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World Heritage Dream List

 
 
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Author Jonas Bergmann
Partaker
#16 | Posted: 16 Oct 2021 03:57 
A small footnote concerning restoration.

After more than 25 years the scaffolding of the Cologne Cathedral has been removed this week. So for a short time you will have the possibility to see the whole church uncovered in all its beauty. But be fast: Next spring the restoration cycle will go ahead.

Author Jonas Bergmann
Partaker
#17 | Posted: 16 Oct 2021 05:24 | Edited by: Jonas Bergmann 
I want to answer to different aspects of the posts of different members:

Astraftis:
I think that nfmungard started a similar endeavour some time ago in this thread. It is a more country-centric attempt, but it still is a sieving exercise.

. I know that thread and first I have been thinking of asking my questions there. But although I will have also questions to single countries, in general I have a lot more thematic approach. Additionally it is not just keeping, removing and shrinking but it includes also more of merging, dividing, expanding or new defining/renaming.

Vilnius - Riga: I think the two main differences between the reconstructions in both cities imo are: A) The Castle contains a much larger part of the town than the the house of the Blackheads which is only one building in Riga. B) The house of the Blackheads has been nearly finished when the town has been inscribed, the Vilnius' castle reconstruction has been done after inscrption completely. C) The emphasis in Riga is much more on the art nouveau buildings in the new town. So it does not hit an very important aspect why Riga is on the list, because the house of the Blackheads is in the old town. Here a more focused redefinition (also of the core zone) to the art nouveau buildings can easily solve the problem. Well preserved hanseatic towns are already on the list in an sufficient number. That is also appropriate because the Riga castle burnt down in 2013. In Vilnius it is more about an urban landscape of a longer period. And if one important part of it lacks continuity completely that is a big thumbs down for me.

Astraftis:
holy mountain in Mongolia

I think you can't deny the - in my eyes - negative influence of China in this case. I am opposing all the elevators and cable cars in the different "shans" in China. Btw: Have these developments ever been a case to put a site in danger or at least discuss this option? If going through the lists in danger I can't find anything.

Colvin:
choosing to freeze select areas or structures in time for posterity

In general yes, that's the way it is with WHS. But it is also the task to offer the possibility for future developments by drawnng e.g. the right boundaries. If you want to inscribe the whole Elbe Valley in Dresden, you will have a lot of problems after a short time. But nobody forced them to do so. If you only inscribe the temples in the Kathmandu Valley, the city can still develop. So Nepal has been much more aware of what they are doing than Germany/Saxony.

Solivagant:
"Facadism".

In that case I think it depends again on the date of inscrption. If facadism has already been done at the time of inscription than it is OK because there is no possibiliy to return to the old condition. Doing it afterwards it is a destruction of the - still existing - historic heritage. Sure, you can reject facadism before Inscription because it is evaluated as too much and without any historic value.

Author Jonas Bergmann
Partaker
#18 | Posted: 17 Oct 2021 16:34 
Before going to the next case, a final question to one very special reconstruction: To all those who have been in Knossos or have deeper knowledge about it: Do you think that it is possible to dereconstruct Evans? Or will there be too much damage by doing this?

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#19 | Posted: 18 Oct 2021 03:45 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Jonas Bergmann:
To all those who have been in Knossos or have deeper knowledge about it: Do you think that it is possible to dereconstruct Evans? Or will there be too much damage by doing this?

I have no knowledge about such technical matters.....but this isn't really a live issue. The Evans reconstructions are not the reason why Knossos hasn't been nominated by Greece to date - see my review of the site and history of the nomination in the Greece Country Forum on this web site.

It needs to be recognised that a major reason for Evans making his "reconstructions" was to help preserve the site. He was fully aware of its fragility and the need to provide protection from the elements. Even if the current reconstructions were to be removed (and I have never heard of any discussions about doing so....indeed they are currently being repaired where, for instance, the steel/concrete has degraded) they would have to be replaced by other forms of covering --- structures and capping cement etc. One of our Connections lists those WHS which have a protective covering - I am not sure that many of them are as "good" as those put up by Evans!! Gobekli tepe had a rickety wooden structure when I was there some years ago - it has been replaced by a modernist canopy which was designed to avoid/minimise the need to drill piles in significant locations. It is, I guess, "best practice" today. Many other sites just have awful looking metal sheds. A site as large as Knossos could have tents as per Catal Hayuk ...but they might end up looking like the one at Bassae!!! Sites like Mohenjodaro have had to put in place vast numbers of modern capping bricks which are themselves causing problems. The best "protection" for an archaeological dig is to back fill (and even that would still require protection against looters etc etc) - should that be done on the basis that preservation of "authenticity" (i.e "authenticity" of the remains which themselves are not a truly "authentic" of the original site) is the absolute paramount priority - overwhelming presentation, education etc etc?

And are the Evans reconstructions doing any real harm? The "knowledgable archaeologist" might sniff at the misconceptions they are giving to tourists about the "Minoans" - but much of the current (and "changeable", no doubt) "knowledge" about these matters can be conveyed on site with notice boards etc (as is happening). And they are of course "historic heritage" in their own right - as much as le Duc's walls at Carcassonne (or his spire at Notre Dame!)

This article (***) about the various phases of the Evans led "Reconstruction" might be of interest
or you might like this "long version" (528 pages!!) PhD thesis about the excavation and its preservation and may find the answer to your original question in more detail!!! The "Evaluation of the technical aspects of the reconstuctions" starts on page 325 (Not that I have done more than skim the previous 324!!). If you just want to "cut to the chase" then go straight to the conclusions starting on page 437.- as I read it the author is reasonably "kind" towards Evans both in terms of his motivation (covering both preservation and explanation) and in terms of the technical approaches across a long period. Where "bad" mistakes were made, in e.g the use of concrete, he lacked knowledge - as, no doubt, do current archaeologists on matters they don't yet "know"! Again - there is no suggestion that signficant parts of the reconstruction could/should be ripped out.

*** Note that this article from 2018 refers to Greece intending to apply for UNESCO WH status for "Knossos as well as four other Minoan palatial sites" - thus apparently indicating the intention at the time of the article to include Zaminthos in any nomination (as per my review of the nomination history) even though this site has never figured in the T List description

Author Jonas Bergmann
Partaker
#20 | Posted: 18 Oct 2021 06:04 | Edited by: Jonas Bergmann 
Solivagant
Thank you for your information and your links for further reading. I has been a litte bit more about the technical aspects because I have the impression - I am of course influenced by - that the condemnation of Evans in the literature written in my native language German (by "knowledgable archaeologist") is unanimously. It is a little bit like: "How could he do that? It's a total unscientific misinterpretation given to the (of course completely stupid) visitors. He is the worst one." So you think: Is it technially possible to get rid of it?

Author Jonas Bergmann
Partaker
#21 | Posted: 18 Oct 2021 06:31 
WHS Community: Thank you for your answers concerning reconstructions. They have been helpful to see the aspect more clearly. Feel free to add more annotations and opinion pieces, but I want to go ahead ( you know 90 cases to ask).

Case No. 2: Antarctica

Explanation: Officially no site from Antarctica can be approved to the list because there isn't a memberstate able to make a proposal. But nobody can deny that the continent covers sites worth to be inscribed. How to handle this case?

Questions:
1. Should there be sites from Antarctica on a WHS Dream List, although it is officially not possible to inscribe them. Yes or No?
2. If yes, which sites should be inscribed? My proposals are:
A. MPA Ross Sea (for Antarctic marine eco-system)
B. South Pole (for the Antarctic ice sheet and the conditions of human living in an extreme environment)
C. Breeding areas of the emperor penguin (largest animal breeding on the Antarctic ice sheet)
D. Antarctic Dry Valleys (the coldest and one of the driest desert on earth creating a unique eco-system and landscape)

I think Wostock lake needs more research in order to be added to the list atm.

Further proposals are desired. In the TOP-Missing 2020 Competition there was only one proposal (Deception Island), so not very helpful and outside of the mainland.

Author Astraftis
Partaker
#22 | Posted: 18 Oct 2021 17:18 
Jonas Bergmann:
Astraftis:
holy mountain in Mongolia

I think you can't deny the - in my eyes - negative influence of China in this case. I am opposing all the elevators and cable cars in the different "shans" in China. Btw: Have these developments ever been a case to put a site in danger or at least discuss this option? If going through the lists in danger I can't find anything.

I'm personally also not very happy with similar developments, be it my European "conservativist" heritage. But it's not an influence by China, China is maybe the most eclatant case only because the country boomed in the last decades. It is something more widespread in the area, a different sense of community, in my opinion: the main motivation is that everybody should have the right to experience such important or beautiful places, so, if the top is hard to reach, now that we can let's build a comfortable stair (steep nonetheless!), and so on. There's surely also a big deal of speculation at some point. There might also be a bias from our side in expecting from other populations what we wish, but ourselves don't do... speaking of pilgrimage sites, I can cite something like Lourdes. I myself might just be rambling about here... I would be greatly interested in hearing something from one of our non-European memebers about this topic.

As for Knossos, like others I also think that Evan's reconstructions are themselves historical now. Besides possible damage, I'd say it doesn't make sense anymore to remove them. The most sensible thing in my opinion would be just to highlight them as much as possible and create awareness in the visitors, as they are a very fascinating case of how history is perceived and "made". After all, the original site has not been cancelled!

Author Colvin
Partaker
#23 | Posted: 18 Oct 2021 22:13 
Jonas Bergmann:
Case No. 2: Antarctica

If you're coming up with a WHS dream list, I see no reason why you shouldn't aim high and include sites that may not ever find a way to be inscribed. You bring up some intriguing ideas for natural sites in Antarctica.

Here's a link to an idea for a cultural nomination covering the Sites of Antarctic Exploration, based on our Top 50 discussion last year.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#24 | Posted: 19 Oct 2021 08:40 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Jonas Bergmann:
Questions:
1. Should there be sites from Antarctica on a WHS Dream List, although it is officially not possible to inscribe them. Yes or No?
2. If yes, which sites should be inscribed?

Anyone developing a personal "dream list" of lifetime destinations should certainly include sites in Antarctica - though that will need to take into account the practicality of visiting many parts of the continent as a "tourist". That is of course somewhat different from producing a list of "dream sites" for UNESCO WHS inscription. I personally wouldn't let "UNESCO World Heritage" anywhere near the Antarctic!!! I may be interested in WH sites but that is because of the inherant value of many of them - NOT because of thier UNESCO designation! IMO the "WH scheme" has become something of an uncontrolled "monster" which has morphed away from its original aims centred on protection to become a nationalistic tool for driving tourism, making political points etc etc. It is probably irredeemable because too much political and nationalistic capital is tied up in it, but, even in its current form, it would be better for it to "stick to its knitting" (and re-evaluating where the priorities for that "knitting" are?) rather than getting involved in Antarctica!

In fact there is already an "equivalent" to the WH scheme operating under the Antarctic Treaty. It even has its own "Lists" of 3 types of protected site
a. HSM's - Historic Sites and Monuments - c 95
b. ASPA's - Antarctic Specially Protected Area c 72
c. ASMA's - Antarctic Specially Managed Areas - c7
Nominations are made by the current "occupying"/"responsible" state(s) and added sites receive extra degrees of protection beyond those normally applying under the Antarctic Treaty. The purpose of the ASMA sites for instance is "to assist in the planning and coordination of activities within a specified area, avoid possible conflicts, improve cooperation between ATCPs and minimise environmental impacts. ASMAs may include areas where activities pose risks of mutual interference or cumulative environmental impacts, as well as sites or monuments of recognised historical value." Unlike the Antarctic Specially Protected Areas, ASMAs do not require a permit to enter" (Wiki).

My rejection of UNESCO's potential involvement doesn't mean that the current situation is satisfactory, merely a belief that the situation would not be improved by bringing in UNESCO! This article indicates some of the weaknesses of the current situation - though the number of protected areas has been increased beyond the 55 mentioned as of 2014.

We have been lucky enough to visit Antarctica twice and my current visited list stands at 2 HSMs and 1 ASPA!!
HSM39 Hope Bay Hut
HSM 41 Paulet Island Hut
ASPA 145 Port Foster, Deception Island

Great as they were to visit, I don't think any of them of them are at the "5***** level" across the entire Antarctic. Jonas's proposed sites A-D are included as -
A ASPA161 Terra Nova Bay Ross Sea
B ASMA5 Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station,
C ASPA101 Taylor Rookery and ASPA173 Cape Washington
D ASMA2 McMurdo Dry Valleys

The entire list may provide more ideas. The Data Base is accessible here . The Dry Valleys have their own Web site here

Author Jonas Bergmann
Partaker
#25 | Posted: 19 Oct 2021 10:43 
Solivagant

Author Jonas Bergmann
Partaker
#26 | Posted: 19 Oct 2021 11:03 
Solivagant
Thank you again for your opinion and your links. I really see that I can learn a lot from the longtime experts here.

Solivagant:
Anyone developing a personal "dream list" of lifetime destinations

I have two lists, one WHS dream list, discussed here, and a more touristy list. Atm Antarctica is only on my touristy list. That's the reason why I asked the community here how to handle the case.

Solivagant:
IMO the "WH scheme" has become something of an uncontrolled "monster" which has morphed away from its original aims centred on protection to become a nationalistic tool for driving tourism, making political points etc etc. It is probably irredeemable because too much political and nationalistic capital is tied up in it, but, even in its current form, it would be better for it to "stick to its knitting"

In general I am of your opinion. That is also a reason why I just didn't want to follow the list the way it is but improve it to prevent the aspects you mentioned. And I also recognized the growing disappointment of the long time participating members about the sites proposed in the last years and the procedure/argumentation new sites are inscribed today.

Author Jonas Bergmann
Partaker
#27 | Posted: 19 Oct 2021 12:30 
Colvin
Thank you for your proposal. Adding a cultural site of OUV in the Antarctic is rather difficult. I think in general an ice station of the second part of the 20th century like Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station has more OUV than the remains (normally only huts) of the sites of Antarctic explorations. Additionally if we take the latter one on the list we are also forced to include the (possible) remains of other important expeditions in the discovery of the earth like Marco Polo, Columbus or Livingston in order to prevent the impression these Antarctic expeditions have been more important than others. If we did so we would create an open gate for serial nominations which have in reality nothing in common but promoting tourism (Mr. Livingston was here, we presume. Let's inscribe).

But thank you for your proposal. I hope that you still help me also in the following cases despite my rejection here.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#28 | Posted: 19 Oct 2021 14:57 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Jonas Bergmann:
Additionally if we take the latter one on the list we are also forced to include the (possible) remains of other important expeditions in the discovery of the earth like Marco Polo, Columbus or Livingston in order to prevent the impression these Antarctic expeditions have been more important than others. If we did so we would create an open gate for serial nominations which have in reality nothing in common but promoting tourism (Mr. Livingston was here, we presume. Let's inscribe).

You might be interested in these T List sites..... it is known as "Associative Value"!!
a. Malawi Slave Routes and David Livingstone Trail ...Malawi --- "The fig trees where Jumbe and Dr. David Livingstone met and agreed to stop slave trade still exist up to this day."
b. Monastery of Santa María de La Rábida and the Columbus Memorial Places in Huelva.....Spain...."The square and the church witnessed all the important events related to the preparation of the expedition. In this church all the local sailors who travelled with Christopher Columbus on his first voyage were administered the sacraments."
c. Route of Magellan.... Portugal....."A fascinating trail whose waterways, landscapes and geographical landmarks remains intact as they were seen by Magellan and his sailors 500 years ago."

Actually ....in the case of the Antarctic Bases I lean more towards the "Colvin view" favouring the early 20th C Bases over the later ones for historic value. Apart from the fact that the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is at the South Pole and who would turn down a chance to go there....., as purely "historic remains" I would prefer to visit the historic ones..... not because Scott or some other particular explorer was there but because they are authentic remains of the pioneering era of Antarctic exploration. The 2 huts I have seen at Paulet and Hope Bay are not the best...the former is just the remains of stone walls but the latter is more comprehensive and also has unoccupied huts of later periods. I still remember the real "time warp" aspect of walking into one still with articles inside and a pile of snow which had blown in through the open door.... This article about "Historical Huts from the Antarctic Heroic Age 1897 - 1922" provides a nice summary with photos of those still existing.

Author Colvin
Partaker
#29 | Posted: 19 Oct 2021 23:38 
Jonas Bergmann:
But thank you for your proposal. I hope that you still help me also in the following cases despite my rejection here.

I by no means take it personally. Each person has their individual preferences for what they view as World Heritage, and you're coming up with your own dream list.

Solivagant:
My rejection of UNESCO's potential involvement doesn't mean that the current situation is satisfactory, merely a belief that the situation would not be improved by bringing in UNESCO!

I get that. I've been fortunate to visit Antarctica once, and it was magnificent to behold. That said, tourism (even controlled) can be a double-edged sword in such a pristine wilderness. I think the hope of many tour operators is that visitors will be even more ecologically minded when they return home, and hopefully it does stick with many. (Also, I'm a bit envious you were able to visit Deception Island; poor weather kept us from making a stop there).

Author Jonas Bergmann
Partaker
#30 | Posted: 20 Oct 2021 09:39 
Looking for a more historic site than Amundsen-Scott I have found O'Higgins Historic Site (HSM 37) in the APA Database. It is from 1948. Maybe a compromise, although I still have more the tendency to Amundsen-Scott. But good to have a possible alternative to think about.

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