Latest Community Reviews

Padmanabhapuram Palace (T)

Carmen Maria David Luxembourg - 18-Jun-21

Padmanabhapuram Palace (T)

The trip started off the wrong foot. We had booked a tour through the tourist office in Trivandrum and as we got halfway, the minibus had a breakdown and all the tour director could say was that we had to wait. After 2 hours of eating red bananas, drinking coconut water and cursing next to a church (this is Kerala, after all), we finally started moving, but all I wanted to was to be done with the visit quickly. 

Once on the premises though, I regained my excitement: the woodwork is impressive. One such example is the pillar in Thai Kottaram (pictured). After reading here about the murals, I started checking the photos frantically, but then I realised that the access Upparikka Malika's topmost floor was restricted to visitors in order to preserve the paintings.

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Val di Noto

Carmen Maria David Luxembourg - 18-Jun-21

Val di Noto

''Less is more'', they say. To me it seemed feasible to cover Noto and Modica by train with enough time to return and sleep in Catania, but then I was told at the train station: "Yes, there is a train doing Siracusa-Catania at those hours, but you cannot get a ticket for it. If you go to Modica, you will have to spend the night in Siracusa''. Right. Change of plans, skipping Modica and getting more time in Catania.

Since reviews have been written on Noto, I will just say that as of June 2021 the Duomo's renovation is done (the cupola has hipster-saints, if you ask me) and they are renovating now San Domenico (the one in Els and Ian's photos). 

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Taputapuātea

Kayakka - 16-Jun-21

visited june 2018.

a once in a lifetime visit to an amazing site. having read about the site being introduced as a new world heritage location i decided i had to visit for myself.

after 5 flights, 2 ferries and 3 car rentals the site did not disappoint.

a very simple, easy and beautiful drive from the main village of uturoa.

the marae complex is on the southeast coast of raiatea on a gorgeous lagoon. it is possible to see the break in the reef beyond to see how the ancient peoples would have navigated to the site by boat.

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Pirin National Park

Hubert Austria - 15-Jun-21

Pirin National Park

“Bulgaria? Why do you go to Bulgaria to hike in a region that looks exactly like the Alps here in Austria?” This was the question my Austrian friends asked me when I showed them my photos of Pirin National Park. Of course, the answer is clear, at least for members of this community: it is a World Heritage Site. But in fact, the similarities are undeniable.Pirin National Park encompasses the northern part of the Pirin Mountains. Most of the inscribed area is above an altitude of 2000 metres, including Vihren, the highest peak at 2914 metres. The national park is best accessed at the town of Bansko on the north-eastern side. And it is here that you can see the biggest threat to the WHS and the national park, the ski area

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Mount Etna

Carmen Maria David Luxembourg - 15-Jun-21

Mount Etna

Mount Etna had been on my list for quite a while now, but some of the reviews here made me curious and disappointed at the same time: is it that boring and ugly? I started my trip on the 12th of June 2021 with the bus from Catania train station to Rifugio Sapienza. The bus driver got chatty once we left Nicolosi and by the time the bus arrived its destination, I was hooked. Together with a French couple we went for a guided tour (45 euro), first through the compulsory dress-up (only my jacket was deemed suitable) and then we took the cablecar to 2500 m (30 euro return trip). The cablecar is indeed pricey, but I felt it worth it for the spectacle we were about to enjoy. 

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Alcala de Henares

Hubert Austria - 13-Jun-21

Alcala de Henares

The Old University and Miguel de Cervantes are the keywords that characterize this World Heritage site. Too little to make Alcalá de Henares an overwhelming site, but enough for a pleasant day trip from Madrid or, as I did, one day with an overnight stay.The Universidad Complutense is remarkable because Alcalá de Henares was the first planned university town in the world. The façade of its main building is the showpiece of the town, although the Plateresque decoration is less exuberant than in Salamanca. When you step through the portal, you are standing in the first and most representative of the three courtyards. The rest of the complex can be visited with a guided tour. You can see the other two courtyards, the auditorium and some other rooms

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Le palais de Princes Eveques de Liège (T)

Els Slots The Netherlands - 19-Jun-21

Le palais de Princes Eveques de Liège (T)

The Prince-Bishops' Palace in Liège has been on Belgium’s Tentative List since 2008. It has been visited so far by 43 of our community members, but was left unreviewed by all. This restraint is probably linked to the very low 22% approval rating they gave it. Last Sunday however I decided to give it a go, as I was also curious about the rest of the city center of Liège which has undergone favourable improvements during the past years.

The palace is a testimony to the 10 centuries when Liège was an independent principiality within Europe. It was governed by prince-bishops, who combined political and religious power. The complex used to include a cathedral as well, but that was demolished in 1793 during the French Revolution-inspired uprising against the prince-bishops

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Pilgrimage Church of Wies

Airpunk Germany - 09-Jun-21

Pilgrimage Church of Wies

The Wieskirche is regarded as the pinnacle of Bavarian Rococo architecture and indeed is one of the most beautiful Rococo churches I've ever seen. However, I would rate it only as something special for real Rococo buffs (or those really interested in religious pilgrimage) as this region of Bavaria is dotted with Rococo churches. The average tourist should either start with it or be prepared to see the hundredth Trompe l'oeil fresco in Oberbayern. As I said, impressive and beautiful but you might get tired of such kind of churches after having spent some time in the region.

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Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo

Nan Germany - 08-Jun-21

Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo

In 2019, our group had a meetup. It seems pretty far away with a full year (and counting) of Covid travel limitations in the bag and the 2020  meetup having been cancelled. Anyhow.

As discussed elsewhere, we had settled on discovering the hidden jewels of Bulgaria. It was not visited much, so everyone could get their fair share of new ticks. And the assumption was that if one looks hard enough, a seasoned world heritage traveller would find a jewel among the world heritage sites; they can't all be mediocre?

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Desert Castles of Ancient Khorezm (T)

Jarek Pokrzywnicki Polska - 30-May-21

Desert Castles of Ancient Khorezm (T)

Site visited during round-Uzbekistan trip (April, 2010) – since Clyde described particular sites I will try to focus on practical aspects / description of different places. All prices were as during the time of journey (but since they will be given in USD they may be valid today – at least the level of expenses)

The sites are commonly known as Eliq Kala (Fifty Fortresses) and embrace relatively big area east of Amu-Daria river in autonomous region of Karakalpakstan. Selection for TL takes only 8 locations – maybe the most prominent / best preserved but there are much more in the area. I was travelling from central Urgench, where found a taxi driver (unofficial) with car. Unfortunately the guy was from Taskent and didn’t know the area. LP Central Asia claims that you should be prepared for the price around 50 USD for full day trip – after long negotiations I paid 40 USD but have in mind that the driver was not familiar with the area

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Abydos, city of pilgrimage of the Pharaohs (T)

Bergecn - 29-May-21

Abydos is a gem on the tentative list (since 2003).  Together with Heliopolis, Hermopolis and Amarna, the site was one of the most important religious centres in pharaonic Egypt.   It was a place of worship, pilgrimage and served as a burial place over millennia.  The main attraction is the temple of Seti I (father of Ramses II) and the adjacent Osireion, a rather mysterious underground cenotaph for the Egyptian god of fertility and resurrection. 

Abydos lies in the modern Egyptian Governorate of Sohag and can be reached by [...]

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Cuenca

Hubert Austria - 28-May-21

Cuenca

Old towns often perch on hills. But Cuenca has taken it to the extreme. Cuenca was built on a narrow rocky plateau between two ravines, one of them with vertically sloping walls. Space was sparse, so over the centuries the houses grew together into a nested whole, several storeys high or deep. Some of these houses were even extended with oriel windows and balconies that overhang the edge of the slope. And so the Casas Colgadas (Hanging Houses) have become the city's landmark. A creative way of dealing with a lack of space.

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Persepolis

Carmen Maria David Luxembourg - 27-May-21

Persepolis

If I could give it 6 stars I would do it. The level of craftsmanship shown in the delegations at Apadana for me is simply mindblowing. I visited Angkor several months after Persepolis and looking at the Khmer details, I felt slightly disappointed (I know that limestone and sandstone are not the same, but still). It takes a good guide (and not a lot of people around) to point out the intricacies of the delegations (ribbons on shoelaces, fingers bent while carrying vessels, various headgears). I am still in awe even now, 2 years after. 

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Longobards in Italy

Carmen Maria David Luxembourg - 26-May-21

Longobards in Italy

When I first saw the list of inscribed properties, I was surprised to see the south, since I was associating the longobards with the north of Italy (Lombardy). Only afterwards did I become aware that while Langobardia Maior was in the north, Langobardia Minor was centered in the centre and south (duchies of Spoleto and Benevento).

The property selected for Benevento is Santa Sofia Complex, built under Arechi II in the 8th century, which still holds paintings from 8-9 centuries. The monument did not disappoint, but then again, I am always impressed when I find art between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Carolingian Renaissance. The UNESCO plate is outside the church, on the right, as you enter the garden.

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Aranjuez

Hubert Austria - 23-May-21

Aranjuez

'Die schönen Tage in Aranjuez sind nun zu Ende.' The drama Don Carlos by Friedrich Schiller starts with these words. I am not sure whether Schiller is historically correct when describing the reign of Philip II in his play. Correct is that Philip II declared Aranjuez a 'Real Sitio' in 1560, and that he commissioned the construction of the Palacio Real in the same year. My impression was also that the best days for Aranjuez are gone when I visited the site in May 2019. But not because the palace and gardens were in bad condition (on the contrary, everything was nice and well maintained). It was rather because the area around the palace was almost deserted on that weekday morning.

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Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves

Jarek Pokrzywnicki Polska - 20-May-21

Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves

Site visited during Panama – Costa Rica trip (November, 2017) – since Els carefully described Costa Rican part of this serial heritage I will focus on Panamanian side. Technically, this National Park in Panama is divided in two sections: Las Nubes (in the south of Talamanca Range, Chiriquí Province) and Wekso (northern part, Bocas del Toro Province, more interesting, but far more difficult to get).

As I was travelling from Coiba National Park by public transport I went only to Las Nubes. It is possible to get from Santa Catalina (main access village for Coiba snorkeling activities) to Cerro Punta (central village around Talamanca Range) within one day. The journey requires 3 different buses and some luck. From Santa Catalina you should take first bus to Santiago de Varaguas, than change to the one for David, and change again there for the final trip to Cerro Punta (via Volcan). With a bit of luck you should arrive late in the afternoon to Cerro Punta

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Toledo

Hubert Austria - 18-May-21

Toledo

Toledo was the World Heritage site I was most looking forward to before I left for my trip through central Spain in May 2019. And I was not disappointed. Toledo is an intriguing city. Three religions have left their mark in the old town. Christians, Muslims and Jews lived here together more or less peacefully for centuries, until 1492. A Gothic cathedral, numerous other Christian churches, a former mosque and two former synagogues can be found close to each other. The city's architectural ensemble has remained almost unchanged over the last five centuries.

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El Pinacate

Dan Pettigrew USA - 19-May-21

El Pinacate

I visited in April 2021 to El Pinacate. The Shuck Toak Visitors Center has a lot of good information about the area and it's history. I was the only one there that morning and they started a documentary in English in the theater for me. They informed me the reason the entrance to the loop road to El Pinacate was closed was that a property owner in the area was creating problems. They didn't explain what the problems were but that I wouldn't have been allowed anyway because I was traveling by motorcycle. With that development I chose to hike out to the dunes, the largest in North America. They have you sign a form when you go out and then again when you leave to make sure you made it out. I saw one other person out at the dunes and she was really impressed by them

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Keoladeo National Park

Nan Germany - 16-May-21

Keoladeo National Park

When you hunt for WHS there are sites you pick up along the road, but that you didn't really plan for. Keoladeo and nearby Fatipur Sikri to a lesser extent were such sites for me.

The principal town of the area, Agra, featured high on my travel bucked list for India: As every other tourist to India, I wanted to see the Taj Mahal. With this fix point set it followed that I should also visit the sites of the area, including a national park renown for birds.

Now, I am not much of a birder, rather the opposite. And India tends to be highly settled with very little original nature left. In this case even more so, as the wetland that forms the national park is an artificial creation by the English to attract birds for... hunting. So what to make of this national park?

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Urnes Stave Church

Nan Germany - 31-Mar-21

Urnes Stave Church

On the eastern shores of the Lusterfjord in Western Norway lies Urnes Stave Church. It's a wooden church and there are plenty of those inscribed on the list. But stave churches in general and Urnes in particular are distinctly Norwegian and clearly a world apart from the many flavors of wooden churches you find in e.g. Eastern Europe.

Urnes itself isn't a large church. It's a small church that can host maybe 20 (?) people, mostly the family of the local noble as it was a private church belong to the noble's estate

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