Content Produced in Partnership with the German National Tourist Board & German UNESCO World Heritage Sites Association

They often say your past shapes your future, and in Germany’s case, this couldn’t be more accurate. A leader in textile manufacturing, coal mining, and chemical and mechanical engineering, when trade barriers were abolished in the mid-1800s, the cities flourished, and railroads brought new possibilities for the exchange of goods and ideas. Germany’s natural resources and creative ingenuity helped shaped the modern world so much that UNESCO declared three places top tier heritage sites worthy of becoming major tourist attractions. Each offers an interactive, immersive experience for intrepid travelers to get a hands-on history lesson.

Völklingen Ironworks

The very first industrial site inducted into the UNESCO list, Völklingen Ironworks is the only surviving plant of its kind and an anchor point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage. A tour of the facility will take you from the roof of the ore shed up to the viewing platform of the blast furnace where you’ll be granted a breathtaking panorama of the town of Völklingen. Continue along the spiraling coal track and footbridges into the blower shed as you weave your way back through history and get a sense of the daily work culture in Germany.

The interactive museum park provides a glimpse into the science and technology behind the innovation. Curious visitors are greeted by the Ferrodrom®, one of the largest fire tornados in the world, and an example of how elements like fire, water, and earth change phases to become iron. The venue also hosts countless cultural events throughout the year including concerts, films, and the largest urban art project in the world.

Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management System

The Rammelsberg mines on the outskirts of Goslar were once the largest network of copper, lead, and zinc in the world, producing almost 30 million tons of ore since the Middle Ages. The system was fed by a complex and innovative water management system that pre-dated any such technology, pioneering the use of waterpower in mining. Embark on an underground tour of the inner workings, and afterward explore Goslar's historical old town, a royal seat for German kings and emperors until 1253, dominated by elegant guildhalls and timber-framed buildings.

Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen

The Zollverein Mine is not only the world’s largest and most modern coal producing facility, but it is another anchor point on the European Route of Industrial Heritage and an architectural marvel. 1.5 million visitors a year come to experience one of 28 tours offered to “follow the path of coal.” Roll up your sleeves and take an insightful tour of this gigantic complex, discover great works of art in its public spaces or enjoy one of many cultural highlights the Zollverein offers.