Monthly Archives: May 2011

UNESCO World Heritage Site #133: Old City of Dubrovnik

Posted by on May 13, 2011

UNESCO World Heritage Site #133: Old City of Dubrovnik

UNESCO World Heritage Site #133: Old City of Dubrovnik

From the World Heritage inscription:

The ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, situated on the Dalmatian coast, became an important Mediterranean sea power from the 13th century onwards. Although severely damaged by an earthquake in 1667, Dubrovnik managed to preserve its beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains. Damaged again in the 1990s by armed conflict, it is now the focus of a major restoration programme co-ordinated by UNESCO.

Dubrovnik is an very nice, historic town on the Adriatic. Almost all of the original walls of the city are still in place and the old city managed to escape too much damage during the break up of Yugoslavia. I arrived in Dubrovnik during a stop on a cruise ship which was just enough to explore the old city on my own time. I was able to walk twice around the walls of the city as well as explore many of the side streets of the old town itself. It is listed as one of the top 100 Wonders of the World by Howard Hillman.

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

UNESCO World Heritage Site #132: Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn

Posted by on May 12, 2011

UNESCO World Heritage Site #132: Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn

UNESCO World Heritage Site #132: Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn

From the World Heritage inscription:

From the 18th century to 1918, Schönbrunn was the residence of the Habsburg emperors. It was designed by the architects Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and Nicolaus Pacassi and is full of outstanding examples of decorative art. Together with its gardens, the site of the world’s first zoo in 1752, it is a remarkable Baroque ensemble and a perfect example of Gesamtkunstwerk

When you visit Schönbrunn Palace, you get the strong impression that at one point an Emperor or Empress of Austria visited France and was the guest at the Palace of Versailles. When they got back home they said “We have GOT to have one of those”, and construction on the palace was begun.

It is incredibly ostentatious and it is a surprise that they didn’t have a revolution in Austria as well as France.

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

UNESCO World Heritage Site #131: Historic Center of Vienna

Posted by on May 11, 2011

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.

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

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

Posted by on May 10, 2011

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.

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

When Things Seem Slow They Are Actually Quite Busy

Posted by on May 9, 2011

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
(more…)

UNESCO World Heritage Site #129: Holašovice Historical Village Reservation

Posted by on May 9, 2011

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.

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

UNESCO World Heritage Site #128: Historic Center of Prague

Posted by on May 8, 2011

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.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites