Orchard Cultivation (Intangible Heritage)

The Swabian Alb is home to one of the largest contiguous orchard landscapes in Europe. The cultivation of orchards has a long tradition and the special cultural landscape characterises the landscape, especially on the Albtrauf. It attracts many visitors during the apple blossom season. The orchards are still tended and cultivated today with the help of traditional craft techniques. This is particularly important as the orchards are extremely species-rich biotopes, but at the same time are among the most endangered biotopes in Central Europe. Over the course of the 20th century, many orchards were cleared to make room for monocultures with higher yields, as the traditional form of fruit cultivation is very labour-intensive and time-consuming. Today, the orchards, which combine nature conservation, cultural heritage and local recreation, are better protected. In 2021, orchards were added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

In a typical orchard meadow, tall fruit trees are spaced far enough apart so that each tree gets enough light and the meadows can also be utilised. They form important habitats for various bird species, insects and plants and must be cared for accordingly so as not to harm biodiversity. Environmentally friendly cultivation methods are used and artificial fertilisers are avoided. The trees are pruned so that they are healthy and stable and bear as much fruit as possible, which can either be eaten directly or processed into juice and cider. In the Swabian Alb region, where water was scarce, cider was a popular and frequently consumed drink. There are still cider mills in many villages today.

The orchard information centre in Mössingen offers further information on this topic.


  • Streuobstwiesen am Teckberg
    Orchard Cultivation (Intangible Heritage)