Kernavฤ— Archaeological Site (Cultural Reserve of Kernavฤ—)

The Kernavฤ— Archaeological site, about 35 km north-west of Vilnius in eastern Lithuania, represents an exceptional testimony to some 10 millennia of human settlements in this region. Situated in the valley of the River Neris, the site is a complex ensemble of archaeological properties, encompassing the town of Kernavฤ—, forts, some unfortified settlements, burial sites and other archaeological, historical and cultural monuments from the late Palaeolithic Period to the Middle Ages. The site of 194,4 ha has preserved the traces of ancient land-use, as well as remains of five impressive hill forts, part of an exceptionally large defence system. Kernavฤ— was an important feudal town in the Middle Ages. The town was destroyed by the Teutonic Order in the late 14th century, however the site remained in use until modern times.

Since 2004 it is a Unesco site.

Thanks to Anastasia for the postcard.

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Kulangsu, a Historic International Settlement

Kulangsu is a tiny island located on the estuary of the Chiu-lung River, facing the city of Xiamen. With the opening of a commercial port at Xiamen in 1843, and the establishment of the island as an international settlement in 1903, this island off the southern coast of the Chinese empire suddenly became an important window for Sino-foreign exchanges. Kulangsu is an exceptional example of the cultural fusion that emerged from these exchanges, which remain legible in its urban fabric. There is a mixture of different architectural styles including Traditional Southern Fujian Style, Western Classical Revival Style and Veranda Colonial Style. The most exceptional testimony of the fusion of various stylistic influences is a new architectural movement, the Amoy Deco Style, which is a synthesis of the Modernist style of the early 20th century and Art Deco.

Since 2017 it is a Unesco site.

Thanks to Wei for the postcard.

Macquarie Island

Macquarie Island (34 km long x 5 km wide) is an oceanic island in the Southern Ocean, lying 1,500 km south-east of Tasmania and approximately halfway between Australia and the Antarctic continent. The island is the exposed crest of the undersea Macquarie Ridge, raised to its present position where the Indo-Australian tectonic plate meets the Pacific plate. It is a site of major geoconservation significance, being the only place on earth where rocks from the earthโ€™s mantle (6 km below the ocean floor) are being actively exposed above sea-level. These unique exposures include excellent examples of pillow basalts and other extrusive rocks.

Since 1997 it is a Unesco site.

Thanks to Helen for the postcard.

Heard and McDonald Islands

Heard Island and McDonald Islands are located in the Southern Ocean, approximately 1,700 km from the Antarctic continent and 4,100 km south-west of Perth. As the only volcanically active subantarctic islands they โ€˜open a window into the earthโ€™, thus providing the opportunity to observe ongoing geomorphic processes and glacial dynamics. The distinctive conservation value of Heard and McDonald โ€“ one of the worldโ€™s rare pristine island ecosystems โ€“ lies in the complete absence of alien plants and animals, as well as human impact.

Since 1997 it is a Unesco site.

Thanks to Helen for the postcard.

Namhansanseong

Namhansanseong was designed as an emergency capital for the Joseon dynasty (1392โ€“1910), in a mountainous site 25ย km south-east of Seoul. Built and defended by Buddhist monk-soldiers, it could accommodate 4,000 people and fulfilled important administrative and military functions. Its earliest remains date from the 7th century, but it was rebuilt several times, notably in the early 17th century in anticipation of an attack from the Sino-Manchu Qing dynasty. The city embodies a synthesis of the defensive military engineering concepts of the period, based on Chinese and Japanese influences, and changes in the art of fortification following the introduction from the West of weapons using gunpowder. A city that has always been inhabited, and which was the provincial capital over a long period, it contains evidence of a variety of military, civil and religious buildings and has become a symbol of Korean sovereignty.

Since 2014 it is a Unesco site.

Temple of Preah Vihear

Situated on the edge of a plateau that dominates the plain of Cambodia, the Temple of Preah Vihear is dedicated to Shiva. The Temple is composed of a series of sanctuaries linked by a system of pavements and staircases over an 800 metre long axis and dates back to the first half of the 11th century AD. Nevertheless, its complex history can be traced to the 9th century, when the hermitage was founded. This site is particularly well preserved, mainly due to its remote location. The site is exceptional for the quality of its architecture, which is adapted to the natural environment and the religious function of the temple, as well as for the exceptional quality of its carved stone ornamentation.

Since 2008 it is a Unesco site.

Thanks to SLLiew for the postcard.

University and Historic Precinct of Alcalรก de Henares

Founded by Cardinal Jimรฉnez de Cisneros in the early 16th century, Alcalรก de Henares was the world’s first planned university city. It was the original model for the Civitas Dei (City of God), the ideal urban community which Spanish missionaries brought to the Americas. It also served as a model for universities in Europe and elsewhere.

Since 1998 it is a Unesco site.

Thanks to Jordi for the postcard.