Friday, May 22, 2015

DE-4135230

Construction of Sidney's Harbour Bridge in the 1930's. 
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of Australia's most well known and photographed landmarks. It is the world's largest (but not the longest) steel arch bridge with the top of the bridge standing 134 metres above the harbour. It is fondly known by the locals as the 'Coathanger' because of its arch-based design.

Foto:  © State Library of New South Wales
DE-4135230, sent by Cristina.
It was as early as 1815 that Francis Greenway proposed building a bridge from the northern to the southern shore of the harbour.
It took some time for this to become a reality with design submissions invited in 1900. All the submissions were considered unsuitable and so the momentum for the bridge crossing stopped.
However, after the First World War more serious plans were made, with a general design for the Sydney Harbour Bridge prepared by Dr J J C Bradfield and officers of the NSW Department of Public Works. The New South Wales Government then invited worldwide tenders for the construction of the Bridge in 1922 and the contract was let to English firm Dorman Long and Co of Middlesbrough.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge construction started in 1924 and took 1,400 men eight years to build at a cost of 4.2 million. Six million hand driven rivets and 53,000 tonnes of steel were used in its construction. It now carries eight traffic lanes and two rail lines, one in each direction, but at the time of its construction the two eastern lanes were tram tracks. They were converted to road traffic when Sydney closed down its tram system in the 1950s. - in: http://www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/sydney-harbour-bridge

Thursday, May 21, 2015

TW-1578515

This is an official from Taiwan but the card is actually from Japan, it shows the Matsuyama Castle. 

TW-1578515, sent by Ellie.
Matsuyama Castle is one of Japan's twelve "original castles", i.e. castles which have survived the post-feudal era since 1868 intact. It is also one of the most complex and interesting castles in the country. It is located on Mount Katsuyama, a steep hill in the city center that provides visitors with a bird's eye view of Matsuyama and the Seto Inland Sea. There are about 200 cherry trees on the castle grounds, making this a lovely cherry blossom spot typically around late March to early April each year.
Matsuyama Castle was constructed between 1602 and 1628. In 1635, the castle got assigned to a branch of the Matsudaira family, relatives of the nation ruling Tokugawa, and it remained in their hands until the end of the feudal era. The current three storied castle tower was constructed in 1820 after the original five storied one had been destroyed by lightning.
Matsuyama Castle provides an excellent example of a feudal castle. The main circle of defense (Honmaru) is located on the top of the hill, accessible through multiple, well defended gates. The main keep is one of only a few in the country that boast multiple wings. The complex also includes a secondary keep and multiple turrets, giving Matsuyama Castle a grand appearance and making it interesting to explore. Inside the castle, some exhibits offer information on Matsuyama's history and the feudal period. - in: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5501.html

CN-1609931

An official from Gulangyu, an island off the coast of Xiamen city (historically known as Amoy), Fujian province in southern China. 

CN-1609931, sent by Zheng Yang.
Christ the King Church was built by the Spaniards in 1917. Located at 34 Lujiao Road, Gulangyu Island, it boasts of a Gothic architectural style with beautiful interior designs. The structure occupies a land area of 220 square meters.
Hundreds of local and foreign Catholics flock to this church to attend Sunday services.
As one of the main tourist attractions of Gulangyu Island, it attracts more than 10,000 local and foreign tourists every year.
During the 'Cultural Revolution', church services were temporarily stopped. Services resumed during the Christmas season of 1982.
On April 1, 2005, the Xiamen Municipal government cited Christ the King Church as "An Important Historical Site". As a result, the municipal government has allocated funds for its renovation on numerous occasions.
On May 25, 2006, it was cited in China as the 6th Most Important Cultural Site that must be preserved. - in: http://www.whatsonxiamen.com/xiamen-info-592.html

Lipno Dam - Czech Republic

One last card sent by Vladmir.

Foto: Daniel Selucký
The Lipno Dam is the largest of its kind in the Czech Republic. This huge lake set in the beautiful countryside of Šumava is a popular place for all who enjoy an active holiday. During the summer season you can go cycling, inline skating, swimming, windsurfing, sailing or just lounge comfortably on one of the Lipno beaches. - in: http://www.czechtourism.com/s/lipno/

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ralsko & Švihov Castles - Czech Republic

When I get a few cards from Czech Republic in an envelope, some of them are definitely castle cards. This time was no exception and Vladimir sent these cards of Ralsko and Švihov Castles.

Foto: Ivan Rillich
The deserted castle was used by thieving knights and later destroyed by treasure hunters. At present, its ruins form the characteristic silhouette of the lonely hill. The castle was not open to the public for a long time as it was located in a military area. At present, you can set out for a challenging trip; the climbing itself is worthwhile. Besides the relics of the castle, the top offers a superb view of the České Středohoří, the Lužické Hory and Jizerské Hory, Ještěd, dominant features of Český ráj and the Mácha region with Bezděz Hill.
Ralsko Castle is connected with several legends. One of them mentions a hidden treasure guarded by a giant dog that rambles through the dense forests. Another legend insists that inside the hill, similarly to Blaník Hill, sleeping soldiers are waiting, to save the country when it gets into really serious problems. - in: http://www.mladoboleslavsko.eu/dr-en/1334-ruin-of-ralsko-castle.html

Foto: Ivan Rillich
The Švihov Castle is a late medieval castle located in western Bohemia, Czech Republic. It is considered to be the last real castle in Czech lands – only chateaux were built after it. Švihov is one of the youngest Czech castles. It was constructed at the turn of the 15th and the 16th centuries by Půta Švihovský of Rýzmberk.
During the Thirty Years’ War, the Swedish troops passed by the Švihov Castle two times, leaving it unconquered. After this war, the Habsburg Emperor Ferdinand III issued an order to demolish the castle. However, due to its permanently being put off, the demolition was luckily never carried out entirely; only part of the fortification wall was damaged. Later on, the castle was turned into a farmstead and a granary. The Švihov Castle remained property of the Černín family up to the end of the Second World War, after which it was nationalized. 
The Czechoslovak state took over the important historic landmark in a dilapidated state, and as one of the most treasured monuments, the state decided to make it open to public. In the second half of the 20th century, extensive reconstruction work started turning the granary back into a castle. Starting with this extensive reconstruction, smaller scale work has been continuously carried out at the castle up to the present day. 
The Water Castle of Švihov remains property of the Czech Republic to this day; it is managed and operated by the National Institute for the Preservation of Historical Monuments. - in: http://www.hradsvihov.cz/en/

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Czech cities

3 czech cities from 3 different regions, Chrudim in the Pardubice Region, Poděbrady in the Central Bohemian Region and Valeč  in the Karlovy Vary region.

Chrudim town was established before 1276 and soon after came to be a dowry town of Bohemian Queens.

Foto: Ivan Rillich
 Poděbrady is a historical spa town. A historic milestone in the life of the town was the year 1905, when it was visited by the German estate owner Prince von Bülow. This well-known water diviner found in the inner courtyard of the castle signs of a strong spring, which was later bored to a depth of 97.6 metres (320 ft). The discovery of carbonic mineral water resulted in the opening of the first spa in 1908. After World War I Poděbrady rapidly changed into a spa town which from 1926 specialized in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, rapidly gaining renown not only in the Czech Republic, but also abroad in countries including Austria, Germany, Russia and the United States. - in: wikipedia

Foto: Ivan Rillich
The first written mention of the Valeč village dates from 1358, when it was confiscated during the war by the Citbor brothers and Benes.
The village was given municipal rights December 1514, upon a request by Vladislav II (Jagiello) . In 1570 Christopher Štampach of Štampach bought Valeč. Václav Štampach of Štampach then built a Renaissance castle, whose appearance today is not known. - in: wikipedia

Friday, May 15, 2015

Slatiňany - Czech Republic

This week I've got 8 nice czech cards sent by Vladimir. 2 of the cards are from Slatiňany, a town in the Pardubice Region of the Czech Republic. I'm posting those 2 cards with a 3rd one, the 1st official I've received from Czech Republic, almost 9 years ago, in the beginning of my postcrossing activity. 
The first written documents about the town come from 1294. The town reached its complete prosperity when both the manor and the castle were owned by the princely family Auersperg. 

CZ-1638, sent by Martina.
 Formerly a simple manor of local gentry became a favourite summer seat of the powerful Princes of Auersperg for almost 200 years.
In 1878 Franz Joseph Prince of Auersperg married countess Wilhelmine Kinsky. They chose to reside in the chateau of Slatinany and made the place what it is today. The house became the favourite family home, inhabited from late spring till Christmas. - in: http://www.zamek-slatinany.cz/home-page/
The castle houses now a museum that documents the horses´ evolution since it´s origin 55 million years ago till the present.

Foto: archiv mesta Slatinany, archiv spolecnosti VCES a.s.
In the Švýcárna, built in the style of a Swiss chalet, you can visit the interactive museum about the breeding of Kladruber horses, which are registered on the UNESCO list.

Foto: archiv mesta Slatinany
A miniature of a Gothic walled castle in Slatiňany´s castle´s forest park is a very popular place for children and tourists. The cats castle was built in a romantic style by the princess Vilemina Auersperg.