Heritage site in Wales to reopen

Laugharne Castle © David Gill

Properties in the care of Cadw will be re-opening from August following the COVID-19 lockdown (“Wales’ ancient monuments set to reopen in August“, BBC News 18 July 2020). The first to re-open will be the castle at Laugharne on 4 August 2020.

The properties will include UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the castles and town walls of King Edward in Gwynedd (Beaumaris, Caernarfon, Conwy, and Harlech) and Blaenavon Industrial Landscape.

Heritage tourism: Messene

Messene from Mount Ithome © David Gill

The ancient city of Messene in the Peloponnese, below Mount Ithome, is becoming an important tourist attraction for this part of Messenia. Since 2014 it has been on the UNESCO tentative list for World Heritage. Numbers to the central part of the site have been monitored since 2012, and in 2019 were over 65,000. A small proportion of visitors visit the site museum: in 2014 there were over 9,000.

Messene © David Gill

The extensive site includes some of the best preserved ancient fortifications in Greece.

Data source: Hellenic Statistical Service. Chart © David Gill

Heritage tourism on Crete: Spinalonga

Spinalonga © David Gill

The Venetian fortress of Spinalonga is located on an island in the northern part of Mirabéllo Bay, Crete. It was built in 1579 and was taken over by the Ottomans in 1715.

Spinalonga © David Gill

In 1903 it became a colony for those with leprosy; the colony closed in 1955.

Visitor numbers to Spinalonga. Data: Hellenic Statistical Service. Chart © David Gill

The fortress attracts over 400,000 visitors a year, and since 2014 has been on the UNESCO tentative list for World Heritage status.

Tourism and the Minoan Palatial Centres

Kato Zakro © David Gill

In 2014 the Minoan Palatial Centres of Knossos, Phaistos, Malia, Zakros, and Kydonia were placed on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The description outlines their importance:

“The palatial centres played a vital part in the evolution, development and propagation of Minoan civilisation and marked the social transformation from the proto-urban communities of the Early Bronze Age to a multifaceted and hierarchical society. The political, social, economic and religious reorganisation, the transformation of private life, and the unprecedented cultural development that emerged from the gradual centralisation of power and the accumulation of wealth, were focussed on the palatial centres, each of which covered a large populated area of Crete.

The Minoan palatial centres stand out for their unique monumental architecture, with its complex internal organisation, which passed into ancient Greek memory as the “Labyrinth”. They constituted the administrative, economic and religious centres of a wider geographical area and housed multiple activities. They not only contained the residences of the rulers and the priesthood, but were home to a multitude of people: artisans (metalworkers, potters, weavers, etc.), merchants, scribes. Various events and contests were held around the palaces.”

Figures from Hellenic Statistical Service. Chart © David Gill

By 2019 four of the palaces accounted for 1.1 million visits, with over 930,00 at Knossos itself. The Bronze Age sites of Mycenae and Tiryns in the Peloponnese account for just over 500,000 visitors (2019); they form part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Kato Zakro, the most remote of the four main palace centres, receives around 10,000 visitors a year. Mallia, next to a major resort, receives around 80,000 visitors a year, and Phaistos around 120,000.

Hagia Sophia and UNESCO World Heritage

Hagia Sophia © David Gill

The historic area of Istanbul was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985. One of the finest structures in this part of the city is the 6th century church of Hagia Sophia that was turned into a mosque following the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Under Kemal Atatürk the building was turned into a museum emphasising the secular nature of the republic.

It is now proposed to turn the structure back into a mosque (“Hagia Sophia: Turkey delays decision on turning site into mosque“, BBC News 2 July 2020). The topic has been widely discussed in Greece (e.g. “Museum or mosque? Turkey debates iconic Hagia Sophia’s status“, ekathimerini.com 1 July 2020). France has now added its voice to the debate (e.g. “France says Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia must remain open to all“, ekathimerini.com 2 July 2020).

West Kennet Long Barrow: MPBW sign

west kennet-Edit
West Kennet Long Barrow © Patrick Taylor

The West Kennet long barrow was placed on the 1882 Schedule of Ancient Monuments. It now lies within the Avebury World Heritage Site. The scientific excavation took place in 1955–56.

Radiocarbon dates suggest that the monument was constructed in the period 3,700–3,600 BC, more than a millennium earlier than was thought in the 1960s.

The Tin Coast and Poldark

IMG_6114-Edit
The Crowns Engine Houses at Botallack © David Gill

The BBC Drama Series ‘Poldark‘ is set in Cornwall in what is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ‘Tin Coast‘ includes the Crowns Engine Houses at Botallack in the care of the National Trust.

Heritage locations used in the filming of the series have been listed by Visit Cornwall.

Academic journals: International Journal of Intangible Heritage

Journal Summary:The International Journal of Intangible Heritage was first published in 2006 in response to the rapidly growing academic and professional interests in the intangible heritage, particularly following the widespread ratification by States in all parts of the world of UNESCO’s 2003 Intangible Heritage Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The IJIH is a refereed academic and professional English language journal dedicated to the promotion of the understanding of all aspects of the intangible heritage, and the communication of research and examples of good professional practice.

Publisher: National Folk Museum of Korea

Website: http://www.ijih.org/

Access: Open access

Journal type: Academic peer-reviewed

UNESCO World Heritage Committee on Stonehenge

DCP_4261.JPG
Stonehenge © David Gill

Over the New Year I tweeted a post on the Heritage Journal relating to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee on Stonehenge. I was asked about the source of the quote and therefore cite here the exact wordings from the 41st meeting in Krakow in July 2017. The World Heritage Committee [Decision 41 COM 7B.56]:

Expresses concern that the 2.9km Stonehenge tunnel options and their associated 2.2km of dual carriageway approach roads within the property that are under consideration, would impact adversely the OUV [Outstanding Universal Value] of the property

Edinburgh Castle: guidebooks

Edinburgh_green
Fourth edition 1953 (2nd impression 1954)

One of the earliest Ministry guidebooks for properties in Scotland was prepared for Edinburgh Castle (1929). The description was by James S. Richardson, with an extended history (pp. 15–40) by Marguerite Wood.  It contains black and white photographs with a fouldout plan inside the back cover.

The second edition was published in 1939, and the third in 1948.

Edinburgh_blue
1953 (4th ed.; 14th impress. 1973)

This guide continued as the Blue Guide. The plan was moved to the centre pages.

Edinburgh_HMSO
1960

A souvenir guide was prepared for the Ministry of Works by the Central Office of Information in 1960. It has a subtitle, ‘An illustrated guide with the story of the castle through the centuries’. A small plan is placed on p. 3. At the end of the guide are sections on the Scottish United Services Museum; the Honours of Scotland; and the Scottish National War Memorial.

Edinburgh_HS_1997
1997

Edinburgh_HS_souv
2003 (repr. 2004)

The present Historic Scotland souvenir guide is by Chris Tabraham. It starts with a guided tour (Thirty steps to history), and then a history as ‘Symbol of Scotland’. There are ‘Did you know?’ boxes on each of the double page spreads. The guide also has the logo for the World Heritage Site.