Bamberg currently has a population of around 78,000, and is a city with a diverse cultural heritage. The old town is a dynamic, constantly evolving economic place, a vibrant university city, a central administrative location as well as the seat of an archdiocese. Bringing together these multi-layered, in some cases contradictory interests and stakeholders while simultaneously ensuring the protection and careful, sustainable development of the World Heritage site is the main aim of the city department.
A Visitor Centre for everyone
The first step on the road towards the goal of sustainable tourism was the establishment of the UNESCO-World Heritage Visitor Centre in 2019 in the former mills district on the river Regnitz. With the opening of the Visitor Centre, we were not only able to heal a war ruin in terms of urban development, but also to offer visitors and residents of the city a popular day trip destination, which informs about the world heritage in a lively, hands-on approach. Moreover, it works very well! The exhibition is based on the ‘design for all’ principle is very popular and well received.
Old Town Hall, by J. Schraudner
Managing World Heritage
As a second step towards a sustainable World Heritage Management the World Heritage Office of Bamberg, which is part of the city department, created in cooperation with all stakeholders and in line with the UNESCO’s guidelines a World Heritage Management Plan. Next to evaluating current risks for the Town of Bamberg the methodology included the participation of all stakeholders who interact with world Heritage. Five specialist panels were established with the aim to develop measures and recommendations with relevance for Bamberg’s World Heritage, while considering the city’s preexisting planning instruments.
The establishment of the ‘World Heritage and Tourism’ panel treated one of the most important topics.
World Heritage and Tourism
Not least since the inscription in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1993, the “Town of Bamberg” and its three historic districts have formed the essential pillars in Bamberg’s tourism marketing. The World Heritage status has come to represent a valuable unique selling point. At the same time, tourism has also taken on an important role in communicating the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the old town. With more than 700.000 overnight stays (2018) tourism is an important economic factor in the World Heritage city, Coordination between the city’s tourism-related activities and the World Heritage Office is therefore essential to the conservation and sensitive use of Bamberg’s World Heritage, but also to a widespread awareness and understanding of it.
Urban Gardening and the Market Gardener’s District
While the City on the Hills is heavily visited by tourists, there is still potential to develop tourism in the Market Gardeners’ District, the Maxplatz (main square), the Hain area (park area) and on the Michaelsberg (cultural landscape). With this background in mind, the present Management Plan delivers impulses for future sustainable development of tourism in Bamberg. The Market Gardeners’ District with its wide and open spaces, within the World Heritage site does not only characterize Bamberg’s townscape, but also forms an important contrast to the densely constructed town of Bamberg. Nowadays, with emerging problems due to urban heat, areas of densely grown greens contribute to the aims of cooling the city. In addition, the Market Gardeners district supplies us with fresh and local fruit and vegetables – which is a considerable asset in modern times.
Despite the great importance of urban gardening for Bamberg, commercial farming has declined sharply in recent decades. Consequently, several gardening fields have fallen fallow. In response to this, the urban gardening project developed by the World Heritage Office and other stakeholders involved in Urban Gardening connects aspects of city planning, heritage protection, tourism, and horticulture. The project aims at keeping Bamberg’s gardening culture alive. It consists of awareness raising activities, of a marketing campaign as well as a sustainable land use approach.
By supporting local gardeners with the establishment of a local brand for food grown in Bamberg’s Urban Gardening Areas and helping community gardens to grow, the city department wants to strengthen the role of its traditional urban horticulture. In order to raise awareness of the Market Gardener’s District as part of the World Heritage Site a circular route through the district was established. Certified visitor guides with training and qualification provided by the Bamberg Tourism & Congress Service as well as the development of a premium tour of the World Heritage site was as well been implemented successfully.
In the last decade, the priority has therefore shifted towards a sustainable world heritage management. In line with UNESCO’s sustainable development goals, the aim is to transform the City of Bamberg into an inclusive, diverse and heritage-led town, where tourism and sustainability go hand in hand.
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