1096 of 1121 WHS have been reviewed by our community.


Fortified Manasija Monastery (T)

Lisu Marian Romania - 30-Mar-20

Fortified Manasija Monastery (T)

At the beginning of the 15th century, Serbian king Stefan Lazarevic builds the proud work in the Despotovac area.Outside is a fortress; inside a monastery. It was called Resava, from the neighbour-river, but now we find on the maps with name Manasija, dedication of the Holy Trinity.Perhaps the inclination towards the world of weapons convinced the despot (nobility title received from Byzantium) to raise walls to the sky, with square towers, many of them lose their numbers, and before they ditch as a double defensive measure. But surely his care for the country made him leave in the interior of the church the wonderful frescoes in his own style (the Morava school): biblical scenes, but also holy warriors, of which the first despot even has honor

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Rock Art in the Hail Region

Watkinstravel Canada - 29-Mar-20

Rock Art in the Hail Region

We also visited the Jubbah section of the rock art in early Feb 2020. It is an easy day trip from Hail and we went on a friday afternoon. Note that the site is only open after ~3pm on fridays but can be visited in the morning also during the rest of the week. Having found the place more easily than we thought, we arrived a little after 2pm and sat in the deserted parking lot unsure if it would really open for only a couple hours. Sure enough it did but in the worst case scenario it is possible to see a few of the petroglyphs through the fence in all else fails.

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Neolithic Orkney

Caspar Dechmann Switzerland - 29-Mar-20

Neolithic Orkney

Since I had read „At home“ by Bill Bryson with its great chapter on Skara Brae I had dreamed to visit the Orkneys. And when I planned my trip to Scotland for summer 2019 it was my top priority to see these islands. We travelled around the whole northern coast of the country including the most important Islands and I found the landscape absolutely stunning: The lushness of the vegetation and the shades of green in the wonderful Glencoe valley asked for a longer exploration then we had time for

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Ancient Nara

Hubert Austria - 29-Mar-20

Ancient Nara

In several ways Ancient Nara is the opposite of the Kyoto WHS. While in Kyoto the temples and shrines are spread all over the entire city area and beyond, the most significant sites in much smaller Nara are located in a park on the edge of the modern city. Nara was the residence of the Japanese Emperor prior to Kyoto, and only for a relatively short time. This may be the reason why the diversity of sites and styles is smaller compared to Kyoto, but that doesn't mean that Nara is also less impressive.
Most travelers visit Nara on a day trip from Kyoto. However, I scheduled two full days for Nara and Hōryū-ji, which enabled me to visit all locations of these two WHS.

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Asmara

Watkinstravel Canada - 29-Mar-20

Asmara

I must admit that I didn't go all the way to Eritrea in Feb 2020 to specifically visit this WHS though it would be impossible to miss once you are there since it encompasses pretty much the whole capital. It was my third trip to the region but first successful attempt at getting into the country so it had been a bit of a nagging personal goal for a while. I'm not familiar with the other major Art Deco hot spots so wasn't sure how appealing it would be to me personally but I quickly came to love the overall atmosphere of Asmara and very much enjoyed my time there. I'm not sure if it says more about me or the country but it is easily my favourite African capital.

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Blog TWHS Visits

Unreviewed TWHS: Bahoutdin Complex

Uzbekistan is an unmissable destination for any serious traveller, mainly for its monumental and well-preserved architectural heritage. Next to the famous higlights such as Samarkand and Bukhara, there are a number of lesser known sights that I would not hesitate to propose to for example a “Missing Top 50 Asia” list. One of those is the Bahoutdin Complex, a group of Sufi funeral and religious monuments some 10 km outside of the city of Bukhara.

Bahoutdin Naqshaband was a 14th century Sunni Sufi saint. He was the founder of the Naqshbandi order, and was considered the spiritual patron of Bukhara governors. His order became influential as far as India, Dagestan (Russia), Syria, Egypt and China. Therefore, his tomb remains the most esteemed in Uzbekistan and attracts visitors from other Islamic countries as well. It apparently is nicknamed "Mecca of Central Asia".

The tomb is part of a large memorial and religious complex, with constructions from different periods in time starting from 1544. The complex has been renovated in 1993 with Turkish and Pakistani funding, after it had been abandoned during Soviet times. When I visited (in May 2010) it was busy with Uzbek pilgrims. I was prepared to cover my arms, legs and head here due to the site’s religious nature - but many of the Uzbek women also walked around with short sleeves and without a headscarf.

The complex surrounding Bahoutdin’s mausoleum is large. After entering through the monumental gate, one first passes the rows and rows of tombs of a cemetry. Here local Bukhara governors and descendants of Tamerlane are buried. In the courtyard lies the large gray marble tomb of Bahoutdin Naqshaban. You’ll find believers praying in front of it. They also walk in circles around a beautiful small pavilion. On the grounds there is also an old mulberry tree stump that people crawl under 7 times for luck.

Most of the structures on the property are made of brick, with wooden pillars and wooden ceilings. Characteristic are the ayvan – veranda’s with wooden columns and richly painted ceilings. They were used as spaces for praying. The complex also holds two mosques, a madrassah and a khonaqo (“a hostel widely spread in the Muslim east. It includes a mosque and living rooms that mainly sheltered dervishes in the past”).

What I most remember from this visit is the vibrant atmosphere – mostly because there were so many ‘regular’ Uzbek visitors. They apparently were just having a day out, the ice cream seller was doing good business. When I sat down for a moment to take it all in, I was suddenly surrounded by a school class of 17/18-year-olds including their teacher. They came from Bukhara and wanted to know where I was coming from and going to.

Els - 5 April 2020

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