Kumbi Saleh

Brief description

The site of Kumbi Saleh, capital of the Empire of Ghana was discovered in 1914 by Bonnel de Mezière, but it was not excavated until 1939 when Thomassey, Mauny and Lazartigues made several concessions of an architecture exceptional and of extraordinary wealth in archaeological material.

The oldest date of the site goes back to the 4th century, but its abandonment is only attested towards the middle of the 13th century. The site is an extraordinary architectural ensemble with a perimeter exceeding 10 km.

The concessions released show the very particular use of slate slabs in an exceptional architectural art, from which the cities of Oualata and Néma will later be inspired. The very striking religious buildings in the site are the animist monument with columns and the great mosque remarkably restored by archeology.

Unesco WHS tentative list ref:  1546

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Jerash archaeological city

Brief description

Jerash is in nothern Jordan – 30 miles north of Amman. The earliest evidence of settlement in Jerash is in a Neolithic site known as Tal Abu Sowan, where rare human remains dating to around 7500 BC were uncovered.  It flourished during the Greco and Roman periods until the mid-eighth century CE, when the 749 Galilee earthquake destroyed large parts of it.

The ancient city has been gradually revealed through a series of excavations, and is today home to one of the best preserved Greco-Roman cities.

Unesco WHS tentative list ref:  1856

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Taormina and Isola Bella

Brief description

Taormina’s fortune in all times is closely linked to its extraordinary location, lying on a narrow terrace above the sea formed by typical variously coloured calcareous rocks which ensured its fame in ancient times. Its coloured marbles can still to be found in monuments and private dwellings. Owing to its position, the town has always been considered as a natural fortress of great strategic and political importance, as it allowed the control over the eastern coast of Sicily. As a proof of its important role as a fortified town, parts of the walls surrounding the ancient built-up area still remain.

The foundation of the various temples, whose remains are still included in the basements and parts of the walls of some Christian churches, as well as in the Ancient Theatre, dates back to the Greek epoch, when the town structure had been planned.

Unesco WHS tentative list ref:  1164

I have never visited this site.

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Greek theatre

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Caesarea

Brief description

Caesarea is situated on the Mediterranean coast alongside bays and shallow inlets that were formed by wave erosion. These unique bays were utilized throughout history for the anchorage of sea-going vessels and made Caesarea a major port of call in the Mediterranean.

During the Persian rule, the Phoenicians built a settlement on the shoreline of one of the bays, where the ground water level was high. The village flourished in the Hellenistic period and is first mentioned under the name of Straton’s Tower. In the year 30 BCE the village was awarded to Herod, who built a large port city at the site, and called it Caesarea in honor of his patron Octavian Augustus Caesar.

Unesco WHS tentative list ref:  1480

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The Monastic City of Clonmacnoise and its Cultural Landscape

Brief description

The Monastic City of Clonmacnoise and its Cultural Landscape is located in Counties Offaly, Roscommon and Westmeath in the centre of Ireland. It is an unparalleled and outstanding example of a relict early medieval Insular monastic city unobscured by modern building development. It is set within a superlative semi-natural landscape that deepens it spiritual qualities, adding greatly to its authenticity and integrity. The interaction between man and the natural environment in Clonmacnoise is of unique universal value.

The architectural ensemble at Clonmacnoise represents an outstanding example of an early medieval Insular monastic city. It represents a significant stage in the development of early medieval Christianity in the North Atlantic. Archaeological excavation coupled with exceptional documentary sources has demonstrated that Clonmacnoise was a civitas in reality as well as in name, unlike many other Irish sites, and, moreover, its dates are relatively early in the chronology of urban development outside the boundaries of the old Roman Empire. It is therefore highly significant to our understanding of the development of urbanism generally in Atlantic Europe, as well as clarifying non-Viking urbanisation in an Irish context.

Unesco WHS tentative list ref:  5526

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From my collection

scan to follow.

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Nîmes, l’Antiquité au présent

Brief description

Nîmes, an ancient city and Roman colony founded by Augustus, has preserved an exceptional set of monuments and structures from the Roman era: the amphitheater, the Maison Carrée temple, the sanctuary of the Fountain, and the Tour Magne. It also preserves the castellum aquae, the culmination of the Nîmes aqueduct, of which the Pont du Gard (already inscribed on the World Heritage List) is the best-known vestige.

Unesco WHS tentative list ref:  5723

I have  visited this site – during a family holiday to France in the 1980s.

From my collection

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Sites mégalithiques de Carnac

Brief description

These remains of megalithic civilisation (-5000 -2000) are found in the Département of Morbidhan and at Carnac.

Sur cette dernière, il existe un ensemble unique composé de trois alignements dont un (Le Ménec) présente une composition originelle constituée de ses deux enceintes et de ses files de menhirs alignés. L’ensemble composé de 4000 menhirs s’étirant sur près de 4 Kilomètres et 40 hectares est complété d’une allée couverte, d’un cromlech de menhirs isolés au Nord et d’un très grand tumulus au Sud, monument type représentatif des tumulus du type carnacéen (125m x 60m x 12m haut) et d’un dolmen à couloir.

Unesco WHS list ref:  224

I have not visited this site yet – but really hope to one day.

From my collection

france-carnac

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Krzemionki Prehistoric Striped Flint Mining Region

Brief description

Located in the mountain region of Świętokrzyskie, Krzemionki is an ensemble of four mining sites, dating from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age (about 3900 to 1600 BCE), dedicated to the extraction and processing of striped flint, which was mainly used for axe-making. With its underground mining structures, flint workshops and some 4,000 shafts and pits, the site features one of the most comprehensive prehistoric underground flint extraction and processing systems identified to date. The site provides information about life and work in prehistoric settlements and bears witness to an extinct cultural tradition. It is an exceptional testimony of the importance of the prehistoric period and of flint mining for tool production in human history.

Unesco WHS list ref:  1599

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From my collection

poland-krzemionki-flint-mines.web

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Writing-on-Stone / Áísínai’pi

Brief description

This site is located on the northern edge of the semi-arid Great Plains of North America, on the border between Canada and the United States of America. The Milk River Valley dominates the topography of this cultural landscape, which is characterized by a concentration of pillars or hoodoos – columns of rock sculpted by erosion into spectacular shapes. The Blackfoot (Siksikáíítsitapi) people left engravings and paintings on the sandstone walls of the Milk River Valley, bearing testimony to messages from Sacred Beings. The archaeological remains date from 1800 BCE to the beginning of the post-contact period. This landscape is considered sacred to the Blackfoot people, and their centuries-old traditions are perpetuated through ceremonies and in enduring respect for the places.

Unesco WHS list ref:  1597

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Megalithic Jar Sites in Xiengkhouang — Plain of Jars

Brief description

The Plain of Jars, located on a plateau in central Laos, gets its name from more than 2,100 tubular-shaped megalithic stone jars used for funerary practices in the Iron Age. This serial site of 15 components contains large carved stone jars, stone discs, secondary burials, tombstones, quarries and funerary objects dating from 500 BCE to 500 CE. The jars and associated elements are the most prominent evidence of the Iron Age civilization that made and used them until it disappeared, around 500 CE.

Unesco WHS list ref:  1587

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