New Inscriptions in 1995

The 1995 WHC Session added 29 Sites bringing the total to 467.

Aggtelek and Slovak Karst

Aggtelek and Slovak Karst
.

The Caves of the Aggtelek and Slovak Karst is a transboundary karst cave system, noted for its high concentration of caves and their great variety in cave types.

There are 712 caves in total. Features include the world's highest stalagmite and an ice filled abyss.

The following caves are part of the inscribed area:

  • Baradla-Domica Cave System
  • Béke-barlang Cave
  • Kossuth-barlang Cave
  • Meteor-barlang Cave
  • Rákóczi 1.sz. barlang Cave
  • Rákóczi 2.sz,.barlang Cave
  • Rejtek-szomboly Chasm
  • Szabadság-barlang Cave
  • Vass Imre-barlang Cave
  • Vecsem-bükki-szomboly Chasm
  • Baradla-Domica Cave System
  • Diviaèia Chasm
  • Drienovská Cave
  • Gombasecká Cave-Silicka Jadnica Ice Cave System
  • Hrušovská Cave
  • Jasovská Cave
  • Krásnohorská Cave
  • Ochtinská aragonitová Cave
  • Obrovská Chasm
  • System of the Skalistý potok Cave
  • Snežná diera Cave
  • Zvonivá diera Chasm
  • Dobšinská Ice Cave

Maarten J Vermeulen Holland - 30-Mar-06

I visited the Dobsinska ladova jaskyna in 2001. Since 1995 I've been in Slovakia about 30 times.

Now I found a terrible negative comment on the main page of WHS of Paul Tanner of the UK about the Dobsinska ladova jaskyna (Dobsinska Ica Cave)

If you know the ice pillars are ALWAYS there in this cave unlike other caves then it is special enough to call it a WHS. Ths has got nothing to do with politics.

The entrance fee nowadays is SK 150,- which equals EUR 3,95 or old DM7,90. So 15 years down the line and taking into account inflation the entrance fee is much lower now.

Read On

Avignon

Avignon
.

The Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon Bridge comprises a group of late medieval buildings linked to the Papacy.

Here the popes and antipopes lived from 1309-1432 during the Catholic schism.

The WHS designated historic centre of Avignon lies in the north of the walled city. It includes the following monuments:

  • Place du Palais
  • Palais des Papes
  • Cathedral of Notre-Dame des Doms
  • the Petit Palais
  • the Tour des Chiens
  • the Ramparts
  • Saint-Benezet Bridge

Ian Cade UK -

Avignon

Avignon was a fantastic place, where we spent the best part of a week in late September, enjoying the city and travelling to the cluster of WHS within easy travelling distance of it.

The [...]

Read On

Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns
.

The Carlsbad Caverns are an extensive cave system with over 80 known caves. It originated 250 million years ago as erosion started on a reef in an (evaporated) inland sea.

The park now sees about 400.000 visitors a year. Also, about one million Mexican Free-tailed Bats have made this their home.

Most notable example of the caves is the Lechuguilla Cave: of spectacular beauty it holds remarkable decorations like helctites forming under water and largest collection of gypsum chandelier speleothems. This cave is closed to the general public.

Karst cave systems are widespread in the world, but Carlsbad distinguishes itself because of the huge chambers as well as the abundance and beauty of its decorative mineral features.

-

When I was 12, my family took a long tour throughout the American Southwest. Carlsbad Caverns is the site that sticks out in my memory, even more prominently than the Grand Canyon or Zion National Park. It really is a subterranean fantasyland.

Read On

Colonia del Sacramento

Colonia del Sacramento
.

The Historic Quarter of the City of Colonia del Sacramento is a fusion of Portuguese, Spanish and post-colonial styles.

The buildings date from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Its street plan is organic, contrary to the general checkerboard layout used elsewhere in colonial Latin America.

Colonia, situated on a peninsula, was first settled by the Portuguese in 1680. Portuguese sovereignity was much disputed by the Spanish during the first decennia. They besieged the town and control changed hands several times. The Spanish empire finally took hold of this strategic post on the Río de la Plata in 1777.

 

John booth New Zealand -

Colonia del Sacramento

After the noise and pollution of Buenos Aires across the river, Colonia was a breath of fresh air. So laid back and relaxing. On the wide, tree-lined streets even the motor vehicles were in keeping with the surrounding buildings; not a car to be seen built after 1950!

We went across the river on an early ferry, and it was like entering a ghost town. But around 11am the locals began to appear, and very friendly they were too.

We loved the colourful old Portuguese cottages around the Plaza Mayor, and the pinted blue tiles that appeared everywhere.

Read On

Crespi d'Adda

Crespi d'Adda
.

Crespi d'Adda is a late 19th century model worker's village. It is one of the best preserved examples of the phenomenon of "company towns", which were developed by enlightened industrialists in Europe and North America.

The aim was to house factory workers close to their work and the raw materials. The urban layout of Crespi d'Adda and its architectural appearance are still unchanged.

The town was founded in 1878 by the textile manufacturer Crlstoforo Benigno Crespi, who build a number of houses for his workers around a mill. His son, Silvio Benigno Crespi, turned this into a village based on an in ideological model. Besides single-family houses, with their own gardens, he constructed common services like a school, a theatre and a hospital.

David Berlanda Italy / Czech Republic - 08-Mar-06

Crespi d

I have been once in the nice utopian company town of Crespi d’Adda, constructed from 1878 by the architects Angelo Colla, Ernesto Pirovano, Luigi Cavenaghi and Gaetano Moretti for the enlightened textile manufacturer Cristoforo Benigno Crespi to meet the workers’ need. The town is in a geometrically regular form and it is divided in two parts by the main road from Capriate San Gervasio. On the right, on the left bank of the river Adda, is the single block of the factory, projected by Pirovano, with decorations in medieval style. It is divided in sections: twisting, spinning, weaving, dyeworks, steam engine, boiler, power station, storehouses and offices

Read On

Edinburgh

Edinburgh
.

Old and New Towns of Edinburgh comprise the medieval Old City with its castle, and the planned extension of the New City.

In the Old Town, the Edinburgh Castle became the seat of Scottish kings, and many struggle took place here. With the Treaty of Union in 1707, Scotland lost its sovereignity and the Castle its royal function. The Old Town is also dominated by the Holyrood Abbey and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

In contrast with the medieval old city, a neoclassic New City has been developed in the 18th century to house Edinburgh's growing population. This part of town is the largest area of Georgian architecture in Europe. Notable public buildings here include the Register House, the Royal Scottish Academy and the Assembly Rooms.

-

Much of the architectural style in Edinbugh is consistent which gives a sense of order and identity. Edinburgh is also situated against the North Sea, which provides a sense of openness. The one thing that amazed me when I was there was how the weather varies literally from street to street. You can be walking on one side of the street where the clouds obstruct the sun and it maybe raining and on the opposite side of the street it will be sunny. Wonderful city.

Read On

Ferrara

Ferrara
.

Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta are the first example of Italian Renaissance town planning and its influence on the landscape.

In 1492, the plan of the city was redesigned on the order of the ruling Ercole d'Este I. Biagio Rossetti designed the new lay-out, introduced new streets linking the Renaissance city with the medieval heart and adding fortifications.

Ercole d'Este I was one of the most significant patrons of the arts in late 15th and early 16th century Italy. Ferrara at that time grew into a cultural center, renowned for music as well as for visual arts.

Ferrara is situated 50 km north-northeast of Bologna, on the Po di Volano, a branch channel of the main stream of the Po River. The associated sites in the Po Delta include (among others): Este ducal residences in Diamantina, Voghiera and Schifanoia, the Villa della Mensa and the towns of Cento and Comacchio.

Graeme Ramshaw -

Ferrara

Spent a pleasant midday strolling around the Renaissance city of Ferrara. Really enjoyed the unusual cathedral (pictured) and the frescoes of the Palazzo Schifanoia. Most striking, however, is the city-planning: from the winding alleyways of the medieval old town to the grid-like streets of the Renaissance-era Herculanean Addition. Throw in some fantastic parks and impressive architecture and Ferrara makes a wonderful day trip for those in the Emilia-Romagna region.

Read On

Gough and Inaccessible Islands

Gough and Inaccessible Islands
Photo provided by Paul Tanner.

Gough and Inaccessible Islands are two islands in the Tristan da Cunha archipel that are known for their undisturbed state and large seabird population.

Both are volcanic islands rising from the South Atlantic Ocean, about 350km from each other. The designated area includes the surrounding marine zones of the islands.

Gough Island (formerly also known as Diego Alvarez) is one of the least disturbed major cool-temperate island ecosystems in the South Atlantic Ocean and one of the most important seabird colonies of the world. Gough Island harbours almost the entire world population of the Tristan albatross and the Atlantic Petrel. Furthermore, it has two endemic land birds: the almost flightless Gough moorhen and the critically endangered Gough finch or Gough bunting. Its undisturbed nature makes it particularly valuable for biological research.

Inaccessible Island is an uninhabited island, characterized by steep cliffs around its entire coastline (that's why it was referred to as "inaccessible"). It supports 10% of the global population of Northern Rockhopper Penguins and is the most important breeding site for Great Shearwaters. Inaccessible Island has been used by the islanders of Tristan da Cunha for economic purposes, and is now a wildlife reserve.

Solivagant UK -

Gough and Inaccessible Islands

Gough Island is the "ultimate" for us "WHS collectors"! But how to visit this "oh so remote island" where no one is even allowed to land - so important is it to keep its ecosystem pristine!

Note that the UK has 3 remote island sites - StKilda, Henderson and Gough - added in 86, 88 and 95 respectively

Read On

Haeinsa Temple

Haeinsa Temple
.

The Haein-sa (temple) is one of the three main temples in South-Korea. Its name means "Reflection on a calm sea". It belongs to the Chogye Order, a Zen school of Buddhism.

Haein-sa houses all the Buddhist texts carved on wooden blocks, symbols of the teachings. The blocks, known as Tripitaka Koreana, number 81.340 in total. Inscribed are the rules for monks, the teachings of the Buddha and the commentaries added down the ages.

The entire Tripitaka has been carved twice. The first one was completed in 1087, but it was burnt in the invasion of the Mongolians. So the monks started carving again, and that one (that now can be seen) dates from 1251.

Paul Hoff Japan -

On March 28th, 2003 I walked from a Korean yogwan (travelers' inn) located near Haeinsa, up the path to the temple. I brought my two elementary school age sons with me to give them a feel for the Korean countryside, as well as the opportunity to see a Korean Buddhist temple and renowned collection of Buddhist literature. The inn itself was worth the visit for its wide "maru" porch and delightful dinner of "kimchee" dishes made from all kinds of roots, vegetables and seaweed. Sanjang Byeoljang is its name.

Read On

Jongmyo Shrine

Jongmyo Shrine
.

The Jongmyo Shrine is the earliest surviving Confucian royal ancestrian shrine. It was dedicated to the memorial services for the deceased kings and queens of the Korean Joseon Dynasty.

It was built in 1394 and has been used to the early 20th century.

The main hall is the longest building in Korea of traditional design. During the Seven-Year War, Japanese invaders burned down the original shrine and a new complex was constructed in 1601 which has survived to this day. The original tablets were saved in the invasion by hiding them in the house of a commoner and also survive to this day. There are 19 memorial tablets of kings and 30 of their queens, placed in 19 chambers.

An elaborate performance of ancient court music (with accompanying dance) known as Jongmyo jeryeak is performed here each year for the Jongmyo jerye ritual.

C H Ho Hong Kong, China -

Jongmyo Shrine is nothing to see. It likes an elders' garden. The worth thing and the most important thing is annual holy services for the Kings and Queens at the fist Saturday in May. It keeps the traditional dances and musical for over several hundred years

Read On

Kutna Hora

Kutna Hora
.

Kutna Hora: Historical Town Centre with the Church of Saint Barbara and the Cathedral of our Lady at Sedlec symbolize the wealth this city derived from silver mining.

The earliest traces of silver have been found dating back to the 10th century. The silver boom started in the 13th century.

The town of Kutná Hora has several interesting late medieval buildings, built in Gothic style. They include the Italian Court (location of the Mint) and the Little Castle.

The late Gothic Saint Barbara Church dates from the 1380s. Saint Barbara is the patron saint of miners.

The Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec was rebuilt by Jan Blazej Santini in the Gothicizing Baroque style (early 18th century). It lies 1.5km outside of Kutna Hora, and was part of a Cistercian monastery.

Klaus Freisinger Austria -

Because of its rich silver mines, Kutna Hora was Bohemia´s second largest city in the Late Middle Ages and in the Renaissance period. Today it has lost much of its importance, but it´s still one of the Czech Republic´s star attractions. The old town of Kutna Hora is well preserved and offers a great view of the surrounding area, since it´s located on a hill. The church of St. Barbara, the Italian Court and the Czech Silver Museum are definitely worth a visit (although I didn´t get to go on a tour of the mines, either). The suburb of Sedlec offers two more attractions - the Cathedral of Our Lady (newly renovated) and the weird Ossuary, which isn´t, as far as I can see, a part of the World Heritage site, but should be

Read On

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang
.

The Town of Luang Prabang is noticed for its special form of urban development, partly traditional Lao and partly colonial.

This 19th and 20th century devolpments have resulted in a blended townscape that has been well-preserved. Luang Prabang originated as a defended royal administrative complex, with adjacent temples and monasteries.

Luang Prabang is located in north central Laos, on the Mekong River. Until the communist takeover in 1975, it was the royal capital and seat of government of the Kingdom of Laos.

Frederik Dawson Netherlands - 18-Jun-09

Luang Prabang

I have to admit that I really do not want to write this review as I do not want Luang Prabang to be changed by influx of tourists that may decided to visit this one of the most stunning places in Southeast Asia after read this review. Luang Prabang as I mentioned one of the best places to visit in this region was the former capital of ancient kingdom of Lan Xang or the land of million elephants, Luang Prabang was one of the cultural centers of this region; many temples in such small town are the greatest testimony of local wealth and civilization

Read On

Messel Pit

Messel Pit
.

The Messel Pit Fossil contains unique fossils from the Eocene dating back 50 million years. The Messel Pit is a disused quarry, in an ancient lake bed, in which bituminous shale was mined.

The first animal fossil remains discovered were that of a crocodile found in 1875. Subsequent excavations have led to the identification of 40 species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and insects.

The pit first became known for its wealth of fossils around 1900, but serious scientific excavation only started around the 1970s, when falling oil prices made the quarry uneconomical. Commercial oil shale mining ceased in 1971, and a cement factory built in the quarry failed the following year. The land was slotted for use as a landfill, but the plans came to nought, and the Hessian state bought the site in 1991 to secure scientific access.

Ian Cade UK -

Messel Pit

This was a site that I really had no preparation for visiting and it was a split second decision at Darmstadt station that brought us here instead of Lorsch. What we didn't realise was that the fossil site is not open between November and April.

When the information centre is closed you will be able to go to the viewing platform to look across the pit (picture). There is some information here and a high tech telescope, which can give you an overview of the site. That is about all you can see in the winter, so really is not worth the effort of getting to.

Read On

Naples

Naples
.

The Historic Centre of Naples has its individual masterpieces, a classical town layout and is associated with many events and individuals of great importance in the early history of Christianity.

Naples was founded in 470 BC. It took its fair share of damage in the earthquake of 62 AD and the eruption of the Vesuvius in 79 AD, the one that covered nearby Pompei and Herculaneum. Unlike these towns, the city was quickly rebuilt and flourished for centuries. Mainly as an autonomous kingdom, with an important interlude in the 16th century under Spanish rule (Viceroy Toledo left Naples a majestic quarter).

Since the 1990s, Naples is experiencing a renaissance. The city has become safer and cleaner, and many building works are executed in the city center to restore it to its former glory.

Assif Germany -

Unlike many other tourists in Italy I always wanted to visit Naples first and foremost. I knew it wasn't on the top of the list of popular tourist destinations and I didn't know much about it, but knowing about its cultural impact in addition to local traditions like the pizza or the Neapolitan Song, I decided a trip must be worthwhile. I was happy to learn my intuition was on the right track. Although partially bombarded during WWII the historical centre of Naples remained almost intact. It has plenty of narrow allies with market stands

Read On

Old Town Lunenburg

Old Town Lunenburg
Distributed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Old Town Lunenburg, founded in 1753, is the best remaining example of planned British colonial settlement in North America.

It was developed as a model town, with a rigid grid and wooden houses. The town grew into an important seaport and shipbuilding centre.

Lunenburg was named in honour of the King of Great Britain and Ireland, (George August of Hanover) who was also the ruler of Brunswick-Lunenburg. During the French and Indian War, several small forts which ringed the town were garrisoned by British regulars as well as by provincial troops from Massachusetts. These forts were erected to protect the town from raids by French warships and from attacks by the local Indians.

Connie Hake USA - 21-Jan-06

Dissappointing? No way! We happened to be there when the Blue Nose II came "home" for repairs- what a show! The whole town (locals and tourists) was on the dock waiting for her to arrive at dusk to cheering and applause! The locals are very proud of their schooner! And she is beautiful! Next day, we boarded for a tour- free of charge! The town of Lunenburg is beautiful, peaceful and gracious. Will definitely visit again!

Read On

Rapa Nui

Rapa Nui
.

Rapa Nui National Park and its stone sculptures are testimony to an isolated cultural evolution.

Rapa Nui is the indigenous name of Easter Island. It's a volcanic island, with still two large craters: Rano Kau and Rano Raraku.

The most characteristic cultural feature of Rapa Nui are the huge moai, found all over the island. These figures were created to represent the important ancestors of each clan. As time went by, their forms became more stylized and they increased in size.

Nicole USA -

Okay, so I didn't really read your site. But I didn't actually have to, I mean my dad is from Easter Island (believe it or not). So as you can probably guess I have pretty strong ways of juding someone who talks about the Island. I in no means am trying to be mean, but put yourself in my shoes. I've visited there only twice, but have had Rapa Nui in my blood all my life. You all can go to visit,and judge it the way you would like, but by all means you really have no idea what life is really like for these people. My Grandma had 17 children, most of which still remain at home on the island. I have seen so much life through these people's eyes, and they get so much pride out of so little. So when you visit and say that it seems kind of expensive, look at how the people actually live

Read On

Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras

Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras
.

The Rice Terraces of the Cordilleras (on the island of Luzon) ar a cultural landscape developed 2000 years ago by the Ifugao people.

These terraces are still in use, and are under continuous maintenance by the current Ifugao farmers.

There are many more rice terraces in Asia, but these in the Philippine Cordilleras are outstanding because of their altutude (up to 1500 meters) and steep slopes (maximum of 70 degrees). A complex system of dams, sluizes, channels and bamboo pipes keeps whole groups of terraces adequately flooded.

The WHS consists of four clusters of well-preserved rice terraces:

  • Banaue: Batad and Bangaan
  • Mayoyao: Mayoyao Central
  • Klangan: Nagacadan
  • Hungduan

Glo A. Tuazon Philippines -

I have been doing documentaries on most places and cultures in the Philippine Cordilleran Region and have gone about the rice terraces of the Mountain Provinces and of Ifugao. Looking at the stark wonder of it all would make one sad with the realization that this culture is slowly going to dust. With hard life ahead and modernization eating up every corner of the world, we should make efforts to preserve what is left of the past. That the future generations may have something to appreciate. Lack of funding to do all these is a very big problem, but I guess a little wonder at a time could make a difference. Educating the youth, community rehabilitation campaigns and programs, culture and tradition immersions, environmental missions, these all can do a lot.

Read On

Roskilde Cathedral

Roskilde Cathedral
.

Roskilde Cathedral is made of red brick in the Gothic style, and dates from about 1280.

Since then each century has added its own extensions in various styles. The interior of the cathedral has been changed in the course of time too. Before 1536 the cathedral was Catholic. After the Reformation the side altars were removed and new furniture was installed for the new Protestant service.

Roskilde Cathedral was admitted to the World Heritage List in 1995. As reasons for inclusion its role in the use of brick for religious buildings, the succesive architectural styles and the mausoleum of the Danish Royal Family were named.

Gatis Latvia -

If frankly - I was not especially impressed by this monument. I appreciate the tremendous historical importance of this church for Denmark - but visually, especially from outside - not a world-class monument.

Read On

San Agustín

San Agustín
..

San Agustín Archaeological Park is a pre-Columbian archaeological site containing the largest collection of megalithic sculptures on the continent.

They were constructed during the Agustinian Culture, which flowered from the 1st century AD.

The site consists of 3 separate locations:

  • San Agustín
  • Alto de los Idolos
  • Alto de las Piedras

 

 

 

 

Iain Jackson Scotland UK - 18-Jan-10

In 1996 I got to San Agustin by bus from Popoyan, a distance of about 140kms. The journey took 8 hours through splendid mountain scenery including at the highest altitudes, a long stretch of wild cloud forest protected by a National Park. There were military road blocks along the way and we were subject to a long delay while the soldiers looked for, and found, a large stash of drugs, hidden in the bottom of a large blue plastic bucket covered by round white cheeses. The carrier of this cargo was, understandably, not keen to identify himself to the soldiers so all adult males on the bus were required to stand in a line in the pouring rain until the corporal in charge satisfied himself, one by one, that the bucket was not ours. The owner, when eventually found, was detained by the army

Read On

Santa Cruz de Mompox

Santa Cruz de Mompox
..

The Historic Centre of Santa Cruz de Mompox has preserved its Spanish colonial character well.

The city was founded on May 3, 1537 by Don Alonso de Heredia as a safe port on the Magdalena. Santa Cruz de Mompox became quite prosperous as a port for the transportation of goods upriver into the interior. A royal mint was established here and the town was famous for its goldsmiths. This prosperity had begun to wane in the Nineteenth Century, but continued until early in the Twentieth Century when the river shifted and sediment accumulated on this arm of the river.

Jorge Giraldo Usa - 20-May-08

Cartagena, the masterpiece of the empire. At the same time, surraunded for pirates from England, and Holand. If you are a wealty, and aristocratic spaniard, living in Cartagena during the XVII-XVIII centuries, the smarter way to live in the area was moving to Mompox. An island in midle of the Magic Magdalena river, in midle of the rute to Honda-Bogota, and a shelter far away from Spain. Just the idea of Spain. Perhaps Seville was the model to build Mompox. One of the most magical Unesco Sites.

Seven churches. San Francisco church just an idea of baroche.

Read On

Schokland

Schokland
.

Schokland and Surroundings have symbolic value for the unrivalled struggle the people of the Netherlands have waged against water.

Its history starts in prehistoric times, as part of the mainland. From around 1000 AD fishermen and farmers started to occupy this area to make a living. In the following centuries the water rose and rose, until Schokland finally ended up as an island. This was at the end of the Middle Ages. Fishing and shipping became the main source of income for the Schoklanders.

Living on the island wasn't to last forever: in 1859 the inhabitants were ordered to leave. Life had become too dangerous due to the ever rising sealevel. In 1941 the surrounding area (called Noordoostpolder) was drained to create more agricultural land to feed the Dutch (and German) people. Schokland became part of the mainland again.

Alex E. Denhaan, Mr. California, USA -

Hard to imagine that it was an island once, adjacent to the open sea.Now, thru extensive diking and land reclamation costing billions of dollars, a part of newly acquired land wrested from the North Sea by eminent Dutch civil engineering. At one time human bones would float by from the graveyard during heavy storms.Now it is a protected part of the mainland creating a new 12th Province when there were 11 only before 1950. Land reminescent of the past when it was an island of Dutch fishermen families.

Read On

Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple

Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple
.

Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple are religious monuments and masterpieces of Far Eastern Buddhist art.

Seokguram Grotto is a hermitage that is part of the Bulguksa temple complex. The grotto overlooks the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and rests 750 meters above sea level. It holds some of the best Buddhist sculptures in the world, including the main Buddha. Construction lasted from 742 to 774.

The nearby Bulguksa Temple is the most famous Buddhist temple in Korea and the home to a number of important relics from the Silla period, including most obviously the two stone pagodas Tabot'ap and Sokkat'ap. It also dates from the 8th century, but has been rebuilt on a number of occasions.

The Temple was added to the nomination on the advice of ICOMOS.

Deborah Canada -

I have spent time at Bulguk-sa on two occasions, one winter evening in 2003 and one gorgeous wunny day in 2004. It left me feeling peaceful. I have spent time at Tongdo-sa and walked away with the same feelings of inner peace and tranquility. I visit Korea frequently and make a point of spending time at as many shrines and temples as possible. Bulguk-sa is my personal favourite. It is a testament to the Zen tradition and to the rich heritage of the Korean culture. It is picturesque and exquisite. Sokkurum is also beautiful but brace yourself for a wild bus ride up the mountain (walking is probably less scary)!!!! I would urge anyone visiting Korea to visit Bulguk-sa, Haein-sa and Tongdo-sa. They encapsulate the Zen faith and Korea.

Read On

Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

Shirakawa-go and Gokayama
.

The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are traditional Japanese settlements.

The houses in the villages in the valley are unique to Japan. They are very big, and have thick thatched roofs that come down steeply. This way the snow can slide off the roofs. There is also enough space under the roofs to store supplies for long winters. The inhabitants of these villages used to earn their money in the silk-industry. They lived a very secluded life.

In Japanese, the houses are called Gassho-zukuri. Gassho means praying hands, suggesting the form of hands raised in prayer to the buddha. Here it refers to the triangular shape of the roof.

C H Ho Hong Kong, China -

If I can only select one farming village to go in Japan, I must select Shokawa-village. I went there in 1999 but taking 2.5 hours bus from Takayama. I arrived there at night and stayed in a homestead. I could see nothing inside the village at night. In the next morning, when I opened the Japanese window-door from my room. I see many Gassho-zukuri houses just outside! The houses lies inside the valley of the Japan Alps. It likes a picture more than a village. It might be more convenience to visit the villages as a highway was opened from Nagoya to Toyama.

Read On

Siena

Siena
.

The Historic Centre of Siena has been well preserved since the 12th and 13rd century. Its urban fabric, size and artistic identity distinguish Siena from other medieval urban centres in Italy.

The city derived its wealth from banking activities - streets named Banchi di Sopra and Banchi di Sotto are a reminder of this. Siena also was the main rival of Florence, with which it disputed over territorial expansion.

The city had gained independence in 1189. The period that followed was to be crucial in shaping the Siena we know today. It was during the early 1200s that the majority of the construction of the Siena Cathedral (Duomo) was completed. It was also during this period that the Piazza del Campo, now regarded as one of the most beautiful civic spaces in Europe, grew in importance as the centre of secular life. New streets were constructed leading to it and it served as the site of the market, and the location of various sporting events.

Klaus Freisinger Austria -

I seem to be one of the few people who like Siena less than Florence, but since I like Florence a lot, that doesn't mean that Siena is not a very nice city and a great place to visit. The unique cathedral and the stunning Piazza del Campo make Siena special and I would gladly return there to see more of it.

Read On

Sintra

Sintra
.

The Cultural Landscape of Sintra encompasses a narrow mountainous strip with an ensemble of gardens, parks, and monuments.

The Royal Court established itself here because of its cool temperatures. Villa’s and gardens were designed, reaching its height in the 19th century.

Most notable among the constructions is the Pena Palace, the prototype of European Romanticism. Others include:

  • Quinta da Regaleira
  • Sintra National Palace
  • Monserrate Palace
  • Seteais Palace
  • Castle of the Moors
  • Ramalhão Palace

-

The best time to visit Sintra is in the week and early in the morning to avoid the crowds. Take your time and walk around to admire the sights. You must visit the national Palace also known as Paço Real or Palácio da Vila. It was built on a site once occupied by the Moors. It is connected to the most significant period of Portuguese history, namely the birth and fall of the empire. Don't forget to visit the kitchens. I remember sitting on the balcony of Café de Paris at lunch time watching the tourists admiring this wonderful place.

Read On

Tierradentro

Tierradentro
..

The National Archaeological Park of Tierradentro is well known for its pre-Columbian hypogea, which were found in several excavations and in various archeological locations.

The typical hypogeum has an entry oriented towards the west, a spiral staircase and a main chamber, usually 5 to 8 meters below the surface, with several lesser chambers around, each one containing a corpse. The walls are painted with geometric, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic patterns in red, black and white. Some statues and remains of pottery and fabrics can be seen scarcely due to grave robbery before the hypogea were constituted as protected areas.

The precolumbian culture that created this funeral complex inhabited this area during the first millennium A.C. Tierradentro Archaeological park features hypogea dating from 6th to 9th centuries AD. The details in the sculptures and pictoric patterns are similar to the San Agustín culture.

Iain Jackson Scotland UK - 15-Jan-10

I visited Tierradentro, which is set in beautiful and spectacular mountain scenery, in November 1996.

Two days earlier I was in San Agustin and spent the intervening day getting from there to Tierradentro in 4 different vehicles, including my only ride on a chiva (goat) the open sided bus, brightly painted clay models of which are one of the commonest souvenirs of Colombia.

I stayed at the Hospedaje Los Lagos in nearby Pisimbala. I thought it excellent.

The description at the top of this page gives a good brief description of the site.

Read On

Virgin Komi Forests

Virgin Komi Forests
..

The Virgin Komi Forests comprise a vast virgin boreal forest ecosystem, bordering the alpine tundra of the Ural mountains.

The designated area consists of Pechoro Ilychsky Nature Reserve, Yugyd-Va National Park and a buffer zone. This serial nomination covers dozens of protected areas, totalling 3.28 million ha.

Dominant tree species include Siberian spruce, Siberian fir and Siberian larch. Brown bear, moose, wolf, otter, beaver, sable, wolverine and lynx are mammals that can be encountered here.

The area is located in the Komi Republic, one of the subjects of the Russian Federation. It lies to the west of the Ural mountains, in the north-east of the East European Plain.

 

Jarek Pokrzywnicki Poland - 28-Apr-15

Virgin Komi Forests

Visit in June, 2008. Area consist of Yugyd Va National Park, Pechorsko-Ilychski Reserve and buffer zones (including Yaksha Forest). Personally I was visiting only parts of Yugyd Va NP. One of the most difficult to reach places in Russia. There are no roads, no airports nearby. The only possibility is to get to Inta by train (2 days from Moscow) and from Inta either by organised trip. It is quite expensive as they organise foreign groups only and use lorry cars for transportation - some 80 km to Yugyd Va Park borders) or like me by train to Kozhim-Rudnik station (direction back to Moscow because the fast train from Moscow doesn't stop there) and than by foot. For individual trip you must have all food and accommodation (tent) on your own

Read On

Visby

Visby
..

The Hanseatic Town of Visby on the island of Gotland is a well-preserved early Hansa town.

The city flourished thanks to the German Hanseatic League: it was its main centre in the Baltic from the 12th to the 14th century. Together with Bruges and Talinn it is considered to be among the top 3 of Hanseatic towns.

Among the most notable historical remains are its medieval street plan, the 3.4-km long stone wall called "Ringmuren" that encircles the city, the merchant houses and romanesque churches.

Gatis Latvia -

No doubts - this city deserves to be on the UNESCO list. It is very picturesque, and quite well preserved. In a way the city with its limestone cliffs, ruins of ancient churches and sea at the horizon resembles something from Southern Europe - but still very different.

I was impressed by the fortification wall.

If it happens for you to visit Sweden - do not forget Gotland and Visby - it is wirth a visit!

Read On

Waterton Glacier International Peace Park

Waterton Glacier International Peace Park
.

Waterton Glacier International Peace Park is known for its superlative mountain scenery of glacial origin.

Located on the border between Canada and the USA, Waterton Lakes and Glacier national parks form the world's first International Peace Park since 1932.

Among its recorded plusses are a unique geological feature in the form of the Lewis overthrust. There are also superb examples of Precambrian rock formations, six species stromatolites (fossil algae) and 98% of the world's remaining stock of genetically pure Westslope Cutthroat Trout.

There have been three evaluations of a proposals of this site. Reservations were expressed and the site was rated as of secondary importance. It duplicates many values that can be seen in the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks.

Solivagant UK - 20-Jun-05

Waterton Glacier International Peace Park

Don’t go to Waterton/Glacier expecting to see glaciers – for that you want Rainier or Alaska! The title is somewhat misleading and seems to relate more to its post glacial scenery with deep valleys and lakes with forests of Aspen and Lodgepole Pine, flower filled meadows and rocky peaks up to 3190 metres than to current glaciers (there is at least 1 at Grinell which apparently you can get to though we didn't). The Park lies at the point where the Rockies meet the Prairies and thus covers a variety of ecological niches. You should see both bighorn sheep and mountain goats

Read On