UNESCO World Heritage Site #131: Historic Center of Vienna

UNESCO World Heritage Site #131: The Historic Center of Vienna
UNESCO World Heritage Site #131: The Historic Center of Vienna

From the World Heritage inscription:

Vienna developed from early Celtic and Roman settlements into a Medieval and Baroque city, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It played an essential role as a leading European music centre, from the great age of Viennese Classicism through the early part of the 20th century. The historic centre of Vienna is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, as well as the late-19th-century Ringstrasse lined with grand buildings, monuments and parks.

While not the most exciting city in Europe, I think Vienna deserves inscription as a World Heritage site. Surprisingly, it wasn’t included on the list until 2001, well after most of the major European capitol cities were included. The photo above is of St. Stephens Cathedral, which is the historic center of the city.

Overview

Historic Center of Vienna

The Historic Center of Vienna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Austria that was inscribed in 2001. This cultural site is known for its architectural significance. Specifically, the historic center of the Austrian capital represent three major time periods: Middle Ages, Baroque and Grunderzeit. In addition, the music tradition in Vienna is also one of the cultural aspects that shape the identity of Vienna as a city.

The city of Vienna is a popular tourist attraction. It is visited by nearly 7 million tourists annually. Meanwhile, it was also once recognized as the top destination for international conventions and congresses.

About the Historic Center of Vienna

Historic Center of Vienna

The Historic Center of Vienna is a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites from the country. According to the World Heritage Committee, the urban and architectural landscape of the city center is of outstanding value to that reflects the evolution of this city throughout many periods and centuries.

The Historic Center of Vienna is also a living tribute to the Hasburg dynasty, which ruled most of Central Europe from 1273 to 1918. However, it was Emperor Frederick III that transformed the landscape of Vienna from a medieval market town and turned it into an Imperial residence. This made the city more attractive to other artists and nobles from other parts of the world. In fact, two of the buildings that were built during the Hasburg period in Vienna remains standing until today: the Hofburg and the Stephansdom.

Aside from being a capital of the Astro-Hungarian Empire, Vienna was also known as music center in Europe. There were several known music personalities that honed their craft in Vienna from the 16th to the 20th centuries. In addition to music, the architectural ensemble is the most evident example of the preservation of the historic center as a medieval European town.

Threat to the World Heritage Site

Historic Center of Vienna

In 2017, the Historic Center of Vienna was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger. According to UNESCO, the development of new high-rise projects near the city center of Vienna is threatening the status and outstanding heritage value of this world heritage site. Specifically, the proposed new high-rise project in the area will include a high-rise tower, indoor skating rink, conference venue and a fitness center. The entire development will cover more than 21,000 square feet in land area. The development is expected to hold its ground breaking in 2019. This proposed complex will be located just close to the first public park in Vienna, as well as the Wien River banks.

Even though the proposal for this development project claims that it will make the UNESCO site modern and more attractive to tourists, UNESCO feel otherwise. They believe that this project will threaten the architectural ensembles in Vienna that offer the site outstanding heritage value.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Austria.

View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited.

UNESCO World Heritage Site #130: Historic Centre of Ceský Krumlov

UNESCO World Heritage Site #130: Historic Centre of Ceský Krumlov
UNESCO World Heritage Site #130: Historic Centre of Ceský Krumlov

From the World Heritage inscription:

?eský Krumlov is an outstanding example of a central European small town dating from the Middle Ages that owes the structure and buildings of its historic core to its economic importance and relatively undisturbed organic development over some five centuries. The town grew up within a meander of the Vltava river, which provides a natural setting of great beauty. Its evolution over time is evident with startling clarity from its buildings and its urban infrastructure. It has profited from a relatively peaceful history in that it has retained its entire medieval layout and most of its historic buildings relatively intact. Restoration and conservation has been slight and so there can be no question as to the authenticity of both the townscape and its components.

My biggest regret in the Czech Republic is not scheduling more time to spend in Cesky Krumlov. This is a great town and should be a priority for everyone who plans to visit the Czech Republic or North-East Austria. The entire city center is a walled fortress and looks like it came out of a storybook. It might be the most under appreciated attraction I’ve seen in Europe.

Overview

Historic Center of Cesky Krumlov

The Historic Center of Cesky Krumlov is a small city in the South Bohemian region of Czech Republic. It was named one of the cultural sites in the country by UNESCO in 1992. The city was built around a 13-th century castle that incorporates Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance elements. This town was recognized by UNESCO for its outstanding showcase of how the architectural heritage of a small European medieval town has remained intact for several centuries. This has been made possible by the peaceful evolution of this humble medieval town in Europe.

About the Historic Center of Cesky Krumlov

Historic Center of Cesky Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov is a town located along the banks of the Vlatva River in Czech Republic. A magnificent castle built in the 13th century is the main feature of the Historic Center of Cesky Krumlov. This castle is known for its integration of various architectural styles and elements into its construction. In addition, the river meanders along the rocky slopes on the sides of the castle hill. Hence, this provides a beautiful backdrop for this medieval castle that looks like it was taken off a page from a story book.

The picturesque neighboring landscape of the Historic Center of Cesky Krumlov is one element that has endeared this town to tourists. However, it is best cherished for its outstanding architectural heritage. This town has undergone a peaceful revolution for centuries, which has contributed in keeping the architectural heritage intact. This feudal town was owned and under the control of a few powerful and noble families that helped to shape the political, social and economic landscape of the town. Since Cesky Krumlov was established as a town during the Middle Ages, it undergone transformations during the Baroque and Renaissance period. These transitional periods left behind their influences in the way of life for the people of Cesky Krumlov, which is most evidenced and preserved through its architectural landscape.

The Historic Center of Cesky Krumlov, which is honored for its universal cultural heritage and value, includes the historic center and the former aristocratic residence within the area. However, there is also a buffer zone around the area. The visual integrity of this cultural property is not currently threatened; however, UNESCO and the local authorities governing this world heritage site are cautious about allowing new construction along the boundaries of this property as it could potentially threaten the integrity of the world heritage property.

Cesky Krumlov Castle

Historic Center of Cesky Krumlov

The Cesky Krumlov Castle is the heart and most focal point of the Historic Center of Cesky Krumlov. This castle is unusually large for such a small town, which also explains why it is a notable landmark. Within this castle is a large complex that includes a large rococo garden, extensive bridge, and the castle itself. The castle itself has many different elements that incorporate various style elements during different time periods. This castle is therefore living proof of how the town has underwent major transformations over a period of several centuries.

The Church of St. Vitus is a Gothic church, which is also one of the most notable landmarks and tourist attractions in Czech Republic. This church is located inside the Cesky Krumlov Castle.

How to Get Here

Historic Center of Cesky Krumlov

There are several ways to travel to Cesky Krumlov and visit the town’s historic center. The first option is to travel via bus. From Prague, you can take the public bus to Cesky Krumlov. There are 2 bus trips that travel from Prague to Cesky Krumlov daily. Some bus companies even run up to 8 buses per day.

The Czech Railways is another option. Take a train ride via the Prague Hlavni Nadrazi train station. The train leaves every 2 hours and the entire trip will last for nearly 3 and a half hours.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Czech Republic.

View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited.

When Things Seem Slow They Are Actually Quite Busy

St. Mark's Square in Venice taken from my room aboard the Carnival Magic
St. Mark's Square in Venice taken from my room aboard the Carnival Magic

The last week or so I haven’t posted much. It has been an extreme case of Gary’s Paradox. This has been due to my manic schedule across Europe and the limited Internet access I’ve had on the Carnival Magic as we have been sailing around the Mediterranean.

Just to give you an idea how hectic things have been for me, since I arrived in Europe on April 19 I have been to:

– Prague
– Cesky Krumlov
– Vienna
– Bratislava
– Ljubljana
– Venice
– Dubrovnik
– Sicliy
– Naples
– Rome
– Cinque Terre
Continue reading “When Things Seem Slow They Are Actually Quite Busy”

UNESCO World Heritage Site #129: Holašovice Historical Village Reservation

UNESCO World Heritage Site #129: Holašovice Historical Village Reservation
UNESCO World Heritage Site #129: Holašovice Historical Village Reservation

From the World Heritage inscription:

Holašovice is an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a traditional central European village. It has a large number of outstanding 18th- and 19th-century vernacular buildings in a style known as South Bohemian Folk Baroque, and preserves a ground plan dating from the Middle Ages.

I have no idea why this is a World Heritage site. The site itself is extremely small and I’m not sure why examples of South Bohemian villages are of world importance and I’m not sure why this village is such a great example. This is one of the handful of World Heritage sites which I think should never have been listed and if they ever do a clean up of the list, it should be one of the first ones removed.

If you choose to visit, your entire visit can probably be crammed into 10-15 minutes.

Overview

Holasovice Historical Village Reservation

Holasovice Historical Village Reservation is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Czech Republic. It was inscribed as a cultural site in 1998. This world heritage property encompasses a small but historic village located in southern Czech Republic. This village was left in abandonment post-World War II era. However, its medieval plan and vernacular buildings are still intact until today. This is village is therefore considered as the best and most authentic example of the Rural Baroque or South Bohemian Folk architecture style that has survived until today. In 1990, the entire village was restored and repopulated and since then it has earned a nod from UNESCO for its outstanding cultural value.

About Holasovice

Holasovice Historical Village Reservation

The history of the village of Holasovice started in mid-13th century. This was also around the same time when the South Bohemian region in Czech Republic was under colonizing movement. After that, the village experienced two major tragedies. The first one was the plague in the 16th century that nearly wiped out all inhabitants in this part of the Czech Republic. The second one was the German attempt to join the village. After the war of 1946, the German inhabitants began to eventually leave the village. Eventually, some of the Czechs from the inland moved here and restored the village.

After its long and storied history, the Holasovice Historic Village Reservation underwent a lot of repairs and restoration. From the 1990s, it was lavishly restored and people started to move back into this small village. Currently, it has a population of around 140 people.

Holasovice Historical Village Reservation

This typical Bohemian village is made up of 23 brick farmyards and 120 buildings. All of the farms follow the same U-shaped pattern that has a farmyard in the middle. Each of these buildings and houses features a gabled end and stucco decorations while facing the central green space of this village. This green space has its own chapel and a fish pond.

Another feature within the Holasovice Historic Village Reservation is the chapel of St. John of Nepomuk. This particular chapel features a bell-shaped façade, as well as gabled roof and hip roof. The interiors of this chapel are vaulted and feature two lunettes.

Protection and Management

Holasovice Historical Village Reservation

Since Holasovice Historic Village Reservation was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, UNESCO has partnered with local authorities to ensure that this site is preserved and protected. The 21 farmsteads, central village green, forge and blacksmith’s houses, are among those protected by this world heritage status. Majority of the buildings that remain in the village privately owned, however. Nonetheless, the municipal ownership of most of the houses and structures ensure that the design and layout of these structures will remain intact.

The protection and preservation of this world heritage site has been heightened especially with the threat of urban development around it.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Czech Republic.

View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited.

UNESCO World Heritage Site #128: Historic Center of Prague

UNESCO World Heritage Site #128: Historic Center of Prague
UNESCO World Heritage Site #128: Historic Center of Prague

From the World Heritage inscription:

Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe in terms of its setting on both banks of the Vltava River, its townscape of burger houses and palaces punctuated by towers, and its individual buildings.
The Historic Centre represents a supreme manifestation of Medieval urbanism (the New Town of Emperor Charles IV built as the New Jerusalem). The Prague architectural works of the Gothic Period (14th and 15th centuries), of the High Baroque of the 1st half of the 18th century and of the rising modernism after the year 1900, influenced the development of Central Europe, perhaps even all European architecture. Prague represents one of the most prominent world centres of creative life in the field of urbanism and architecture across generations, human mentality and beliefs.

Prague is one of those great cities where the entire city is lumped together as one World Heritage Site. There could be 3 or 4 separate World Heritage Sites in Prague if they were evaluated on their own merits, similar to Kyoto, Paris or Rome. Expect to spend multiple days in Prague to even get close to seeing the highlights in the city.

Overview

Historic Center of Prague

The Historic Center of Prague was an important medieval city in Central Europe. It is for this same reason why it was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Czech Republic. In addition, this city is also one of the most famous tourist destinations in the country. It was inscribed as a cultural world heritage site by UNESCO in 1992.

Prague’s historic center is one of few cities in Europe to survive from the Middle Ages. From that time to present, it has exhibited continuous urban development. For this reason, the city is home to an architectural ensemble that is notable for its outstanding quality and historical value.

About Historic Center of Prague

Historic Center of Prague

The Historic Center of Prague consists of three areas: Old Town, Lesser Town and New Town. The Old Town comprises the Old Town Square, Charles Bridge and the Astronomical Clock. The Lesser Town is where you will find the banks or Vltava River and Prague Castle. Meanwhile, New Town is where Wenceslas Square is located.

Prague is a true architectural mastery. Many of the buildings and structures you will find at the city’s Old Town and historic center were built from the 11th to the 18th century. Among them are Gothich churches, Renaissance theaters, Baroque town halls, and neoclassical commercial buildings. This makes one of the most outstanding urban ensembles in Central Europe that have survived since the Middle Ages. It is also believed that the architectural works of Prague had influenced not just the architectural landscape of Czech Republic, but quite possibly the rest of Europe as well.

Historic Center of Prague

The history of this city has been around for 1,100 years and many claim that this history can be documented through its architectural development. There have been a collection of various architectural expressions and styles that are now visible on the urban landscape of the city. Therefore, it is part of the reason why Prague is so popular with tourists because they feel like they have walked back in time to the Middle Ages and the Gothic period.

Even during the Middle Ages, Prague also served as an important cultural center in Central Europe. The Prague University was established in 1348 and is one of the earliest universities in Europe. This university was critical in the formation of ideas for the Hussite Movement that was to be the first step towards European Reformation. The cultural landscape of Prague therefore ensures that it has ties with political, art and science personalities.

What to See

Historic Center of Prague

Are you planning to visit the Historic Center of Prague? Do not miss these attractions when you do:

  • The Cathedral of St. Vitus: This Roman Catholic cathedral in Prague is also one of the most distinctive landmarks in the city’s historic center. It is considered a prominent example of Gothic architecture and is also one of the most important churches in the country. It is currently the seat of the Archbishop of Prague.
  • Charles Bridge: You cannot talk about Prague without a mention of Charles Bridge. This historic bridge crosses the Vlatva River in Prague. It is 13 meters long and was constructed in the 15th century. Aside from being popular with tourists, it also serves to connect Prague Castle with the Old Town.
  • Old Town Square: This historic square in Prague is located between Charles Bridge and Wenceslas Square. Within this part of the Historic Center of Prague you will find many other notable architectural landmarks such as the Church of our Lady before Tyn.
  • St. Ann’s Church: Built during the early 14th century, St. Ann’s Church is located at the foot of Charles Bridge. To this day, this church has maintained its timber roofing, which is considered a good example of the Gothic truss system.
  • Prague Castle: This castle complex in Prague is one of the most popular attractions in the Historic Center of Prague. It was completed in 1929 and features a mix of Baroque and Mannerism architectural styles.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Czech Republic.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites