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Visited Sites Ralf Regele

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Recent Reviews Ralf Regele


Al Qastal (Settlement) (T) 16-Nov-18

Al Qastal (Settlement) (T) by Ralf Regele

Now this site is currently hard to find. There are absolutely no street signs, Google Maps does not know it, my car GPS does not know it. I ended up driving slowly up and down the side road towards the airport, looking out for anything that looked ancient and archeological. Excuse my, have you seen the lost city of Al-Qastal ? It might have been lost again ! Luckily, there is a modern settlement with the same name, and somewhere in between the ruined modern houses are the ancient ruined houses ! As it turned out, the site is not really prepared for touristic visits. Like, totally not prepared. There are no signs, fences, pathes, visitor, keepers or anything. Some archeological clean-up has taken place, but that's it. You are completely on your own here - which is kind of cool, as you can unleash your inner explorer and see what interesting things turn up.
So what's to see ? Quite a lot, actually. The site is bigger than most of the desert castle sites, comparable to Umm'er-Rasas (minus the mosaics - but who knows what lies still hidden ?). A lot of the buildings are still walkable, and it is nice to prowl around the half-ruined houses and speculate about their meaning. However, I could not detect any OUV-worthy aspect - all in all, it is just one more ruined settlement,and there are plenty in Jordan.
The good thing, if you know where to find it, you can visit it quite fast, as it is close to the airport, and close to al-Mshatta. Here are some tips for finding it:
- If coming from Amman, exit the freeway shortly before the airport (the same exit as for al-Mshatta).
- Stay on the side road of the freeway, on the right side going away from Amman. Look to the right, away from the freeway.
- If you pass a modern, black-and-white striped mosque near the road, the site is approx. 500m behind it.
- You can see the site from the side road. I dont think you can spot it from the freeway.
- There are two communication masts right beside the site - if you can spot them, go near.
- Take one of the tiny roads towards the site. There is no parking lot or anything, but you can drive right up to the site.
Visited in November 2018.
Importance:2/5 Beauty:3/5 Uniqueness:2/5 Environment: 2/5 Experience:4/5

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The Turf House Tradition (T) 18-Sep-18

The Turf House Tradition (T) by Ralf Regele

Turf houses were actually the primary (and almost solely) form of housing in iceland from the viking ages till the 19th century. Trees and timber were in very short supply in iceland. Turf houses have only a light wood framework, the roof and many walls are made out of turf blocks. Turf houses have the advantage of a good isolation, but are difficult to maintain and could only be built to a certain size - which is why even bigger turf buildings are an aggregation of relatively small huts. Turf houses only last for roughly a century, which means that all of the islandic turf houses are no older than the 19th century. Many of the buildings are mentioned in older sources, but were rebuilt again and again throughout the ages. It is not really known if the existing turf houses look like the ones in medieval times, but no fundamental difference is assumed.
So what is it like to visit these houses ? Quite a nice experience, I must say, and a nice change to all the overbearing landscape in iceland. Of the roughly a dozen buildings in the proposal, I visited four locations, all of which where quite easily reachable by car from the ring road. In fact, there were so close to the road that it is surprising that they are not featured more prominently in travel guides for iceland. Some notes on the individual houses:

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Vatnajökull National Park (T) 15-Sep-18

Vatnajökull National Park (T) by Ralf Regele

The Vatnajökull National Park area is a bit unusual, as it includes the Jökulsargljufur National Park, which has no borders to the rest of the park, creating a second location for the site. Having just visited this exclave, I can highly recommend it. It features some of the most spectacular scenery in a country overflowing with great landscapes. The glacier-fed river Jökulsa a Fjöllum (which orginates a long way down south in the main park area) is cutting through a landscape formed by raw volcanic rock. It creates a large canyon and tumbles down a series of waterfalls, including the mighty Dettifoss waterfall. It's a gripping display of raw elementary powers, with hardly any plant life or greenery in sight. Getting there is not too tough if you have a car, although the east side road is a bit rough (though probably a bit more rewarding). No 4x4 is needed, at least in summer. However, getting there as a day trip from Reykyavik is definitely out of the question. Most people do it as part of an Iceland round trip on the ring road 1, where the 2-3 hour detour is certainly worth it. Visiting in early autumn, there was no lack of tourists, but the large scale landscape could cope with it pretty well. Further north lies the Asbyrgi canyon, which is more fertile but less spectacular, but still highly enjoyable.
For the Skaftafell section in the south, I had good luck with the Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon, as there were lots of colorful icebergs floating right next to the car park, with a boat ride not really needed. There were lots of clouds and fog in the higher glacier regions, though, so the whole travel experience here relies a good bit on luck.
All in all, the Vatnajökull National Park is so large and so full of marvelous landscapes that a WHS designation seems quite deserved. Iceland has so far no natural WHS that covers its amazing landscape, so it's about time.
Visited in September 2018.
Importance 3/5 Beauty 5/5 Uniqueness 5/5 Environment 4/5 Experience 5/5

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Mývatn and Laxá (T) 12-Sep-18

Mývatn and Laxá (T) by Ralf Regele

The Myvatn lake in northern iceland is aptly named "midge lake", as it is home to clouds of annoying flies, at least in summer. The flies can be a real damper on your travel experience here, to the point where putting a flynet around your head turns from a ridiculous tourist folly into a totally reasonable and diserable act. The area is a major tourist destination, with multiple sightseeing stations around the lake. A typical trip around the lake could include:

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The Aniene valley and Villa Gregoriana in Tivoli (T) 15-May-18

The Aniene valley and Villa Gregoriana in Tivoli (T) by Ralf Regele

The "Villa" Gregoriana is actually not a villa, not even a building. Despite the naming and marketing, it is mainly the name for a hiking trail going through the valley of the river Aniene near the small town of Tivoli, which is better known for two other WHS sites, the more approriate named Villa Adriana and Villa D'Este. Although sometimes described as a park, the valley looks like a natural forest. There are some ancient remains, but they are so insignificant that they are barely worth mentioning. The river Aniene tumbles down the valley through various waterfalls, although most of the water is now redirected to avoid catastrophal floodings. The main claim to fame, however, is the connection with 18th century romanticism. The rugged stone formations, the waterfalls and the village high above it, complete with roman ruins, do indeed create a spectacular scenario. It takes around 90minutes to cross from one side of the valley to the other, and only a few more to get back to your start position. The nice walk will lead you to various vistas, waterfalls and grottos. All points of interest have fancy names, but not all detours really lead to something astonishing. The grotto of the sirens (or is it mermaids?) and of neptune are really worth it, the other sideways can be skipped if you want to conserve your energy. And that leads to the main problem with the site: It's just not in the same league as the other two WHS sites in town. Most people will go to Tivoli as a day trip from Rome, and if you try to cram all three "villas" into one day (I did), you will need a lot of stamina and will probably not be able to reproduce the dreamy enthusiasm of 18th century poets. What remains is a very nice, but strenuous hike with a bit of marketing cheese thrown in (like a hefty entrance fee).
I do not really think that the Villa Gregoriana is important or unique enough to be a WHS, and the small town of Tivoli does not really need a third one. However, if you do have a bit of time and energy left, it is certainly a beautiful trail with a dash of nature, culture and 19th century engineering thrown in.
Visited May 2018.
Importance 2/5 Beauty 3/5 Uniqueness 3/5 Environment 4/5 Experience 3/5

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Name: Ralf Regele

Country: Germany

Visited WHS: 210

Most Impressive: Angkor

Proposal New WHS: Empire State & Chrysler Building

  1. Chavin : 5.0
  2. Edinburgh : 5.0
  3. Great Wall : 5.0
  4. Imperial Palace : 5.0
  5. Machu Picchu : 5.0
  6. Rome : 5.0
  7. Seville : 5.0
  8. Vatican City : 5.0
  9. Aachen Cathedral : 4.5
  10. Acropolis : 4.5
  11. Angkor : 4.5
  12. Ayutthaya : 4.5
  13. Chan Chan : 4.5
  14. Cordoba : 4.5
  15. Cuzco : 4.5
  16. Fortified City of Carcassonne : 4.5
  17. Hill Forts of Rajasthan : 4.5
  18. Istanbul : 4.5
  19. Mesa Verde : 4.5
  20. Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve : 4.5
  21. Oporto : 4.5
  22. Paris, Banks of the Seine : 4.5
  23. Qhapaq Ñan : 4.5
  24. Qutb Minar : 4.5
  25. Rani-ki-Vav : 4.5
  26. Taj Mahal : 4.5
  27. Teotihuacan : 4.5
  28. Agra Fort : 4.0
  29. Ancient Kyoto : 4.0
  30. Ancient Nara : 4.0
  31. Caral-Supe : 4.0
  32. Changdeokgung Palace Complex : 4.0
  33. Himeji-jo : 4.0
  34. Ironbridge Gorge : 4.0
  35. Itsukushima Shrine : 4.0
  36. Khajuraho Group of Monuments : 4.0
  37. Lübeck : 4.0
  38. Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor : 4.0
  39. Medina of Fez : 4.0
  40. Museumsinsel (Museum Island) : 4.0
  41. Namhansanseong : 4.0
  42. Nikko : 4.0
  43. Oaxaca and Monte Alban : 4.0
  44. Redwood : 4.0
  45. Statue of Liberty : 4.0
  46. Stonehenge : 4.0
  47. Sukhothai : 4.0
  48. Te Wahipounamu : 4.0
  49. Temple of Heaven : 4.0
  50. Tower of London : 4.0
  51. Uxmal : 4.0
  52. Vienna : 4.0
  53. Yellowstone : 4.0
  54. Albi : 3.5
  55. Amsterdam Canal Ring : 3.5
  56. Antequera Dolmens Site : 3.5
  57. Budapest : 3.5
  58. Calakmul : 3.5
  59. Cathedral of St. James in Sibenik : 3.5
  60. Chichen-Itza : 3.5
  61. Coa Valley and Siega Verde : 3.5
  62. Derwent Valley Mills : 3.5
  63. Durham Castle and Cathedral : 3.5
  64. Genbaku Dome : 3.5
  65. Granada : 3.5
  66. Grand Canyon : 3.5
  67. Grand Place, Brussels : 3.5
  68. Guimarães : 3.5
  69. Gwynedd Castles : 3.5
  70. Horyu-ji Area : 3.5
  71. Humayun's Tomb : 3.5
  72. Hwaseong Fortress : 3.5
  73. Iguacu : 3.5
  74. Imperial Tombs : 3.5
  75. Jantar Mantar : 3.5
  76. Jelling : 3.5
  77. Kii Mountain Range : 3.5
  78. Lima : 3.5
  79. Luther Memorials : 3.5
  80. Meknes : 3.5
  81. New Lanark : 3.5
  82. Palenque : 3.5
  83. Red Fort : 3.5
  84. South China Karst : 3.5
  85. Speyer Cathedral : 3.5
  86. Stevns Klint : 3.5
  87. Studley Royal Park : 3.5
  88. Summer Palace : 3.5
  89. Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch : 3.5
  90. Thingvellir : 3.5
  91. Verona : 3.5
  92. Villa Adriana (Tivoli) : 3.5
  93. Villa d'Este : 3.5
  94. Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch : 3.0
  95. Ahmadabad : 3.0
  96. Alto Douro : 3.0
  97. Arequipa : 3.0
  98. Beemster Polder : 3.0
  99. Belfries : 3.0
  100. Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe : 3.0
  101. Brugge : 3.0
  102. Corvey : 3.0
  103. Dong Phayayen : 3.0
  104. Drottningholm : 3.0
  105. Fatehpur Sikri : 3.0
  106. Flemish Béguinages : 3.0
  107. Fortifications of Vauban : 3.0
  108. Frontiers of the Roman Empire : 3.0
  109. Hedeby and Danevirke : 3.0
  110. Huascaran National Park : 3.0
  111. Jongmyo Shrine : 3.0
  112. Kinderdijk : 3.0
  113. Kronborg Castle : 3.0
  114. La Lonja de la Seda : 3.0
  115. Liverpool : 3.0
  116. Mexico City and Xochimilco : 3.0
  117. Pantanal : 3.0
  118. Pilgrimage Church of Wies : 3.0
  119. Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal : 3.0
  120. Reichenau : 3.0
  121. Riga : 3.0
  122. Rio de Janeiro : 3.0
  123. Roskilde Cathedral : 3.0
  124. Royal Joseon Tombs : 3.0
  125. Saltaire : 3.0
  126. Schönbrunn : 3.0
  127. Shirakawa-go and Gokayama : 3.0
  128. Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District : 3.0
  129. Split : 3.0
  130. Tallinn : 3.0
  131. Tongariro National Park : 3.0
  132. Town Hall and Roland, Bremen : 3.0
  133. Upper Middle Rhine Valley : 3.0
  134. Van Nellefabriek : 3.0
  135. Volubilis : 3.0
  136. Yosemite National Park : 3.0
  137. Bauhaus Sites : 2.5
  138. Campeche : 2.5
  139. Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust : 2.5
  140. Christiansfeld : 2.5
  141. Cologne Cathedral : 2.5
  142. Donana National Park : 2.5
  143. Fagus Factory : 2.5
  144. Forth Bridge : 2.5
  145. Graz : 2.5
  146. Hildesheim Cathedral and Church : 2.5
  147. Keoladeo National Park : 2.5
  148. Maritime Greenwich : 2.5
  149. Palmeral of Elche : 2.5
  150. Prehistoric Pile Dwellings : 2.5
  151. Puebla : 2.5
  152. Trogir : 2.5
  153. Venetian Works of Defence : 2.5
  154. Brasilia : 2.0
  155. Major Town Houses : 2.0
  156. Messel Pit : 2.0
  157. Ouro Preto : 2.0
  158. Primeval Beech Forests : 2.0
  159. Skogskyrkogarden : 2.0
  160. Zollverein : 2.0
  161. Berlin Modernism Housing Estates : 1.5
  162. Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz : 1.5
  163. Par force hunting landscape : 1.0
  164. Stoclet House : 1.0
  165. Struve Geodetic Arc : 1.0
  166. Archaeological Site of Delphi
  167. Avignon
  168. Bahá’i Holy Places
  169. Baptism Site "Bethany Beyond the Jordan"
  170. Biblical Tells
  171. Bryggen
  172. Camino Real
  173. Canal du Midi
  174. Caves of Maresha and Bet Guvrin
  175. Epidaurus
  176. Everglades
  177. Iguazu National Park
  178. Incense Route of the Negev
  179. Le Havre
  180. Longobards in Italy
  181. Masada
  182. Maulbronn Monastery
  183. Mont-Saint-Michel
  184. Mount Carmel Caves
  185. Mystras
  186. Necropolis of Bet She'arim
  187. Old City of Acre
  188. Old City of Jerusalem
  189. Olympia
  190. Petra
  191. Pont du Gard
  192. Quedlinburg
  193. Quseir Amra
  194. Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France
  195. Salzburg
  196. Santa Maria delle Grazie
  197. Stralsund and Wismar
  198. Strasbourg
  199. Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley
  200. The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier
  201. Trier
  202. Um er-Rasas
  203. Versailles
  204. Völklingen Ironworks
  205. Wachau Cultural Landscape
  206. Wadden Sea
  207. Wadi Rum
  208. West Norwegian Fjords
  209. Westminster
  210. White City of Tel-Aviv
  1. Al Qastal (Settlement) (T)
  2. Amalienborg and its district (T)
  3. Archaeological Site of Nikopolis (T)
  4. Auckland Volcanic Fields (T)
  5. Bahá'í House of Worship at New Delhi (T)
  6. Caesarea (T)
  7. Darmstadt Artists' Colony Mathildenhöhe (T)
  8. Delhi - A Heritage City (T)
  9. Dreams in Stone - the palaces of King Ludwig II of Bavaria: Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee (T)
  10. Francke Foundation Buildings (T)
  11. Historic Center of the City of Trujillo (T)
  12. Jaipur city, Rajasthan India (T)
  13. Jerash Archaeological City (Ancient Meeting Place of East and West) (T)
  14. Lake Titicaca (T)
  15. Le Palais de Justice de Bruxelles (T)
  16. Monuments, Sites and Cultural Landscape of Chiang Mai, Capital of Lanna (T)
  17. Moulay Idriss Zerhoun (T)
  18. Mývatn and Laxá (T)
  19. Petrified Forest National Park (T)
  20. Qasr Al-Mushatta (T)
  21. Residence Ensemble Schwerin - Cultural Landscape of Romantic Historicism (T)
  22. Ring of cenotes of Chicxulub Crater, Yucatan (T)
  23. Seoul City Wall (T)
  24. Shaubak Castle (Montreal) (T)
  25. Sites funéraires et mémoriels de la Première Guerre mondiale (Front Ouest) (T)
  26. Sites mégalithiques de Carnac (T)
  27. Sites of Saytagrah, India's non-violent freedom movement (T)
  28. Temples, Shrines and other structures of Ancient Kamakura (T)
  29. The Aniene valley and Villa Gregoriana in Tivoli (T)
  30. The city of Bergamo (T)
  31. The historic town of Korcula (T)
  32. The Jewish Cemetery of Altona Königstrasse. Sephardic Sepulchral Culture of the 17th and 18th century between Europe and the Caribbean (T)
  33. The Turf House Tradition (T)
  34. Vatnajökull National Park (T)
  35. Yangtze Gorges Scenic Spot (T)