There are 16 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Poland. 15 are cultural and 1 is natural.
Map of World Heritage Sites in Poland
Poland UNESCO Sites
Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1979)
This camp is one of a network of the Nazi concentration and extermination camps that were built during World War II. These camps were operated by Third Reich and are the largest concentration camp of its kind. The complex is divided into different parts including the base camp, extermination camp, labor camp, and 45 satellite camps.
Bialowieza Forest (1979)
This ancient woodland is located along the borders of Poland and Belarus. It is believed to be the largest and only remaining primeval forest that is once part of the European Plain. The forest was initially protected in the 16th century. However, its enlistment as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Poland aims to protect and preserve it further.
Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork (1997)
In terms of land area, the Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork is the largest in the world. The construction of this castle was commissioned for by a German Roman Catholic religious order of crusaders. It was initially called the Mary’s Castle. The castle is renowned because it perfectly exhibits the architectural style of a medieval fortress. By the time of its completion during the early 15th century, it was the largest Gothic castle built with bricks.
Centennial Hall in Wroclaw (2006)
This historic building in Wroclaw was once known as the People’s Hall. It was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Poland for its cultural value. The hall is a work of architect Max Berg from 1911 to 1913. It served as a landmark of reinforced concrete architecture and for that, it was enlisted by UNESCO as one of the heritage sites in Poland.
Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica (2001)
These churches were deemed as culturally significant because this was the first time that Lutherans were permitted to build three Evangelical churches in the areas of Silesia dominated by Roman Catholics. These churches are located just outside of the city walls and are made of wood, straw, and loam. The construction of these churches took only a year.
Historic Centre of Krakow (1978)
This listing in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Poland includes the historic central district of Krakow. It is one of the most popular districts in Poland and also served as the political center until 1596 (wherein Warsaw became the new political center). This medieval town is one of the first sites to be inscribed into the listing for Poland.
Historic Centre of Warsaw (1980)
Warsaw is another one of the most popular cities in Poland. It is also among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Warsaw, at least the historic central district. The Old Town of Warsaw was established during the 13th century. The original town is surrounded by earthwork rampart until it was fortified with brick walls in 1339. The main attraction in the Old Town of Warsaw is the Royal Castle (formerly known as the Castle of the Dukes of Mazovia).
Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: the Mannerist Architectural and Park Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park (1999)
This site is an important cultural landscape along with its spiritual significance. The natural setting played a huge part in making this an important site in Poland. At the start of the 17th century, symbolic places of worship were established to showcase the Passion of Jesus Christ and the life of the Virgin Mary. Today, it is still considered a place of pilgrimage.
Medieval Town of Torun (1997)
This town makes it to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Poland due to the vast amount of architectural monuments found all over the town. Most of these architectural monuments date back to the Middle Ages such as the over 200 military structures. It has also preserved its medieval spatial layout together with the Gothic buildings, Town Hall, and burgher houses.
Muskauer Park (2004)
This garden is one of the largest and famous in both Germany and Poland. The most interesting part is that a certain part of the park belongs to Germany and the other belongs to Poland. It was inscribed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany due to its ability to showcase cross-border collaboration between two countries, which is, in this case, Germany and Poland.
Old City of Zamosc (1992)
This is one of the unique cities of Europe since it was built out of an anthropomorphic concept. The city was designed by Italian architect Bernardo Morando. The main features of the Old Town of Zamosc have experienced preservation since it was first established. In this town, you will find a market square, Town Hall, and American houses, along with some ruins of the old fortifications.
Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines (1978)
In the 13th century, the salt mines in Wieliczka and Bochnia was the largest of its kind in Europe. Hence, there is a massive amount of rock salt deposit within these mines. When you explore inside of the mining site, you will be able to get a glimpse of its historical development over the years (from the 13th century when it opened in the 20th century). The mines feature hundreds of kilometers of art galleries, salt sculptures, and an underground chapel. In fact, it is a popular pilgrimage site as well.
Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine (2013)
This serial property included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Poland is actually a transnational property. It consists of 16 churches built out of horizontal wooden logs during the 16th to 19th centuries for the Greek Catholics and Orthodox communities. The buildings were notable as they exemplify the building tradition linked with the Orthodox ecclesiastic design together with the symbols of faith and local tradition. In line with this traditional design, these churches exhibit the following elements in its design: wooden bell towers, graveyards, gatehouses, and churchyards.
Wooden Churches of Southern Lesser Poland (2003)
This site is another one that features the architectural style of cultural significance in Poland. These wooden churches in Little Poland provide the best example of medieval church-building traditions, especially within the Roman Catholic community. It utilized the horizontal log technique that can be traced back to the Middle Ages. These churches were also built for by the noble and royal families in Poland. Hence, this site was included as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Poland in 2003.
Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine and its Underground Water Management System (2017)
Located in Upper Silesia, in southern Poland, one of the main mining areas of central Europe, the property includes the entire underground mine with adits, shafts, galleries and other features of the water management system. Most of the property is situated underground while the surface mining topography features relics of shafts and waste heaps, as well as the remains of the 19th-century steam water pumping station. The elements of the water management system, located underground and on the surface, testify to continuous efforts over three centuries to drain the underground extraction zone and to use undesirable water from the mines to supply towns and industry. Tarnowskie Góry represents a significant contribution to the global production of lead and zinc.
Krzemionki Prehistoric Striped Flint Mining Region (2019)
Located in the mountain region of Świętokrzyskie Mountains, Krzemionki is an ensemble of four mining sites, dating from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age (about 3900 to 1600 BCE), dedicated to the extraction and processing of striped flint, which was mainly used for ax-making. With its underground mining structures, flint workshops and some 4,000 shafts and pits, the site features one of the most comprehensive prehistoric underground flint extraction and processing systems identified to date. The site provides information about life and work in prehistoric settlements and bears witness to an extinct cultural tradition. It is an exceptional testimony of the importance of the prehistoric period and of flint mining for tool production in human history.
1 thought on “UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Poland”
Good luck backpacking them all. I have so far ticked off 11 of these, there are now 17 in total I believe in Poland.