Latest Community Reviews

Daphni, Hosios Loukas and Nea Moni of Chios

Nan Germany - 11-Sep-20

Daphni, Hosios Loukas and Nea Moni of Chios

The Byzantine monasteries of Daphni, Hosious Louas and Nea Moni were built in the 11th century, in what amounted to the peak of Roman power and also the beginning of the ultimate demise. Around the turn of the millennia, the Romans had pushed the Arabs out of the Eastern Anatolian border regions and recaptured parts of Armenia and Syria, protecting their Anatolian heartlands against the incessant Arab raids of previous centuries. On the Balkans, Emperor Basil II, aptly nicknamed the Bulgar Slayer, had subdued the Bulgarian Empire in a decades spanning war. When he died in 1025 CE, the Empire was as powerful and large as it hadn't been since Justinian.

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Popocatepetl monasteries

Frédéric M Canada - 18-Oct-20

Popocatepetl monasteries

I am afraid that this review will bring very little new information, as I visited the same two monasteries as most of the previous reviewers, la Catedral de Cuernavaca and Tepoztlán Ex Convento Dominico de la Natividad. These two sites offered an interesting perspective on the beginnings of the evangelization of indigenous peoples in Mexico, but the September 2017 earthquake in the state of Puebla affected my appreciation of the sites. Indeed, although I visited the monasteries in March 2019, almost a year and a half after the earthquake, the damage had still not been repaired and the interior of the monasteries was inaccessible.

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Epidaurus

Nan Germany - 15-Sep-20

Epidaurus

A way to get history wrong is to apply a modern understanding or concept to a historic context. One such term is religion. The term itself is actually rather modern and deviates substantially from the classical or even medieval definition. As such, seeing the image of a classical church when you visit a Greek temple is misplaced.

Epidauros shows this quite nicely. Devoted to the Greek god of healing (Asklepios) this nominally is a temple, i.e. a religious institution by our modern standards. But in reality you are rather in a medical facility where patients would seek treatments for ailments and the priests acted as physicians. The treatments are very similar to what you find in a spa town nowadays.

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Archaeological Site of Delphi

Astraftis Italy - 06-Oct-20

Archaeological Site of Delphi

I am quite disconcerted at reading other travellers' comments that Delphi might not be the best in Greece, or that its ruins might be disappointing... allow me to claim that Delphi actually is among the top 3 archaeological sites in Greece (at least for me)!!! And this comes from a blend of history and setting.

My first (and until now only) visit to Delphoí came quite late (October 2018) when considering my numerous previous forays in Greece, and I was quite excited at the idea

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Oaxaca and Monte Alban

Frédéric M Canada - 03-Oct-20

Oaxaca and Monte Alban

Oaxaca, the capital and largest city of the eponymous state, has a remarkable colonial centre. I spent six days in this region in March 2019, often using the city as a base camp for excursions to the surrounding area.

The colonial centre is noteworthy for its rectilinear urban plan and massive cantera stone architecture. The Zócalo (Plaza de la Constitución), one of the few tree-lined areas in the centre, is particularly lively and very pleasant. It is bordered to the north by the gigantic Catedral Metropolitana de Oaxaca. The current building, dating from 1733, has a stunning Baroque façade, but a rather banal interior. A little to the north on the pedestrian Calle Macedonio Alcalá, lies the breathtaking Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán, one of the most beautiful churches I have visited in Mexico (photo). Exuberant bas-reliefs cover the walls and ceilings, notably illustrating the Dominican family tree. It is a true Baroque masterpiece

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Deer Stone Monuments, the Heart of Bronze Age Culture (T)

Astraftis Italy - 02-Oct-20

Deer Stone Monuments, the Heart of Bronze Age Culture (T)

Disclaimer: at first I was convinced I had visited exactly one of the three sites of this TWHS, but then, after better checking, it seems that in mid-August 2018 I was at a smaller field of deer stones of which I can't remember the name between Khatgal (the town on the Khövsgöl lake) and Mörön and near to the Erkhel lake (Эрхэл нуур), not far from the proposed one of Uushgiin övör (Уушгийн өвөр). It was off the beaten track and not so easy to find, but still not so distant from the main road (and of course absolutely no signs). Since the deer stones there are of the same kind as in the other sites and in the same area, I think I can count this as a "visit".

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Virgin Komi Forests

Alexander Barabanov Russia - 04-Oct-20

Virgin Komi Forests

Visited this site in August 2020 as weekend trip from Moscow. I decided to visit Manpupuner Plateau, which is located in the heart of Pechoro-Ilychskiy Nature Reserve, part of Virgin Komi Forests site. The quick visit here without hard backpacking is only possible with helicopter tour. The logistics has changed as compared with visit made by Martina Ruckova back in 2017. The change is explained to improve accessibility of the helicopter flight due to weather conditions. You first fly on your own to Ukhta, then the car drives you 170 km through sometimes good and sometimes awful road to Troizko-Pechorsk. Troizko-Pechorsk is a depressive municipal village located on the shores of the Pechora River and is the closest large inhabited point to the Pechoro-Ilychskiy Nature Reserve

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Archipelago of la Maddalena and Islands of Bocche di Bonifacio (T)

Els Slots The Netherlands - 22-Oct-20

Archipelago of la Maddalena and Islands of Bocche di Bonifacio (T)

The La Maddalena archipelago comprises the Italian part of the future Strait of Bonifacio transboundary nomination. After having visited the Corsican side earlier on this Mediterranean trip, I also checked out this Sardinian location. It has a very different feel about it, nothing like the steep cliffs at Bonifacio. However it must be said that I did not visit the Corsican Lavezzi Islands (“miniature paradise of sandy creeks and crystal-clear water”) which may be more similar to La Maddalena. 

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Tiya

Astraftis Italy - 29-Sep-20

Tiya

Tiya was one of the first things I saw of Ethiopia, on a morning of August in 2015, after having been picked up by our drivers/guides from the airport together with my small group at dawn, after little or no sleep (it seems that my experience was quite similar to Juha's). Our final destination was the south and the Omo valley, but on that first day the guides had planned to bring us (also) here on the way to our first stop-over in Hawassa; from this and the fact that a troupe of a local television was there to take an interview with us, I got the impression that they were trying to promote the site somehow.

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Old Synagogue and Mikveh in Erfurt (T)

Clyde Malta - 25-Sep-20

Old Synagogue and Mikveh in Erfurt (T)

I visited this tentative WHS in August 2020 as a convenient stopover during my road trips to Poland. Perhaps due to the recent unexpected positive experience I had while visiting the synagogue in Zamosc, combined with the lack of hospitality shown by the old synagogue reception staff in Erfurt, I really did not enjoy my visit and sincerely hope this tentative WHS never makes it on the list as in my opinion it lacks any tangible OUV.

That said, at least I got some value out of the 8 euro entrance fee from the Erfurt treasure permanently displayed inside since 2009. The treasure was discovered in 1998 buried underneath the wall of a cellar entrance most likely during the pogrom of 1349. This is probably the main reason why the site is heavily guarded and photography inside is strictly not allowed. Bags (even very small ones) have to be left in free lockers at the reception. The old synagogue is closed on Mondays and entrance is free every first Tuesday of the month. The highlight of the Erfurt treasure for me was the intricate early fourteenth century Ashkenazi wedding ring

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Çatalhöyük

Astraftis Italy - 28-Sep-20

Çatalhöyük

Again, a place I went to as a last-minute decision and probably the most fascinating archaeological site I have visited up to date.

Some personal story of the visit: it was back in early August 2012, so the site had just been nominated on the list. In fact, I do not remember if I was aware of its World-Heritage status, but surely my guide book wasn't. I was just curious of the description and, as it happend that we (a group of 5 people) were in Konya and heading to Kapadokia the next day, I managed to convince a friend to set off for Çatalhöyük at 6am, so as to be back at a decent time to continue with the others. And so it was!

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Paper Mill in Duszniki-Zdrój (T)

Clyde Malta - 19-Sep-20

Paper Mill in Duszniki-Zdrój (T)

I visited this tentative WHS in August 2020. The 17th century paper mill in Duszniki-Zdroj is only 1.5hrs away from the Church of Peace WHS in Swidnica or the Centennial Hall WHS in Wroclaw.

This paper mill environment is very similar to the Derwent Mills WHS in the UK even though the two-lane road leading to the town is much closer to the mill. If you visit by car, there is free parking a couple of metres before the mill proper next to a huge Chopin graffiti. The mill seems to be quite popular especially among Poles and already at 9am I wasn't the only one waiting to go in. From November to April it is open every day except Mondays, while during the rest of the year it is open every day. The paper-making demonstrations usually only start at 10am.

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Curonian Spit

Jarek Pokrzywnicki Polska - 29-Sep-20

Curonian Spit

As everybody described Lithuanian part of Curonian Spit I will focus on Russian part of this cultural heritage site. Visited in July, 2019, while it was possible to visit Kaliningrad Oblast (Królewiec) without Russian visa.

Access from Polish side - border crossing at Grzechotki / Mamonovo - 2  by own car, and then normal transit via Zelenogradsk towards Curonian Spit National Park (Национальный Парк Куршская Коса). Entrance to the park from Russian side is paid - 150 rubles per person and 300 rubles per vehicle. The point where they collect money is located here 54°58'33.0"N 20°31'13.7"E (Kontrol'no-Propusknoy Punkt Natsional'nogo Parka Kurshskaya Kosa, контрольно-пропускной пункт национального парка Куршская коса). The booth is located some 30 meters from the main road, so if you want to buy the ticket to enter the park, you just stop the car on the road (there is no parking space) blocking the passage

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Zamosc

Clyde Malta - 15-Sep-20

Zamosc

I visited this WHS in August 2020 after a never ending drive due to roadworks and deviations. It will always have a special place in my memory as by visiting it I completed Poland's WHS and reached my 500th WHS milestone.

Zamosc is quite a small WHS and its main square can be compared to Telc's in Czechia or to Bardejov's in Slovakia. While the latter lacked any outstanding element, the former was more complete with excellent varietes of townhouse facades all around the square. Only a few 'Armenian' town houses next to the town hall (photo) are on par with Telc's townhouses. On the other hand, the old town of Zamosc has a unique layout and an outstanding implementation of the theory of the “ideal town” based on a plan of a human figure. The Zamoyski Palace was the head, the Zamoyski Academy and the Collegiate Church were the lungs, the Town Hall was arranged at the heart, and Grodzka Street formed the backbone running from the Palace to Bastion VII

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Sacred Mountains of Mongolia (T)

Astraftis Italy - 27-Sep-20

Sacred Mountains of Mongolia (T)

I am honoured to be the first to describe this tentative WHS site. No wonder, though, because if it ever makes it to the list, it will surely be one of the toughest and most laborious to tick off in its entirety: Mongolia is huge and extremely sparse, and each of these peaks easily requires days of travel hiring local drivers to go there, and travelling is never an easy nor a fast task in Mongolia.

I realised to have been lucky enough to ascend one of these "dear ones", as many mountains are euphemistically called (traditionally, out of respect you should not utter the names of mountais or passes, especially difficult ones, when you are near them, so as not to attract misfortunes), namely the Khan Bayanzürkh (Хан баянзүрх xайрхан) mountain back in August 2018. The name more or less means "King Rich-Heart", and one of its symbols is a crown

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Warsaw

Clyde Malta - 14-Sep-20

Warsaw

I visited this WHS in August 2020. The near total reconstruction of the Historic Centre of Warsaw is really outstanding and unlike other WHS such as Regensburg in Germany or Torun in Poland itself, the quality of the reconstruction is so high and on such a large but meticulous scale that it wouldn't be unheard of to think that most of the old city centre is from Medieval times.

Warsaw was deliberately annihilated in 1944 as a repression of the Polish resistance to the German occupation. The capital city was reduced to ruins with the intention of obliterating the centuries old tradition of Polish statehood. The rebuilding of the historic city, 85% of which was destroyed, was the result of the determination of the inhabitants and the support of the whole nation. The reconstruction of the old city centre in its historic urban and architectural form was the manifestation of the care and attention taken to assure the survival of one of the most important testimonial of Polish culture

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Bouches de Bonifacio (T)

Els Slots The Netherlands - 16-Oct-20

Bouches de Bonifacio (T)

The Bouches de Bonifacio (in English: Strait of Bonifacio) is the narrow, navigable waterway that segregates Corsica and Sardinia. This natural ensemble is on the Tentative List of France as a placeholder for a future transboundary nomination with Italy’s La Maddalena Archipelago. The countries are working on the establishment of the joint “International Marine Park of the Strait of Bonifacio”.

The Strait is named after the town of Bonifacio, located at the southern tip of Corsica. It lies on and against a massive rock, part of a rugged coast with vertical rock walls. I stayed there for 2 nights, with the plan to hike in the nature reserve and to make the crossing to Sardinia

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Fishpond Network in the Trebon Basin (T)

Astraftis Italy - 26-Sep-20

Fishpond Network in the Trebon Basin (T)

This was a case of serendipitous discovery for me during my car trip in Southern/Central Czech Republic (August 2020). I decided just the day before to spend a night in Třeboň on the way from Český Krumlov to Telčm following sugegstions from the locals, and then, the day after, it was just because I took the "wrong" road trying to reach the Renaissance church in the minuscule hamlet of Hamr that I could really appreciate the fishpond network.

The day was moody, foggy and rainy, very unlucky for late August, but this might have [...]

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Cíes Islands–Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park (T)

Argo France - 13-Sep-20

Cíes Islands–Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park (T)

Visiting the national park of Galician Atlantic Islands requires a little bit of anticipation. It is made of four groups of islands ashore the Rias of Galicia, but only two of them can be easily accessed: the ones of Cies and Ons. There are different companies operating boats from different Galician cities to the islands, from Easter until autumn on weekends, and daily during summer. The number of visitors every day is limited, so you must first obtain a permit from the National Park website: you request it online (one per person) and receive a code (by e-mail) which you must then indicate when booking the boat trip

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L'viv

Nan Germany - 10-Sep-20

L

After the first partition of Poland in 1772, L'viv (Polish Lvov, German Lemberg) became part of Austrian Empire and was the capital of the region of Galicia. It would grow to be the 4th largest city of first the Austrian, then the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Walking around it's old town today, you clearly see the Austrian influence in the architecture: It's feels like a small Vienna, quite out of place this far east.

While the Austrians, initially tried to Germanize the region, they never succeeded. Eventually, Polish became the administrative language spoken in the city by the Polish elite, while Ruthenian (Ukrainian) was the language of the countryside and the peasant population

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