Region of the Russian Federation: Kaliningrad Region
Area: 6.6 thousand ha
Criteria: (v) (cultural heritage)
Site Status: inscribed in the World Heritage List in 2000
Status of Territories composing the Site:
Kurshskaya Kosa National Park (238535, Kaliningrad Region, Zelenogradsky District, Rybachy, ul. Lesnaya, 7)
Curonian Spit was entered into the UNESCO World Heritage List as an international (Russian-Lithuanian) cultural property. Its location and relief are unique – the continuous stripe of sand dunes 0,3 – 1 km wide, in parts approaching the highest in the world (up to 68 m), stretches along a peninsula for 70 km. National Park occupies the narrow strip of land between the salty Baltic Sea and freshwater Curonian Gulf.
Qwing to its geographical position and northeast to southwest orientation, the Spit is a "guide line" for many migrating bird species flying from northwest Russia, Finland and the Baltic countries to countries of central and southern Europe. Every spring and autumn from 10 to 20 million migratory birds pass over the spit, giving it special importance as a link in the chain of protected areas situated along the White Sea – Baltic flyway. Amongst the migratory birds many are listed as rare and endangered in the Red Books of Russia, Europe and worldwide.
The park’s flora totals 889 species, hybrids, varieties and forms of wild vascular plants. Its fauna includes more than 290 species of terrestrial vertebrates.
The centuries-old interaction of man and nature is imprinted on the spit’s landscape, formed not only by natural phenomena but also by human activity. The one hundred years fight by people against the offensive sands, the traces of which could be seen everywhere in the form of transplanted forests and extensive wicker fascines, constitutes a special page in its history.
The spit is reach in sites of cultural heritage: “dune stopping” constructions unique in scale, fishermen’ settlements blending harmoniously into the landscape; archeological sites and monuments of religious architecture. The Curonian Spit is a unique site for studying the history and culture of the peoples that settled here at different times. It preserves evidence of settlement by ancient Indo-Europeans, Western Balts, Scandinavians and Germans. The Curonian Spit is a wonderful mutual creation of nature and without like in the Baltic Region.