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World Heritage Site

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Recent Community Reviews

1050 of 1092 WHS have been reviewed by our community.

Ivrea Tsunami Japan / USA / Poland - 17-Oct-18


I visited Ivrea from Torino by train on a Sunday morning and spent the first half of my 3 hours there walking around. 

There is a map at as well as on sign posts around town. I did not visit all the elements in the map of this industrial city of the last century but tried to see some of the more interesting places. 

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Belfries S. Anril Tiatco Philippines - 14-Oct-18 -

My visits to Flanders (Brussels and Brugge in 2016; Antwerp, Mechelen, and Ghent in 2018) were also visits to some spectacular towers called the Belfries. Many of the towers I saw are attached to other huge structures. Many of them support the carillon bells, which are played every hour providing a soundscape that brings everyone back in time. I learned from my arts studies class back in college that etymologically, belfries have nothing to do with bells. The word is derived from the Medieval French word berfrei that literally means tower in a fortress (or a castle). Sometimes, it is used to denote the high watchtower of a fortification of the Medieval era.

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Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy Tsunami Japan / USA / Poland - 12-Oct-18

Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy

Like other reviewers I was so impressed with Sacro Monte of Varese that I had been seeking opportunity to visit the Sacro Monte of Varallo, the first and most important of the 9 Sacri Monti. Between checking out the new production of Oedipus at the Teatro Olimpico in Palladian Vicenza and the new World Heritage Site of Ivrea this opportunity has finally come for me.

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Komodo National Park Clyde Malta - 15-Oct-18 -

Komodo National Park

I visited this WHS in August 2018. Instead of opting for a live-aboard boat trip from Lombok, also due to the several earthquakes and tsunami threats, we opted to fly to Lambuan Bajo, Flores instead and based ourself on a diving resort island close to different areas of interest within the Komodo NP for 4 nights.

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Fagaloa Bay - Uafato Tiavea Conservation Zone (T) Zoe Sheng China - 15-Oct-18

Fagaloa Bay - Uafato Tiavea Conservation Zone (T)

I drove right over the mountain to Uafato, a crazy drive alone but luckily only 10 minutes tops (not that you can't drive the flat northern cape "road" unless you have a 4WD and even then I don't recommend it). I think I wasn't really supposed to though as the villages and beaches in Samoa are private and people looked at me oddly. Nevertheless I made it to the end of the road and one thing is for sure, the views of Fagaloa Bay are great. How about all the stuff they consider world heritage status?

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Blog: WHS #683: Litomysl Castle

Litomysl Castle was one of the three castles of southeast Czechia that were still on my to do list. I decided to tackle all of them (Litomysl, Kromeriz and Lednice/Valtice) during one fast paced weekend break. Early Saturday morning I flew to Vienna, a more convenient hub than Prague for this scope. There I rented a car and drove for 3 hours until I arrived in Litomysl. Not all rental companies allow you to take the car from Austria into Czechia (Sixt does). And you have to be aware to buy a Czech toll vignette at a petrol station after crossing the border. Otherwise it’s all straightforward.

Arcade castle

Thanks to its ca. 8,000 sgraffito ‘bricks’ that fully cover its exterior, this Castle strongly stands out amidst its baroque surroundings. It is located above the town center on Castle Hill and surrounded by a French formal garden, the English style castle garden, the brewery, riding hall, stables and carriage house – which all belong to the core zone too.

I did not plan to take castle tours at all 3 castles of this weekend, but for Litomysl I thought it could be worth it because its tour includes a visit to the 18th century theatre. Between April and October there are regular tours scheduled. At the ticket office I was put on the list for the 2 pm tour. So I had over an hour to spare, which I spent in the city center (‘dead’ on a Saturday afternoon, just as I experienced in Zatec earlier this year) and in the cheerful coffee shop that is located in the castle’s former carriage house.

Stage of the theatre

Some 30 people turned up for the tour: all Czech, 95% female. The tours are only conducted in Czech. I was given a book with explanations in English and could tag along. Before I knew it we were already in the theatre, that’s where the tour starts with a long explanation of the castle’s history and the theatre. It’s a very intimate theatre where today’s 30 visitors just fitted in the regular seating for guests – the nobility used to sit in the balconies overhead. The Czech guide obviously told much more than was in my book, so I just stared at the Italian inspired landscape scenes painted on the stage screens. It’s a pity that we could not see the stage machinery in action

Afterwards we went on to the first floor, which has the best views of the courtyard with 3 rows of arcades that characterizes this building. From there we entered a series of palatial rooms. They have original wooden floors but no shoe covers are required – there’s a red carpet that you walk on. The whole building isn’t that large, so we only visited some 8 rooms furnished with rococo furniture, colourful painted wallpaper and the likes. The final room of the tour is the Horse Rider’s Anteroom: the Waldstein-Wartenberg family that owned this castle in the 18th century loved their horses and bred a special race of them at Kladruby (of the stud farm TWHS). Huge paintings of these different coloured horses adorn this room.

Chimney with sgrafitto

This WHS belongs to a myriad of connections that are so common in European palaces – I added sun dial (there are 2 of them), rococo (reading room in the interior), library (in the 17th century it held 4,000 books), neo-classical (theatre), baroque (sundials and 18th century modifications of the interior), French formal garden, English landscape garden. I discovered a new connection too: Litomysl is part of the European Route of Historic Theatres. This covers lots of theatres and opera houses in different European regions, including Cesky Krumlov Castle Theatre, Graz Opera House, Margravial Opera House, New Palace Theater in Potsdam and the Teatro Garcia de Resende in Evora.

Published 21 October 2018

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