Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Helping Out the Uninteresting Ones

So here’s an idea. Some countries aren’t interesting. Painful, but true. My standard measurement is the UNESCO World Heritage list, on which most countries have at least one entry. But there are, sad to say, 43 states that aren’t yet cool enough to make the cut. I went ahead and did some research into these countries to find what they had to offer. Here’s the best I could do.

Angola – Cangandala National Park. Pretty much the only one not ravaged by their Civil War, needing protection for wildlife.

Antigua and Barbuda – English Harbour. Horatio Nelson was commander of these dockyards, an outstanding examples of British Caribbean colonialism.

The Bahamas – Blue Holes. Blue holes are underwater sinkholes, fascinating geological formations of which The Bahamas boasts many, including the largest in salt-water.

Barbados – Morgan Lewis Windmill. One of the two last operational sugar mills in the world the Mill was included on the 1996 World Monuments Watch for sites of value.

Bhutan – Simtokha Dzong. The oldest of the region’s fortress-monasteries Simtokha was built in 1629 to aid in the military unification of Bhutan.

Brunei – Ulu Temburong National Park. A wonderful preserve for Borneo wildlife includes habitat for the Bornean Gibbon.

Burundi – Kibira National Park. An ecological preserve also known for primate protection, being considered for UNESCO status.

Chad – Zakouma National Park. A megafauna reserve which the Chad government has already tried to get recognition for from UNESCO.

Comoros – Coelacanth Waters. More coelacanths are found in the waters around Comoros than anywhere else. It is important to preserve the habitat of this unusual and still poorly-understood species, and has been submitted to UNESCO for consideration.

Republic of the Congo – Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park. Estimated by National Geographic to have the densest concentration of fauna per square mile than anywhere else in Africa, under consideration by UNESCO.

Djibouti – Day Forest National Park. A threatened oases in the desert with multiple endemic species.

East Timor – Nino Konis Santana National Park. Comprising both a rain forest habitat with endangered species as well as part of the world's most diverse coral reef habitat.

Equatorial Guinea – Monte Alén National Park. Described by Lonely Planet as a “hidden gem of Africa” this park has a wide variety of African fauna.

Eritrea – Italian Art Deco of Asmara. Attesting to the Italian colonial and architectural presence in Africa from the zenith of the Art Deco movement, this city has one of the best concentrations of the style in the world and is being considered for UNESCO status.

Fiji – Great Astrolabe Reef. One of the world's largest barrier reefs and an important breeding ground for many species, notable for concentrations of manta rays.

Grenada – Colonial St. George. Historic downtown that preserves the legacy of the French Caribbean empire. Being considered by UNESCO.

Guinea-Bissau – Bolama. An island designated as a biosphere region both terrestrially and aquatically, pending UNESCO status.

Guyana – Shell Beach. Half of the world's sea turtle species breed here, including three endangered and critically endangered species. Submitted to UNESCO for consideration.

Jamaica – Port Royal. A unique partially sunken city with a treasure trove of underwater archaeological finds from the 16th and 17th century as well as more modern findings. Being considered for UNESCO status.

Kuwait – Majlis Al-Umma (Parliament Building). Designed by Jørn Utzon whose limited oeuvre includes the Sydney Opera House.

Lesotho – Sehlabathebe National Park. Combining a remote plateau's ecosystem with a cultural heritage including rock art it is currently pending UNESCO status.

Liberia – Sapo National Park. It “has 'the highest mammal species diversity of any region in the world', according to Conservation International.”

Liechtenstein – Vaduz Castle. Has been, and currently is, the royal residence since the 1100s.

Maldives - Male' Hukuru Miski. Built in 1658 out of coral stone with intricate lacquer and carving this mosque is fine example of Islam's progression through Southeast Asia, and is being considered by UNESCO.

Micronesia – Rai Stones. Monumental stone currency, queried from limestone overseas and transported to the island of Yap, attesting to a fascinating and unique cultural practice.

Myanmar – Bagan. A series of 11-13 century Theravada Buddhist stupas and temples that has been under consideration by UNESCO.

Nauru – Phosphate Mining Sites. A spectacular limestone karst has remained from years of guano farming which the island economy was originally based on.

Palau – Ngaremeduu Conservation Area. A major biosphere reserve off the main island.

Qatar – Khor Al-Adaid. A natural reserve of an inland sea, being considered by UNESCO.

Rwanda – Volcanoes National Park. A critical gorilla habitat, notably where Diane Fossey worked, and hopeful recovery site after the Civil War ravaged the area.

St. Vincent – Kingstown Botanical Gardens. Perhaps the oldest botanical gardens in the Western hemisphere or in any tropical region Kingstown has been conserving rare species since 1765.

Samoa – Fagaloa Bay and Uafeto Tiavea Conservation Area. “The largest tropical rain forest of any Pacific island.” Being considered by UNESCO.

São Tomé and Príncipe – Obo National Park. The islands' largest conservation area, consisting of 30% of the country with endemic species.

Sierra Leone – Gola Forest. Sierra Leone's largest area of conserved forest that borders on Liberia, a habitat preserve for a variety of species.

Singapore – Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. A small slice of traditional ecosystem of the Malay peninsula, preserving the mangrove swamps and local fauna of the region before human development.

Somalia – Laas Gaal. A collection of caves with paintings from 11, 000 years ago that are amongst the oldest in Africa.

Swaziland – Ngwenya Mine. The world's oldest, and humanity's first mining site from the 43,000 years ago. Under consideration by UNESCO.

Tonga – Lapita Pottery Sites. The Lapita were the common ancestors of all Pacific Island peoples, whose ceramic legacy is perhaps best seen in Tonga. Site proposed to UNESCO.

Trinidad and Tobago – Colonial Legacy of Tobago. What would be Trinidad and Tobago was held by nearly every Caribbean colonial power over the centuries of conquest, leaving an interestingly unique heritage of Europeans vying for the critical land.

Tuvalu – Funafuti Marine Conservation Area. A lagoon and series of islets being saved for their habitat including Green Turtle nesting sites.

United Arab Emirates – Al-Ain. The oases town has been settled by humans since the Neolithic, and been prominent in the region for four thousand years as a trading hub, proposed to UNESCO.

1 comment:

Max Cantor said...

I was really fascinated by "Blue Holes". I'm surprised they have not yet been the subject of some sci-fi thriller blockbuster, actually; they really tickle my imagination.