As the world’s supreme cultural authority, UNESCO elevated the sacred Romanesque buildings in Hildesheim to the rank of world cultural heritage in 1985. Since that moment, the Cathedral and St. Michael have been spoken of in the same breath as the Acropolis in Athens and the Vatican City – and rightly so.
Alongside the exemplary architecture, the quality in particular of the High Middle Ages features preserved in the church – which is unique in its diversity and artistic quality – was a pivotal factor. In this Hildesheim church one can discover a wealth of Romanesque art and view aspects of an era that, in other places, were crushed by the burden of past centuries.
At least as impressive as the wealth of the treasures presented is the way they have endured over the tumultuous centuries. Neither the conflagrations of the Middle Ages, nor the bombs of the Second World War were able to materially damage the unique artefacts within the Hildesheim cathedral.
The labelling of the cathedral as a UNESCO World Heritage site will attract long-term attention worldwide to the peerless Roman bronzes and the surrounding architectural ensemble. It also represents a responsibility for the future. The region of Lower Saxony is quite willing to accept this challenge and has provided substantial funds for the large-scale restoration of the cathedral.
I would like to wish the construction project continued success and, along with many of my fellow citizens, I look forward to the grand re-opening of the building on the 1200th anniversary of its founding in 2015.
Hannover, May 2013
Governor of Lower Saxony
and patron of the Cathedral restoration