New Inscriptions in 2013

The 2013 WHC Session added 19 Sites bringing the total to 981.

Map of All Inscribed Sites

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Legend

  • Cultural
  • Natural
  • Mixed

Agadez

Agadez
Photo provided by Jiří Horák .

The Historic Centre of Agadez has an original irregular street layout, which dates from its creation in the 15th century on the structure of existing Tuareg encampments.

At that time, the Sultanate of Aïr started a process of sedentarisation and consolidation of various Tuareg tribes. The town became an important centre in the trans-Saharan caravan trade, linking the Maghreb to the Sahel.

Agadez still is the largest and most important city in the region. It comprises 11 quarters, with buildings made of mudbrick. Notable buildings, next to many traditional houses, include:

  • Palace of the Sultan of Aïr
  • Grand Mosque including its 27 metre tall minaret (the world’s tallest minaret made entirely of mudbrick)
  • Hotel de l’Aïr, originally a palace

Thomas Buechler Switzerland - 23-Jun-13

Agadez has been on my African agenda for a very long time, and it was only in autumn 2011 that I made my way to this remote Tuareg outpost in Niger's northern Air region.There were travel warnings in place by almost all western governments, and direct flights to Agadez have all been cancelled.The only practical way to reach the Sahel town was the early morning bus that leaves the Niger's capital Niamey at 4.30h. A sunrise to sunset expedition that usually takes 12 long hours.

As we reached the outskirts of Agadez, there was a police checkup, my passport was taken away, and I got the message to show up at the Police Headquarters the next day for interview!but no problem, I was just advised not to leave

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Al Zubarah

Al Zubarah
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Al Zubarah Archaeological Site is a partly excavated coastal town that flourished due to pearling and trade from 1760 to 1811.

It was newly built by Kuwaiti merchants just for that purpose.

The town of about 5,000 inhabitants was mostly destroyed and abandoned after an attack by the Sultan of Oman 1811. It subsequently got covered by desert sands.

The area contains remains of the town walls, port, cemeteries and fort.

Philipp Peterer Switzerland - 18-Jan-16

Al Zubarah

Qatar is not one of these countries that are full of highlights and in other countries Al Zubarah certainly would not count as a highlight. But in Qatar it’s the only WHS and I found the first sign on the highway 75! km from the site. It’s about an hour driving from Doha. The fort is tiny. I rather qualifies as a bigger house. It’s currently being renovated, but work is almost finished. The interior serves as visitor center with information regarding the site.

They also constructed a temporary exhibition close to the fort. I guess the plan to build a small museum there. The archeological site was closed for no reason. The only way to access it would be by car, as the territory is really big. But the pictures of the site showed me that I did not miss out on much. Despite the fort all was destroyed to the ground by the Sultan of Oman. Entrance is free

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Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe

Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe
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The Water features and Hercules within the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe is a monumental Baroque and Romantic garden landscape.

Water descends from the Giant statue of Hercules, passing a water-wheel-powered organ, various fountains, waterfalls, basins and grottoes.

The dramatic water displays were laid out by Landgrave Carl of Hesse-Kassel from 1689 on, to display his power as an absolute ruler. He derived his ideas from Italian, French and English examples of garden art. The Italian architect Giovanni Francesco Guerniero was hired for the design.

The site also includes the Neo-classical Wilhelmshöhe Palace (1785) and the Gothic Revival Löwenburg Castle (1793). The statue of Hercules is 70.5m high and is made of copper.

Clyde Malta - 17-Jul-13

Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe

I visited this WHS 10 days before it was inscribed in the list in June 2013. Everybody knew already that it would be inscribed as a WHS and there were posters everywhere showing that it would be inscribed on the list shortly. The park and gardens are very well kept and there are streams, waterfalls, ponds, fountains and beautiful landscapes ... all rigorously artificial and man-made! I really enjoyed the steep walk to the Hercules statue which has recently undergone restoration and cleaning. The view of Kassel from the Hercules statue is well worth the climb. I visited by car and there is a very convenient Schlosshotel car park near the entrance to the park open to non-guests too. Interesting and enjoyable day trip especially on a sunny day.

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El Pinacate

El Pinacate
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El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar National Biosphere Reserve represents a large and pristine desert landscape with a rich biodiversity.

The site comprises two parts: the Pinacate shield, a dormant volcanic area, and Gran Altar Desert with its active sand dunes that can reach 200m in height.

This WHS is located in the Sonoran Desert, in the Mexican state of Sonora and on the national border with the USA.

Kyle Magnuson California - United States of America - 03-Mar-14

El Pinacate

Leaving Los Angeles at 5am, roughly 8 hours later my wife and I found ourselves crossing the border into Mexico at Lukeville, Arizona. No hassle and very quick. From here it takes 1hr to drive to Puerto Penasco, your right-side landscape is the El Pinacate Grand Desert Biosphere Reserve for most of this drive. There are 2 major access points to the reserve, one at the 72km mark, and the other at the 52km mark. Visitors will only access a small portion of this immense reserve, but the vastness of the land will leave a lasting memory.

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Fujisan

Fujisan
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Fujisan is a volcanic mount revered as sacred and inspirational in the Shinto belief.

The site consists of a serial nomination of 25 monuments. Pilgrims have climbed this stratovolcano since ancient times.

Frederik Dawson Netherlands - 15-Jul-13

Fujisan

Less than a month after Fujisan has officially been listed as World Heritage Site, my friend in Shizuoka invited me to visit Japan, after read its nomination document and found out a lot of interesting information on its cultural components, I decided to visit Fujisan again to see this beauty in the new perspective. I started my trip at Shizuoka, in the city of Shimizu, where the controversial Miho no Matsubara is located. The place is the large pine forest in the sand peninsular with the view of Fujisan

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Golestan Palace

Golestan Palace
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The Golestan Palace is a 19th century royal residence in Teheran, built by the Qajar dynasty. It combines traditional Persian architecture with western influences.

The buildings were once enclosed within the mud-thatched walls of Tehran's 16th century Historic Arg (citadel). The palace was rebuilt to its current form in 1865 by Haji Abol-hasan Mimar Navai.

The site comprises 8 palace complexes around a garden. Notable features include:

  • Marble Throne (Takht-e marmar)
  • Hoze Khaneh, a summer chamber with cooling system
  • Talar-e Aineh (Hall of Mirrors)
  • Shams-ol-Emareh (Edifice of the Sun)
  • Several museums

Szucs Tamas Hungary - 08-Feb-15

Golestan Palace

For most overseas travellers Tehran is inevitable in Iran, being the most likely entry pont and central transport hub. But the notorious traffic jams and dull concrete blocks make you feel like leaving the city as soon as possible. In other parts of the world "bustling nightlife" could outbalance the architectural disadvantages - but in the Islamic Rapublic amenities are limited to some pizzerias (forced to close if they play Western music too loud), traditional tea houses (can be fun once), cinemas (playing Iranian movies in Persian), and family picnicks (not for tourists unless you are invited).

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Hani Rice Terraces

Hani Rice Terraces
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The Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces consists of irrigated rice paddies, forested mountain tops and 82 farming villages.

This landscape has been developed over the past 1300 years by the Hani people, one of China's official ethnic minority groups.

The site comprises 3 different valleys: Bada, Duoyishu and Laohuzui. Together they form the most concentrated area of steep rice terraces in China. They produce red rice. The terraces are irrigated via a complex system of channels that transport water from the surrounding mountain tops.

Jarek Pokrzywnicki Poland - 13-Dec-12

WOW, one of must in China. I am sure that one day it will be part of World Heritage, no doubts about this.

The places are easy to see from Old Yuanyang (old Xinjie) not to mix with new [...]

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Hill Forts of Rajasthan

Hill Forts of Rajasthan
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The Hill Forts of Rajasthan are 6 military fortifications built in the Rajput cultural tradition.

The included forts are:

  • Chittorgarh Fort
  • Kumbhalgarh Fort
  • Ranthambore Fort
  • Gagron Fort
  • Amber Fort
  • Jaisalmer Fort

Clyde Malta - 17-Jul-13

Hill Forts of Rajasthan

I visited 4 sites of this WHS in December 2011-January 2012. There are several forts in Rajasthan but the ones inscribed in this WHS are really unique. My personal favourite is Jaisalmer Fort in the Thar Desert close to the Pakistan border. It is special because it is still inhabited and the people there are really special. Hopefully sanitation problems and refuse collection will improve thanks to UNESCO but I really hope that the rumours of Jaisalmer becoming a "tourist attraction" meaning that the locals would be "accommodated" in apartments "outside" the city walls does not materialise (similar to what has happened in Bagan, Burma or Angkor Wat, Siem Reap). Jaisalmer Fort is special and unique to me because it is still inhabited after hundreds or thousands of years

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Kaesong

Kaesong
King Kongmin's tomb (photo provided by Paul Tanner).

The Historic Monuments and Sites in Kaesong represent the ruling base of the Koryo dynasty (918-1392) with their associated tombs. The Koryo unified the country. During their reign Confucianism began to prevail over Buddhism. The city was developed in a geomantic setting, using the surrounding mountain tops as markers.

Kaesong was their capital and flourished as a commercial city. The designated area covers the 12 remaining Koryo monuments and sites. They are:

  • 5 sections of the city walls
  • Manwoldae Palace and Chomsongdae
  • Namdae Gate
  • Koryo Songgyungwan
  • Sungyang Sowon
  • Sonjuk Bridge and Phyochung Monuments
  • Mausoleum of King Wang Kon with associated Seven Tombs Cluster and Myongrung Tombs Cluster
  • Mausoleum of King Kongmin

Kaesong is the southernmost city of North Korea. It used to be one of only two locations in North Korea accessible from the south (until May 2010).

Solivagant UK - 26-Jun-08

Kaesong

A row of tourist faces looked out over the locked gate of their hotel compound in Kaesong. Beyond it North Koreans passed by, walking or cycling their way to work – but their gaze was fixedly averted away from the tourists. A policeman "directed" the non existent motor traffic. On the other side of the T junction the rows of attractive stone houses with low tiled roofs receded into the distance. But all thought of communication with the locals or wandering along those streets was useless – we were “imprisoned” in our hotel as this was tourism North Korean style!

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Levuka

Levuka
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Levuka Historical Port Town is an urban landscape in the Pacific that represents 19th century British colonisation.

Local warlord Cakobau set up the first administration of the Kingdom of Fiji here in 1852, supported by foreign settlers. In 1874 the land became part of the British Empire.

The site includes residential and commercial buildings, churches, schools and constructions related to port activities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yogesh Maharaj Australia - 28-Jul-13

I was born in Suva Fiji in 1975, and schooled at Leveuka Public School from 1983-1987. In this time I loved everything about Levuka, the people, culture, heritage and the good times. It was evident then that the national language was English, as I had to learn it straight away.

But 26 years after 1987, I visited Levuka on the day it was listed under world heritage, I so surprised,I arrived that night and the next day went to the museum and spoke a couple of people and asked them what the heritage listing meant for them. It is great honor one said, and the other said hope it brings in more tourists.

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Medici Villas and Gardens

Medici Villas and Gardens
Villa de Castello.

The Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany are a group of residences in the countryside built by the Medici family.

They are illustrative for their patronage of the arts during the Italian Renaissance.

Clyde Malta - 28-Aug-13

Medici Villas and Gardens

I visited another 2 Medici Villas in July 2013 and August 2013. I visited Villa Poggio Imperiale which is already visible when driving to or from Piazzale Michelangiolo. It is really huge and it is currently used as a state school. I also visited the Medici Villa and Gardens at Castello. It is the seat of the Accademia della Crusca and is not regularly open to the public. The Sala dei Pali is really impressive and a must for anyone who loves the Italian language. The gardens are well kept with different plants, flowers and fruits. There is a grotto similar to the one in the Boboli Gardens with statues and shell decorations. Nearby it is also quite easy to visit Villa della Petraia and its gardens but I very much preferred the one in Castello.

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Mount Etna

Mount Etna
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Mount Etna is one of the most active and best-studied volcanoes in the world.

It is 3,329m high and has four summit craters. There is frequent lava flow. It has the highest frequency of recorded eruptions in the world (193).

This stratovolcano has been studied and monitored since the 19th century. The Roman poet Virgil gave what was probably a first-hand description of an eruption in the Aeneid.

 

 

 

Joseph Colletti USA - 07-Oct-13

Mt. Etna is of universal value. As UNESCO notes Mt. Etna is an active volcano that yields information to scientists around the world about geological phenomena that affect millions of people, not only in Sicily but around the world. Because of Mt. Etna's activity a visit to the park can reveal different landscapes (and paths of destruction) from year to year. It has served as a proving ground for a variety of techniques to stop or divert lava flow (some successful, some not) to avoid populated areas.

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Namib Sand Sea

Namib Sand Sea
Photo provided by Michael Novins.

The Namib Sand Sea is a coastal fog desert of high natural beauty. It consists of two dune systems, with numerous coloured dune fields. Sand is carried and deposited here from afar.

Namib Sand Sea is part of Namib-Naukluft Park. The most well-known part of the area is Sossusvlei, a salt and clay pan surrounded by high red dunes.

Walter Switzerland - 17-Mar-16

Namib Sand Sea

I was suprised no one has reviewed this site yet, as it is considered the number one destination in Namibia. I visited the area back in 1996.

The « Namib Sand Sea » is a huge desert of sand dunes blocked between the semi-arid plains in the east and the cold atlantic ocean in the west. On an independant basis, the Sossusvlei area is the easiest to visit. Nowaday, I’ve read that there can be long lines to enter the park. Back in 1996, it was a solitary place.

Sossusvlei is a magnificiant and magical area. A road, now tarred, is following a large white salt and clay pan deep into the sand sea. All around are numerous high pink dunes, some being more than 300 meters high. It is a photographer’s paradise.

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Red Bay Basque Whaling Station

Red Bay Basque Whaling Station
Photo provided by Randi & Svein.

Red Bay Basque Whaling Station comprises the archaeological remains of the largest pre-industrial whaling site in north-eastern Canada.

The station was founded in the 1530s by Basque sailors, who made an annual transatlantic voyage to the site for summer whale hunting. They processed the whales in situ and took the oil home to Europe.

The remains are mostly underwater or covered up. They include traces of buildings (including ovens for melting the whale blubber), whale bone deposits and shipwrecks.

Tom Flaten Norway - 01-Jul-14

Red Bay Basque Whaling Station

Red Bay Basque Whaling Station is a quite new World Heritage Site (2013), but definitely worth it's UNESCO-status. It is an amazing place to visit, both the history and the stunning surroundings make this a very nice experience.

The history of the Red Bay Basque Whaling Station is told at the Visitor Centre, which is informative and well-organized, but not very big. The main sight, Saddle Island, was closed on our visit due to birds nesting (mid-June). A boat will normally take you out to Saddle Island where one can stroll around and look at the remains of the whaling station, including the old cemetery.

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Tajik National Park

Tajik National Park
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Tajik National Park (Mountains of the Pamirs) covers high mountain ranges with many peaks over 6,000m high.

It is a harsh environment covered in snow all year. There are over 1,000 glaciers, 170 named rivers and 400 lakes.

The Pamir Mountains are part of the Central Asian highlands, and lie at the center of the 'Pamir knot' where tectonic forces have pushed up the Himalaya, Karakoram, Hindu Kush, Kunlun and Tien Shan mountain ranges.

Notable areas include:

  • the 77km long Fedchenko Glacier, the longest valley glacier outside of the Polar Regions
  • Sarez Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Central Asia, created by an earthquake-generated landslide
  • Karakul Lake, one of the highest salt lakes in the world and formed after meteorite impact.
  • Ismoil Somoni Peak (known from 1932-1962 as Stalin Peak, and from 1962-1998 as Communism Peak), at 7,495 m high the highest peak in the Pamirs

Anthony Sun USA - 06-Oct-16

In 1997, I was fortunate to go on a trip through the Silk Road which culminated on traversing the Karakorum Highway which starts at Kashgar in Xinjiang Province of China and ends in Peshawar, Pakistan. Along the way it passes the Pamir Mountains, Hindu Kush and Hunza. The Karakorum Highway was a feat of engineering and was built by the Chinese when they wanted a link with Pakistan to show solidarity against their then mutual enemy, India. Nonetheless, it was a project that cost many lives as the road was literally carved out of the mountain. The Khunjerab pass into Pakistan was at 4700m and all the while the highway would be at 4000m or more. Totally lifeless and yet spectacularly beautiful with snow cap peaks at >7800m all around

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Tauric Chersonese

Tauric Chersonese
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The Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora covers an archaeological site and agricultural landscape of Greek origin.

It is located on a peninsula in Crimea, at the shores of the northern Black Sea. It was colonized by the Greeks in the 5th century BC and used as a trading port. Wine, produced locally, was one of the main export products.

After the Greeks were defeated, the city fell into the realm of Rome and later Byzantium. It was abandoned in the 15th century.

The designated zone consists of 7 locations: the ancient city with its original grid layout and 6 surrounding areas with plots of agricultural land.

Martina Ruckova Slovakia - 03-Nov-15

Visited in October 2014. This WHS is located on the Crimean peninsula. Today due to geopolitics the easiest way to visit is through Moscow and via some of the connecting flights, should you find yourself in Russia and don't want to bother with multiple-entry visa. Flights from Moscow land either in Simferopol or Sevastopol, the WHS itself is located on the outskirts of Sevastopol. We chose a taxi from our hotel in Sevastopol to get there and returned by walking and then taking a bus. As for other technicalities, you need Russian visa to enter Crimea and the accepted currency everywhere around is Russian Ruble.

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University of Coimbra

University of Coimbra
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The University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia has been an influential university from the medieval period til the modern times in the Portuguese world. The University was moved from Lisbon to Coimbra in 1308.

The site comprises two groups of buildings: one around Sofia Street in the lower part of the city, and one in the upper (Alta) part. Both hold a number of colleges, though the main University buildings are in Alta.

Notable buildings include:

  • Royal Palace of Alcáçova (main University building)
  • St Michael’s Chapel
  • Joanine Library
  • Botanical Garden
  • University Press
  • ‘University City’created during the 1940s.
  • 12th century Cathedral of Santa Maria
  • 12th century Monastery of Santa Cruz

Ian Cade UK - 20-Jan-14

University of Coimbra

I have fond memories of the day I spent in Coimbra 10 years ago. The atmosphere, weather and pleasant surroundings made me seriously consider moving there to study for my master's degree. Alas I didn't go there but the spirit of this quintessential European University City did stay with me. Friends and acquaintances that I have met who were lucky enough to learn here have certainly reinforced my initial desire to stay for longer.

I remember really enjoying the walk across the river and the winding spirals of streets that led me up to the main university compound. I only had a quick glance into the library as I think there was some kind of event going on inside.

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Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region

Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region
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The Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine comprises 16 wooden churches built by horizontal log construction.

They are located in isolated parts of the Carpathian Mountains. They were built by communities of the Eastern Orthodox and Greek Catholic faiths in the 16th-19th centuries.

The 16 churches can be divided into four groups of different ethnographic architectural traditions.

Alliosoncita La unica Peruchita Peru - 22-Oct-13

4 of the churches are located close to the Slovak WHS Bardejov, so visiting them can easily be combined with the visit of the town and even 2 other wooden church WHS: the Malopolska churches and the churches of the Slovak Carpathians. The churches are located in rather remote villages and at least in October you have to be lucky to find a church to be open outside the mess. A very nice man in Kwiaton saw that I was taking pictures of the outside of the church from every angle and let me in. The inside was richly painted. My highlight was the fake marvel walls.

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Xinjiang Tianshan

Xinjiang Tianshan
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Xinjiang Tianshan is a mountain range that holds glaciers, snowcapped peaks, alpine meadows, lakes and canyons.

These mountains are in stark contrast with the surrounding six deserts, of which part of the Taklamakan Desert is within the WH area borders.

This site covers the Chinese part of the Tianshan mountains, which extend into Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Tomur is its highest peak at 7,443m.

The site has 4 components:

  • Tomur
  • Kalajun-Kuerderning
  • Bayinbuluke
  • Bogda

Extended Sites in 2013

Maloti Drakensberg

Maloti Drakensberg
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The Maloti Drakensberg Transboundary World Heritage Site is a mixed site known for its density of rock-art and mountain landscape.

It consists of 2 parts: Ukhahlamba / Drakensberg Park in South Africa and Sehlabathebe National Park in Lesotho.

The Drakensberg Mountains are the highest mountain range in Southern Africa. Its natural beauty derives of the rolling high altitude grasslands and the pristine steep sided river valleys and rocky gorges. The mountains are capped by a layer of basalt approximately 1,400 meters thick, with sandstone lower down, resulting in a combination of steep-sided blocks and pinnacles. It is an important habitat for plants (Drakensberg Alpine Region of South Africa) and a globally important endemic bird area.

Sehlabathebe National Park is Lesotho's first national park. The landscape is dominated by grassland of various types. The larger ecosystem as a whole performs invaluable functions including providing freshwater to Lesotho, South Africa and Namibia.

Oskar South Africa -

This Drakensberg story is one of retreat, beauty, relaxation and good eating.. The drive towards the Drakensberg Mountains swept over the undulating foothills down side-roads that snake along meandering countryside to our first destination Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse. Cleopatra is tucked away in the beautiful Kamberg valley in the Drakensberg Mountains, it is a gourmet getaway where attention to detail is evident everywhere. The dining room and lounge are extended over a trout-filled dam that looks out across the water to the stunning mountains of the Southern Berg. It is a magical place - a secluded luxury hideaway where the most important factor is not to come here if you are on a diet!

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Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya
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Mount Kenya National Park / Natural Forest protects the region surrounding Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa at 5,199 m.

The mountain is an extinct vulcano. It has 12 remnant glaciers on its slopes, which are retreating rapidly. Also there are several small lakes and it is the main water catchment area for two large rivers in Kenya; the Tana and the Ewaso Ng'iso North.

At lower altitudes Colobus and other monkeys and Cape Buffalo are prevalent. Some larger mammals such as elephants range up to 4,500 m.

Zack Culvert USA - 04-Mar-06

There is a drought now all over Kenya, as the mini rainy season of Nov 2005 did not come. So the Masai bring their cattle and sheep up to the tourist area. This drove away the animals. The cows meanwhile are dying from the altitude and new germs which they have no resistence to. Seeing a lot of dead and dying cows being butchered was not fun.

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Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines

Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines
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The Wieliczka Salt Mine is an example of a well organized, large industrial establishment. The evolution of the mining processes since the Middle Ages is perfectly illustrated here, due to the conservation of the old galleries and the exhibition of tools used.

First references to the winning of salt in Wieliczka were made in 1044. Salt was the most important economic commodity in Poland during the Middle Ages. The mining of salt quickly became a government monopoly.

Technological progress turned the Wieliczka Salt Mine into a modern business enterprise in the 16th century. Machinery was being used to improve productivity, and the search for new salt deposits took the miners lower and lower underground.

The production of salt here ceased only in 1992 due to a heavy flooding.

The Salt Mines of Wieliczka were on the first World Heritage List ever, publicized in 1978.

CT England -

The Salt Mines were the best thing about our trip to Krakow. Get a mini bus from opposite the new Galleria Krakowski shopping centre for 2.5zl (about 70p in £ sterling)and it only takes about 20 minutes.

Thought the mines were fascinating and our guide was very knowledgeable. The Kinga Chapel is breathtaking.

Be prepared that the lift back to the surface is somewhat primitive, small and very crowded. But it's over in a few seconds so don't let it put you off.

You'll kick yourself if you miss this one!

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