Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Oslo, Norway



The capital of Norway is also its largest city. Oslo has over 600,000 inhabitants and covers 454 square kilometers, 242 of which are forests. 
Oslo has been the capital since 1814, when Norway gained its independence from Denmark. The city is one of Europe's fastest-growing capitals, with annual population increases exceeding 2 per cent in recent years. 

Saint Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk, Belarus



The Sain Sophia Cathedral was built by Prince Vseslav Briacheslavich.1044–1101) between 1044 (it is first mentioned in the Voskresenskaia Chronicle under the year 1056) and 1066. It stands at the confluence of the Polota and Western Dvina Rivers on the eastern side of the city and is probably the oldest church in Belarus.

Monday, 18 February 2013

United Kingdom - City of Bath


Founded by the Romans as a thermal spa, Bath became an important centre of the wool industry in the Middle Ages. In the 18th century, under George III, it developed into an elegant town with neoclassical Palladian buildings, which blend harmoniously with the Roman baths.

Rice terraces in Sapa, Vietnam



Terraced rice fields are located in the northern mountainous provinces. Due to the steep feature, fertile soil was created by weathered granite rock and mountain cliffs often stock water. Local ethnic minority people can grow rice and establish terraced rice fields, one after another, from the foot to nearly top of mountains. Generations to generations of these people have made terraced rice fields as we see today.

Annapurna, Nepal



The Annapurna region is an area in western Nepal where some of the most popular treks are located. The region is generally taken to include areas around the Annapurna Range (Annapurna Himal), the Dhaulagiri Range and the Kaligandaki River valley. Peaks in the Annapurnas include 8,091m Annapurna I, Nilgiri (7,061 m) and Machhapuchchhre (6,993 m). Dhaulagiri I (8,167 m) is just to the west of the Annapurnas, Most of these peaks are visible throughout the region on clear days.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Russia - Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad


This is a fine example of a working Orthodox monastery, with military features that are typical of the 15th to the 18th century, the period during which it developed. The main church of the Lavra, the Cathedral of the Assumption (echoing the Kremlin Cathedral of the same name), contains the tomb of Boris Godunov. Among the treasures of the Lavra is the famous icon, The Trinity , by Andrei Rublev.

Estonia - Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn


The origins of Tallinn date back to the 13th century, when a castle was built there by the crusading knights of the Teutonic Order. It developed as a major centre of the Hanseatic League, and its wealth is demonstrated by the opulence of the public buildings (the churches in particular) and the domestic architecture of the merchants' houses, which have survived to a remarkable degree despite the ravages of fire and war in the intervening centuries.



Poland - Medieval Town of Toruń


Torun owes its origins to the Teutonic Order, which built a castle there in the mid-13th century as a base for the conquest and evangelization of Prussia. It soon developed a commercial role as part of the Hanseatic League. In the Old and New Town, the many imposing public and private buildings from the 14th and 15th centuries (among them the house of Copernicus) are striking evidence of Torun's importance.



Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem

The inscribed property is situated 10 km south of Jerusalem on the site identified by Christian tradition as the birthplace of Jesus since the 2nd century. A church was first completed there in ad 339 and the edifice that replaced it after a fire in the 6th century retains elaborate floor mosaics from the original building. The site also includes Latin, Greek Orthodox, Franciscan and Armenian convents and churches, as well as bell towers, terraced gardens and a pilgrimage route.

Indonesia - Cultural Landscape of Bali Province: the SubakSystem as a Manifestation of the Tri Hita KaranaPhilosophy


The cultural landscape of Bali consists of five rice terraces and their water temples that cover 19,500 ha. The temples are the focus of a cooperative water management system of canals and weirs, known as subak, that dates back to the 9th century. Included in the landscape is the 18th-century Royal Water Temple of Pura Taman Ayun, the largest and most impressive architectural edifice of its type on the island. The subak reflects the philosophical concept of Tri Hita Karana, which brings together the realms of the spirit, the human world and nature. This philosophy was born of the cultural exchange between Bali and India over the past 2,000 years and has shaped the landscape of Bali. The subak system of democratic and egalitarian farming practices has enabled the Balinese to become the most prolific rice growers in the archipelago despite the challenge of supporting a dense population.

Indonesia - Lorentz National Park


Lorentz National Park (2.35 million ha) is the largest protected area in South-East Asia. It is the only protected area in the world to incorporate a continuous, intact transect from snowcap to tropical marine environment, including extensive lowland wetlands. Located at the meeting-point of two colliding continental plates, the area has a complex geology with ongoing mountain formation as well as major sculpting by glaciation. The area also contains fossil sites which provide evidence of the evolution of life on New Guinea, a high level of endemism and the highest level of biodiversity in the region.

China - Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System


Construction of the Dujiangyan irrigation system began in the 3rd century B.C. This system still controls the waters of the Minjiang River and distributes it to the fertile farmland of the Chengdu plains. Mount Qingcheng was the birthplace of Taoism, which is celebrated in a series of ancient temples.



Thursday, 14 February 2013

China - Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa


The Potala Palace, winter palace of the Dalai Lama since the 7th century, symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism and its central role in the traditional administration of Tibet. The complex, comprising the White and Red Palaces with their ancillary buildings, is built on Red Mountain in the centre of Lhasa Valley, at an altitude of 3,700m. Also founded in the 7th century, the Jokhang Temple Monastery is an exceptional Buddhist religious complex. Norbulingka, the Dalai Lama's former summer palace, constructed in the 18th century, is a masterpiece of Tibetan art. The beauty and originality of the architecture of these three sites, their rich ornamentation and harmonious integration in a striking landscape, add to their historic and religious interest.



China - Historic Centre of Macao


Macao, a lucrative port of strategic importance in the development of international trade, was under Portuguese administration from the mid-16th century until 1999, when it came under Chinese sovereignty. With its historic street, residential, religious and public Portuguese and Chinese buildings, the historic centre of Macao provides a unique testimony to the meeting of aesthetic, cultural, architectural and technological influences from East and West. The site also contains a fortress and a lighthouse, the oldest in China. It bears witness to one of the earliest and longest-lasting encounters between China and the West, based on the vibrancy of international trade.



USA - Independence Hall


The Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Constitution of the United States (1787) were both signed in this building in Philadelphia. The universal principles of freedom and democracy set forth in these documents are of fundamental importance to American history and have also had a profound impact on law-makers around the world.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Netherlands - Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout


The outstanding contribution made by the people of the Netherlands to the technology of handling water is admirably demonstrated by the installations in the Kinderdijk-Elshout area. Construction of hydraulic works for the drainage of land for agriculture and settlement began in the Middle Ages and have continued uninterruptedly to the present day. The site illustrates all the typical features associated with this technology – dykes, reservoirs, pumping stations, administrative buildings and a series of beautifully preserved windmills.

Latvia - Historic Centre of Riga


Riga was a major centre of the Hanseatic League, deriving its prosperity in the 13th–15th centuries from the trade with central and eastern Europe. The urban fabric of its medieval centre reflects this prosperity, though most of the earliest buildings were destroyed by fire or war. Riga became an important economic centre in the 19th century, when the suburbs surrounding the medieval town were laid out, first with imposing wooden buildings in neoclassical style and then in Jugendstil . It is generally recognized that Riga has the finest collection of art nouveau buildings in Europe.

Finland - Petäjävesi Old Church


Petäjävesi Old Church, in central Finland, was built of logs between 1763 and 1765. This Lutheran country church is a typical example of an architectural tradition that is unique to eastern Scandinavia. It combines the Renaissance conception of a centrally planned church with older forms deriving from Gothic groin vaults.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Japan - Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu


Five hundred years of Ryukyuan history (12th-17th century) are represented by this group of sites and monuments. The ruins of the castles, on imposing elevated sites, are evidence for the social structure over much of that period, while the sacred sites provide mute testimony to the rare survival of an ancient form of religion into the modern age. The wide- ranging economic and cultural contacts of the Ryukyu Islands over that period gave rise to a unique culture.

Curonian Spit


Lithuania, Russia 
Human habitation of this elongated sand dune peninsula, 98 km long and 0.4-4 km wide, dates back to prehistoric times. Throughout this period it has been threatened by the natural forces of wind and waves. Its survival to the present day has been made possible only as a result of ceaseless human efforts to combat the erosion of the Spit, dramatically illustrated by continuing stabilisation and reforestation projects.

Lithuania 


Russia