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1180 of 1199 WHS have been reviewed by our community.

Great Smoky Mountains

Digits Ireland - 14-Jul-24

Great Smoky Mountains

Three generations of my family visited the Great Smoky Mountains at the beginning of June 2024, being in almost the four corners of the national park over four days out of our 10 day trip across Tennessee. This provided us the opportunity to take in the expanse of “scenic vistas of characteristic mist-shrouded mountains”, the “clear running streams” and the ancient and ecologically rich woodlands that see this site inscribed under four natural criteria. 

We flew into Knoxville, rented a car (is there any other option?), entered the park through the Townsend / Wear Valley direction before embarking on a 31 mile trip along the Foothills Parkway which closely matches the boundary of the park and racks up plenty of the aforementioned scenic vistas. One of them is Look Rock Tower which is actually an air pollution monitoring station needed due to extensive coal power plants in the Tennessee Valley. Since 2023, it is now required to have an official paid parking tag matched to a license plate number to park anywhere in the national park for longer than 15 minutes

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Patrik Netherlands - 07-Jul-24


There is a bus from Paramaribo 3 or 4 times a week, leaving for Casipora at 8.30h. It passes right by the access road to the Jodensavanne and takes around 2 hours, including a shopping stop of about 20 minutes at a Chinese supermarket along the way.

The driver told me the return bus passes around 12.10h but when I left Jodensavanne at noon, the caretaker said the bus will only pass the police checkpoint, which is close to the bridge over the Suriname river. So I walked there, arriving around 12.20 and waited and waited until a car stopped around 12.50h and asked me where I am going, and took me back to Paramaribo.

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Evaporitic Karst and Caves

Clyde Malta - 12-Jul-24

Evaporitic Karst and Caves

I visited this WHS in June 2023. Since I visited before inscription I wasn't sure which components would be inscribed or left out, so to be on the safe side I picked the 200 million year old circa Triassic Gypsums (Gessi Triassici) evaporite karsts around the Alta Valle Secchia component, making sure to visit the Tanone Grande-Tanone Piccolo cave system which is mentioned quite a number of times in the nomination dossier. Not being a speleologist and usually not so comfortable in claustrophobic crawling and messy activities in muddy terrain, my target was to safely get to the entrance of the caves alone and explore a small area which is clearly in the core zone (a headlamp and a hard hat are a must).

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City of Bath

Elena Y Ireland - 11-Jul-24

City of Bath

We visited Bath by way of the beautiful Bristol Temple Meads station in February for our anniversary. It's not the best time to see it, as anyone familiar with the wet weather of these isles could surmise, but it was an enriching time nonetheless. When the sun did decide to rear its head on the last of three days, the already beautiful Georgian architecture became all the better. Our first stop was the famed Royal Crescent, more precisely the No. 1 Town House exhibit. It's an odd visit with projections and dialogue from actors playing historical inhabitants, which does at least make it stand out from the myriad other preserved houses that the UK has (YMMV on how tacky it is, I found it as tasteful as something of that nature can be)

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Tusi Sites

Els Slots The Netherlands - 11-Jul-24

Tusi Sites

As it has been 5 years already since the last review, I can provide some updated information on visiting the location of Laosicheng – the "Machu Picchu of China".

When doing it all on public transport, be aware that it takes a full day from Zhangjiajie. The return trip (including 2-3 hours at the site) takes 9 hours at best; leaving 10+ hours between your departure from Zhangjiajie and any onward transport from that city upon return is even better.

I started from Zhangjiajie bus station (next to the Central Railway Station), where at 7.30 I caught the minibus to Yongshun (2h15)

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Blog Books

Book: Seven Wonders

I recently have been reading ‘The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World’ by Bettany Hughes. It’s a very comprehensive account of the sites on this ancient Wonder-list and is based on up-to-date research. She sets out to discover "what the Seven Wonders meant to 'them' - to our relatives across time - and what they do and can mean to us". The introduction chapter also details the ways of early ‘list-making’ – Hellenistic travellers were just as enthusiastic about groupings as we are today, frequently using lists of sevens (the most beautiful rivers, the highest mountains, etc.). An explanation she provides is that these groupings give cohesion to history. 

The Wonders

I learned quite a bit from the book and also found further links to (T)WHS, so I could upgrade the existing connection. The Seven Wonders in chronological order, what’s left to see and their link to (T)WHS, were:

1. The Great Pyramid at Giza: the oldest Wonder but the only one still standing and the main component of a WHS. Only the Romans weren’t impressed! 

The Wonder features prominently in the OUV statement for Memphis and its Necropolis in criterion i: “In Memphis was founded one of the most important monuments of the world, and the only surviving wonder of the ancient world, namely, the Great Pyramid of Giza”

2. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon: the most enigmatic Wonder because it is unclear whether they ever existed, or whether they were located in Babylon or Nineveh. Some early Wonder lists named the ‘Walls of Babylon’ instead.

Its wondrous elements (Gardens, Tower) are part of the OUV of the WHS of Babylon, the (very short) TWHS description of Nineveh has no reference to it. We also had Museuminsel as part of the connection with its remains of the Ishtar Gate now in the Pergamon Museum, but I removed it to keep it more to the point (maybe we can create a new Connection with WHS connected to the Seven Wonders in the second grade).

3. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus: this very large temple with a creative design at the time was a living cult site accessible to all, like the ones we now encounter in India. There's a link with the TWHS of Sardis, as this site provided the gold that funded the rebuilding of the temple in the 6th century BCE.

The Temple gets a short reference in the WHS of Ephesus OUV statement (“Little remains of the famous Temple of Artemis, one of the ‘seven wonders of the world’ which drew pilgrims from all around the Mediterranean until it was eclipsed by Christian pilgrimage”)

4. The Statue of Zeus at Olympia: this huge golden statue, seated inside a temple, was visited by many, especially during the peaceful years when the Olympian Games were held. A single column of the temple is left standing, parts of the statue were later transported to Constantinople where they were displayed for some time near the Hippodrome.

The OUV of Olympia still heavily references it, even in criterion I (“The sanctuary of the Altis contained one of the highest concentrations of masterpieces of the ancient Mediterranean world. Many have been lost, such as the Olympia Zeus, a gold-and-ivory cult statue which was probably destroyed by Pheidias between 438 and 430 BC and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.”)

5. The Mausoleum of Halikarnassos: the mother of all Mausolea, named after the Karian king Mausolos. It was standing until 1400, when it was toppled by an earthquake. The ruins can still be visited in Bodrum, although most of the interest now lies underground.

The archaeological site of Halikarnassos has been on Turkey’s T List, but was removed in 1996. The current TWHS Bodrum Castle is also linked to this Wonder, as its spolia were used in building the Crusader Castle nearby and the proposed OUV partly relies on that fact.

6. The Colossus of Rhodes: this huge bronze statue of the sun god Helios only stood upright for about 60 years, before an earthquake destroyed it.

Although what has been inscribed as a WHS is the Medieval City of Rhodes, the OUV statement (criterion iv) still refers to the Colossus: “The fact that this medieval city .. commands a port formerly embellished by the Colossus erected by Chares of Lindos, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, only adds to its interest.” However, the image of the giant straddling two sides of the harbour (photo above) is a medieval invention. It is now thought that the statue stood at the highest point of the City of Rhodes – maybe where the Grandmaster’s Castle now is or (more likely) at Monte Smith where the Helian Games were held. However, no traces have ever been found.

The Colossus also served as a source of inspiration for Bartholdi in designing the Statue of Liberty.

7. The Pharos Lighthouse at Alexandria: it survived until 1303 when it was felled by an earthquake as well. The foundations can still be seen and parts have been reused in the Fort.

Alexandria features on Egypt's T List as “Alexandria, ancient remains and the new library” and its description mentions “The lighthouse was one of the seven wonders of the world in antiquity. Its outline is known only from coins, a Byzantine mosaic discovered in Libya and the remains of a similar lighthouse in Taposiris Magna.”

Visiting them all

I added a new Community Ranking list of the members who have visited all 5 directly linked WHS and also 'ticked' the TWHS of Bodrum Castle and Alexandria - the closest remainders of the 2 non-WHS Wonders.

In Antiquity, Alexander the Great reportedly visited 5 out of the 7 original Wonders – the 6th and 7th date from after his death.

Els - 21 July 2024

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