Latest Community Reviews

Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve

Nan Germany - 10-May-19

Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve

The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserves is one of those really unique world heritage sites. As far as I can tell there is nothing on the list that compares to it: a forest full of butterflies. Simply amazing.

With my mandatory guide, I hiked into the park. At first, there were scores of dying butterflies on the ground. Then we ran into larger clouds of butterflies swirling in the air. And eventually, we made it to the butterfly covered trees.

Unfortunately, I visited before lunch. The time wasn't perfect. The parks are in the mountains and before lunch, it's cloudy and potentially too cold for the butterflies to fly around. They even put up a sign (see picture).

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Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape

Clyde Malta - 14-May-19

Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape

I visited this WHS in May 2019. Even though I was short of time, I was determined to drive on from Durdle Door to visit the rather remote mining landscape around St Agnes. I will surely be revisiting this WHS in the near future and next time I'll focus on other sites closer to St Just.

This time round I made the most of a gorgeous bright Spring day (although chilly and windy) to hike from St Agnes Beacon to Tubby's Head. Obviously my primary focus weren't the military remains along the Cornwall and West Devon Coast but the industrial remains of this rather complete and unique mining landscape.

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Cesky Krumlov

Yuri Samozvanov Canada - 15-May-19

Cesky Krumlov

UNique – 9/10

If you want to experience the quintessential charm of a Central European town, there is no better place than Český Krumlov. With the castle tower perched high on the river promontory above the town, and the small bridges hopping over the meandering river beneath, the landscape is idyllic to the point of feeling unreal. A visitor would be hard-pressed to find a spot in town that does not offer a view, and every corner reveals a new sight.

ESsential – 10/10

Like many other towns in Czechia, it is worth to simply take in Český Krumlov without any agenda or itinerary. Outside of the Old Town on the peninsula, there are many paths along the Vltava river and in the Castle grounds. Getting up to a height above the town is an incredibly pleasant experience as it affords you to take in the photogenic town

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Zaruma ciudad minera (T)

Watkinstravel Canada - 14-May-19

Zaruma is a small mining town that was once a major player in the Spanish colonial gold trade. Unlike typical Spanish colonial towns, Zaruma doesn't have a grid pattern though it still manages a small central plaza. Most of the older buildings are made of local wood and have a more typical local style of construction rather than a colonial one. In some areas even the sidewalks are still made of wood. Unfortunately wood doesn't age very well so in some ways the town looks older and more run down than it is but overall it was quite clean and still preserved well enough to get a good feel for what they are trying to convey with the nomination. 

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University of Coimbra

Ilya Burlak USA - 14-May-19

University of Coimbra

Coimbra University, founded in 1290, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the Portuguese-speaking world. Its recognition as a WHS links it to the city as an example of an integrated campus. The core part of the university high up on a hill above town feels like a standalone monument complex, though. The focal point, Pátio das Escolas, is home to the Royal Palace, the university tower, the main university chapel of Saõ Miguel, and the university library.

They are all worth visiting if you go for the "Program 1" combo ticket (ascending the tower requires a small additional fee). The Royal Palace housed the core university spaces from the reign of João III onward; the 16th century monarch greatly expanded the Portuguese possessions abroad as well as made Coimbra into a leading center of learning by establishing a new college of liberal arts and bringing to it many of the Portuguese scholars of the time. There are a few impressive rooms inside, of which the most impressive might be the Great Hall of Acts. The Chapel of Saint Michael, in the west wing of the architectural ensemble of the plaza, is incredibly tiled and decorated

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Voormalige Nazorgkolonie en Sanatorium Zonnestraal (T)

Jakob Frenzel Germany - 03-May-19

July 2011 - Biketrip in Holland. First Thing we visited after leaving the Train in Hilversum was this marvelous piece of modern Architecture. A great example, sorry it left the tentative list.

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Le Havre

Jakob Frenzel Germany - 03-May-19

Le Havre

August 2018 - one of our main goals on that trip. The city is not beautiful i was heavily bombed in WW2, but the reconstruction, or rather complete new set up by August Perret, is a perfect model city. All the concrete buildings, which are made from the old ruins, align like model houses on a toy train. You feel like making a journey back to the 50s. The houses and parks look, like they just were planted or pulled up,

The harbour city has a very special mediteranean flair. We were at the city beach for about 1 hour up. We visited some of the buildings. Although I am not a big fan of modern churches, this chuch is just stunning. The colors of the small glass windows are perfectly aligned and create a special atmosphere. It was designed by a women as we learned

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Dorset and East Devon Coast

Clyde Malta - 14-May-19

Dorset and East Devon Coast

I visited this WHS in May 2019. After a long drive from London and due to the cloudy weather upon arrival, I opted to head straight to my cottage/inn just after Wareham and only a short stroll from Lulworth Cove.

I really enjoyed walking for hours on end from one cove/beach/viewpoint to the next along the Coast Path, gazing in awe at the geological marvel and natural beauty of the Devon 'Jurassic' Coast WHS. Just a few steps away to the right (away from the cove) from the pay and display Lulworth Cove Parking Lot, a small trail will lead you to a panoramic viewpoint of Stair Hole which is sculpted from three rock types and further on to a magnificent viewpoint of Lulworth Cove.

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Rouen : ensemble urbain à pans de bois, cathédrale, église Saint-Ouen, église Saint Maclou (T)

Jakob Frenzel Germany - 03-May-19

Rouen : ensemble urbain à pans de bois, cathédrale, église Saint-Ouen, église Saint Maclou (T)

July 2018 - on our Roadtrip we finally entered the Province Normandy. The first city we visited was Rouen. It consists of norrow streets and squares with romantic timber framed houses. We parked the car on the outside and took our bikes around. The cathedral is also marvelous. It is a very charming cit ynad we had dinner in a small french bistrom drinking cidre and eating some legumes. We also found giant macarons, that are the size of your hands. A wonderful experience, we will come back soon.

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Maltese Catacomb Complexes (T)

Nan Germany - 10-May-19

Maltese Catacomb Complexes (T)

On my way to Mdina I visited the St Paul's Catacombs. These date from Roman times and were used as burial grounds. The site covers several small and large caves and makes for a nice visit. Watch your head as the height of the caves varies greatly.

To me the most surprising feature was how many caves there were. The whole area is dotted with them. The Maltase have done a good job in making them accessible. It is useful, though, to bring a flash light as lighting is poor.

After a while, though, the caves got to be a bit repetitive. The caves look more or less the same and any form of artistic expression is missing.

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Canterbury

Clyde Malta - 13-May-19

Canterbury

I visited this WHS in May 2019. Even though I have visited my uncountable cathedrals and churches worldwide, I must say I enjoyed my visit to the Canterbury Cathedral and inscribed sites. Restoration works are currently in full swing covering most of the cathedral's exterior and the main nave inside, however the highlights of my visit inside the cathedral could be enjoyed easily, namely the cathedral choir (try to combine your visit when they are practicing), the colour frescoes in the Chapel of St Gabriel inside the crypt and the fan vaulted ceiling of the Bell Harry Tower (photo).

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Amiens Cathedral

Jakob Frenzel Germany - 03-May-19

Amiens Cathedral

July 2018 - Roadtrip to Normandy.

What a cathedral. In this trip we visited many cathedrals and cannot decide, which one was the most beautiful. But Amiens was the first french cathedral and definitely ranges on top. The whole city is strongly linked to grand guerre and artwork depicts old fotos of soldiers on the house walls. When we were there, the city was covered in umbrellas, also nice. After visiting Amiens there are many WW I tentative sites nearby to visit. We went first east to Albert, before going further West.

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Knights Fortifications around the Harbours of Malta (T)

Nan Germany - 10-May-19

Knights Fortifications around the Harbours of Malta (T)

Valletta offers natural harbors on both sides of the peninsula on which it is located. Each harbor is protected by massive fortifications and forts along its shores. The fortifications were continuously improved by the local rulers (first the Knights of Malta, then the British) and repelled many attackers over the centuries.

Most noticeably, they repelled the Ottomans during the Great Siege of Malta. The event marked the end of Ottoman naval supremacy in the Mediterranean.

OUV I fully concur with Ralf's assessment. This would be a obvious and well warranted extension to the Valletta WHS. Honestly, without researching the proper boundaries of the Valletta WHS, it feels like the surrounding forts are already part of it anyhow. A separate inscription meanwhile would be redundant. So yes for an extension. And no for a separate site

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Chatham Dockyard and its Defences (T)

Clyde Malta - 13-May-19

Chatham Dockyard and its Defences (T)

I visited this WHS in May 2019. It was a very convenient stopover from London en route to Canterbury. The entrance ticket is expensive but considering the Historic Dockyard's size and other industrial WHS already on the list it's quite reasonable. Parking is also included in the ticket and if you visit on a quiet morning like I did, most probably you'll be parking inside the 1848 No. 5 Covered Slip.

Even though I'm not an industrial heritage fan, I was pleasantly surprised with this tentative WHS. To a certain extent its OUV is justified and it might even fill in some maritime heritage gaps if inscribed

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Sites funéraires et mémoriels de la Première Guerre mondiale (Front Ouest) (T)

Jakob Frenzel Germany - 03-May-19

Sites funéraires et mémoriels de la Première Guerre mondiale (Front Ouest) (T)

July/August 2018 - I learned quite intensively and detailed about the Grand Guerre. In German schools WW2 and the prior rise to power by the Nazis is extensively discussed, but without understanding the reasons and the effects of WW1 it doesnt really make sense.

With crossing of the border we arrived in the zone rouge

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Popocatepetl monasteries

Nan Germany - 09-May-19

Popocatepetl monasteries

Similarly to Els and Ian I ended up visiting both Cuernavaca and Tepoztlán. I say ended up as my original plan was to only visit Cuernavaca. Cuernavaca has the benefit that you are passing through the town in any case when travelling from Mexico City to Xochicalco by bus. So it's really quite a simple and quick visit.

However, Cuernavaca is underwhelming as a site. Of the inscribed monasteries, Cuernavaca is the one which was redone and remodeled the most over the centuries. So much so that little original 16th century constructions remain. The oldest part is the open chapel, the Capilla abierta. And frankly I barely noticed it.

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Greek Archaeological ensemble in Empúries, l'Escala, Girona (T)

Zoë Sheng Chinese-Canadian in NZ - 09-May-19

Greek Archaeological ensemble in Empúries, l

Empúries, with the emphasis on plural S, are ancient ruins at the east coast of Catalonia, a good 2h away from the Barcelona and apparently getting plenty of French tourists. With the Dali museum in Figueres nearby it is not entirely off the beaten track but the smaller roads one has to take is exactly the reason why the towns fell into ruins so long ago. The Roman roads neglected the towns of Empuries and other port towns were favored over them.

I wasn't sure if I should bother with it either

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Fortifications of Vauban

Jakob Frenzel Germany - 02-May-19

Fortifications of Vauban

July 2018 - Arras was the first, and so far only, Vauban fortifiaction that we visited, actually we visited Lille as well. That one is no WHS though.

In Arras, there are some post WWII buildings that are destroying the authenticity. But the fort is quite amazing. Hope to see more of them in order to be able to judge.

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Kii Mountain Range

Nan Germany - 09-May-19

Kii Mountain Range

As a day trip from Nara I visited Yoshino to see the Kii Mountains. From the valley where the train station is located I took a cable car up the hill. I arrived in a tourist village with plenty of shops and restaurants. The village also contains Kinpusen-ji, an important temple of the region.

From the village I set out to hike along the pilgrim path into the Kii Mountains. On my way I crossed multiple temples and everything quieted down; there were not that many hikers, but that may have been caused by me visiting outside vacation season.

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Flemish Béguinages

Jay T USA - 08-May-19

Flemish Béguinages

One of the things I love about World Heritage Sites is how they can expose you to places, or in the case of the Flemish Béguinages, concepts, that I had not known before. History tends to be rather male-focused, and while I was aware women often had limited options in life in medieval times (with marriage or religious orders being some of the more common choices), I had never learned about the béguinages in northern Europe. These religious societies offered single women an option to live together in a community while retaining independence to come and go at will. When I visited the city of Bruges last August, I made sure to stop by the Begijnhof, tucked away in a quiet corner of the city

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