Heritage: Destinations – Out off Beaten Track

All around the world there are thousands and thousands of wonderful places worth visiting. Some of them boast unique history or natural treasures; some are beautiful in their simplicity. Let us get familiar with only a tiny bit of these hidden pearls. Welcome to leaders’ Hagi, chilly Kristiansand, Dracula’s Sighisoara, muddy Djenne, or misty Papallacta.


Hagi – The Town of Great Leaders

Pat Hyland

Hagi, the small town in Yamaguchi prefecture, Japan, is a town where old Edo period maps can still be used and is punctuated by castle ruins, beautiful samurai houses with white walls, and much more. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful castle towns in Japan since a lot of traditional old streets, old gates, and tiled walls survive untouched here.

Kristiansand - A Modern City with a Renaissance Profile

Cecilia Garland

Kristiansand, the biggest city on the South Coast (Sorlandet) and the southernmost city in Norway is a charming city, retaining many of the 17th century buildings from its founding days by King Christian IV. Originally it was created as a market town to encourage growth in this area of strategic significance, providing a local economic base for construction of fortifications and population for defense of the area.

Sighisoara – The Birthplace of Count Dracula

Justin N. Froyd

Sighisoara in Romania is one of Europe's best-preserved medieval towns. Founded by Transylvanian Saxons during the 12th century, Sighisoara (Schassburg in German) still stands as one of the most beautiful and best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. Designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this perfectly intact 16th century gem with nine towers, cobbled streets, burgher houses and ornate churches rivals the historic streets of Old Prague or Vienna for atmospheric magic. It is also the birt...

Papallacta - Hot Springs in the Mist

Theodore Slate

Papallacta is a small village in Ecuador located at an altitude of 3,300m in the Andes just off of the Eastern Cordilleras on the road from Quito which leads into the Amazon jungle. The scenic drive from Quito to Papallacta passes through several towns and small villages before ascending to a peak of over 4,000m where you can enjoy the beautiful views of mountains and glaciers. Descending from the peak to Papallacta, one passes through the portal where the ecosystems transform from alpine to tro...

Djenne and the Great Clay Mosque

Larry Brain

Djenne, the oldest known city in sub-Saharan Africa is situated on an island in the Bani River, in central Mali. It was a prospering city from the 14th until the 16th century, when it acted as an important station on the Trans-Sahara route. Djenne was also known as a center of Islamic learning and pilgrimage, attracting students and pilgrims from all over West Africa. Its Great Mosque dominates the large market square of Djenne. Tradition has it that the first mosque was built in 1240 by the sul...