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Alexander Parsons Profile

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Recent Reviews Alexander Parsons


Tchogha Zanbil Alexander Parsons

Tchogha Zanbil by Alexander Parsons

I visited Tchogha Zanbil (as well as the other nearby WHS) on a long day trip from Ahwaz, between two overnight bus trips. This is not a recommended way to see these sites, as you can find yourself at the whims of an unpleasant driver who decides to double the price of the trip halfway through.

While I showed this driver (the only one at the station willing to take the trip) my map showing a route of Ahwaz-Susa-Tchoga Zanbil-Shushtar-Ahwaz, he nevertheless insisted on going to the ziggurat first, expressly denying the existence of a clearly-marked road linking them east-west. This caused pointless doubling back, which he repeatedly passive-aggressively blamed on me.

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Maymand Alexander Parsons

Maymand by Alexander Parsons

My visit to Maymand was a bizarre experience that is unlikely to be replicated by others, so my review should not be taken to be especially representative of the typical experience. I arrived via chartered taxi around 5:30pm, because the driver assured me it would only be 1.5 hours drive from Kerman and thus refused to leave earlier. This was very obviously wrong, and it took closer to 3.5. This wasn’t catastrophic, given sunset wasn’t until after 7:30, so there was still plenty of time to look around.

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Bam Cultural Landscape Alexander Parsons

Bam Cultural Landscape by Alexander Parsons

The curious thing with the Arg-e Bam is that I feel it was inscribed precisely in response to the loss of any potential Outstanding Universal Value it may have had. By all accounts it was very impressive prior to the 2003 earthquake which obliterated it and the surrounding town of Bam, but in its current state, it really is not particularly exciting. Actually, this assessment is probably too harsh, given many sites in worse states of repair are considered worthy; while the OUV may well still exist, its allure as a destination worth travelling to is now in question.

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Meidan Emam, Esfahan Alexander Parsons

Meidan Emam, Esfahan by Alexander Parsons

The fact that the Meidan Emam was inscribed so early in the life of World Heritage is hardly a surprise; this square is the darling of the Iranian tourism industry, and rightly so. An interesting point to consider is this timing of the submission and acceptance of this site to the World Heritage List; the 1979 World Heritage Convention occurred in May, only a few months after the Islamic Revolution. The reference in the ICOMOS evaluation of 1979, and the other 1979 documents available on the UNESCO website, makes reference to the ‘Meidan-e Shah’, and the ‘Shah Mosque’, without any mention of the renaming of these components by the new regime. I guess the new Islamic Republic valued the prestige of the nomination enough to still accept it, though evidently with a name change, as the 1988 report makes no mention of the deposed shah.

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Masjed-e Jâme' Alexander Parsons

Masjed-e Jâme' by Alexander Parsons

On first viewing as I approached, the mosque was honestly underwhelming. I had read about the wondrous nature of its dome, and so was naively expecting a dazzling tiled beauty. Instead, there was a dome of faded brick, rising above a construction site plaza. I was also looking at the wrong dome; the ‘perfect’ one is considerably smaller than the other, and thus less visible from afar.

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Profile data

Name: Alexander Parsons

Country: Australia

Visited WHS: 169

Most Impressive: Great Wall of China

Proposal New WHS:

Lists

  1. Durmitor National Park
  2. Imperial Tombs
  3. Major Town Houses
  4. Ephesus
  5. Upper Middle Rhine Valley
  6. Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy
  7. Takht-e Soleyman
  8. Pasargadae
  9. Macao
  10. Tchogha Zanbil
  11. Royal Exhibition Building
  12. Persepolis
  13. Kii Mountain Range
  14. Meidan Emam, Esfahan
  15. Le Havre
  16. Plantin-Moretus Museum
  17. Soltaniyeh
  18. Bali Subak system
  19. Cienfuegos
  20. Bam Cultural Landscape
  21. Kathmandu Valley
  22. Bisotun
  23. Melaka and George Town
  24. Preah Vihear Temple
  25. Berlin Modernism Housing Estates
  26. Kotor
  27. Armenian Monastic Ensembles
  28. Stoclet House
  29. Australian Convict Sites
  30. Shushtar
  31. The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier
  32. Albi
  33. Jantar Mantar
  34. Al Ain
  35. Tabriz Bazaar
  36. Amsterdam Canal Ring
  37. Selimiye Mosque
  38. Persian Garden
  39. Masjed-e Jâme'
  40. Al Zubarah
  41. Fujisan
  42. Golestan Palace
  43. Maymand
  44. Silk Roads
  45. Pyu Ancient Cities
  46. Tomioka Silk Mill
  47. Bursa and Cumalikizik
  48. Susa
  49. Qhapaq Ñan
  50. Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution
  51. Lut Desert
  52. The Persian Qanat
  53. Aphrodisias
  54. Venetian Works of Defence
  55. Great Barrier Reef
  56. Yazd
  57. Orange
  58. Sydney Opera House
  59. Willandra Lakes
  60. Speyer Cathedral
  61. Florence
  62. Tasmanian Wilderness
  63. Old Havana
  64. Avignon
  65. Red Fort
  66. Humayun's Tomb
  67. Qutb Minar
  68. Hill Forts of Rajasthan
  69. Agra Fort
  70. Taj Mahal
  71. Fatehpur Sikri
  72. Abbey of St Gall
  73. Pilgrimage Church of Wies
  74. Cuzco
  75. Machu Picchu
  76. Chitwan National Park
  77. Vatican City
  78. Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust
  79. Cracow
  80. Cologne Cathedral
  81. Aachen Cathedral
  82. Auschwitz Birkenau
  83. Cordoba
  84. Granada
  85. Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines
  86. Works of Antoni Gaudí
  87. Pont du Gard
  88. Fortified City of Carcassonne
  89. Istanbul
  90. Toledo
  91. Seville
  92. Skocjan Caves
  93. Venice and its Lagoon
  94. Piazza del Duomo (Pisa)
  95. Acropolis
  96. Hawaii Volcanoes
  97. Potosi
  98. Frontiers of the Roman Empire
  99. Great Wall
  100. Imperial Palace
  101. Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor
  102. Uluru
  103. Mount Athos
  104. Meteora
  105. Thessalonika
  106. Trinidad and the Valley de los Ingenios
  107. Luang Prabang
  108. Vat Phou
  109. Hierapolis-Pamukkale
  110. Wet Tropics of Queensland
  111. Strasbourg
  112. Lima
  113. Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch
  114. Delos
  115. Te Wahipounamu
  116. Sucre
  117. Berat and Gjirokastra
  118. Butrint
  119. Paris, Banks of the Seine
  120. Prague
  121. Horyu-ji Area
  122. Himeji-jo
  123. Lumbini
  124. Angkor
  125. Ha Long Bay
  126. Hué
  127. Ancient Kyoto
  128. Australian Fossil Mammal Sites
  129. Messel Pit
  130. Kutna Hora
  131. Shirakawa-go and Gokayama
  132. Canal du Midi
  133. Genbaku Dome
  134. Itsukushima Shrine
  135. Cuenca
  136. Semmering Railway
  137. Verona
  138. Palau de la Musica Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau
  139. Trogir
  140. Ping Yao
  141. Pompei
  142. Versailles
  143. Flemish Béguinages
  144. Grand Place, Brussels
  145. Pyramids (Memphis)
  146. Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France
  147. Ancient Thebes
  148. Ancient Nara
  149. Nubian Monuments
  150. Summer Palace
  151. Temple of Heaven
  152. Bellinzone
  153. Historic Cairo
  154. Museumsinsel (Museum Island)
  155. Rome
  156. Nikko
  157. Santa Maria delle Grazie
  158. Belfries
  159. Mostar
  160. Hoi An
  161. My Son
  162. Dubrovnik
  163. Valparaiso
  164. Cathedral of St. James in Sibenik
  165. Rietveld Schröderhuis
  166. Split
  167. Reichenau
  168. Assisi
  169. Brugge
  1. Amritsar
  2. Bagan
  3. Chernobyl
  4. Ciudad Perdida, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
  5. Cultural Landscape of Santorini
  6. Ephesus
  7. Nan Madol
  8. Okavango Delta
  9. Pharaonic Temples of Kom Ombo and Edfu
  10. Plain of Jars / Sites Mégalithiques de la province de Xieng Khouang
  11. Sistema Vial Andino/Qhapaq Ñan
  12. The Archaeological Site of Göbeklitepe
  13. Varanasi