No Parking Will Be Built Near Taj Mahal, Foreign Tourist Can Walk To See The Monument, Says SC; India Times

India – Taj Mahal

Tourists can walk 1.5 kms up to the Taj Mahal, the court said.

The Supreme Court has refused to lift the status quo order on construction of a multi-level parking near the iconic Taj Mahal, saying there is no harm in tourists walking up to the monument.

“You can’t get Taj again if it is destroyed. As it is, pollution in Agra is very high. We don’t want you to have an ad hoc measures. Have a long-term perspective to protect the monument. You don’t have a vision document for the protection of Taj. That’s the whole problem,” the court told the Uttar Pradesh government on Monday.

The apex court rapped the state government for not coming out with a comprehensive policy to protect and preserve the beauty of Taj Mahal, saying “we need sustainable development”.

Read more


Reopening of Casa Vicens Antoni Gaudì’s first major work; Christiane Bürklein; Livegreenblog

Spain – Works of Antoni Gaudí

A new architectural attraction has just reopened in Barcelona: Casa Vicens, one of the eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Catalan capital, has undergone a three-year restoration by architects José Antonio Martínez Lapeña, Elías Torres and David García. It will accept a maximum of only 500 visitors a day.

Casa Vicens was Antoni Gaudì’s first major work. In 1883, the architect was commissioned to build a summer home in the former village of Gràcia in Barcelona. The young Gaudí was given plenty of leeway and he responded with a house featuring an oriental style and a landmark ceramic facade.

The house changed owners and in 1920 it was extended and turned into three separate homes. It then went back to single ownership and now, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005, it has undergone a painstaking, three-year-long restoration.

Read more

New technology is protecting animals from poachers in Africa; Lonely Planet

Kenya – Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest

Poachers in Africa are being targeted by sophisticated technology that constantly monitors the daily movements of elephants, rhinos, and other protected animals. The Domain Awareness System (DAS) is helping protect animals tracking vehicles, aircraft, and animals as they move around the natural environment.

One conservation agency in Kenya that has been using the system said it helped make sense of the often chaotic intelligence they would get from dozens of teams out in the wild. The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy have had enormous success, not losing a single rhino to poachers over the past three years. The new system alerts them to threats instantaneously and lets them react immediately to tackle poachers and save animals. The Domain Awareness System was developed by Vulcan, a philanthropic company focused on technology, specifically to fight poaching.

Read more

Shirakawa-go and Takayama: Thatched Roof Heritage Houses, Autumn Leaves, and Morning Mountains; Ana Verissimo; Taiken Japan

Japan – Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

Gassho-style farmhouses, big, triangular and with thatched roofs are very rare in Japan, only found in the villages of Ogimachi at the Shirakawa-go region (Gifu prefecture) and Ainokura and Suganuma at the Gokayama region (Toyama prefecture). Due to their particular location at a river valley nestled in the mountains and difficult access, they have remained isolated for a long time and people from there developed a particular farming style, cultivating mulberries and rearing silkworms. The architecture of these houses reflects the socio-economic as well as geographic/weather circumstances and, for all those reasons, they are listed by UNESCO as world heritage traditional sites. Many of these are 100 to 200 years old (some as old as 400 years).

How To Get There and Around

The best way to get to these villages is either by car or bus. There is no train station or taxi.

Read more

Illegal logging to cost Poland €100k a day in EU fines; Reuters

Poland – Białowieża Forest

The European Union’s top court said on Monday (20 November) Poland would be fined €100,000 a day if it did not stop large-scale logging in Bialowieza Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Warsaw has been locked in a legal battle with the EU for months over Białowieża, sitting on the border between Poland and Belarus and home to European bison as well as rare birds.

The nationalist, socially conservative Polish government tripled logging quotas there despite protests by environmental groups and criticism from Brussels that it was violating the bloc’s wildlife protection rules.

The Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Monday reiterated its July stance that Poland must stop the logging immediately pending a final ruling in a case the EU’s Brussels-based executive brought in front of the tribunal.

Read more

India races to save World Heritage; AFP

India – Historic City of Ahmadabad

AHMEDABAD, 21 November 2017: Traffic chokes the centuries-old stone archway into Ahmedabad’s historic quarter, the snarl of honking rickshaws and sputtering buses coats the monuments of India’s only World Heritage city in a layer of soot.

Conservation experts warn Ahmedabad, one of the world’s most polluted cities, faces a mammoth task defending its newly won UNESCO status as its fragile cultural icons decay under neglect, traffic and trash.

The 600-year-old enclave was named India’s first ‘World Heritage City’ last July — despite warnings from some of UNESCO’s own experts that it lacked a convincing plan for protecting its ancient citadels, mosques and tombs.

Ahmedabad hosts the towering Bhadra fort, the legendary stone latticework of the 16th-century Sidi Saiyyed mosque, and countless relics fusing the unique Hindu and Muslim architectural styles of its conquerors.

Read more

Poland to pay 100,000 euro/day if it continues to destroy Bialowieza forest; WWF

Poland – Białowieża Forest

Brussels/Luxembourg – Today, the EU Court of Justice decided to impose a daily penalty of EUR 100,000 on Poland if the government continues to defy a ban against logging activities in the EU protected Bialowieza Forest.  The Court also reiterated its order to immediately halt most logging activities in the forest except close to roads for safety reasons and until a final decision is taken. As one of the last remaining primeval forests in Europe, WWF fully supports the court’s decision to take a strong stand for forest protection to ensure the well-being and health of local wildlife and communities.

WWF has evidence that logging activities banned by the Court have taken place, like the extraction of over-100-years dead spruces and logging in the Bialowieza Forest District.

Read more

Must-see Vigan tourist spots, Ilocos Sur; Noel; Travel Photo Discovery

Philippines – Historic City of Vigan

Must-see Vigan tourist spots, Ilocos Sur – touring the historic district, monument, landmarks and other must visit attractions in the city.

Vigan city in Ilocos Sur, located in the northwest region of Luzon in the Philippines is a beautiful Spanish colonial city. The city takes pride in its colonial past while mixing in some quirky, new and fascinating places to visit in the city and region.  If you are looking for something with more history and culture in your visit to the Philippines, check out these must see tourist spots in Vigan city, Ilocos Sur.

Where is Vigan city and why visit

Unlike the ugly urban sprawl and development of Manila and Cebu City, Vigan city maintains its unique character as a authentic Spanish colonial city, in a very compact space.

Read more

Exploring the Nazca Lines on the Ground – Nazca Peru; Trans-Americas Journey

Peru – Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Palpa

After our flightseeing tour over the Nazca Lines in Peru we explore the lines from the ground for a different perspective on the mysterious geoglyphs.

The Nazca Lines, which were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, are best seen on a Nazca Lines flightseeing tour because the mysterious man-made figures and designs are so big that you need get high above them to see the whole picture. However, there are a bunch of ways to explore the Nazca Lines on the ground too.

Exploring the Nazca Lines on the ground

Heading out of Nazca on the Pan-American Highway you will pass through a toll booth. About 10 miles (16 km) past the toll booth you’ll see a dirt road to the left.

Read more

Western Ghats’s biodiversity faces threat of encroachment: UN body; PTI

India – Western Ghats

Biodiversity in the Western Ghats is facing a threat from deforestation, encroachment and conversion, says International Union for Conservation of Nature at the UN climate change conference in Bonn.

Kochi: Biodiversity in India’s iconic Western Ghats is facing a threat from forest loss, encroachment and conversion, said a global environment agency in its report.

It also put the hills in the “significant concern” category in its new outlook in the conservation prospects of natural World Heritage sites. The report, released recently by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at the UN climate change conference in Bonn, Germany, says pressure from the human population in the Western Ghats region is greater than that faced by many protected areas around the world.

Read more