20 Most Recent Community Reviews
The Ipolytartnóc Fossils (T) Zoe Sheng
Giant petrified trees! This site apparently doesn't have much chance of becoming WHS but I nevertheless found it interesting, enjoyable and something special to visit. It is probably not the most unique place in the world where traces of ancient forest can be seen by just stepping a few hundred meters off the "ordinary track".
The site is easy enough to find by car and had a few visitors, especially one big school group enjoying the large playground.Going into the special area is only by guided tour which requires 4 guests minimum and would go every hour and a half. To pass the time you can go to the rock park which was aimed at really young kids, and if you have enough time to hike in the forests nearby and you don't mind peaks then you can easily spend a whole day here.
Robben Island Bodil Ankerly
I visited this WHS in March 2018. It started with a very pleasant and beautiful 50 minuts boattrip from V&A Waterfront, then in a bus with a guide (who actually was living on the island with his family) around the island to the prison where Nelson Mandela had been kept for 18 years. Our guide here was also a former ANC prisoner - and it was very interesting but also very sad to hear him speak about his time in jail. At the end of the tour we saw Mandelas prison cell.
The whole island is a museum now - a very interesting WHS and it is very important that we don't forget the history.
Ancient Greek Theatres (T) Thibault Magnien
The “Ancient Greek Theatres” proposed site encompasses 15 theatres across Greece including three that are already World heritage sites (Epidaure, Delphi, Delos) and one, the Dionysos theatre, located on the slopes of the Acropolis, in the buffer zone.
The Greek theatres definitively possess an objective OUV for the world’s culture and history. It embodies the level of advancement reached by ancient Greece. Moreover, this serial site puts the light on several major ancient Greece sites but also on more remote ancient greek cities and ruins that help acquiring a broader view and understanding on Greek antiquity.
On top of those of Epidaure, Delphi and Athens, I have also visited the theatre of Argos which is quite impressive and surrounded by large ruins.
The natural and architectural ensemble of Stolac (T) Thibault Magnien
Stolac is already placed on the World Heritage map thanks to the Stecci. Indeed, the city possesses several Stecci and especially the Radimjla necropolis which is one of the greatest and most representative examples of these medieval tombstones. The town in itself is not very tourist-friendly as there are no infrastructures and sights are badly indicated. The city seems to be stuck in the post-Yougoslavian war state.
Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland Clyde
I visited this WHS in June 2018. The Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland are one of those great WHS which I would have never visited were it not for their inscription on the WH list. Even more so, since their beauty lies mostly in their decorated interior. There are more than 400 of these decorated farmhouses (some you can sleep over in) and the vast majority are very similar with falun red painting. Since inscription, street signs with the UNESCO symbol have been placed near the inscribed farmhouses.
Archaeological site of Ancient Messene (T) Thibault Magnien
I have discovered Messene (not to be confused with the modern town Messini 20km from there) on my way from Mystras to Bassae, in Peloponnese. Messene was founded in 369 BC and became the capital city of the Messenian state for centuries before falling under Roman rule. The archeological site displays an impressive number or structures including fortifications, a 9,5 km wall with monumental gates and defensive towers, a theatre, several temples and an impressive stadium with facilities. The most impressive part of the fortifications (including so called Arcadia Gate) can be seen on top of the hill few kilometers from the archeological centre. To me, the site is one of the main missing WHS in Greece considering the extensive remains and uniqueness of certain attributes such as the monumental fortifications.
I visited this WHS in June 2018 as a day trip from Stockholm. There are frequent flights daily from around 07:30 till 19:00 from Bromma Airport with SAS and the cheaper Braathens Regional Airlines (BRA). My visit happened to be just a few days before the Almedal Week, known as the biggest 'political' festival in Sweden so booking well in advance was an asset to secure the cheapest options available. If you travel from Stockholm on a sunny day, try to secure a window seat on the left hand side of the plane (first come, first served basis on BRA) as the panoramic view of the walled town with the Baltic Sea in the background is worth viewing before landing.
Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses – Lençóis Maranhenses National Park (T) Rafabram
I visited this National Park in July 2017. Lençóis means sheets, a reference to the wavy lanscape of the park, a system of little lagoons among sand dunes. I don't know if a landscape like that can be found elsewhere, but for me it seems very unique. It's important to say that many of the lagoons can dry in the second semester, and I can't imagine the beauty of the park without them. To reach Lençóis Maranhenses first you need to go to Barreirinhas, a small city with hotels and the general support. Most of travellers arrive there from São Luís, the closest city with an international airport, and also with a historic centre listed as heritage site. On my road trip I chose another way, going from Parnaíba city, but that's not the easiest way for a foreigner traveller.
The historic centre of Oporto is located along the hillside of the northern bank of the Douro River, just a few kilometres from the Atlantic coast. In guidebooks, the historic centre is often subdivided into an upper town with the cathedral at the highest point and a lower town, the Ribeira quarter. But that’s only half the truth. Actually, Oporto is an up-and-down-up-and-down city, a proper visit of the core zone can be an exhausting exercise.
In May 2018, I spent two and a half days and three nights in Oporto. I had accommodation in Vila Nova de Gaia, just two hundred metres from the Ponte Dom Luis I. So I had several times the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful view of the old town from the top level of the bridge or from the opposite bank of the Douro. It is one of the most picturesque urban landscapes I’ve visited so far, almost a bit corny (take my photo as a proof): the river, wooden ships with old wine barrels, lines of colourful houses one above the other along the hillside.
Zadar - Episcopal complex (T) Thibault Magnien
The Episcopal complex of Zadar includes the Roman forum, the cathedral of St. Anastasia, the archbishop’s palace, the church of St. Donatus, the Zmajevic seminary, the orthodox church of St. Elias, the Benedictine nunnery with the church of St. Mary and several other buildings / museums. The central point of this site is the main square with the ruins of the roman forum and the church of St. Donatus, with rotunda shape, with the cathedral tower on its side. The site is a fine and esthetic ensemble. St. Donatus and the cathedral are historical masterpieces. However, Croatia will have to make efforts in justifying the OUV and uniqueness of this place compared to other religious ensembles in the country. Extending the site to include the whole Zadar historic center would maybe be a possibility to explore considering the rich Venetian heritage also existing in the town in addition to Roman and Christian buildings.
Cal Orck'o: Footprints of time (T) Nan
Now I had come to understand that even without the museum offering some context information you would be able to see the site. I was standing at the museum gate on a platform and all I could see were plenty of trucks driving in and out in what to me looked like a usual quarry, a pretty busy one at that.
Tbilisi Historic District (T) Els Slots
The Tbilisi Historic District is part of the Tentative list of Georgia. It’s a small neighbourhood in Georgia’s capital that can be explored on foot. The rest of the city is of course much bigger: over a million people live there and one moves around the easiest with the subway that still dates from Soviet times. I went several times to Didube metro station for example, to take buses to Mtskheta and Gori from the eponymous bus station. A ticket costs a mere 0.5 lari (0,17 EUR).
Falun Great Copper Mountain Clyde
I visited this WHS in June 2018. I slept over in Falun in the miners' neighborhood of Elsborg which allowed me to spend more time not only around the Great Copper Mountain, Kopparberget, but also at the inscribed components around the wooden town of Falun.
My favourite red falun wooden buildings were those housing the waterwheels, the large 'three-tiered' one and the smaller one (photo). Incredibly enough, the former houses the highest bridge in Sweden (till 2012) at 208 metres above the Creutz shaft. To give you an idea of the enormous depth of this shaft, the Millau Viaduct in France at 270 metres is the highest in Europe! The Creutz water wheel was erected in 1845 and has a diameter of 15 metres. The Falun Mine is also part of the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH).
Engelsberg Ironworks Clyde
I visited this WHS in June 2018. Apart from the falun red earth-and-timber furnace with engraved milestones (photo), the other components of this WHS are quite similar to the agricultural and idyllic setting of the decorated farmhouses of Halsingland rather than part of an industrial landscape.
Kangjingun Kiln Sites (T) Zoe Sheng
From just seeing the title I am thinking that this site and the Chinese 'Imperial Kiln Sites of Jingdezhen' are pretty much identical but I can't say this from not being at the latter. I wouldn't be surprised if someone comes along and says there should be a cross-nation connection to inscribe both places.
The Rise of Systematic Biology (T) Clyde
I visited Sweden's only tentative WHS in June 2018 shortly after landing in Arlanda airport.
It is just a short drive away to Uppsala where a visit to Carl Linnaeus's home (museum) and garden will give you an interesting overview of who Linnaeus was. Linnaeus was known as the father of modern taxonomy and he was one of the most reknowned scientists in the 18th century. Although it was an interesting stop and it is definitely a site of regional importance especially for Uppsala, I failed to appreciate any OUV overall.
Ras Mohammed (T) Zoe Sheng
Ever surfaced from a dive to be greeted by a herd of dromedary camel herd? Going diving at Sharm el-Sheikh gives you an easy opportunity to go diving at Ras Mohammed National Park. The fuel costs to go that extra bit means the dive shop will charge you more but it's totally worth it. You can of course stay close to the park if you plan on dive there for longer and they shouldn't charge you extra for the trip.
Sultan Bayezid II Complex: A Center of Medical Treatment (T) Nan
On the outskirts of Edirne you find a former Ottoman medical center, the Sultan Bayezid II Complex. It was founded in the 15th century and operated for 400 years. Nowadays it houses a museum showcasing the training and procedures of Ottoman medicine. Apparently, this was one of the first institutions treating psychological ailments as something other than being possessed by a demon. Or worse.
Desert of the Discalced Carmelites and Built Ensemble of the Palace-Hotel in Bussaco (T) Hubert
The Mata Nacional do Buçaco is located 550 meters above sea level at the highest point of the Serra do Buçaco mountain range. The forest area is surrounded by a high, 5-kilometre-long wall. Actually, it is an arboretum with a multitude of endemic trees and shrubs and exotic species brought by the Portuguese seafarers from the colonies.
Medina Azahara Klaus Freisinger
On a trip to Córdoba and Granada a few years ago, I visited the ruins of Medina Azahara (Madinat al-Zahra), about 8 km to the west of Córdoba (there are trips organized by the tourist office). The Caliph of Córdoba had this palace town built in the 10th century, but it only lasted a few decades. Only a fraction is excavated, but it is a fascinating archaeological site to visit and walk around in, and there is a very interesting museum. It could have been inscribed as an extension of the Córdoba WHS, but considering its great archaeological potential, it’s just as well that it is a separate site. When I was there, there was talk of a problem with a kind of shantytown nearby that authorities thought would dissuade UNESCO from inscribing the site (although I didn't see any and there was certainly none in the immediate vicinity).
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