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What are they doing all day in Paris anyway? Forum / What are they doing all day in Paris anyway? /  

Least inspiring sites

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Author Khuft
#16 | Posted: 17 Mar 2009 20:33 
That's the thing with architecture - is Tel-Aviv's "International Style" architecture "ordinary", or was it rather so revolutionary that it got imitated all over the place (which gave rise to the name International Style)...

When I saw the Rietveld Schröderhuis, I was at first not too impressed (it's a tiny site actually), but when I looked up in my guide when it was built (1924) I was truly amazed - this house must have looked like an UFO to contemporaries. The fact that it does not surprise so much anymore is just testimony of how influential it was.

Author pikkle
#17 | Posted: 22 Dec 2014 21:04 
I'm really surprised to see Regensburg on this list. I thought Regensburg was outstanding for its architectural beauty (one of the best German Gothic cathedrals), the beauty of the location (on the Danube with the Stadtamhof island with its gothic and baroque churches), its engineering wonders (the 12th c. bridge), St. Emmerams, many other precious churches, Roman heritage, the history of the Diet of Regensburg.
But most importantly, outside of Italy, particularly San Gimignano and the few towers in Bologna, I thought the number of remaining medieval tower houses, which seemed to be in the dozens, made it worth it. I've been to dozens of "old towns" and Regensburg really is one of my favorites. I guess you just have to really like ecclesiastical architecture, just like I was extremely disappointed by the "slag heaps of France and Wallonia" as I like to call it. One of my highlights that most people wouldn't necessarily appreciate was seeing the Neupfarrkirche - one of the first Gothic to Renaissance transitional buildings in Germany. It's a church that I have extensively read about as a student of central European late Gothic and Renaissance architecture.

I know Vezelay probably could be on the Routes of Santiago de Compostela, but the narthex Christ and the capitals in the nave are some of the most precious Romanesque artwork in France.

One of [i]my[i] least inspiring sites was the Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin, as I mentioned before. Perhaps I didn't visit the right places, but I'm really not impressed by slag heaps - I see them all the time. I appreciate the importance, but it's not inspiring to me in the way that the architecture of the bridge over the Danube in Regensburg is. Another somewhat uninspiring sight, even though it's a serial sight, was the Lille beffroi. The Belfries/Beffrois are perhaps one of my favorite WHS in Europe and I have been to over a dozen, with some of my favorites being Tournai, Ghent, Mechelen, Leuven, but it was not my favorite. Pretty much every WHS is wonderful and I have never been to one that I felt was not worth my time and 99% of the time, its an experience of wonder and surprise (Plantin-Moretus!!! You changed my life and career path from English professor to preservationist.

Anyway, I just wanted to contribute a bit.

Author meltwaterfalls
#18 | Posted: 22 Dec 2014 22:00 
That has made me really happy to read. I love the Plantin Moretus and it is wonderful to hear it has had such a big influence.

Author pikkle
#19 | Posted: 23 Dec 2014 14:56 | Edited by: pikkle 
It was one of the most inspiring places I've ever been. I was glowing as we exited the building and as a woman asked if she was headed in the right direction, I felt like I could grasp her hands and urge her to get there as fast as possible, but that wouldn't be appropriate, I think. We were lucky and it was Museumnacht in Antwerp, so we were able to visit the Rockoxhuis, Rubenshuis, the Vleethuis, and Plantin-Moretus all in one day/night. But we started with Plantin-Moretus and I didn't expect much, even though I love these types of museums (Rosenbach in Philly, Meermanno in Den Haag). However, they aren't on the same level in terms of architecture, preservation, and content of such historical and aesthetic value. Furthermore, the curation is some of the best I've seen. Completely engaging while informative. It really tells the story of this printing house and the important cultural circle surrounding it. I really can not praise it enough. It totally changed my outlook on cultural heritage and what a museum can be and accomplish in terms of preservation of material culture, not just architectural heritage. So, instead of teaching Shakespeare, I now have a MLIS focused on book preservation and a MAAS (MA of American Studies, focused on Architectural Heritage/Museum Studies).

I really didn't want to leave when it was time to move on. And that was after a few hours.

Author Assif
#20 | Posted: 6 Jan 2015 05:42 
After giving it a thought I think one can distinguish several categories of underwhelming/unworthy sites:

1) Sites that are worthy of inscription and impressive but are not necessarily inscribed for the right criteria - For me Quebrada de Humahuaca and Hallstatt-Dachstein are good examples. These are impressive and historically interesting sites, but a great part of what makes them exceptional is their natural settings. In both cases these are not included in the OUV.

2) Sites that I believe have OUV, but are underwhelming to visit. Some examples are Messel or the Carmel Caves, both of which are significant for what was found there and what might be found there in the future. There is not much to see though. Tel Aviv is another such example. Its architecture might have been influential, but it is not that appealing.

3) Sites that are rewarding to visit, but for which I am not that sure there is enough OUV. Some examples:
Trogir - A very nice medieval Venetian-Dalmatian coastal town. If you are in Split you should not miss it, for its picturesque architecture. However, I think there are tens such towns in Italy and even some others on the Croatian coast.
Horta - Interesting and beautiful for Art Nouveau lovers. However, considering artistic exceptionality I think other architects are by far more impressive owing to their individual note (Otto Wagner in Vienna, Gaudi), or to the fact represent better examples of the artistic movement (de Montaner in Barcelona, Eisenstein in Riga). But maybe it is just a matter of personal taste?
Lviv - Lviv is certainly one of the nicest cities in the Ukraine and the most visited site in Western Ukraine. However, compared to other Eastern European cities in general and Polish cities in particular it does not fare that exceptionally high to my taste. Travelling from Cracow to Lviv you pass through Przemysl, a typical Polish city with no aspirations of being an outstanding city, and yet it has impressive churches, a picturesque historic centre, a castle on a hill etc. I suspect that one of the reasons for Lviv to be on the list is that it is on the other side of the border.
Incense Route in the Negev - One of the best sites to visit when in the Negev desert. However, compared with contemporary Petra they are really nothing special. There are plenty of far better examples of desert agriculture, trade routes and Byzantine churches.

4) Sites that find underwhelming and unworthy of their inscription. Some examples:
Lorsch - Historically Lorsch was the largest monastery in Europe and it was groundbreaking in the development of modern medicine. However, barely anything remained there, almost all of the buildings being wiped out by the Bishop of Mainz in the 18th century. The only significant building still standing is impressive from the outside, unimpressive from the inside. I think other examples of Carolingian architecture like Aachen or Müstair are better. And even of Lorsch is important for having this small building, I do not think it is enough for an inscription.
Lednice-Valtice - Nice gardens to visit when in the area, but many other royal residences and parks are inscribed that are better (Schönbrunn, Potsdam, Versailles, Wörlitz).
Colonia - Often mentioned as an underwhelming site, it is the best historical site Uruguay has to offer, which is also the main reason for its inscription. On South American scale other colonial sites fare much higher (Lima, Quito, Cartagena for Spanish architecture; Bahia, Ouro Preto and Olinda for Portuguese).
Neusiedlersee - Not much to see, mostly reed and vineyards. The nicest historical town is Rust, which is nice, but nothing spectacular. Better examples of vineyards in Europe are abundant (Piedmont, Middle Rhine Valley, Loire Valley, Cinque Terre, Wachau). I personally cannot find any OUV in the lake.
Regensburg - Another case we discussed. I think there are plenty of European cities with similar qualities (medieval cathedrals, historic town centre). It is true it is the best example of tower houses in Europe north of the Alps, but is this enough to warrant OUV? Would we even consider the best example of tower houses north of the Asir mountains in Saudi Arabia? The best example of Inca architecture south of Cuzco? Or the best example of subtropical shrub south of the Rio Negro?

These are only a few examples based on my travels. Reading through guides and reviews I am positive many similar examples can be found in other parts of the world too.

Author clyde
#21 | Posted: 8 Jan 2015 06:05 
Some of the least inspiring WHS I visited are:

Nord-Pas de Calais, Beemster, Quseir Amra, Battir, Crespi d'Adda, Volklingen, Canal du Midi, Causses and Cevennes, Stari Grad, Imperial Tombs, Stoclet House, Muskauer, Worlitz Garden Kingdom, Le Locle.

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 Least inspiring sites

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