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  • Wanja Wedekind

The Saale-Unstrut cultural landscape corridor project


The Saale-Unstrut region in the east of Germany is also called the "Tuscany of the North". The picturesque river landscape offers a unique architectural heritage from 1000 years of European history, with old vineyards, steep terraces, dry stone walls and vineyard cottages.

In an interdisciplinary project the cultural landscape of the Saale-Unstrut region was investigated and the results were published in a generally understandable form within a book for the general public. The project was supported by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU). Now the study also is published within the international scientific journal Environmental Earth Sciences. 12 Authors of different scientific disciplines were involved like geology, geography, biology, archeology, history and conservation. We were responsible for the conservation works within the project.

Cultural landscapes are the result of long-term human–environment interaction, but they are nevertheless worldwide vulnerable to processes of global change such as land-use change, urbanization, neglect and abandonment. The cultural landscape mosaic along the rivers Saale and Unstrut (Germany, Central Uplands) provides many features of (pre-)historical human activities, in particular since the Middle Ages. Most of these elements occur in what can be defined as “cultural landscape corridor” along the river valleys, thus conveying a broad insight in historic land-use, including viticulture, and architecture of the past centuries in a nutshell. The area has been nominated for inscription in the List of World Heritage, due to its famous components in Naumburg, Freyburg and Pforta that representatively reflect cultural processes of the High Middle Ages. However, population loss and land-use change as well as neglect of lower-ranking monuments may lead to a gradual decline of the historical cultural landscape and its multiple elements. In this contribution, we summarize the landscape development in the Saale-Unstrut area and discuss measures to raise awareness of selected elements of a coherent cultural landscape corridor. The full article can be found in Environmental Earth Sciences no. 77(3) with the DOI10.1007/s12665-017-7222-4 or as PDF-document under Innovationen-Publikationen on this webpage.


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