The most prestigious list of the most valuable cultural and natural sites that are considered common good of the mankind and granted special protection by the UNESCO.
Each year, the World Heritage Committee decides which objects should be inscribed on the list, based on the uniqueness of a given object on a world scale. At present, the list includes 1007 sites in 161 countries.
In Poland, the honour has been awarded to 13 places, which together form the League of Polish UNESCO Towns and Sites. The Church of Peace was inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 2001 as a unique testimony of faith, religious community, and architectural solutions. It is one of only three World Heritage Sites in Lower Silesia, the other two are the Centennial Hall in Wrocław and the Church of Peace in Jawor.
The justification behind including the church on the list is as follows:
“As a consequence of the order imposed by the Austrian monarchy of the Habsburgs over these lands, the construction of the Churches of Peace required unprecedented, complex architectural and constructional solutions that had not been previously used, especially for wooden buildings. Their surprising uniqueness is also a result of the fact that despite popular scepticism about the durability and reliability of the buildings, they have survived to this day. The Churches of Peace are an exceptional testimony of the development of a particular political force in 17th century Europe, one filled with spiritual power and dedication. The Churches of Peace in Jawor and Świdnica are the largest timber-framed sacred objects in Europe. Both of these Protestant churches were built in the middle of the 17th century after the Thirty Years’ War that had laid waste to vast parts of Europe. By signing the peace treaty in Westphalia in 1648, the Austrian monarch allowed the Protestants in Lower Silesia to build three “churches of peace”. They were meant as a commemoration of the devastating war and the end of a religious conflict.”
In the vicinity of the Church of Peace, in the old bell-ringer’s house, we created the UNESCO Centre for the Promotion and Partnership.
In 2010, we created the Lower Silesian UNESCO Trail. We set out on a journey to several towns and cities from the list – Toruń, Zamość, Kraków and Wieliczka. In each location we presented our monuments, the film “Pastor’s Secret” (“Tajemnica pastora”) and the performance entitled “This is not the way the wise man travels” (“Mądry tak nie podróżuje”) based on a diary of a 17th-century inhabitant of Świdnica who travelled 4000 km on foot, on horseback and by ship to various European courts to gather money for the construction of the Church of Peace in Świdnica.