1096 of 1121 WHS have been reviewed by our community.


Himeji-jo

Hubert Austria - 01-Apr-20

Himeji-jo

"White Heron Castle" is the poetic name of Himeji-jo. Its white walls and roofs are said to be reminiscent of a bird starting to fly. Well, I couldn't really spot that, either from the map of the castle at the entrance gate or from the top floor of the donjon. But that it is a white beauty cannot be denied, at least since 2015, when the most recent restoration was completed and the dark patina was removed.

I visited Himeji-jo in September 2019 on a half-day trip from Kyoto. It takes less than an hour by train (Hikari Shinkasen, included in JR Rail Pass). The route is signposted from Himeji station: just take the north exit, go straight ahead and 15 minutes later you are in front of the outer castle gate. And a little further, then you arrive at the Hishi-no-mon gate, the entrance to the paid area.From there you can reach the main keep through several gates. At the beginning the path is straight, but then more and more turns and twists - a labyrinth of alley, gates, ramps and towers. Perfect designed to make a conquest difficult.The magnificent main keep is certainly the highlight. You have to take off your shoes before you can climb the six floors to the top

Read On

Kornati National Park and Telašćica Nature Park (T)

Frédéric M Canada - 23-Mar-20

Kornati National Park and Telašćica Nature Park (T)

The Kornati archipelago lies off the coast of Croatia. I visited it on a full-day boat tour from Zadar (I actually believe that visiting the archipelago is the only reason for staying overnight in Zadar. This city is not worth more than a short stop to tick the Venetian work of defense and listen to the very cool maritime organ.).

In the nomination file, Croatia put emphasis on the unique geology and high biodiversity of the archipelago to justify inscription. It contains many impressive karst features such as caves and cliffs. These result from the high tectonic activity of the area. The highest and most impressive cliffs are located in the Telašćica Nature Park. Most of the Kornati islands are small round and bare islands. According to the nomination file, the parks contain high numbers of floral and marine species. Dolphins, birds and bats are also mentioned. One of the most interesting features is the Mir Lake, a salted lake (saltier than the sea!) located atop of Telašćica's cliffs, resulting from a sunken karst depression

Read On

Pasargadae

Juha Sjoeblom Finland - 31-Mar-20

Pasargadae

Site visited December 2015. Although this first capital of Achaemenid Empire may feel dull and empty compared to Persepolis, it is still an interesting place to visit.

Getting to Pasargadae by public transport may be tricky. I guess the only way is to take a bus (probably with a bus change in Marvdasht) from Shiraz to Saadat Shahr and try to get a taxi from there. The easiest way is to hire a taxi all the way from Shiraz. It should also be reasonably priced. Fortunately I had arranged a relative of my colleague to be my chauffeur on my day trip to Persepolis and Pasargadae from Shiraz. After visiting Persepolis we stopped by Naqsh-e Rostam and Naqsh-e Rajab TWHS. By the way, I found this site quite impressive and maybe worth of inscription. After that we headed towards Pasargadae which is an hour’s drive from Persepolis

Read On

Horyu-ji Area

Hubert Austria - 30-Mar-20

Horyu-ji Area

Hōryū-ji is considered the cradle of Japanese Buddhism, the temple is closely linked to the introduction of Buddhism in Japan. Along with the new belief also a different architectural style was introduced. Buddhist temples usually have a strictly symmetrical layout with a gate and the main hall in the central axis, surrounded by a wall. Shinto Architecture, on the other hand, aims to blend in perfectly with nature. And Hōryū-ji is home of the oldest wooden structures in the world. No doubt about its historical significance and reasons enough to inscribe Hōryū-ji as one of the first Japanese world heritage sites in 1993. However, Hōryū-ji receives far less attention from visitors than its famous neighbours Kyoto and Nara.

Read On

Al-Hijr

Watkinstravel Canada - 29-Mar-20

Al-Hijr

We felt lucky to have been able to get in to see this site in Feb 2020. It has been officially closed for quite a while and will continue to remain closed but during the Winter in Tantora festival in Al Ula the site was partially opened for tour visits. This involved registering and paying for a visit either online or in Al Ula where overpriced festival buses would transport you to the main north entrance. The old Al-Hijr railway station (part of its own Hejaz railway TWHS) is restored and being converted into a visitors centre and after a welcome tea and dates, we found ourselves funneled onto a different guided tour bus for a partial trip around the site.

Read On

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

Leave a comment

Quick Access

Getting started

Want to find out how many World Heritage Sites you have visited already?

Do your count Or register!

WHS in the News

Archaeological Survey of India Begins Restoring Five Buddhist Pagodas in Bagan (03.04.20)

Earliest known skull of Homo erectus unearthed at Drimolen (03.04.20)

Amid COVID-19 Closures, Egypt Sanitizes the Giza Pyramids (02.04.20)

Great Barrier Reef hit by third major bleaching event in five years (24.03.20)

New Zealand's most famous tree, 'That Wanaka Tree,' vandalized (20.03.20)

Sydney Opera House’s Concert Hall closes for first time for renovations (17.03.20)

Large number of visitors drives conservation focus in Göbeklitepe (10.03.20)

Largest Ancient Ivory Factory Discovered In Bhanbhore (07.03.20)

Egypt reopens its oldest pyramid after 14-year restoration (06.03.20)

Anger on Easter Island after truck crashes into sacred stone statue (05.03.20)