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World Heritage Site

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20 Most Recent Community Reviews

Bali Subak system Clyde Malta - 16-Nov-18 -

Bali Subak system by Clyde

I visited all the components of this WHS over a week in August 2018. Even though Bali has some very touristy spots and notorious tourist traps, it has its very own architecture, culture, traditions and is practically the only place in Indonesia were the majority practice Hinduism.

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Hubei Shennongjia Zoe Sheng China - 13-Nov-18 -

Hubei Shennongjia by Zoe Sheng

Some places just take a lot of effort if one wants to visit individually and I feared this would be the same. I hate tours in China and they tend to spend more time on shopping stops than sights, but there is a tour from Enshi that takes you to this and other places worth seeing, if only I had done all this before. The tours hardly touch the area at Shengnongjia so actually don't do this! You can either come in by bus from Yichang East (the airport shuttle's first stop), 3 and a half hours max with mostly G standard roads, or you can fly in from Shanghai/Wuhan to Hongping airport which is another hour from the scenery areas. The bus stops at a town called Muyu and has several rides a day. In the busy time you can also find minivans going back to Yichang. The official bus terminal even hands out these cards of the drivers if you want an alternative transport. You don't actually need to stay in Muyu but it's a good hub. If you spend more time at the other areas you can stay at a hotel over there which saves some time coming back to Muyu at the day but obviously you would have to arrange transportation or have your own car.

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Struve Geodetic Arc Zoe Sheng China - 16-Nov-18 -

Struve Geodetic Arc by Zoe Sheng

I had finally made it. After always ignoring this WHS due to the distances involved in getting to any or the lack of interest to actually go out of the way to see a monument I would drive along the road in Belarus to see a Cyrillic UNESCO World Heritage sign on the side: Leskovichi Ivanovo. I had obviously added this to my list of places to visit knowing it was so easy to attach to the itinerary. There is even a bus stop here in the middle of nowhere!! You don't have to go far to see the marker, 5 meters off the road. Behind the Struve monument is an old device used for measuring plus a sign post to explain the arc, it's importance and history in English as well. Overall I was satisfied and spent a good 15 minutes reading, taking pictures and doing a quick Wikipedia read plus the sun was out in early April.

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Grimeton Radio Station Alexander Barabanov Russia - 15-Nov-18 -

Grimeton Radio Station by Alexander Barabanov

Visited Grimeton radio station with an English guided tour in August 2018 (I booked in advance through the official website for 120 SEK). It is rather small, but contains all the original equipment (produced by General Electric in the USA) in excellent condition plus some other related exhibits. Today radio station is occasionally used by amateur radio enthusiasts. The station is striking example of the pace of technology development. The wall mural shows 9 radio stations from Hawaii, USA (central radio was on Long Island), Poland, Wales and Sweden but only Grimeton station survived in its entirety. (Another murals probably with some irony compares the site with Giza pyramids, Great Wall and other big elephant site!). Totally agree with previous reviews that the site is unique, pleasant and interesting.   

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Mesa Verde Jay T USA - 14-Nov-18 -

Mesa Verde by Jay T

While hiking the Inca Trail last month, I was wondering how different North American cultural heritage might look if the Inca Empire had extended further north. We may never know what North American Incan architecture would look like, but North America does have incredible Puebloan architecture from the 12th century on display at Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado. Mesa Verde was one of the first two US World Heritage Sites, and part of the first group of World Heritage Sites inscribed in 1978. The exquisite Cliff Palace is rightly famed, and looks incredible from the viewing platforms; unfortunately when I visited in May 2016, palace tours had not yet started for the season. Instead, I signed up for a tour of Balcony House, built high up on the side of a cliff. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour, and was impressed at the craftmanship of the rooms and kivas, which look out over a valley. After the tour, I drove around the park's loop trails and stopped by the museum at the visitor center before continuing to nearby Wetherill Mesa, where I visited Step House and hiked some of the Long House trail. Mesa Verde deserves at least one full day for a visit, if not more, and is one of the best cultural sites the US has to offer.

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Worship wooden architecture (17th -18th centuries) in Polesye (T) Zoe Sheng China - 16-Nov-18

Worship wooden architecture (17th -18th centuries) in Polesye (T) by Zoe Sheng

Arriving at Zditovo you don't see any of the "Street light posts, benches, and refuse bins were designed and manufactured following the ensemble concept of the avenue." Is there another Zditovo or did they hide this place? Okay maybe I just missed that but I was certainly at the St. Nikita Church unless they built two churches in 1502. Quick good check ensures me the striking blue church is the right one. It looks in good condition but I don't see the design uniqueness either. Naturally the church was closed for visitors so I just took a walk around. Definitely not seeking out the other churches on the proposed list: St. Paraskeva Church in Zbirogi, the St. Michael Church in Chersk, the St. Michael Church in Stepanki, and the St. Paraskeva Church in the village of Divin.

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Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland Alexander Barabanov Russia - 15-Nov-18 -

Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland by Alexander Barabanov

Visited Erik-Anders house in August 2018. This is lovely village timber house, richly decorated with colorful wallpapers and spacious rooms. This house is the only easily available house among seven inscribed ones. Afterwards I drove to Jon-Lars and Pallars, which were already closed for visits. They are only open during mid-summer time, and seasonal opening information could be found on the official website of Hälsingland farmhouses. They also try to promote non-inscribed houses and, for example, Edsbyn & Alfta Tourist Bureau also had such non-listed house which turned out to be very interesting to visit (free of charge). Jon-Lars and Pallars locations are indeed to be checked in advance in order to arrive to proper sites as they quite tricky to find. Then I headed to Bortom AA, but since there was around one hour to wait before the next obligatory guided tour and I had some time restrictions, I was limited to a pleasant stroll around the area. This is not blockbuster site, but it was quite curious to discover how the people covering quite sizeable region and living over 200 years ago came to an idea to decorate their houses despite of many other problems (water, harvest, cows, cold, etc.) facing them.  

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Sites Megalithiques de la province de Xieng Khouang (T) Zoe Sheng China - 12-Nov-18

Sites Megalithiques de la province de Xieng Khouang (T) by Zoe Sheng

I visited the Plains of Jars at the end of October just after the rainy season when the valley is still nice and green. It gets cold and chilly up here so if you are thinking of combining this with other areas in South East Asia be aware you need something warmer for the evenings here. I stayed at the Kongker Guest House which I don't really recommend but Mr Kong leads a colorful daily tour of the Plains, which I do recommend because it is cheap and gives you more than just information about the site, but maybe bit too much about the Secret War. If you are just interested to see the jars in maybe half a day you can hire a private tour for $50+ and decide how many of the 3 sites you want to see. In a way, seeing Site 1 shows you pretty much everything about the jars already and takes the longest to visit of the three. I will concentrate my the on the sites and not the tour, although I may want to mention that visiting the bombed old capital and the stupa are not worth the time and money.

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Le paysage urbain historique de la ville de Djibouti et ses bâtiments spécifiques (T) Wojciech Fedoruk Poland - 13-Nov-18

Le paysage urbain historique de la ville de Djibouti et ses bâtiments spécifiques (T) by Wojciech Fedoruk

Site visited in May 2018, during extremely hot weather, which might have influenced my opinion about the capital of Djibouti. And unfortunately I cannot say many positive things about Djibouti ville. The capital is in fact ugly and disorganized, despite the fact, that the whole country is not that poor (it is very expensive even for Westerners). Goats and sheep can be seen even in the very center of the city. The historical buildings are generally in very bad condition, except a few those used by government or municipality. The description of this TWHS mentions those nice ones, like Presidential Palace or City Hall, but if you go to the main square, called la Place du 27 Juin, you will see almost nothing but mess. It is even difficult to recognize colonial heritage of the city, as historical buildings are surrounded by newer ones, without any visual integrity. The best summary of so-called “cultural landscape” of Djibouti city is the fact that it is one of few capitals that don’t have ANY museums.

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Monastery of Horezu Joel Baldwin Australia - 08-Nov-18 -

Horezu was our first visit in Romania, and our first encounter with an Orthodox monastery since focusing full-time on World Heritage sites. It's quite an enjoyable site - the walls hiding a brightly-painted Katholikon surrounded by flowers. The portico and interior of the church are both covered with bright paintings done in the "Brâncovenesc style", considered to be the only original Romanian art form. Unfortunately we couldn't film inside, but managed to get some fantastic shots on the portico.

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Alejandro de Humboldt National Park Alexander Barabanov Russia - 12-Nov-18 -

Alejandro de Humboldt National Park by Alexander Barabanov

Visited this site in May 2018. There was still very dirty road from Baracoa, which took us over 1 hour to cover 30 km.  Parque Nacional Alejandro de Humboldt, covering 707 square km, is famous for its richest fauna in the Caribbean with many endemic wildlife species. The visitor center is located directly on the main road, with some basic information, bust of Humboldt and excellent view over the moon-shaped lagoon. There are 1,200 different species of animals and 1,000 species of plants in the park, 70-80% of them are endemic.

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Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Zoe Sheng China - 10-Nov-18 -

Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art by Zoe Sheng

What a disappointment even with my low expectations for rock art in general. A lot has changed since the site has been inscribed and the town of Ningming has really been placed on the map. Known to local tourists before, the town has been upgraded with rock art copies to decorate lamp posts, supermarket roofs, even the factory chimneys, with the cutest one at the tunnel entrance to the scenic area that has the world heritage symbol as rock art alongside the stickmen/women found on the walls.

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Champagne Alexander Barabanov Russia - 15-Nov-18 -

Champagne by Alexander Barabanov

Visited Pommery champagne house in August 2018. It should be pre-booked in advance through the official web site The guide told fascinating story of the house, Madam Pommery and champagne making process. One of the cellar rooms contains the most prominent bottles, including a bottle of the first original brut created in 1874 (only one of two perfect vintage years, when no additional sugar is needed). There is also artwork inside the cellars – large sculptures completed in 1884 by Gustave Navlet.  Currently the cellars a part of large Vranken Pommery Monopole Group with sales of 300 million euro and 800 employees. Champagne testing followed the tour and it is amazing. In overall, good experience and interesting truly unique region.

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Al Qastal (Settlement) (T) Ralf Regele Germany - 10-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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Hawaii Volcanoes Gary Arndt USA - 10-Nov-18 -

Hawaii Volcanoes by Gary Arndt

On my list of world heritage sites, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is listed as my very first site. When I began traveling full time in 2007, my first stop was in Hawaii, and my first stop in Hawaii was the Big Island. 

I had previously visited here in 2006 on a geology field trip, so I guess that would actually be my first visit to the park. 

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That Luang de Vientiane (T) Nan Germany - 06-Nov-18

That Luang de Vientiane (T) by Nan

"Thanks" to some last minute flight schedule changes by Lao Air I found myself stuck for a day in Vientiane while waiting for my flight to Pakse. I used the time to visit the national symbol of Laos, That Luang. Laos may be Communist on paper, but it's very much Buddhist in daily life. So it fits that the national symbol is not the workers' palace or a mausoleum of the dear leader but a buddhist stupa.

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Joggins Fossil Cliffs Jay T USA - 07-Nov-18 -

Joggins Fossil Cliffs by Jay T

I think that I shall never see a fossil lovely as a tree... Although Joggins Fossil Cliffs does have some reptilian fossils, the vast majority of the fossils on display are of the arboreal variety. I visited Joggins on a cool September day in 2017 and joined a two hour tour on the beach below the cliffs. The tour guide very helpfully showed how the constant erosion of the cliffs was exposing fossilized tree trunks, and also displayed examples of fossils found exposed on the beach. A museum near the car park on the top of the cliffs provided an exhibit revealing what the prehistoric forests would have looked like for context. I enjoyed the tour, as well as the opportunity to wander around the beach afterwards and look for fossils. That said, I am not as much of a fan of fossil sites as I am of sites with natural beauty, so Joggins Fossil Cliffs resonated with me more for its scenic location along the Bay of Fundy. For those World Heritage Site travelers who love fossils, though, Joggins Fossil Cliffs is one of several Canadian sites that would be well worth a visit.

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Vat Phou Nan Germany - 07-Nov-18 -

Vat Phou by Nan

Thanks to Lao Air and their weird flight schedules, I managed to visit Vat Phou during an overlay on my way to Siem Reap (Angkor). I arrived in the evening and stayed in a hotel on the outskirts of Pakse along the Mekong River. From there I went by cab the next morning to the site.

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Luang Prabang Nan Germany - 06-Nov-18 -

Luang Prabang by Nan

As my first stop in Laos I visited Luang Prabang, the former capital of Laos. The main components of the site are situated at the confluence of Mekong and Nam Khan rivers.

The town boasts several temples, some French colonial buildings and the former royal palace, albeit that last one is rather amusing than impressive. My highlight was the Wat Xieng Thong temple. And the overall relaxed mood of the city. 

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Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region Zoe Sheng China - 06-Nov-18 -

Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region by Zoe Sheng

Oura Church is easy to visit and combined with the Glover Garden next door. Of all the sites inscribed I think this is the only one not off the beaten path, after all the sites were supposed to be hidden. Wait wut? Reading the inscription I always thought they were about hidden sites, but in fact it is about hidden Christians practicing their faith after being outlawed in Japan, risking death and punishment they would move onto islands at the West coast of Japan and merge with Shinto shrines to cover up any sign of Christianity.

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