Shepherding and shepherd's run Bad Urach (Intangible Heritage)

Traditional sheep farming and herding has been practiced in southern Germany for several centuries and is largely responsible for the creation of the juniper heaths typical of the Swabian Alb. The sheep that wander through the landscape eat grasses, herbs, and young shoots, leaving only the prickly juniper bushes untouched. This has created a unique cultural landscape that is not only valuable due to the tradition of shepherding, but also represents a species-rich ecosystem. A habitat is created for rare animals and plants and the sheep also contribute to biodiversity, for example by spreading seeds over large areas in their wool.

In the past, shepherding was mainly used for the production of wool and meat, but today the flocks of sheep are active as landscape conservationists, as they prevent the barren juniper heaths from becoming overgrown.

The shepherds' run in Bad Urach also stems from the tradition of herding sheep. This event has been held in Bad Urach for over 300 years. Originally, it was the general assembly of the shepherd's guild, at which important matters were dealt with by the shepherd's court. Today, every two years, a colourful parade of various shepherd groups takes place, during which colourful costumes and traditional dances are presented. The highlight of the festival is the shepherd's run: a race for the shepherd's crown.

The Tradition of the Shepherd's Run and Shepherd's Trade Market in Bad Urach was recognised by UNESCO as national Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2018 and two years later, the South German Nomadic Sheep Farming and Herding was also added to the list.


  • Schafherde im Grossen Lautertal
    Shepherding and shepherd's run Bad Urach (Intangible Heritage)