2 Oct 2009

The World’s Heritage review in Geographical

‘… an invaluable reference book, packed full of wonders.’

A nice little review of our new guide - The World’s Heritage: A Complete Guide to the Most Extraordinary Places, appeared in the October 2009 edition of the Geographical magazine:

‘A complete guide indeed, covering all 878 sites that have been declared by UNESCO to be of outstanding value. Interestingly, it’s arranged in chronological order: the first World Heritage site, named as such in 1978, being the Gal├ípagos Islands: a ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’ containing a ‘tossed salad’ of marine species, and the most recent, inscribed in 2008, the Al-Hijr archaeological site in Saudi Arabia, which incorporates ‘a major ensemble of tombs’ cut into the sandstone.

The criteria for addition to the World Heritage list are wider than might have been expected, and allow for the inclusion of Auschwitz-Birkenau (‘associated with events of universal significance’) and the whole of Brasilia (cited for human creative genius: ‘a landmark in the history of town planning’). It’s fascinating, too, to have glimpses of history’s little ironies at work: ‘economic stagnation’ is the root cause of the ‘remarkably intact state’ of Hoi An, a Vietnamese trading town that dates back to the 15th century, the town’s longstanding failure thus producing its present-day success.

There are fine photographs on every page, succinct capsule histories of each site and nicely judged details that breathe life into the subject matter (‘dandy and gambler Beau Nash masterminded Bath’s metamorphosis into the most fashionable resort in England’). According to the cover copy, a ‘location map for every site’ is included, although a potential visitor might want a bit more detail than an indication of which continent you need to be on. But that’s a minor quibble: this is an invaluable reference book, packed full of wonders.’

By Mick Herron

Reproduced with kind permission from the
Geographical magazine Oct 09.

Beautiful Images of Obscure World Heritage Sites

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