Decision : 42 COM 8B.35
Naumburg Cathedral (Germany)
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Documents WHC/18/42.COM/8B.Add and WHC/18/42.COM/INF.8B1.Add,
- Recalling Decisions 39 COM 8B.26 and 41 COM 8B.29 adopted at its 39th (Bonn, 2015) and 41st (Krakow, 2017) sessions respectively,
- Inscribes Naumburg Cathedral, Germany, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (i) and (ii);
- Takes note of the following provisional Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:
Naumburg Cathedral, located in the heart of Germany in the south of the State of Saxony-Anhalt, is a unique testimony to medieval art and architecture. Most of the church building dates back to the 13th century. It is composed of a basilical Romanesque nave flanked by two Gothic choirs in the east and in the west. The west choir with the famous portrait statues of the twelve cathedral founders and the west rood screen are the masterpieces of pan-European workshop accordingly named the “Naumburg Master”, who conceptualized all parts of the western choir as a whole, and carried out the western choir from the bottom to the roof within six years only. The polychrome reliefs and sculptures of the choir and the rood screen count among the most significant sculptures of the Middle Ages. The overall iconographic concept and the harmonious combination of architecture, sculpture and glass paintings reflect in a unique way the profound changes in the religious practice and the visual arts of the 13th century. These changes resulted in a hitherto unknown realism and observation of nature, as well as in the recourse to ancient sources.
Criterion (i): The episcopal church of Naumburg is unique among the medieval cathedrals due to the west choir conceptualized and designed by a brilliant sculptor – the “Naumburg Master” – and his workshop. The organic combination of architecture, sculpture and glass paintings created an extraordinary synthesis of the arts. The twelve life-sized, coloured founder figures in the west choir, the passion reliefs of the west rood screen, the crucifixion group on its portal and the numerous capitals are outstanding examples of the architectural sculpture of the Middle Ages. One of the founder figures – Uta of Ballenstedt – is considered as one of the icons of Gothic sculpture. They are sculpted from the same blocks of stone as the pillar strips, and the various media are integrated in the fabric of the architecture and its manner of construction. A single intelligence stood behind the integrated conception of the architecture, sculpture, and stained glass and merged them into one integral piece of work.
Criterion (ii): The workshop organization of sculptors and stonemasons was established in the early 13th century and is known under the name Naumburg Master. It constitutes one of the decisive conveyors and pioneers of the ground-breaking innovations in architecture and sculpture in the second half of the 13th century. The migration of the workshop of the Naumburg Master, from northeastern France through the Middle Rhine areas to the eastern boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire and further to southwestern Europe, gives testimony to the extensive European cultural exchange during the High Middle Ages.
In its unchanged original layout of the mid-13th century, the property is of an adequate size to ensure the complete representation of the features and processes which convey the property´s significance. It includes all elements necessary to express and to contribute to the Outstanding Universal Value. The structural elements of the 13th century are intact and do not suffer from adverse effects of development or neglect. The visual qualities and functional relations to the surrounding urban and cultural landscape are undisturbed.
The form and the design of the mid-13th century are preserved. All of the materials and substance of Naumburg Cathedral date from the High Middle Ages. No altering restorations were made in the age of historicism. Moreover, original materials for necessary repairs have continuously been obtained from the original local quarries for centuries. The building has maintained its original sacral function, services are still celebrated regularly. Both use and substance perfectly convey the spirit and feeling of a medieval cathedral. The location of the cathedral in the centre of the old town of Naumburg is unchanged. Its silhouette is still dominating the setting of the surrounding landscape at the conflux of the Saale and Unstrut rivers.
Protection and management requirements
Naumburg Cathedral is protected under § 2 para. 2 no. 1 of the Act for the Protection of Historic Monuments and Buildings of the State of Saxony-Anhalt (DenkmSchG LSA). The property is thus subject to the highest possible level of legal protection available. Moreover, the legal regulations for town and country planning and for conservation of landscape and nature in Germany, in conjunction with the Building Law of Saxony-Anhalt ensure appropriate and effective protection.
The cathedral itself as well as the adjacent buildings are owned by the Combined Cathedral Chapters (Combined Chapters of the Cathedrals of Merseburg and Naumburg and the Collegiate Church of Zeitz). This public foundation is in charge of the protection and preservation of the cultural monuments entrusted to its care. The foundation ranks among the oldest institutions in all of Germany. It has continuously preserved this monument since its original conception, having commissioned the workshop of the Naumburg Master. The restoration and renovation works on the building and the general management of the property are carried out by the owner in close cooperation with the competent authorities, in particular with the State Ministry of Culture of Saxony-Anhalt and the City of Naumburg as the responsible administrative and authorizing bodies for monument and landscape protection. Building activities in the buffer zone are restricted by land development plans, building development plans, and municipal statutes concerned with renovation and preservation. The town development plans of the city of Naumburg are basic instruments for sustainable renewal and sustainable tourism regarding the property.
The long-term maintenance of the Outstanding Universal Value is granted by the management system in accordance with the Act for the Protection of Historic Monuments and Buildings of the State of Saxony-Anhalt.
- Recommends that the State Party:
- Strengthen the management plan for Naumburg Cathedral,
- Enhance its monitoring efforts regarding the effects of climate, air, pollution and tourism on the substance of the cathedral,
- Seek ICOMOS’ guidance in this process.