Blog WH Travellers
Philipp visited me in the Netherlands last month, and we went to the Rietveld Schröderhuis – a revisit for both of us. It was a much-improved visit: he needed to enter and wanted photos, I had entered before but had lousy photos of the exterior on a rainy day. The second visits became a success, especially as the policy had also changed to allow indoor photography. Furthermore, Philipp told me that with his checklist of visited WHS, he also marks those that need a revisit for some reason (e.g. "needs photos"). I thought that was such a great idea, so I went through my own visits again and marked those that I need to visit again.
Out of my 810 visited WHS, I feel that I need to revisit 32. That’s 4%, less than I feared. By the way, I saw 69 of the 810 WHS (8.5%) more than once so those in fact are already upgraded visits.
Keep in mind that these do not include the Angkor's and Machu Picchu’s of the List, which I would happily visit again. But only those where there is a NEED to revisit, because the first visit wasn’t good or satisfying enough. Where, when I think back, I do not really have a feel for the site let alone its OUV.
Reasons for revisiting
1. Visit was long ago and I remember too little
The time that has passed since the visit probably is the main reason for a revisit. Kyiv (1990) - the tour allowed only 1 day there, which I spent mostly in my hotel room feeling ill. Cordoba (1991), I was confined to the hotel room as well due to the 46 degrees Celsius heat outside. The Dorset cliffs, visited with my parents when I was 9 not having a clue about OUV. Jantar Mantar, too short a visit and already back in 1993. Hill Forts of Rajasthan – only visited one of them and also way back in 1993. Diyarbakir: no photos and my stay was in 1992. Retiro and Prado of Madrid, rushed through it while backpacking in 1991.
2. I found the site mostly closed
A few of those as well:
- Mycenae and Tiryns – closed for the Christmas holidays.
- Spiennes: not really closed, but the visitor experience has changed considerably since my visit in 2004.
- Berlin’s Museum Island: Bode and Neues Museum were closed.
- Giant Panda Sanctuaries – the access road to Wolong, the prime reserve, was closed.
- Modena: most buildings were under construction and could not be entered.
- Qalhat: the archaeological site could not be accessed.
- I also was one of the many people that fell victim to the interior of the Margravial Opera House closing right after inscription (photo 1).
3. I did not do it full justice
Although the prospect of visiting a WHS usually brightens my day, there have been moments in my travel career when my mood negatively influenced the way I valued the WHS. The most notable examples are the Royal Exhibition Building (I should have tried harder to get inside, but I was fed up already with Australia) and Evora - sites that others rate higher than I do. If you're a community member, you can look at the blue and orange labels in your rating stats on the profile page to look for these anomalies.
4. Experienced too little of its OUV
Here I did enter the core zones, but did not see much of their OUV:
- Qhapaq Nan (needs trips to more and better locations)
- Meiji Industrial Revolution sites (only visited a village in the core zone, and before inscription, and none of the industrial heritage)
- Neolithic Orkney (missed Skara Brae due to logistic issues)
- Mumbai (drove through the core zone, saw the Oval Maidan from the tour bus, but did not go out and explore the main sites as I usually do)
5. Feeling guilty about the tick!
I have a couple of arbitrary ticks, where I did not enter the core zone but got close enough and have a good feel for the OUV. These are:
- Pantanal: its core zone is very selective. Need to revisit to see the jaguar anyway.
- Doñana (photo 2): need to secure a spot on one of the guided tours inside the park.
- Bali Subak system: would like to explore the area again with the knowledge of the reasons why it was inscribed and what to look for.
- The Dolomites. I am actually ashamed of this one, I just drove by. I am planning for a week-long stay to make up for it!
6. Waiting for visiting conditions to change
This is a special subcategory, where a revisit is on hold. If entrance ever comes fully available at Stoclet, Kazanlak, Altamira Cave, Chauvet Cave, Lascaux, and Shirakami-Sanchi (photo 3), I'd be happy to go there again. Same for the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum and Boyana Church when photos will be allowed.
Do you keep a list of necessary revisits? For what reasons do you want to visit a WHS again?
Els - 27 November 2022
Astraftis 11 December 2022
For each destination, I always have a backlog of what I should visit a net time or I have missed even before I'm back home. This is because the more you see, the more things to see you understand are out there... But usually they're not re-visits.
So I do not exactly keep a list of necessary revisits, but went through the list of my WHSs and found I am at a whopping 6%... yikes! Too perfectionist?
- Too long ago: Of Graz (class trip/cultural exchange) and Regensburg (hosted by a friend at the end of high school) I have rather dim memories, and for sure I would explore them with a very diferent awareness now. Also Bruges was really an era ago, despite having good memories, and would need a refresh.
- Bad visits: Stari Grad for having been a rather cursory and nervous visit (some friends really weren't happy to take a tour there...). Schokland for having been a lightning visit as we arrived too late. Maybe I would put Stone Town here too: (half) a day is too little to enjoy it fully, and the Palace of Wonders was closed for restorations.
- Missing parts: In Luxemburg I'd like to return to completionistically enter the casemates, which were closed in winter (still wondering why, it doesnt make too much sense to me). Ferrara, well, would actually be a new visit: I miss the town, but have visited the Delta extensively. They are very different. And finally, yes, I'd return to Denmark to see an other, maybe more "spectacular", site of the Par force hunting landscapes.
- Closures: Telč, to enter the zámek after the restorations that caught me by surprise.
And last, but not least... the Omo valley!!!!!!!!! :-|
Squiffy 28 November 2022
I've not visited enough sites overall to specifically prioritise revisits - though ironically over the last few years most of my visits have been revists because that's most convenient with a young family. I have now done Ironbridge justice, however, and 'completed' all the components of Gwynnedd Castles and Pafos.
But, yes, I do have a few sites I have ticked that do warrant specific revisit, conditions allowing. To use Els' criteria:
1 (too long ago): pretty much all of Tunisia. Only have any memories at all of El Jem (fab!) and Carthage (disappointing - probably need to visit more components and reappraise).
2 (closed / wrong time of year): Orto Botanico in Padua. Honestly, who visits a botanic garden in late November?
3 (didn't do it justice): Thebes. I was there on a tour for fewer than 24 hours. Either Luxor or Karnak temples, plus 3 tombs in Valley of the Kings. So much more to see!
4 (missed the OUV): I've only visited the extreme west of the Dorset Coast and only Bath in the Great Spa Towns. Definitely need some Czech or German components!
5 (guilty tick): never gonna happen but Baikal. I've *seen* the Lake and I've scrutinised the maps and I'm pretty sure I've passed through core zone by train, but it's my most tendentious tick.
Conversely, I feel zero need to revisit Chauvet just to climb a path and touch a closed door. The replica is fine people.
Philipp Peterer 28 November 2022
I am currently at almost 7% "revisit needed". But I have to say that weather is a factor for me. almost half of the 7% are due to cloudy or rainy weather when visited. 2nd biggest category is places where I did not visit the interior 4 of the 7 there are in the north (thank you for opening only 3 month a year). I try to revisit whenever possible to increaseor refresh. My revisit count is currently over 21%.
Shandos Cleaver 28 November 2022
Also, the only site where I feel guilty about the tick - Monarch Butterflies in Mexico, as I discovered after we had booked that we visited the only sanctuary that wasn't actually in the core zone.
Shandos Cleaver 28 November 2022
I've kept a list of sites to revisit, ever since we visited Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai while it was covered in scaffolding.
I don't keep a list of places where I don't have decent photos, instead mine are basically:
2. Couldn't visit inside (e.g. Tugendhat House was sold out) or the inside of a major component
3. Want to visit more locations (e.g. Herculaneum as well as Pompeii)
4. Visited early and want to revisit it to understand it better (I also list the Bali Subak System!)
5. Various reasons (from visiting in a better season for the garden, to actually seeing Mt Fuji when it's not covered in cloud)
Michael Ayers 27 November 2022
I was slightly disappointed, but not really surprised, that my fraction of Sites that should be revisited came out a little higher at 5%.
For me, the main causes were: Closed for seasonal reasons, just touching the edge (or only the Buffer) of a large Natural Site, seeing only a lesser component, or too few components, of a serial Site, and, of course, the visit being severely limited due to covid protocols.
The chances of me actually revisiting any of these Sites are close to zero, so I will just have to live with these deficiencies, however.
Tsunami 27 November 2022
Visited in wrong seasons, e.g.: When I first visited Dacian Fortresses, Sarmizegetusa Regia was buried under snow.
New facilities, such as museums, have been added, e.g.: This past summer I visited Pont du Gard after 27 years since my first visit and after 10 or 15 years when a major visitor center with a museum was built. The same goes with Acropolis in Athens. This past winter I re-visited Acropolis to check out the Acropolis Museum, a major attraction in Athens since 2008.
Kyle Magnuson 27 November 2022
Recent WHS Revists: 2022
Great Smoky Mountains - revisit in offseason (less busy), previously missed Cade's Cove
Mammoth Cave - revisit to get more photos and to take a different tour + hikes, previous visit was more than 10 years ago
Chaco Culture - revisit other component, Aztec Ruins National Monument
Clyde 27 November 2022
Interesting exercise! I'll do this too. While in Thingvellir, Philipp and I also mentioned sites we "need" to revisit in sunny weather.