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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: 152

Most Impressive: Great Wall of China

Proposal New WHS:

Recently Visited WHS

Update 09.07.17


  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. Great Barrier Reef
  49. Yazd
  50. Orange
  51. Sydney Opera House
  52. Willandra Lakes
  53. Speyer Cathedral
  54. Florence
  55. Tasmanian Wilderness
  56. Old Havana
  57. Avignon
  58. Red Fort
  59. Humayun's Tomb
  60. Qutb Minar
  61. Hill Forts of Rajasthan
  62. Agra Fort
  63. Taj Mahal
  64. Fatehpur Sikri
  65. Abbey of St Gall
  66. Pilgrimage Church of Wies
  67. Cuzco
  68. Machu Picchu
  69. Chitwan National Park
  70. Vatican City
  71. Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust
  72. Cracow
  73. Cologne Cathedral
  74. Aachen Cathedral
  75. Auschwitz Birkenau
  76. Cordoba
  77. Granada
  78. Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines
  79. Works of Antoni Gaudí
  80. Pont du Gard
  81. Fortified City of Carcassonne
  82. Istanbul
  83. Toledo
  84. Seville
  85. Skocjan Caves
  86. Venice and its Lagoon
  87. Piazza del Duomo (Pisa)
  88. Acropolis
  89. Hawaii Volcanoes
  90. Potosi
  91. Frontiers of the Roman Empire
  92. Great Wall
  93. Imperial Palace
  94. Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor
  95. Uluru
  96. Trinidad and the Valley de los Ingenios
  97. Luang Prabang
  98. Vat Phou
  99. Hierapolis-Pamukkale
  100. Wet Tropics of Queensland
  101. Strasbourg
  102. Lima
  103. Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch
  104. Delos
  105. Te Wahipounamu
  106. Sucre
  107. Paris, Banks of the Seine
  108. Prague
  109. Horyu-ji Area
  110. Himeji-jo
  111. Lumbini
  112. Angkor
  113. Ha Long Bay
  114. Hué
  115. Ancient Kyoto
  116. Australian Fossil Mammal Sites
  117. Messel Pit
  118. Kutna Hora
  119. Shirakawa-go and Gokayama
  120. Canal du Midi
  121. Genbaku Dome
  122. Itsukushima Shrine
  123. Cuenca
  124. Semmering Railway
  125. Verona
  126. Palau de la Musica Catalana & Hospital de Sant Pau
  127. Ping Yao
  128. Pompei
  129. Versailles
  130. Flemish Béguinages
  131. Grand Place, Brussels
  132. Pyramids (Memphis)
  133. Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France
  134. Ancient Thebes
  135. Ancient Nara
  136. Nubian Monuments
  137. Summer Palace
  138. Temple of Heaven
  139. Bellinzone
  140. Historic Cairo
  141. Museumsinsel (Museum Island)
  142. Rome
  143. Nikko
  144. Santa Maria delle Grazie
  145. Belfries
  146. Hoi An
  147. My Son
  148. Valparaiso
  149. Rietveld Schröderhuis
  150. Reichenau
  151. Assisi
  152. 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