Chichen Itza
Gebel Berkal

World Heritage Site

for World Heritage Travellers

Recent Community Reviews

1032 of 1073 WHS have been reviewed by our community.

Komodo National Park Svein Heltberg, Norway 16.11.17

Komodo National Park

In October 2017 we had a two week round trip in Java and Bali and it peaked with a two day mini cruise in the Komodo National Park – really the only way to see the park.

A flight took us from Denpasar, Bali, to Labuan Bajo, Flores, and a taxi took us down to the harbour. Our “small” vessel was a 50 or 60 foot wooden boat with two double cabins (for the four of us) and a crew of four. There were one day cruises available with a speedboat to Komodo, but the two day “slow cruise” is recommended.

Read on

Qhapaq Ñan Nan, Germany 15.11.17

Qhapaq Ñan

A site like Qhapaq Nan is fairly difficult to grasp. Is it the roads the Inkas built to connect all parts of their empire? Or does it refer to the sites the roads connect? Or a combination of the two? It doesn't really help that the nomination file comes in at 500 MB, the site names are somewhat cryptic IDs and that the GPS coordinates repeatedly do not match the nomination file boundaries. For a detailed discussion using Pachacamac as example, check Solivagants comments in the forum. 

Read on

Corcovado National Park and Isla del Cano Biological Reserve (T) Esteban Cervantes Jimenez, Costa Rica 15.11.17

Corcovado National Park and Isla del Cano Biological Reserve (T)

Site visited on my December-January vacations, for a whole week, a trip that I had been wishing to do since my childhood’s readings about the Costa Rican National Park System, that helped me highlight the importance of the Osa peninsula conservation complex.

The Nature:

After visiting both protected areas, I think they fully live up to Corcovado’s name as “the most biologically diverse point on Earth”. During my visits to 2 different ranger stations (closer San Pedrillo and farther away and more pristine Sirena), I saw many more different species than I had ever seen in any national park in my country, and in different life stages, daytimes, and habitats than I had seen them before.

Read on

Sucre Nan, Germany 15.11.17


Sucre is one of the prettiest cities in Latin America I have encountered in my travels so far. Immediately when I exited the shared cab from Potosi and stepped out at Parque Simon Bolivar, I was smitten by the white colonial and post colonial buildings that make up the city center. Personally, I would put it near the top along sites as illustrious as San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato. To me it's second only to Mexico City.

Read on

Pulacayo, Industrial Heritage Site (T) Nan, Germany 11.11.17

Pulacayo, Industrial Heritage Site (T)

For my 2017 trip to South America I ventured a bit off the beaten path, at least in terms of WHS travel. A colleague more or less implored me to include the Salar de Uyuni in my itinerary. At first I was a bit hesitant as Uyuni is not on the list, so doing the detour and spending three full days here, seemed excessive. Eventually, I gave in and made my travel arrangements accordingly. And I have to concur, Salar de Uyuni is a great place to visit and it was the highlight of my trip.

Read on

Click here to see more recent community reviews.

Blog: WHS #648: Saint-Savin sur Gartempe

Saint-Savin sur Gartempe is a quaint French village with just over 900 inhabitants. It has a couple of hotels and restaurants, and as I was pressed into slow travel because of limited public transport options I found the place pleasant enough to stay overnight. I had a fine 4-course gourmand dinner at Le Patisson, the quality of which in such a small town provides at least one reason why so many NW Europeans choose to move to rural France. But of course at the end of the day I came just for its enlisted Abbey Church and its medieval murals.

The Abbey at the Gartempe

The next morning I started with a walk along the Gartempe river and across both bridges for some photos of the Abbey. Its size is remarkable for such a small town and it was fully included in the core zone by a minor boundary modification in 2015. Most of it though is from a much later date than the medieval murals that provide the site’s OUV.

Entrance nowadays costs 8 EUR, which includes a good booklet with explanations (without it is 1 EUR less). There's a large souvenir shop, where they even sell lollipops displaying the logo of this WHS. After buying the ticket one is directed first to the main Abbey (which features an exhibition) and the gardens, but these are mildly interesting to say it nicely. To get to the murals, you have to take another entrance: the front door of the church.

Candystick columns

At the church I was the only visitor. Upon entering the candystick-coloured columns definitely stand out. I know I’ve seen similar ones before – probably at another WHS, but where?

There are some paintings already in the porch of the huge gothic tower, where you enter. These include the Lady and the Dragon, with an especially fierce dragon. The uninterrupted strip of main murals is located in the nave, painted at a height of 17 meters in a semi-circle. The most famous painting is Noah's Ark, a crowded wooden boat with 2 copies of a few animals in front of the windows and several human passengers at the top deck. Most interesting I found the Tower of Babel - not really on scale, but you see people in elegant robes supplying stones to the builders at the top. And there’s also God introducing Eve to Adam, both looking like primitive cave people.

Tower of Babel mural

Getting to Saint-Savin by public transport is not an easy task as the schedules are mostly geared to daily commuters. The slow bus 103 leaves Poitiers 5 times a (week)day for Chauvigny, a town 19km away from Saint-Savin. Twice daily this bus connects with a ‘bus on demand’ for the final km’s, a service that has to be booked a day beforehand by phone. Otherwise you have to hope someone else did that already and you can ride along (I was lucky on a Thursday evening). As a last resort there will be taxi’s. There also is a second bus company, TER, covering this stretch – only a couple of times a day as well but they take a faster route and do not have to be prebooked. This seems to be the best choice, but I only found out about them on my way back.

Published 11 November 2017

Leave a comment
Responses to WHS #648: Saint-Savin sur Gartempe
Clyde (15 November 2017)

Sure :)

Els Slots (11 November 2017)

Thanks for your research, Clyde. I see a new Connection!

Clyde (11 November 2017)

After some research, it seems that the colourful columns are painted replicas of marble ones in The Santa Apollinare Church in Ravenna or the San Paolo Fuori Le Mura church in Rome.

The tecnique is called faux marble or marbleizing and has been used in Albi Cathedral, Peter and Paul Cathedral in St Petersburg, the Chartres Cathedral, the Pavlovsk Palace in St Petersburg, the Venus Room in Versailles Palace and many more whs for sure.


Your Count

Want to find out how many World Heritage Sites you have visited already? Use this Easy Checklist to do so.

WHS in the News