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Nine European historical sites up for the European Heritage Label

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On the 2 December 2015, nine sites celebrating and symbolising European ideals, values, history and integration have been recommended to be put on the European Heritage Label list: The Neanderthal Prehistoric site and Krapina Museum (HR), the Olomouc Premyslid Castle and Archdiocesan Museum (CZ), the Sagres Promontory (PT), the Imperial Palace (AT), the Historic Ensemble of the University of Tartu (EE), Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music (HU), Mundaneum (BE), WWI Eastern Front Cemetery N°123 (PL) and the European District of Strasbourg (FR). They add up to the twenty sites that received the Label in the past two years.

The full report of the independent selection panel in charge of assessing the applications on the basis of the established criteria is available here.

Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said:

"These sites showcase Europe's road to unity, the struggle for peace and the building of our historical legacy. They hold a special place for freedom, democracy and openness in Europe and remind us of the values which we must cherish and promote - today more than ever. I warmly invite everyone to discover and enjoy them."

Eighteen applications were preselected this year by participating Member States, out of which an independent panel set up by the European Commission selected the nine sites that are proposed today. The Commission will formally designate the sites in February 2016 and an award ceremony will be held in April 2016 in Brussels. More information about the nine sites:

Krapina Neanderthal Site (Krapina, Croatia)

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In 1899 at this site were found the largest number of Neanderthal fossil bones in Europe, some nine hundred human remains from about eighty individuals, as well as bones of various animals dating back 125 000 BC. Experts from all over the world have conducted research on the collection and their interpretation of the Krapina findings influenced different scientific theories about human development, the genesis of our civilisation and about how human communities in Europe lived during the Pleistocene period.

Next to the archaeological site, the Krapina Neanderthal Museum presents today and in an interactive way the origin of life on Earth and the evolution of humankind.

Olomouc Premyslid Castle and Archdiocesan Museum (Olomouc, Czech Republic)

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The Archdiocesan Museum is devoted to the conservation of works of art of the Olomouc Archdiocese. Its collections are shown in the Chapter Deanery at the Premyslid Castle, a location representing thousand years of history, from the remnants of the Bishop's and Prince's Palaces to Baroque and Rococo.

The Olomouc Premyslid Castle and Archdiocesan Museum are a focal point of Moravian presence in European history. It is an early centre of Christianity, a place that preserves and highlights the high level of artistic patronage of the archbishops of Moravia, and a fine example of heritage conservation in the region.

Sagres Promontory (Portugal)

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The Sagres Promontory is a rich cultural and historical landscape located at the south-west corner of the Iberian Peninsula. It comprises a series of significant archaeological remains, urban structures, and monuments testifying its strategic location and importance over the centuries.

The Promontory became the headquarters of Prince Henry the Navigator for his projects of maritime expansion during the fifteen century, a key location of the Age of Discoveries that marked the expansion of European culture, science, exploration and commerce both towards the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, setting European civilisation on its path to the global projection that came to define the modern world.

The Imperial Palace (Vienna, Austria)

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Initiated in 1240, the Imperial Palace is a complex of buildings and gardens which used to serve as the residence of the Habsburgs, a ruling family of large parts of Europe during some 700 years. The Habsburg Empire was a multi-ethnical and a multi-religious empire that had a strong political, administrative, social and economic impact on territories that include or are part of today's Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovenia, … Today, the Imperial Palace is home to the seat of the Austrian Federal President, five world-class museum organisations as well as other cultural institutions.

Historic Ensemble of the University of Tartu (Tartu, Estonia)

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The historic ensemble of the University of Tartu is a campus designed at the beginning of the nineteenth century under the motto "A university in the city, a university in the park". It embodies the ideas of a university in the Age of Enlightenment. Linking science and learning and reflects the European tradition in education.

Established in 1632 by the Swedish King Gustav II Adolf, and though it changed hands between the various political powers in the region including Sweden, Poland, German and Russia, Tartu University has always remained a beacon of progressive ideas.

Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music (Budapest, Hungary)

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The Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music was established in 1875 by the outstanding composer and musician himself. It is a multi-faceted institution: an educational institution, an international university of musical arts and a concert centre. It brings our music heritage to the fore whilst holding true to its spirit of openness, creativity and innovation and its European and international character.

The Academy is housed in a 1907 building by Flóris Korb and Kálman Giergl, which is considered to be a masterpiece of Hungarian Secession. It integrates inter alia the Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum and Research Centre, the Kodály Institute and the Kodály Museum.

Mundaneum (Mons, Belgium)

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The Mundaneum is a landmark in the intellectual and social fabric of Europe. Its founders, Henri La Fontaine and Paul Otlet, were advocates of peace through dialogue and sharing knowledge at European and international level with the means of bibliographic enquiry. The Mundaneum's aim was to gather all information available in the world, regardless of its medium (books, newspapers, postcards…), and to classify it according to a system they developed, the Universal Decimal Classification.

The Mundaneum provide the foundations of present-day information science and is considered today as precursors of internet search engines.

World War I Eastern Front Cemetery No. 123 (Łużna – Pustki, Poland)

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Wartime cemetery No 123, established in 1918 on the Pustki hill is the scene of one of the largest battles of World War I on the Eastern front between the Austro-Hungarian and German armies and the Russian Army: the battle of Gorlice, also called the Verdun of the East. The cemetery is the final resting place for soldiers from these three armed forces, coming from territories that are part of today’s Austria, Hungary, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Slovenia,.. and from different religious and linguistic backgrounds.

The World War I Eastern Front Cemetery No 123 is a place of remembrance embodying the idea of ecumenism, with its identical treatment of the fallen, regardless of their military, ethnic or religious affiliation.

European District of Strasbourg (Strasbourg, France)

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Since its creation after the Second World War, the European District of Strasbourg is the home to the Council of Europe, its European Court of Human Rights and the European Parliament of the European Union. It bears witness to European integration, the defence of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.


 

Sites already on the list

More information about the 20 sites already on the list, and videos:

The Heart of Ancient Athens (Greece)

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The Heart of Ancient Athens is a complex of up to a hundred monuments constituting an architectural ensemble of outstanding significance over a period of more than 3,000 years. It is an outstanding example of ancient architectural development.

The Heart of Ancient Athens comprises a historical landscape where events which helped shape some of the most essential aspects of European identity took place, from the development of classical art and theatre, to democracy, philosophy, logic, equal rights and sciences.

The Archaeological Park Carnuntum (Carnuntum, Austria)

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The Archaeological Park Carnuntum in the east of Austria brings Roman history to life. Carnuntum was an important Roman settlement founded in the middle of the first century AD at a crossing point of trade routes on the Danube. It became one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire.

The 400 years of Roman life in Carnuntum reflect a period of history that deeply influenced and shaped Europe’s development.

Abbey of Cluny (France)

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Founded in 910, the Abbey of Cluny grew to become the spiritual and administrative centre of one of the largest monastic networks in European history, facilitating the circulation of people, books, artistic ideas and scientific knowledge across national borders.

Consequently, the Cluniac order exerted an important influence on the Christian world of Western Europe throughout the Middle Ages.

Archives of the Crown of Aragon (Barcelona, Spain)

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Founded in 1318, the Archives of the Crown of Aragon served as a centralised deposit system for the administrative, economic and political memory of the Crown of Aragon's monarchy. Over the following centuries, the archives drew their stocks from the documents that were generated by the administrative apparatus of the State and other entities, allowing us today to reconstruct the history of the region and of great events in European history.

The Archives of the Crown of Aragon are one of the oldest archival institutions in Europe and comprises some of the most valuable collections of documents from Medieval Europe.

The Great Guild Hall (Tallinn, Estonia)

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The Great Guild Hall was commissioned by the Great Guild and built in 1410. This association of German Hanseatic merchants was one of most important trading organisations of the medieval era times and played an important role in the history of trade and cultural exchanges in medieval northern Europe.

The Great Guild Hall, a typical example of Hanseatic architecture, is a public building in which countless trade and social exchanges have taken place since the Middle Ages. Today the Hall hosts the Estonian History Museum which presents Estonian history in its European context.

General Library of the University of Coimbra (Portugal)

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The General Library of the University of Coimbra was established before 1513 and contains one of the most remarkable and innovative library buildings of Europe of the early eighteenth century, the Joanina Library.

The library has defined itself as a “public library” for centuries. It was one of the first libraries in Europe to provide subject catalogues (1743) and never allowed any censorship in darker periods. It holds many documents of European significance.

The Union of Lublin (Poland)

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The Union of Lublin, established in 1569, tied together the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, creating the so-called Commonwealth of Both Nations, characterized by a single monarch, a common parliament and one currency.

The Union of Lublin is an exceptional case of the democratic integration of two countries, which led to the peaceful and inclusive coexistence of people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds.

Peace of Westphalia – Münster and Osnabrück (Germany)

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The Peace of Westphalia describes the totality of the peace treaties that were negotiated and agreed upon in the cities of Münster and Osnabrück in 1648. These Treaties brought an end to the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), in which all major European powers were involved and which was not only a conflict between states, but also between religions. Moreover, the conflict also concluded the Dutch War of Independence (1568-1648) from Spain.

The Peace of Westphalia was a seminal event in the development of the state and of international law. It's a key event as peace was achieved through diplomatic negotiations, not through force. The principles there developed remain in effect and decisively shaped the order of today's Europe.

The Constitution of May 3, 1791 (Warsaw, Poland)

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The 3 May 1791 Constitution adopted by the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth reflects enlightenment influences which gave primacy to reason, law and freedom.

It was the first constitution democratically adopted in Europe and is a symbol of the democratic and peaceful transformation of a political system.

Hambach Castle (Hambach, Germany)

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Built in the Middle Ages, Hambach Castle gained outstanding importance in the 19th century. Following a period of political repression, around 30,000 people from Germany, France and Poland came together at the castle on 27 May 1832 to celebrate the Hambach Festival (Hambacher Fest).

The attendants spoke out for fundamental rights and political freedoms and for equality, tolerance and democracy in Germany and Europe, making the castle a symbol of the struggle for civil liberties in Europe.

The Charter of Law of Abolition of the Death Penalty (Lisbon, Portugal)

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The Charter of Law of Abolition of the Death Penalty was approved in 1867 and is preserved in the National Archives of Torre do Tombo in Lisbon, Portugal. It is one of the first examples of the permanent suspension of the death penalty being codified in a national legal system in Europe.

It promotes values that are today part of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Residencia de Estudiantes (Madrid, Spain)

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Serving as a residence, a conference venue and a place for the exchange of ideas, some of the leading personalities of European inter-war arts, philosophy and science gathered here for debate and dialogue.

Upholding the values of free-thinking, cooperation and exchange, the Residencia de Estudiantes remains a centre renowned throughout Europe for encouraging exchange, dialogue, communication and understanding among generations, cultures, and disciplines such as the arts, humanities and sciences.

Peace Palace (The Hague, Netherlands)

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The Peace Palace traces the history of peace in Europe. Before the Palace opened in 1913, the Hague was host to the First World Peace Conference in 1899 – the culmination of the nineteenth century peace movement nurtured by many European intellectuals. The Peace Palace hosted international peace conferences from 1913 onwards, which aimed to regulate the arms race and to settling international disputes through arbitration.

This work continues today as the Peace Palace is the seat of many judicial institutions (the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Hague Academy of International Law); it embodies the values of peace and justice and is often called "the seat of international law".

Kaunas of 1919-1940 (Lithuania)

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During the interwar period, the city of Kaunas developed into the modern, vibrant and dynamic cultural centre of the country. Many Lithuanians, who studied in other European countries, brought back new knowledge and ideas to Kaunas, where a fruitful mix of modernist tendencies and old traditions prompted the country's prosperous development in the city's architecture of the period.

Kaunas of 1919-1940 has an urban landscape exuberantly reflecting Europe’s interwar architecture and the modernism movement representing today the outstanding heritage of a flourishing golden period when the city of Kaunas was temporarily the capital of Lithuania.

Franja Partisan Hospital (Slovenia)

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The Franja Hospital was a secret World War II hospital run by the Slovenian partisans as part of a broadly organized resistance movement against the occupying Nazi forces.

It is a notable symbol of human fortitude and medical care, and of the solidarity and companionship in hardship – between the local population, hospital staff and wounded soldiers of different nationalities including enemy combatants – that existed during the Second World War.

Today, it has been turned into a museum promoting solidarity, democratic values and human rights.

Camp Westerbork (Hooghalen, Netherlands)

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Camp Westerbork served as a refugee camp for Jews persecuted by the Nazis until 1942, and then became a transit camp from which Jews, Roma and Sinti were deported to Nazi extermination and concentration camps.

After World War II, Dutch nationals suspected of collaborating with the Nazis were imprisoned in the camp. Later, it hosted people returning to the Netherlands from the former Dutch colony of the East Indies, among them a large group of Moluccans.

Camp Westerbork has links to crucial topics in European history such as occupation, persecution, migration, decolonisation and multiculturalism. A museum and monuments of remembrance can today be found on the site of the former camp.

Museo Casa Alcide De Gasperi (Pieve Tesino, Italy)

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Museo Casa De Gasperi is the birthplace of Alcide de Gasperi (1881-1954) who served as Foreign Affairs Minister and Italian Prime Minister from 1945 to 1953 and who supported Schuman's plans which led to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community.

De Gasperi is recognised today as one of the "Fathers of Europe" and an inspiring force in the creation of the European Economic Community. His house is now a museum highlighting his contribution to the construction of Europe after World War II.

Robert Schuman's House (Scy-Chazelles, France)

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Robert Schuman (1886-1963) is considered as one of the founding figures of the European Union, a "Father of Europe". Through his declaration of 9 May 1950, commemorated annually as Europe Day, he laid the foundations for the European Coal and Steel Community and for all the European institutions to come. The document paved the way towards post-war European integration.

He bought the house in 1926 and, from 1960 onwards, spent the years of his retirement there. Today it hosts a museum and contains many objects that belonged to Robert Schuman and which prove his attachment to the European ideal.

The historic Gdańsk Shipyard (Gdańsk, Poland)

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The historic Gdańsk Shipyard was the birthplace of "Solidarność", a social movement and trade union that united citizens in peaceful fight for freedom and human rights. This place is crucial to the origins of democratic transformations in Europe.

The movement's origins date back to the workers' strike of 1970, which was bloodily suppressed by the socialist authorities. Ten years later, a new wave of strikes prompted the government to give in and sign the historic August Agreements in 1980 with Lech Wałęsa. From this moment on, "Solidarity" continuously promoted democracy and civil liberties in Poland and triggered similar social movements across Eastern European countries in the 1980s.

Pan-European Picnic Memorial Park (Sopron, Hungary)

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The Memorial Park commemorates the civil initiative of the Pan-European Picnic peace demonstration held on 19 August 1989. The temporary opening of the Hungarian-Austrian border during the demonstration gave nearly 600 citizens of the German Democratic Republic the opportunity to flee to the West, an event which marked the beginning of the destruction of the Iron Curtain.

Having divided Europe ideologically and economically into two separate areas, the fall of the Iron Curtain led to the reunification of Germany and the EU's Eastern enlargement in 2004. The Memorial Park stands for the post-1989 borderless and unified Europe.