Recent Community Reviews

1018 of the 1052 WHS have been reviewed by visitors of this website

Citadel of the Ho Dynasty (bernard Joseph Esposo Guerrero, 23-03-2017)

Indeed, this place is off the beaten path and the only way that I could make renting a private car worth it was by combining a visit here with a visit to Trang An - Hoa Lu - Van Long; thus, a 2D/1N arranged trip made ticking off two WH sites possible

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Monuments, Sites and Cultural Landscape of Chiang Mai, Capital of Lanna (T) (Ralf Regele, 23-03-2017)

Chiang Mai is a major tourist hub in northern thailand, especially for the backpacking crowd. Luckily, it is also very beautiful, with lots and lots of temples and ruins scattered around the town. I spent the whole day just walking from temple to temple in the core of the old city, but skipped the more out-of-town elements

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Frontiers of the Roman Empire (Allan Berry, 23-03-2017)

Of all the WHS on the list, I’ve been to Hadrian’s Wall the most. Growing up, it was the closest, and as such, I’ve visited most of the best preserved sections: Birdoswald, Walltown, Halsteads, Vindolanda, Chesters. How best to officially ‘mark off’ such a familiar site?

We chose to walk a 10 mile section of the wall, from the Walltown Quarry section all the way to Halsteads fort, on a blustery but clear December afternoon, which really added to the atmosphere

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Gadara (Modern Um Qeis or Qays) (T) (Wojciech Fedoruk, 22-03-2017)

Umm Qays is located on the top of the mountain with a view of many historical regions – Jordan Valley and West Bank, See of Galilee, Golan Heights and Syria. In a good weather even Mount Hermon and Nazareth is visible from here. Its unique location made it a pilgrimage place for Palestinians that had to escape to Jordan after Six-Day War – from here they could look at most of their lost homeland

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Tehuacan-Cuicatlan Biosphere Reserve (T) (Sinuhe Reyrub, 21-03-2017)

This will be an "easy" place to know if you're planning travel to Mexico and visit several World Heritage sites: site is halfway between Mexico City and Oaxaca. Now, not everything is as simple as you think.

If you’re travelling from Mexico City to Oaxaca, passing through the city of Tehuacan, a classic route is take Highway-135 D (Cuacnopala-Oaxaca) until arriving Oaxaca; you will surely see beautiful landscapes and a small portion of the reserve, but you will not cross the heart

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Blog: WHS #627: Salins-les-Bains

From the Great Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains to the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, the production of open-pan salt is one of the more imaginative WHS of France. With an admission date of 1982 it also is one of the earlier sites on the WH List. So I was really looking forward to visiting, and it did not disappoint. I even had wanted to stay overnight at Arc-et-Senans, but when I checked 2 months beforehand the on-site hotel La Saline Royale was already fully booked for the date that I wanted.

Grande Saline of Salins-les-Bains

My planned visit on a Sunday in March left me with a dilemma: because of the limited opening hours during the winter season, I only had time to visit 1 out of the 2 inscribed locations (Arc-et-Senans or Salins-les-Bains) properly. I eventually chose Salins-les-Bains, as its features are mostly underground and less weather dependent. The site lies in the French Jura, quite a trip through the countryside away from the nearest tollway exit.

During the weekends off-season there are 3 daily tours of the underground saltworks. They are all conducted in French, although foreign speakers are provided with a leaflet in English. The stories of the guide are much more detailed though than what’s available on paper: you can download an audioguide in your language beforehand for your phone, but I forgot to do that. So I did my best to understand the French explanations.

Underground leftovers

The 1 hour tour teaches you everything that you never knew about salt. The product was so valuable in its heydays that the big Salins-les-Bains complex only had one small exit, where the labourers were checked everyday so they did not smuggle salt to the outside world with them. The factory at Salins-les-Bains was purposely built near a forested area to provide for its high energy approach to sustain the artificial evaporation process. The main distinguishing feature of Salins has been described by ICOMOS as “extraction techniques, notably the existing underground facilities, which testify to the pumping system and the production of open-pan salt”.

There’s always some excitement about an underground tour, though I must say that there aren't many original features left. The saltworks here were based on preserved layers of salt beneath the ground. Via an extraction process (partly done by horses and later using water wheels), brine would be pumped into pans and concentrated by the heat of the fire burning underneath. As crystals of salt formed these would be raked out and more brine added. The huge drying racks and fans can still be seen.

Main entrance to Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans

I left Salins-les-Bains just after noon, and decided to make a short detour to Arc-et-Senans. Both of the Saltworks were linked together by a double-pipe system. This main location is situated some 20 minutes northwards and is only open from 10-12 and 14-17. But I hoped to still get a glimpse of this highlight of classicist architecture. Well, it wasn’t really worth it: the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans are fully surrounded by a 3m high wall! The gate was locked and I could only admire the main entrance.

Published 11 March 2017 Leave a Comment

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