Limes UNESCO World Heritage Site

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The Limes, the former border of the Roman Empire, stretches around 550 kilometres diagonally through southern and south-western Germany between the rivers Rhine and Danube. It separated the Roman provinces of Upper Germania and Raetia from the Germanic settlement area. The remains of the Limes can be found in the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate.


The Upper Germanic-Raetian Limes - course from around 160 AD.

The extraordinary importance of the Limes prompted the four federal states to register the Limes as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. Extensive digital documentation of the ground monument was created in all the federal states concerned. The result is an up-to-date, detailed set of maps that will serve as a fundamental tool for all future planning measures. It is complemented by detailed descriptions and photographs.

In addition, a so-called "management plan" was drawn up in accordance with UNESCO guidelines, which sets out the objectives for the future management of the monument in the areas of protection, research and tourist presentation.

On 15 July 2005, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee decided to inscribe the Upper Germanic-Raetian Limes on the World Heritage List. The World Heritage Site includes the Limes line, which marks the greatest extent of the two provinces of Upper Germania and Raetia.

In total, the monument comprises around 120 larger and smaller fort sites, almost 900 watchtowers and a continuous band of border barriers 550 kilometres long. This includes the course of the palisade, ditch and rampart or wall, the known or presumed locations of the watchtowers and small forts as well as all the fort sites that existed during the final expansion phase. Additional elements of the Limes, such as the civilian settlements of the various forts, have also been included.

Hadrian's Wall in England (since 1987) and the Upper German-Raetian Limes thus formed the first two sections of the transnational World Heritage Site "Frontiers of the Roman Empire". In 2008, the World Heritage Site was extended to include the Antonine Wall in Scotland. The aim is to include all sections of the frontier of the Roman Empire between the North Sea and the Black Sea and beyond in the Middle East and North Africa.


UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is the United Nations educational, scientific, cultural and communication organization based in Paris.

In 1972, UNESCO adopted the "International Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage" (World Heritage Convention). States nominate suitable sites for inscription on the World Heritage List. In doing so, they undertake to preserve the existence and value of the nominated property as far as possible. Responsibility remains local, but what is new is an official commitment to humanity as a whole. Financial support from the United Nations is not usually associated with recognition as a World Heritage Site.

Cultural heritage includes architectural monuments, urban ensembles and cultural landscapes, as well as industrial monuments and works of art such as rock paintings. Natural heritage includes geological formations, fossil sites, natural landscapes and reserves for animals and plants that are threatened with extinction. Examples of World Heritage Sites include the Great Wall of China, the Palace and Park of Versailles and Yellowstone National Park in the USA.

52 sites in the Federal Republic of Germany have been recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, including Aachen Cathedral, the old town of Bamberg, Berlin's Museum Island, the Völklingen Ironworks and, since July 2005, the Upper Germanic-Raetian Limes.

Further information about UNESCO and the World Heritage Program can be found at and


In Hesse, in addition to the Hessian part of the Limes, the following are also included: Lorsch Monastery, the Messel Pit, the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park as part of the World Natural Heritage Site "Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Ancient Beech Forests of Germany" and the Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe Mountain Park.

Lorsch Monastery 
Upper Middle Rhine Valley
Wilhelmshöhe Mountain Park
Messel pit
Kellerwald-Edersee National Park

Further information about UNESCO and the World Heritage Program can be found at and

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