I have taken a small break from my blog while I enjoyed Christmas at home, but now it is business as usual. The last month things have been all up in the air while I moved from Lapland to Helsinki and before my feet touched the ground I was off to the UK for Christmas.
While being home in the UK I have been able to make a few trips and one of the latest has been to Stonehenge. Outside of London the 5000 year old stone circle is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK and a World Heritage Site. Even though we know a large amount about Stonehenge most of it is still our best guest.
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is an agency of the United Nations with its purpose to contribute to peace and security by promoting science, culture and education.. UNESCO overseas many different projects but the one I want to concentrate on is their involvement in World Heritage Sites.
UNESCO assists in protecting World Heritage Sites, these are sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance. There are just over 1000 listed sites across 195 member states with Italy ranking the highest with 51 sites. These sites fall under the categories cultural, natural and mixed.
Recently the organisation has been criticised as recent events in Syria led to the destruction of ancient sites and there was little they could do to stop it. Its not only these factors that effect World Heritage Sites. Though the site is protected the area surrounding it is often over developed to accommodate the amount of tourists that UNESCO World Heritage Site label brings.
Does the UNESCO label effect your travel decisions? Is visiting a World Heritage Site important to you?
The reason to visit Vaasa was to take in the nearby Kvarken National park, an area where the landscape shows signs of post glacial rebound. Since the compression of the last ice age the ground is now returning to its original position and that is happening here along the Finnish coast. In 2006 Kvarken National park became Finland’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.
© Our Shadows Will Remain
The rock art in Alta, Norway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In actual fact, what look like paintings are carvings into the rocks surface. When the site was discovered in the 1970’s they coloured in the images so that they could be seen more easily, this technique is no longer practiced making some of the carvings less prominent than others.
There are several sites within the museum and walking the outside viewing route takes about 45 minutes. The age of the carvings ranges from 2000 to 6000 years old. The carvings in the photography above are thought to be between 5300 to 6000 years old. What is interesting is why this particular spot was so interesting to the artists and how long the carvings went undetected before they were discovered.
This isn’t the only time I have visited historical rock art. I have also visited a few locations in Kakadu National Park, Australia and you can see those photographs and my experiences HERE.
Now with the success of Game of Thrones Croatia has been attracting its fair share of attention with many destinations featuring in the show. Dubrovnik doubles as Kings Landing, Klis Fortress as Meereen and many other smaller locations through out the country. Since the show started tourism in Iceland, Ireland and Croatia has increased, hotel bookings in Morocco are up by 100%!
Dubrovnik was an expensive city and it makes me wonder if their Game of Thrones success had played a part in this. The walk around the city walls, even though it was magnificent, was over priced. Does filming bring money to the area or is it just tourism? Just down the coast a hotel is left abandoned, its courtyard another filming location.
Follow the link below to see Dubrovnik in Game of Thrones: