1061 of 1092 WHS have been reviewed by our community.


Flemish Béguinages

Jay T USA - 08-May-19

Flemish Béguinages

One of the things I love about World Heritage Sites is how they can expose you to places, or in the case of the Flemish Béguinages, concepts, that I had not known before. History tends to be rather male-focused, and while I was aware women often had limited options in life in medieval times (with marriage or religious orders being some of the more common choices), I had never learned about the béguinages in northern Europe. These religious societies offered single women an option to live together in a community while retaining independence to come and go at will. When I visited the city of Bruges last August, I made sure to stop by the Begijnhof, tucked away in a quiet corner of the city

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Hall in Tyrol - The Mint (T)

Caspar Dechmann Switzerland - 08-May-19

Hall in Tyrol - The Mint (T)

I visited this town in May 2019 and found it attractive despite terribly bad weather: a mid size, completely intact medival old town. Of the three large churches St. Nicolaus is the most impressive also  with the two neighbouring chapels, the baroque St. Josef and the older St. Magdalena. The latter has nice frescoes and is the only not baroquified church in town. Hall’s OUV potential lies nonetheless  not in its homogenous historic center but in its mint which claims to be the first industrial mint worldwide and the first that coined the first silver coin that equaled in value the then common Gulden that was made of gold.  Gold had to be imported from far away and the rich silver mine in nearby Schwaz made big and highly pure silver coins possible

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Mujib Nature Reserve (T)

Philipp Peterer Switzerland - 08-May-19

Mujib Nature Reserve (T)

I did not know what to expect when I haded for the Mujib Nature Reserve and ended up having a lot of fun. 

The reserve is located just at the street along the dead sea, around 45 mins by car from the Baptism Site WHS. There is a car park and a visitor center called "adventure center". 

The adventure turned out to be my first canyoning experience. th only way to explore the site is to walk up the gorge inside the river. Along with the entrance fee I had to rent a life vest and a waterproof bag for my camera. It was not cheap (31 JOD), but worth it

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Quito

Tonisan Spain - 07-May-19

Quito

Visited September 2018

Quito is a very beautiful, well-preserved and tourist-friendly city. You can safely walk around the city center and become amazed at its beauty, and visit a lot of Baroque buildings, especially churches.

While in Quito I visited some of them. The ones I would definitely recommend are Compañía de Jesús and San Francisco. The first has an admission ticket and you can join a guided tour inside with no extra cost. You can visit the second for free, both the church and the cloister, but the museum it hosts has an entrance fee. You can also take a free tour guide there. Both are great examples of the Escuela Quiteña, the buildings themselves and the works of art you can admire inside.

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Kuelap Archaeological Complex (T)

Watkinstravel Canada - 08-May-19

Kuelap is the ruins of a Chachapoyan sacred city on top of a mountain in a remote area of northern Peru. Although the main ruins are generally referred to as "the fortress" because of its high walls, the general consensus now is that the walls are not primarily defensive in nature but were used to help level the top of the mountain and that the city was a sacred one rather than militaristic with up to 3000 inhabitants. Findings have shown religious offerings and trade from other neighbouring cultures indicating widely recognized spiritual importance of the site. It is just a matter of time before Kuelap makes the List. It has all the characteristics of a significant archaeological site and easily satisfies OUV criteria iii and iv

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Blog WHS Visits

WHS #699: Tsodilo

Tsodilo currently ranks 953rd out of 1092 on our list of most visited WHS. That low position has at least 2 reasons: it isn’t a well-known site among the general travel audience and it lies somewhat out of the way from Botswana’s main tourist zone between Maun and Kasane. Those difficult logistics almost beat me as well: the only logical route is when you’re coming from Namibia (the Caprivi Strip) with a rental car like Svein & Randi did last month - then you’ll pass it.  However, I had no car and was staying in Maun. The company that I booked my safari with proposed to fly me north and put me in a “fishing lodge” for 2 nights – I could take a day tour from there. But I found a tantalizing alternative: a half-day tour by helicopter from Maun to Tsodilo!!

So on a Saturday morning I reported at Maun airport at 6.30 am for my flight up there. They fly with small helicopters, there’s only room for the pilot and 3 guests. It takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to the Tsodilo Hills. The pilot had to yell a few times to wake up Maun air traffic control – we were the first to leave just after sunrise. The flight was relaxing, flying rather low over first the farmlands with cattle and then the Okavango Delta. We saw some wildfires but no water at all in this southwestern part of the delta. Only elephants could be seen moving around.

Already from dozens of miles away the Tsodilo Hills appear on the horizon. The rest of the landscape is very flat and these hills do stand out as a beacon. There are some nasty winds blowing around them and the pilot wondered aloud why the helipad was constructed at the backside of a mountain. But we made it to the ground safe and sound. At the Tsodilo airstrip a jeep from Nxamaseri Lodge was waiting for us. The driver had driven all the way from the Okavango panhandle over an hour away just to transport us 10 minutes to the entrance of Tsodilo, from the so-called 'Male' hill to the 'Female' hill. Important as well though he brought the food for brunch - there are no amenities at Tsodilo (except toilets).

We (the pilot, the driver, myself and a local guide) however first started out on the Rhino Trail. This is the most commonly chosen path along the major rock art, at the foot of the ‘Female’ hill. At just after 8 am, it was still very cool especially on the shaded side. The path is mostly flat and sandy. The panels with rock paintings are signposted with numbers and easy to see. Some are so close to the path that you could touch them (it does damage them so that’s forbidden and also one of the reasons you can only walk around with a local guide). Others are higher up the impressive coloured rocks of this mountain. It is recommendable to bring a camera with a good zoom, as that’s the only way that you can see details like hand paintings

The trail also shows some of the caves the San hunters would hide in. A large one was used as a kind of refrigerator, to store meat and cool water in ostrich egg shells. In the early morning sand we also saw footprints of leopard and kudu – a clear sign that the wild animals depicted at the rock paintings are still out there. The oddest rock art panel is the one with a penguin (could be a duck as well) and a whale. They are said to have been made by San that came from the Namibian coast.

Back at the entrance I had a quick look in the museum. Besides the paintings the Tsodilo site is also known for its archeological findings: at the top of the mountain there were two settlements. Lots of fish bones and ostrich eggs have been discovered, but they all seem to have been whisked away to museums elsewhere. Only a few pots are shown now at the site museum, probably because the safety of the objects could not be guaranteed here. We finished our tour at the picnic site, among the squirrels, with a well-deserved brunch and cool drink.

Els - 19 May 2019

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