UNESCO in Poland

Poland, as many other countries, has its own list of objects located on the World Heritage List of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). Here are they (date in parentheses indicates the date of inclusion in the list):

1) The historical center of Krakow with the Old Town, Wawel Castle, Kazimierz Stradom (1978)

Its presence on the UNESCO lists Cracow owes for a unique and special type of architecture of the largest in Europe, medieval market along with the Church of St. Adalbert, the Gothic St. Mary’s Church, Renaissance Cloth Hall and stylish houses. UNESCO awarded also the Wawel CASTLE and the Jewish district of Kazimierz.

PvN Cracow

Afb. Kasia Olczak

2) Wieliczka (1978)

Royal Salt Mines in Wieliczka and Bochnia are the oldest, continuously operating, mining facility in Poland. Salt is mined there since the 13th century. There are 360 km sidewalks and more than 2000 km salt chambers located inside hydrochloric maze.

Wieliczka.Kopalnia_Soli_Kaplica_św.Kingi m

Photo: Noaśka, Wikimedia Commons

3) Auschwitz-Birkenau (1979)

The Nazi extermination camp operated in years 1940 – 1945. At the UNESCO World Heritage List came as a tribute to the victims and a warning for future generations. Auschwitz – Birkenau is a frightening testimony of Nazi crimes, thanks to the preserved ruins of crematoria, watchtowers, fencing with barbed wire and shocking memorabilia of the prisoners.


Photo: Dorota Mazur


Photo: Dorota Mazur

4) Białowieża Forest (1979, 1992)

Located on the border between Polish and Belarus in Podlaskie voivodeship, Białowieża Forest (the oldest in Europe) hit  on UNESCO list as the exceptional natural phenomenon and a special area of natural beauty. The most famous inhabitants of the forest are bisons, whose population is about 750 individuals. Within the forest is the Bialowieża National Park  (the oldest in Poland).

Puszcza Białowieska

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

5) Old Town in Warsaw (1980)

Remembering medieval times, the Warsaw’s Old Town was almost completely destroyed during World War II. However, thanks to determination and commitment of the Poles, it has been in a large scale rebuilt. As a result, Warsaw regained the Old Town Square, Royal Castle and numerous palaces and churches, which went to UNESCO list as an example of “faithful reconstruction including the preservation of original sections of the architecture.”


Photo: Marek Angiel

6) Old Town in Zamość (1992)

The City of Zamość was founded in the 16th century by the Chancellor Jan Zamoyski. It was built on the trade route connecting the west and north of Europe with the Black Sea. The designer of its Renaissance architecture was architect Bernardo Morandi from Padua. There are three markets in Zamość: the Great Market, the Salt Market and the Water Market. UNESCO appreciated the beauty of the Old Town.


Photo: danutar


Photo: Marek Angiel

7) Zamek Krzyżacki w Malborku (1997)

The City Malbork is situated in the northern part of Poland – Pomerania. In the 13th century a fortified stronghold was erected here, which in 1309 r. became the seat of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order and has turned into a huge castle. During World War II Malbork castle was seriously damaged, however, thanks to the preserved detailed documentation, has been successfully rebuilt.

Malbork_Castle,_part_4 m

Photo: DerHexer

Malbork Refektarz

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

8) Toruń (1997)

The origins of this beautiful city, located in the northern part of the Poland, reach the 13th century. In this time a Teutonic castle was built to serve as a base for the conquest and evangelization of Prussia. Currently Torun is known primarily from the birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus and the production of unique gingerbread. UNESCO placed on its Heritage List  a medieval urban complex, including the Old and New Town.

Torun noc

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


Photo: Renata Głuszek

9) Zebrzydowska Calvary (1999)

Calvary is known primarily from the built in 17th century Bernardine monastery, which was an important spiritual center and one of the most important Passion-Marian shrines. Around the monastery are extended numerous Calvary Pathways as a symbolic way of Christ to Golgota.

Kalwaria_Zebrzydowska_014 m

Photo: Ludwig Schneider

10) Churches of Peace in Jawor and Świdnica (2003)

Both temples were created in the mid-17th century under the Peace of Westphalia, ending the Thirty Years War. The Austrian monarch, Ferdinand III, allowed Protestants of Lower Silesia to erect three temples. They were to be built within a year, outside the city, with perishable materials. In spite of these challenges, the churches in Jawor and Świdnica proved to be very durable, stand to this day, surprising with the rich baroque interior.


Jawor, photo: Dorota Mazur


Jawor, photo: Dorota Mazur

11) Wooden temples of the southern Little Poland (2003)

UNESCO appreciated their unique, rich, medieval architecture and distinguished the oldest of them, namely those found in Binarowa, Blizne, Debno, Haczów, Lipnica Murowana and Sękowa. The most famous is the larch, a late Gothic church of Debno.

Kotlina Orawsko-Nowotarska, Debno k

Dębno, photo: Marek Angiel

12) Mużakowski Park (2004)

It is a landscape park, stretching along both sides of the Neisse which runs along the Polish-German border. It was created by Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau in the years 1815-1844. It was designed as “a picture painted by plant” and used the local flora to highlight the values of the local landscape. The park also includes a reconstructed castle, bridges and arboretum.

Mużakowski m

Photo: Dr. Bernd Gross

13) Centennial Hall in Wrocław (2006)

This hall was built and designed by Max Berg in 1911-1913. UNESCO declared the building as a masterpiece of human creative genius. Its modernity consisted, among others, the use of reinforced concrete, so this building seemed surprisingly light. Centennial Hall serves for recreation, culture and entertainment purposes, and is able to accommodate up to 6 000 people.

Hala_Ludowa,_Hala_Stulecia._Foto_Barbara_Maliszewska (2) m

Photo: Barbara Maliszewska


Photo: Barbara Maliszewska

14) Carpathian Orthodox churches (2013)

Eight sub-Carpathian Orthodox churches in Radruż, Chotyniec, Smolnik, Turzańsk, Powroźnik, Owczary, Kwiatoń, Brunary and Wyżne were built between 16th to 19th centuries. There are temples of Orthodox and Greek Catholics believers. They represent 4 types of architecture: halicki, Lemko, Bojkowska and Hutsul. Inside those churches are, among others, paintings of Christ in Lemko huts, Christ crucified or the painting of Gazda Lemko, sowing grain.


Turzańsk, photo: Dorota Mazur


Turzańsk, photo: Dorota Mazur

15. The Historic Silver Mine in Tarnowskie Góry – since 9th July 2017

The Silver Mine embraces of 28 mining monuments which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The most important of them is the Historic Silver Mine, founded in the 16th century. The reconstructed and available for sightseeing  excavations date back to the 17th century. They are a small part of the former Fryderyk mine. The hiking trail is 1740 m long, of which 270 m is done by boat. The biggest attraction is Silver Chamber of 500 m2, with a charming little lake that has survived to this day in the original state. The UNESCO list also includes a Black Trout Adit, which originates in 1821. At the end of the 19th century with its length of 15 km  it was the longest tunnel in the region.

Kopalnia_srebra_w_Tarnowskich_Górach m

By Dorota Mazur




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