1062 of 1092 WHS have been reviewed by our community.

Blog WHS Visits

WHS #702: Zamość

Zamość, located in the Far East of Poland near the border with Ukraine, was one of the two WHS goals of my recent Pentecost trip. This year especially I am trying very hard to cover isolated sites like these in my quest to visit all European WHS. In January 2017 I calculated that I had 98 to do  - now, in June 2019, I have only 24 to go (after excluding Turkey, Russia and Israel which are a bit too far and complex for weekend trips). I might be confronted however with an additional 4 to 9 after the 2019 WHC meeting that takes place early July.

I arrived in Zamość on Saturday around dinner time after a long day of driving and had looked forward to eating a meal at the famous Rynek square. But, lo and behold, a full stage had been set up there and a classical concert was about to start. Everyone who had managed to secure a spot at one of the terraces obviously stayed put to listen in.

Some time ago in our Whatsapp group we discussed what spoils a WHS visit (or a photo thereof): a parked car in front of the object, a person wearing too bright coloured clothing. But a full-size concert stage obscuring parts of the famous colourful ‘Armenian’ houses certainly was a low point for me.

The next morning I started my town visit with a full loop outside of the fortifications. These are mostly reconstructions from a later date than the early 17th century origins. A footpath has been created along most of them and it was a pleasant walk. There are information panels along the way to read as well. Some mentioned the similarities with Naarden-Vesting (part of the TWHS Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie). But it reminded me of Visby as well.

It took me only 45 minutes to complete the full circle. This demonstrates how small the historical center of Zamosc actually is. When you have seen the Rynek, the central square, you’ve seen most of it. The Town Hall with its 52m high tower is the major point of attraction, plus the row of 5 colourful houses next to it with façade reliefs. In the surrounding streets you’ll find the restored synagogue and a number of churches. The latter were fully in use as it was Sunday morning when I visited: at some of them people even had to stay outside to follow the sermons as the church was full. This is a common sight in Poland, something I had noticed before on a tour along the Wooden Tserkvas (they either build churches that are too small or the population grows more than the number of churches).

I had to think hard about my final ‘verdict’ on Zamość. It surely is special to find such a well-designed urban center in what is now a remote corner of Poland. And the restorations have been done very well. But it is a bit museumish and I couldn’t stop thinking about vibrant L’viv, just 130km away on the other side of the border. Part of the same trade route, but with a more obvious cultural mix of Armenian, Jewish, Hungarian and German heritage.

Els - 16 June 2019

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Early Period of Anatolian Turkish Heritage: Niksar, The Capital of Danishmend Dynasty (T)

Wojciech Fedoruk Poland - 12-Jun-19

 Early Period of Anatolian Turkish Heritage: Niksar, The Capital of Danishmend Dynasty (T)

Niksar is one of the latest additions to enormous Turkish Tentative list, which may cause suspicion that it might be pushed for inscription soon. Nonetheless, we wouldn’t have visited it if it was not on our long way back from Ani to Istanbul. Visiing Niksar requires a short detour from main road E80 linking Istanbul and Iran.

Before the visit I studied the description on UNESCO site to know what to expect

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Minoan Palatial Centres (Knossos, Phaistos, Malia, Zakros, Kydonia) (T)

Zoë Sheng Chinese-Canadian in NZ - 12-Jun-19

Minoan Palatial Centres (Knossos, Phaistos, Malia, Zakros, Kydonia) (T)

Can you believe Knossos is still not world heritage? Can you believe none of the sites in Crete are world heritage? Can you believe Greece favors Spinalonga, a leper colony, over this?! Finally, can you believe the entrance is €15 or €16 with the museum! (also can you believe an elderly Israeli couple tried to get a free entry due their nation being in the Eurovision contest lol)

Unfortunately without a guide there is very little to see at the site. Sure you see the famous half broken fresco of the minotaur, the red columns, lots of crumbled remains of a once fancy palace. You get to see more statues in the museum which in the end is a more worthy visit. There are other places on the tentative list for this entry but I would consider Knossos the main one.

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Jay T USA - 12-Jun-19


Pompei is an awesome site to visit if you want to see a relatively well-preserved Roman city from the 1st century AD. That said, a visit can also be sobering, as you may also run into casts of the victims of the eruption of neighboring Vesuvius in 79 A.D. I visited Pompei as part of a tour from Naples in the spring of 2013, and had a few hours to wander the ruins. There were finely paved streets still intact, and an amphitheater for culture. On one street you can find ovens from a kitchen on display, while on another you can find surviving artwork on the walls of a brothel. Private residences and temples and bathhouses lie partially in ruins, but enough remains to get a good feeling of what life must have been like in this city

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Völklingen Ironworks

Jakob Frenzel Germany - 12-Jun-19

Völklingen Ironworks

August 2018 - What a site. After visiting Nancy and Metz that day, we still went back to germany and visited, for the first time, the Saarland. After more than a week in France with its beautiful medieval cathedrals, castles and towns, this industrial heritage was quite a switch during our trip. But this cathedral of steel is a masterpiece of human craftship. Just its size, and filigree details atthe same time.

The entrance fee is quite steep, but pay it, visit the Ironwork, it is amazing. You can climb up to the top, the view is stunning and you feel like a lego figurine trapped in a big wonderworld

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Nan Germany - 12-Jun-19


As a quick getaway for the long Ascension weekend, I jumped on a plane to Corfu. My original plan had been to travel cross-country from Corfu to Skopje. When this didn’t pan out due to travel times, I shortened my trip and visited Corfu and the neighboring sites in Albania.

Corfu has a nice old town and a great Mediterranean fortification. It exceeds what you will find in the Venetian Works of Defence inscription being a Venetian fortification itself. You will find the Venetian lion adorning its fortification walls. It’s not, though, on the scale of Vallletta. But honestly, what could be? With Malta, it shares a British past. You will find several British buildings scattered around town.

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