Karen Neale Art

World Heritage Cities & Sites


World Heritage Sites Journey - 2001
Havana Cuba Journey - 2003


On 5th April 2001, I set out on a five month journey, having been awarded a Travelling Fellowship by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust , visiting UNESCO World Heritage Cities and Sites through France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Uzbekistan, India and Nepal. I returned in September 2001 having completed 106 annotated watercolour sketches in my diary recording my experiences.


Venice © Karen Neale
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World Heritage Sites #01


Here are a few extracts from my diary:

A few extracts from my diary are as follows:

‘France - April 5th 2001 - My train leaves Waterloo and arrives in Paris about three hours later and my journey has begun. A gentle start with only subtle cultural differences with which to contend. The rainy April weather and the train drivers' strike made me feel not far from home at all. Surprisingly, I must have had a convincing savoir faire look in France because I have been asked for directions at least a dozen times. Only when I opened my mouth did I give the game away!...


‘Italy – arrived on 27th April 2001 - what can one say but Bella Italia....
……A few hours in Venice- either you stay for years getting lost down all the amazing alleys (which I intend to do in the future) or you sit and gawp in amazement with all the thousands of tourists and pigeons at fabulous St Marks Square. It is my most colourful and sunny sketch so far…….


Arg-e-Bam © Karen Neale
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World Heritage Sites #02


…..Iran - 30th June 2001 - The heat rises to nearer 40 degrees and more and it is on with the not so little black dress and hejab to form your own portable oven. After a couple of days of adjustment to this attire everywhere outside your room and seeing one half of the population also dressed like you, but of course with exquisite Persian elegance and aplomb which you can't hope to achieve in a couple of weeks, it all seems quite normal…………You can walk for miles along relatively cool terracotta domed lanes and alleys of the bazaars which are teeming with everything from intricately carved hair slides to vast copper vessels, to carpets and cakes galore, all washed down with compulsory cup of chay in atmospheric teahouses where the locals get down to their business over the hubbly bubbly pipes, reclining on the low level cushioned couches. (Stress seized businesses everywhere take note!) Maybe because there are not many travelers here, the hospitality shown by so many people to foreigners is quite overwhelming and humbling……..


Kathmandu © Karen Neale
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World Heritage Sites #03


…..Kathmandu – 22nd August 2001- Ancient history is fresh and youthful here, as stone Buddhas and Incarnations, stupas and other edifices nestle in amongst the washing lines and 'Internet access here' signs. Medieval and modern life combines in a wonderful vibrancy in some amazing characteristic Nepalese adaptation. The apparent randomness of the religious and secular buildings belies a wonderful complex and intricate network. In every 'chowk' (residential courtyard/ marketplace with business enterprises mixed in on the lower floors) are stupas and Buddhas or even temples, which you can often glimpse from the street. It is a maze of delights……….’

It really was a journey of a lifetime. It gave me an invaluable opportunity to learn and understand more about the world beyond the confines of my day to day life. This in itself is a priceless gift and I am enormously grateful to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust for awarding me this Fellowship.

Havana Cuba Journey - 2003

Fornos, Havana © Karen Neale
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World Heritage Sites #04


Continuing the theme of World Heritage, I have visited Cuba several times and in particular Havana, a World Heritage City. My first visit was in 2000. It is a completely fascinating and fabulous country and Havana is architectural heaven and an artist’s paradise. In 2003 an exhibition of my work was held there in the ornate and unique covered swimming pool of a former sugar baron’s house, now the home of the British Ambassador in Havana.

Museum © Karen Neale
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World Heritage Sites #05


Copyright: Karen Neale Art

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