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Parthenon in Athens
Colosseum in Rome

The term architectural monument originally referred to an architectural or plastic monument to commemorate a personality or an event. Today, according to Duden, it is a "building as a monument to past architecture" and includes "historical buildings of all kinds as sources and testimonies to human history and development." Architectural monuments can be individual cultural monuments , such as individual buildings, or entire facilities , such as historical town centers and town centers, streets, Be places or groups of buildings. They are of artistic, scientific, technical, technical, historical or urban significance. In addition, a monument is a technical term that is interpreted differently in different contexts.

Today, many architectural monuments are often an important cultural asset for tourism and part of the grown cultural heritage of a state, region or municipality. Many of these monuments carry the mark of cultural property according to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (see Blue Shield International ) or are UNESCO World Heritage Sites .

Historical origin of the term

A monument can be a magnificent palace (here Nymphenburg Palace in Munich) ...
... or a ruinous industrial building (here the oxygen plant II in Peenemünde )
... or a boat lift
... or a simple boundary stone like here in Jachenau .
The Augustusbrücke in Dresden is colloquially also a monument, but the Saxon monument law describes it as a cultural monument.

In the first half of the 19th century, private antiquity associations came together with the aim of "finding, preserving, explaining and depicting historically or artistically important monuments of the patriotic prehistory", such as the Royal Saxon Research Association founded in the Kingdom of Saxony in 1825 and preservation of patriotic antiquities (see also the development of monument protection in Saxony ).

The concept of (patriotic) antiquities was split up in the course of the inventory taking place in the second half of that century : The commissioned inventories of architectural and art monuments (e.g. Richard Steche and Cornelius Gurlitt : Descriptive representation of the older architectural and art monuments of the Kingdom of Saxony . 41 Bde., Meinhold, Dresden 1882–1923) made a distinction between the buildings worth preserving (monuments such as churches, castles, mansions etc.) and the art treasures and artistic monuments worth preserving ( art monuments such as church furnishings, statues and equestrian monuments). However, this division was not mandatory. In 1900, the first day for the preservation of monuments commissioned the art historian Georg Dehio with the task of compiling a Germany-wide quick inventory of all objects worthy of protection, the handbook of German art monuments .

In 1902, the Grand Duchy of Hesse passed the law on monument protection, the first German codified monument protection law. In its second section, it contains chapters that explicitly deal with architectural monuments owned by private individuals . Also, natural landmarks are treated (section 6). The term cultural monument only appears later, for example in the full title of the Saxon Heritage Protection Act passed in 1934: Law for the protection of art, cultural and natural monuments .

As part of the cultural heritage, architectural monuments are one of the primary goals in many wars and armed conflicts and are therefore threatened with destruction and looting. Often the cultural aspect of the buildings is in the foreground and it is precisely the cultural heritage of the enemy that is to be permanently damaged or destroyed. The President of Blue Shield International, Karl von Habsburg , explained during a cultural property protection mission in Lebanon in April 2019 with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon : “Cultural goods are part of the identity of the people who live in a certain place. If you destroy their culture, you also destroy their identity. Many people are uprooted, often no longer have any prospects and as a result flee from their homeland. ”Today Blue Shield International operates national and international coordination with regard to military and civil structures for the protection of architectural monuments in the sense of cultural monuments together with the United Nations and UNESCO . In the event of war in particular, attempts are made to create so-called “no-strike lists” for monuments, as in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Mali. These lists, drawn up by Blue Shield in conjunction with local experts, are intended to determine for all warring parties which important sites must not be bombed under any circumstances.

Subject term definitions

In contrast to the general linguistic usage, which generally refers to evidence of past architecture all over the world as a monument , the legal, German-language technical term architectural monument is usually more narrowly defined, while the science of monument preservation uses it more in the sense of general linguistic usage, i.e. even without official protection.



Definition of monument law

Since the official monument protection in Germany falls within the competence of the federal states , there are different definitions in the monument protection laws of the individual federal states. For example, Bavaria only differentiates in its Monument Protection Act between architectural monuments and ground memorials (in the Bavarian monument topography, monuments in Bavaria are also called archaeological monuments ). Architectural monument is defined there as:

"... structural system or parts of it from a bygone era ... including certain historical items of equipment (including movable objects). Gardens and ensembles are also considered architectural monuments, the latter even if not every single associated building is a monument, but the site, square or street image as a whole is worthy of preservation. "

In contrast, z. For example, in Berlin and Brandenburg a garden is not a monument, but there is a separate category garden monument. In Brandenburg and seven other federal states there is also a separate category for movable monuments.

The term architectural monument is intended for the classification of listed objects in the monument protection laws of the following federal states:

country law See also
Bavaria Law on the Protection and Care of Monuments List of architectural monuments in Bavaria
Berlin Law for the Protection of Monuments in Berlin Architectural monuments in Berlin
Brandenburg Law on the protection and maintenance of monuments in the state of Brandenburg Architectural monuments in Brandenburg
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Monument Protection Act of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Architectural monuments in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
Lower Saxony Lower Saxony Monument Protection Act Architectural monuments in Lower Saxony
North Rhine-Westphalia Law for the protection and maintenance of monuments in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia Architectural monuments in North Rhine-Westphalia
Saarland Saarland Monument Protection Act Architectural monuments in Saarland
Saxony-Anhalt Monument Protection Act of the State of Saxony-Anhalt Architectural monuments in Saxony-Anhalt

The state laws of the other federal states do not identify listed buildings as a separate group "architectural monument", even if this term can be used as an example in the legal text, but summarize them with other listed objects under the general term cultural monument or monument. These terms were also used in the monument law of the GDR, but the term architectural monument was not. The monument protection laws in Austria and Switzerland also do not use the term architectural monument.

Definition of income tax law

Also in the German Income Tax Act , listed buildings or parts of buildings, regardless of the definition of the monument preservation laws of individual federal states, are referred to nationwide with the term architectural monument. The monument protection according to the respective state legal regulations is assumed. Construction work that is necessary in terms of type and scope to maintain the building or part of the building as a monument or for its sensible use can be deducted from tax. Such tax-privileged properties are also traded by real estate agents under the designation of listed properties or listed properties.

Conservation use

The use of the term in monument preservation follows the general usage rather than the monument protection laws of the individual countries. For example, it says in the foreword to the current Dehio manual for Saxony, whose Monument Protection Act does not further subdivide cultural monuments:

“The monuments of Dresden that were destroyed in the night of the bombing of February 13-14, 1945 were described and appreciated to a greater extent than usual [...]. The reconstructed and restored monuments are to be understood in their original urban, artistic and historical context. "

Incidentally, both possible plural forms ("architectural monuments" and "architectural monuments") are used indiscriminately in two adjacent sentences.

The German National Committee for Monument Protection announced at the beginning of 2008 that, according to its census, there were at least 748,105 architectural monuments and 565,696 ground monuments in Germany. These figures were also made regardless of the terminology of the respective state legal classification.

The German Foundation for Monument Protection , a nationwide private foundation for the preservation of monuments, also uses the term architectural monument independently of any applicable state monument protection laws: For example, it reports in its press release "Wooden architectural monuments rediscovered" about the winners of the youth photo competition Focus Monument 2012 , the winner of which comes from Thuringia , a federal state whose monument legislation does not use the term “architectural monument”.


In the GDR, the preservation of monuments also used the term of the monument to designate listed buildings, for example in the documentation by Götz Eckardt (ed.) And Horst Drescher (edit.): Fates of German architectural monuments in the Second World War. A documentation of the damage and total losses in the area of ​​the German Democratic Republic , published in 1978 by Henschel-Verlag Berlin.


In Austria, the protected architectural monuments are designated as immovable monuments under monument protection . They were published in a list together with the archaeological monuments .

There are also programs from the federal states and municipalities, such as the Tyrolean art cadastre , the digital cultural city map of Vienna , or the monument database of the city of Linz .


In Switzerland, monuments, along with other cultural assets, are registered and placed under protection within the framework of Swiss cultural property protection. The objects are divided into three categories: objects of national importance (A objects), of regional importance (B objects) and of local importance (C objects). Class A and B objects are listed in the Swiss inventory of cultural assets of national and regional importance . A total of 75 084 architectural monuments are recorded in Switzerland (as of 2016).


  • August Gebeßler , Wolfgang Eberl: Protection and maintenance of architectural monuments in the Federal Republic of Germany . Kohlhammer, Cologne 1980, ISBN 3-17-004987-9 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Architectural monument  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Manfred Gerner : Fachwerk: Development of repair new building . 1st edition. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-421-03575-2 , pp. 206 .
  2. Baudenkmal, das. In: Duden , accessed on October 2, 2012.
  3. Defined in Article 16 of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property of May 14, 1954
  4. Rosemarie Pohlack: Diversity and values ​​of the Saxon monument landscape .
  5. ^ Georg Dehio: Handbook of German Art Monuments. Volume I. Central Germany . Berlin 1905, p. III.
  6. ^ Karl von Habsburg on a mission in Lebanon. Retrieved July 19, 2019 .
  7. Jyot Hosagrahar: Culture: at the heart of SDGs. UNESCO courier, April – June 2017.
  8. ^ Sabine von Schorlemer: Destruction of cultural assets. The eradication of cultural heritage in crisis countries as a challenge for the United Nations (2016), p. 785ff.
  9. Isabelle-Constance v. Opalinski: Shots on civilization in FAZ from August 20, 2014.
  10. Hans Haider: Misuse of cultural goods is punishable in Wiener Zeitung from June 29, 2012.
  11. Peter Stone: Inquiry: Monuments Men.Apollo - The International Art Magazine, February 2, 2015.
  12. Mehroz Baig: When War Destroys identity. Worldpost from May 12, 2014.
  13. ^ Fabian von Posser: World Heritage sites bombed, cultural treasures hawked. Die Welt from November 5, 2013.
  14. Rüdiger Heimlich: Desert City Palmyra: Protect cultural heritage before it is destroyed. Berliner Zeitung from March 28, 2016.
  15. ^ Corine Wegener, Marjan Otter: Cultural Property at War: Protecting Heritage during Armed Conflict in The Getty Conservation Institute, Newsletter 23.1, Spring 2008.
  16. See Joris Kila in an interview in Monument Men der Gegenwart. Protection against bombs and looting in the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger from February 20, 2014.
  17. Law on the protection and care of monuments (Monument Protection Act - DSchG), Art. 1.
  18. see § 7i and § 10f EStG
  19. Barbara Bechter, Wiebke Fastenrath et al. (Ed.): Georg Dehio, Handbook of German Art Monuments, Saxony I, Dresden District. Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-422-03043-3 , pp. VII – IX.
  20. ^ Message from the German National Committee for Monument Protection in Monument Protection Information 1/2008, p. 5.
  21. Wooden monuments rediscovered. German Foundation for Monument Protection announces winners of the youth photo competition Fokus Denkmal. In: German Foundation for Monument Protection , accessed on October 2, 2012.
  22. Monuments in Switzerland: first results. Monument statistics 2016 and statistics of cultural behavior. Federal Statistical Office , corrected version of December 20, 2018, as well as Swiss Monument Statistics 2016. Over 75,000 protected monuments in Switzerland. Media release by the Federal Statistical Office, December 18, 2018