Welcome to one of the most impressive landscapes in Austria
When the Wachau was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2000, a fascinating cycle of history came to a close. From the first nomads who moved through the valley almost 100,000 years ago, through the traces of Roman settlement to today's townscape and landscape: over the millennia the mild climate, the fertile soils and the Danube River as a trade route have attracted a wide variety of people.
The Wachau is a 36 km long breakthrough valley along the Danube. Between Emmersdorf and Melk in the west and Krems/Stein and Mautern in the east, the river has dug itself deep into the mountainous landscape of the Bohemian massif, creating a unique natural landscape. It is one of the essential requirements for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The name Wachau appeared for the first time in the 9th century in a series of documents referring to areas in today's communities Aggsbach, Rossatz-Arnsdorf, Spitz and Weißenkirchen. From the 14th century on, the name “Thal Wachau” became established for the area around Weißenkirchen. The Wachau has only been the name of the entire region between Melk and Krems/Stein since the end of the 19th century.
From 1972 the Wachau civil society campaigned for the preservation of this unique cultural landscape and was able to decisively prevent the construction of a Danube power plant in the middle of the Wachau.
The award of the World Heritage status in the "Cultural Landscape" category makes the Wachau one of current a 12 Austrian World Heritage Sites (as of 2021). Such an award also means a high degree of responsibility: future developments in agriculture, transport, settlement activities and tourism must be meticulously considered, planned and implemented. In order to live up to this responsibility, the Wachau World Heritage Association was founded.
Now enjoy an informative and exciting multimedia experience on the Wachau World Heritage region, its communities, and the spectacular sights with the app guide "Wachau World Heritage Site".
And discover information on the stages of the World Heritage Trail, the 180 km long-distance hiking trail that connects the municipalities of the region and their sights on 14 sections north and south of the Danube.
Supported by the Federal Province of Lower Austria and the European Union (LEADER).