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World Heritage Site

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Recent Community Reviews

1032 of 1073 WHS have been reviewed by our community.

Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch nan, Germany 15.08.17

Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch

Following Kintante's recommendation in the forum, I set out to go to Eggishorn. Leaving my apartment in Hamburg at 5 a.m. I stood on the top of the mountain at 1 p.m., a flight, two train rides and two cable cars in between. And there it was. Or better there it wasn't: The glacier was hidden from view by heavy fog. And the mountains were covered in thick snow ...

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Rome History Fangirl, United States 15.08.17

Rome

I've been to the parts of Rome that comprise this UNESCO site twice-back in 2011 and in 2014. There's nothing quite like sitting in a taxi, heading into Rome for the first time, and rounding the corner to see the ruins of the Forum.

Today the remains are mostly a jumble of what was rescued from archeological digs. Many of the main sites were covered in 20-30 feet of dirt and debris until the 19th century.

It's been a while since I've been, so I don't have great practical tips. However, here's the interview I just conducted about the Roman Forum that goes much deeper into its history: The Roman Forum.

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Bellinzone nan, Germany 14.08.17

Bellinzone

If you are looking for an early version of a toll booth, the castles of Bellinzona should give you a good idea. They were built at a strategic location, a narrow alpine valley, through which multiple alpine trading routes passed. At its height in the 15th century the fortifications cut along the full width of the valley enforcing the collection of tolls for all traders passing by.

The main castle, Castelgrande, sits right in the middle of the valley on a hill. The panoramic views you get with the Alps as backdrop are breathtaking. Already the Romans had built a castle here.

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Galapagos Islands Jay T, USA 13.08.17

Galapagos Islands

The Galápagos Islands are a nature-lovers dream, home to giant tortoises, iguanas, sea lions, penguins, flamingos, pelicans, Darwin's famed finches, frigates, and, my favorite, the blue-footed booby. And that's just on land. Rest assured, if you are hoping to see wildlife, you will not be disappointed with the species endemic to these volcanic isles on the Equator. When planning a trip to the Galápagos, you have the choice of joining a multi-day boat tour of the islands or creating your own tour by flying or taking ferries between islands. I chose the latter when I visited the Galápagos in June. If creating your own tour, you also have to decide which islands you'll visit. I chose Santa Cruz Island, in the center of the archipelago, and Isabela Island, the largest of the islands. Santa Cruz Island is home to the Charles Darwin Research Station, on the east side of the main town of Puerto Ayora.

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Archaeological Site of Nikopolis (T) Ralf Regele, Germany 13.08.17

Archaeological Site of Nikopolis (T)

Nikopolis is the ruin of a roman city north of Preveza, on the western coast of Greece. Surprisingly for such a little known site, the ruins are quite large - there is a mile-long city wall, two large fields with remains and lots of smaller artifacts. It looks as if the antique city was larger than the present one ! However, there are no buildings remaining on the whole. What is left is mostly brickwork, floor constructions and street plasterings. It is all typical roman stuff - mosaics, pillars, floor heatings. There seem to be not a lot of people who visit the site - I was there at a weekend in high season, and the place was almost deserted. The area is surrounded by low vegetation with no modern building in sight, which enhances the athmosphere of an abandoned place. On the bad side, the site does not seem to be fully developed - the two main fields are a mile apart, and there is no path between them but the dusty country road.

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Blog: WHS #638: Ice Age Art Caves

The Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura was a welcome addition to the WH List this year for those ticking off Western European WHS on weekend trips. Recent reviews of it by Hubert and Clyde have already paved the way regarding all practical details necessary for a worthwhile trip. The site lies some 620km from my home, and I visited it by car with a stop-over in Darmstadt. I decided to not visit all locations, but instead do some cherry picking among the inscribed caves and associated museums with a special focus on seeing the figurines.

Signs everywhere

My day of exploration started at the Archäopark Vogelherd. At the park entrance there is a small exhibition room, and that’s where I found my two first figurines: a mammoth and a cave lion. Both are tiny objects. They are on show in a display case each, and there’s nothing else in the room. The mammoth is easy to recognize as such and is in perfect shape. It has to be admired from the “front” though, as the other side is much more rough. This seems to suggest that it was a brooch or similar ornament worn on clothing or the body.

The other figure is said to represent a cave lion. With some imagination a tiger or a puma as we now know them can be seen in the object. “Cave lions” were widespread in the age of the early homo sapiens and could grow bigger than modern lions. They probably had no manes, hence the similarity with other big cats rather than male lions. They did not really live in caves (phew!) but did sometimes enter them to surprise a hibernating bear.

In this Lone River Valley area I also visited the Vogelherd and Hohlenstein Stadel caves. Both are fairly large, enough to provide a shelter to families during the harsh winter time.

A flute made out of bone of a griffon vulture

In the early afternoon I arrived near the other cluster of sites, in the Ach Valley. I started at the Urgeschichtliches Museum in Blaubeuren. This undoubtedly is THE museum to go and see when you want to learn more about the Ice Age Art of this region. It displays various attributes such as the raw materials (mammoth bones) and the tools that were used. Most objects that are shown were found at the nearby Hohle Fels Cave. In this museum I saw my first examples of the “earliest musical instruments”, one of the claims to fame of this WHS. The flowery description in the nomination file might suggest early pianos or harps, but these “instruments” are all flutes.

The museum also has a number of figurines. There is a diving bird (looks like a duck), a tiny lion man and the prize piece of the collection: the Venus of Hohle Fels, "the oldest undisputed example of a depiction of a human being yet discovered". This one even has a whole exhibition room to itself! The female figurine was only discovered as recent as 2008.

I ended my day at the Hohle Fels cave. This was a pleasant surprise as well. It really is a huge cave. A music group was performing inside, using “ancient” instruments.

Sediments from the Aurignacian and the Neandertaler periods

I always thought that when I really had money I would start collecting Netsuke – Japanese miniature sculptures. These small Ice Age figurines, mostly made out of mammoth bone, reminded me of them. There are so few left (about 50). But even in this day and age they can be admired as art objects.

Published 13 August 2017

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