Menu Close

Category: World Heritage

Chasing World Heritage: #124 (Guimaraes)

Chasing World Heritage: #124 (Guimarães)

The first capital of Portugal way back in the 12th century, Guimarães is recognized on the World Heritage list as an authentic example of the evolution of a medieval settlement into a modern town. Its historic center is a homogeneous architectural ensemble in a style that is native to the…

Bom Jesus do Monte

Bom Jesus do Monte

The city of Braga did not make the final cut of our Portugal itinerary aside from one single sight on the outskirts of the town. The sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte is comparatively young for a religious site – the pilgrimage church dates only from the 17th century, and…

Chasing World Heritage and drinking wine: #123 (Douro Valley)

Chasing World Heritage with wine: #123 (Douro Valley)

There are several properties on the World Heritage list that celebrate historic and famous wine-producing regions. My fairly well-known affinity for wine notwithstanding, I have never managed a visit to one of those sites that would actually revolve around wine. Which made our day-trip to Alto Douro the first of…

Porto (WHS #122)

Porto (WHS #122)

The very first adjective to use to describe Porto has to be colorful. Yes, the city has a lot of history and quite a few significant monuments and points of interest – which is the main reason why it as a whole is a World Heritage site – but it’s…

Coimbra (including WHS #121)

Coimbra (including WHS #121)

Coimbra is the fourth-largest city in Portugal, and its former capital for a bit over a century quite a few centuries ago. As any city over a thousand years old, it is not without charms, but on balance it falls short of making an exceptional impression. It is nice, but…

Chasing World Heritage: #120 (Alcobaça)

Chasing World Heritage: #120 (Alcobaça)

Our itinerary in Portugal was structured around two “hub-and-spokes” legs in Porto and Lisbon. There are roughly 300 kilometers of driving from one to another, with quite a few interesting sights in between. Seeing more than a couple of them requires more than one day. One solution to that would…

Chasing World Heritage: #117 (Last Supper)

Chasing World Heritage: #117 (Last Supper)

The church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is a curious specimen on the World Heritage list. It is not altogether unremarkable, but also not in any sense surpassing to warrant special recognition. And although its name is fully spelled out on the entry to the list, the inscription is entirely…

Chasing World Heritage: #116 (Mycenae)

Chasing World Heritage: #116 (Mycenae)

The last ruins that we visited in Greece was Mycenae, the center of the Late Bronze Age civilization that was the main precursor to the classical Ancient Greek culture. Mycenaeans’ period of domination over the Mediterranean came around the time when the Minoan civilization – which we encountered on Crete…

Chasing World Heritage: #115 (Delphi)

Chasing World Heritage: #115 (Delphi)

Delphi was the sacred center of the world for the Ancient Greeks and undoubtedly a remarkable achievement of purposeful architecture, a sanctuary built into the challenging landscape to inspire awe and worship. Unfortunately, very little is left of its former glory, and the visual impact is fairly muted. After experiencing…

Chasing World Heritage: #113 (Acropolis)

Chasing World Heritage: #113 (Acropolis)

I always find myself awed by grandiose edifices. Beholding the Parthenon up close, unfailingly grandiose despite its ruined state blended with a construction site, made the visit to Acropolis instantly worthwhile. Built in the 5th century BC to honor goddess Athena, the patron of the city, the temple survived rise…

Chasing World Heritage: #112 (Delos)

Chasing World Heritage: #112 (Delos)

For all of the obvious associations between Greece and the ancient cultures, it has a surprisingly modest number of recognized World Heritage sites: 18 properties spread across 37 individual locations. There are none on either Crete, Santorini, or Naxos, so my first chance to improve my visited count came well…

Paris, again

Paris, again

One of my favorite movie quotes comes from Woody Allen’s ode to the French capital: That Paris exists and anyone could choose to live anywhere else in the world will always be a mystery to me. Which is a bit ironic, because as much as we love Paris, we happen…

Chasing World Heritage: #109 (Forth Bridge)

The Forth Bridge, which had the longest spans of any railway bridge when it opened in 1890, and was the earliest great multispan cantilever bridge, was inscribed on the World Heritage list a few months after my previous visit to Scotland. I must have glimpsed it from a distance while…

Edinburgh

A day set aside for exploring Edinburgh offered me a chance to see sights that I did not manage to see three years ago, and just to walk around town. On-and-off wet snowfall conspired to make the walk challenging, but I can nonetheless share a few highlights captured in between…