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The World Heritage Committee inscribed fourteen cultural sites to the UNESCO World Heritage List this past weekend. Two of the new additions inspired this list of ten World Heritage sites that can be seen in Euro TV shows.

Champagne village and vineyards
Village and vineyards in Champagne – Photo by Phillip Capper (CC BY 2.0 license)

It really includes twelve sites, but who’s counting.

1. Climats, Terroirs of Burgundy and Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars (France)

Burgundy: Haute Côte des Nuits vineyards
Bourgogne: Haute Côte des Nuits vineyards – Photo by Hans Andersen (CC BY-SA 3.0 license)

Both the Climats, Terroirs of Burgundy and Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars were added to the World Heritage List on the 4th of July 2015. Per the World Heritage Committee, the former “is an outstanding example of grape cultivation and wine production developed since the High Middle Ages” and the latter “bears clear testimony to the development of a very specialized artisan activity that has become an agro-industrial enterprise.”

Viewers of the French mystery series, Blood of the Vine, will recognize both areas in several episodes, including Season 2‘s “The Silky Widows” and Season 3‘s “The Scam of Saint-Vivant” and “Nightmare in Côtes-de-Nuit.”

2. Cologne Cathedral (Germany)

Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral – Photo by MathKnight (CC BY-SA 2.0 license)

Built in several stages from 1248 to 1880, the World Heritage Committee calls the Gothic Cologne Cathedral “an exceptional work of human creative genius.” It was added to the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2004, and removed two years later after plans for the construction of new high-rise buildings were scaled down and management of the site’s surroundings were improved.

Cologne Cathedral is a prominent part of the backdrop in the German crime drama Tatort: Cologne.

3. Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta (Italy)

Ferrara: Piazza Trento e Trieste
Ferrara: Piazza Trento e Trieste – Photo by Sien

States the World Heritage Committee, “Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta […] is a remarkable cultural landscape,” adding “the historical town of Ferrara is an exceptional example of Renaissance period urban planning” and “the Po Delta is an outstanding planned cultural landscape.”

The Italian noir series, Fog and Crimes, is set in Ferrara, where the River Po is a character unto itself in the mystery stories.

4. Hanseatic Town of Visby (Sweden)

Visby – Photo by Żeglarz

Located on the Swedish island of Gotland, the former Viking site of “Visby is an outstanding example of a north European medieval walled trading town,” according to the World Heritage Committee.

And it is in and around Visby that the police have several murder cases to solve in the episode “Not Until The Giver Is Dead” of the Maria Wern Swedish mystery series. The story also mentions Birka, of the Birka and Hovgården archaeological sites on the World Heritage list.

5. Historic Areas of Istanbul (Turkey)

Istanbul Basilica Cistern
Istanbul: Basilica Cistern – Photo by Moise Nicu (CC BY-SA 3.0 license)

“The Historic Areas of Istanbul include monuments recognised as unique architectural masterpieces of Byzantine and Ottoman periods such as Hagia Sophia […] and the Suleymaniye Mosque,” as per the World Heritage Committee.

Other notable structures are the “monumental cisterns,” including the ancient Roman cistern of Yerebatan Sarayi, which is the setting of a murder in the “Last Stop Istanbul” episode of the German crime drama, Homicide Unit Istanbul.

6. Medina of Tétouan (Morocco)

Tétouan – Photo by AdnanAB

The World Heritage Committee states, “The Medina of Tétouan constitutes an outstanding example of a fortified Mediterranean coastal town.”

Viewers of the hit Spanish period drama, The Time In Between, will recall that heroine Sira awakens in hospital in Tétouan, and begins her life of international espionage here, after her lover abandons her in Tangiers.

7. Palace and Park of Versailles (France)

Château de Versailles
Château de Versailles – Photo by Romaric Juvanon (CC BY-SA 3.0 license)

Opulence mixed with intrigue during the reigns of France’s Kings Louis XIV, XV, and XVI, each of whom resided at the Palace of Versailles, which “provided Europe with a model of the ideal royal residence for over a century,” according to the World Heritage Committee.

For the swashbuckling police commissioner in the titular French mystery series, Nicolas Le Floch, being called to Versailles means doing whatever le roi bids him to do. (The English-language, French period drama, Versailles, is also set… where else.)

8. Paris, Banks of the Seine (France)

Paris – Photo by Myrabella (CC-BY-SA-4.0 license)

Also on the UNESCO World Heritage list is the French capital of Paris, through which the River Seine flows and gives the city its Left and Right Banks. From the Seine, one can see many of the city’s key sights, including the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, the Conciergerie, the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, the Louvre, and more.

On telly, Paris is the setting for many a contemporary and period drama, including crime dramas Braquo, Frank Riva, and Spiral, mysteries Détectives, Maigret, and Pigalle, la Nuit, and dramas The Churchmen, Maison Close, and Paris.

9. Roskilde Cathedral (Denmark)

Roskilde Cathedral
Roskilde Cathedral – Photo by Christoffer G. Thomsen

Roskilde Cathedral, built in the 12th and 13th centuries, “was Scandinavia’s first Gothic cathedral to be built of brick,” and the World Heritage Committee inscribed it to the UNESCO World Heritage List for this reason.

Although the members of the mobile police team of Denmark’s Unit One crime drama don’t enter Roskilde Cathedral, you get a glimpse of its exterior during Season 1’s sixth episode.

10. Venice and Its Lagoon (Italy)

Venice – Photo by Hellkt

Venice met multiple criteria for its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List, all of which can be summed up in this statement by the World Heritage Committee: “Founded in the 5th century and spread over 118 small islands […] the whole city is an extraordinary architectural masterpiece.”

In Euro TV programs, look no further than to the German (yes, German) series, Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti Mysteries, to feast your eyes on the beauty of Venice.


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Ten Sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List in Euro TV Shows
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