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UNESCO World Heritage Sites


Suomenlinna :: Helsinki, Finland

October 18, 2010 by  
Category Landmarks

In 1748 construction started on a maritime fortress of tremendous proportions. Suomenlinna (roughly translated to “visitor”) covers nearly 200 acres of land across six islands off the coast of Helsinki, Finland. Actually built under Swedish rule, Suomenlinna and Finland were conquered in 1808 and became a part of Russia in 1809. It was not until over a century later that the Finnish people were given their independence and reclaimed the fortress as part of their capital city. Today it is among the more exceptional tourist destinations in Finland attracting approximately 700,000 locals and foreigners a year. And not just for the unique military architecture. Suomenlinna has plenty to keep you entertained from cafés and restaurants to a brewery and museums. Read more

Buda Castle :: Budapest, Hungary

July 25, 2010 by  
Category Landmarks

First completed in 1265, Buda Castle (also called Royal Palace & Royal Castle) in Budapest is the historical castle complex of the Hungarian kings. Buda Castle is located on the southern edge of Castle Hill near the old Castle District famous for its medieval, Baroque and 19th century homes and buildings. The castle is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site list that inscribed “Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue” and is visited by thousands of tourists every year. The oldest section of the present day palace, Stephen’s Tower, was completed in the 14th century by Prince Stephen, younger brother of King Louis I of Hungary. During the long reign of King Sigismund of Hungary the castle was expanded into one of the largest Gothic palaces of the late Middle Ages. The final massive expansion of the castle occurred under King Matthias Corbinus in the late 1400s and stood until the medieval palace was destroyed during the siege of 1686. A new Baroque styled palace was built between 1714 and 1723 by King Charles III of Habsburg. This castle was also mostly destroyed by the great fire of 1810 as well as during an attack. Read more

Acropolis of Athens :: Athens, Greece

July 17, 2010 by  
Category Landmarks

Although there are many in Greece, when someone mentions “The Acropolis” it is known that they are speaking of the Acropolis of Athens, the most famous in the world. Formally proclaimed the pre-eminent monument on the European Cultural Heritage list in 2007, the Acropolis was also inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1987. A city on a flat topped rock that rises 490 feet above sea level in Athens, the Acropolis is loaded with amazing ancient monuments. Since 1975 a project has been underway to restore and reverse the centuries of decay, wear and tear and damage from misguided past restorations. All restorations are being made using as much original material as possible along with titanium dowels so that it is completely reversible if future experts decide to change things. Read more

Sanssouci Palace :: Potsdam, Germany

July 13, 2010 by  
Category Landmarks

Germany is full of amazing historical sites and the city of Potsdam is loaded with them. Sanssouci Palace, former summer home of Frederick the Great, is one of these architectural masterpieces. Often used as an example of buildings in Germany that rival the Palace of Versailles, this much smaller yet beautiful palace is built in the warmer Rococo style. Designed between 1745 and 1747 by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff to fulfill King Fredericks need for a private residence where he could relax away from the nearby Berlin court, the palace’s own name, a French phrase, even translates loosely to “carefree”. King Frederick was intimately involved in the palace design, so much so that its style is characterized as “Frederician Rococo”. Read more

Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas :: Cartagena, Colombia

July 3, 2010 by  
Category Landmarks

With an amazing history dating back to the colonial era, Cartagena is one of Colombia’s most popular tourist destinations and is loaded with all kinds of interesting and historic sites. Among these is the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, a massive concrete and red brick fortress originally designed by Dutch engineer Richard Carr and built by the Spaniards in 1657. The fortress provided additional defense against pirates for all the gold being sent back to Europe. Originally the fortress was quite small, but then in 1762 it underwent a considerable reconstruction headed by Spanish architect Antonio de Arévalo that expanded to the size it is today, taking up the entire 130 foot tall hill. Read more

Rila Monastery :: Bulgaria

July 1, 2010 by  
Category Landmarks

The Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila, also known as Rila Monastery was founded in the 10th century and is the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. It is located about 75 miles south of the capital city Sofia and was named after the famous Bulgarian saint Ivan of Rila. Rila Monastery is considered to be one of Bulgaria’s most important historical, cultural and architectural monuments and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in southeastern Europe. It has even been depicted in Bulgarian currency with the monastery on the back side of the 1 lev banknote issued in 1999. Considered one of the primary masterpieces of Bulgarian national Revival architecture, it was declared a national historic monument in 1976 and then became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Read more

Saint Vitus Cathedral :: Prague, Czech Republic

June 28, 2010 by  
Category Landmarks

Prague Castle in the Czech Republic is home to one of the most famous Roman Catholic cathedrals in Europe, Saint Vitus Cathedral. Not only is it an amazing example of Gothic architecture, it is also the largest and most important church in the country and contains the tombs of many Bohemian kings. The cathedrals full name is St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert Cathedral. The original church, also named St. Vitus, was a Romanesque rotunda founded by Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia in 925 and stood at the same location as the present day cathedral. The present day cathedral was founded in November 1344 when the Prague bishopric was raised to an archbishopric. It was intended as a coronation church, family crypt, treasury for the most precious relics of the kingdom and the last resting place/pilgrimage site of patron saint Wenceslaus. Construction on the cathedral spanned hundreds of years and was not truly completed until the early 20th century when the Union for Completion of the Cathedral of St Vitus in Prague was formed in 1873. Read more

Borobudur Temple :: Indonesia

June 26, 2010 by  
Category Landmarks

Just over 1200 years ago, a group of hardy ancient Indonesian Buddhists completed work on a massive temple site dedicated to Lord Buddha. Located between two volcanoes and two rivers, Borobudur Temple is a glorious monument to one of the world’s oldest religions. It serves today as a place of sacred pilgrimage for Buddhists to celebrate the life, death, and accomplishments of Siddhartha Gautama; better known as the very first Buddha. Read more

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