Dresden Elbe Valley

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Dresden Elbe Valley
Dresden Weltkulturerbe.png
Map of the area in Dresden
Location Dresden Basin, Germany
Long-axis direction Northwest-Southeast
Long-axis length 20 kilometres (12 mi)
Geography
Coordinates 51°02′59″N 13°48′48″E / 51.04972°N 13.81333°E / 51.04972; 13.81333Coordinates: 51°02′59″N 13°48′48″E / 51.04972°N 13.81333°E / 51.04972; 13.81333
Population centers Dresden
Watercourses Elbe
Type: Cultural
Criteria: ii, iii, iv, v
Designated: 2004 (28th session)
Reference No. 1156
Region: Europe and North America
Delisted: 2009 (33rd session)

The Dresden Elbe Valley is a former World Heritage Site in Dresden, Germany. The valley, extending for some 20 kilometres and passing through the Dresden Basin and the city of Dresden, is one of two cultural landscapes along the Central European river Elbe. The value of this landscape lies in the fact that it includes the urban area as well as natural river banks and slopes.

"Filmnächte" on the Dresden Elbe Valley with skyline of the city in the background

Points of interest of the Elbe Valley include Pillnitz with its castle and old village as well as the village of Loschwitz with Schloss Albrechtsberg, works of engineering such as the Blue Wonder bridge, the Standseilbahn Dresden and the Schwebebahn Dresden, and the historic center with the buildings of Brühl's Terrace, Semperoper and Katholische Hofkirche (the Roman Catholic Church of the former court). Parts of the area such as Blasewitz are historic suburbs of the city, while there are also industrial districts.

Plans to build the four-lane Waldschlösschen Bridge across the valley proved controversial. In 2006, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee placed the Dresden Elbe Valley on its list of World Heritage in Danger and threatened to remove it from the World Heritage List. According to the Committee's official website, the committee determined that "plans to build a bridge across the Elbe would have such a serious impact on the integrity of property's landscape that it may no longer deserve to be on the World Heritage List," and therefore decided to place the Dresden Elbe Valley on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger "with a view to also consider, in a prudent manner, delisting the site from the World Heritage List in 2007 if the plans were carried through."[1]

Though the bridge was approved in a referendum in 2005, the city council decided on 20 July 2006 to stop the invitation to bid on contracts to build the bridge. However, after several court decisions the city was forced to begin building the bridge at the end of 2007 until further court hearings could be held in 2008.

In July 2008, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee decided to keep the Dresden Elbe Valley on the World Heritage List in the hope that the construction would be stopped and the integrity of the landscape restored. If not, the property would be deleted from the World Heritage List in 2009.[2]

In June 2009 at a UNESCO meeting in Seville, the World Heritage Committee decided in a 14 to 5 vote with two abstentions to revoke the Dresden Elbe Valley's status as a World Heritage Site.[3][4]

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