Pretzien Weir

Photo by Hubert.

Pretzien Weir is part of the Tentative list of Germany in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

The Pretzien Weir is a sluice gate weir that has protected the cities of Magdeburg and Schönebeck from flooding of the River Elbe since 1875. It also created a safe water depth for shipping traffic. Its industrial engineering has been influential on other flood protection structures throughout Europe.

Map of Pretzien Weir

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

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Philipp Peterer

Switzerland - 06-May-24 -

Pretzien Weir (T) by Philipp Peterer

The Pretziener Weir is a 2 hour drive from Berlin Airport, in the middle of nowhere. There are a few WHS within reach, like Dessau, Wittenberg or Quedlinburg, so if you happen to still have to check these it’s just a quick detour.

The weir is located in a side arm of the Elbe River, that was created as a flood relief. Since the construction ended in 1873 it is a crucial part of flood control. It still protects the nearby towns of Schönebeck and Magdeburg. It can be approached from both sides with a tiny parking lot on either side. If there is no flood, the weir is actually dry and you can walk next to it on both sides. The top of the weir was fenced off. There is an info board in German and English as well as a small platform with the history of the weir. We spent around 30 minutes on site, which is plenty.

On the plus side, weirs are not represented at all on the list. And Pretzien takes a special place as its already on the national architecture heritage list and won an engineering price in Paris after it was completed (ironically by forced labour of French POWs).

The other side is, that I am not sure weirs need representation on the list. In general, this place seems not to be a big deal, not even for the Germans. The first sign we found was about 1km from the weir. The website is very outdated and even the wiki article exists only in German. I fear the nomination has more to do with the national WHS approach of Germany to evenly distribute the WHS between federal states. They had to find something else in Saxony-Anhalt and here we go. Nominate the Pretziener Weir. Go their, if you are nearby, but not worth a trip.

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Full Name
Pretzien Weir
Structure - Civic and Public Works
2024 Added to Tentative List

Unesco Website: Pretzien Weir

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Pretzien Weir (T)


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