 1992, while the year 2014 saw a large extension of the protected area.[9]
Historic Centre of Warsaw Warsaw Old Town Market Square 10.JPG Masovian 1980 30; ii, vi (cultural) Warsaw, the capital of Poland, was deliberately demolished by Nazi troops following the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. More than 85% of the historic centre was destroyed. After the war, a five-year restoration campaign took place, and it resulted in a meticulous restoration of the Old Town. The reconstruction process continued in the 1960s and concluded with the opening of the Royal Castle to visitors in 1984.[10]
Old City of Zamość A299 Kamienica Wilczkowska ul. Ormiańska 30 (Rynek Wielki) Zamość.jpg Lublin 1992 564; iv (cultural) Jan Zamoyski commissioned the Italian architect Bernardo Morando to design the city that would be based on the anthropomorphic concept. The main distinguishing features of the Old Town have been well preserved since its establishment. It includes the regular Great Market Square of 100 x 100 meters with the splendid Townhall and so-called Armenian houses, as well as the fragments of the original fortress and fortifications, including those from the period of the Russian occupation in the 19th century.[11]
Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork Castillo de Malbork, Polonia, 2013-05-19, DD 45.jpg Pomeranian 1997 847; ii, iii, iv (cultural) The Castle in Malbork is the largest castle in the world by area.[12] It was built in Prussia by the Teutonic Knights, a German Roman Catholic religious order of crusaders, in a form of an Ordensburg fortress. The Order named it Marienburg (Mary's Castle). The town which grew around it was also named Marienburg. The castle is a classic example of a medieval fortress, and on its completion in 1406 was the world's largest brick Gothic castle.
Medieval Town of Toruń Torun ratusz corr.jpg Kuyavian-Pomeranian 1997 835; ii, iv (cultural) Toruń has many monuments of architecture beginning from the Middle Ages, including 200 military structures. The city is famous for having preserved almost intact its medieval spatial layout and many Gothic buildings, all built from brick, including monumental churches, the Town Hall and many burgher houses. In 1236, due to frequent flooding,[13] the city was relocated to the present site of the Old Town. In 1264 the nearby New Town was founded. In 1280, the city (or as it was then, both cities) joined the mercantile Hanseatic League, and thus became an important medieval trade centre.
Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: the Mannerist Architectural and Park Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park Kalwaria Zebrzydowska 024.jpg Lesser Poland 1999 905; 1999;
ii, iv
The town is named after the religious complex (calvary) founded by Governor of Kraków Mikołaj Zebrzydowski on December 1, 1602. The complex is known as the Kalwaria Zebrzydowska park. The city of Zebrzydów was established in 1617 in order to house the growing number of pilgrims visiting the religious complex.
Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica ChurchOfPeace Jawor Wiki.png Lower Silesian 1654-1657 1054; 2001;
iii, iv, vi
The Churches of Peace in Jawor and Świdnica in Silesia were named after the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 which permitted the Lutherans in the Roman Catholic parts of Silesia to build three Evangelical churches from wood, loam and straw outside the city walls, without steeples and church bells. The construction time was limited to one year.
Wooden Churches of Southern Lesser Poland Church of St. Michael in Dębno 2009 (4).jpg Lesser Poland 2003 1053; 2003;
iii, iv
The wooden church style of the region originated in the late Medieval, the late sixteenth century, and began with Gothic ornament and polychrome detail, but because they were timber construction, the structure, general form, and feeling is entirely different from the gothic architecture or Polish Gothic (in stone or brick).
Muskauer Park / Park Mużakowski* 1024 2012-1-sept-5093.jpg Lubusz 2004 1127; 2004;
i, iv
The Muskau Park is the largest and one of the most famous English gardens of Germany and Poland. Situated in the historic Upper Lusatia region, it covers 3.5 square kilometers (1.4 sq mi) of land in Poland and 2.1 km2 (0.81 sq mi) in Germany. UNESCO added the park to its World Heritage List, as an exemplary example of cross-border cultural collaboration between Poland and Germany.
Centennial Hall Wroclaw - Hala Stulecia z fontanna.jpg Lower Silesian 2006 1165; 2006;
i, ii, iv
The Centennial Hall (formerly People's Hall) is a historic building in Wrocław. It was constructed according to the plans of architect Max Berg in 1911–1913, when the city was part of the German Empire. As an early landmark of reinforced concrete architecture, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Wooden Tserkvas of Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine* Cerkiew bojkowska Smolnik.JPG Lesser Poland, Podkarpackie 2013 1424; 2013;
iii, iv
Situated in the eastern fringe of Central Europe, the transnational property numbers a selection of 16 tserkvas, churches, built of horizontal wooden logs between the 16th and 19th centuries by communities of the Eastern Orthodox and Greek Catholic faiths. They represent the cultural expression of four ethnographic groups and the formal, decorative and technical characteristics they developed over time. The tserkvas bear testimony to a distinct building tradition rooted in Orthodox ecclesiastic design interwoven with elements of local tradition, and symbolic references to their communities’ cosmogony. The tserkvas are built on a tri-partite plan surmounted by open quadrilateral or octagonal domes and cupolas. They feature wooden bell towers, iconostasis screens, and interior polychrome decorations as well as churchyards, gatehouses and graveyards.
Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine and its Underground Water Management System Dawna kopalnia srebra w Tarnowskich Górach.JPG Silesian 2017 1539; 2017;
i, ii, iv
Located in the Upper Silesian region of southern Poland, a major mining area of central Europe, the heritage site "includes the entire underground mine with adits, shafts, galleries and water management system. Most of the site is situated underground while the surface mining topography features the remains of the 19th century steam water pumping station, which testifies to continuous efforts over three centuries to drain the underground extraction zone. It has made it possible to use undesirable water from the mines to supply towns and industry. Tarnowskie Góry represents a significant contribution to the global production of lead and zinc."[14]
Krzemionki Prehistoric Striped Flint Mining Region Krzemionki 20150519 6496.jpg Lesser Poland 2019 1599; iii, iv (cultural) A Neolithic and early Bronze Age complex of flint mines for the extraction of Upper Jurassic (Oxfordian) banded flints located about eight kilometers north-east of Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski. It is one of the largest known complex of prehistoric flint mines in Europe together with Grimes Graves in England and Spiennes in Belgium.[15]

Tentative list[edit]

In addition to sites inscribed on the World Heritage List, member states can maintain a list of tentative sites that they may consider for nomination. Nominations for the World Heritage List are only accepted if the site was previously listed on the tentative list.[16] As of 2020, Poland lists six properties on its tentative list.[2]

Tentative sites }
Site Image Location Year listed UNESCO criteria Description
Gdansk—Town of Memory and Freedom
Calle Dlugie Pobrzeze, Gdansk, Polonia, 2013-05-20, DD 06.jpg
Augustow Canal*
Kanal augustowski 3.jpg
Podlaskie Voivodeship 2006 (cultural) The Augustow Canal was built in 1823-1839, to provide a direct link between the two major rivers, Vistula River through the Biebrza River – a tributary of the Narew River, and the Neman River through its tributary – the Czarna Hancza River, and it provided a link with the Black Sea to the south through the Oginski Canal, Daugava River, Berezina Canal and Dnieper River. It allowed the trade routes to bypass the territory of Eastern Prussia, which had earlier introduced high customs duties for transit of Polish and Lithuanian goods through its territory. Technical heritage of the canal includes locks, weirs, towpaths, as well as roads and bridges. The canal is now located in the territories of Belarus and Poland, thus making the nomination transnational.[17][18]
The Dunajec River Gorge in the Pieniny Mountains
Przełom Dunajca a1.jpg
Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe*
Bieszczadzki Park Narodowy 01.JPG
2019 Bieszczady National Park
Modernist Centre of Gdynia — the example of building an integrated community
Gdynia- Dom Żeglarza Polskiego (4).JPG
Paper Mill in Duszniki-Zdrój
2015 Papiernia w Dusznikach-Zdroju 03.JPG

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The World Heritage Convention". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Poland". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  3. ^ "UNESCO World Heritage Centre – The Criteria for Selection". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on 12 June 2016. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Białowieża Forest". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  10. ^
  11. ^ A. Kędziora: Encyklopedia miasta Zamościa. Chełm: Towarzystwo Opieki nad Zabytkami, 2000
  12. ^ Malbork Castle (with an area of 143,591 square meters), the largest castle in the world by KML Area Calculator. Touropia, the Travel List Website: "10 Largest Castles in the World." Accessed 6 April 2011.
  13. ^ Max Töppen Historisch-comparative Geographie von Preussen: Nach den Quellen, namentlich auch archivalischen, J. Perthes, 1858; PDF
  14. ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine and its Underground Water Management System". Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  15. ^ Sałaciński S. & Zalewski M., 1987: Krzemionki. Wydawnictwa Geologiczne, page 9.
  16. ^ "Tentative Lists". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
  17. ^ "Augustow Canal". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  18. ^ "The Augustów Canal (Kanal Augustowski)". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 30 August 2020.

External links[edit]