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World Heritage Site

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Recent Community Reviews

1033 of 1073 WHS have been reviewed by our community.

Ban Chiang Solivagant, UK 17.12.17

Ban Chiang

Oh, how I love WHS like Ban Chiang (BC) - It may not offer iconic monuments but it is relatively infrequently visited and uncrowded, covers a lesser known but interesting/significant historical period/culture and has plenty of “issues” regarding its inscription and recent history, together with opportunities for “post-visit investigation”!! Since its discovery in 1966, BC has experienced world-wide fame as the cradle of a “newly discovered civilisation” which had independently developed its own bronze making technology, followed by archaeological controversy and revision, and looting of its treasures, leading to international action to try to recover them. Its pottery artefacts fill private collections Worldwide and grace musea in USA, London and Berlin. I report (at some length!!) on some of the “issues” below in the light of our visit in Nov 2017.

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Historic Centre of Tchernigov, 9th -13th centuries (T) Tsunami, Japan / USA / Poland 17.12.17

Historic Centre of Tchernigov, 9th -13th centuries (T)

I visited Chernihiv (Chernigov in Russian) in December 2017.

The provincial city of 300,000 people 100 miles NE of Kiev was surprisingly modern, well, at least the center was. It was filled with many pleasant cafes and was completely devoid of the physical turmoils in the east of the country and the political one in Kiev, at least to the eyes of this foreigner who stayed there only for 3 nights.

But this is a very historic city. In fact it's so much so that I'd call this city Veliky Novgorod of Ukraine, which I have visited twice before. Indeed both cities played major roles in the formation of Kievan Rus in the 9th century and come with the oldest church in each country.

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Royal Exhibition Building Frederik Dawson, Netherlands 17.12.17

Royal Exhibition Building

Before I visited Melbourne’s World Heritage Site, the Royal Exhibition Building, I had no expectation after read few negative reviews and I already knew that I had no chance to see the interior since the university booked the building as examination venue for the whole week. I entered this UNESCO complex from the rear side of Carlton Park. This side of the park was peaceful with many lawns and big trees along the pathways, typical English styled garden, actually I quite enjoyed the park as I already gave up the idea of exploring its OUV on botany. Then I saw the gigantic complex of modern Melbourne Museum. Maybe there was no special exhibition during my visit, I did not feel that the museum got more attention from the Royal Exhibition Building. Actually, I deeply impressed the contrast of these two buildings.

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Venetian Works of Defence Alexander Parsons, Australia 13.12.17

Venetian Works of Defence

The Fortress of St Nicholas outside Sibenik in Croatia is probably the most decrepit WHS I have visited. Not in the sense of simply being a ruin, but in that it feels entirely abandoned, with no significant attempts at developing it for ‘safe’ tourism. This will probably change over the next few years. The general area seems to be a reasonably popular picnic destination, with a newly constructed EU-funded walking trail along the coast allowing for an easy afternoon walk from the car park, but few bother to actually go inside. This is understandable, as there are two ways to manage this, neither of which are especially practical. Firstly, from the land-side, there is a long wooden plank leading up to a hole in the fortress’ upper walls. This plank is held in place by a rock, and only manages to get halfway up to the entrance.

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Mount Athos Alexander Parsons, Australia 13.12.17

Mount Athos

I visited Mount Athos in November 2017, staying three nights. While I certainly enjoyed my visit, it is also something of a cautionary tale, as I definitely did not get the most out of the experience as I could have.

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Blog: WHS On Banknotes

While preparing for my upcoming trip to Namibia, I found out that South African Rands are as commonly used there as Namibian dollars. That meant that it would be worth sifting through my unorganized plastic box of leftover banknotes and coins in search for South African Rands from a previous trip.

Leftover banknotes and coins

As I had some time on my hands, I organized all banknotes into 28 envelopes: one envelope per country. I handled the dirty Indian rupees, wondered about the Ukrainian hryvnia and enjoyed the feeling of the polymer notes of Singapore, Malaysia and Canada. I counted the notes as well, hoping to find a small fortune but most of it is nearly worthless. Only the 7,700 Japanese Yen (about 59 EUR) can be a nice starter for a future trip to Japan. Maybe I should just save these random banknotes, they can become more sought after later.

The favourite in my personal banknote "collection" is the 250 Iraqi dinar note showing the Samarra spiralling minaret, that I brought home from my 2014 Iraqi Kurdistan trip. Currency showing WHS are extra special of course, although I do not have a lot of it.

Especially for this sentiment we’ve had the WHS On Banknotes connection for long. It has no less than 122 connected sites, so at least 8% of the WHS has been featured on a banknote. When I finished working on the actual banknotes, I went on to clean up the connection by adding or changing links to images of banknotes. It wasn’t difficult to find even more connected sites: lots of countries find inspiration among WHS, India for example has a number of them in its current series. The Scottish Clydesdale Bank even issued a full World Heritage series in 2009, showing St Kilda, Edinburgh Old and New Towns, New Lanark, the Antonine Wall and Neolithic Orkney.

Samarra mosque at 250 Iraqi dinar note

The 2016 issue of the new 5 pound (polymer!) note of the Bank of England even includes both Blenheim Palace (its maze as a hologram) and Westminster Palace. They have to share their space with the faces of the Queen and Winston Churchill however. So my vote for the best WHS banknote goes somewhere else: to my beloved Nepal, which features two of my favourite WHS on its 1000 rupee bank note. It shows Sagarmatha National Park (Mount Everest) and Kathmandu Valley (Swayambhunath Temple). Mount Everest by the way can be seen at every current Nepali rupee note.

Other notable WHS on banknotes include those depicting the Old City of Jerusalem: Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel all show parts of it on their banknotes. The three Islamic countries choose the Dome of the Rock and/or the Al Aqsa Mosque. Israel went for a stylized Jerusalem skyline on the older 50 shekel bill, and an almost invisible Temple Mount at the current 50 shekel note. Other examples of countries displaying WHS located in other countries I have not been able to find.

Two WHS on 1000 Nepali rupee note

Oh and what about those South African banknotes? I did not find any, only a few coins. There will be no 'WHS On Banknotes' souvenirs from this trip: South Africa has Nelson Mandela (5x) and the Big Five (the wild mammals, one each) displayed on its banknotes. Namibia has chosen similar themes for its dollar notes, though it selected not one single national hero but two (Sam Nujoma and Hendrik Witbooi) and five species of antelope!

Published 16 December 2017

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Responses to WHS On Banknotes
Colvin (17 December 2017)

This is a fascinating blog post, Els! You made mention of how unusual it is for a country to feature a World Heritage Site from another country on its currency. The United States actually has done this once before, though it is a bit obscure. From 1862 to 1882 the US issued a $1000 bill with the scene of US General Winfield Scott entering Mexico City during the Mexican American War. In the background is the Metropolitan Cathedral, part of the Historic Center of Mexico City and Xochimilco WHS. Unfortunately, these bills have been lost to time. I'll put a link to the picture in the forum, since links aren't allowed in the comments here.


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