The landscape of Lavaux offers a constant reflection of all the stories of those who live at its heart and draws the promise of its future.
Lavaux has been acknowledged, in the eyes of humanity, as being a UNESCO universal heritage site since 2007. The breathtaking scenery of the 10,000 terraces, the lake and the mountains is astounding but would not exist were it not for the area’s history. Indeed, the beauty that unfolds before those walking among the vineyards is a testimony of a cultural activity that deserves special attention. Lavaux is listed by UNESCO as a "cultural landscape", recognising the combined work between man and nature, a long and intimate relationship that has been essential to the development of the area. The know-how has been transmitted from generation to generation for over a millennium that remains at the heart of this landscape that has inspired the world of visual arts, music, film and literature. In the 11th Century, monks established the foundations for this incredible landscape; the winegrowers then followed shortly. From that point onwards, the latter have remained faithful to the region and have been continuously producing wine, including the King of the region, the “Chasselas”. The fact that Lavaux is on the UNESCO list is first and foremost an international recognition of the long and rich interaction between man and nature and between the winegrower and his land.
Lavaux's registration criteria1
Traditions, heritage from the past (criterion iii)
The Lavaux vineyard landscape demonstrates in a highly visible way its evolution and development over almost a millennium, through the well preserved landscape and buildings that demonstrate a continuation and evolution of longstanding cultural traditions, specific to its locality.
The unique configuration of the landscape of Lavaux (criterion iv)
The evolution of the Lavaux vineyard landscape, as evidenced on the ground, illustrates very graphically the story of patronage, control and protection of this highly valued wine growing area, all of which contributed substantially to the development of Lausanne and its Region and played a significant role in the history of the geo-cultural region.
The harmonious interaction between people and the environment (criterion v)
he Lavaux vineyard landscape is an outstanding example that displays centuries of interaction between people and their environment in a very specific and productive way, optimising the local resources to produce a highly valued wine that was a significant part of the local economy. Its vulnerability in the face of fast-growing urban settlements has prompted protection measures strongly supported by local communities.
1from the website's page: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1243/