Latest Community Reviews

Christiansfeld

Caspar Dechmann Switzerland - 17-May-22

Christiansfeld

I visited this little town in the summer of 2021 when I covered all the inscribed sites on Denmark proper and a few tentative sites. I decided to stay overnight here and rented a room in the Brødremenighedens Hotel, probably the only hotel in town. It is not cheap (as all hotels in Denmark) but it is in one of the largest historic buildings in town and features not only a restaurant (with a UNESCO-Menue!) and several historic halls. I figure you can see them also without being a guest. There were several reasons I decided to stay overnight: It fit decently with my travel route coming south from the eastern centre of Jutland (coming from Aarhus over Jelling) and, as strange as it sounds, because I knew that there was not very much to see

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Hallstatt-Dachstein

Ludvan USA - 16-May-22

Hallstatt is a beautiful little town, and attracts lots and lots of tourists.  We drove in from Salzburg through vary mountainous roads and some mistakes of the GPS.  Once in town, you have to contend with parking, as there is no outside cars allowed in the tourist areas.  The two small lots in the center fills up quickly, but once in, everything is within walking distance.  The parking payment system is strange (for non-German speakers) but once you figure it out that the little yellow token is your parking stub, everything is logical.

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Nice

Clyde Malta - 09-May-22

Nice

I visited this WHS in April-May 2012. At the time, since Nice wasn't on the WH list, I used it mainly as my base for the other WHS in the area and my main reason to visit was to attend a concert. That said, I clearly remember the palm tree lined wide promenade, the luxury hotels and cars parked in front of them, the gorgeous blue Mediterranean sea, and the snow-capped Alps in the distant background - a postcard view seen in so many international movies.

Although Nice's urban development was clearly the product of the tourism industry, and it must have played a clear role in coastal tourist amenities developed elsewhere, at the very least this is stretching the OUV concept a bit too far IMHO. I rated it as one of France's weakest WHS, as of all the French cities, monuments and sites, Nice really doesn't deserve its listing already on a national level, let alone on an international level. I really enjoyed the panoramic views from the Berlanda Tower area of the Colline du Chateau as well as the fine Art Deco details here and there, the elaborate mosaics on the villa facades and the colourful tiles of the many church domes, steeples and bell towers

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Dacian Fortresses

Tsunami Japan / USA / Europe - 10-May-22

Dacian Fortresses

A few days after my visit to Rosia Montana WHS I made my second attempt to visit the main component of this Dacian Fortress WHS, Sarmizegetusa Regia, this time by public transportation. 

My first attempt was in winter 2016-17 when I found the ruins covered by snow, as described in my earlier report below. For that trip I rented a car because it appeared too difficult to get to the site without it. I typically like to utilize public transportation in my attempt to immerse myself more in the local scenes, but this time the main reason I did not rent a car was because my California driver's license expired almost 4.5 years ago and cannot be renewed online. The only way for me to renew it now is to physically appear at a DMV in California where I have not been back over 5.5 years. 

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Eise Eisinga Planetarium (T)

Clyde Malta - 05-May-22

Eise Eisinga Planetarium (T)

I visited this tWHS in April 2022. I must say that the Netherlands in general really has a treasure trove of quaint well-presented little museums. I truly can't see how this little gem, dubbed as the world's oldest working planetarium, won't make it on the WH list just like the splendid Plantin Moretus, Ir. D.F. Woudagemaal or the Rietveld Schröder House.

The facade of the Eise Eisinga house in Franeker, Friesland, was built on a canal well before [...]

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Carthage

Els Slots The Netherlands - 14-May-22

Carthage

Carthage may not be Tunisia’s grandest attraction anymore, its rich and powerful empire by far superseded the importance of the country it currently is part of. Unfortunately, not a lot is known about the cultural history of the Carthaginians – most books focus on the military history and their battles with the Romans (using sources written by Romans). You'll know enough if you listen to only one podcast on that subject. At an exhibition on Punic Carthage that I visited in Leiden in 2015, I found more to my taste (those white and blue glazed pendants!)

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Le Monastère de Neamt (T)

Jarek Pokrzywnicki Polska - 11-May-22

Le Monastère de Neamt (T)

Site visited in July, 2021 during extended Balkan trip. One of the oldest monasteries in Romania. Located in northern part of the country in historical region of Moldovia (do not confuse it with current state of Moldova).

Neamt Monastery (in Romanian Mănăstirea Neamţ) was built in XIV century during the reign of Petru Musat (first stone church was built) but its current shape received in XV century by Stephen III of Moldavia (better known as Stephen the Great, rom. Ştefan cel Mare – you will find streets named after him in every Romanian town).

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Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley

Clyde Malta - 03-May-22

Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley

I visited this WHS in December 2021 and what was initially planned as quick visit due to COVID closures, turned out to be a great experience over three days. I had contacted a number of small hotels at Zapotitlan as well as a great local company called Bio Fan for more information on some hiking possibilities and to have further information whether the Helia Bravo Botanical Gardens were open since they had been closed for almost two years due to the pandemic.

After weeks with no positive reply, the day before heading towards Oaxaca from Puebla, we received good news: the botanical gardens were finally open on Christmas Eve, so we changed our initial plans and booked a very early guided tour with the friendly and knowledgable Bio Fan to Santa Ana Tecomavaca to spot the military macaws at sunrise (great with binoculars, much less for photography at least with a bridge camera) on the last day before heading to Oaxaca as it's quite on the way

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Te Wahipounamu

Carlo Sarion Philippines | New Zealand - 02-May-22

Te Wahipounamu

I thought that this site did not need any additional reviews. I mean, it’s got heaps of testimonies already, and we all know it’s famous, iconic, and a well-managed site that boasts some of the most beautiful sceneries in the world. But what the heck, it won’t hurt if this site gets another review, right? :D

The previous reviews had highlighted the OUV of this WHS already, so I would just focus on sharing my experience visiting Milford Sound and hiking Kepler and Routeburn tracks. Visits were on two separate occasions last March 2022.

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Oaxaca and Monte Alban

Clyde Malta - 03-May-22

Oaxaca and Monte Alban

I visited this WHS in December 2021 before and after a very long drive full of hairpins to Oaxaca's far-away beaches. This WHS is practically 2 WHS in 1, yet another colonial town packed with beautiful churches with intricately decorated interiors and another pre-Columbian archaeological site.

Both sites are very enjoyable and we were glad we had allowed some 3-4 days in total even though if pressed for time both can be easily covered in one full day with the Yagul WHS in the late afternoon. Monte Alban is best visited early in the morning not only because of the lighting for photography but also because there is no shade anywhere apart from under a couple of trees and it can get very hot here. We were there quite early, mostly because entrance was limited to a low number of visitors which was monitored already going uphill with a makeshift traffic light. By using public transport, you get to jump all the queing vehicles uphill, at least during COVID restriction times

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Daphni, Hosios Loukas and Nea Moni of Chios

Bergecn - 02-May-22

If it were not located next to a busy modern day national road one could imagine the Daphni Monastery to be located in Shakespeare’s Athenian forest with elves, kings and queens enjoying a pleasant Midsummer’s Night on the lush meadow among the pine trees behind one of the Greek capital’s most impressive buildings of the Middle Byzantine period.  The site was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1990, together with the Monastery of Hosios Loukas near Delphi, and Nea Moni on the island of Chios.

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Classical Karst (in Slovene language: Klasicni kras) (T)

Digits Ireland - 30-Apr-22

Classical Karst (in Slovene language: Klasicni kras) (T)

We visited Slovenia in October 2018, with a passing visit, in terms of this extension nomination,to Predjama Castle and a longer visit to Postojna Cave.

We didn’t enter the castle, what with castle overload, and I believe there is not much inside at any rate, so parking up for free for a quick photo stop was all that was on the cards. We had arrived self-drive from Ljubljana in the morning en route to Kobarid via the WHS site Skojcan Caves and the aforementioned Postojna Cave.

Postojna is well set up for tourists (possibly too well set up), becoming a tourist attraction in the early 1800s, with annual visitor numbers shy of a million. Apart from the usual cave formations, there are two main novelties here

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Pyrénées - Mont Perdu

Mahuhe Germany - 27-Apr-22

Pyrénées - Mont Perdu

Unlike the previous reviewers, I visited the French part of the World Heritage Site, to be more precise the Cirque de Gavarnie. The Cirque is a deep, amphitheatre like valley formed by glaciers, with steep, very high cliffs (the mountains rise up to 1500 meters above the valley floor). It is also home to one of the highest waterfalls in Europe.

I visited the Cirque in July 2020 on a day trip. I stayed overnight in Lourdes and drove by car to the village of Gavarnie (takes about an hour). You are not allowed to enter the village center by car, but there is paid parking near it. I think, the earlier you arrive, the better

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Socotra Archipelago

Dennis Nicklaus - 21-Apr-22

Socotra Archipelago

Socotra is filled with stunning landscapes.  The forest of iconic dragon blood trees on the Diksam plateau is truly unique in the world, and one of the main draws here, but there is so much more.  My first night, we camped between the amazing dunes of Arher beach and the ocean.  This has to be one of the most amazing campsites I have ever stayed at.  White sand dunes climb up to 200 meters along the face of towering 600+ meter cliffs. Besides the dragon blood trees, which never get old, there are also thousands of fuchsia-flowering bottle trees and a few frankincense trees to watch for.  There is great rugged hiking, such as into the Kalissan canyon where you can then cool off in emerald colored fresh water pools between gently eroded white limestone rocks

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Historical theatres of the Marche Region (T)

Tsunami Japan / USA / Europe - 18-Feb-22

Historical theatres of the Marche Region (T)

I just noticed that this was a new nomination from Italy in 2021: Historical 62 theatres in the Marche Region. Yes, I've been to 1 of the 62 theaters! 

In 2012 when I visited Urbino, I saw Teatro Sanzio. In fact this theater is in the core zone of the Urbino WHS, right by Palazzo Ducale. The name Sanzio comes of course from Urbino's most famous son, painter Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino. 

Now, that was 2012, and I couldn't have put this theatre in the context with the other 61 theaters. It must be that Italy believes that these 62 theaters have something in common that is World Heritage worthy. 

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Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve

Clyde Malta - 19-Apr-22

Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve

I visited this WHS just before New Year's Eve 2021 using Ocampo as my base. Already on the highway coming from Morelia there were signs to slow down due to the monarch butterfly migration. Indeed many butterflies are killed each year as roadkill just before the end of the impressive and length migration journey done by the butterflies each year. Ocampo is at an altitude of over 2000 metres so it might be a good idea to rest well before the uphill hike to the butterfly sanctuary if you suffer from altitude sickness. Horse riding tours to the sanctuary are also organised and are a pleasant way of exploring the biosphere reserve. Also, in Ocampo's central plaza, quite a long way from the El Rosario entrance proper, there is the UNESCO WHS inscription plaque.

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Cold Desert Cultural Landscape of India (T)

Solivagant UK - 20-Apr-22

Cold Desert Cultural Landscape of India (T)

Whilst reviewing the Mughal Gardens in Kashmir I noted that the T List “Cold Desert Cultural Landscape of India” was also un-reviewed and, to date, has only 7 recorded visitors among our community – including myself for our trip back in 1983. I wonder why? Possibly because there are no other (T)WHS "ticks" available from this lengthy journey....or because the area is only accessible by road in Summer (when people are less likely to be travelling to India for other reasons)  and is extremely cold in winter for those who fly in after touring elsewhere?

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Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape

Tsunami Japan / USA / Europe - 16-Apr-22

Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape

"The more mechanical you are, the freer you are." --- Robert Wilson

For this occasion to visit the UK, I decided to finish up the remaining WHSs in the UK except some islands. As such, it was my first time to travelled to the south-western England: Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. If I am going to this part of England, I thought, I'd better go all the way to Land's End and thus chose St. Just as the place to visit among the 8 locations of this WHS.

There was an incredibly knowledgeable woman at the Penzance tourist office. She had good answers to just about everything I asked her and was passionate about the area she served

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Blenheim Palace

James Bowyer United Kingdom - 18-Apr-22

Blenheim Palace

As of April 2022, the price to enter Blenheim Palace stands at £31 per person, expensive even by the standards of the south of England. Whilst I found the interior of the palace and attending gardens impressive, there are few rooms inside that are available to the public as the palace is still occupied by the Duke of Marlborough and family, although photography is now allowed (at least nobody told me off for taking photos). Some further areas can be visited on guided tours for no extra cost but there is not much to see here that stands out over the many other stately homes scattered throughout the English countryside

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Mughal Gardens in Kashmir (T)

Solivagant UK - 18-Apr-22

Mughal Gardens in Kashmir (T)

This is another T List site pencilled in for 2024 which hasn’t, to date, been reviewed (and has only been visited by 6 Community members). Our visit was way back in 1983 when no trip to India was “complete” without going "up" to Kashmir! Even though my memories are somewhat faded and any visit today will meet very different circumstances, it seems worthwhile providing some info on this upcoming nomination.

A few years after our visit in 1983, conditions for visiting Kashmir changed radically. A few quotes from Wiki – “in 1987, a disputed election….created a catalyst for the insurgency……In July 1988, a series of demonstrations, strikes, and attacks on the Indian government effectively marked the beginning of the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir, which escalated into the most important internal security issue in India during the 1990s.” Problems have continued on and off during the subsequent 2 decades and the region has never returned to being a "normal" tourism destination. Today the area is regarded as one of the most heavily militarized in the World with probably more than 500000 Indian troops present

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