Recent Community Reviews
1035 of 1073 WHS have been reviewed by our community.
The Silver Route (T) Walter, 19-Mar-18
After having cycle the Camino Frances ( Route of Santiago de Compostella - WHS) in Spain in 2012, I went cycling for another long trip along the Via de La Plata (The Silver Route) in september 2014.
The Via de la Plata is another way of Saint-James in Spain, getting from Sevilla to Santiago. It is far less travelled than the two main ways (the Camino Frances and the Camino del Norte – both WHS). It means fewer pilgrims and longer stretch of solitude. In a way, it makes it more valuable and enkoyable. It is as well organized as the other ways. Well marked, and with many pilgrim’s hostels (albergue) all along its way.
Marine Protected Areas of American Samoa (T) Zoe Sheng, 18-Mar-18
American Samoa contains super lush green volcano mountains and several parts are protected by the National Park of American Samoa. They work closely together with the National Marine Sanctuary unit. Both organizations have great offices in Pago Pago and you should check them out to get more info on hikes and snorkel/dive trips.
Battir Gary Arndt, 17-Mar-18
The village of Battir is not far from Jerusalem and is right on the Israel/Palestine border. In fact, there are Israeli train tracks which go right past the terraces at the bottom of the hill.
I could not find any organized tours to Battir, which was a shame. Nearby Bethlehem gets most of the attention in the region. That being said, it wasn’t that hard to get to Battir from Bethlehem. I had my tour guide in Bethlehem call a taxi for me which took me to there. It took about 15 minutes and cost about $10.
Battir is a fairly new world heritage site and as such the tourism infrastructure isn’t well developed. There are a few souvenir shops and cafes, but that’s about it.
Bethlehem Gary Arndt, 16-Mar-18
Traveling to Bethlehem from Jerusalem is not difficult if you are not an Israeli. There are some restrictions when going into the Palestinian Territories, and your van might get searched crossing the border, but dozens of buses and tour groups do this every day and it is quite normal. There are currently no safety issues going to Bethlehem.
Most groups visit the Church of the Nativity and leave. There is more to see in the area including the Milk Grotto and Star Street.
The church is very old. The current building was built in 565 by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. Over the centuries there have been many restorations and repairs to the building, including a recent restoration which took place in 2017.
This serial tentative site is made of 7 buildings spread along Calabria peninsula. We visited 6 of them during our tour in Southern Italy in April 2017, from North (we had visited Matera before) to South. They dated back from times when Byzance was ruling this territory and are said to represent influence of Eastern monks in the area. Most of them were following Saint Basil rules, hence the name of “Basilian Byzantine” monuments.
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Teylers is an 18th century museum complex and former scientific institution in the centre of Haarlem. It has been on the Dutch Tentative List since 2011, and even already was brought up for nomination in 2013. However, ICOMOS advised a ‘Rejection’ and the nomination was subsequently withdrawn by The Netherlands before the WHC session. The nomination failed to convince of the building’s scientific purpose (next to being ‘just’ a museum) and only small part of the complex was seen as exceptional. The Dutch still have hopes for a future renomination though, especially after several extensive renovation projects will be finished.
I had visited Teylers before in 2010, but was very disappointed at the time because of its small size and presence of crowds of inexperienced museum visitors. Now, in 2018, they have finished one of their major projects: the Lorentz Lab. This shows the office and laboratory of physicist Hendrik Lorentz, winner of the Nobel Prize in 1902 and “leading spirit” in an international network of early theoretical physicists that also included Albert Einstein.
On a rainy Sunday in March I paid the quite hefty 13.5 EUR entrance fee plus 1 EUR extra for a tour of the recently opened Lorentz Laboratory. I was one of the first to enter the building and directly walked all the way to the end, to the Oval Room. This was the only part that ICOMOS deemed of exceptional value, although its value also is as much about the (moveable) exhibits as about the design of the room. It is here that scientific experiments were shown to the public. Visitors could look down upon that from a balcony (now unfortunately closed).
The room is full of cabinets stuffed with scientific instruments. What they are is written on small accompanying notes in Dutch and English, but how they were used remains a mystery to the visitor. This is a handicap of the whole museum: there is so little space in the 3 original rooms and the entrance hall that there is no room for interpretation.
They’ve tried to solve this issue with the Lorentz laboratory. Access is only possible by a guided tour, a few times a day with a maximum capacity of 20 people. The tour is conducted by 2 actors, who tell about the life of Lorentz and reenact some experiments. It’s totally in Dutch and mostly relies on the spoken word, so it’s not worth it for foreign visitors I believe. The most spectacular ‘experiment’ takes place at the end of the 50 minute tour: a copy of the large electrostatic generator (the original from 1784 is in the museum upstairs) is put to work to generate electrical sparks.
With this exhibition, Teylers is adding the promotion of scientific knowledge to the general public again to its agenda. I doubt however that this will be enough to convince the WHC of a future inscription. To me they seem to strive just a little too hard for gaining WH status, while the visitor numbers are high already at the moment (127,000 in 2017) and there is little space for growth in the 18th century complex.
Published 17 March 2018Leave a comment
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