Archive for the 'Favoriter' Category


Amazing artist – Paul Cadden

Hyper-real pencil drawings look just like photos!

Landscape: The car is carefully crafted                                                                                                                         Solent

They say the camera never lies – but these images prove you can’t believe everything you see as they are not photos at all.

Instead they are amazingly highly detailed pencil drawings, the work of Scottish artist Paul Cadden.

Every hair, wrinkle and bead of water in these images has been drawn by hand, mainly with a pencil, in a pain-staking process which takes up to six weeks to produce a single picture.

The poster size pieces on A1 80cm x 60cm or A0 1.2m x 80cm paper sell for up to £5,000 each.

Horse play: Neigh, this isn’t a photograph                                                                                                       Paul Cadden

Close-up: Water appears to run down his subject’s face                                                                                               Solent

Dubbed hyper-realism, Cadden’s work is featuring in a new London exhibition which brings together work by artists who craft such intricate drawings and paintings they look just like photographs.

It is not until you get up really close to the finished pieces that you can tell how they have been created.

Cadden, 47, from Glasgow, has been drawing since he was a child.

Working with graphite and white chalk the former 3D illustrator is most proud of the picture showing a bearded man with water running down his face.

Smoking: The pair’s cigarette break is captured                                                                                                 Solent

Experience: This woman’s life is written in her face                                                                                                  Solent

He also reproduced a street scene featuring two men smoking with the wisps of smoke drifting away into the night.

He often draws portraits of homeless people and elderly subjects as he feels they have more character in their faces.

One of an old wizened lady shows the incredible detail of her deeply lined face and unruly hair.

Cadden said of his work: “Although the drawings and paintings I make are based upon photographs, videos stills etc, the idea is to go beyond the photograph.

Cadden’s Big Apple: Stunning attention the detail on New York street scene                                          Paul Cadden

New York New York: So good he drew it twice                                                                                                     Paul Cadden

“The photo is used to create a subtler and much more complex focus on the subject depicted.

“The virtual image becomes the living image, an intensification of the normal.

“These objects and scenes in my drawings are meticulously detailed to create the illusion of a new reality not seen in in the original photo.”

A spokesman for the Plus One Gallery said: “When you look at a picture of his work, they do look like photographs.

“But when you see it in a gallery up close, you can tell it’s a drawing. The detail is incredible.

“Now his reputation is growing internationally, with exhibitions planned in Japan and America.


The Elegant Universe

One of the most ambitious and exciting theories ever proposed—one that may be the long-sought “theory of everything,” which eluded even Einstein—gets a masterful, lavishly computer-animated explanation from bestselling author-physicist Brian Greene, when NOVA presents the nuts, bolts, and sometimes outright nuttiness of string theory.

Greene is professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, where he is one of the world’s foremost string theorists. He is also an unusually adept science explainer, whose book The Elegant Universe became a runaway bestseller and whose popular lectures pulse with string-like energy, not to mention infectious humor (more…)

A Theory of Everything?

In this excerpt from his book The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene explains why string theory might hold the key to unifying the four forces of nature.

A Conversation with Brian Greene

The series host says we may not be smart enough to ever fully understand the universe, he’d like to know now if string theory is wrong, and more.

Viewpoints on String Theory

Leading physicists offer insights—and sometimes conflicting opinions—on the nature and meaning of string theory.

Imagining Other Dimensions

Our brains may not be equipped to picture ten spatial dimensions, but see if you can get to at least four here.

The Making Of

From the initial concept to the finished product, take a detailed look at the creation of one scene from “The Elegant Universe.”

A Sense of Scale

Starting at an everyday scale, travel by powers of 100 down into the infinitesimally itsy-bitsy world of strings.

Resonance in Strings

An everyday string and the tiny strings of string theory have a lot in common. It’s all in the vibration.

Multidimensional Math

See for yourself why it’s a walk in the park to dream up extra dimensions, at least for mathematicians.

Elementary Particles

How do you tell a muon from a gluon? A strange quark from a charm quark? Find out here.

Smashing Pictures

Explore images from atom smashers that have captured particles in the act of being created or destroyed.

  A Three-Hour Miniseries with Brian Greene

-The Elegant Universe (Part 1) – Einstein’s Dream 

-The Elegant Universe (Part 2) – String’s The Thing 

-The Elegant Universe (Part 3) – Welcome to the 11th Dimension 



Pearls Before Breakfast

Can one of the nation’s great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour? Let’s find out.

By Gene Weingarten
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 8, 2007

HE EMERGED FROM THE METRO AT THE L’ENFANT PLAZA STATION AND POSITIONED HIMSELF AGAINST A WALL BESIDE A TRASH BASKET. By most measures, he was nondescript: a youngish white man in jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. From a small case, he removed a violin. Placing the open case at his feet, he shrewdly threw in a few dollars and pocket change as seed money, swiveled it to face pedestrian traffic, and began to play.

It was 7:51 a.m. on Friday, January 12, the middle of the morning rush hour. In the next 43 minutes, as the violinist performed six classical pieces, 1,097 people passed by. Almost all of them were on the way to work, which meant, for almost all of them, a government job. L’Enfant Plaza is at the nucleus of federal Washington, and these were mostly mid-level bureaucrats with those indeterminate, oddly fungible titles: policy analyst, project manager, budget officer, specialist, facilitator, consultant.

Each passerby had a quick choice to make, one familiar to commuters in any urban area where the occasional street performer is part of the cityscape: Do you stop and listen? Do you hurry past with a blend of guilt and irritation, aware of your cupidity but annoyed by the unbidden demand on your time and your wallet? Do you throw in a buck, just to be polite? Does your decision change if he’s really bad? What if he’s really good? Do you have time for beauty? Shouldn’t you? What’s the moral mathematics of the moment?

On that Friday in January, those private questions would be answered in an unusually public way. No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made. His performance was arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities — as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?

The musician did not play popular tunes whose familiarity alone might have drawn interest. That was not the test. These were masterpieces that have endured for centuries on their brilliance alone, soaring music befitting the grandeur of cathedrals and concert halls.

The acoustics proved surprisingly kind. Though the arcade is of utilitarian design, a buffer between the Metro escalator and the outdoors, it somehow caught the sound and bounced it back round and resonant. The violin is an instrument that is said to be much like the human voice, and in this musician’s masterly hands, it sobbed and laughed and sang — ecstatic, sorrowful, importuning, adoring, flirtatious, castigating, playful, romancing, merry, triumphal, sumptuous.

So, what do you think happened?


Leonard Slatkin, music director of the National Symphony Orchestra, was asked the same question. What did he think would occur, hypothetically, if one of the world’s great violinists had performed incognito before a traveling rush-hour audience of 1,000-odd people?

“Let’s assume,” Slatkin said, “that he is not recognized and just taken for granted as a street musician . . . Still, I don’t think that if he’s really good, he’s going to go unnoticed. He’d get a larger audience in Europe . . . but, okay, out of 1,000 people, my guess is there might be 35 or 40 who will recognize the quality for what it is. Maybe 75 to 100 will stop and spend some time listening.”

So, a crowd would gather?

“Oh, yes.”

And how much will he make?

“About $150.”

Thanks, Maestro. As it happens, this is not hypothetical. It really happened.

“How’d I do?”

We’ll tell you in a minute.

“Well, who was the musician?”

Joshua Bell.


A onetime child prodigy, at 39 Joshua Bell has arrived as an internationally acclaimed virtuoso. Three days before he appeared at the Metro station, Bell had filled the house at Boston’s stately Symphony Hall, where merely pretty good seats went for $100. Two weeks later, at the Music Center at Strathmore, in North Bethesda, he would play to a standing-room-only audience so respectful of his artistry that they stifled their coughs until the silence between movements. But on that Friday in January, Joshua Bell was just another mendicant, competing for the attention of busy people on their way to work.

Bell was first pitched this idea shortly before Christmas, over coffee at a sandwich shop on Capitol Hill. A New Yorker, he was in town to perform at the Library of Congress and to visit the library’s vaults to examine an unusual treasure: an 18th-century violin that once belonged to the great Austrian-born virtuoso and composer Fritz Kreisler. The curators invited Bell to play it; good sound, still.

“Here’s what I’m thinking,” Bell confided, as he sipped his coffee. “I’m thinking that I could do a tour where I’d play Kreisler’s music . . .”

He smiled.

“. . . on Kreisler’s violin.”

It was a snazzy, sequined idea — part inspiration and part gimmick — and it was typical of Bell, who has unapologetically embraced showmanship even as his concert career has become more and more august. He’s soloed with the finest orchestras here and abroad, but he’s also appeared on “Sesame Street,” done late-night talk TV and performed in feature films. That was Bell playing the soundtrack on the 1998 movie “The Red Violin.” (He body-doubled, too, playing to a naked Greta Scacchi.) As composer John Corigliano accepted the Oscar for Best Original Dramatic Score, he credited Bell, who, he said, “plays like a god.”

When Bell was asked if he’d be willing to don street clothes and perform at rush hour, he said:

“Uh, a stunt?”

Well, yes. A stunt. Would he think it . . . unseemly?

Bell drained his cup.

“Sounds like fun,” he said.

Bell’s a heartthrob. Tall and handsome, he’s got a Donny Osmond-like dose of the cutes, and, onstage, cute elides into hott. When he performs, he is usually the only man under the lights who is not in white tie and tails — he walks out to a standing O, looking like Zorro, in black pants and an untucked black dress shirt, shirttail dangling. That cute Beatles-style mop top is also a strategic asset: Because his technique is full of body — athletic and passionate — he’s almost dancing with the instrument, and his hair flies.

He’s single and straight, a fact not lost on some of his fans. In Boston, as he performed Max Bruch’s dour Violin Concerto in G Minor, the very few young women in the audience nearly disappeared in the deep sea of silver heads. But seemingly every single one of them — a distillate of the young and pretty — coalesced at the stage door after the performance, seeking an autograph. It’s like that always, with Bell.

Bell’s been accepting over-the-top accolades since puberty: Interview magazine once said his playing “does nothing less than tell human beings why they bother to live.” He’s learned to field these things graciously, with a bashful duck of the head and a modified “pshaw.”

For this incognito performance, Bell had only one condition for participating. The event had been described to him as a test of whether, in an incongruous context, ordinary people would recognize genius. His condition: “I’m not comfortable if you call this genius.” “Genius” is an overused word, he said: It can be applied to some of the composers whose work he plays, but not to him. His skills are largely interpretive, he said, and to imply otherwise would be unseemly and inaccurate.

It was an interesting request, and under the circumstances, one that will be honored. The word will not again appear in this article.

It would be breaking no rules, however, to note that the term in question, particularly as applied in the field of music, refers to a congenital brilliance — an elite, innate, preternatural ability that manifests itself early, and often in dramatic fashion.

One biographically intriguing fact about Bell is that he got his first music lessons when he was a 4-year-old in Bloomington, Ind. His parents, both psychologists, decided formal training might be a good idea after they saw that their son had strung rubber bands across his dresser drawers and was replicating classical tunes by ear, moving drawers in and out to vary the pitch.

TO GET TO THE METRO FROM HIS HOTEL, a distance of three blocks, Bell took a taxi. He’s neither lame nor lazy: He did it for his violin.

Bell always performs on the same instrument, and he ruled out using another for this gig. Called the Gibson ex Huberman, it was handcrafted in 1713 by Antonio Stradivari during the Italian master’s “golden period,” toward the end of his career, when he had access to the finest spruce, maple and willow, and when his technique had been refined to perfection.

“Our knowledge of acoustics is still incomplete,” Bell said, “but he, he just . . . knew.”

Bell doesn’t mention Stradivari by name. Just “he.” When the violinist shows his Strad to people, he holds the instrument gingerly by its neck, resting it on a knee. “He made this to perfect thickness at all parts,” Bell says, pivoting it. “If you shaved off a millimeter of wood at any point, it would totally imbalance the sound.” No violins sound as wonderful as Strads from the 1710s, still.

The front of Bell’s violin is in nearly perfect condition, with a deep, rich grain and luster. The back is a mess, its dark reddish finish bleeding away into a flatter, lighter shade and finally, in one section, to bare wood.

“This has never been refinished,” Bell said. “That’s his original varnish. People attribute aspects of the sound to the varnish. Each maker had his own secret formula.” Stradivari is thought to have made his from an ingeniously balanced cocktail of honey, egg whites and gum arabic from sub-Saharan trees.

Like the instrument in “The Red Violin,” this one has a past filled with mystery and malice. Twice, it was stolen from its illustrious prior owner, the Polish virtuoso Bronislaw Huberman. The first time, in 1919, it disappeared from Huberman’s hotel room in Vienna but was quickly returned. The second time, nearly 20 years later, it was pinched from his dressing room in Carnegie Hall. He never got it back. It was not until 1985 that the thief — a minor New York violinist — made a deathbed confession to his wife, and produced the instrument.

Bell bought it a few years ago. He had to sell his own Strad and borrow much of the rest. The price tag was reported to be about $3.5 million.

All of which is a long explanation for why, in the early morning chill of a day in January, Josh Bell took a three-block cab ride to the Orange Line, and rode one stop to L’Enfant.

AS METRO STATIONS GO, L’ENFANT PLAZA IS MORE PLEBEIAN THAN MOST. Even before you arrive, it gets no respect. Metro conductors never seem to get it right: “Leh-fahn.” “Layfont.” “El’phant.”

At the top of the escalators are a shoeshine stand and a busy kiosk that sells newspapers, lottery tickets and a wallfull of magazines with titles such as Mammazons and Girls of Barely Legal. The skin mags move, but it’s that lottery ticket dispenser that stays the busiest, with customers queuing up for Daily 6 lotto and Powerball and the ultimate suckers’ bait, those pamphlets that sell random number combinations purporting to be “hot.” They sell briskly. There’s also a quick-check machine to slide in your lotto ticket, post-drawing, to see if you’ve won. Beneath it is a forlorn pile of crumpled slips.

On Friday, January 12, the people waiting in the lottery line looking for a long shot would get a lucky break — a free, close-up ticket to a concert by one of the world’s most famous musicians — but only if they were of a mind to take note.

Bell decided to begin with “Chaconne” from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Partita No. 2 in D Minor. Bell calls it “not just one of the greatest pieces of music ever written, but one of the greatest achievements of any man in history. It’s a spiritually powerful piece, emotionally powerful, structurally perfect. Plus, it was written for a solo violin, so I won’t be cheating with some half-assed version.”

Bell didn’t say it, but Bach’s “Chaconne” is also considered one of the most difficult violin pieces to master. Many try; few succeed. It’s exhaustingly long — 14 minutes — and consists entirely of a single, succinct musical progression repeated in dozens of variations to create a dauntingly complex architecture of sound. Composed around 1720, on the eve of the European Enlightenment, it is said to be a celebration of the breadth of human possibility.

If Bell’s encomium to “Chaconne” seems overly effusive, consider this from the 19th-century composer Johannes Brahms, in a letter to Clara Schumann: “On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind.”

So, that’s the piece Bell started with.

He’d clearly meant it when he promised not to cheap out this performance: He played with acrobatic enthusiasm, his body leaning into the music and arching on tiptoes at the high notes. The sound was nearly symphonic, carrying to all parts of the homely arcade as the pedestrian traffic filed past.

Three minutes went by before something happened. Sixty-three people had already passed when, finally, there was a breakthrough of sorts. A middle-age man altered his gait for a split second, turning his head to notice that there seemed to be some guy playing music. Yes, the man kept walking, but it was something.

A half-minute later, Bell got his first donation. A woman threw in a buck and scooted off. It was not until six minutes into the performance that someone actually stood against a wall, and listened.

Things never got much better. In the three-quarters of an hour that Joshua Bell played, seven people stopped what they were doing to hang around and take in the performance, at least for a minute. Twenty-seven gave money, most of them on the run — for a total of $32 and change. That leaves the 1,070 people who hurried by, oblivious, many only three feet away, few even turning to look.

No, Mr. Slatkin, there was never a crowd, not even for a second.

It was all videotaped by a hidden camera. You can play the recording once or 15 times, and it never gets any easier to watch. Try speeding it up, and it becomes one of those herky-jerky World War I-era silent newsreels. The people scurry by in comical little hops and starts, cups of coffee in their hands, cellphones at their ears, ID tags slapping at their bellies, a grim danse macabre to indifference, inertia and the dingy, gray rush of modernity.

Even at this accelerated pace, though, the fiddler’s movements remain fluid and graceful; he seems so apart from his audience — unseen, unheard, otherworldly — that you find yourself thinking that he’s not really there. A ghost.

Only then do you see it: He is the one who is real. They are the ghosts.


It’s an old epistemological debate, older, actually, than the koan about the tree in the forest. Plato weighed in on it, and philosophers for two millennia afterward: What is beauty? Is it a measurable fact (Gottfried Leibniz), or merely an opinion (David Hume), or is it a little of each, colored by the immediate state of mind of the observer (Immanuel Kant)?

We’ll go with Kant, because he’s obviously right, and because he brings us pretty directly to Joshua Bell, sitting there in a hotel restaurant, picking at his breakfast, wryly trying to figure out what the hell had just happened back there at the Metro.

“At the beginning,” Bell says, “I was just concentrating on playing the music. I wasn’t really watching what was happening around me . . .”

Playing the violin looks all-consuming, mentally and physically, but Bell says that for him the mechanics of it are partly second nature, cemented by practice and muscle memory: It’s like a juggler, he says, who can keep those balls in play while interacting with a crowd. What he’s mostly thinking about as he plays, Bell says, is capturing emotion as a narrative: “When you play a violin piece, you are a storyteller, and you’re telling a story.”

With “Chaconne,” the opening is filled with a building sense of awe. That kept him busy for a while. Eventually, though, he began to steal a sidelong glance.

“It was a strange feeling, that people were actually, ah . . .”

The word doesn’t come easily.

“. . . ignoring me.”

Bell is laughing. It’s at himself.

“At a music hall, I’ll get upset if someone coughs or if someone’s cellphone goes off. But here, my expectations quickly diminished. I started to appreciate any acknowledgment, even a slight glance up. I was oddly grateful when someone threw in a dollar instead of change.” This is from a man whose talents can command $1,000 a minute.

Before he began, Bell hadn’t known what to expect. What he does know is that, for some reason, he was nervous.

“It wasn’t exactly stage fright, but there were butterflies,” he says. “I was stressing a little.”

Bell has played, literally, before crowned heads of Europe. Why the anxiety at the Washington Metro?

“When you play for ticket-holders,” Bell explains, “you are already validated. I have no sense that I need to be accepted. I’m already accepted. Here, there was this thought: What if they don’t like me? What if they resent my presence . . .”

He was, in short, art without a frame. Which, it turns out, may have a lot to do with what happened — or, more precisely, what didn’t happen — on January 12.

MARK LEITHAUSER HAS HELD IN HIS HANDS MORE GREAT WORKS OF ART THAN ANY KING OR POPE OR MEDICI EVER DID. A senior curator at the National Gallery, he oversees the framing of the paintings. Leithauser thinks he has some idea of what happened at that Metro station.

“Let’s say I took one of our more abstract masterpieces, say an Ellsworth Kelly, and removed it from its frame, marched it down the 52 steps that people walk up to get to the National Gallery, past the giant columns, and brought it into a restaurant. It’s a $5 million painting. And it’s one of those restaurants where there are pieces of original art for sale, by some industrious kids from the Corcoran School, and I hang that Kelly on the wall with a price tag of $150. No one is going to notice it. An art curator might look up and say: ‘Hey, that looks a little like an Ellsworth Kelly. Please pass the salt.'”

Leithauser’s point is that we shouldn’t be too ready to label the Metro passersby unsophisticated boobs. Context matters.

Kant said the same thing. He took beauty seriously: In his Critique of Aesthetic Judgment, Kant argued that one’s ability to appreciate beauty is related to one’s ability to make moral judgments. But there was a caveat. Paul Guyer of the University of Pennsylvania, one of America’s most prominent Kantian scholars, says the 18th-century German philosopher felt that to properly appreciate beauty, the viewing conditions must be optimal.

“Optimal,” Guyer said, “doesn’t mean heading to work, focusing on your report to the boss, maybe your shoes don’t fit right.”

So, if Kant had been at the Metro watching as Joshua Bell play to a thousand unimpressed passersby?

“He would have inferred about them,” Guyer said, “absolutely nothing.”

And that’s that.

Except it isn’t. To really understand what happened, you have to rewind that video and play it back from the beginning, from the moment Bell’s bow first touched the strings.

White guy, khakis, leather jacket, briefcase. Early 30s. John David Mortensen is on the final leg of his daily bus-to-Metro commute from Reston. He’s heading up the escalator. It’s a long ride — 1 minute and 15 seconds if you don’t walk. So, like most everyone who passes Bell this day, Mortensen gets a good earful of music before he has his first look at the musician. Like most of them, he notes that it sounds pretty good. But like very few of them, when he gets to the top, he doesn’t race past as though Bell were some nuisance to be avoided. Mortensen is that first person to stop, that guy at the six-minute mark.

It’s not that he has nothing else to do. He’s a project manager for an international program at the Department of Energy; on this day, Mortensen has to participate in a monthly budget exercise, not the most exciting part of his job: “You review the past month’s expenditures,” he says, “forecast spending for the next month, if you have X dollars, where will it go, that sort of thing.”

On the video, you can see Mortensen get off the escalator and look around. He locates the violinist, stops, walks away but then is drawn back. He checks the time on his cellphone — he’s three minutes early for work — then settles against a wall to listen.

Mortensen doesn’t know classical music at all; classic rock is as close as he comes. But there’s something about what he’s hearing that he really likes.

As it happens, he’s arrived at the moment that Bell slides into the second section of “Chaconne.” (“It’s the point,” Bell says, “where it moves from a darker, minor key into a major key. There’s a religious, exalted feeling to it.”) The violinist’s bow begins to dance; the music becomes upbeat, playful, theatrical, big.Mortensen doesn’t know about major or minor keys: “Whatever it was,” he says, “it made me feel at peace.”

So, for the first time in his life, Mortensen lingers to listen to a street musician. He stays his allotted three minutes as 94 more people pass briskly by. When he leaves to help plan contingency budgets for the Department of Energy, there’s another first. For the first time in his life, not quite knowing what had just happened but sensing it was special, John David Mortensen gives a street musician money.

THERE ARE SIX MOMENTS IN THE VIDEO THAT BELL FINDS PARTICULARLY PAINFUL TO RELIVE: “The awkward times,” he calls them. It’s what happens right after each piece ends: nothing. The music stops. The same people who hadn’t noticed him playing don’t notice that he has finished. No applause, no acknowledgment. So Bell just saws out a small, nervous chord — the embarrassed musician’s equivalent of, “Er, okay, moving right along . . .” — and begins the next piece.

After “Chaconne,” it is Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” which surprised some music critics when it debuted in 1825: Schubert seldom showed religious feeling in his compositions, yet “Ave Maria” is a breathtaking work of adoration of the Virgin Mary. What was with the sudden piety? Schubert dryly answered: “I think this is due to the fact that I never forced devotion in myself and never compose hymns or prayers of that kind unless it overcomes me unawares; but then it is usually the right and true devotion.” This musical prayer became among the most familiar and enduring religious pieces in history.

A couple of minutes into it, something revealing happens. A woman and her preschooler emerge from the escalator. The woman is walking briskly and, therefore, so is the child. She’s got his hand.

“I had a time crunch,” recalls Sheron Parker, an IT director for a federal agency. “I had an 8:30 training class, and first I had to rush Evvie off to his teacher, then rush back to work, then to the training facility in the basement.”

Evvie is her son, Evan. Evan is 3.

You can see Evan clearly on the video. He’s the cute black kid in the parka who keeps twisting around to look at Joshua Bell, as he is being propelled toward the door.

“There was a musician,” Parker says, “and my son was intrigued. He wanted to pull over and listen, but I was rushed for time.”

So Parker does what she has to do. She deftly moves her body between Evan’s and Bell’s, cutting off her son’s line of sight. As they exit the arcade, Evan can still be seen craning to look. When Parker is told what she walked out on, she laughs.

“Evan is very smart!”

The poet Billy Collins once laughingly observed that all babies are born with a knowledge of poetry, because the lub-dub of the mother’s heart is in iambic meter. Then, Collins said, life slowly starts to choke the poetry out of us. It may be true with music, too.

There was no ethnic or demographic pattern to distinguish the people who stayed to watch Bell, or the ones who gave money, from that vast majority who hurried on past, unheeding. Whites, blacks and Asians, young and old, men and women, were represented in all three groups. But the behavior of one demographic remained absolutely consistent. Every single time a child walked past, he or she tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away.

IF THERE WAS ONE PERSON ON THAT DAY WHO WAS TOO BUSY TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE VIOLINIST, it was George Tindley. Tindley wasn’t hurrying to get to work. He was at work.

The glass doors through which most people exit the L’Enfant station lead into an indoor shopping mall, from which there are exits to the street and elevators to office buildings. The first store in the mall is an Au Bon Pain, the croissant and coffee shop where Tindley, in his 40s, works in a white uniform busing the tables, restocking the salt and pepper packets, taking out the garbage. Tindley labors under the watchful eye of his bosses, and he’s supposed to be hopping, and he was.

But every minute or so, as though drawn by something not entirely within his control, Tindley would walk to the very edge of the Au Bon Pain property, keeping his toes inside the line, still on the job. Then he’d lean forward, as far out into the hallway as he could, watching the fiddler on the other side of the glass doors. The foot traffic was steady, so the doors were usually open. The sound came through pretty well.

“You could tell in one second that this guy was good, that he was clearly a professional,” Tindley says. He plays the guitar, loves the sound of strings, and has no respect for a certain kind of musician.

“Most people, they play music; they don’t feel it,” Tindley says. “Well, that man was feeling it. That man was moving. Moving into the sound.”

A hundred feet away, across the arcade, was the lottery line, sometimes five or six people long. They had a much better view of Bell than Tindley did, if they had just turned around. But no one did. Not in the entire 43 minutes. They just shuffled forward toward that machine spitting out numbers. Eyes on the prize.

J.T. Tillman was in that line. A computer specialist for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, he remembers every single number he played that day — 10 of them, $2 apiece, for a total of $20. He doesn’t recall what the violinist was playing, though. He says it sounded like generic classical music, the kind the ship’s band was playing in “Titanic,” before the iceberg.

“I didn’t think nothing of it,” Tillman says, “just a guy trying to make a couple of bucks.” Tillman would have given him one or two, he said, but he spent all his cash on lotto.

When he is told that he stiffed one of the best musicians in the world, he laughs.

“Is he ever going to play around here again?”

“Yeah, but you’re going to have to pay a lot to hear him.”


Tillman didn’t win the lottery, either.

BELL ENDS “AVE MARIA” TO ANOTHER THUNDEROUS SILENCE, plays Manuel Ponce’s sentimental “Estrellita,” then a piece by Jules Massenet, and then begins a Bach gavotte, a joyful, frolicsome, lyrical dance. It’s got an Old World delicacy to it; you can imagine it entertaining bewigged dancers at a Versailles ball, or — in a lute, fiddle and fife version — the boot-kicking peasants of a Pieter Bruegel painting.

Watching the video weeks later, Bell finds himself mystified by one thing only. He understands why he’s not drawing a crowd, in the rush of a morning workday. But: “I’m surprised at the number of people who don’t pay attention at all, as if I’m invisible. Because, you know what? I’m makin’ a lot of noise!”

He is. You don’t need to know music at all to appreciate the simple fact that there’s a guy there, playing a violin that’s throwing out a whole bucket of sound; at times, Bell’s bowing is so intricate that you seem to be hearing two instruments playing in harmony. So those head-forward, quick-stepping passersby are a remarkable phenomenon.

Bell wonders whether their inattention may be deliberate: If you don’t take visible note of the musician, you don’t have to feel guilty about not forking over money; you’re not complicit in a rip-off.

It may be true, but no one gave that explanation. People just said they were busy, had other things on their mind. Some who were on cellphones spoke louder as they passed Bell, to compete with that infernal racket.

And then there was Calvin Myint. Myint works for the General Services Administration. He got to the top of the escalator, turned right and headed out a door to the street. A few hours later, he had no memory that there had been a musician anywhere in sight.

“Where was he, in relation to me?”

“About four feet away.”


There’s nothing wrong with Myint’s hearing. He had buds in his ear. He was listening to his iPod.

For many of us, the explosion in technology has perversely limited, not expanded, our exposure to new experiences. Increasingly, we get our news from sources that think as we already do. And with iPods, we hear what we already know; we program our own playlists.

The song that Calvin Myint was listening to was “Just Like Heaven,” by the British rock band The Cure. It’s a terrific song, actually. The meaning is a little opaque, and the Web is filled with earnest efforts to deconstruct it. Many are far-fetched, but some are right on point: It’s about a tragic emotional disconnect. A man has found the woman of his dreams but can’t express the depth of his feeling for her until she’s gone. It’s about failing to see the beauty of what’s plainly in front of your eyes.

YES, I SAW THE VIOLINIST,” Jackie Hessian says, “but nothing about him struck me as much of anything.”

You couldn’t tell that by watching her. Hessian was one of those people who gave Bell a long, hard look before walking on. It turns out that she wasn’t noticing the music at all.

“I really didn’t hear that much,” she said. “I was just trying to figure out what he was doing there, how does this work for him, can he make much money, would it be better to start with some money in the case, or for it to be empty, so people feel sorry for you? I was analyzing it financially.”

What do you do, Jackie?

“I’m a lawyer in labor relations with the United States Postal Service. I just negotiated a national contract.”

THE BEST SEATS IN THE HOUSE WERE UPHOLSTERED. In the balcony, more or less. On that day, for $5, you’d get a lot more than just a nice shine on your shoes.

Only one person occupied one of those seats when Bell played. Terence Holmes is a consultant for the Department of Transportation, and he liked the music just fine, but it was really about a shoeshine: “My father told me never to wear a suit with your shoes not cleaned and shined.”

Holmes wears suits often, so he is up in that perch a lot, and he’s got a good relationship with the shoeshine lady. Holmes is a good tipper and a good talker, which is a skill that came in handy that day. The shoeshine lady was upset about something, and the music got her more upset. She complained, Holmes said, that the music was too loud, and he tried to calm her down.

Edna Souza is from Brazil. She’s been shining shoes at L’Enfant Plaza for six years, and she’s had her fill of street musicians there; when they play, she can’t hear her customers, and that’s bad for business. So she fights.

Souza points to the dividing line between the Metro property, at the top of the escalator, and the arcade, which is under control of the management company that runs the mall. Sometimes, Souza says, a musician will stand on the Metro side, sometimes on the mall side. Either way, she’s got him. On her speed dial, she has phone numbers for both the mall cops and the Metro cops. The musicians seldom last long.

What about Joshua Bell?

He was too loud, too, Souza says. Then she looks down at her rag, sniffs. She hates to say anything positive about these damned musicians, but: “He was pretty good, that guy. It was the first time I didn’t call the police.”

Souza was surprised to learn he was a famous musician, but not that people rushed blindly by him. That, she said, was predictable. “If something like this happened in Brazil, everyone would stand around to see. Not here.”

Souza nods sourly toward a spot near the top of the escalator: “Couple of years ago, a homeless guy died right there. He just lay down there and died. The police came, an ambulance came, and no one even stopped to see or slowed down to look.

“People walk up the escalator, they look straight ahead. Mind your own business, eyes forward. Everyone is stressed. Do you know what I mean?”

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

— from “Leisure,” by W.H. Davies

Let’s say Kant is right. Let’s accept that we can’t look at what happened on January 12 and make any judgment whatever about people’s sophistication or their ability to appreciate beauty. But what about their ability to appreciate life?

We’re busy. Americans have been busy, as a people, since at least 1831, when a young French sociologist named Alexis de Tocqueville visited the States and found himself impressed, bemused and slightly dismayed at the degree to which people were driven, to the exclusion of everything else, by hard work and the accumulation of wealth.

Not much has changed. Pop in a DVD of “Koyaanisqatsi,” the wordless, darkly brilliant, avant-garde 1982 film about the frenetic speed of modern life. Backed by the minimalist music of Philip Glass, director Godfrey Reggio takes film clips of Americans going about their daily business, but speeds them up until they resemble assembly-line machines, robots marching lockstep to nowhere. Now look at the video from L’Enfant Plaza, in fast-forward. The Philip Glass soundtrack fits it perfectly.

“Koyaanisqatsi” is a Hopi word. It means “life out of balance.”

In his 2003 book, Timeless Beauty: In the Arts and Everyday Life, British author John Lane writes about the loss of the appreciation for beauty in the modern world. The experiment at L’Enfant Plaza may be symptomatic of that, he said — not because people didn’t have the capacity to understand beauty, but because it was irrelevant to them.

“This is about having the wrong priorities,” Lane said.

If we can’t take the time out of our lives to stay a moment and listen to one of the best musicians on Earth play some of the best music ever written; if the surge of modern life so overpowers us that we are deaf and blind to something like that — then what else are we missing?

That’s what the Welsh poet W.H. Davies meant in 1911 when he published those two lines that begin this section. They made him famous. The thought was simple, even primitive, but somehow no one had put it quite that way before.

Of course, Davies had an advantage — an advantage of perception. He wasn’t a tradesman or a laborer or a bureaucrat or a consultant or a policy analyst or a labor lawyer or a program manager. He was a hobo.

THE CULTURAL HERO OF THE DAY ARRIVED AT L’ENFANT PLAZA PRETTY LATE, in the unprepossessing figure of one John Picarello, a smallish man with a baldish head.

Picarello hit the top of the escalator just after Bell began his final piece, a reprise of “Chaconne.” In the video, you see Picarello stop dead in his tracks, locate the source of the music, and then retreat to the other end of the arcade. He takes up a position past the shoeshine stand, across from that lottery line, and he will not budge for the next nine minutes.

Like all the passersby interviewed for this article, Picarello was stopped by a reporter after he left the building, and was asked for his phone number. Like everyone, he was told only that this was to be an article about commuting. When he was called later in the day, like everyone else, he was first asked if anything unusual had happened to him on his trip into work. Of the more than 40 people contacted, Picarello was the only one who immediately mentioned the violinist.

“There was a musician playing at the top of the escalator at L’Enfant Plaza.”

Haven’t you seen musicians there before?

“Not like this one.”

What do you mean?

“This was a superb violinist. I’ve never heard anyone of that caliber. He was technically proficient, with very good phrasing. He had a good fiddle, too, with a big, lush sound. I walked a distance away, to hear him. I didn’t want to be intrusive on his space.”


“Really. It was that kind of experience. It was a treat, just a brilliant, incredible way to start the day.”

Picarello knows classical music. He is a fan of Joshua Bell but didn’t recognize him; he hadn’t seen a recent photo, and besides, for most of the time Picarello was pretty far away. But he knew this was not a run-of-the-mill guy out there, performing. On the video, you can see Picarello look around him now and then, almost bewildered.

“Yeah, other people just were not getting it. It just wasn’t registering. That was baffling to me.”

When Picarello was growing up in New York, he studied violin seriously, intending to be a concert musician. But he gave it up at 18, when he decided he’d never be good enough to make it pay. Life does that to you sometimes. Sometimes, you have to do the prudent thing. So he went into another line of work. He’s a supervisor at the U.S. Postal Service. Doesn’t play the violin much, anymore.

When he left, Picarello says, “I humbly threw in $5.” It was humble: You can actually see that on the video. Picarello walks up, barely looking at Bell, and tosses in the money. Then, as if embarrassed, he quickly walks away from the man he once wanted to be.

Does he have regrets about how things worked out?

The postal supervisor considers this.

“No. If you love something but choose not to do it professionally, it’s not a waste. Because, you know, you still have it. You have it forever.”

BELL THINKS HE DID HIS BEST WORK OF THE DAY IN THOSE FINAL FEW MINUTES, in the second “Chaconne.” And that also was the first time more than one person at a time was listening. As Picarello stood in the back, Janice Olu arrived and took up a position a few feet away from Bell. Olu, a public trust officer with HUD, also played the violin as a kid. She didn’t know the name of the piece she was hearing, but she knew the man playing it has a gift.

Olu was on a coffee break and stayed as long as she dared. As she turned to go, she whispered to the stranger next to her, “I really don’t want to leave.” The stranger standing next to her happened to be working for The Washington Post.

In preparing for this event, editors at The Post Magazine discussed how to deal with likely outcomes. The most widely held assumption was that there could well be a problem with crowd control: In a demographic as sophisticated as Washington, the thinking went, several people would surely recognize Bell. Nervous “what-if” scenarios abounded. As people gathered, what if others stopped just to see what the attraction was? Word would spread through the crowd. Cameras would flash. More people flock to the scene; rush-hour pedestrian traffic backs up; tempers flare; the National Guard is called; tear gas, rubber bullets, etc.

As it happens, exactly one person recognized Bell, and she didn’t arrive until near the very end. For Stacy Furukawa, a demographer at the Commerce Department, there was no doubt. She doesn’t know much about classical music, but she had been in the audience three weeks earlier, at Bell’s free concert at the Library of Congress. And here he was, the international virtuoso, sawing away, begging for money. She had no idea what the heck was going on, but whatever it was, she wasn’t about to miss it.

Furukawa positioned herself 10 feet away from Bell, front row, center. She had a huge grin on her face. The grin, and Furukawa, remained planted in that spot until the end.

“It was the most astonishing thing I’ve ever seen in Washington,” Furukawa says. “Joshua Bell was standing there playing at rush hour, and people were not stopping, and not even looking, and some were flipping quarters at him! Quarters! I wouldn’t do that to anybody. I was thinking, Omigosh, what kind of a city do I live in that this could happen?”When it was over, Furukawa introduced herself to Bell, and tossed in a twenty. Not counting that — it was tainted by recognition — the final haul for his 43 minutes of playing was $32.17. Yes, some people gave pennies.

“Actually,” Bell said with a laugh, “that’s not so bad, considering. That’s 40 bucks an hour. I could make an okay living doing this, and I wouldn’t have to pay an agent.”

These days, at L’Enfant Plaza, lotto ticket sales remain brisk. Musicians still show up from time to time, and they still tick off Edna Souza. Joshua Bell’s latest album, “The Voice of the Violin,” has received the usual critical acclaim. (“Delicate urgency.” “Masterful intimacy.” “Unfailingly exquisite.” “A musical summit.” “. . . will make your heart thump and weep at the same time.”)

Bell headed off on a concert tour of European capitals. But he is back in the States this week. He has to be. On Tuesday, he will be accepting the Avery Fisher prize, recognizing the Flop of L’Enfant Plaza as the best classical musician in America.

Emily Shroder, Rachel Manteuffel, John W. Poole and Magazine Editor Tom Shroder contributed to this report. Gene Weingarten, a Magazine staff writer, can be reached at He will be fielding questions and comments about this article Monday at 1 p.m.


Vetenskapen bakom apokalypsen 2012?

Av alla teorier om Jordens undergång låter denna som den mest vetenskapligt underbyggda, även om också denna bygger på indicier, tolkningar och gissningar. Exakt när världen kommer att gå under kommer knappast någon forskare att kunna förutsäga med säkerhet förrän det är för sent.
Enligt Patrick Geryl, en belgisk amatörforskare med intresse för astronomi och arkeologi, kommer världens undergång att ske den 21 december 2012. Hans första bok om ämnet, ”The Orion Prophecy”, kom ut 1998 och översattes till flera språk. Den har liksom hans senare böcker ”The World Cataclysm in 2012” (2005) och ”How to survive 2012” (2006) utgjort inspirationskällan till filmen ”2012”. Mycket är taget rakt av från böckerna, inklusive de osänkbara räddningsfartygen, men som Geryl påpekar är allt klätt i Hollywoods överdrivna stil.

Amatörkosmologen och arkeologen Patrick Geryl intervjuad på Youtube.

Patrick Geryl menar att både den egyptiska civilisationen liksom Sydamerikas mayakultur är arvingar till en högstående civilisation som förintades i en stor kosmisk katastrof för ca 11 500 år sedan. Geryl kopplar samman denna antika civilisation med det mytologiska Atlantis, och tror sig ha hittat bevis för att både mayaindianerna och egyptierna visste när nästa sådan katastrof skulle drabba Jorden – år 2012.Apokalypsen 2012 har blivit vitt omtalat på internet och det har utkommit en mängd böcker i ämnet. Man hänvisar till profetior från Nostradamus och kinesiska I Ching, det talas om asteroider, osynliga planeter och särskilda positioner av himlakropparna. Patrick Geryl är dock den som verkar komma närmast en vetenskaplig förklaring på varför just 2012 skulle vara det år då domedagen inträffar.

Solen får Jordens rotationsaxel att flippa
Den fysikaliska principen bakom den katastrof som Geryl menar ska drabba Jorden har sitt ursprung i Solen. Solen har en välkänd cykel på elva år under vilka man kan observera allt fler solfläckar på dess yta, varefter Solens magnetiska poler byter plats. Under denna period, då Solen har många solfläckar, orsakar Solens förhöjda aktivitet geomagnetiska stormar på Jorden. Sedan upprepas samma sak igen, så att 22 år senare har Solen återfått samma polaritet igen.

Nyligen dokumenterade NASA:s satellit Swift en lika överraskande som enorm explosion på stjärnan EV Lacertae, endast 16 ljusår ifrån oss. Bilden är en konstnärs tolkning av explosionen. Bild: Casey Reed/NASA.

Enligt Geryl har Solen även mycket längre cykler, varav den som är mest intressant varar i 11 500 till 12 000 år. När Solen fullgjort en sådan cykel inträffar en mycket kraftig solstorm, en så kallad koronamassutkastning som träffar Jorden. Nyligen observerade NASA:s satellit Swift ett sådant superutbrott på en stjärna som är något mindre än Solen. Stjärnan befinner sig i dubbelstjärnesystemet II Pegasi och enligt astronomer utplånar ett sådant utbrott allt liv på dess eventuella planeter. Stjärnan återgick därefter till ett lugnt tillstånd igen.Eftersom Jorden liksom Solen har en magnetisk polaritet så kommer den inkommande magnetiska vågen att trycka bort en av polerna och därmed vrida Jordens rotationsaxel. Jordens inre består mestadels av trögflytande magma med en hård men relativt liten järnkärna. Det är järnkärnan som är själva magneten och der är den som först kommer att vridas upp och ner, och därmed snurra åt motsatt håll. Magman kommer att slitas med i den nya rörelsen och denna rörelse kommer att transporteras upp till jordskorpan. Eftersom Jorden på grund av rotationen har en utbuktning vid ekvatorn, så har kontinenterna svårt att följa med i den rörelsen glida upp eller ner på jordytan. På jordskorpan noteras därför bara en snabb inbromsning och sedan börjar Jorden att rotera åt motsatt håll. Endast vid själva stoppet, när utbuktningen vid ekvatorn försvinner, kommer kontinenterna att kunna glida vertikalt, för att stanna så fort rotationen kommit igång igen.

Chockvågen från Solen utsätter Jorden för ett kraftigt magnetisk fält som gör att Jordens magnetiska järnkärna vrider sig.

1. Jordskorpan, magman och järnkärnan roterar åt samma håll.

2. Järnkärnan börjar vrida sig. Magman försöker följa efter och jordskorpans rotation saktar in.

3. Efter knappt ett dygn har järnkärnan flippat upp och ner och roterar därmed åt motsatt håll. Effekten vid jordytan är att rotationen helt stannar, varvid utbuktningen vid ekvatorn försvinner och kontinenterna kan glida vertikalt.

4. Magman har hunnit ikapp kärnans rotation och fått även jordskorpan att börja rotera i den nya riktningen. Ytan börjar återigen att bukta ut vid ekvatorn och kontinenterna sitter fast på sina nya positioner.

Kontinenter förskjuts 3 000 km på en dag
På jordytan kommer en sådan omvälvande händelse att innebära fullständig katastrof. Alla vulkaner kommer omedelbart att explodera och många bergskedjor störta samman. Eftersom Jorden vid ekvatorn rör sig med en hastighet av över 1 600 km/h så kommer bytet av rotationsriktning att innebära en inbromsning och därefter hastighetsökning av sammanlagt över 3 000 km/h på en dag. Oceanerna kommer då att på grund av sitt tröghetsmoment att fortsätta färdas runt Jorden i den ursprungliga riktningen, vilket kommer att skapa en enorm 1,5 km hög flodvåg som går flera varv Jorden runt.Geryls uträkningar visar att kontinenterna samtidigt kommer att flytta sig ca 3 000 km norrut på ena sidan och lika mycket söderut på motsatt sida. Öknar hamnar i arktiska områden och så vidare.

En vanlig tsunami är illa nog, men den Geryl varnar för kommer att vara 1 500 meter hög. Tack till skarpögd läsare som såg att den förra bilden inte föreställde en tsunami.

Effekterna på Jorden vid en rotationsomkastning jämför Geryl med hur apokalypsen beskrivs i olika religiösa skrifter. Syndafloden förekommer i nästan alla religioner, men även att solen kommer att gå upp den där den tidigare gick ner nämns i både Bibeln och islam, liksom att jorden kommer att skaka och himlen lysa.

Förklarar istider
Geryl menar att en rotationsomkastning är en utmärkt förklaring på istiderna, då kontinenterna inom loppet av en dag glider till helt nya temperaturzoner. Detta förklarar enligt honom varför man hittar förstenade regnskogar på Antarktis och varför mammutar hittas med osmält föda i magen.

Denna teori förklarar förstås inte alla de mindre istider som förekommit, liksom istider som inträffat vid andra tidpunkter än just med 11 500 års mellanrum, men den motsägs inte heller av dem. Hur länge det är mellan istiderna tvistar vetenskapsmännen fortfarande om, men enligt den starkaste teorin just nu varar en typisk varmperiod mellan istiderna ca 12 000 år, och det är lite över 11 000 år sedan den nu pågående värmeperioden, kallad holocene, började.

Att Jorden under sin historia bytt magnetiska poler är vetenskapligt belagt, men det är svårt att veta när och hur många gånger. Enligt forskarna tar det mellan 5 000 och 5 miljoner år mellan bytena.

Mayaindianerna följde solen
Mayaindianerna var besatta av att ruta in tiden och gjorde detaljerade kalendrar. De var skickliga astronomer och kunde bland annat korrekt förutsäga månförmörkelse flera tusen år fram i tiden. Patrick Geryl påstår att han lyckats förstå bland annat mayaindianernas så kallade Dresdenkodex, som han menar används för att beräkna solfläckscykeln.

Mayaindianerna var besatta med att följa tidens gång och kunde förutspå månförmörkelser tusentals år fram i tiden. Ändå slutar deras kalender den 21 december 2012…

Det är då anmärkningsvärt att mayaindianerna lät sin 5 125 år långa Stora årscykel sluta just 21 december år 2012. Patrick Geryl påstår att han lyckats tyda den formel som mayaindianerna använde för sina beräkningar av solens cykler, och då speciellt den stora cykeln som han menar pekas ut av deras kalender. Han säger sig även ha funnit bevis på att indianerna hade kännedom om solfläckar nära solens poler som inte går att observera från Jorden.

I sina böcker presenterar Geryl alla beräkningar som han gjort och sina tolkningar av mayaindianernas kalendrar, slutsatser som dock många vetenskapsmän ifrågasätter. Det bör också framhållas att arkeologer funnit belägg för att olika mayastäder använde Stora årscykeln lite olika, och att den också kan ha haft cyklisk innebörd, det vill säga att den inte hade något givet slut.

Egyptierna förutspådde också 2012
Egyptens pyramider är mycket precist byggda med exakta mått och inbördes relationer. Det har tidigare varit känt att pyramidernas placering motsvarar en stjärnkarta, men inte så som stjärnorna står idag, utan som de gjorde för 12 000 år sedan. Geryl har genom att lägga in moderna astronomiska data lyckats fastställa att pyramiderna står enligt Orions konstellation så som den var 9792 f.Kr., tidpunkten för den förra apokalypsen enligt mayaindianernas beräkningar.

Modell av den mytomspunna egyptiska labyrinten som den romerske historikern Herodotos besökte år 448 f.Kr. Där ska Egyptens astronomiska hemligheter finnas, och Geryl är övertygad om att de blir ett bevis för att han har rätt, om de kan hittas.

Enligt Geryl är det ingen slump att både egyptier och mayaindianer byggde likartade pyramider enligt astronomiska förebilder. De som gjorde ritningarna till pyramiderna kan inte ha varit några andra än just överlevande från den högstående civilisation som vi kallar Atlantis.

Egyptierna förvarade sina viktigaste hemligheter och kunskap i en mytologisk labyrint. Att den existerat vet vi från den grekiske historikern Herodotos som år 448 f.Kr. fick tillåtelse att besöka anläggningen. Labyrinten ska redan då ha varit över 4 000 år gammal! Enligt honom överträffade den pyramiderna vad gäller mästerlig byggnadskonst. Den bestod av 1500 rum ovan jord och lika många under jord. Här ska bland annat Gyllene cirkeln ha funnits, ett rum som nämns i egyptiernas De dödas bok och där man förvarade dokument om Egyptens hela historia och all deras astronomiska kunskap. Labyrinten tjänade också till att utföra avancerade astronomiska beräkningar.

Patrick Geryl är övertygad om att när vi hittar labyrinten, så kommer alla hans antaganden, beräkningar och slutsatser att bevisas.

Hittade Egyptiska labyrinten
Det otroliga i historien är att Patrick Geryl faktiskt hittat labyrinten – det han påstår är inte bara fantasifulla uträkningar och lek med siffror, utan han har med hjälp av sina tolkningar av stjärnkartor lyckats lista ut var labyrinten måste ligga.

Egyptiska arkeologer hjälper Patrick Geryl att söka av det område han pekat ut. Markradarn upptäcker byggnader under sanden!

I mitten av 1800-talet hittade visserligen arkeologer en del byggnadsrester i området, men de ansåg att bara ruiner återstod. Geryl gav dock inte upp lika lätt, utan tog kontakt med egyptiska myndigheter och för drygt ett år sedan fick han hjälp av arkeologer att pejla av området med georadar. Han hittade då en byggnadsstruktur fem meter under sanden som är 304 x 244 meter stor och 20 meter hög. Labyrinten verkar intakt!Tyvärr leder idag en kanal från Nilen över området, vilket gjort att hela labyrinten är dränkt av grundvatten. Upptäckten av labyrinten har bekräftats av Egyptens Direktör för Högsta rådet över Egyptens antikviteter, doktor Zahi Hawass, som dock förbjudit Patrick Geryl att publicera data över upptäckten. I slutet av 2009 arbetade egyptiska myndigheter med att bygga stora vattenrör som kanalen ska ledas i, samt att tömma labyrinten på vatten. Hur långt de kommit har dock ännu inte gått att få reda på.

NASA varnar för solstormar 2012
Den amerikanska rymdorganisationen Nasa följer solens aktivitet och försöker också lägga fram teorier för att förutsäga framtida utbrott. År 2006 lade forskare fram en teori om att det finns en femtioårig solcykel, där solfläckar transporteras under solens yta för att cykliskt dyka upp igen.

NASA följer solfläckscykeln. En ökad aktivitet förutspås 2012, men långt ifrån Geryls farhågor.

Man noterade ett kraftigt solmaximun år 1958, då man observerade kraftigt norrsken ända nere i Mexiko. Forskare från det amerikanska Centret för Atmosfärforskning menar att solen idag uppvisar tecken på ett ”lugn före stormen”. Mausumi Dikpati som lett studien menar att nästa utbrott kan vara ca 30 till 50 procent större än förra solcykeln, förmodligen det kraftigaste på 50 år, men troligen inte lika kraftigt som då. Enligt hennes beräkningar inträffar detta just år 2012.

Runt om i världen finns människor som tar Geryls farhågor på största allvar. Det gäller att antingen konstruera tåliga båtar som klarar av att tumla runt i de enorma vågorna och kastas mot berg och andra hinder, eller att ta sin tillflykt till högt belägna platser. Man måste vara på minst 1,5 kilometers höjd på ett stabilt berg som inte kollapsar.

En del grupper planerar att bygga bunkrar på berg i Afrika, men det är svårt att få tillstånd av myndigheterna då bergen ofta är naturreservat. Man måste gräva ner sig under de dagar som solstormen varar för att skydda sig mot den kraftiga strålningen. Förutom mat och verktyg laddar man upp med nyttiga böcker om allt ifrån hur man bedriver jordbruk till skrifter om medicin och vetenskap. All elektronik kommer att brinna upp på grund av den elektromagnetiska impulsen och alla byggnader på jordens yta kommer att raseras i de kraftiga jordbävningarna och sköljas bort i den efterföljande flodvågen. Bara det man har med sig blir kvar.

En annorlunda överlevare. På denna välkända mayaillustration ses en pyramid kollapsa och en vulkan spy lava, samtidigt som marken översvämmas.

De som överlevt de första dagarna kommer att ställas inför ännu ett problem, en vinter som på många sätt liknar atomvintern. Tjocka moln från de många vulkanerna kommer att skärma av solljuset och skapa ett vinterklimat som vara närmare 50 år.Den som klarar sig igenom denna prövning kommer dock att kunna befolka världen igen och förhoppningsvis föra civilisationen vidare.

Patrick Geryl
Geryl är en belgisk amatörforskare. Han har ingen akademisk titel, men han är snabb med att påpeka att det hade inte Einstein heller.

Geryl var först aktuell för över 30 år sedan med sin bok ”A new Space-Time Dimension” (1979). I boken lade han fram kritik mot relativitetsteorin, bland annat att den speciella och den allmänna relativitetsteorin i vissa situationer ger olika resultat för samma beräkningar – alltså måste minst en av dem vara inkorrekt.

Utifrån sin kritik av relativitetsteorin lade han fram flera förutsägelser om rymden, bland annat ett accelererande universum och förekomsten av mycket gamla galaxer långt bort från oss som färdas mycket snabbt. På den tiden trodde alla att det förhöll sig precis tvärtom. Tio år senare bevisades att universums utvidgning verkligen accelererar, och 2008 hittade man gamla galaxer som färdas med nästan ljusets hastighet i universums utkant. Detta gav Geryl en hel del publicitet, som dock begränsade sig till Belgien och Nederländerna.

Patrick Geryl har totalt skrivit nio böcker som alla blivit storsäljare.

Vávra Suk
Publicerad: 29 januari 2010
© Detta material är skyddat enligt lagen om upphovsrätt. Eftertryck eller annan kopiering förbjuden.

How Does Music Affect the Brain?

Although we all listen to music most of us never consider what music is doing to our brains cognitively speaking. Is it helping us learn? Is it having any affect at all? Does the affect it may have differ if we merely listen to music as opposed to actually playing an instrument? In my research on this topic I have discovered the answers to these questions and found them very interesting and enlightening.Music does affect our brains. Music can help you memorize information and can even help treat depression and anxiety. In a research study performed in North Texas researchers tested college students using music to assist in the aid of memorization. The test was successful. The students who listened to Handel’s Water Music in the background and were asked to visualize an image of the word when reviewing were more successful than those who did not listen to music or imagine the word. Now this doesn’t mean that music positively guarantee’s recall but it can help improve it. When actually taking the test it is helpful to hear the same music played again.
Listening to music can also aid you in depression, anxiety, or excessive worrying. When you have one orall of these problems your brains working power is hampered, as well as its reasoning ability. What is happening on a scientific level is that your brain is experiencing reduced levels of serotonin. Music affects a steep rise in levels of se ratonin, which has positive effects on brain cells controlling mood,sexual desires, memory power, learning, sleep, memory functions and more (read this … and this)
So listening to music can definitely affect the brain and we can all feel the effects when listening to our favorite songs or even when we get stuck at a show listening to a band we really dislike; but what is even more interesting, is how music affects the brain not when we listen to it but when we are playing an instrument.
Scientists have been working on a very controlled two year study in which they take a group of kids and follow there brain and cognitive development as the children begin to study music. Initially all the children’s cognitive levels were the same however after one year the children who had been musically trained showed great improvement in manual dexterity, music perception skills, and verbal and mathematic skills. There research also showed that nine to eleven year old’s who received three to four years of music training did significantly outperformed a control group (in mathematics and vocabulary) who didn’t receive music training (more…) I feel as though it is obvious from the research that playing an instrument significantly increases your cognitive ability. What amazes me is how important to learning music training is and yet we take it out of all the schools.I hope the research helps bring music back to public schools.

Music and Studying

Music has an incredibly powerful impact on the human mind. It has the power and ability to influence moods, calm nerves, excite senses and even evoke within us emotional responses. Our brains are able detect melodies, rhythms and beats. It is no mystery why it is referred to as the universal language of the world. Parents are encouraged to expose their children to classical music at a young age to stimulate and increase learning potential.
As an artist, I recognize music as playing a crucial role in my creative process. I may hear a song of any era and genre randomly play on my iPod and suddenly rich visual images that otherwise would not be there begin surfacing. Music inspires our mind to reach great heights.
Having such a powerful influence over mind and body, how exactly does music affect a student’s ability to concentrate? A study conducted by doctor Laurence O’Donnell entitled,Music and the Brain detected classical music, specifically from the baroque period causes our heart beat as well as pulse rate to relax to the beat of the music. Once relaxed, she claims that the mind is more capable of concentration. In contrast, physician and psychiatrist, Dr John Diamond conducted experiments leading to direct connections between music and muscle reaction. Diamond’s research shows that muscle weaken when subjected to music with harsh beats such as punk rock, hard rock and Hip Hop and may very well prevent clear and concise concentration.

What regions of the brain does music effect?

The researchers found that after 15 months the instrumental students performed much better in the near transfer domains, even though both groups of students performed equally well at “baseline”—before instruction began.
In addition to the battery of cognitive tests, the researchers performed brain scans on the children using diffusion tensor imaging, which can map the brain’s connective white matter. The scans revealed strengthened connections in musically relevant auditory and motor areas of the brain among those students who had received 15 months of training, compared with the nonmusic group. These changes correlated with the children’s behavioral improvements (more…)
Playing music effects the brain. The research shows relationship to mathematics and improvements on the connections in the brain.Posner’s search also includes brains network and attention and ability to focus on a a task.

Dr Dean Shibata, assistant professor of radiology at the University of Washington, has found that deaf people sense musical vibrations in the part of the brain other people use for hearing.
These musical vibrations are, he believes, likely to be “every bit as real” as actually hearing the sounds.
Dr Shibata told the 87th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, in Chicago, that deaf people and those with hearing may have similar experiences when they listen to music.
“These findings suggest that the experience deaf people have when ‘feeling’ music is similar to the experience other people have when hearing music” (more…)
The effects of music vibrations can still be processed in the same part of the brain a normal person would.Technology uses its ways for deaf people to enjoy and take advantage of music.
Study shows music will give brain activity and auditory cortex.
The researchers found that professional musicians showed greater responses to the tones than non-musicians. Amateurs were somewhere in between.
They then used brain imaging techniques to measure the size of Heschl’s gyrus and found it was larger in professional musicians.
They had 130% more grey matter in the part of the brain that makes sense of music compared with people who were not musical (more…)
Overall the brain will react to music, cognitive development, brain networks brain function and influences. The studies are proving the importance of music and ability of music are in our daily life.

Music and Memory

Do you sometime wish that you have better memory, whether you are learning a new language or just trying to remember a phone number? A popular opinion is that music can enhance or aid people’s memory. Researches show that music can helpboth short and long term memory, even in Alzheimer’s patients.
An ongoing study by a UK-based team from the University of Leeds involves inviting people to recount a memory that relates to the Beatles. The results show that “the recounted memories are almost always positive, that people remember particular episodes very vividly – sounds, smells and sights of the memory were often recounted”.
Study at University of Michigan found that a group of musically trained college-aged participants had better scores in long-term verbal memory compared to a similar group of non-musician controls, but this difference disappeared when the musicians were prevented from rehearsing.
Another ongoing study conducted by scientists from Boston College, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School found that “controlled training on attention-related tasks increased the effectiveness of the attention network and also improved far transfer domains. When children were given training sessions specifically designed to improve attention, not only did attention improve, but also generalized parts of intelligence related to fluid intelligence and IQ increased.”
A small study conducted by neurologist at Boston University shows that “Alzheimer’s patients who were put through a series of memory tests learned more lyrics when they were set to music rather than just spoken, while healthy elderly people remembered just as much and just as well with or without music”.

Amazing Houses in the World

Bart Prince House – Albuquerque, New Mexico


Architect Bart Prince is renowned for his incredibly creative approach to designing structures. The homes he has created look nothing like the boxy houses you and I live in; they’re quirky, they’re organic, and they’re most definitely one-of-a-kind. Prince says his designs start from the inside out, and that every home he builds has an idea behind it. Pictured are Prince’s own home in Albuquerque (top) and the Seymour residence in Los Altos, California.

Dar al Hajar – Yemen

(Travel Adventures)

This striking rock palace is not a hotel or a museum. It’s not even a primary residence. Dar al Hajar was built as a ‘summer home’ by Imam Yahya in the 1930s, and it’s a stunning example of rock-cut architecture. Standing at the base of this imposing structure, you have to crane your neck to see the top. The palace has since been restored so that visitors can buy a ticket and get a breathtaking 360-degree view of the surrounding landscape.

Bubble House – Tourettes-sur-Loup, France

(Wikimedia Commons,Freaky Martin)

The ‘bubble house’ of Tourrettes-sur-Loup, France, is only 35 years old and has yet to be finished, but that hasn’t stopped the French ministry of culture from listing it as a historic monument. Designed in the 70s by Hungarian architect Antti Lovag for fashion designer Pierre Cardin, the bubble house is futuristic yet organic, with lots of built-in furniture and oval, convex windows. The design is meant to take optimal advantage of the volcanic Côte d’Azur landscape, and its windows certainly provide a beautiful view of the Mediterranean.

Wooden Skyscraper – Arkhangelsk, Russia

(The Telegraph, English Russia)

Nikolai Sutyagin, a former gangster, began building this ‘wooden skyscraper’ in Arkhangelsk, Russia with the intention of it being only a two-story building. But, a trip to see wooden houses in Japan and Norway convinced him that he hadn’t used roof space efficiently enough, so he kept building. “First I added three floors but then the house looked ungainly, like a mushroom,” he said. “So I added another and it still didn’t look right so I kept going. What you see today is a happy accident.” The multimillionaire became a pauper after his possessions were destroyed during a stint in prison, and the house is now decaying around him, but he still lives in the bottom floor with his wife.

The Upside-Down House – Szymbark, Poland

(Fresh Home)

Polish businessman and philanthropist Daniel Czapiewski built The Upside Down House as a statement about the Communist era and the end of the world. It took 114 days to build because the workers were so disoriented by the angles of the walls. It certainly attracts its fair share of tourists to the tiny village of Szymbark, who often become dizzy and ‘seasick’ after just a few moments inside.

Hang Nga Villa – Dalat, Vietnam

(Travel Blog)

Looking like something out of a child’s fairytale gone wrong, the bizarre-looking structure in Dalat, Vietnam was built by the daughter of Ho Chi Minh’s right-hand man. Madame Hang Nga created the Hang Nga Villa – now known simply as ‘Crazy House’ – to reflect her interest in art and architecture. Made of concrete, the house now serves as a restaurant and reception area for an adjacent French colonial-style hotel in a jolting contrast in architectural styles. The inside is said to be even stranger, with all the kitschy decor you can handle, including a giant eagle with red Christmas light eyes, “for the Americans”.

Toilet-Shaped House – Suweon, South Korea


The world’s one and only toilet-shaped house was built to mark the launch of the World Toilet Association, a campaign for more sanitary restrooms worldwide. Sim Jae-Duck, nicknamed “Mayor Toilet”, had the 4,508-square-foot concrete and glass structure built in his native city of Suweon, South Korea. At the center of the home is a glass-walled “showcase loo” that produces mist to make users feel more secure. Sim, who was born into a toilet and has made clean restrooms his life’s work, now lives in the home.

Eliphante & Hippodome – Cornville, Arizona

(Apartment Therapy)

Called the ‘Eliphante house’ for the look of its entrance, this sculptural home was created by artist Michael Kahn and his wife Leda Livant with found materials over a period of 28 years. Eliphante and several outbuildings occupy 3 acres of land and incorporate rocks and scraps from construction sites. There was never any kind of floor plan for Eliphante – it just sort of evolved. Ms. Livant’s residence on the property is the ‘Hippodome’, a mosaic-covered creation that looks like a hippo emerging from a lake.

Inversion House – Houston, Texas

(Kevin O’Mara)

When two old studio buildings owned by The Art League in Houston were set to be demolished, they decided to take the opportunity to turn them into a temporary art installation. Artists Dan Havel and Dean Ruck sculpturally altered the two buildings, peeling off the exterior siding of the front building to simulate the appearance of a funnel-like vortex. The opening was actually a tiny hallway (only kids could fit through it) that passed through the two structures and emptied out into an adjacent courtyard.

Shoe House –  South Africa


The ‘shoe house’ of South Africa is the work of artist and hotelier Ron Van Zyl, who built it for his wife Yvonne in 1990. The shoe houses a little museum of sorts, showcasing Van Zyl’s wood carvings. The shoe is part of a complex that includes an eight-chalet guest house, camp site, restaurant, pool and bar.

Mushroom House – Cincinnati, Ohio

(Agility Nut)

Architect Terry Brown created this much-maligned ‘mushroom house’, an unusual piece of architecture situated in a rather upscale area of Cincinnati. Brown’s architectural style developed when he began experimenting with materials like wood, colored glass, shell, ceramics and various metals to create irregular shapes that mimic those found in nature.  A professor of architecture and interior design at the University of Cincinnati, Brown frequently had to defend the unique design of the house against complaints by neighbors before passing away in 2008.

Floating House – Ukraine

(Aphasia Design)

An optical illusion? Trick of Photoshop? Nobody really seems to know much about this supposed ‘floating barn’ which was reportedly located in Ukraine and may or may not still be standing. Cantilevered barns do exist – mostly in the Appalachian region of the United States – but usually aren’t quite this dramatic looking. Real or fake, it’s certainly pretty striking.

Space House – Signal Mountain, Tennessee

(Coast to Coast AM)

The ‘Space House’ in Signal Mountain, Tennessee was built by Curtis King and his sons in the 1970s and is quite a draw for curiosity seekers in the area, who have been filing by and taking photos for decades. Six concrete support pillars look like landing gear beneath the main part of the building. The Space House sold on the auction block in March 2008 but the buyer defaulted, so it’s being offered for “whatever the public is willing to pay” on December 14th.

Crooked House – Sopot, Poland

(The World According to Google)

From Poland comes another interesting building, the ‘Crooked House’. The design was inspired by the drawings of Polish artists Jan Marcin Szancer and Per Dahlberg, which have a whimsical and Dali-esque feel. It’s not actually a house – it’s part of a shopping complex. But, it’s very cool all the same, with its surreal angles and blue-green glass.

Hundertwasser Haus – Vienna, Austria


Austrian artist Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser may not be well known across most of the world, but anyone who has visited Vienna knows of his iconic creation, the Hundertwasser Haus.  It’s an apartment complex characterized by patchwork paint, undulating floors, the incorporation of vegetation and a façade with seemingly no rhyme or reason to its structure. Hundertwasser reportedly took no payment for designing it, considering it a public service to prevent something ugly going up in its place.


World Heritage List – Sweden

  UNESCO World Heritage List –  




  Södra Ölands odlingslandskap

The southern part of the island of Öland in the Baltic Sea is dominated by a vast limestone plateau. Human beings have lived here for some five thousand years and adapted their way of life to the physical constraints of the island. As a consequence, the landscape is unique, with abundant evidence of continuous human settlement from prehistoric times to the present day (more…)

The Birka archaeological site is located on Björkö Island in Lake Mälar and was occupied in the 9th and 10th centuries. Hovgården is situated on the neighbouring island of Adelsö. Together, they make up an archaeological complex which illustrates the elaborate trading networks of Viking-Age Europe and their influence on the subsequent history of Scandinavia. Birka was also important as the site of the first Christian congregation in Sweden, founded in 831 by St Ansgar (more:  Birka vikingastaden,  Strömmas webbplats)

      Gammelstads kyrkstad i Luleå 

Gammelstad, at the head of the Gulf of Bothnia, is the best-preserved example of a ‘church village’, a unique kind of village formerly found throughout northern Scandinavia. The 424 wooden houses, huddled round the early 15th-century stone church, were used only on Sundays and at religious festivals to house worshippers from the surrounding countryside who could not return home the same day because of the distance and difficult travelling conditions (more…)

  Engelsbergs bruk

Sweden’s production of superior grades of iron made it a leader in this field in the 17th and 18th centuries. This site is the best-preserved and most complete example of this type of Swedish ironworks (more…)

  Hansestaden Visby

A former Viking site on the island of Gotland, Visby was the main centre of the Hanseatic League in the Baltic from the 12th to the 14th century. Its 13th-century ramparts and more than 200 warehouses and wealthy merchants’ dwellings from the same period make it the best-preserved fortified commercial city in northern Europe (more…)

  Falu gruva

The enormous mining excavation known as the Great Pit at Falun is the most striking feature of a landscape that illustrates the activity of copper production in this region since at least the 13th century. The 17th-century planned town of Falun with its many fine historic buildings, together with the industrial and domestic remains of a number of settlements spread over a wide area of the Dalarna region, provide a vivid picture of what was for centuries one of the world’s most important mining areas (more…)

  Örlogsstaden Karlskrona

Karlskrona is an outstanding example of a late-17th-century European planned naval city. The original plan and many of the buildings have survived intact, along with installations that illustrate its subsequent development up to the present day (more…)

  Tanums hällristningsområde

The rock carvings in Tanum, in the north of Bohuslän, are a unique artistic achievement not only for their rich and varied motifs (depictions of humans and animals, weapons, boats and other subjects) but also for their cultural and chronological unity. They reveal the life and beliefs of people in Europe during the Bronze Age and are remarkable for their large numbers and outstanding quality (more…)

  Drottningholms slottsområde

The Royal Domain of Drottningholm stands on an island in Lake Mälar in a suburb of Stockholm. With its castle, perfectly preserved theatre (built in 1766), Chinese pavilion and gardens, it is the finest example of an 18th-century north European royal residence inspired by the Palace of Versailles (more…)

  Skogskyrkogården i Stockholm

This Stockholm cemetery was created between 1917 and 1920 by two young architects, Asplund and Lewerentz, on the site of former gravel pits overgrown with pine trees. The design blends vegetation and architectural elements, taking advantage of irregularities in the site to create a landscape that is finely adapted to its function. It has had a profound influence in many countries of the world  (more…)

  Fyra mätpunkter i Struves meridianbåge

  The Struve Arc is a chain of survey triangulations stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea, through 10 countries and over 2,820 km. These are points of a survey, carried out between 1816 and 1855 by the astronomer Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve, which represented the first accurate measuring of a long segment of a meridian. This helped to establish the exact size and shape of the planet and marked an important step in the development of earth sciences and topographic mapping. It is an extraordinary example of scientific collaboration among scientists from different countries, and of collaboration between monarchs for a scientific cause. The original arc consisted of 258 main triangles with 265 main station points. The listed site includes 34 of the original station points, with different markings, i.e. a drilled hole in rock, iron cross, cairns, or built obelisks (more…)

  Grimetons sändarstation

The Varberg Radio Station at Grimeton in southern Sweden (built 1922–24) is an exceptionally well-preserved monument to early wireless transatlantic communication. It consists of the transmitter equipment, including the aerial system of six 127-m high steel towers. Although no longer in regular use, the equipment has been maintained in operating condition. The 109.9-ha site comprises buildings housing the original Alexanderson transmitter, including the towers with their antennae, short-wave transmitters with their antennae, and a residential area with staff housing. The architect Carl Åkerblad designed the main buildings in the neoclassical style and the structural engineer Henrik Kreüger was responsible for the antenna towers, the tallest built structures in Sweden at that time. The site is an outstanding example of the development of telecommunications and is the only surviving example of a major transmitting station based on pre-electronic technology (more…)


  Höga kusten och sedan 2006 även omfattande Kvarkens skärgård i Finland

  The Kvarken Archipelago (Finland) and the High Coast (Sweden) are situated in the Gulf of Bothnia, a northern extension of the Baltic Sea. The 5,600 islands of the Kvarken Archipelago feature unusual ridged washboard moraines, ‘De Geer moraines’, formed by the melting of the continental ice sheet, 10,000 to 24,000 years ago. The Archipelago is continuously rising from the sea in a process of rapid glacio-isostatic uplift, whereby the land, previously weighed down under the weight of a glacier, lifts at rates that are among the highest in the world. As a consequence islands appear and unite, peninsulas expand, and lakes evolve from bays and develop into marshes and peat fens. The High Coast has also been largely shaped by the combined processes of glaciation, glacial retreat and the emergence of new land from the sea. Since the last retreat of the ice from the High Coast 9,600 years ago, the uplift has been in the order of 285 m which is the highest known ”rebound”. The site affords outstanding opportunities for the understanding of the important processes that formed the glaciated and land uplift areas of the Earth”s surface ( more…)


  Lapplands världsarv (Laponia)

The Arctic Circle region of northern Sweden is the home of the Saami, or Lapp people. It is the largest area in the world (and one of the last) with an ancestral way of life based on the seasonal movement of livestock. Every summer, the Saami lead their huge herds of reindeer towards the mountains through a natural landscape hitherto preserved, but now threatened by the advent of motor vehicles. Historical and ongoing geological processes can be seen in the glacial moraines and changing water courses (more: Sametinget, Laponia)

Properties submitted on the Tentative List

Farms of Hälsingland, Hälsingland countryside (2005)


  The farmhouses of Hälsingland represent a unique expression of farm architecture springing from the ancient right of farmers to own forest and land and more than a thousand years of agriculture. A relatively limited area of fertile valleys within a forested landscape in northern Sweden contains around two thousand timber farms, many of them substantial constructions with two or three dwelling-houses with attached barns and other outbuildings.

Known with some justifi cation as “wooden castles”, these are magnifi cent building complexes from the 18th and 19th centuries: timbered two or threestorey buildings with up to nine or eleven window axles and carved multicoloured porches based on the design of Classical temples. The interiors consist of richly decorated rooms with friezes of Bible stories or typically Gustavian Rococo walls with natural landscapes, fl owers, fruit baskets and birds. Each region had its decorative painters and carpenters each with their own specialities. This forms a remarkable collection of farms in the Gustavian style (le style gustavien), with Nordic/neoclassical proportions in its wood, architecture, symmetry, tranquillity and dignity. The grand manor house style has clearly provided inspiration, but here, the paintings are given unique expression with strong decorative ambitions in which the panorama wallpapers or elegant textile decorations of the early 19th century are imitated and varied with painting or printed wallpapers. The farms often have two – sometimes three — dwelling houses, one of which was often linked to the outbuildings to form a large complex. An entire house, or fl oor of a house, was reserved for special occasions and used only for storage at other times. These houses or rooms have been very little used and are often in their original condition, thus preserving intact the authentic building traditions of their era.

The farm environment also contains a number of outbuildings designed to meet the needs of the farm. Historical traditions are clearly visible in Järvsö and Ljusdal, with their ancient yard structures, gates and grain stores, some of which were built as early as the 14th and 15th centuries. In the Voxna river valley, the outbuildings were often linked to the dwelling houses to form gigantic architectural formations.

Nowhere in the Nordic region are such magnifi cent farms preserved in such numbers. Nor has the landscape changed signifi cantly since the golden era of the early 19th century. Buildings and agricultural land retain their original appearance. A number of areas have been selected to represent the various types of big farm. All enjoy statutory protection in Sweden as sites of national interest. One farm is a cultural reserve, and several are heritage-listed buildings. This intact agricultural and architectural environment, with its medieval roots and its construction dating mainly from the 18th and early 19th centuries, is unique in Europe, as is the size of its timbered farmhouses. The Hälsingland farms are a hymn to freedom and democracy, a reminder of what can be achieved by industrious people living securely off their own land.

The Rise of Systematic Biology (2009)

   Linnaean taxonomy

“The Rise of Systematic Biology” is a tentative serial nomination of thirteen sites in eight countries (see Table 1), suggested by Sweden, representing the foundation of the science of systematic biology. The sites together form the arena where the science developed strongly due to the Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) and his international scientific network. The Swedish sites are described in short. The authenticity in the sites is to a large extent present in remnant organism populations once used to develop the science.

Table 1. Sites tentatively included in the serial nomination “The Rise of Systematic Biology”. Only the Swedish component parts are included here. The other component parts will be included when each State Party has agreed to participate in the serial nomination and has included their site in the tentative list.

Site number Site Name State Party Province or  Region, Municipality Coordinates of Centre Point Area (km2)
I Linnés Råshult Sweden County of Kronoberg, Älmhult 56° 36′ 57″ N14° 12′ 00″ E 0.464
II Linnéträdgårdenand Linnémuseet Sweden County of Uppsala, Uppsala 59° 51′ 44″ N17° 38′ 02″ E 0.012
IIIA Herbationes Upsalienses, Hågadalen-Nåsten Nature Reserve Sweden County of Uppsala, Uppsala 59° 49′ 7″ N   17° 34′ 25″ E 17
IIIB Herbationes Upsalienses, Fäbodmossen Nature Reserve Sweden County of Uppsala, Uppsala 59° 56′ 35″ N17° 19′ 18″ E 1.525
IIIC Herbationes Upsalienses, Årike Fyris Sweden County of Uppsala, Uppsala 59° 81′ 67″ N17° 67′ 32″ E Not yet defined
IV Linnés Hammarby Sweden County of Uppsala, Uppsala 59° 49′ 02″ N17° 46′ 36″ E 2.70

The science of systematic biology

Systematic biology is the study of biological diversity and its origin. The discipline includes collection, naming, classification and describing of organisms as well as a reconstruction of their evolutionary history. Systematic biology has developed strongly during the last decades, partly due to improved molecular techniques and more powerful computers. This has increased our knowledge of how life on earth has developed and how organisms are related to one another.

   The Tree of Life, Carolus Linnaeus’ systematic categorization of living things.

Many scientific disciplines depend on the results from systematic biology. Analyses of evolutionary processes  rely on well-founded hypotheses of evolutionary relationships. A reliable identification of species is a prerequisite for scientific work involving organisms of any kind, especially in applied science, for example agriculture, horticulture and pharmacognosy.

Species are currently going extinct all over the world at an accelerating rate. Many of these species are yet unknown to us. Although hitherto more than 1.8 million species have been described, estimates of the number of undescribed species range from 5 million to over 50 million.

The rise of systematic biology

Systematic biology stands out among biological sciences in being dependent on research on historical collections and publications. The starting points in this research are two works by Linnaeus, Species plantarum published in 1753 for systematic botany Systema naturae 10th ed. published in 1758 for systematic zoology. Names and descriptions of species before these publications are not considered by contemporary scientists. The reason for this is Linnaeus’ consistent use in these publications of short names for species, names that later developed into the currently used binary or binomial nomenclature.

Scientists and historians generally consider the works of Carl Linnaeus as cornerstones in the main foundation of systematic biology. The reasons for this are manifold, not only those governed by nomenclature as mentioned above. Although Linnaeus’ scientific deeds (which are described more in detail in next chapter) were based on works by earlier scientists – that he greatly acknowledged – he managed to create a development of the science strong enough to transform systematic biology from a marginal part of medicine into a discipline of its own, a discipline that later developed into the several branches of biological sciences that we see today.

Before Linnaeus, systematic biology was a historia naturalis that dealt mainly with observations of different objects in nature to help classify and identify important species used for medicinal purposes. Linnaeus transformed systematic biology into a state of scientia, a science with a philosophy, system and book of rules, equivalent to disciplines like law, theology and philosophy.

This transformation created by Linnaeus could only be carried out through observations of a large number of organisms from different regions of the world. The observed organisms were gathered by Linnaeus himself, by scientists in his large network, and by his students during expeditions to different parts of the world. Although the driving force in this development was Linnaeus himself, it resulted in a collaborative work involving himself, his students, and his fellow scientists.

The metaphoric name “The Rise of  Systematic Biology” has been chosen for the series of sites in this tentative serial cultural landscape nomination to reflect the strong development of the science during the time of Carl Linnaeus.

How Linnaeus developed systematic biology

Linnaeus’ development of systematic biology started with pre-academic observations in the fields of southern Sweden during the 1710’s and 1720’s, where he made his first studies that eventually led to a classification of plants by the number of stamens and pistils. He began academic studies, initially at Lund University and then at Uppsala University, both in Sweden. A lack of lecturers at the universities made him at this stage in many ways an autodidactic scholar, although he studied and greatly acknowledged former scientists like  Caspar Bauhin (1560-1624),  John Ray (1627-1705) and Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1656-1708).


In Uppsala he developed his classification scheme further together with his fellow student Peter Artedi. Together they divided the organisms between them. Linnaeus was in charge of plant classification and Artedi of fish classification, and they entered into a pact to publish each other’s works if one of them should die. During this time Linnaeus developed the classification of plants based on numbers of stamens and pistils. He also argued strongly that these were the sexual organs of plants.

During an academic journey to Holland 1735-1738 Linnaeus defended a doctoral thesis in Medicine on malaria. He also managed to get funding for publication of one of the manuscripts that he had brought from Sweden, Systema naturae

During his stay in Holland, Linnaeus published a number of fundamentally important books, such as Biblioteca botanica in 1736 listing all literature in botany, Fundamenta botanica in 1736 with principles and rules to be followed in the classification and naming of plants, Genera plantarum in 1737 with all plant genera and rules for delimiting them, and Critica botanica in 1737 with nomenclatural rules for plants. His friend and scientific colleague Peter Artedi died in Amsterdam 1735, and Linnaeus was left to publish Artedi’s grand work on fish systematics.

During his three years abroad, Linnaeus interacted with some of the most important botanists and zoologists at the time, such as Herman Boerhaave, Gronovius (1668-1738), Hans Sloane (1660-1753), Johann Jakob Dillenius (1687-1747) and Bernhard de Jussieu (1699-1777). This network of scientists became important to Linnaeus’ own development and to his impact on the European scientific community, something that has become reflected in his great, international correspondence. The scientific network was as important in the 18th century as it is today for the development of science.

In 1741 Linnaeus became professor of medicine at Uppsala University in Sweden. This platform made it possible for him to further develop his scientific methods and try out different ideas. He extended the botanical garden Hortus Upsaliensis and filled it with plant species that he received as gifts from scientists in his network and also with different animal species. The garden was constructed as to facilitate the teaching and understanding of his sexual classification system. As he was a charismatic and skilled teacher with splendid rhetoric and great enthusiasm, he managed to create a network of talented students who could test his hypotheses and extend his collections.  No less that 186 doctoral theses were written and defended under his presidium. He developed an excursion system around Uppsala, Herbationes Upsalienses, influenced by i.a. Bernhard de Jussieu’s excursions around Paris. During the excursions he used teaching methods that were to inspire his students to explore the unknown flora and fauna within Sweden and abroad. His scientific network expanded internationally in the same rate that his name became known all over the western world.

Linnaeus was one of the persons who founded the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1739, and through his contacts there he managed to help funding the expeditions that his students made to remote areas. The students were well trained in methods for collecting, observing and describing. To collect, name and classify species was not only of importance to scientists, but was a part of a global economy developing in the 18th century focusing on investigating the utility of nature. Because of this, the development of systematic biology created effects that influenced the essentials of the life of humanity.

During Linnaeus’ time in Uppsala some important corner stones in systematic biology were published. In 1751 he published Philosophia botanica, a concise book describing the philosophy, rules and methods of systematic botany, part of which is valid still.  In 1753 his most important work in botany, Species plantarum, was published. This was a flora of all known plant species in the world. Most of the around 8000 species in this book had been observed by Linnaeus himself, his students or trusted scientists in his network.

The main ambition of Linnaeus’ scientific reformation was intelligibility in communication. This resulted in several books of rules. His work aimed at totality, expressed in the global Species plantarum, but it also nourished local knowledge through works like Flora svecica and Fauna svecica. He inspired his students to undertake expeditions to foreign countries, sowing the seeds of curiosity in the meadows around Uppsala. He aimed at order and simplicity and structured his flowerbeds in strict quarters, but was amazed by the rich diversity of life, a diversity that never seemed to cease, but with time made the systematic work overwhelming and almost going over the brink. An international legion of scientists would soon stand prepared to continue the development of systematic biology from the base worked out by Linnaeus.

Development of systematic biology after Linnaeus

The simplified and artificial systems constructed by Linnaeus were not able to last for long, and the first developments were made by himself. He admitted already in 1735 in the first edition of Systema naturae that the sexual system of plants was artificial and must later be replaced by a natural system. He tried to develop a natural system, starting already in 1738 in Classes plantarum by describing 65 natural orders of plants. He never managed to construct a fully developed natural classification. Apart from the problems connected with an artificial science, Linnaeus was also aware of the problems that the biblical rules of natural sciences caused when confronted with the complex variation among and in organisms. In 1744 he wrote a thesis stating that there was a possibility that speciation through hybridization may occur within the plant kingdom. However, it was too early for such theories to develop in the society, and he and his scholars had to leave many questions unanswered.

The development of systematic biology after Linnaeus went rapidly towards a natural system where species with overall similarity would be classified together, as opposed to Linnaeus’ artificial sexual system where the number of stamens and anthers were emphasized. The natural system arose first in France, where Linnaeus had one of his greatest scientific opponents Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon (1707-1788) who disagreed on imposing an artificial order on the disorderly natural world. Buffon’s theories, together with earlier works in France by Michel Adanson (1727-1806) and the pre-Linnaean scientist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1656-1708) made way for the natural system presented in 1789 in Genera plantarum,  published by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu (1748-1836), a scientist in Jardin des Plantes in Paris.

Linnaeus’ great collections had been sold to London by the family, and in 1788 the Linnean Society of London was founded to take care of the collections and create a meeting place for the cultivation of the science of natural history. The United Kingdom was to play an important part in the development of systematic biology during the 19th century. A development of the natural system was worked out by the botanist Robert Brown (1773­-1858), partly due to his immense collections from Australia. Earlier investigations of the continent had been carried out during the voyages by Captain James Cook when the Linnaean scholar Daniel Solander and Sir Joseph Banks visited the now famous Botany Bay south of Sydney. The high number of species they collected pointed towards the need for a natural system that could cope with earth’s biodiversity.

The shift of paradigm caused by the theory of evolution would become the most important theory change affecting systematic biology. However, it took more than 100 years until the theory could be fully applied within this science. Early versions of evolutionary theories had been suggested during the 19th century, the most important one by the Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck (1744-1829) in France, but it was not until Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) presented their hypothesis at the Linnean Society of London in 1858 that a theory of evolution made a great impact. Systematic biology eventually aimed at basing their classifications on the new theory, but for decades theories on evolutionary trees were based on personal analyses of similarities and differences between organisms that could not be tested. Concurrently, the systems of plants and animals were growing huge with an increasing number of species new to science.

In 1950, the German biologist Willi Hennig (1913-1976) presented revolutionary new ideas that became the foundation of the cladistic era of systematic biology. He proposed that only shared-derived features (“synapomorphies”) could be used to infer relationships, and that classifications should be based on such phylogenetic relationships rather than on overall similarity. Moreover, the taxonomic units (species, genera etc.) should include all descendants of a single ancestor (the “rule of monophyly”). The molecule carrying the genetic information of life forms, DNA, had already been detected in 1953 by James D. Watson (1928-) and Francis Crick (1916-2004), and a few decades later the development of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) facilitated DNA sequencing immensely. Together with the concurrent development of more powerful computers and analytical programs, this enabled a widespread use of DNA sequence data to infer relationships among organisms.

  The science of systematic biology is currently in a phase of strong development. New species are continually being discovered, and the importance of systematic work is now widely acknowledged. National and global documentation of organisms are as much on the agenda today as it was in the 18th century. For example, Sweden has recently launched “The Swedish Taxonomy Initiative”, which aims at identifying and describing all Swedish multicellular organisms.

Our understanding of how different organisms have diversified through the process of evolution is rapidly increasing. Refined methods for phylogenetic analyses, species identification by molecular markers, and the rapid extinction of species on earth are issues in focus for the modern scientist. Seemingly trivial issues, like the naming of species, are of central importance. Although systematic biology of today may seem far away from that founded by Carl Linnaeus in the 18th century, the tools serving scientists describing new species may indeed be traced back to his works. Furthermore, a main concern is still that we, Homo sapiens, are dependent on the cobweb of species on earth, and that in order to study or use other life forms we need to know their names and understand their history as well as their context. There is no other possible alternative for the future.

The role of each component part in the rise of systematic biology

The foundation of systematic biology laid out by Linnaeus and his scientific network was totally dependent on the possibility to observe a large enough number of organisms. These were observed by scientists in their natural habitat, then generally collected and further analysed dead or alive. Large collections of preserved organisms are kept in museums all over the world. Living organisms are kept in gardens, zoological parks and in bacterial and fungal cultures. For each species described, a certain individual is assigned as a type specimen and preserved. There is a connection between the type specimen and its original population in nature.

Since systematic biology is a science based on observations of organisms, a World Heritage Site reflecting the foundation of the science must be defined in areas where descendants still exist of organisms once studied and preserved by scientists. This could be a field collection area or a historical garden. Such extant populations are not only of cultural value, they are also of great scientific value; if type specimens would be destroyed in the museums – like when the Berlin herbarium was bombed during the second world war – interchangeable collections can be made in extant populations. A recent example is when in 2002 a neotype (a type specimen selected as a substitute for a missing or insufficient original type) was needed for the species common cotoneaster Cotoneaster integerrimus, described by Linnaeus. The neotype was collected in an extant population along one of the excursion trails in Herbationes Upsalienses.

In the tentative serial cultural landscape nomination of a World Heritage Site named “The Rise of Systematic Biology”, component parts will be included with extant populations consisting of descendants to the once collected individuals that contributed to the foundation of systematic biology by Carl Linnaeus and scientists within his network. The component parts below all carry such populations, in many cases preserved due to the fame of the unique scientific achievements connected to them. Some of these sites also include preserved buildings and structures from the 18th century. The extant populations have a strongly probable continuous local history since the 18th century.

The different component parts complete each other, and together they represent “The Rise of Systematic Biology. The component parts in Sweden were central for the development of the science as carried out by Carl Linnaeus: his initial study site (Råshult), his garden, research facilities and excursion sites in Uppsala (see Description chapter below).

The garden sites in Europe and USA are examples of gardens important for the exchange of plants and animals within science and with a connection to Linnaeus’ development of the science. Linnaeus visited Chelsea Physic Garden in the 1730’s, a visit that influenced him and gave him contacts. The scientific connection to England became important to his own development of science as well as the later development of systematic biology in England. The increased knowledge of North American species was channelled via England, as well as the grand discoveries of flora and fauna in other parts of the world. Linnaeus’ student Daniel Solander, well trained in Linnaeus’ methods, had an influence on the development of systematic biology through his collections together with Banks in Australia and other places. The botanical garden of Leiden was an important place for Linnaeus’ development as a scientist, and he worked in this garden during his stay in Holland. The garden bears traces of great botanists such as Clusius, Boerhaave and Van Royen. The garden still harbours a number of plants studied by Linnaeus and planted by the scientists that influenced him. Among these are plants from Clusius’ time and numerous plants introduced into the garden by his mentors Boerhaave and Van Royen and by botanists he greatly admired such as Paul Hermann. The original Clusius Garden dating from 1592-94 has recently been reconstructed on its original site, and the garden is annex to the old Academy Building still serving as the ceremonial centre of Leiden University where Linnaeus attended lectures by Boerhaave and other Leiden scholars. Jardin des plantes in Paris is where Linnaeus got most of his plants from when he restored the Hortus Upsaliensis. Prof. Bernhard de Jussieu in Paris was an important contact to Linnaeus. Paris inspired Linnaeus to create the Herbationes Upsalienses. The French scientist Buffon opposed greatly to his theories, and the lack of idolization of Linnaeus in France created a vacant space that made it possible to develop the science further by creating a natural system. This work was made by Antoine de Jussieu, who was active in Jardin des Plantes in Paris. The garden contains several trees and plants still surviving from the 18th century.

John Bartram (1699-1777) founded a botanic garden on his farm in Philadelphia in 1728, and traveled widely throughout the colonies of British North America. He had a wide correspondence with European and American scientists and amateurs, including Linnaeus, and together with his friend Benjamin Franklin, Bartram helped found the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia in 1743. About 1733 John Bartram began a correspondence with the London merchant Peter Collinson (1694-1768), who soon became middleman for a scientific trade in seeds, plants, and natural history specimens. Bartram’s plants were exchanged with Miller, Catesby, and Sloane in London, Dillenius at Oxford, and Gronovius at Leiden. When the first edition of Linnaeus’s Systema naturae was published in Leiden in 1735, Peter Collinson forwarded a copy to James Logan in Philadelphia. Logan also served as an encourager for Bartram, and together in the summer of 1736 the two studied Linnaeus’ system. Bartram was soon applying Linnaeus’ method and examining stamens and styles, often under magnification. Distance forced Bartram and Linnaeus to carry on a desultory correspondence, but information and plant specimens from Bartram passed to Linnaeus through Collinson in London and Gronovius at Leiden. Linnaeus dubbed Bartram “the greatest natural botanist in the world.” Linnaeus’s student, Pehr Kalm visited Bartram during his stay in North America, 1748-51. Kalm was taken with Bartram’s “peculiar genius” for natural philosophy and natural science, and Bartram shared much of his knowledge and many of his plants with Kalm. Kalm was based on the Delaware, opposite Philadelphia, during his stay in North American and most of his collections were made in the area. Collections from this area, which included the former colony of New Sweden, also reached Linnaeus in other ways. Among other species Linnaeus studied a raccoon that he kept as a pet in Uppsala, observed and finally dissected and described. When Kalm returned to Sweden he provided a wealth of new material for Linnaeus. Kalm’s collections increased Linnaeus’ knowledge greatly and they served as a direct inspiration for him to initiate the important work Species plantarum published in 1753.

Bartram’s garden and part of his farm are today preserved as Bartram’s Garden, the oldest botanic garden in the USA. The area is a vivid place for learning and inspiration, and still carries many traces from the 18th century. The garden site is intact and Bartram’s house, largely built with his own hands, survives as well as his 1760 greenhouse. Many of the plants Bartram sent to Europe have been identified through thorough research by Prof. Mark Laird and Bartram Curator, Joel T. Fry. Around a dozen of species are hitherto identified as authentic from Bartram’s garden, and some of them have possibly spread in the area as invasive species.

Three collection areas are included on three continents. In these areas collections were made that became important to the central development of science directly or to local development of systematic biology. Several students of Linnaeus collected plants and animals around the Cape, but few made such extensive collections as Carl Peter Thunberg and Anders Sparrman who made expeditions in and around Table Mountain, among other places in the Cape region. Sparrman described some well-known animals like the African Buffalo and the now extinct Quagga. Thunberg made extensive collections and wrote the first Flora of South Africa, investigations that became important to the development of systematic biology in southern Africa. Ever since the exploration of the southern tip of Africa was initiated, Table Mountain has been treated as a living laboratory. Given its immense visual impact, it has attracted the attention of scores of biodiversity and natural history scholars. Table Mountain National Park is located on the Cape Peninsula, the south-western extremity of Africa. It stretches from Signal Hill in the north (33° 54′ S, 18° 24′ E) to Cape Point in the south (34° 21′ S, 18° 29′ E) and includes Table Mountain. Due to the extraordinary biodiversity and scenic landscapes, the Table Mountain National Park was declared a Natural World Heritage Site in 2003. Within an area of 471km2, 2285 indigenous plant species occur making the Cape Peninsula flora one of the richest for any similar-sized area, both in the Cape Floral Kingdom and elsewhere in the world.

Carl Peter Thunberg carried on from South Africa to Japan. In a time when Japan was isolated from the rest of the world, he arrived to the country disguised as a Dutchman to collect plants. Together with other foreigners, he was isolated on the island Dejima outside Nagasaki. From there he managed to make collections that became the foundation of the Flora of Japan. He traded his knowledge in medicine against plants, and extracted flowering plants from the fodder brought to the animals on Dejima. He was allowed to make one journey to Edo (Tokyo), where he managed to collect several plant species, many of them in the Hakone Mountains area. The island Dejima is today reconstructed with some original elements still preserved. Hakone National Park still carries an authentic part of the Tokaido road on which Thunberg travelled, and around Hakone populations remain of the flora that Thunberg once collected.

Daniel Solander was one of Linnaeus’ most skilled students, selected by Linnaeus to become his successor. However, after having moved to London to promote the new systematic biology he eventually lost contact with Linnaeus. Together with Sir Joseph Banks he collected new species all over the world on one of James Cook’s voyages. In Australia they made important collections that contributed to the development of a natural system by the English scientist Robert Brown. The area where many important collections were made is today known as Botany Bay, where many of the populations once collected by Banks and Solander remain. One of the species, an icon for the area, is Banksia serrata, named in honour of Banks. The area of 4.9 km² is a national park protected under Australian government law managed by New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Apart from the component parts described above, it must here be mentioned that the collected individuals, i.e. the museum specimens, once collected from these populations are of uttermost value to science, especially Linnaeus’ natural collection kept in London by the Linnean Society of London. These can, however, not be included in this nomination.

Description – Component Parts of “The Rise of Systematic Biology”

I. Sweden – Linnés Råshult, Älmhult

  Every great scientific achievement has its roots in initial observations. The scientific revolution that Linnaeus made in systematic biology started when he in his childhood and youth performed his first studies of the local flora and fauna in the parish Stenbrohult in southern Sweden. During this naïve stage of his scientific development, Linnaeus botanised in the vegetation typical of the 18th century, where he studied stamens and pistils in flowering plants, observations that later developed in the sexual system.

Linnaeus was born in Råshult in the parish Stenbrohult. The homestead, an agricultural vicarage, held a species-rich garden created by his father, a garden that according to Linnaeus himself sparked off his great interest in plants. At the age of two years, Linnaeus and his family moved to a vicarage not far from Råshult, close to the parish church. However, the family retained the farm in Råshult as a compensation for an extended household now including Linnaeus grandmother, who had become a widow. The family could easily walk between the two homesteads on the church road connecting the two places.

Linnaeus grew up in an intellectual home. His father and uncle were both knowledgeable in medicinal plants, reading was encouraged in the vicarage, as was knowledge about plants. Linnaeus received classical, medicinal books from his father, like “Historia plantarum” by Theophrastus, and further knowledge was given to him later by his tutor in secondary school, Johan Rothman. The intellectual environment nurtured Linnaeus’ perceptual mind. So did a strong relationship to the Swedish countryside in a time of history when meadows and forests had a colourful biodiversity of flowering plants.

As a teenager, Linnaeus explored the meadows and forests within the parish. Using the classification by the French scientist Tournefort, he was puzzled to find unidentifiable plants not included in that work. To find the answers to his growing number of questions he turned to both books and nature. Already as a teenager he felt the need to complete his library with a book of his own, Örtaboken (The Book of Herbs), written by hand between 1725 and 1727. The young Linnaeus naturally must have spent much of his time in the meadows and fields belonging to the vicarage in Stenbrohult parish, and Råshult was an obvious base for his nature studies.

Today the meadows of Råshult are a cultural reserve where the agricultural landscape since many years is managed by 18th century methods. The other meadows, once studied by Linnaeus in the parish, are since long overgrown and their vegetation changed, but in Råshult the vegetation has been preserved by the local society treasuring Linnaeus’ memory. Especially the latest years’ management in Råshult has resulted in an almost explosive expansion of authentic populations common in Linnaeus’ Stenbrohult in the 18th century. Plants that earlier were rare are now common in the meadows: viper’s grass Scorzonera humilis, arnica Arnica montana, quaking grass Briza media, bitter vetch Lathyrus linifolius, lesser butterfly orchid Platanthera bifolia, heath spotted orchid Dactylorhiza maculata, lousewort Pedicularis sylvatica, marsh gentian Gentiana pneumonanthe. This historical vegetation type in Råshult is the only one present not only in the parish Stenbrohult, but in the whole of Kronoberg county.

The father’s vicarage garden was described by Linnaeus in Adonis Stenbrohultensis 1732. The father started planting the garden at Råshult, and moved parts of it at to the vicarage at Stenbrohult church. A dozen species from the garden in Råshult have survived there, for example elderflower Sambucus nigra, lilac Syringa vulgaris, orange daylily Hemerocallus fulva, red currants Ribes rubrum, and small grape hyacinth Muscari botryoides.

The buildings in Råshult are positioned in the same place as in the time when Linnaeus family lived there.  One of the buildings was reconstructed and made a museum in 1930, furnished as a typical vicarage of early 18th century. A reconstruction of Linnaeus’ father’s special garden structure is made on the same area as the original garden was laid out, with flowerbeds shaped as a dining table with chairs for guests.

Linnés Råshult is a cultural reserve since 2002, managed by the Kronoberg County Adminstrative Board, the buildings are protected by Swedish law as notable buildings since 1977.

 II. Sweden – The Linnaeus Garden (Linnéträdgården) and the Linnaeus Museum (Linnémuseet), Uppsala

  The garden of Uppsala University, Hortus Upsaliensis, was central to Linnaeus’ scientific work, which makes it a living complement to his writing and his natural collection to anyone who wishes to understand the Linnaean era of systematic biology. The garden was the living source to the fundamental global flora Species plantarum.

 After 1741, when Linnaeus became a professor at Uppsala University, the botanical garden soon became a central place for Linnaeus scientific reformation and foundation of systematic biology. The garden had been strongly deteriorated after a fire, but with help from scientists in his network, Linnaeus managed to increase the number of species from 300 to more than 3000. Having visited grand gardens in Europe, like those of Leiden, London and Paris, he wanted his new creation to outdo them all. The Court Architect and Director of the Public Works Carl Hårleman drew a garden plan of a straight symmetric “jardin à la française” with trimmed hedges and parallel parterres, the university gave more land and funding for a new greenhouse, and the new garden was built during 1743-1745.

The new garden became an important research facility to Linnaeus where he performed many of his studies. Apart from systematic research some studies concerned night behaviour of plants, cultivation of the Chinese rhubarb root, and how to tell the time from the opening and closing of flowering plants by the horologium florae. However, the main purpose of the garden was that of a lecturing room. Linnaeus could here demonstrate not only medicinal plants to the students, but also ongoing research. The species were ordered according to the sexual systems. The students could learn the habitats of different plant species needed through three different wet habitat areas, partly created from a well in the garden. These were the first ecological plantations made in a botanical garden. Spring and autumn quarters as well as annual and perennial quarters helped the students to understand the phenology of plants. The economic and geographic aspects of plants could be studied in hedges of different quality and species as well as in a collection of Swedish tree species. Foreign medicinal plants were imported and tried out in the garden to make cultivation of them in Sweden possible. Linnaeus’ international contacts and the travels by his students were reflected in the species composition of the garden. Scientists from Europe came to Uppsala to visit the garden, as it had become the largest in the world in number of species. There was also a collection of living animal species, for example different species of monkeys, kept in special pole houses, peacocks and a raccoon.

Uppsala botanical garden was moved to a new location when King Gustaf III in 1794 donated the Castle Garden in Uppsala to Uppsala University to honour the memory of Linnaeus. The property of the old botanical garden was used by the students. The main greenhouse was converted into housing, but the warmhouses on the side still carry traces from flowerbeds inside.

The Swedish Linnaeus Society was founded in 1917 in order to preserve as much as possible of the Linnaeus heritage. In 1923 the Society reconstructed Linnaeus’ botanical garden. Flowerbeds and hedges were recreated in their exact positions, as found out from preserved detailed building plans from the 1740’s. The middle axis path has remained in the garden over the years, authentic material from rubbish heaps and parterres are continuously found in the earth layer and the pressure from the artesian well fills the central dam, one of the three ecological plantation areas restored. Around 1500 plants of the same species as Linnaeus grew here were returned from the new botanical garden. Some of these were authentic specimens, and other authentic species were later planted in the garden. Examples are liverwort Hepatica nobilis and winter blooming bergenia Bergenia crassifolia and other species from Hammarby, as well as royal fern Osmunda regalis and aspen Populus tremula from Linnaeus’ observation sites in Sweden. A few species have always remained in the garden, like gageas Gagea spp., yellow wood anemone Anemone ranunculoides, noble fumitory Corydalis nobilis and wild tulip Tulipa sylvestris. The garden is still used for demonstrations of plants for schools and visitors.

In the forecourt of the garden we find the old professor’s home, now the Linnaeus museum. This is where Linnaeus lived a short time as a student in Prof. Olof Rudbeck the younger’s home and where he later moved in himself as a professor in 1743 and stayed until his death in 1778. The house was, like the garden, in a deteriorated state, and Linnaeus had it partly rebuilt. The ceiling was elevated so that rooms could be built in the attic, and when finished the house had 12 rooms in total. Special rooms were furnished as library, natural cabinet and lecture room. The greater part of his scientific work was written in this house. Linnaeus held both university lectures and private lectures in the home, as it was easier to demonstrate living plants so close to the garden. From the library he could keep a watching eye on the garden and the gardeners.

After Linnaeus’ death in 1778, the house was inhabited by a succession of professors in medicine as well as in music until 1935. The Swedish Linnaean Society, founded in 1917, had taken initiative to an antiquarian investigation, which lead to a reconstruction of Linnaeus’ home. With help from relatives to Linnaeus the house could be furnished with authentic objects and the museum could open in 1935.

A visit to the Linnaeus museum in the Linnaeus garden elucidates Linnaeus’ scientific work as well as his family life. In Linnaeus’ study there are scientific instruments, such as his microscope, compass and botanical knife. His herbarium cupboard and other museum cupboards are standing here, and one room displays conserved species from the 18th century collections of Uppsala University. His study is furnished with original furniture. The world famous portrait, picturing Linnaeus in Samish costume while in Holland, emphasizing his scientific work, hangs in the lecture room.

The Linnaeus Garden with the Linnaeus Museum is national property and protected by Swedish law as notable buildings since 1935 and 1993, respectively.

III. Sweden – Herbationes Upsalienses (Linnéstigarna), Uppsala

  Teaching was an important part of Linnaeus scientific activities. He used what we would call modern methods to inspire the students. By teaching them his new efficient methods, his philosophy and practical science he made them part of his network. The students thus became important in the development of systematic biology, either by contributing to Linnaeus knowledge of organisms by sending him collections from their expeditions, or making a career of their own and extend the scientific scope.

Excursions became a central part of Linnaeus’ teachings, inspired from similar excursions in Paris, London, Göttingen and Halle, driven by his philosophy “During excursions one may see every plant in its natural habitat, from which a mindful observer may not only get a great pleasure, but also a more thorough knowledge about the plants.” A number of excursions ended the spring lectures under the name Herbatio­nes Upsalienses.

The rules for the excursions were strict and described in Philosophia botanica. There were eight excursion trails, along which most plants and animal species around Uppsala had been seen. The clothing should be purposeful and loose fitting. The students should bring proper reference works and col­lection devices into the field. One student was assigned by Linnaeus to keep order of the group. Another student would shoot the birds to be studied. A third student became a secretary, annotating every word uttered by the teacher during the excursion. These protocols are preserved and give us information on which species the students saw. The students divided into groups to collect plants, animals and minerals, and Linnaeus regularly demonstrated their findings, a teaching method very inspiring to the students.

Linnaeus could use the excursions to select talented stu­dents capable of performing good research in systematic biology. Herbationes Upsalienses were a first expedition into nature, in a safe, controlled manner. They became an important breeding ground for new scientists and a scientific network around Linnaeus was created in the field. Since the species along the trails were studied repeatedly by Linnaeus with new students every year, they became the base for the fundamental works Species plantarum in 1753 and Systema naturae in 1758. The excursions also worked as an arena for experimenting with scientific methods. Linnaeus tested his short trivial names (later developing into binary nomenclature) in his group of students before final publication in Species plantarum. Herbationes Upsalienses were to Linnaeus and his students what a scientific laboratory is to a contemporary scientist and his lab group.

The Herbationes Upsalienses are today partly reconstructed. Three excursions (1, 6 and 8, see Fig. 3) were constructed by Uppsala municipality in collaboration with Swedish Linnaean Society in 1978. In the preparations of the Linnaeus tercentenary in 2007 those were redrawn in collaboration with the project Linnaean Landscapes and a fourth excursion (no 4) added. The last four excursions (2, 3, 5 and 7) are currently under reconstruction.

Around 1000 plant species and 500 animal species are known from the protocols. The Herbationes Upsalienses excursion paths has been surveyed during 2009 to find remaining plant populations. At leasts 300 of the plants do still thrive along the excursion trails. Three areas with a protected biodiversity along the Herbationes Upsalienses trails are currently under protection by Swedish law. Two of these are Nature Reserves and known to contain species populations once studied by Linnaeus and his students, Hågadalen-Nåsten Nature Reserve and Fäbodmossen Nature Reserve. The third, Årike Fyris, is a reserve to be and its landscape is currently proctected under Swedish Law.

IIIA. Sweden – Hågadalen-Nåsten Nature Reserve, Uppsala

  The Hågadalen-Nåsten Nature Reserve includes two trails of Herbationes Upsalienses, Herbatio Gottsundensis in the Eastern part and Herbatio Hogensis in the Northern part. These excursions are relatively well-documented by student protocols from Linnaeus’ excursion, especially Herbatio Gottsundensis. A high number of species once studied by Linnaeus and his students still thrive in this nature reserve, 160 species were found in an inventory made 2009. Some examples are oak Quercus robur, common buckthorne Rhamnus cathartica, fly honeysuckle Lonicera xylosteum, spurge laurel Daphne mezereum and common toothwort Lathraea squamaria. Elements like Norby well and the Håga river are still positioned in the same localities as in the 18th century.

IIIB. Sweden – Fäbodmossen Nature Reserve, Uppsala

  The Fäbodmossen Nature Reserve is positioned West of the ending point of the present reconstruction of Herbatio Jumkilensis. Linnaeus and his students went by horse and carriage all the way to Jumkil Parish to stay overnight and next day wander through the vast forests of Jumkil. The western part of this excursions went through extensive bogs, sometimes including Fäbodmossen, which is a preserved bog area where vegetation has not been destroyed by draining and ditching. Classical populations from this excursion are still present in Fäbodmossen Nature Reserve, like moor-king Pedicularis sceptrum-carolinum, bog rosemary Andromeda polifolia, marsh ledum Ledum palustre and common hair moss Polytrichum commune. 13 species remaining from Linnaeus’ time were found in the bog area during 2009.

Since the 18th century, Fäbodmossen has never been drained or ditched.

IIIC. Sweden – Årike Fyris, Uppsala

  The area Årike Fyris is a landscape protected area planned to become either a municipal Nature Reserve or a municipal Culture Reserve within a few years time. It is positioned South of Uppsala town on both sides of River Fyris.It includes Kungsängen Nature Reserve, which is a Natura 2000-area, and the Nature Reserve Nåntuna Lund and a Natura 2000 area along Sävja River that joins with the Fyris River within the area.  The excursion paths Herbatio Danensis and Herbatio Ultunensis cross the Årike Fyris area, and over 100 species remain from Linnaeus time according to an inventory made 2009. The most famous of these is the naturalized Snakeshead Fritillary Fritillaria meleagris.

IV. Linnaeus’ Hammarby (Linnés Hammarby), Uppsala

In 1758 Linnaeus bought the farmstead Hammarby 10 km SE of Uppsala with some adjacent village houses. This became his first private property. He soon developed the area into a private research station and held his private lectures for international students there during the summers. He built a manor for his family, his scientific activities and some of his collections. Later on he built a specially designed museum for his natural collections, which he also moved out from Uppsala. He laid out botanical gardens, flowerbeds and planted trees and hedges. Initially he transferred plants from Hortus Upsaliensis, and later he planted seeds that he received as gifts. He stayed in Hammarby all summer, but visited the Hortus Upsaliensis regularly. He received scientists and celebrities from Sweden and abroad as visitors in Hammarby, for example Lord Baltimore III from England and crown prince Gustaf of Sweden, both attracted by his fame as a scientist.

Linnés Hammarby is a property with unique remnants from the foundation of systematic biology. Linnaeus’ study (Fig. 4) in the main building was never used after his death, and many details in the room bears direct trace from his hand. A wallpaper consisting of plates of American plants drawn by Plumier in the work Plantarum americanarum. These plates were once glued to the wall by Linnaeus and are still present in the same position as he put them. In the adjacent bedroom the walls are covered with hand-coloured plates drawn by Ehret and published in the work Plantae selectae. Some of the plates carry his handwriting. Along the ceiling in the study there are several details that remain from Linnaeus’ scientific activities, such as paper images of different bird species glued on the ceiling spline, an oil-painting of his Coat of Arm placed above the entrance door, a personal proverb written above the bedroom door and oil-paintings of monkeys and a raccoon, animals that he kept alive for his studies. His writing chair remains in the room at a desk by the window, a place where he wrote many of his manuscripts. The whole atmosphere in this unique study gives a strong sense of presence of a scientist who managed to create an important development of systematic biology.

The large natural collection of Uppsala University, mainly gathered by Linnaeus and his scientific network, was threatened by a fire in 1766. He then built a special museum at Hammarby that would accommodate his own collections. After having moved his natural collections to Hammarby he had to go there also in the winter when he needed to study his natural collections. The building is beautifully preserved in an original state on the top of a hill on the property. The actual collections were sold to England in 1784 and are today managed by the Linnean Society of London as the world’s most treasured organism collection in systematic biology. However, the little empty museum in Hammarby and the collections are forever connected with one another. Left in the museum in Sweden is Linnaeus’ lecture chair and the student benches used in his private lectures. Outside the museum there is a flattened surface on the moraine hill, once made to create an outside lecture room. The museum is a unique scientific landmark from a time when systematic biology was founded and spread from this place to many countries in the world.

Hammarby is also the site where the strongest biological cultural heritage from the Linnaean era of systematic biology is to be found. The structures of botanical plantations, such as the Siberian garden, shrub quarters and single trees planted by Linnaeus remain relatively undisturbed. Two parterres in the main yard are reconstructed, and some perennials in the main garden remain where once planted. Almost 50 plant species have survived where once planted or naturalized within and around the property, some of the most striking are belladonna scopola Scopolia carniolica, Russian peashrub Caragana frutex, St Lucie cherry Prunus mahaleb, dog’s mercury Mercurialis perennis, barrenwort Epimedium alpinum, turk’s head lily Lilium martagon and Hammarby houseleek Jovibarba globifera. Some animals studied and described by Linnaeus and his students are still to be found on the property, such as the stild bees, for example Fabricius nomad bee Nomada fabriciana and a the Burgundy snail Helix pomatia. The surrounding area has recently become a cultural reserve, where 18th century agricultural methods will help expanding the once common, but now diminishing populations from the 18th century agricultural landscape. Examples of species that were common in the Hammarby landscape, but now rare are maiden pink Dianthus deltoids, wild thyme Thymus serpyllifolium and carline thistle Carlina vulgaris, species that Linnaeus used in his lectures in the fields.

Linnaeus had the possibility to try out planting experiments in his garden and in the surrounding farmland. The Hammarby estate was not as formalized as the Hortus Upsaliensis, and thus easier to use for dynamic planting. He focused on plants that would contribute to the economy of the country and help the single farmer to increase his outcome. He planted purple willow Salix purpurea in the fields as he wanted to use it to bind his oats. He built a Hortus Sibiricus to investigate whether plants from Russia could survive in Sweden and be of use in the poor northern part of the country. He also planted Siberian crab apple Malus baccata here to try out grafting and search for the original apple species.  The apple and willow are still growing in their original places.

The remote position of this property in the countryside in one of the least populated countries in the Western world, once the centre of systematic biology, thereafter left without larger reconstructions, presently with a high number of cultural entities remaining, puts Hammarby in a class of its own as a preserved cultural site and landmark of one single scientific field, the systematic biology.

The central part of Linnaeus’ property of Hammarby has been a museum since 1879 and is currently protected under Swedish law as a notable building (1935 and 1993). It is owned by the National Property Board, which manages it together with Uppsala University. The surrounding area is a cultural reserve since 2007 owned by Uppsala Akademiförvaltning and managed by the County Administrative Board of Uppsala.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

The areas of the proposed world heritage nomination named “The Rise of Systematic Biology” together represent a cultural and biological heritage that is unique in reflecting one of the scientific fields of basic need to humanity: systematic biology. To be able to pass on information on organisms important for our survival we are dependent on knowing the names of the organisms around us.

The transformation of the science of systematic biology was mainly due to the work of a single person, Carl Linnaeus. Because of this, the sites connected with this development are tightly linked with one another and reflect also the scientific network at the time. There are reasons to as why the biodiversity of these sites are well documented. Linnaeus taught and practised careful documentation as part of the observational methods that he linked to the science. Plant and animals specimens were carefully collected and preserved and are still available in the museums. Moreover, the extensive correspondence within Linnaeus’ network has been preserved to a large part, and is a great source of information.

The biodiversity of the selected places and historic man-made remnants, such as buildings, flowerbeds and greenhouses are mainly preserved because of their great scientific and cultural importance. Many of them have been protected by law for a century or more.

Every site has its own importance, but together they are of outstanding universal value. Included are the central sites of the scientific environment of Carl Linnaeus in Sweden. Some of the world’s most important collection sites at the time, in Asia, Australia and Africa, are included as are important representatives of the scientific network of botanical gardens. Some of these sites, like Jardin des Plantes in France and Botany Bay National Park in Australia, were important to the scientific development that continued after the Linnaean era, a development that became a prerequisite for the science of today and the radiation into several disciplines within biology.

The four sites in Sweden are unique in many ways by being the actual places where the scientific ideas were born by Linnaeus and the inner circle of his network. The preserved flora and fauna together form an outstanding trace of the scientific activities performed in the areas. The garden structures from the 18th century help the visitors to understand the historical context of the places. The two preserved homes, positioned in the traces of their 18th century gardens, show to a high degree Linnaeus’ scientific work and deed.

Satements of authenticity and/or integrity

Much of the authenticity in the sites of “The Rise of Systematic Biology” is found in extant populations of once studied plants and animals at the different sites. The discussion on authenticity of living organisms has been a vivid part of the science systematic biology due to the type concept. The compulsory assignment of a type specimen was introduced well after Linnaeus’ death. A type specimen is a collected individual that connects a name to a living organism, and thus connects the name to the population where the specimen once was collected and to its taxonomic unit. Accordingly, there has been a period from Linnaeus’ time and onwards when valid names were published, but no type specimen assigned. A demanding task for systematic biologists has therefore been to define which population the scientist referred to when a certain species was described and named. In the absence of specimens, extant populations known to have been studied by the author(s) of a name can then be collected and used.

Extant populations related to a certain specimens may be genetically related to the original organism in different ways. An organism in an extant population may be identical to the once studied individual if it is asexually propagated, i.e. cloned. More often, it is the result of a sequence of sexual propagations with several genetic recombinations involved.  The extant population should have a non-broken continuity in the area since the time when the first specimen was collected.

The sites in “The Rise of Systematic Biology” all have authentic populations with organisms related to those studied by the scientists who contributed to the initial development of systematic biology. Apart from the living material, authentic elements found on the sites are different garden structures, houses, roads and landscapes.

At the four Swedish sites the degree of integrity varies among the sites.

  In Råshult, the vegetation today is the same as that studied by the young Linnaeus. The flora has not been introduced to the area, but retrieved from the same populations that Linnaeus studied. The topology and geography is the same as in the 18th century and 18th century cultivation methods promote the historical flora and fauna. A few garden plants as kept by Linnaeus’ father still thrive. Elements in the farm yard and the main building are authentic.

The Linnaeus garden with the Linnaeus museum is authentic in its main structures, the plant material and elements in the house structures. The Linnaeus museum is filled with authentic furniture and objects and historic findings hidden in the double flooring have been made. The resurrected garden with its intricate teaching system gives a visitor the same experience as it gave a visitor in the 18th century.  The soil frequently reveals authentic objects from rubbish heaps continuously found in the area.

The Herbationes Upsalienses holds the largest amount of authentic populations identified by the protocols from the many excursions held there by Linnaeus and his students. Landscapes and structures of fields and meadows remain in some areas the same as in the 18th century. Due to the high degree of field studies in Uppsala since Linnaeus’ time, the continuity of the populations is possible to establish. Recently, as described above, material along the Herbationes trails have been selected as a neotype for a Linnaean name.

Linnés Hammarby is remarkably intact in many ways. Here we find Linnaeus’ study still as he left it during his lifetime, never inhabited since. The museum, once hosting the most important natural collection in the world, still stands intact on the property, surrounded by extant populations of species that Linnaeus included in the collections. The surrounding area is currently transformed into an 18th century agricultural landscape with a biodiversity of that time, enhancing rare species that were common when Linnaeus lived there.

Comparison with other similar properties

There is no other property on the World Heritage List that embodies the science systematic biology. “The Rise of Systematic Biology” is fully unique. The authentic populations and material structures present in the sites included are together a full representation of the foundation of systematic biology not able to find anywhere else.

Taken one by one, each area has its comparable site. Historic gardens like Kew Garden in the United Kingdoms and Orto Botanico in Padua, Italy, have a similar history part of the scientific history. However, none of these were directly involved in the initiation of systematic biology made by Linnaeus, and their unique values are based on other criteria.

There are some World Heritage Sites strongly connected to biological sciences, like the World Heritage Site Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, which were crucial for Charles Darwin’s formulation of the evolutionary theory. However, the science heritage of extant populations is not described in detail in the documentation nor used as authenticity. The islands have their unique values in the endemic species, not only species studied specifically by Darwin. Also the Table Mountain (part of the World Heritage Site Cape Floral Region), partner in “The Rise of Systematic Biology” is on the World Heritage List. However, it is the unique flora and fauna belonging to the Cape Floral Region that stands out as the main values of this site in the documentation.  In combination with the other sites in “The Rise of Systematic Biology” the scientific value of the site is emphasized.

In no site on the World Heritage List has extant populations been regarded as part of the authenticity of the property. This unique form of authenticity would be possible only for a scientific world heritage of a science focusing on a pan-global study of all organism groups, systematic biology.

VIKING MONUMENTS AND SITES / Birka and Hovgården (2011)

Part of transnational serial nomination

Birka N59 20 06 E17 32 33

Hovgården N59 21 36 E17 32 00

The Viking serial nomination comprises land-, sea- and townscapes stretching from the North Atlantic to the Baltic Sea. Among the thousands of Viking sites from the eighth to the twelfth centuries AD, these nine nominated properties from six nations are outstanding examples representing the wide diversity of this early maritime culture.

In the Viking Age the Norse peoples – the Vikings – developed a maritime culture which had an enormous impact on Northern Europe and beyond.  Within Scandinavia the Viking Period witnessed the transformation from tribal to state societies and a change of religions.  The three Christian kingdoms that developed from this transformation, and out of which the present Nordic States evolved, were by the end of the Viking Age an integral part of Europe.  Thus, in modern times, Viking culture has contributed significantly to the creation of cultural coherence, symbolic values and cultural identity in the Nordic region and it continues to hold immense public appeal world-wide.  This culture and its heritage developed in close interaction within a unique natural environment. It is composed of distinctive urban landscapes and monuments. The culture also produced one of the world’s great literatures: the Sagas, Eddic poetry and runic inscriptions.

Harnessing the technology of the ship, Nordic peoples used the sea for expansion, exploration, long-distance trade and overseas settlement.  The travels of the Vikings brought them across the Baltic Sea and down the Russian rivers as far as the Black and Caspian Seas to Byzantium and the Caliphate of Baghdad, as well as west out into the Atlantic.  They were the first to settle in Iceland and the first Europeans to reach Greenland and North America about 1000 AD.  In so doing, the Vikings were the first people to succeed in opening routes across the northern hemisphere from North America to Asia, thus connecting different cultural regions of the earth.  Adapted to very diverse types of natural environments, success was on the one hand in the use, and at times ecological misuse, of regional resources, and, on the other hand, in the development of social and political systems. This combination formed the basis for a rich cultural region.  Internally, Scandinavia witnessed an economic, religious and social transformation aided by a boom in internal and cross-cultural communication during the Viking period.  New institutions were developed, smaller regions were merged into larger units and the Scandinavians took part in European development on a larger scale.  Scandinavia at the time of King Knut, in the early 11th century, was vastly different from the Scandinavia that was visited by the missionary Ansgar in the early 9th century.

The component parts cover a wide temporal and spatial range. They are of exceptional quality and diversity. They include trading towns, harbours, defensive structures, production sites, burial monuments, and assembly sites. Viewed as a whole these sites bear witness to the extent of Viking social and cultural development.


The archaeological site of the proto-town Birka and the nearby royal estate of Hovgården together form an almost unique site, the greatest and most impressive Viking-age site in Sweden and, perhaps, in Scandinavia. They lie on two islands in the lake Mälar, ca 30 km W of Stockholm.

The earliest known Christian congregation in Sweden is known to have been founded in Birka by St Ansgar in 831.

Birka on the western part of the ca 1,5 x 2 km big island Björkö is today visible through its hillfort, the town rampart and ca 3000 grave mounds on cemeteries surrounding the black Earth, the cultural debris with the remnants of the Viking-age settlement. Contemporary jetties and harbours lie along the shoreline.

Since 1931, the conservation programme for the site has restored the 19th century agricultural landscape, a prototype for all ancient monuments’ conservation in Sweden.

Birka is connected to the nearby Hovgården/Alsnöhus site on the Adelsö island. This Viking-age and medieval royal estate lies at the Adelsö church with a number of great mounds, a cemetery, a contemporary harbour with a runic stone and the foundations for a 13th century brick palace on the top of a built-up mound of soil.

The runic text mentions an 11th century king Håkon, his bailiff and the upplandic district Roden. The site is a well-known meeting-place for the medieval Royal Council which in 1279 decided here about the feudal system in Sweden.

Birka and Hovgården is the center of the unique and well preserved historical landscape of the Lake Mälaren area containing thousands of Viking Age settlements, visible cemeteries and several thousand rune stones. Hovgården is one of several Viking Age and Medieval royal manors whose importance in the administrative infrastructure is expressed in monumental burial mounds and cemeteries. Birka is a multi-cultural urban society and the center linking this region with the international network of market places and towns which began to be established under Carolingian leadership during the 700s. At Birka, raw materials such as furs and metals were collected for trade with Western Europe, and craftsmen from the Rhineland area established themselves as the suppliers of their products to Birka’s surrounding area. After the mid-800s, the eastern routes to Byzantium and Bagdad were opened and the Russian taiga zone became the main fur-producing area. Rich evidence of these eastern contacts is found both at Birka and Hovgården and in the graves in Birka’s large hinterland. Birka was part of an extensive social and economic infrastructure including Western Europe, the Caliphate and Byzantium which is expressed in weight systems and coinage.

Birka’s role as one of the most important early marketplaces/towns of this kind is expressed not least in the early urban legislation which is known in the Nordic area as Bjärköa- or Birkerätt (Bjärköa or Birke Law). Birka was also one of the first known targets for early Christian missions during the 800s through the work of Saint Anskar.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

The selection of sites bears an exceptional testimony to a unique cultural tradition in which the ship became the essential feature. Due to the natural environment of lakes, rivers and sea the use of waterways and the development of navigational skills had a long tradition. In the Viking Age ship technology was taken to a new level. Vikings were the first to settle in Iceland and the first Europeans to reach Greenland and North America about 1000 AD.  In so doing, the Vikings were the first people to succeed in opening routes across the North Atlantic to North America and eastward to the Russian Plain and Byzantium, connecting continents and cultural regions. Internally, Scandinavia witnessed an economic, religious and social transformation aided by a boom in internal and cross-cultural communication during the Viking period.  The component parts represent key attributes of Viking culture while the ship is the common feature throughout. In modern times, Viking culture has contributed significantly to the creation of cultural coherence, symbolic values and cultural identity in the Nordic region, and it continues to hold immense public appeal world-wide.  The component parts demonstrate clearly the key features; expansion, cultural communication and a strong narrative tradition past and present.

Satements of authenticity and/or integrity

Birka on the western part of the ca 1,5 x 2 km big island Björkö is today visible through its hillfort, the town rampart and ca 3000 visible grave mounds on cemeteries surrounding the black Earth, the cultural debris with the remnants of the Viking-age settlement. Contemporary jetties and harbours lie along the shoreline. Birka is connected to the nearby Hovgården/Alsnöhus site on the Adelsö island. This Viking-age and medieval royal estate lies at the Adelsö church with a number of great mounds, a cemetery, a contemporary harbour with a runic stone and the foundations for a 13th century brick palace on the top of a built-up mound of soil.

Comparison with other similar properties

The transnational project unites properties already appointed as Viking Age World Heritage with the newly nominated sites of Danevirke and Hedeby as well as Grobiņa, the Danish fortresses, the Vestfold burial mounds and Hyllestad quern stone quarry. They all rank among the most important historical places in the Viking Age and have moreover, as archaeological sites, contributed essential insights into Scandinavian culture of this period. In this period the Nordic region developed from being a peripheral zone of Europe to being an integrated component of the Christian West. Of exceptional value is the good condition of preservation displayed by the project’s combined monuments, ideally complemented by Old Iceland’s rich supply of written records and by other outstanding archaeological finds such as the ships from Gokstad, Oseberg and Roskilde. Corresponding nominations for the period between the 8th and the 12th century AD have to date not been represented on the World Heritage List.

For the component part:

Birka has to be seen against the context of the other emporia of this period, from Staraya Ladoga to Dublin. The only sites that are comparable with Birka in terms of degree of conservation and accessibility are Hedeby/Haithabu (Germany) and to a lesser extent Dorestad (Netherlands). Most of the others, such as Ribe, Aarhus, Hamburg, York, and Dublin, are beneath the existing towns and cities. The wealth and diversity of the material excavated at Birka indicates that it was one of the most important sites of this group.

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