Latest Community Reviews

Late Medieval Bastioned Fortifications in Greece (T)

Tsunami Japan / USA / Greece - 16-Jan-21

Late Medieval Bastioned Fortifications in Greece (T)

The Mitilini Castle of Lesvos

In order to visit Philippi from the island of Chios where I stayed for a month in October 2020, I took a 12-hour ferry ride from Chios through the islands of Lesvos and Limnos to Kavala. 

2 and 1/2 months after I made this trip I realized that the castle I had seen near Mitilini, the main city of Lesvos and the port of call for this ferry, was a TWHS.

Even though I didn't even set my foot on the island of Lesvos, I just wanted to share this photo I took of the Late Medieval Bastioned Fortification. 

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Desert of the Discalced Carmelites and Built Ensemble of the Palace-Hotel in Bussaco (T)

Jakob Frenzel Germany - 12-Jan-21

Desert of the Discalced Carmelites and Built Ensemble of the Palace-Hotel in Bussaco (T)

October 2020 - going south from Porto to Lisbon we still had a few spots to visit in between. Before going to Coimbra that day we drove into the national park of bussaco. You can buy a car ticket at the entrance booth for reasonable 5€. We drove up to the palace hotel and first had a long hike through the Tasmanian and American forests and found a mysterious cascade with water dripping downwards. Many exotic plants and trees are standing here and especially the many ferns make this spot look like a moderate-climate jungle. We did have a map but the paths are in very Bad shape so we found ourselves crawling under fallen trees or jumping over branches. Somehow we made it to the top again and still had time to circle the palace hotel

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Qalhat

Clyde Malta - 13-Jan-21

Qalhat

I visited this WHS in December 2020. Shortly after entering Oman on what was supposed to be a free SHORT stay visa and receiving the green light to roam freely without the need of quarantine, I drove from Muscat towards the direction of Sur to secure my first WHS tick.

I chose to start off with Qalhat knowing that it would [...]

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University of Coimbra

Jakob Frenzel Germany - 12-Jan-21

University of Coimbra

October 2020 - I don't remember what we expected to see in Coimbra, but I thought of a small, cozy town with Medieval and Renaissance flair. This we could definitely find on our visit at the steep slopes towards the university. Around the Se Velha church, the narrow streets and Fado-sounds from the bars are spreading a particular charme. But the rest of the town is rather ostentatious. The Rua Sophia with its renaissance Palaces reminds a bit of Genua, whereas the university itself on top of the hill is a gigantic, threatening complex. An exception is the old university building at the Paco das Escolas, which you officially only can enter with a visit guide. We just jumped the thresholds, but visiting the university building from inside, was anyway not possible due to Covid

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Mérida

Hubert Austria - 11-Jan-21

Mérida

Under the Roman name Emerita Augusta, Mérida was an important centre on the Via de la Plata (Silver Road), the connection between Seville in Andalusia and Astorga in the north. The ancient city had about 50,000 inhabitants, quite large for the time. Today, Mérida is only slightly larger than it was in Roman times, a cosy and leisurely town compared to other sites in Spain.I visited Mérida in May 2019 on a trip through central Spain, it was the southernmost of eleven WHS on this tour. The WHS consists of 22 locations, most of which are within walking distance of the city centre, only a few are located in the countryside outside of Mérida. The combined ticket mentioned in Els' review now costs 15 euros, still a reasonable price for five sites

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Rwenzori Mountains

Michael Ayers USA - 11-Jan-21

Rwenzori Mountains

Visit in December, 2020

The post [...]

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Great Desert Landscapes (T)

Boj Philippines - 10-Jan-21

Great Desert Landscapes (T)

I visited one of the three great desert landscape locations - The Great Sand Sea in December 2018, south of Siwa Oasis. 

It is impossible not to be amazed by the massive sand dunes - gold and shining against blue sky and white cotton clouds. There is indeed beauty in the serenity. Our guide said that no one can survive or live in such an inhospitable landscape, and that everyone can only admire the desert from a certain point, but all must return to life and safety.

That temporary bonding of the eyes and soul with the endless waves of sand dunes is the therapy and healing for anyone who visit. 

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Island of Patmos

Tsunami Japan / USA / Greece - 07-Jan-21

Island of Patmos

A hole in the rock wall that might shape our future

While visiting the island of Samos from the island of Chios in mid-October 2020, due to my time constraint I made only a day trip to the island of Patmos by ferry where I stayed only for 5 hours between 10:30 and 15:30. 

The ferry departs from the port of Pythagorio, a WHS city, in Samos, so it is rather easy to combine visits to these two WHSs. The ferry ride, through some other islands, was about 2 hours. 

I had to plan the time allocation carefully, especially because both the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and the Cave of Apocalypse take an afternoon break between 13:30 and 16:00.  So I had only 3 hours between 10:30 and 13:30 to visit the two

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The Neanderthal fossil sites of Wallonia (T)

Els Slots The Netherlands - 23-Jan-21

The Neanderthal fossil sites of Wallonia (T)

There are four fossil sites included in this TWHS: the Caves of Schmerling, Scladina, Goyet and Spy. They lie within a 50km circle around the city of Namur. Scladina can be visited with a guided tour on certain Sundays, Schmerling and Spy require a pilgrimage on foot and Goyet seems to be closed indefinitely. The Neanderthal remains and associated fossils of course have been whisked away to museums and universities long ago, but these sites are mostly about the Neanderthaler lifestyle and the development of Paleoanthropology as a science.

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Imperial Kiln Sites of Jingdezhen (T)

Zoë Sheng Chinese-Canadian - 07-Jan-21

Imperial Kiln Sites of Jingdezhen (T)

As I descend to hell..oh, wrong review, although one could think by the picture on the right that's where I was heading. Jingdezhen kiln sites are by no means a visit to anything such, and in fact they are quite enjoyable.

Having previously thought that the site should be akin (akiln?) to the sites in Korea and that it should be a join inscription I find that China has more to offer than the Korean "counterpart". In truth, both places have a large claim to their porcelain heritage but I suppose China's (the word CHINA is supposed to come from Jingdezhen because they make fine China) is much bigger. I wouldn't place it at the same level as the silk road but if you think about how the porcelain industry at the time was a huge thing and put China on the map, obviously it was already on the map but everyone wanted fine porcelain from China and it got traded around the world

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Lac Abbeh : son paysage culturel, ses monuments naturels et son (T)

Boj Philippines - 08-Jan-21

Lac Abbeh : son paysage culturel, ses monuments naturels et son (T)

In October 2020, I managed to travel to five TWHS in Djibouti. Among them, Lake Abbeh Cultural Landscape proves to have the highest potential of inscription - and rightly so. There is salt mining machine in Lake Assal, while the other sites (Moucha and Maskali Islands, Foret du Day and Djibouti Downtown) need stronger arguments for OUV justification to secure UNESCO inscription. 

Lake Abbeh shares border with Ethiopia and its isolation helps maintain its pristine condition. As we headed five hours west from Djibouti City, the landscape changes dramatically from Earth, then to dirt roads to Mars, a rocky landscape within the supposed buffer zone, and finally to the Moon, a lunar landscape within core zone, where numerous volcanic chimneys and boiling hot springs are found.

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Mafra Palace, Convent and Royal Hunting Park

Jakob Frenzel Germany - 07-Jan-21

Mafra Palace, Convent and Royal Hunting Park

October 2020, the evening before our flight back to Germany we parked our camper beside this gigantic building. The last night and visit of the last Whs of this trip. We had dinner in a small restaurant opposite the Palace. In the Morning we were the first and only tourists who aimed at visiting the palaces inside. It seems to be one of Europe’s biggest buildings with hundreds of rooms. One more pompous than the next one. You could wander between the floors, marvel at old paintings, furniture, the old library. No two rooms are the same and everyone has something to offer. Most stunning were the hunting trophies and a huge pool table. It is remarkable how wealthy Portugal must have been once that their royals could allow for such a megalomania

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Nanxi River (T)

Zoë Sheng Chinese-Canadian - 06-Jan-21

Nanxi River (T)

"Charming scernery" (sic), to quote the crappy description of the 2001 documentation. Honestly, this place isn't great even if the description would be updated. I also do not believe the ENTIRE river would be inscribed but only the "better" parts north of Wenzhou which happens to be east of the much better Yandang Mountain, and thus I would call this inscription attempt either a future expansion (assuming Yandang is inscribed first which it should) or a feeble attempt to inscribe a very mediocre place. Now that this long sentence came to a close I'll say something clearer: the pictures look nice but the scenic areas aren't really that nice.

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Prehistoric Pile Dwellings

Bernard Joseph Esposo Guerrero The Philippines - 05-Jan-21

Prehistoric Pile Dwellings

The day we visited Augsburg and Roseninsel might be the least impressive leg of my World Heritage Site hunting in Europe in 2019. Augsburg kept me wondering how the monuments ever made it to the list, and Roseninsel further left me inconclusive: Did I see the site properly? I am not sure if I managed to see some remains or not, but I was hoping and I wanted to believe that I somehow managed to sight even just a piece of it from the easternmost side of the island. The ferryman never failed to mention it and the signage around even mark the areas where the remains are supposed to lie (demarcated by the floaters in the vicinity)

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The Porticoes of Bologna (T)

Hubert Austria - 04-Jan-21

The Porticoes of Bologna (T)

The topic of this tentative site is not University of Bologna, the oldest operating university in Europe, or Historic Centre of Bologna, one of the largest historic centres in Italy. The title is The Porticoes of Bologna. The nomination picks out one architectural element and focuses exclusively on it. The historic city centre is only the buffer zone of the nominated property, and the core zone does not even consist of whole buildings. Actually only the porticos are included. Really a strange nomination.Porticos are everywhere in Bologna. In the city centre, they stretch over a length of almost 40 kilometres, more if you include the outskirts. However, not the entire network is nominated

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Wadi Feiran (T)

Lauren USA - 02-Jan-21

Like the other Egyptian tentative site listInfant from this period, the description is not very clear.

Wadi Feran is a large valley that stretches along a portion of the main road between St. Catherine and the western edge of the Sinai Peninsula. When traveling back from St. Catherine to Sharm, I asked the driver to take the long way to stop at Wadi Feran and to see some of the sites along the way. Several monastic ruins can be viewed from the road, and we stopped and I went into the Greek Orthodox Convent, Deir el Banat, and saw the nearby ruins behind the working convent.

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Jeju

Airpunk Germany - 04-Jan-21

Jeju

The unique volcanic formations and ecosystems on Jeju Island have ensured the place a spot on the list of UNESCO WHS. For those with less expertise in geology or biology, this translates into “beautiful landscape with a lot of hiking opportunities”. The enlistment includes three different sites: Mount Hallasan, the Lava Tunnels and the tuff cone Seonsang Ilchulbong. My time on the island did only allow me to visit two of them which means that I skipped the Lava Tunnels. Those who love hiking and the joy of (almost) unspoilt nature while not missing the infrastructure of the civilized world will enjoy this place as I did in 2015.

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Church of San Salvador de Valdediós (T)

Argo France - 03-Jan-21

Church of San Salvador de Valdediós (T)

This tiny church is proposed as an extension of the six already inscribed “Asturian Monuments” in and around Oviedo in Northern Spain. The first three inscribed ones were the most famous and typical ones (Santa Maria and San Miguel on Monte Naranco, Santa Cristina), built at the time of king Ramiro I, which is the “zenith” period of the kingdom of Asturias. Then three other monuments were added to this serial WHS, covering earlier years (San Julian, Camara Santa). San Salvador de Valdedios would be the seventh component and would represent the last phase of the Asturian architecture.

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Rutho Monastery (T)

Lauren USA - 02-Jan-21

Rutho, more commonly spelled Raitho, Monastery is a 4th century monastic site in the town of El Tur on the Sinai Peninsula.

Like the other tentative list sites on the Sinai Peninsula there is very little information about the monastery, which is now a dependency of St. Catherine’s Monastery.  Like other monasteries in Egypt, there is generally a modern working church/monastery and nearby ruins of the historic monastery.

When traveling from St. Catherine’s back to Sharm, I asked the driver to stop by El Tur. You can see the old monastic site from the road, and I took a few pictures. However, the guards said that the site was closed and were not happy that I was taking pictures.  I’d suggest calling ahead but (like most things in Sinai), it’s not clear who to call or how to arrange

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Daphni, Hosios Loukas and Nea Moni of Chios

Tsunami Japan / USA / Greece - 18-Dec-20

Daphni, Hosios Loukas and Nea Moni of Chios

Two Visits to Nea Moni of Chios

I stayed in Greece over 2 months in October and November 2020 in my attempt to live in corona-free zones. When I planned this back in September, Greece was indeed one of the least infected countries in Europe, although as soon as I got there, the infection rate skyrocketed.

After visiting Daphni in Athens a day after visiting Bassae, I flew to the island of Chios, the birth place of Homer, to stay there for one month. I was aware that one of the three sites that comprise this WHS was on some island in the Aegean, but after visiting Daphni I didn't pay much attention. So when I realized that Nea Moni was indeed on the island of Chios, I was surprised and said I had to go visit. 

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