About the UNESCO World Heritage Site

Medieval Town of Toruń

Medieval Town of Toruń was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997, a list created as part of the implementation of the 1972 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the World's Natural and Cultural Heritage. The area of the entry includes three elements of the city's urban structure: the Old Town, the New Town and the ruins of the Teutonic castle (borders are illustrated on the map).

The Intergovernmental Committee of the World Heritage decided to inscribe Toruń on the List, referring in the justification to the commercial character of the city, where both the original grid of streets and the extraordinary quality architecture from the early period of the city's development have been preserved to an exceptional degree, thus showing the life of the medieval city in a unique way complete.

The Committee assigned criterion 2 (an example showing a significant exchange of values taking place in a given period of time or in a given cultural area of the world in the field of development of architecture or technology, monumental arts, urban planning or landscape design) and criterion 4  an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural ensemble, a set of technical objects or a landscape that illustrates a significant stage(s) in human history).

A brief description and definition of the value of the medieval town of Toruń is contained in its statement of Outstanding Universal Value, a document that is a kind of contract between the State, a party to the World Heritage Convention, and the World Heritage Committee responsible for the shape and updating of the World Heritage List (declaration, statement).

This document is the basis for monitoring the state of conservation of a World Heritage site and is therefore also the main reference for management.

The main features (attributes) outlined in it, which make the medieval city of Toruń unique, are:

1. An example of a medieval commercial and administrative center of European importance consisting of three elements: the Old Town, the New Town and the ruins of the Teutonic castle. Each of the components of the urban complex has retained its characteristic layout features, clear borders, building structure characteristic of the place with spatial dominants identifying individual parts of the city.

2. Unique medieval architecture - architectural structures preserved in the original material testify to the continuity of traditional building techniques and technologies with the use of patterns, forms and colors common to the city and this region of the world; outstanding examples of preserved rich forms of Gothic, Mannerism, Baroque and subsequent eras. These layers illustrate successive stages of development without blurring the medieval image of the city.

3. Outstanding landscape values of the medieval city located on the river - views of the city from the side of the Vistula River shaped by the monumental silhouettes of Gothic churches and the town hall rising among the diverse blocks of tenement houses with varied facades and ceramic roof geometry, surrounded by a belt of defensive walls with gates. The historical panorama from the side of the Vistula River, shaped in its basic shape in the 13th/14th century, is an iconic image of Toruń.

4. Related to the history of the city and individual objects: nomenclature, functions, historical events and famous inhabitants (the most famous is the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus).