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new connections for serial world heritage sites

Author m_m
#1 | Posted: 26 Jul 2008 23:30 
we have a category in which some buildings are inscribed twice or more times on the list. will it possible to have a category in which a world heritage site is located within another, sort of like an enclave (or is this already somewhat similar to the world heritage hotspot connection)? i'm not really sure if we can find a good number though. all i can think about is italy's val d'orcia completely surrounding pienza.

we have a connection related to the size of the world heritage property (the smallest natural world heritage sites). but i think it will be more interesting to expand the list and not limit it to three... how about ranking all natural sites in terms of size... the ranking of the largest can be found in the iucn website. we can also have a similar list for cultural sites, based on the data from the official website, the largest cultural site is the kondoa rock art site. but sites like the great wall might well exceed that, although the data is not yet available. i believe that it will be easier to rank the natural site since all of them have the size information available either from the iucn website or the world heritage website (and mind you, some details from the official website have typographical error, i can't remember which natural site, galapagos i think, wherein the numbers on the whc website are reversed vs the ones from iucn, and in the case of kamchatka volcanoes, the area included before was only for the extension, not the total area). for mixed sites, data are also available for all, except hierapolis and ohrid region.

in addition, we also have categories on sites that are geographically distant or near each other. but can we also add serial sites whose elements are geographically distant or near each other? for many travelers, the popular notion is that if they visited even one part, they already visited the whole world heritage site (i.e. ticking the box of already have been there, and +1 more to the # of world heritage sites visited). and i think that is also how some of the connections on this website are treated (like the hotspots connection and exact locations inscribed twice or more). but some travelers might prefer to experience every part of a serial site. in such a case, i think this connection is of relevance to travelers who would like to visit several elements constituting a serial site. if they are distant from each other, then it may take a good amount of money and time to travel from one place to another, not to mention the complication of documents and legalities of crossing borders if it's a transborder world heritage site. examples i'm thinking is the greek world heritage site of the three monasteries, with one located on the mainland and the two others on different islands (so you have to travel by road for the mainland site, and by cruise ship or air to get to the island sites), and before the inscription of antonine wall, the frontiers of the roman empire, in which one is located in the uk and the other in germany. i'm thinking of two subcategories here: serial sites in which the nearest distance between any two elements is quite "far" already (which means that the site is geographically scattered), and serial sites in which the elements are proximate (even walking distance), but the extreme points are very distant (i'm thinking of the route of santiago de compostela, you can visit several churches in one day, but to visit the entire route like a pilgrim might take weeks).

Author Solivagant
#2 | Posted: 27 Jul 2008 06:56 
A number of interesting points raised here

a. Val d'Orcia and Pienza.
This is another example of "Exact location inscribed twice or more". The inscription doucument states "The whole site coincides with the boundaries of the Park of Val d'Orcia (Parco Artistico Naturale e Culturale della Val d'Orcia)." The Web site of that Park contains quite a detailed map and Pienza is clearly inside.

b. Size of natural WHS. This got "stuck" at 3 because I gave Els a list of the smallest 3 (as far as I could see!). I agree that the list should go a bit further BUT the interest and "insight" here is just how much of world significance can be packed into a small area. I see no interest whatsoever in whatever is the 73rd or 74th smallest site. Ideally we should set a "size" but i suggest we look for the next 7 and see how big (small!) the 10th smallest is.

c. I see an interest in a list of the LARGEST natural sites as well - again how many depends on just how big say the 10th largest is.

d. Regarding the size of Cultural Sites. There is a distinct lack of data on these -I have just been looking at St Petersburg which contains around 80 different locations - but all of the sizes are missing. The same is true of spain's Route of Santiago. In my review of the Great Wall I hypothesise on which site "extends" the furthest and conclude that the Struve Arc just gets it. But the exact extent both of the Great Wall and of which parts are inscribed is unclear. The Inscription only mentions the provinces included. There is also the issue of whether the "extent" has to be continuous or not. On this matter it is interesting to note that whilst the Spanish Santiago route lists a nbumber of locations" the suggestion in the inscription document is that the ENTIRE length with 30 metres either side is inscribed. I had wondered whther the "number of locations" in a site might be of interest but that runs onto problems as above and also why separate locations (which might be relatively close as in eg St petersburg) should be of any more significance than the number of separate builginds inscribed insode a city. It is for these sort of reasons that my belief is that, while it might be of interest to see several locations within an inscribed site, looking at a site purely in terms of "numbers" of locations gets one into problems like "How many rooms in Versailles do I have to have seen to have seen the site?"!

Author meltwaterfalls
#3 | Posted: 27 Jul 2008 08:13 
Just as a quick note on the cultural sites, I would imagine that houses/ villas would probably constitute the smallest sites.
The Rietveld Schroderhuis is the smallest I have been to and I cannot imagine there being any smaller WHS.
The garden of Tugendhat Villa would add a fair bit to its size but in comparison it is still small.
I would guess Cassa Barragan would be smallish as well.

I guess any single buidling cultural site would also be in the running if it we were looking at getting a top 10. La Lonja in Valencia was reasonably small Is Boyana Church in Sofia particularly large as it seems fairly small in pictures. Perhps also the Thracian tombs in Bulragia and the Hypogeum in Malta would also be in the running.

I think with a bit of investigation a top 10 could be arrived at.

Author m_m
#4 | Posted: 27 Jul 2008 22:21 | Edited by: m_m 
here is a list of the smallest cultural sites, at least for those where the areas have been provided on the official website, i just focused on the core zone:
1. plantin-moretus complex, belgium - 0.0108 ha
2. kazanlak thracian tomb, bulgaria - 0.0155 ha
3. holy trinity column in olomouc, czech republic - 0.0227 ha
4. timgad, algeria - 0.035 ha
5. cathedral in sibenik, croatia - 0.1 ha
6. luis barragan house, mexico - 0.1161 ha
7. saint savin sur gartempe abbey, france - 0.1584 ha
8. aapravasi ghat, mauritius - 0.164 ha
9. seville's la lonja de la seda, spain - 0.2 ha
10. urnes stave church, norway - 0.21 ha

note though that we may need some other websites and sources to confirm these areas, since as i stated before, areas in the official world heritage website might be unreliable. for example, the buffer zone for the marketplace of bremen is stated as 36,000+ ha. this is way larger than some cultural landscapes and natural sites, including machu picchu, pyrenees-mont perdu and the upper middle rhine valley. cross-checked this with the icomos evaluation document, and the buffer zone is actually just 36 ha. such misplacement of the decimal point can also be seen in the monarch butterfly reserve.

as for the largest natural site, there is already a listing in the iucn website, i'm not sure if it's updated though, since the gulf of california is notably absent there. in as much as the smallest sites are intriguing for containing outstanding universal value in such a small area, the largest might also be interesting in the sense of how much countries may go to protect some places that the world heritage site ends up way larger than even some state parties. for example, i read somewhere that serengeti (not sure if just the national park, or the world heritage site) is as large as denmark. it may be more interesting if we add such facts (i.e. relating the size of the area to the size of a state party) instead of just citing the area.

Author m_m
#5 | Posted: 27 Jul 2008 22:34 
here are the top 10 smallest natural whs, ranking is based on the size of the core zone:

1. valle de mai, seychelles - 20 ha
2. messel pit, germany - 70 ha
2. giant's causeway, uk - 70 ha
4. miguasha park, canada - 87 ha
5. skocjan caves, slovenia - 413 ha
6. srebarna reserve, bulgaria - 638 ha
7. joggins cliffs - 689 ha
8. monte san giorgio, switzerland - 849 ha
9. lord howe island group, australia - 1,176 ha
10. aeolian islands, italy - 1,216 ha

if mixed sites are included, meteora, greece (375 ha) is ranked #5. note though that no info given for hierapolis and ohrid world heritage sites.

Author meltwaterfalls
#6 | Posted: 28 Jul 2008 04:59 | Edited by: meltwaterfalls 
Good work with the list of smallest cultural sites.

I see that there is no information on the Rietveld Schroderhuis size on the UNESCO website. the house is roughly 7x9 m which would give it a foot print of roughly 0.0063 ha if we take the core zone out to the edges of the garden I would guess it would roughly equate to about 0.0130 ha.

I am a little dubious on the Plantin Moretus Museum being smaller than either the Reitveld Schoderhuis or Olomouc's Trinity column (infact in terms of foot print I would say the trinty column would be the smallest I have visited. I feel a little silly for leaving it off my original list). It certainly isn't a big site but I would say that both mentioned sites could just about fit inside the courtyard of the Plantin Moretus Museum.

Author elsslots
#7 | Posted: 28 Jul 2008 13:30 
I am a little dubious on the Plantin Moretus Museum

I agree with you, the Trinity Column is smaller for sure. The size mentioned might still include the other columns and fountains in town, which were withdrawn for the final nomination.
The Rietveld Schröderhuis also feels smaller than the Plantin Moretus Museum, although your calculations end up a little bigger. The Plantin Moretus has about 30 rooms and a large inner courtyard, the Rietveld huis certainly less.

Author m_m
#8 | Posted: 8 Mar 2009 21:44 
i was just browsing the whs official website and realized that another site likely has a typographical error when it comes to the site's area as officially stated. this pertains to turkey's great mosque and hospital of divrigi, stated as having an area of 2,016 ha. for a group of just two monuments, this area is quite large. considering the year of nomination, where the focus is more on the structure itself, and does not really take into account the surroundings/buffer zone/cultural landscape, this is indeed quite strange. i checked out the available map in the advisory body evaluation. based on the scale, the estimated area is 2,160. so there is a typographical error there in terms of number placement, but this is also likely due to the fact that the map is just a rough estimate of the size area. but note that the unit given in the evaluation is in square meters, which when converted to hectares will just amount to 0.2 hectares, making the site one of the smallest (but not enough to make it on the top 10 smallest list).

Author kanfil
#9 | Posted: 3 Dec 2011 14:02 
About the route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain: is there a list of all towns and buidings? I can't find a clear answer on the Unesco-site because the names shown are all in the Aragon region only.
With a good list, there would be more connections possible I think.

Author Solivagant
#10 | Posted: 3 Dec 2011 18:24 | Edited by: Solivagant 
The definition of the boundaries of the Spanish "Route of Santiago de Compostela" site was from the start and, as far as I am aware, still is, a "mess!!

This is the essence of the issue
"the Route of Santiago WHC Nomination Documentation (UNESCO, 1993) indicates that the protected historical complex includes 30 meters to each side of the route and all the medieval areas of cities and towns crossed by it. Suarez-Inclan (2000) underlines that this protection was established with a temporal character and that the final delimitation was to be determined by planning instruments. Buffer zones should be formally indicated in a revised version of the UNESCO dossier for the Route of Santiago"

I am unable definitively to determine what "established with a temporal character" really means in English!! Apparently it could mean "temporarily until something better was worked out"!!

Have a look at
Search on "Compostela" to find the relevant case study - there are no page numbers. The 3rd "find" is the relevant one.

Also this download address

I have so far been unable to discover
a. The original nomination file. This is shame as it would throw some light on matters. The first document above states "For example, it has been determined that some of the towns formally included in the nomination dossier are not located on the historical route. On the other hand, some towns that were located on the historical path to Santiago were not included in the dossier (Martorell, 2005)."
b. The relevant "Retrospective Inventory". Its reference is apparently WHC/74/Esp/PST - but I can't (as yet) find it! A quote about it shows some of the issues - "The excerpt from the Inventory Forms concerning the Route of Santiago in Spain indicates that the specific problem identified in the case of the Route is related to the 1800 separate structures associated with the route, although not necessarily on the route or within the boundaries identified by the 1:50,000-scale maps or village plans included in the dossier for the route itself. The only locational information provided for these structures is the name of the municipality. It is not currently possible to know whether these separate structures are within the linear route, much less to map the properties or to know their precise size."

A final quote from the first document above
"Regional governments have taken on the task of defining the path of the Route of Santiago in the territories of the Autonomous Communities that is crosses. Delimitation documents have been definitively approved in Navarre, La Rioja, Castile-Leon and Galicia. In Aragon the delimitation is still under discussion. Those documents do not necessarily contain the same route as the one included in the WH dossier."

Please let us know if you track down anything further!!!

Author Walter
#11 | Posted: 5 Dec 2011 13:21 
As far as I understand, the « Route of Compostella de Compostella » limits are

-30 meters to each side of the route
-all the medieval areas of cities and towns crossed (which means a widening of the « 30 meters to each side »)
- 1800 or more « seperate structures associated with the church, although not necessarily on the route »

The original nomination file was available (by mistake) one day in 2005 on the whc site. Unfortunately, I couldn't download it immidiately, and the same evening, the file was gone.

I could however download the « inventario del patrimonio edificado, camino de santiago »,
which lists all those structures, divided by comunidad, provincia, municipio and then village.

I can forward this inventario (423 pages in PDF) to anyone interested (and I will send it to Els, maybe to create a link from this site).

No note as well : a collection of 10 maps, scale 1 :50'000, following the route from start to end, available from the Instituto Geografico Nacional of Spain : called « Camino de Santiago , Colleccion de Mapas ». Available on paper at a cost of 30 euros in good bookstore in Spain or on Also available on DVD and iOS application

Author meltwaterfalls
#12 | Posted: 5 Dec 2011 17:40 
with this one I understood it to just be the Camino Frances rather than all the routes in Spain.
I'm basing that just on the fact that it is the route normally most associated with the pilgrimage, and also that the Camino del Norte/ Primitivo is on Spain's tentative list (I guess as an extension, but this listing is so muddled and I'm sure Spain could attempt to get it added as yet another separate site :)

Author elsslots
#13 | Posted: 6 Dec 2011 00:44 
I can forward this inventario (423 pages in PDF) to anyone interested (and I will send it to Els, maybe to create a link from this site).

Here it is:

Author kanfil
#14 | Posted: 7 Dec 2011 11:52 
Thanks for the list, Walter and Els.

I found some interesting sites:
with the complete route to download in 6 pieces.

But on the map of Somport-Puente la Reina, you can see there are two routes to get to Puente la Reina.

Here's an overview of the 31 stages.
If you go to "read more", you'll be able to see each stage with google maps.

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