1091 of 1121 WHS have been reviewed by our community.


Megalithic Temples of Malta

Travel Addicts USA - 05-Sep-19

Megalithic Temples of Malta

When we visited Malta in 2017, we really didn’t know what to expect.  We stumbled on the temple complexes of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, we were extremely surprised.

The megalithic temples in Malta are the oldest free-standing structures in the world, dating from 3000 B.C.  We’ve been to old structures before:  The Pyramids, Stonehenge, and even Ireland’s passage tomb.  The megalithic temples of Malta are much, much older and were one of the most impressive things about Malta.

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Mayon Volcano Natural Park (T)

GabLabCebu Philippines - 04-Sep-19

Mayon Volcano Natural Park (T)

As a Filipino, I must say I'm proud to have the Mayon Volcano in my country. It's just the most perfectly cone-shaped mountain in the world, I believe. In a land filled to the brim with active volcanoes, this is the standout, just by the sheer beauty of it, not to mention it's one of the tallest (2400+ meters) stand-alone mountains in the archipelago. It has been quite active in the past few years, but when I visited back in 2012, the only things covering the perfect cone were the constant clouds.

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Forth Bridge

Clyde Malta - 04-Sep-19

Forth Bridge

I visited this WHS in July 2019 on several occasions before and after the 2019 WH meetup in Scotland. I visited from both sides of the Firth of Forth as well as from different vantage points such as the Forth Bridges Viewpoint (nothing special) and the view from the Forth Road Bridge.

For the latter, you have to sign in as a pedestrian or a cyclist and you can cross the road bridge with great views of the inscribed Forth Bridge

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Anjar

Philipp Peterer Switzerland - 02-Sep-19

Anjar

Visit: January 2019. I arrived in Anjar from Baalbek and had to rely entirely on my preloaded (I was not able to get mobile internet in Lebanon) Google Maps directions. I couldn’t find any signs pointing towards this WHS. Even within Anjar itself there is no clear signage. It is quite a shame how low key this place is, as in international comparison it is a very nice and deserving WHS.

Once arrived, there is free parking right in front of the entrance. Opening times are as generous as in most places around Lebanon (one more reason to like this country), so I didn’t have to worry about that.

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Caesarea (T)

GabLabCebu Philippines - 04-Sep-19

Caesarea (T)

Caesarea was the very first site I visited on the private small-group tour I took in Israel, Jordan, and Palestine back in April-May of 2018. We drove north from Tel Aviv and had our National Park passes stamped for the first time out of many. The tour of the site started with a short film of the history of the city, which was remarkable to say the least. The site, being our first Roman ruin out of many, also seemed quite remarkable.

We toured the ancient theatre, through all the pedestals of Roman carvings found on site, which we would later find to be a staple in ruins in Israel, past my first public toilets which our guide sat on to demonstrate, and finally to the edge of the water where we saw the remains of the palace, now mostly underwater. A few scattered simple mosaics were still visible by the shore. It is said that the site extends far into the water, so much that there is an underwater park for all the remains there. From that viewpoint, ahead was the hippodrome and at the far end of the shore, the crusader fortress. A few kilometers' drive away, however, was the most unique part of the site, the aqueduct by the beach

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Blog WHS Visits

WHS #719: Trinity Sergius Lavra

The Trinity Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad is an active monastery and one of the most important centres of the Russian Orthodox Church. It is a Lavra – originally a term for a cluster of hermit’s cells (now only visible here at the gate church), but also a sign that the monastery is high up in the orthodox church hierarchy. It has been the seat of the Moscow Patriarchate until 1983, although it was closed during the early communist years (1917-1946). It’s also an educational center for young priests.

I visited Sergiev Posad on a day trip from Moscow by interurban train. The slowest trains cost 360 ruble (4,60 EUR) for a return trip and are very frequent. Just as Clyde noticed in his review from 3 years ago, there’s a constant coming and going of salesmen and -women through the carriages: advertising such necessities as woolen socks, glue, children’s books, ‘leather’ wallets and plastic toys.  

From the Sergiev Posad railway station, exiting to the right and following the road for about 15 minutes, it is an easy walk to the monastic complex. Taking this route, you’ll be presented with an exquisite panorama of the whole complex with its turrets and towers (see photo 1). It’s a very pretty ensemble, especially when seen from a distance. Up and close it comes across as a bit Disneyesque. Lots of what you see nowadays stems from 18th century (after a fire in 1746), so the baroque style is heavily present.

Currently there are separate entrances for Russians and international tourists: the Russians (all believed to be pilgrims) can enter for free, while the foreigners have to buy a 500 ruble ticket. There’s no additional fee for taking photos anymore and you are free to do so at most places. Like I experienced the day before at Kolomenskoye, it was very busy especially with Chinese tourists. In addition to Russian and English, there is even signposting in Chinese. Staff even held up signs saying “Silence please” in Chinese only for them!

The monastic complex lies within fortifications. There’s a refectory that looks like a European baroque palace, however it ends in yet another gold glittering iconostasis. Holy water can be tasted from the festive ‘Chapel-over-the well’. And there are several churches of course. The most interesting one to visit is the oldest, the Trinity Cathedral. In a corner it holds the relics of St. Sergius. The grounds are also home to two souvenir shops (one of them inside the Bell Tower) and a bakery.

The complex is sometimes dubbed the “Russian Vatican”, but the religious aspect wasn’t very palpable to me – the very few worshippers that were present (I visited on a Monday) were massively outnumbered by the foreign tourists. I did see monks rushing by in their black cassocks though, both grey-bearded ones and younger ones attending the seminary. Recent media reports found out that church authorities are planning to transform Sergiev Posad into something more grand: an open-air temple should be built just outside the walls of the Lavra to accommodate outdoor masses just like at the ‘real’ Vatican. The goal is to “cleanse the town of its Soviet legacy” and transform it into “the spiritual capital of Orthodoxy.” The project (also looking at Mecca and Jerusalem as examples) would occupy one-third of the city center, according to the Moscow Times.

Els - 15 September 2019

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