My Missing Countries/ Sites List

Complete List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Missing and Received can be seen HERE

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oman: Arabian Oryx Sanctuary - Delisted 2007

"The World Heritage Committee deleted the property because of Oman's decision to reduce the size of the protected area by 90%, in contravention of the Operational Guidelines of the Convention. This was seen by the Committee as destroying the outstanding universal value of the site which was inscribed in 1994.

In 1996, the population of the Arabian Oryx in the site, was at 450 but it has since dwindled to 65 with only about four breeding pairs making its future viability uncertain. This decline is due to poaching and habitat degradation.
After extensive consultation with the State Party, the Committee felt that the unilateral reduction in the size of the Sanctuary and plans to proceed with hydrocarbon prospection would destroy the value and integrity of the property, which is also home to other endangered species including, the Arabian Gazelle and houbara bustard.
The Arabian Oryx Sanctuary is an area within the Central Desert and Coastal Hills biogeographical regions of Oman. Seasonal fogs and dews support a unique desert ecosystem whose diverse flora includes several endemic plants. Its rare fauna includes the first free-ranging herd of Arabian oryx since the global extinction of the species in the wild in 1972 and its reintroduction here in 1982. The only wild breeding sites in Arabia of the endangered houbara bustard, a species of wader, are also to be found, as well as Nubian ibex, Arabian wolves, honey badgers, caracals and the largest wild population of Arabian gazelle."
Source: UNESCO World Heritage Site

Postcard # 1
Here is a magnificent Omani postcard from a de-listed site - Arabian Oryx Sanctuary. It is one of the only two de-listed sites in the UNESCO list. It was de-listed in 2007.
It is an interesting experience to receive an Omani postcard with Australian postage stamps on the back. The card was sent to me by Laurent from Postcard Interactive Company of Sydney.
The Australian postage stamps used on the postcard are also very nice. The $1 stamp on the left shows beautiful roses for a loved one and was issued in 2005. The stamp on right features "Pincushion/ Hakea" and was printed in 2006. It is also of $1 denomination. Thank you so much Laurent!

Pakistan: Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Neighbouring City Remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol

"The Buddhist monastic complex of Takht-i-Bahi (Throne of Origins) was founded in the early 1st century. Owing to its location on the crest of a high hill, it escaped successive invasions and is still exceptionally well preserved. Nearby are the ruins of Sahr-i-Bahlol, a small fortified city dating from the same period."
Source: UNESCO World Heritage Site List

Postcard # 1
What a site it is!!!
This magnificent UNESCO postcard was sent to me by Mr Imran from Lahore. The site is awesome and is quite well-preserved despite of the fact that it was founded in early 1st Century. You can imagine how old it could be. In 1857, there were a number of discoveries from these sites connecting them to the Buddhist civilization. There are a number of statues and other sculptures.

The name Takht-i-Bhai derives from the spring on the hilltop and is literally translated as 'Spring Throne'.
The complex, the most impressive and complete Buddhist Monastery in Pakistan, consists of four main groups:
  • The Court of Stupas with a cluster of stupas beside the main stupa in the middle courtyard, embellished with a series of tall niches to enshrine Buddhist statues;
  • The early monastic complex with residential cells around an open court, assembly hall and refectory;
  • The temple complex with a main stupa in the middle of a courtyard adorned with statues niches similar to the earlier stupa court;
  • The tantric monastic complex with an open courtyard in front of a series of dark cells with low openings for mystical meditation, in keeping with tantric practice.

The stamp used on the postcard was issued in 2011 to laud Pakistan Telecom Authority in order to commemorate "100 Million Cellular Subscribers" Celebrations. It is a Rs 8 postage stamp which is way over the required Rs 2 postage required on postcards sent within the country. Thank you Imran!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pakistan: Fort and Shalimar Gardens in Lahore

"These are two masterpieces from the time of the brilliant Mughal civilization, which reached its height during the reign of the Emperor Shah Jahan. The fort contains marble palaces and mosques decorated with mosaics and gilt. The elegance of these splendid gardens, built near the city of Lahore on three terraces with lodges, waterfalls and large ornamental ponds, is unequalled."
Source: UNESCO World Heritage List

Postcard # 1
It is a magnificent site which is built with a number of fountains, mirror-work, marble pieces, and other architectural beauties. The site was added to the Endangered World Heritage Sites in 2000.
The site consists of two separate entities:
  • Lahore Fort or Shahi Fort (King's Fort)
  • Shalimar Gardens
Postcard # 2
The second postcard shows a view of Lahore Fort. The photo on the postcard is taken from inside of Lahore Fort and shows us three historic monuments - Naulakha in Lahore Fort (The closest building with curved roof), Maharaja Ranjeet Singh Shrine in yellow and white color and the grand Badshahi Mosque (One of the largest mosques in the World) at the farther distance. We will restrict our view to Naulakha, which is part of Lahore Fort.
Naulakha Pavilion is one of the 21 monuments inside Lahore Fort building which are still preserved. Built in 1631 by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, this pavilion is located near Sheesh Mahal (the Mirror Castle). Although the pavilion was decorated with precious and semi-precious stones in the beginning but none of them can be found anywhere now :(
The total cost on construction of the pavilion was 9 lakh Rupees (0.9 Million Rupees) which was an enormous sum at that time. Owing to its expenditure, the building was named as "Nau-lakha".
The stamp used by Vera on the postcard is a common definitive stamp of Rs 2 denomination.

Here are a few other postcards of Lahore Fort and Shalamar Gardens that I may be able to find for you, if you want to swap.
Postcard # 3
Postcard # 4
 Postcard # 5

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Turkey: Historic Areas of Istanbul

"With its strategic location on the Bosphorus peninsula between the Balkans and Anatolia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Istanbul has been associated with major political, religious and artistic events for more than 2,000 years. Its masterpieces include the ancient Hippodrome of Constantine, the 6th-century Hagia Sophia and the 16th-century Süleymaniye Mosque, all now under threat from population pressure, industrial pollution and uncontrolled urbanization."
Source: UNESCO World Heritage List

Post Card #1
This beautiful card shows the majestic Suleymaniya Mosque of Istanbul built around 1550s AD (seen on the right) with Yeni Mosque in the fore-ground.
The stamps used on the postcard are also very beautiful. I love aircraft stamps. The stamp shows a C-47 Dakota aircraft. The card was sent to me by Leslie.
Postcard # 2
The second postcard shows the city view of Istanbul including the historic Suleymaniyah Mosque too.
The postcard was posted to my dad during early 1990s by his friend during visit to Turkey.
The se-tenant Turkish stamps are also nice. The price of the stamp is changed by over-printing 75 Lira over the originally printed price. 
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