#2: Regensburg

August 15-18, 2022

Not only Bamberg is compared to Italy. Regensburg is called “the northest town of Italy” – and when you stroll through the city on a summer night, you won’t disagree. Small beautiful streets, many restaurants, bars and a little bit of Dolce Vita. Fortunately the gorgeous old town wasn’t destroyed so much by World War II.


In 2006 the Old Town with  “Stadtamhof” (the district across the Danube) and its 1500 monumental buildings were added to the UNESCO List. Since last year, Regensburg even has its second World Heritage title. It is part of the Donaulimes which marks the part of the Roman military border along the Danube.
Anyways, the UNESCO title is very important for the sustainable development of the city. It not only serves to preserve the Roman-influenced old town, but also makes it attractive and worth living in. With a population of around 160.000, Regensburg is also a successful business location.


The Danube, as second longest river in Europe, divides the old town and “Stadtamhof”, while the Stone Bridge connects both areas. Before crossing the Stone Bridge, don’t forget to visit the World Heritage Center. It is located in the monumental building “Salzstadel” which has been the center of salt trade in the 17th century. (If you’re hungry afterwards, get a “Kipferl” next to the Salzstadel at the historic Wurstkuchl.)
With being opened as one of the first world heritage centers in Europe in 2011, it just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Therefore an interesting book was published that highlights the museum in a interdisciplinary kind of way. In cooperation with the FH Johanneum Graz, which has also been involved in the concept of the center, it highlights the trends towards world heritage transfer. Additionally the book is accompanied by an exciting exhibition designed by Elisa Wünschter. The young Austrian talent interviewed and focused on people in Regensburg and their thoughts regarding the history, present and future of Regensburg. This exhibition is definitely worth a visit!

A place I call home: Since I came back for this summer, I realized how many creative (and young) people are living in this historical city. I felt lots of energy and a vibrant creative and culture scene. It certainly won’t be boring in Regensburg!

August 15-17


Helsinki Cathedral on the Senate Square was built in 19th century.

Day 1

Arrival in Helsinki, the biggest city and capital of Finnland. Helsinki (at that time Helsingfors) was established in 1550 by King Gustav I of Sweden. His intention was to build up a rival trading town to Tallinn which was member of the Hanseatic League. So with Helsinki we are actually having a closer look at the competition of the Hanseatic League ;).

Two churches were on my bucket list on the very first day: First, the protestant Helsinki Cathedral which is impressively enthroned above the senate square. Second, the Temppeliaukio Church, which is also a protestant church but has a totally different appearance: The church was directly built in solid rock covered with a dome made of copper. Afterwards I enjoyed the view from the terrace of Oodi central library, which is not only a public library but also a public space for the whole city offering video game rooms, a sound studio, rooms with 3D printers or sewing machines, shared offices and much more. The day ended  with a walk through Sibelius Park where I watched the sunset at the famous monument for the finnish composer Jean Sibelius that is assembled by more than 600 steel pipes.

Temppeliaukio Church inside
Oodi central library
Sibelius Monument – Some say the organ pipes were designed like birch bark from the Finnish forests

Day 2

Not much of King Gustav’s plan came true and Helsinki was still a tiny town in the 18th century. The region slowly grew in importance after Sweden lost the Great Nordic War and most of its fortresses in the east. Therefore in 1748 the Swedish Crown startet the construction of a new fortress to protect against the Russian expansionism. Sveaborg (meaning castle of the Swedes) was built on 6 islands off the coast of Helsinki mostly by soldiers. Although the bastion fortress seemed to be impregnable and was even called “Gibraltar of the North” Russia , however, captured Sveaborg in 1808. With Finnlands independance in 1917 Sveaborg again serves in defence for a new country and was renamed in Suomenlinna (castle of Finnland). Today it is not only a unique testimony of  fortification of that time but also  a lively district of Helsinki with approximately 800 inhabitants. Furthermore, the garrison buildings on Suomenlinna houses the Naval Academy of Finnland  and also the unique dry dock is still in use.

The king’s gate
Dry dock which is still in use
Bastion Zander on the southernmost part


left: Suomenlinna Church that also serves as lighthouse; right: Suomenlinna is a lively district and also has its own supermarket nowadays

Day 3

To get an impression how life in Finnland was in former times I went to the beautiful island of Seurasaari. It is not only a popular recreation area but also site of an open-air museum with old wooden buildings and farms brought here from all over the country. Furthermore, Seurasaari was  the favourite jogging route of former President Urho Kekkonen.

left: bear-proof food storage; right: wooden church tower

beautiful nature on the island

The Helsinki experience was completed with a visit of the wooden Kamppi Chapel also called silent chapel even if it is one of the most frequently visited chapels. Next to the Kamppi Chapel under the urban square of Lasipalatsi is the museum of modern arts “Amos Rex” with a weird but fascinating exhibition.

Kamppi Chapel
Lasipalatsi square
Exhibition from Amos Rex – rabbit hole

#1: Bamberg

August 14, 2022

Accompanied by my flatmate, I started the first part of my journey last weekend: Bamberg. Almost 30 years ago (in 1993) the Old Town of Bamberg was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. With a total of 142 hectares, three parts of the old town are UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the City on the hills (Bergstadt), the Island District (Inselstadt) and the Market Gardeners’ District (Gartenstadt). Beforehand, I talked to the team of the World Heritage Coordination in Bamberg and realised that I was particularly interested in the Market Gardeners’ District…



Urban Gardening has been practised in Bamberg since the Middle Ages and the Market Gardeners’ District forms an important contrast to the otherwise densely built-up Bamberg.

Our first stop was the Market Gardeners’ and Wine-Growers’ Museum, which was redesigned in 2012 by the city of Bamberg and the Urban Gardening project. The museum shows a 19th century market gardener’s house and behind the building you find the historic house garden with regional vegetables, fruit and herbs. For example, a special type of potato is grown there (the “Bamberger Hörnle“). Furthermore, the Bamberg region is the only liquorice growing area north of the Alps.


Not only the inner-city areas are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since 2016, the gardening customs, including the culture and people, are part of the intangible cultural heritage. I find this fact particularly exciting, as the trend towards regional and organic grocery shopping is becoming increasingly important. Therefore, of course, it is not only the material cultural heritage that needs to be protected, but also the culture itself. At the same time, however, there are fewer and fewer gardening businesses in Bamberg. The areas are protected by UNESCO and cannot be operated commercially. That is why ideas for alternative agriculture/ gardening and innovative projects are becoming increasingly important. The farms cannot only follow their tradition, but have to go with the changing times. On the one hand, this is a huge challenge for the farms, but at the same time it is important in order to live the sustainability idea of UNESCO.


The Bamberg World Heritage Centre is located directly on the River Regnitz. The exhibition space has a very modern design and explains the UNESCO title in a very interactive kind of way.  In the same building the Bamberg World Heritage Office can be found, which was founded in 2005 and serves as the central coordination body for all issues concerning the World Heritage site.


After the two museums, we strolled a bit through the old town. The island city is also called Little Venice and is really pretty to look at. This district is characterised by half-timbered buildings and by – again – tiny, pretty gardens. The cathedral and the rose garden should not be forgotten either. After all: urban gardening culture is a thing in Bamberg! 


The World Heritage Site in Bamberg is also an important place of learning, or rather a source of knowledge, for young people. Hopefully, the students of the Master’s programme “Monument/Historical Preservation” (Denkmalpflege) will share their knowledge with our world to preserve places like the beautiful Franconian Bamberg.


August 12-14


Freedom Monument in Riga – a national symbol for Latvia’s independance









Day 1

Next on the list is Riga, which became member of the Hanseatic League in 1282 which is just 81 years after its considered foundation by German Bishop Albert. To discover this beatuiful city and learn more about the UNESCO heritage in Riga I met Aigars Kušķis, who is repsonsible for questions regarding urban planning with respect to UNESCO heritage in the historic centre of Riga.

left: Aigars and me in Albert Iela which is famous for Art Nouveau buildings; right: View on historic centre from St. Peter’s Church

It was a pleasure to walk around with him as he knew interesting details and facts for every centimeter of his area of responsibility. As the best local tour guide which you can probably get he took  me to places where I would never have expected world heritage: For instance, he showed me some rare remains of the original city wall in the cellar of a Hotel next to its Spa as well as one of the oldest coat of arms of the city in the courtyard behind the famous “three brothers”.

Remains of the original city wall integrated into a hotel spa
Three brothers are the oldest still existing houses in Riga

Aigars also drew my attention to where the course of the namesake Riege River can still be seen today and where houses were not rebuilt after bombings in World War 2. The tour ended in the newer part of the UNESCO core area: The art nouveau district which has one of the highest concentration of art noveau buildings worldwide. The facades offered a wide variety on various details to watch. Once again many thanks to Aigars for these fascinating insights!

Art Nouveau facade and stairwell in Alberta Iela

Day 2

To find out more about the connection between the city and trade I visited the House of the Black Heads which is situated on Riga’s main square. The Black Heads are an association of local unmarried male merchants, ship owners, and foreigners. Together with the large guild hall and the small guild hall, the House of the Black Heads impressively shows that the power in this city long emanated from merchants. Additionally, it also served also as gathering hall for the whole city of Riga and was rebuilt from 1996-1999 after it was demolished in WW 2. Today it is a museum and also served as work space for the Latvian President . Afterwards I visited the “Museum of Riga’s History and Navigation” which gave me interesting insights in the city’s changeful history that was always closely connected to trade and influenced by big foreign powers until Latvia became independant 1991.

House of the Black Heads
Cog ship in the Museum of Riga’s history and navigation

The Hanseatic league and their merchants did not only influence the cityscape with their guild houses and department stores but also influenced the present. By law it was not allowed to build higher buildings than the 3 church towers in the old town: This rule has been preserved in the historic centre until today. Riga is also still very closely connected to the Hanseatic League. There is a Lübeck hall in the rebuilt House of the Black Heads and even a real estate project has also appropriated the name “Hanza”.

Typical warehouse of the merchants in the historic centre of Riga
Lübeck hall in the House of black Heads
Hanza Perons as example that the name of the Hanseatic League lives on

Day 3

To transport goods, the Hanseatic ships had to sail along the Daugava to the baltic sea. Today between baltic sea and the river Lielupe is the local recreation area of the inhabitants of Riga called Jurmala. The place is famous for its wooden houses in art nouveau style and was a popular tourist destination for Communist Party officials in former Soviet Union.


Jurmala beach
Typical wooden house
Observation tower
House of the writer Aspazija

Connecting Europe through architectural heritage

Taking Ohrid as a starting point for the architectural heritage connection throughout Europe, a small town located in southwest Macedonia with continuous settlement in the exact location ever since the Hellenic period. But for now, we’ll explore the architectural genetics from a more recent perspective so the connection with the rest of Europe is even more vivid.

“The Orient has always nurtured residential culture on a broad scale. Throughout the XVIII and XIX centuries, other nationalities within the Ottoman Empire achieved relatively high economic prosperity. From the high residential culture, the oriental house has the qualities of human standards and the ideal humanization of space. That is why European architects are inspired by the Orient in the exploration and creation of the modern European house (ex. Le Corbusier, D. Grabrijan …). We cannot claim that the influences from the Orient are over. However, climate differences are a major obstacle.

  The half-open oriental house with spaces directly exposed to a burst of drafts in open čardaks (verandas) and gardens cannot be directly transplanted to continental Europe. We have to look for the transition somewhere and this is where we get to the heart of our problem. And in the conditions of the Ottoman domination, the Macedonians never left the European way of living in the house of the continental climate. That way of revitalization, adapted to the oriental position, forms the Macedonian architecture. Regardless of the high level of hygiene and technique from the industrially developed European civilization, the Macedonian house still has a lot to say about the issues of contemporary architectonics of the living space.”

-prof. arch. engr. Boris Čipan “Old town architecture in Ohrid” 1955

-Stefan Župan (Archrid-Collective)


August 10-11


Hofburg in Vienna
Hofburg- former palace of the Habsburg dynasty and now official residence and workplace of the president of Austria.

Even if Vienna was never part of the Hanseatic League every cog (trade ship of Hanseatic League) needs a home (air)port to set sail to distant lands. In my case this was Vienna the capital of Austria.

I arrived at 10 th August in Vienna and the first destination was Donaukanal. This is a former arm of Vienna’s main river Danube , now regulated as a water channel and serving as recreation area. There I had a very warm welcome by Regina Wiala-Zimm who is the responsible person for UNESCO and OWHC in Vienna. We had a nice talk about the heritage in Vienna (Viennas Inner district, Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn and Frontiers of the Roman Empire) and her work for OWHC/Unesco in Vienna.

Meeting with Regina Wiala-Zimm at Donaukanal

Afterwards I visited the 1st district (historic centre) of Vienna which is part of world heritage as a whole. Here you can find many houses from various periods as well as the monumental buildings like Rathaus, Hofburg, Parlament at the Ringstraße.

left: Donaunixenbrunnen in Palais Ferstl; right: Stephansdom – highest church tower in Austria

On the next day I went to Hunderwasserhaus which proves that art and culture are so important in Vienna that even social housing can be designed by an artist (Friedensreich Hundertwasser, finished in 1985). The Vienna experience ended with a walk through the Gardens of Castle Schönbrunn which is also an UNESCO heritage site. The site does not only impress with the castle and the garden itself but has also one of the oldest zoos in Europe, a palm house, an orangerie, a gloriette and a maze.

left: Hunderwasser Haus; right: Palmenhaus

Finally, there is not much more to say except this picture below and that 2 days are far too little for Vienna. See you in Riga.

ENG: Vienna love

On track of the Hanseatic League – Intro


to this blog, my name is Philipp and this is my first post before the trip of OWHC scholarship 2022 begins. I hope you will enjoy following me and you can also have a look at my Instagram Account.


I mainly want to visit cities that belonged to Hanseatic League which was one of the first economic and also political union across national borders. I am interested how these cities in different countries with a common heritage look today, have developed and if the influence of the Hanseatic League is still visible.


My route will include 8 cities in 5 different countries starting in Vienna. I will travel from 10th of August to 28th of August.


INTRO: Liberty ID

Hello guys and thanks for reading this blog! I’m Verena, born in Regensburg and I’m luckily among the 9 travellers of the OWHC Young Travelling Scholarship. First a short introduction to my trip with the most important facts:


Especially the younger European/Western generation, to which I belong, has grown up with the self-image of peace and freedom. Interrail, Erasmus, a year abroad. I luckily already had the chance and pleasure to make use of these valuable privileges. The title of my journey is based on the privilege of my freedom to travel. My “Liberty ID” accompanies me from my Bavarian home, across the Atlantic to the United States of America. Therefore, I have designed a stamp for each of the 4 UNESCO cities I am visiting.


In total, I am travelling to 6 cities (including 4 UNESCO World Heritage cities). I start in Germany in mid-August and write about the Bavarian cities of Bamberg and Regensburg. Afterwards, I will fly to the east coast of the USA: from Washington via Philadelphia and New York City to Boston. The focus will be on NYC and Philly as UNESCO cities.



Overall, I would like to make a comparison between the two small German towns and the large American metropolises. Why do these cities belong to UNESCO? What are the historical key facts and how is UNESCO lived there today? What does World Heritage mean for young people? And in the end, can we identify more similarities or differences between the two countries?

Since I have always been enthusiastic about art, this theme will also accompany my journey – it will be colourful and certainly exciting. Stay tuned!

INTRO: Cities at War – Heritage Lessons from the 20th Century

Hello, Carolina, here! Now that I am about to depart and embark in the adventure to visit 7 cities (6 of which are World Heritage ones), from Berlin to Warsaw, to learn more the impact war has on cities, it is time for an introductory article with more details about the project!


During my Erasmus in Italy, in 2016-2017, I was profoundly touched by the refugees’ crisis in the Mediterranean. Back to Lisbon, to finish my master’s in Architecture, I decided to investigate on different reconstruction strategies that were used in different scenarios through time and geographies in urban settlements impacted by armed conflict, choosing as my main study case Aleppo, in Syria. Since then, I am fascinated by the topic and always eager to learn more about the importance of safeguarding our physical cities during challenging times as population heavily depends on the basic services they host and the memories they embody. Now, sadly, with war back in Europe, the topic choice was even more clear, as these are crucial matters on the table again!


Under the theme “Cities at War: Heritage Lessons from the 20th Century”, I will start in Berlin and end in Warsaw, covering the impact World War II had in Central Europe. In total, my trip will include 4 countries, 7 cities and too many experiences, discoveries and stories to count!


Variety! Each city faced slightly different challenges during and after war, when it comes to heritage safeguarding and preservation. During WWII, some were heavily bombed, like Dresden, others almost spared miraculously, like Kraków. Some were battlefields, others occupied, like Prague and Vienna. Some cut almost all ties with the past, some were rebuilt to look like they did in the most hopeful times before the war, like Warsaw.


I will be travelling from August 22nd until September 8th. I plan to stay a couple of days in each city. The expected calendar is the following:

Berlin ( 22-24 Aug) > Potsdam (25 Aug) > Dresden (26 Aug) > Prague (27-30 Aug) > Vienna (31-2 Sep) > Kraków (3-5 Sep) > Warsaw (5-8 Sep)


Almost eight decades after the war, I plan visit each city main sites and speak with heritage professionals in loco. I am sure will have many interesting conversations and learn more on what worked, what didn’t and what we might learn from these interventions nowadays! Each city will later inspire a blog article, but following this trip’s Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/cities_at_war/) can also be a complementary way to learn more about this project as I explore. Stay tuned!