At the meeting on January 16, 2013, the City Council unanimously gave the green light to the project, put forward by Lord Mayor Kay Blankenburg and Peter Weidisch, and provided the necessary financial resources to support it.
For about two years the city has intensively worked to prepare this application. To this end, a joint agreement was signed last year: the "Declaration of the City and Town Mayors and representatives" (Karlsbad, Franzensbad, Marianske Lazne, Luhačovice, Bad Kissingen, Baden-Baden, Wiesbaden, Bath, Montecatini Terme Spa and Vichy). On behalf of Bad Kissingen, the agreement was signed by Lord Mayor Kay Blankenburg.
This declaration fosters cooperation for a serial, transnational (i.e., joint, cross-border) application for inscription on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List “Great Spas of Europe".
Bad Kissingen is thus part of a Europe-wide initiative that strives to acknowledge the historical and cultural significance of the most important baths of the continent. “Without doubt, Bad Kissingen belongs to the premier league of baths in Europe, which is why we cannot but support this initiative,” said Lord Mayor Kay Blankenburg.
The application will be carried out under the leadership of the Czech city of Karlovy Vary, represented by the local mayor, Petr Kulhánek, as a serial, transnational nomination “on a Czech ticket”. The quota of the Federal Republic of Germany is thus not used. Nevertheless, the process of receiving the UNESCO designation leads first to the inclusion in the German list of proposals, the so-called "tentative list" presented by the German Minister of Culture to UNESCO. In order to clear this hurdle, the application for inclusion in this list has already been intensively prepared. It will be submitted over the next few weeks through the Bavarian State Ministry of Science, Research and Art.
At the City Council meeting on January 16, 2013, the course was set for the project to receive the financial resources required for the further steps of the application. The City Council unanimously agreed with the general concept of the initiative, which laid the foundations for the further steps of the process. This includes highlighting the distinctive features and unique characteristics of Bad Kissingen. External experts, who have relevant experience with such processes, will be involved on behalf of the city of Bad Kissingen under the leadership of the cultural adviser, Peter Weidisch.
For the implementation of the project, the City Council will allocate almost €250,000 to the next two budget years. As counter-financing, revenue from funding applications is still expected.
“Great Spas of Europe”: Bad Kissingen is an excellent member of this list of internationally recognized spa towns in Europe. The spa architecture and infrastructure of Bad Kissingen, its topography as well as the state of conservation of the architectural heritage of the city, fulfill to a large extent the criteria of authenticity and integrity demanded by UNESCO. The “thermal landscape” of Bad Kissingen, created in the 19th century, is not only largely preserved, but is still being used for the same purpose to this day. The outstanding historic buildings, such as the Regentbau and the Wandelhalle, as well as the imposing spa complex developed over centuries, speak well for Bad Kissingen. “The immaterial potential that we can put in the balance is also outstanding,” said Lord Mayor Kay Blankenburg. “In which other city are the traditional spa buildings still used today in their original function? This is so much the case with us.” This process also means to preserve the memories of the historical personalities who have been once cured in Bad Kissingen, a Who's Who of past times, including tsars, emperors and kings.
With the inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List, heritage sites experience an increasing level of international visibility. Klaus Stieringer, the head of marketing of the World Heritage Centre of Bamberg, presented the positive impact of the designation as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site to the city council. In a nutshell, Stieringer stated: “Bad Kissingen, your opportunity is now.” Though the positive effect of such a designation cannot be summed up in figures, it is clear that it would definitely offer invaluable potential both to citizens and to marketing strategies. This is what has happened in Bamberg since its inclusion on the World Heritage List 20 years ago. “It is not up to us to decide as to whether Bad Kissingen will be given the World Cultural Heritage status. But we will not leave anything untried to receive this award,” Lord Mayor Kay Blankenburg said. “We are now looking forward to seeing if we have successfully being included into the national German tentative list: this is our next important step.”