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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: 153

Most Impressive: Great Wall of China

Proposal New WHS:

Recently Visited WHS

Update 23.08.17


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