United Nations – The Great Spa Towns of Europe

United Nations - The Great Spa Towns of Europe

2022 Word HeritageThe Great Spa Towns of Europe

Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.

 The Great Spa Towns of Europe is a World Heritage Site comprising 11 famous historic spa towns and cities in seven countries. Together, they make one “property” inscribed on the World Heritage List on 24 July 2021 as a transnational series. The Great Spas, in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom represent a unique cultural phenomenon which reached its height in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as a particular urban type and form. As a World Heritage Site, it has been given global recognition as a phenomenon which helped to shape Europe.

60¢ – Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic

Karlovy Vary is known as the largest open-air salon of Europe, and has hosted royal families, European heads of state, aristocracy and prominent artists. It is distinguished by a geyser-like spring phenomenon and unique composition of thermal water, innovative methods in balneology (the study of therapeutic bathing and medicinal springs), and a prolific and outstanding architectural spa ensemble. The spa quarter follows the numerous hot springs that emerge in the Teplá (Warm) River valley and displays rich historicist and art nouveau styles of architecture. The surrounding spa landscape is characterized by terraced valley sides, extravagant villas, promenades and pathways, and solitary lookout buildings. Nowhere today is the “drinking cure” more evident than in the numerous beautiful colonnades, where thousands of daily visitors may be seen drinking from traditionally shaped porcelain cups.

$1.40 – Montecatini Terme Italy

Montecatini Terme, with its early distinguished role in the recognition of the medical properties of mineral water, is an important representation in a country rich in thermal springs. Attracting important intellectuals and artists, such as Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini and Ruggero Leoncavallo, the town is an ambitious revival project that transformed a late-eighteenthcentury garden spa into a landscape spa. Monumental spa architecture, centred on four main springs, can be found among an oasis of gardens, formal parkland and promenades. Greenery continues in a swathe of pine trees and terraced olive groves that, together with the historic funicular railway, ascend steep slopes crowned by Montecatini Alto – also the focal point of the central boulevard. With its eclectic spa architecture reinterpreted in Tuscan style, Montecatini Terme continues to serve as a centre for balneological treatment.

CHF 1,10 – SPA Belgium

Spa, Pearl of the Belgian Ardennes, played an important role, as early as the seventeenth century, in the recognition of the medical properties of mineral water. Its carbonated waters were ideally suited to drinking and have been widely distributed across Europe ever since, leading to the introduction of the name “spa” in the English vocabulary. Since the early eighteenth century, Spa’s many springs, located on a wooded hillside south of the town were used for both crenotherapy (a branch of balneology in which mineral waters are used as a therapeutic internal cure by ingestion) and physical activity, with a network of walks linking the various springs and connecting them to the town. Spa became internationally renowned as the Café of Europe, and a pioneer of gaming. From the second half of the nineteenth century, it was transformed into a modern spa resort with French classicist architecture. Today, thermal tradition and know-how is sustained by the addition of a new thermal centre overlooking the town.

CHF 1,50 – Vichy, France

Vichy, Queen of Spas, and France, greatly contributed to the creation of nineteenth-century European spa culture. It is the most prestigious and well-known French spa town, the model spa. Situated on a flat plain beside the River Allier, it combines Parisian urban principles with a spa promenade inside the city. Napoleon III encouraged the building of a new spa town laid out with parks and boulevards, a cosmopolitan Little Paris of grand bath complexes, pump rooms connected by covered promenades, casino and theatre, hotels and villas. The success of Vichy resumed after difficult times in the Second World War, and bottled water, reine des villes d’eaux, continued to be exported in large quantities worldwide. This further provides the basis for trademark cosmetics and skincare products of the Vichy Laboratories, the leading skincare brand in European continental pharmacies.

€ 1,00 – Baden-Baden, Germany

Baden-Baden, known as the summer capital of Europe, was patronized by the ruling and cultural elite of nineteenth-century continental Europe. Situated on the western edge of the Black Forest, it became one of Europe’s largest and most fashionable spas with an unbroken tradition of using mineral water for healing from antiquity to the present. Reflected by the separate spa quarter, newly developed across the River Oos from the old town, it was here, in the Kurhaus and Casino, that Baden-Baden acquired a worldwide reputation as the supreme example of the German gaming spa. It was also a place of inspiration for major artists and works of universal significance. Today, balneological treatments and bathing continue with great popularity in both historic and new thermal establishments, while an outstanding tradition of music and theatre is vibrantly sustained.

€ 1,80 – Baden bei Wien, Austria

Baden bei Wien is just 30 kilometres from Vienna, the historic seat of one of the world’s greatest imperial dynasties – the Habsburgs. Baden was one of their favourite summer resorts, known as a spa of emperors and a magnet for high-level politics. The town combines the classicist architecture of the beginning of the nineteenth century with the architecture and infrastructures of the turn of the twentieth century, when Baden became a world class spa resort. The spa district is centred on the spa garden that contains the Kurhaus, Trinkhalle, Sommerarena and music pavilion. The therapeutic and recreational spa landscape extends into a scenic terrain of hills and a valley that contain a distinguished belt of villas and parks. Musical heritage of outstanding universal significance is linked to one of the favourite workplaces of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven and Johann Strauss.

Date of Issue:               9 September 2022

Designer:                     Rorie Katz

Printer:                        Cartor Security Printing (France)

Process:                       Offset Lithography

Perforation:                 14.5 x 14.25

Stamp size:                  50mm x 35mm

Stamps per sheet:        20



60¢                  4,500 sheets (90,000 stamps)

$1.40               4,500 sheets (90,000 stamps)

CHF 1.10          3,500 sheets (70,000 stamps)

CHF 1.50          3,500 sheets (70,000 stamps)

€ 1,00               3,500 sheets (70,000 stamps)

€ 1,80               3,500 sheets (70,000 stamps)

Prestige booklets

New York         6,000 booklets

Geneva            6,000 booklets

Vienna             7,000 booklets

Source:            UNESCO