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The castle extends across the whole photo, with a large blockish building on the left and a round tower on the right.

Visiting Cesky Krumlov Castle and UNESCO site

When we arrived at Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, it was almost dark and we couldn’t see much. Following our GPS, we found our hotel, checked in, and ate dinner at a nearby restaurant. Nothing too exciting so far, but we’d come because the town is a listed UNESCO world heritage site, a designation…

The Baalbek Ruins in Lebanon: an extraordinary UNESCO site

On my recent trip to Lebanon, I was just blown away by the Baalbek ruins: a magnificent set of Roman temples in the Beq’aa Valley and a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. I saw Baalbek on a full-day small-group tour, which included other stops, but right now I just want to write about the Baalbek…

One of the more ornate houses on Telc main square, this one is deceptive in that what looks like sculptural decoration is actually painted.

UNESCO sites in the Czech Republic outside of Prague

Most people who visit the Czech Republic focus on Prague. Prague is such a beautiful city that it makes a great city trip for a weekend or a week, and no wonder: the old city of Prague is the most important of the UNESCO sites in the Czech Republic. Prague’s Jewish Quarter is a part…

The frescoes inside St. Barbara date to the late Gothic period and portray townspeople in the silver industry.

Kutna Hora UNESCO site and a macabre church

Kutna Hora, a small city east of Prague, contains an entire historical quarter that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, more correctly called “Kutná Hora: Historical Town Centre with the Church of St Barbara and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec.” The old town maintains its original medieval layout, established at a time when…

a view into the Jewish Quarter from partway up the path. The church in the distance is on the other side of the river, beyond the Jewish Quarter.

Trebic, Czech Republic: A 3-part UNESCO site

The small town of Trebic is about two hours southeast of Prague in the Czech Republic, and the thing to see in Trebic is its UNESCO site. When I say “UNESCO site” though, I’m really referring to three sites that UNESCO has combined into one: the old Jewish Quarter, the old Jewish cemetery, and a…

Arion's fountain is on Upper Square in Olomouc, very near the UNESCO site Holy Trinity Column.

A UNESCO site in Olomouc (and other things to see there)

The Holy Trinity Column, a masterpiece of the Moravian Baroque style, is a UNESCO site in Olomouc, a small town in the eastern end of the Czech Republic. Standing alone at one end of Olomouc’s Upper Square, this memorial column stands 32 meters tall. Covered in impressive artwork, it dates to the 18th century. (Disclosure:…

Jesus washes the disciples' feet in this fresco in Desesti church.

Wooden churches of Maramures, Romania

You’d think that after visiting the UNESCO-listed fortified churches of Transylvania and the painted churches of Moldavia, also UNESCO listed, we’d have gotten tired of visiting historic churches. Romania has yet another collection of UNESCO-listed churches, though. (Maybe Romania’s motto should be “Land of Churches”!) Right up near the border with the Ukraine, the wooden…

A panel from inside Patrauti church. Look at the detail the painter put into it? Do you happen to know who they are? The Spectacular Painted Churches of Moldavia

The spectacular painted churches of Moldavia

Last week I posted about the fortified churches in Transylvania, eight of which make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another collection of churches in Romania, this time in the northeastern part of the country, Moldavia, are also UNESCO sites, just listed as “Churches of Moldavia.” The Painted Churches of Moldavia What makes these churches…

Viscri fortified church

Fortified Churches of Transylvania

Once upon a time, the King of Hungary, called Geza II (1141-1162), had a problem. His kingdom needed defending, especially in the south and east, in what is now Romania. It was the Middle Ages, and everybody was fighting over territory. So he sent ethnic Germans to settle in Transylvania, and they continued to move…

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