New Inscriptions in 2017
The following sites were inscribed or extended by the 2017 WHC Session.
Map of All Inscribed Sites
- ●● Cultural
- ●● Natural
- ●● Mixed
The Historic City of Ahmadabad is a walled city dating from the 15th century, especially known for its fusion of Hindu, Jain and Islamic elements.
Further notable are its wooden houses (pol). The city wall dates from 1759.
Ralf Regele Germany 11.03.17
Ahmadabad is not exactly a beautiful city, with the historical buildings intertwined with all kind of modern ramshackle buildings and the typical indian street chaos. It's dirty and dusty and very lively. I visited the old core with the heritage walk, which definitely leads you to places you would not have seen by your own, but was also a bit overcrowded (mostly indian students). The WHS description concentrates on the old building clusters (called pols) in the innercity. Other Ahmadabad sites like the stepwells, the sidi-saiyyed mosque and the jain temple are not mentioned. The old havelis have a very dusty charme - there are intricate carvings, beautiful decorations, but everything has a worn-out feeling. On the plus side, it definitely does not feel touristy. The proposal also seems to be the only indian WHS that concentrates not on palaces, ruins and temples, but on normal residential areas - I would therefore welcome its inscription (also as an incentive to preserve the buildings).
Aphrodisias is an archaeological site that covers the remains of the ancient town with the Temple to Aphrodite and the town’s marble quarries.
The site is representative of the expansion of Hellenistic culture in southwestern Anatolia. The town has other notable monuments such as the theatre, market square, auditorium, public baths and stadium. High quality marble was quarried a few km’s away, and turned into sculptures in the workshops of Aphrodisias.
Solivagant UK 03.06.15
Aphrodisias is apparently scheduled by Turkey for nomination in 2017. We were in nearby Denizli to visit the inscribed site of Pamukkale/Hierapolis and were then driving down to the Selcuk area for Ephesus. So, at only 34 kms south off the direct route, it seemed worth taking in - even if we were hitting our “interest limits” on seeing Classical ruins! It turned out to be a worthwhile site, quite apart from that potential WHS “tick” banked for the future! What is less clear to me is how Turkey is deciding which of its many T List sites from this era are going forward next and how many more such cities the List can take!
Asmara: a Modernist City of Africa is an Italian planned colonial city based on early modernist architecture.
The urban ensemble was designed during several stages of development on an orthogonal grid plan with diagonal axes. The city was divided into quarters following the principles of racial segregation. During the short fascist period of 1935-1941 the city received its distinct modernist and rationalist public buildings, which mostly have survived intact since then.
Solivagant UK 20.06.08
Well - could you guess that this is Africa (photo)? Just 1 of the amazing Art Deco buildings in Asmara. There is a fine book which catalogues all (most?) of the relevant buildings in the city - but I only found it at the airport when leaving. And there are a lot of these buildings. There are at least 4 "time warp" cinemas ranging in condition from "lovingly restored" to "in grave danger of falling down" The best are still in use and still have the original ticket offices etc and very pleasant cafes. This iconic Fiat garage/petrol station is unfortunately in sad need of repair. There are also a number of governmental buildings, public squares etc and innumerable private dwellings - anyone interested in architecture will be able to spend a good number of hours exploring the Art Deco heritage of this pleasant capital with its pleasant climate.
The Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura comprise archaeological sites from the Aurignacian period where stone tools, figurative art and early musical instruments have been found.
It covers 2 locations with 3 caves each: the Ach Valley and the Lone River. The objects were carved from various materials, including mammoth ivory. Notable finding include the figurines of the ‘Venus of Hohle Fels’ and the ‘Lion Man’.
Hubert Austria 22.04.15
The paleontologists in Germany suffer a bit from the fact, that there are no sites of prehistoric rock art, not even simple scratches of arrows or circles, not to mention such beautiful cave paintings like in Chauvet and Altamira. But it is a kind of compensation that some of the earliest examples of figurative artworks were found in caves of the Swabian Alb. The objects are attributed to the Aurignacian and are about 40,000 years old. The figurines are made of mammoth ivory and are only a few centimetres tall, not larger than a matchbook. In total, about fifty figurines were found, mostly only fragments, less than half of them have been preserved in a way that they can be clearly identified. Most figures represent animals that lived during the last Ice Age in the Swabian Alb, like mammoth, wild horse or lion, but also bird and fish.
Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town is a well-preserved urban fabric that developed during the Mamluk and early Ottoman periods.
The town developed around the Cave of the Patriarchs / Sanctuary of Abraham / Ibrahimi Mosque, a compound dating to over 2,000 years ago and associated with the Holy Books Torah, Bible and Quran.
Solivagant UK 25.01.14
No doubt Assif can update us more accurately than I can regarding the complex realities of Israeli/Palestinian control across various parts of the City of Hebron. We visited the Israeli controlled area for a few hours, both to see the Tombs of the Patriarchs but also to try to get a feel for the situation. In that short visit I am unlikely to have fully understood matters but will do my best to describe what I can only describe as “a very strange visit”.
Kujataa Greenland: Norse and Inuit Farming at the Edge of the Ice Cap is a cultural landscape that represents the local farming and hunting cultures adapted to life in the Arctic.
The site has 5 components with features such as archaeological sites, agricultural lands and sheep farms. They include both elements belonging to the Norse Greenlandic culture, the first emigrants from Europe to settle here and introduced farming, and to the Thule Inuit culture.
Solivagant UK 26.07.10
The Norse settlement of Greenland and the North American mainland remains one of history’s great “what ifs” so it was interesting to visit Bratthalid and Gardar (on the same day) during a trip in southern Greenland in 2010 and discover more about this historical cul de sac.
Kulangsu: A historic international settlement covers an island where interchange of Chinese, South East Asian and European architectural and cultural values occurred since the opening of a commercial port at Xiamen in 1843.
Foreign missionairies, diplomats and workers lived on Kulangsu while working in the larger city Xiamen across the strait. They were instrumental in introducing modern western culture and technology to China. The historic urban settlement consists of 931 structures (residences, schools, hospitals, gardens). The fusion of cultures resulted in a new architectural style: the Amoy Deco Style, which originated on Kulangsu and this is where the best representations of it can be found such as the Hongning Hospital and the Yanping Complex.
Khuft Germany 10.07.17
I visited Gulangyu (Kulangsu) in 2010, during a weekend trip to Xiamen (and the Fujian tulou), flying in from Hong Kong, where I was staying for a few months. In a sense, Gulangyu delivers what Hong Kong or Shanghai only promise: the fusion of West and East in a late 19th century / early 20th century international settlement established to trade with China. Gulangyu is surprisingly big and quite well-preserved (though when I visited in 2010, a few of the mansions were in the process of being "spruced up"). Its architecture has a distinctive Western flair to it, but Chinese elements also appear here and there (and it includes at least one fully-fledged Chinese garden). A few parts, such as the giant statue of Koxinga, are of a younger age, and it's a bit strange that they have been inscribed too.
The English Lake District is a cultural landscape shaped by Ice Age glaciers where farming and the grazing of sheep since has defined the land.
It is a mountainous area of great beauty, that has inspired painters and writers since the 18th century. It has the highest peak of England, 13 narrow valleys, 16 lakes of glacial origin and woodlands.
Frederik Dawson Netherlands 07.06.17
Even though I have heard the reputation of England’s Lake District for a long time, it was not in my top list of places I want to see on British Isles; however, when I visited Scotland last year autumn, it was a good opportunity to add an extra few days to go down to Cambria and to see the famous site. From Edinburgh, it was very convenient to reach Lake District by superb highway. Since I came from the north, I decided to use Keswick as my base to explore this national park. The landscape of Lake District along the Derwent Water was very lovely with beautiful mountain, pretty houses and amazing autumn foliage. I drove to the beautiful Honister Pass passing picturesque villages of Borrowdale and Rosthwaite. When I reached the Pass, the landscape changed dramatically with steep grass mountains that similar to Scottish Highland or Northern Scandinavia.
The Landscapes of Dauria comprise 4 parts of Eurasian steppe.
The area, which lies in the Daurian Steppe ecoregion, has many lakes and wetlands. It is an important breeding ground for 3 crane species, a resting place for millions of migrating birds and supports the migration of the Mongolian Gazelle.
Los Alerces National Park is a visually stunning Andean landscape moulded by glaciations. It is covered by lakes and temperate forests that include the best conserved pockets of globally endangered Alerce tree species. The Alerce (or Patagonian Cypress) is the second longest living tree species in the world (> 3,600 years).
Nan Germany 28.11.16
“No bus.” I stood there at a loss. I had made my way past four travel agencies in Esquel and now stood in the local tourist office. “Tomorrow, sorry, but no bus. Bus was today. Next bus is on Saturday.” Everyone had told me that, so it was of little surprise. Still, I wasn’t happy.
It was Wednesday evening and my bus to Puerto Madryn was already booked for the next night. I had only the following day to visit. And then the lady of the tourist office asked: “But why don’t you try to hitchhike?”
Mbanza Kongo, vestiges of the capital of the former Kingdom of Kongo, represents the political and religious centre of a vast African kingdom which was transformed by the arrival of the Portuguese in the late 15th century.
The site (now a town of some 175,000 inhabitants) is located on a plateau. It comprises both archaeological remains of the precolonial period as well as colonial structures – often overlapping each other. The Kingdom of Kongo has strong intangible links with the slave trade and the early conversion of African kings to the Catholic religion.
The Sacred Island of Okinoshima has been a ritual site from the 4th – 9th century.
Ritual practices and votive offerings were made to pray for safety in navigating the seas, for boats heading to Korea and China to trade. The site includes three nearby islets, Koyajima, Mikadobashira and Tenguiwa, and 4 sites on and closer to Kyushu. There are a number of taboos and restrictions on visiting Okinoshima, including a ban of women and the prohibition “to speak of anything they have seen or heard on the Island”.
Qinghai Hoh Xil covers two protected areas on the high altitude Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau: Hoh Xil National Nature Reserve and the Soja-Qumar River sub-zone of Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve.
Temperatures average sub-zero year-round. Glacial meltwater supplies the many rivers, lakes and marshlands in these reserves. The site is also important as calving area and place of seasonal migration of large numbers of Tibetan antelope.
The Temple Zone of Sambor Prei Kuk is an archaeological site of the Pre-Angkorean period.
The site correspondends with Ishanapura, the capital city of the Chenla Empire that flourished in the late 6th and early 7th centuries CE.
A particular feature are its octagonal shaped temples, the oldest of its kind in South-East Asia.
Boj Philippines 19.05.17
From Phnom Penh, it is possible to do a day trip to Sambor Prei Kuk, a beautiful pre-Angkorian temple complex in the middle of the forest. The Kampong Thom local tourism office actively encourages tourists to arrange visits with local communities - from tuk-tuk rides, tour guide service and site interpretation.
According to my guide, Sambor (many) Prei (forest) Kuk (temples), means, many temples inside the forest. Indeed, SPK is situated in a distinct landscape, different from the vast plain of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, or the sacred cliff of Prasat Preah Vihear. The forest appears to be an integral element of the temple complex, no wonder the site is nominated as a cultural landscape
The Assumption Cathedral of the town-island of Sviyazhsk is a Russian-orthodox cathedral renowned for its complete 16th-century cycle of murals bearing symbolic meaning.
The Cathedral dates from the period of Ivan the Terrible, when missionary posts for spreading Christianity in this originally Islamic Tatar region were established. It is part of a homonymous Monastery.
Wojciech Fedoruk Poland 01.09.16
About 60 km from Kazan, on the opposite side of Volga river, lays small but beautiful town of Sviyazhsk. The town was built by tsar Ivan the Terrible in order to have a good starting point to invade Kazan Khanate. He built there numerous tserkvas, nunnery and of course a stronghold. In that time Sviyazhsk was one of the most important towns in the Moscow Tsardom.
But the successful ride on Kazan in 1552 was the end of Sviyazhsk’s golden years. Kazan, although thoroughly destroyed, soon became the real capital of that region. Sviyazhsk only sustained his status of a regional centre of Orthodox faith.
Taputapuātea is a sacral site and cultural landscape on Ra’iatea Island (part of the Society Islands) in French Polynesia.
It consists of several archaeological sites and marae (temples). Its main feature is the Taputapuātea marae complex, constructed from the 14th -18th centuries which is considered the central temple of Eastern Polynesia and which has a strong oral tradition connected with it. It is of continuing importance to a living culture: the sites fell into disrepair after the Europeans settled in this area, but were restored in 1968 and as recent as the 1990s.
Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine and its Underground Water Management System is a historic mining landscape with mostly underground parts. Its hydraulic system for water supply is seen as innovative for its time.
Its massive lead-silver deposits became known in the late 15th century. Lead was used in the smelting of silver from New Spain. A second phase of production started in the late 18th century during the process of industrialization of Prussia.
Nan Germany 09.07.17
After a stop over in Wroclaw at a friend's I was stuck with the question, what to visit on my trip towards Cracow. Seeing Tarnowskie was on the way and scheduled for the WHC 2017 I figured, I may as well go and see it.
Frankly, what I got to see didn't really impress me at the time. I didn't even bother to write up a review, feeling this would be in vain. Yeah, yet another mine! The only unique feature I found was the boat ride they have on a canal deep in the mine which makes for a pleasant excursion. The picture is rather dark, but that's what it looks like. Still, pleasant does not indicate OUV.
Valongo Wharf Archaeological Site comprises the globally most significant remains of an arrival point of enslaved African persons in the Americas.
The wharf located at Rio de Janeiro’s Jornal do Comércio Square was built from 1811 onwards, and used until the construction of the Empress’ Wharf in 1843. About a quarter of all African American enslaved people to the Americas have arrived here. While its physical remains are modest (fragments of a pavement, a former road), its spiritual associations as a site of conscience for African Americans are strong.
Venetian Works of Defence Between 16th and 17th centuries: Stato da Terra – Western Stato da Mar are 6 fortifications along the Adriatic Sea that date from the historic Republic of Venice.
They represent the evolution of Venetian military solutions and their innovations in architecture and methods. In the whole, they created a defensive line that guarded the Venetian commercial network.
Ralf Regele Germany 17.07.17
I visited the two north italian sites in 2014. Luckily, they are close together and can be combined easily.
Bergamo is a very beautiful city by itself. The old city sits on top of a hill, with the city walls all around, lots of medieval towers in the middle and the alps in the background. The defense ring is quite prominent, with an impressive entrance ramp. Still, most visitors will spent more time in the streets of the old city with its various churches, towers, shops and restaurants. I have no clue if the defense works here are significant from the military point of view, but they at least provide a splendid sight, both from the outside and as a viewing platform. I can highly recommend a visit to Bergamo as a whole, ticking off the WHS is just the icing on the cake.
The Historic City of Yazd is a traditional earthen city where life has been adapted to its desert location, most notable via the water system of the qanats.
Yazd is a city with a long history dating back to the Achaemenid era, and was located along the Silk and Spice Roads. It prospered from trade.
The ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape is a vast desert area associated with ǂKhomani San culture since the Stone Age.
It is an associative cultural landscape located amongst the sand dunes of the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, associated with the former San hunter-gatherers.
Solivagant UK 06.06.17
Walter’s comment in his recent review that “The !Xam Khomani Heartland corresponds in fact to the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park” has come indeed as a very pleasant surprise to me - even if he also indicates that the Nomination has been recommended for “deferral” this year!! This because we had a very memorable visit to the park just 1 year after Walter’s, way back in Aug 1998, and it therefore gives me the “right” to post my favourite Lion Photo taken inside the Park in the South African sector. I had just not previously realised that this Cultural nomination encompassed the entire South African part of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. I have re-read the UNESCO Web site T List entry and it is very opaque about the boundaries, referring to areas south and north of Upington and “restitution of land to the south of the Kgalagadi Trans-frontier Park, the original home of the community, and restoration of certain land use rights within the Park” – hardly evidence of a nomination based entirely on the Park.
Extended Sites in 2017
The Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar, Dessau and Bernau are the most prominent representations of the Bauhaus architectural school (1919-1933).
The "Staatliche Bauhaus" was founded in Weimar in 1919 by Walter Gropius. In Weimar the Art School, the Applied Art School and the Haus am Horn are part of this WHS. The Art Schools were designed by the Belgian master Henry van de Velde. The Haus am Horn was the first practical statement: a Bauhaus settlement of single family houses like this was planned. But due to political pressure the Bauhaus had to leave Weimar in 1925.
They ended up in Dessau, where the second (and more successful) phase of Bauhaus started. Prominent here were Hannes Meyer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. In Dessau the designated sites are the Bauhaus building and the group of seven Masters Houses. Especially the Bauhaus building, made out of concrete, glass and steel, is a landmark in 20th century architecture.
Ian Cade England 05.12.16
Eight years ago I wrote about how, for fans of modern art and architecture, a trip to the Bauhaus is less 'a visit' and more 'a pilgrimage'. In the intervening period it has been the greatest delight in my life to have met and married someone who shared my giddy excitement about this building. As such the night we spent staying in the former student accommodation was one that will stay long in our memory.
It was near impossible to wipe the smile off of our faces when we checked in at the nice cafe and realised we had been given the keys to the front door of the Bauhaus!
The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe cover forests of the European beech in 12 countries.
They comprise the largest remaining 'virgin' forests of the European beech ('Fagus sylvatica'). They also hold the largest and tallest beech specimens in the world.
Ian Cade England 13.07.16
Driving out to Hainich I apologised to my wife, "I think I have gone too far with this one." The calm non-vocalised acceptance indicated I had indeed probably overstepped the mark a little.
By this time our car was weaving on the deep snow atop the single track road outside the village of Craula and I had already started budgeting for how much the recovery vehicle would cost to haul us out. But we made it to the small car park at the entrance to the WHS core zone parked up and hoped that we would be able to get out again.
A thick white blanket wrapped the whole landscape as the deep snow blended seamlessly with the heavy skies when I jumped out of the car and donned my coat, scarf and gloves.
Strasbourg: from Grande-île to Neustadt, a European urban scene comprises the medieval historic centre of Strasbourg including its Cathedral and its German-built New Town.
The Grand Ile started out as the Roman camp of Argentoratum, and developed itself into the free city of Strasbourg. It was an important commercial centre in the Middle Ages. Johannes Gutenberg created the first European moveable type printing press here in the late 15th century.
The gothic Cathedral was the principal element of the WHS nomination, both for its artistic and technical value. Construction of the Cathedral of Notre Dame started in the late 12th century. A team coming from Chartres suggested a high gothic design. Pink sandstone from the Vosges was used for the construction. It has one 142m high filigree spire (the second one was never built). The height of this spire was unequalled until the 19th century: it was the world's tallest building from 1647 to 1874. The design of the cathedral became very influential in Germany.
The ensemble on the island Grand Ile also consists of several old churches and a network of (post-)medieval streets. Their names reflect the guild movement, from the tonneliers to the tanners. Black and white timber-framed buildings adorn the streets. Among the medieval buildings are the monumental Ancienne Douane (old custom-house) and the renowned Maison Kammerzell.
Caspar Dechmann Switzerland 09.05.17
I visited Strasbourg a couple of weeks ago during my holidays in the Alsace. As always when I visit a UNESCO site I tried to figure out the exact parts forming the inscription.In Strasbourg that is quite easy: it is the Grande Île surrounded by the two arms of the river Ill . It is supposed to form the old city dating from the 15th to the 18th century. On the map this seems a very elegant and convincing solution. But while the area around the magnificent cathedral and along the southern shore of the island refers well to this description you have two walk just a few blocks north to find a mix from very different periods including buildings on the 19th and 20th century. Among them many modern buildings with no historical connection or asthetic value.
The W-Arly-Pendjari Complex is recognized for its biodiversity of birds, fish and plants.
The park is located at a transition zone between savannah and woodlands, around a meander in the River Niger shaped like a "W".
Its 1,714,831 ha is largely uninhabited by humans. It includes contiguous parks in Niger, Burkina Faso and Benin.
Solivagant UK 08.07.17
We visited Pendjari NP back in Jan 2007 during a tour of Benin, Togo and B Faso. It was interesting to experience a West African “wildlife park” but our conclusions were very similar to those of the previous reviewer! The real interest in W Africa lies in its cultures and peoples and, apart from the bird life, one would not particularly recommend it as a wildlife destination in comparison with many others across Africa.