Name of property: Mediaeval Town of Toruń

(An urban and architectural complex of two mediaeval historic town's centers and the Teutonic Castle)

Localization: City of Toruń is situated in North Poland, in the center of kujawsko-pomorskie voivodship (The Voivodship of Cuiavia and Pomerania), on the right, north-western bank of the lower course of the Vistula River.

Category of property: cultural property

Nominated area:

The mediaeval historic center of Toruń is composed by 3 directly adjoining mediaeval settlements units:

  • the Old Town - located in the western part of the urban complex,
  • the New Town - placed in its easter part,
  • and the Teutonic Castle - which integrates both towns.
  • The Complex has a form of an irregular pentagon, prolonged along the east-west axis.

The strict conservation protection zone border line is laid out from the Theather Square (Plac Teatralny) - and it follows the streets: Wały gen. Sikorskiego - Szumana - Wola Zamkowa, down to the Vistula bank - along the north bank of that river, up to the road bridge of Józef Piłsudski - the length of the Aleja 700-lecia - and Wały gen. Sikorskiego Street - back to the Theather Square (Plac Teatralny).

Legal situation:

legal provision (status): Ownership is compound - the monuments in the area of the Complex are mostly communal, state or private, in some part - church.

responsible administration: the City Government of Toruń, represented by the City President.

Justification for inscription on the World Heritage List

date of inscription - 1997

criteria met - 2,4

Toruń is the first town founded in the wide spread region of Prussia. Its main heritage considered to be of outstanding universal value for Humankind, is represented by the unique spatial layout of the Old Town and New Town together, preserved from XIII century in almost original condition, with a great number of uncommon types of building, which represent best achievements of gothic brick architecture with a very high rate of mediaeval substance, covered only in certain cases with later stratification - renaissance, baroque, classicistic or neohistoric. All these creations exist thanks to a great prosperity of the town, due to its trade development as well as a remarkable creativeness of the most notable architects and artists from all over the world.

What is more, the protected zone nominated by UNESCO also include the double wall fortifications, expanded on the distance of 2,5 km, and strengthened with a number of towers and gates, which were frequently duplicated in many later founded towns in Prussia.

Criterion 2

The urban and architectural complex of Toruń bears an outstanding witness of a cultural exchange with the leading centers of European art. The area exhibits a very original architectural collection and artistic expression, and by its art's achievements it constitute an exceptional testimony of the fusion of European and indigenous values through the exchange of knowledge, talent and ideas. Furthermore, it displays evidence of international contacts with the leading centers of European art, and in particular that of the large mercantile cities such as Bruges and Ghent (the example of Old Town Hall), or Lübeck (the example of the St. James' Church). As that, Toruń confirms a cultural interchange and creative adaptation of artistic experience, among the Hanseatic towns in Europe.

Criterion 4

The burghers' houses of Toruń form the biggest and the best preserved complex of gothic dwelling architecture in northern Europe. A great number of them became a main source of inspiration and established a standard for many very original types of constructions and exerted a fundamental influence on the evolution of dwelling art building, in many later founded towns of that region, as well as in the adjoining countries.

World's heritage of historical complex of two towns with the Teutonic castle, in Toruń, is an outstanding example of especially rare form of mediaeval settlement agglomeration. It combines in very original way, features of:

  • a riverside harbour town (the Old Town), that connected during its peak period Poland, Germany, Prussia, Scandinavian countries and Lithuania ),
  • a double town (the Old Town + New Town), with the features of a typical fortificated town integrated with a castle.

This so well preserved spatial layout is not only an outstanding masterpiece of the human creative mind, but also provides valuable source material and cultural for the history of town development of mediaeval Europe.

In the XIII century, Toruń played an essential role in conquest, christianization and colonization of Prussia. It was also the center for framing the feeling of social standing identity of mediaeval middle class and its dictatorial aspirations that led finally to the crisis and downfall of the Teutonic state.

Furthermore, the Hansa town of Toruń is the only one of its kind where Nicolas Copernicus was born and where he spent his youth.

The urban and architectural values of the mediaeval town of Toruń - one of the most beautiful historic centers in Europe, are additionally enriched by the fact of its close relationship to the surrounding landscape of a great esthetical beauty. As so, it vividly illustrates a medieval setting, which has evolved organically and harmoniously with the nature over time.



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Średniowieczne Miasto Toruń, Stare Miasto w Zamościu, Puszcza Białowieska, Kościoły Pokoju w Jaworze i Świdnicy, czy kopalnia soli w Wieliczce, zajmują honorowe miejsca obok takich osobliwości, jak paryskie wybrzeża Sekwany, Wielka Rafa Koralowa w Australii, Tadż Mahal w Indiach, czy egipskie piramidy.