On the World Heritage (Bike) Tour you can discover three World Heritage sites in the region.
Visitors to the Messel Pit fossil site near Darmstadt are immersed in times long past. The site has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995 and was once a lower-lying former oil shale pit. The Eocene deposit, which is the richest in fossils, documents the first stages of the evolution of mammals. Animals and plants have survived here in the oil shale for 50 million years.
One of the most famous World Heritage sites in the Electoral Palatinate is the Speyer Imperial Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. Built by emperors and designated as their resting place, the cathedral remains a symbol of former power today. The three-nave vaulted basilica exerted great influence on the development of Romanesque architecture, but the symmetrical arrangement of the four towers at the corners of the structure formed by the nave and transept also characterize the cathedral.
No longer in the Electoral Palatinate, but worth a visit is Maulbronn Monastery, located in the neighbouring Kraichgau-Stromberg region. The building bears witness to the once extremely powerful influence of churches and monasteries on history. The monastery was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 1993. The former Cistercian abbey is one of the few completely preserved monastery complexes north of the Alps. Begun in 1147 and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1178, the abbey was converted into a monastic school in 1556. The most famous monastery students are Johannes Kepler, Hermann Hesse and Friedrich Hölderlin.