Friday, June 27, 2014

New World Heritage sites 2014

As this year's World Heritage Committee meeting wraps up in Doha, Qatar, a big congratulations to the 26 new sites and four extensions that were inscribed on the World Heritage list, bringing the total number of Sites to 1007, in 161 countries. The 1000th site is the Okavango Delta in Botswana, and special congratulations to Burma for adding its first site to the list, Pyu Ancient Cities.

This is also the first time a Tentative List site featured on my blog has become a full-fledged site. Special congratulations to Erbil Citadel on its graduation.

There was quite a bit of controversy at this Committee meeting as well. Australia's idiot prime minister, Tony Abbot, wanted to delist a large section the Tasmanian Wilderness site (which had, in fact, been added to the List only the year prior), stating that Australia had "too much locked-up forest". The Committee took just seven minutes to consider the delisting bid, which member nation Portugal called "feeble", before rejecting it out of hand. There was also some consternation about the appropriateness of considering a bid from the United States, given the fact the USA has not paid their UNESCO dues for several years now. The Native American Poverty Point site in Louisiana was nevertheless inscribed in the list.

More information all all the new sites from UNESCO's site here.

Bolgar Historical and Archaeological Complex (Russian Federation)
Bursa and Cumalıkızık: the Birth of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey)
Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey (Germany)
Caves of Maresha and Bet-Guvrin in the Judean Lowlands as a Microcosm of the Land of the Caves (Israel)
Decorated cave of Pont d’Arc, known as Grotte Chauvet-Pont d’Arc, Ardèche (France)
Erbil Citadel (Iraq)
Great Himalayan National Park (India)
Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah (Saudi Arabia)
Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point (United States of America)
Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary (Philippines)
Namhansanseong (South Korea)
Okavango Delta (Botswana)
Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Palestine)
Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape (Turkey)
Precolumbian chiefdom settlements with stone spheres of the Diquís (Costa Rica)
Pyu Ancient Cities (Burma)

Qhapaq Ñan, Andean Road System (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru)
Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat (India)
Shahr-I Sokhta (Iran)
Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor (Kyrgyzstan, China and Kazakhstan)
Stevns Klint (Denmark)
The Grand Canal (China)
The Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato (Italy)
Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites (Japan)
Trang An Landscape Complex (Viet Nam)
Van Nellefabriek (Netherlands)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

French Polynesia

Postcard from the idyllic island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia. I've been mesmerised by the allure of French Polynesia for a long time, since elementary school, in fact, when we were given a project about French-speaking countries and I was assigned this faraway paradise of turquoise lagoons and swaying palm trees. I've been hooked ever since! A the card from French Polynesia, however, eluded me for a very long time. It's a very long way from anything, and not many people make it there. I was over the moon when Couchsurfing friends Sacha and Denis requested to stay with me. It was great to talk to them about my ongoing fascination with their homeland, and to politely beg them to send a card for my collection on their return. They very kindly obliged, and a big merci and māuruuru roa to them for this new country to my collection.

Stamp from a yearly series for Chinese New Year, featured here 2013 Year of the Water Snake. Snake is most closely associated with education and research, making 2013 a very special year for scientists and scholars.

Cambodia II

Super cute postcard of kid riding a water buffalo through Cambodia rice paddies. Nice to see a postcard from Cambodia that's not of Angkor Wat for once. – Not that I have anything against Angkor Wat; it's amazing. But it's always nice to see a non-picture-postcard, non-tourist-site side to a country.

A couple of older stamps on this card. On the left, stamp from 1999 set of seven on birds, featuring the European greenfinch, Carduelis chloris. Two stamps on right from 1997 set of four on the Asian elephant, Elephas maximus.