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    The Visitor Centre

    reading lens for the old town

    The Visitor Centre

    Located at the heart of the city, Bamberg's new World Heritage Visitor Centre displays Bamberg's outstanding universal value and serves as an interpretation aid for the World Heritage site.

    Embedded in the international UNESCO context the special features of the World Heritage site “Town of Bamberg” are conveyed on about 220 square meters of exhibition space.
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    Exhibition

    The World Heritage Visitor Centre provides an overview of the World Heritage site, including information about what it means to be a World Heritage site, what contributes to Bamberg’s significance as a UNESCO site. The Visitor Centre will not replicate a typical museum with an in-depth collection, but aims at raising interest in the cultural facets of the City of Bamberg and its historical and geographical parameters. It is intended to sensitize locals and visitors to the peculiarities of the place.

    The exhibition consists – like the old town of Bamberg – of three parts; one for each historic settlement centre. In a lively way, the exhibition provides information about the City on the Hills with its Domburg (former fortress of the Babenberg dukes), the Island District with its mills and private mansions and the Market Gardeners‘ District with its urban horticulture.

    Building models illustrate medieval and baroque architecture. Audio stations, films and digital applications, a seed-wheel and an interactive model of the old town of Bamberg invite visitors to familiarize themselves with the site. Special places in the urban surroundings, which represent the outstanding universal value of Bamberg, are referenced in the exhibition to encourage exploring the site.

    Plan Your Visit

    Opening hours
    The World Heritage Visitor Centre is open during high season (April to October) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and during low season (November to March) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    General admission
    The admission is free.
    Guided tours through the exhibition can be booked at besucherzentrum@welterbe.bamberg.de at a price of EUR 60,- (school classes EUR 50,-).

    Getting there
    The World Heritage Visitor Centre can be reached by public transport via bus station Schranne (bus lines 901, 910, 912, 918 and 989). If you come by car the following parking facilities are available nearby.

    Contact us
    World Heritage Visitor Centre Bamberg
    Untere Muehlbruecke 5
    96047 Bamberg
    Germany

    Fon: +49 (0) 951 87 1811
    E-Mail: besucherzentrum@welterbe.bamberg.de

    Learn more

    Chronicle

    There have already been mills at the Lower Mills District (Untere Mühlen) as early as the lifetime of Emperor Henry II. Today's property Untere Mühlbrücke 5 was once a building complex consisting of three mills: Leibelsmühle, Kaufmannsmühle (merchant's mill) and Sterzermühle. From the 13th to the 19th century, they were part of an association of local millers called Brudermühlverband.

    • around 1639: construction of the Sterzermühle
    • 1839: a major fire destroys almost all mills in this area
    • 1840: reconstruction of the Sterzermühle
    • 1945: damage of the Sterzermühle in a bombing raid during World War II (22 April 1945)
    • 1950: demolition of the Sterzermühle with the exception of the ground floor
    • 2000: within the framework of the international “Architecture and Water” competition the redevelopment area of Untere Mühlen is given an explicit praise by The International Union of Architects (UIA)
    • 2005/2006: design competition for Untere Mühlbrücke 5 (plans are not implemented)
    • 2015: City Council adopted the establishment of a World Heritage Visitor Centre in the new building on the site
    • 2016: start of construction work
    • 2018: topping-out ceremony and inauguration of the turbine (19 July 2018)
    • 2019: opening of the World Heritage Visitor Centre (29 April 2019)

    History

    The use of hydropower in the Lower Mills District (Untere Mühlen) dates back to the Middle Ages. Some buildings belonging to this mill complex have already been shown on the Zweidler Plan – a city map of Bamberg dated 1602. Only two of five former mills still remain these days: the Vogtherrnmühle and the Huthsmühle. After the western wall of the Leibelsmühle had collapsed in 1882, it was demolished in 1904. The Kaufmannsmühle (merchant's mill) was completely destroyed during the war in 1945. The neighbouring Sterzermühle was seriously damaged at the same time. The new building integrates the remains of the facade of the old Sterzermühle.
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    Construction of the new building

    On 16 December 2015, the Bamberg City Council resolved the establishment of a World Heritage Visitor Centre. Construction work began the following year. Circumstances in the Lower Mills District (Untere Mühlen) were difficult: divers and motorboats had to be employed. In the course of archaeological excavations various millstones and about 900 oak posts from the 11th to the 18th century were found at the building site. On 20 June 2018, an erroneous “bomb scare” caused a sensation and stopped construction work for one day. The supposed bomb finally turned out to be the metal tip of some wooden foundation pile. One month later, Bamberg celebrated the topping-out ceremony and put the turbine into operation. After three years of construction the World Heritage Visitor Centre was opened on 29 April 2019.

    The following film shows a time lapse of the construction progress.

    Building

    The owner of the building, Johannes Kraus, decided to maintain the facade of the old Sterzermühle, even though it was not a listed monument. The architect Heinz Rosenberg integrated it into the new building.

    The openly designed staircase conveys the international UNESCO context and leads visitors to the exhibition on the upper floor. The Bamberg World Heritage Office is located in the attic. On the ground floor, visitor can enjoy a culinary break at the restaurant HENRII.

    In the basement of the building, a hydropower turbine produces energy for up to 300 households. It continuous the traditional use of renewable energies in the Mills District.
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    Pop-Up Centre

    In 2017, World Heritage Day was celebrated for an entire week focussing on the new World Heritage Visitor Centre. For this purpose, the team of the Bamberg World Heritage Office temporarily occupied a vacant shop in a historical building at Obere Brücke. The pop-up centre presented sketches of the exhibition design, hosted a series of lectures and events, and offered an opportunity for personal discussions.

    Picture of the pop-up centre can be found here.