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World Heritage Site

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20 Most Recent Community Reviews

David Gareji Monasteries and Hermitage (T) Walter

David Gareji Monasteries and Hermitage (T) by Walter

Several monasteries spread over a 30 km stretch of semi-desertic breath-taking landscape. The most famous, and easy to reach, monastery is Davitis Lavra, and the nearby cliff rock-cut chambers of Ubadno.

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San Marino and Mount Titano Frederik Dawson

San Marino and Mount Titano by Frederik Dawson

Despite warning on the “Beast from the East” in the news, after a lucky day in Urbino, I decided to take a gamble to visit nearby another World Heritage Site, the small Republic of San Marino. After I left Urbino, it was snowing heavily for the whole evening, fortunately I reached my hotel in San Marino safe and sound after 4 hours for short distance in such severe weather. I only hoped that the snow will stop tomorrow morning. It was snowing for whole night and still continued for the next day. I waited and waited until snow seem to be OK to walk outside. The whole country was under the snow and seem to be shut down as nobody on the streets and all the shops were closed, only government office still opened.

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Early Chicago Skyscrapers (T) Kyle Magnuson

Early Chicago Skyscrapers (T) by Kyle Magnuson

All nine sites of this serial nomination can be covered in a 30 minute walk, in fact several of these iconic early skyscrapers are adjacent to each other. I visited each without too much difficulty, however there are different levels of satisfaction. For example, some structures have little value remaining within as the interior has either been changed, significantly altered, or completed gutted. For visitors, there are 2 wonders included in this nomination that perhaps justify inscription together, regardless of the other sites. 

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Urbino Frederik Dawson

Urbino by Frederik Dawson

On the first week of March, the “Beast from the East” almost made me to cut Urbino from my plan after I heard that there was a weeklong heavy snow to this city causing many roads to be closed and some municipalities near Urbino declared emergency situation. After successfully secured rental car with winter tires, a hard to find in Italy and found out that clear sky would happened for only one day, I drove to Urbino directly from Rome in early morning. When I reached Urbino, the weather forecast was accurate, it was cold only -6 degree Celsius but with clear sky. The whole city was under the thick snow; however, the city was really lively by the locals who came out to use this one-day chance to clear snow from their home and moved their cars to underground parking which the city just announced to waive all parking fee, a good news for me.

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Tombs of Buganda Kings Jay T

Tombs of Buganda Kings by Jay T

It was a rainy day when I visited the Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi in Kampala, Uganda, in summer 2014. The grey afternoon served as a fine backdrop to a World Heritage Site that had seen its share of troubles after a fire destroyed several of the buildings in 2010. The site had been inscribed for its cultural significance for the Baganda people, and the centerpiece was a large thatched house containing the royal tombs of four Buganda kings who reigned in the 19th and 20th centuries. When I visited, all that remained of the central house was a steel frame and a concrete platform awaiting reconstruction, all surrounded by a metal fence. Sheaves of straw were positioned around the hill in preparation for the repairs of some of the thatched houses surrounding the central house. I walked through the drum house and other houses that were not destroyed or had been rebuilt, and admired the craftsmanship of the roofs as seen from inside.

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Necropolis of Bet She'arim Gary Arndt

Necropolis of Bet She'arim by Gary Arndt

The Necropolis of Bet She’arim: A Landmark of Jewish Renewal is a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site in Israel. It was inscribed into the list in 2015 and is part of Bet She’arim National Park.

Unlike many of the other World Heritage Sites in Israel, it primarily deals with post-Christian era Jewish Heritage, so it only tends to attract Jewish visitors. Nonetheless, it deals with an interesting part of Jewish history and is worth a visit if you are in the Haifa area.

Bet She’arim is located approximately 20km from Haifa and it easy to visit the park on a day trip from Haifa, Tel Aviv, or Jerusalem.

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Caves of Maresha and Bet Guvrin Gary Arndt

Caves of Maresha and Bet Guvrin by Gary Arndt

There are several parts of Bet Guvrin which I found fascinating. First, it is one of the only places in Israel where the public can participate in an archaeological dig. There are numerous caverns which were dug under the houses of people in the area which were later used for garbage. Because the artifacts in the garbage were mixed, there are no formal strata that need to be preserved, so they are willing the let the public help out in digging.

Also, all of the caverns were dug by hand and many of them are enormous. They were dug over centuries by just extending the floor of the cavern further down. It is a popular attraction for Israelis but few foreigners bother to visit.

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Teylers (T) Els Slots

Teylers (T) by Els Slots

Teylers is an 18th century museum complex and former scientific institution in the centre of Haarlem. It has been on the Dutch Tentative List since 2011, and even already was brought up for nomination in 2013. However, ICOMOS advised a ‘Rejection’ and the nomination was subsequently withdrawn by The Netherlands before the WHC session. The nomination failed to convince of the building’s scientific purpose (next to being ‘just’ a museum) and only small part of the complex was seen as exceptional. The Dutch still have hopes for a future renomination though, especially after several extensive renovation projects will be finished.

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Ver-o-Peso (T) Rafabram

Ver-o-Peso (T) by Rafabram

Ver-o-Peso is a market complex, and it's the major tourist attraction of Belém, a city in North region of Brazil. It is located in the historic centre of the city (Campina district), on the banks of Guajará bay, so it's very easy to find. I visited this site in january 2018. 

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Biblical Tells Gary Arndt

Biblical Tells by Gary Arndt

Tels are hills or mounds created over centuries by communities building over the ruins and refuse of the previous structures. Archaeologists often liken tels to a layer cake with each layer being a different period of time. As the mounds grow, they usually become narrower, which eventually leads to a shrinking of the population, and eventual abandonment of the tel. This process, however, can take centuries.

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Bahá’i Holy Places Gary Arndt

Bahá’i Holy Places by Gary Arndt

I have been here twice now, and both times I've had limited access to the gardens in Haifa. Really just bad luck. 

The gardens are beautiful and are one of the top attractions for tourists visiting Haifa. At the top of the gardens, you get a great view of the entire city and the harbor. 

The view from the bottom of the gardens at night is spectacular and it is a great place to eat in the evening as well. 

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Incense Route of the Negev Gary Arndt

Incense Route of the Negev by Gary Arndt

The ruins which currently exist at these sites mostly date back to the crusader era, even though the cities themselves are much older. That is why you will see Christian iconography and other symbols. The towns were part of a network of trading sites which extended from Oman, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel. The Natebean city of Petra was also part of the same trading network.

I visited Avdat and Shivta National Parks, which are pretty easy to reach by car. You could visit all of the sites by car in a day trip from Jerusalem or Tel-Aviv. 


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Kaunas 1919-1939: The Capital Inspired by the Modern Movement (T) Argo

Kaunas 1919-1939: The Capital Inspired by the Modern Movement (T) by Argo

Lithuania gained independence after World War One, however Vilnius was soon after given to Poland. Kaunas was then designated as the new capital of Lithuania. As a consequence, many buildings were built in homogenous modernist style in a short period of time – actually till 1940 when Lithuania was taken by Germany then USSR.

It is easy to identify this part of the city on a map of Kaunas, with its straight and large streets, at the East of the historical area. Laisves avenue is the main street of the area. Arriving in the morning from Klaipedia, we stayed one night in Hotel Kaunas (easy to remember that name!) right in the centre of that area, before making our way to Vilnius on the next day, in August 2017.

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Barbar Temple (T) Martina Ruckova

Barbar Temple (T) by Martina Ruckova

We visited this site recently after seeing both Bahraini's WHSs. We drove towards the Oil Museum, then back through many burial mounds and ended up in the village Barbar. There are three temples on this site, one on top of another, the oldest one dating 3000 BC. The culture was Dilmun, the temple apparently dedicated to the diety of the freshwater. There's a well with steps leading down towards it as a part of the site. The most popular find was the head of a copper bull that's one of the symbols of Bahrain and a symbol of the site. It can be found in the National Museum in Manama. 

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The forts of Rostaq and al-Hazm (T) Martina Ruckova

The forts of Rostaq and al-Hazm (T) by Martina Ruckova

In case of this TWHS, the road taken was even more interesting than the actual site. We saw the burial tumuli of Al-Ayn and then decided to drive the shortest way possible to Al-Rustaq. Long story short, don't. The road seems to be okay for a while and then it gets worse before getting abysmal. 4WD would have been better, as the road gets bumpy and dusty, but at least you can catch glimpses of some unique local places. Anyway after a bumpy ride we arrived and parked our car by the fort. It was Friday, so it was closed in the afternoon, therefore we opted for the next best thing and walked around it. It's huge. If you've seen some other places of the Omani irrigation system WHS, this one has some too: there's a visible aflaj around, oasis and some wells.

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Abraj Al-Kuwait (T) Martina Ruckova

Abraj Al-Kuwait (T) by Martina Ruckova

The Kuwait towers belong to the category I like to call "My First UNESCO": nominate anything as a WHS, make semi-sensible OUV description and you will get nominated if your country doesn't have a WHS of its own. I could look at some candidates. But I actually liked Kuwait towers, as they are an artistic and architectural representation of water towers, a structure inherent and important to the country. They were designed and built in seventies, by Swedish architects and Yugoslavian gastarbeiters were used in the making. They're a mix of actual water towers, observatory and restaurant. There's an observation deck open until 11 p.m. and you can get inside at the last moment. The entrance fee is 6 kuwaiti dinars. We enjoyed our visit, though I have to say the best view is of the lit up towers themselves than of the city skyline.

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San Antonio Missions Jay T

San Antonio Missions by Jay T

It shouldn't have been a World Heritage Site that made me finally get around to visiting San Antonio, but I'm afraid the relatively newly-inscribed San Antonio Missions were the impetus for my visit last December. Well, that and the opportunity to see the San Antonio Riverwalk at Christmastime. The only mission most Americans are familiar with is the famed Alamo, where the American folk legend Davy Crockett died in a Mexican massacre during the 19th century Texas Revolution. While the Alamo excels in telling the story of the revolution (and indeed, re-enactors and a Mexican army bivouac were in place the day I visited), the older history of the San Antonio missions can be found at Mission San José, one of the four missions south of San Antonio. The churches of three of these four missions are open for tourists; I particularly appreciated the intimate interior of Mission Espada.

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Pearling Martina Ruckova

Pearling by Martina Ruckova

Just to confirm the previous guesses, the heritage trail is still not really happening, so for anyone wishing to visit some or most of the locations, just mark them in your maps in advance. Having said that, the Sheikh Isa Bin Ali House is easy to find. Bahrain overall is best enjoyed with a rental car and there's a parking lot directly behind the property. The present opening hours are rather wonky: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday through Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday and closed on Friday so plan your visit accordingly.

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Par force hunting landscape Craig Harder

Par force hunting landscape by Craig Harder

This was not a site that we looked forward to because of previous reports.  However, we had some good luck here.  When we arrived in Hillerod, we spotted a large local map on the main road called Kobenhaven.  It showed the park’s road grid with its wheel-shaped spokes.  Two roads, Kobenhaven and Trebi, a small trail, went directly to the centre according to the map.  We parked nearby and walked easily to the King’s stone on the Trebi trail,  in no more than fifteen minutes.  We were surprised and elated by the ease of discovery.  Please note that the paths don’t all go straight; we had difficulty retracing our steps and finding our car again.


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Okinoshima Island Thomas Buechler

Okinoshima Island by Thomas Buechler

This just deals with the technical side of visiting Hetsu-myia (Munakata Taisha) by public transport from Fukuoka, and combining this visit with the other Unesco site in the region, the Yawata Imperial Steel works in Kitakyushu which is one of the sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution.

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