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World Heritage Site

for World Heritage Travellers

20 Most Recent Community Reviews


Mesta Livestock trails (T) Argo

Mesta Livestock trails (T) by Argo

Mesta was the organization is charge of managing transhumance of cattle, mainly sheep, in medieval Spain. Mesta trails are the ways that cross central Spain from north to south and that were used by shepherds and their animals.

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Vatnajökull National Park (T) Argo

Vatnajökull National Park (T) by Argo

Having read that Iceland would propose this site for 2019, I crossed check the detailed map of the nomination file (that can be downloaded from the National Park website) with my notes and pictures from our June 2008 trip to Iceland.

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Vicenza Jay T

Vicenza by Jay T

Palladio's influence on American colonial architecture can be seen in historic homes and structures throughout the East Coast of the United States, including Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and the University of Virginia. For that reason, I made certain to include the City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto in my travel plans when I visited Italy last fall. Vicenza is a pleasant city not far from Venice and Padova, and it is packed with examples of Palladian architecture, including the Palazzo Chiericati, the Basilica Palladiana, and the Teatro Olimpico. While the loggia of the Basilica Palladiana was wonderful to see, it was somewhat obscured by tents for a chocolate fair on the day I visited; the Palazzo Chiericati was much more accessible and just as impressive. Nearby, the intricate stage of the Teatro Olimpico was worth the wait to visit.

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Selimiye Mosque Nan

Selimiye Mosque by Nan

After a few days in Turkey the ennui that I generally reserve to Baroque churches had settled in for Ottoman mosques. "You seen one, you have seen them all." I figured. So, you may understand why I really questioned the 6.5h one way trip from Istanbul upon arrival in Edirne.

But the site really won me over as soon as it entered my view and even more so when I stepped into it. The murals and the proportions are stunning. To me it felt as if all of Ottomon architecture was coming together in this great mosque by Sinan.

While You Are There

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

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.

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Bursa and Cumalikizik Nan

Bursa and Cumalikizik by Nan

As a daytrip from Istanbul I made my way to Bursa. Bursa embedded in a lush green valley is a nice distraction from the tourist filled streets of Istanbul. It is also a more concise and homogeneous site as it focuses exclusively on the Osmanic heritage. Most notable to me where the Green Mosque and associated Mausoleum and the Khans (trading posts) found in the city center.

I would concur with Paul that Bursa is a worthwhile addition to the list and that the ICOMOS deferral due to paperwork issues seems unwarranted. All the while admitting that the site most certainly does not meet five criteria for inscription.

While You Are There

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Medina of Tunis Philipp Peterer

Medina of Tunis by Philipp Peterer

Tunis was, compared to the Moroccan Medinas I visited, a rather enjoyable visit. It seems a bit cleaner, vendors are much less aggressive and it’s easier to navigate within the streets. The downside is that it lacks real highlights. It’s one of these places where you can aimlessly wander around for one or two hours and somehow nothing is really memorable. The government district and the Kasba are worth passing by. The main mosque was closed for non-Muslims. We walked from our hotel to the Medina. The rest of the center of Tunis is, compared to the others I saw in Tunisia, the closest to a decent city with a normal street layout and even a city train. The Avenue Habib Bourguiba is mentionable, with the Tunis Cathedral and the theatre. For most, Tunis is probably an easy pick, as it’s the main airport to enter the country and several other WHS are within reach.

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Kerkuane Philipp Peterer

Kerkuane by Philipp Peterer

Kerkuane is one for the true collectors. The landscape is very nice in this part of Tunisia and I even saw some flamingo colonies on the way. Nevertheless, it is a bit hard to justify the combined around 5h drive to get there and back for what you see. The highlights are the bathrooms and a rather primitive mosaic. The rest are very low-level ground walls and a nice sea view. Opening times are very limited, closing at 4pm and closed on Mondays, so plan ahead. Just follow google maps to find the site. There is not much else around and very limited accommodation offers so I would not suggest staying overnight in this area. There are no motorways in this part of the country and many trucks. You will pass several cities, which further challenge your driving skills.

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Medina of Fez Clyde

Medina of Fez by Clyde

I visited this WHS in April 2018. Although I left this medina as Morocco's last WHS to visit, it really didn't disappoint. It is truly a top WHS on par with Marrakech even though quite different. I felt Fes is more of an all-rounder, in the sense that it has a number of superb buildings and monuments but what is truly of OUV is that it still is very much alive as a medina.

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Medina of Tétouan Clyde

Medina of Tétouan by Clyde

I visited this WHS in April 2018 as a long day trip from Rabat. Getting there was very easy with straight highway roads. I left very early (around sunrise) to make the most of my time in Tetouan.

The landscape of hills and mountains with white buildings stretches well away from the medina area and is immediately visible as you exit the highway. To park your car, there are several private parking lots where you have to leave the key but now there is also a huge public underground parking lot just in front of Place El Feddan and the medina itself.

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Saloum Delta Jarek Pokrzywnicki

Saloum Delta by Jarek Pokrzywnicki

Some practical info (site visited in April, 2018). The best place to start exploration of the area is a small town of Toubacouta (frequent local buses or sept-place from Kaolack, main road Kaolack - Karang - Gambian border is a basic transportation artery from Senegal to Gambia). Toubacouta has some descent number of hotels / hostels, shops, restaurants so its an ideal base for visiting the area.

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Monastery of Santa María de La Rábida and the Columbus Memorial Places in Huelva (T) Zoe Sheng

Monastery of Santa María de La Rábida and the Columbus Memorial Places in Huelva (T) by Zoe Sheng

I'm very torn on the monastery in La Rábida as it is after all the place Columbus planned and discussed his journey that would lead to the discovery of the Americas; however, it is padded with modern paintings from the last decade rather than show what it really was like.

Your best bet is to get the audio guide (I think it was included in the price) unless you are with a tour. I've listened to a tour going through and they pretty much got the same info fed as the earphones. It will take you around 45min to get through everything.

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The Ancient City of Apollonia (T) Solivagant

The Ancient City of Apollonia (T) by Solivagant

I will try not to repeat observations made by Stanislaw in his review but there are some additional aspects which, I think, are worth covering. In summary - the impression you should gather is that Apollonia is a “significant” classical Greco-Roman archaeological site with a fine “central area” of excavated structures in “good” condition - Bouleterion, Libaries, Odeon etc etc and well worth visiting. Albania has opted for the “Archaeological Park” model for a number of its major sites including this one. The country’s lack of development presumably made it easier to designate quite large areas of countryside for this purpose and, as at Butrint, there is value and pleasure to be gained from simply exploring the sites in a natural setting.

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Žatec – the Hops Town (T) Els Slots

Žatec – the Hops Town (T) by Els Slots

Žatec – the Hops Town is up for inclusion in the World Heritage List in 2018. I’ve not been able to find any information online yet whether the ICOMOS advice has come out positive or negative. I put the Bohemian town on my itinerary of a long weekend trip to the German/Czech border region anyway. Žatec lies only about an hour’s drive away from Marienberg in the Ore Mountains, where I was staying.

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Petroglyphs and Petrographs of the Philippines (T) Vicente B. Avanzado Jr.

Petroglyphs and Petrographs of the Philippines (T) by Vicente B. Avanzado Jr.

This is where one can see the oldest work of art in the Philippines done 3000 years ago using stone tools. 

I visited this site on May 1, 2018 and what normally is a 2 to 3 hour ride from Manila to Angono-Binangonan in Rizal Province took me less than an hour, being a Labor Day holiday.  The Waze app I used was very accurate and I suggest using this because only 5% of the locals have knowledge of this place.  Ninety five percent of the visitors are out-of-townees. 

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The Caspian Shore Defensive Constructions (T) Walter

The Caspian Shore Defensive Constructions (T) by Walter

This serial nomination consists of eight elements of defense built  on the narrow costal plain between the eastermost peaks of the Caucasus mountains and the Caspian sea. Four elements are on the Absheron peninsula, and can easily be reached by bus from Baku, four are in the north, about an hour fom Baku, with very limited public transportation.

This narrow coastal plain is on average 11 km wide, with a narrow 2 km passage. Human  trade route and bird migration use this corridor (called Besh Barmag bottleneck by ornithologists).  It was on the northern border of the Sasanian empire and it successors. Derbent WHS (in Russia) and The great Wall of Gorgan TL (in Iran) are part of the same defense works.

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Ichkeul National Park Philipp Peterer

Ichkeul National Park by Philipp Peterer

Ichkeul is easy to reach from Tunis. Take the motorway to El Alia and then drive below Lake Bizerte on a 4 lane street almost till the park entrance. The entrance is marked on google maps as “l’entrée de park national de l’ichkeul”. From there it’s about 15mins on a semi paved road to reach the parking lot. There was a lot of construction work going on at the time of my visit (Mai 2018).

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Les tombes de la Basse Selca (T) Solivagant

Les tombes de la Basse Selca (T) by Solivagant

We visited “Les Tombes de la Basse Selca” in April 2018 following our decision to try to “fill in” all of Albania’s current T List, as well as its inscribed, sites. You will find it more normally titled “Royal Tombs of Selca e Poshtme”. It consists of a series of rock-cut tombs situated on a rocky “acropolis” in empty country behind Pogradec which date to c4th -3rd Century BC and belonged to the Illyrian royalty.

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Maulbronn Monastery Frederik Dawson

Maulbronn Monastery by Frederik Dawson

When I reached the small town of Maulbronn around 11 AM, the sky was dark and cloudy with shower rain, and I heard the sound of roaring thunder nearby, a bad day for sightseeing and no surprising I was the only visitor to this World Heritage Site of Maulbronn Monastery. I really impressed with the complex when I first saw it, it was almost like a small walled separate village inside the town of Maulbronn with rows of beautiful half-timbered buildings that normally located in German historic town center. The monastery itself was the largest building with interesting mix of Romanesque and Gothic. After I bought the ticket from visitor center, I walked pass the square with fountain to the entrance of the monastery.

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Zagorochoria - North Pindos National Park (T) Solivagant

Zagorochoria - North Pindos National Park (T) by Solivagant

This Website currently suggests that Zagorochoria - North Pindos National Park (NP) will be nominated at the 2020 WHC. I can find no evidence for this, and the announcement in Dec 2014 of the intention to go for nomination made no mention of a possible date. However, that uncertainty should not reduce anyone’s interest in visiting it, nor be taken as an indication that it would be any less “worthy” a WHS than many other Cultural Landscapes (CLs) which have gained inscription! We visited in April 2018 and were impressed with what we saw - wishing indeed that we could have given it more time than the half day we had allocated. We travelled by car and targeted 3 aspects - Gorges, Bridges and Villages - but with more time and different interests there is so much more, with fine walking country, flora and fauna, monasteries/churches….

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