1092 of 1121 WHS have been reviewed by our community.


Urbino

Matejicek Czechia - 19-Oct-19

I visited Urbino in May 2018 and I have very nice memories... We did a short stop there during the trip from Umbria to Adriatic coast. Urbino is quite small town located in the middle of nowhere, but I liked its somehow austere appearance. We had a breakfast - delicious cappuccino con cornetto di cioccolata on the piazza in front of the cathedral close to the enormous Palazzo Ducale. I also liked polygonal chandeliers inside several houses and palaces, very nice detail... but I had no time time to explore more and to understand properly. Thus, I would like to return to Urbino soon and spend there a couple of days.

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Delos

Klaus Freisinger Austria - 17-Oct-19

Delos

Delos is famous for both mythological and actual historic reasons. It was supposedly the birthplace of Apollo and his sister Artemis, and was thus revered as a sacred site from earliest times. The mighty statue of Apollo was considered to be the most sacred site in Greece (only the base survives today). The island was thus a destination for countless pilgrims, and not only hosted a famous oracle and the Delian Festival, but also the main slave market of the Mediterranean world. During the time of the Delian league and the Athenian hegemony on the seas, it was the location of the league's huge treasury

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Euphrasian Basilica in Porec

Matejicek Czechia - 19-Oct-19

Euphrasian Basilica in Porec

I visited the site by coincidence in summer 2015. During my holidays in Slovenian part of Istria, we took a friend to the airport in Pula. We did a stopover in Porec but the reason was swimming in the sea as it is better in Croatia than in Slovenia. After refreshing on the beach (see PHOTO - the basilica and its tower is visible in the middle), I did a short visit of the eclesiastic complex. I explored only the church, babtistry and tower, and skipped the museum. The site was very Ravenna-sque, but it somehow faded in comparison with for example S Apollinaire in Classe. Despite this, I would say that it is interesting site and worth-visiting if you are in the area.

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Cesky Krumlov

Clyde Malta - 18-Oct-19

Cesky Krumlov

I visited this WHS in Summer 2019 and spent 1 night/2 days here. It is definitely one of Czechia's best WHS but also among the most touristy too with bus loads of groups arriving all day long. It is also one of those WHS (like Salzburg and Halstatt in Austria) which rank highly among Asian travel agents. Not only were there several staff catering for Asian tourists in every other restaurant or shop, but also costume rentals similar to what happens in some of South Korea's castles.

That aside though, Cesky Krumlov is really worth visiting if only for the splendid Gothic and Renaissance castle tower which can be seen from any point in town as well as the magnificent panoramic views of Cesky Krumlov and the Vltava River

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Val d'Orcia

Matejicek Czechia - 19-Oct-19

Val d

I visited this cultural landscape at least three-times during last ten years. As usually for cultural landscapes, it is quite difficult to recognize its OUV - actually, I need to read the ICOMOS evaluation report three-times to understand at least partly... The weirdest point is that the OUV of Val d`Orcia is expressed by another separate WHS - Pienza and by TWHS via Francigena. If I ingnore these political and rather artificial issues, I must say that I really enjoyed all my contacts with this site. Mostly, I simply crossed it by car or bus. I think that in this case it is OK, and one can recognize the qualities of the site even during the car tourism. The landscape is picturesque and different if compared with the neighbours such as Lazio

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Blog TWHS Visits

Irkutsk

The Historic Center of Irkutsk is an enigmatic entry on Russia’s Tentative List. Its official description is in French and just rambles on about its general history, architectural styles, street plan and renovation projects. There seems to be no focus what the prospective WHS should entail: “a large number of preserved architectural monuments of different periods and styles (Siberian baroque, classicism, art nouveau, "Russian style", local traditions, Gothic, Byzantine, Asian architectural art, constructivism)” suggests a broad approach, while it seems logical that OUV could be found somewhere in its renowned wooden architecture.

Irkutsk, the largest city in Eastern Siberia, was founded in 1661 as a military fortress that imposed taxes on the indigenous population in the form of animal fur. The city also developed as a commercial and administrative center due to its location on various trade routes with Mongolia and China such as the Tea route. Today it is slightly more chaotic than the big cities in western Russia, but I liked it. One really encounters a completely different side of the country. At the cozy Central Market, you’ll find Mongolian, Buryatian and Chinese tradesmen selling nice thick woolen socks, cheese and honey. And of course there are Russian females with buckets full of blue and red berries for sale too.

The city does not have any unforgettable monuments, but it is known for its relatively large number of wooden houses. In 1879 there was a big fire in the city center, after which it was decided not to rebuild in wood anymore. The buildings in the main streets of the city, the Karl Marx street and the Lenin street, are therefore built in stone. The most interesting and best preserved 19th century wooden houses though can be found in the 'Decembrist' Quarter: this is the area where the members of the December uprising in St Petersburg lived who were exiled to Siberia in 1825. Among them were members of Russian nobility who encouraged the cultural development of the city of Irkutsk. Two country houses of those Decembrists can now be visited as a museum: the house of Prince Trubetskoy and the house of Prince Volkonsky. Both are located in a quiet neighbourhood about a 20-minute walk from the city center and provide a glimpse into this history that is so unique to Irkutsk.

In the spacious mansion of Prince Volkonsky, all rooms are furnished with items belonging to the family and other noble exiles. They represent the rich 19th century life of the family in exile. Not much is said about the hardships: at his exile, Volkonsky was given a piece of land in rural Siberia, and allegedly became a successful farmer. After a while, his wife also joined him and they were allowed to move to the city of Irkutsk. There they played an important role in education and the city’s cultural life. The most striking space in the house is the winter garden: here the family grew plants,  something which did not work so well outside in the Siberian climate.

Prince Trubetskoy's house lies a few minutes away. This also looks very well maintained and is part of the same museum foundation (you can also buy 1 ticket for access to the 2 houses). Just like the other house, the mansion is located on a piece of land with a garden, outbuildings and stables. The exhibition here focuses more on the hard sides of the exile. Trubetskoy had to work in different mines where the living and working conditions were very tough.

There are at least 2 other well-preserved wooden buildings in Irkutsk – one is the Sukachev Estate, now an Art Museum, which I did not visit. The other one is the home of the merchant Shastin. This one is better known as the 'Lace House', because of the very ornate woodwork. The interior of this house cannot be visited, it is being used by the Irkutsk municipality for special occasions. A view from the street is very worthwhile though: regarding to architectural details this really is the best among the wooden houses. More ramshackle wooden houses can still be found in the streets near the Central Market, I enjoyed walking around there as well. 

Els - 20 October 2019

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