1096 of 1121 WHS have been reviewed by our community.


The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier

Clyde Malta - 29-Jun-20

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier

After visiting the Le Corbusier inscribed locations in Japan in 2009 and in Belgium in 2016 without entering, and not being much of a modern architecture enthusiast myself, I failed to appreciate any particular OUV and hence gave a low rating on the basis that other WHS like Bauhaus were much better.

Four years later, in June 2020, I kept my promise and I decided to visit one of Le Corbusier's most iconic designs, the Notre Dame du Haut Chapel just outside Ronchamp, France, and I was [...]

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Prague

Matejicek Czechia - 01-Jul-20

Prague

I know that Prague is a victim of aggressive tourist industry, but it has affected the inscribed parts pretty unevenly, and Prague is still one of the most beautiful and valuable historical towns in Europe!

Above all, the historical core of Prague is a unique assembly of two castles (Vyšehrad and Prague Castle) and four originally independent medieval towns (Old Town, New Town, Lesser Town and Hradčany) including quite large former Jewish ghetto within the Old Town, all picturesquely sitting on the bent of Vltava river. Furthermore, this WHS has two separate components, and besides the city center, the Průhonice castle with huge park has been also included.

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Dilmun Burial Mounds

Frederik Dawson Netherlands - 01-Jul-20

Dilmun Burial Mounds

I visited Dilmun Burial Mounds before UNESCO recognized its status. This World Heritage site was part of my private half day tour around Bahrain. Actually It was not a part of the original tour program, but after had a fruitful discussion on ancient Dilmun civilization with my historical buff guide during our walking tour to see Pearling Heritages in Muharraq, my guild wanted to show me the Dilmun royal mounds, so after negotiated with a driver, we squeezed Dilmun Mounds in the plan. We went to city of Aali, after made a brief stop to see few remains water springs of Bahrain, it hard to believe that Bahrain was once full with water springs and very green island and was considered a heaven on earth, I found myself to be standing on the top of the Royal Mound No.1.

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Great Spas of Europe (Czechia) (T)

Hubert Austria - 01-Jul-20

Great Spas of Europe (Czechia) (T)

The story of this transnational nomination began in 2008 when "The Spa of Luhačovice" was deferred by the WHC. The ABE evaluation was clear: no OUV for Luhačovice alone, but ICOMOS recommended a thematic study on European spa towns. Initially, a total of 16 spa towns from seven countries were included in the tentative list. In 2016, the number was reduced to eleven. Interestingly, Luhačovice did not make it to the final nomination.The nomination website Great Spas of Europe provides photos and brief summaries of each spa, and links to their official websites. The nomination focuses on the development of European spa tradition between the 18th and early 20th centuries with its heyday in the 19th century

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Mount Sanqingshan

Zos M Philippines/China - 30-Jun-20

Mount Sanqingshan

[Visited, 16 Sep 2017]

Fresh from 2 day hike of Huangshan, a friend and I took the train from Huangshan North to Shangrao. We arrived past 5 PM so no more buses were available. A taxi to our guesthouse near Jinsha cableway, costed 150 RMB for over an hour drive.

Sanqingshan was one of my most memorable WHS visit. The adventure began upon arrival to our guesthouse

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Blog WHS website

Looking ahead to 2021

The WHC meeting of 2020 has not even been rescheduled yet, but signs are there that the preparations for 2021 have already started and the World Heritage nomination process will not skip a year. I encountered an official delegation during my visit to the Jewish cemetery in Worms on June 19 and the Executive Summaries of the 2021 cultural nominations have become available (were leaked?) via ICOMOS USA. They include 18 sites, of which 1 is a mixed site and 1 an extension.

Mikveh in ShUM city Speyer, nominated for 2021

I read through all these Executive Summaries to see whether they’d convince me – for an inscription or a visit that I’d look forward to. I even tried to weigh them by adding a few more objective criteria:

  • Do they cover an underrepresented country or category?
  • What impact have these sites had globally?
  • Are they better than comparable sites on the List?

I put the answers all into a table for comparison, simply giving a 1 (Yes) or a 0 (No) (click here for a full size overview):

I am tempted to conclude that there is no great site among them, however a few do stand out:

  • Coptic Monasteries of Wadi al-Natrun: framed as ‘the’ place that carries forward the Coptic traditions, including the Coptic language, and the birthplace of Christian monasticism. It indeed is probably a better site to show the historical continuity of Christianity in Egypt than the already inscribed Abu Mena and Coptic Cairo.
  • Lake Chad: an exemplary African nomination, bringing together 4 countries in what seems to be a fairly recent effort. It’s a cultural landscape mainly for its inhabited islands, it will be nominated for a natural criterion as well.
  • Chinchorro: a very old pre-Columbian site in the desert of northern Chile, noteworthy for its preservation of mummies in situ.
  • Jomon Sites: the archaeological remains of a sedentary hunter-fisher-gatherer society, it would become the oldest Far Eastern cultural WHS. I am a bit biased about this one as I had such a pleasant visit in 2012.
  • Grobina: an important stepping stone in the global impact of the Vikings, “where Scandinavian settlers acquired the first invaluable experience for further expansion overseas, which determined the later processes and developments in the Viking Age”.

7 sites did not manage to score even 1 point in my ranking. Jordan’s As-Salt is probably the worst of them all. Especially these they try to hide behind political correct ICOMOS/IUCN/WHC lingo and excessive use of superlatives. They use phrases leaning to the ridiculous, such as: “.. has surpassed its original religious symbolism to become a community of belonging, social and economic organisation” (Ribeira Sacra), “petroglyphs full of symbolism, metaphors and Prehistoric realism” (Lake Onega) and “support between Muslim and Christian communities in the City transcending religious and ethnicities and producing a sense of community and belonging to a shared space” (As-Salt). 

There lies a potential 2021 WHS on the other side of these mountains

From these 17 new ones I have visited 5 conciously before. While reading the summaries I noticed that I had been close to Iran’s Hawraman/Uramanat Cultural Landscape as well, even twice! The valleys are located in a mountainous region in the provinces of Kurdistan and Kermanshah in western Iran. I have been as close as Sanandaj, the Irani Kurdish capital 155km away, and Halabja (long story to tell about that one) 84km away across the border with Iraq and the equally intriguing Ahmed Awa even closer as the crow flies. At least I got photos of the iconic Zagora mountains from the other side!

What do you think of the batch of 2021 so far?

Els - 5 July 2020

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Comments

messy 11 July 2020

they seem fine, but what about the Hagia Sophia? Do to be whitewashed and turned back into a mosque?


Nan 5 July 2020

The batch is not making me excited. It feels Unesco would be better served by cutting off new inscriptions by the regulars.


Zoë Sheng 5 July 2020

Nice overview. I only went to ~half of these...

I didn't enjoy Coptic Monasteries. The access was really restricted because the driver was Muslim and try finding a non-Muslim driver in Egypt! After all the police checks and military escorts one eventually gets to visit the monastery it's basically what many European monasteries look like. People inside were very welcoming to visitors. Being "earliest" might be a thing but it's not a good visit plus they are heavily restored to the brink of looking like new buildings.


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