Sunday, December 9, 2018

Neuschwanstein Castle - Germany

The Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most visited castles in Germany and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
The castle is located in Bavaria, near the town of Fussen. It was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, also known as the “Fairytale King”. 

© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG

DE-5927634, sent by Ecke.
King Ludwig was a great admirer and supporter of Richard Wagner, the world-renowned composer.
Neuschwanstein Castle was built in his honor and many rooms in the castle’s interior were inspired by Wagner’s characters.
The third floor particularly reflects Ludwig’s admiration of Wagner’s operas.The Singers Hall, which occupies the entire fourth floor of Neuschwanstein also contains characters from Wagner’s operas.
Neuschwanstein literally means “New Swan Castle” referencing of “the Swan Knight” one of the Wagner’s characters.

The Neuschwanstein Castle looks like a fairytale castle. Neuschwanstein is a castle of the paradox, it was built in the 19th century in Bavaria, in a time when castles no longer had strategical and defensive purposes.

Alpiner Kunstverlag Hans Huber, Garmisch-Partenkirchen
US-2051824, sent by Louise
While Neuschwanstein’s look is that of a medieval castle, it was equipped inside with state of the art technology at that time. For example on every floor of the castle there were toilets with automatic flushing system, as well as an air heating system for the whole castle. Water was supplied by a nearby spring situated at only 200 meters above the castle.

DE-425666, sent by Andrea.
Neuschwanstein’s positioning is also a fairytale one. It is located in the Alps in Bavaria, Germany, in a magnificent landscape, on the top of a hill. Neuschwanstein overlooks the Hohenschwangau valley. If you come to visit this castle, you will be amazed by the extremely beautiful landscape that surrounds it.
Also, Neuschwanstein lies very close to the town of Fussen, which is also a popular tourist destination in Germany.

The construction of the Neuschwanstein castle began in 1869, and originally it was projected to last three years. But Ludwig II wanted the castle to be perfect, so the immense building was not finished even at Ludwig’s death in 1886 and it is not completely finished to this day.

DE-2624717, sent by Klaus.
 Neuschwanstein Castle has a very beautiful inner garden surrounded by a walled courtyard. It even has an artificial cave. Neuschwanstein’s interior is as beautiful as its outside. Though only 14 rooms were finished before Ludiwg II’s sudden death in 1886, these rooms were majestically decorated.

 Copyright: Foto Studio Verlag Kienberger
DE-3654451, sent by Lotte.
The two story throne room was designed in Byzantine style, with wall paintings depicting angels. Ironically, there is no throne in the Throne Room, as Ludwig died before it was completely finished.

© Foto Studio Verlag Kienberger
DE-7682155, sent by Melia. 
This fairytale look of the Neuschwanstein castle inspired Walt Disney to create the Magic Kingdom. Today, Neuschwanstein is the most visited castle in Germany, and one of the most popular tourist destination in the world. Every year over 1.300.000 people cross its gate. - in: http://neuschwansteincastle.net/

Florence Cathedral - Italy

A tour in Tuscany isn't complete without a visit to Florence, it's capital. The city attracts millions of tourists each year, and the Historic Centre of Florence was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. The city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. 
The best-known site of the city is the domed cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore, known as The Duomo. 
Cards sent by Riccardo and Theresa. 

Florence Cathedral was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style to a design of Arnolfo di Cambio and was structurally completed by 1436, with the dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink, bordered by white, and has an elaborate 19th-century Gothic Revival façade by Emilio De Fabris.

Foto: A. Tradii
The cathedral complex, in Piazza del Duomo, includes the Baptistery and Giotto's Campanile. The basilica is one of Italy's largest churches, and until the development of new structural materials in the modern era, the dome was the largest in the world. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed. - in: wikipedia

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Siena - Italy

Siena is one of the cities on my must visit list. It's historic centre, a Unesco World Heritage Site, the cuisine, art, museums and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year, make Siena one of Italy's most visited tourist attractions.
Cards sent by Tjitske and Theresa. 

© Turbanti Fabio s.n.c.
Siena is the embodiment of a medieval city. Its inhabitants pursued their rivalry with Florence right into the area of urban planning. Throughout the centuries, they preserved their city's Gothic appearance, acquired between the 12th and 15th centuries. During this period the work of Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini was to influence the course of Italian and, more broadly, European art. The whole city of Siena, built around the Piazza del Campo, was devised as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape. - in: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/717

Photo by ATLANTIDE * Edizioni M. T. S.
The Siena Cathedral (Duomo), begun in the 12th century, is one of the great examples of Italian Romanesque-Gothic architecture. Its main façade was completed in 1380. It is unusual for a cathedral in that its axis runs north-south. This is because it was originally intended to be the largest cathedral in the world, with a north-south transept and an east-west nave, as is usual. After the completion of the transept and the building of the east wall (which still exists and may be climbed by the public via an internal staircase) the money ran out and the rest of the cathedral was abandoned. - in: wikipedia

Amalfi - Italy

Lets continue with some of the italian cards Theresa sent me. 
Located in the region of Campania, Amalfi is the town that gives its name to the Costiera Amalfitana (Amalfi Coast), an important tourist destination together with other towns on the same coast, such as Positano, Ravello and others. Amalfi is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Daniele Minopoli Editore
The Cathedral of St. Andrew, Amalfi is a highly unique cathedral full of interesting sights. Built in the early 1200s, the cathedral features a dramatic location atop a steep flight of stairs, an Arab-influenced exterior, and the relics of St. Andrew the Apostle in its crypt. Connected to the cathedral is an older basilica (now a small museum) and the fascinating Cloister of Paradise, both containing medieval murals. - in: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/amalfi-cathedral

Monday, December 3, 2018

Cosenza - Italy

Theresa didn't know what to send me and I didn't know which cards to show. It wasn't easy to choose, I must say. I won't show all the 38 cards but I think I chose some nice ones, starting with this one from Cosenza, a city in the Calabria region of Southern Italy. 

Ediz. Ris. Romano Piero
The exact origins of the Duomo are unknown; it was probably built during the first half of the 11th century. An earthquake destroyed the cathedral on 9 June 1184, and rebuilding was completed by 1222 when the cathedral was consecrated by Emperor Frederick II. At some point during the first half of the 18th century the church was covered by a baroque superstructure which obliterated the original structure and its works of art. In the first half of the 19th century the façade was transformed in neo-gothic style, which completely changed its character. At the end of the 19th century, Archbishop Camillo Sorgente entrusted the work to Pisanti, who recovered the original old arches and the ancient structure of the church. In the 1940s the work was finally completed. In the transept is the tomb of Isabella of Aragon, wife of king Philip III of France. - in: wikipedia

IT-480523

Some people don't pay much attention to profiles/wishlists and send the first piece of paper they can find. Fortunately they are not so many !! On the other hand, some others make an extra effort to send that perfect postcard that will make very happy who receives it. Well, Theresa didn't know what to send me or she just couldn't decide on a single postcard, so she sent me 38 cards. An envelope filled with postcards from several countries, many churches, some castles, lighthouses, snow, etc. I would have been super happy with this postcard of Castel del Monte, a UNESCO missing site but maybe she wanted to send me a late birthday gift + early Christmas gift. How great, generous and lovely is this?? Many, many thanks Theresa. 

© Copyright by PLURIGRAF
IT-480523, sent by Theresa.
Castel del Monte, located in the municipality of Andria, rises on a rocky hill dominating the surrounding countryside of the Murgia region in southern Italy near the Adriatic Sea. A unique piece of medieval architecture, it was completed in 1240. The castle’s location, its perfect octagonal shape, as well as the mathematical and astronomical precision of its layout all reflect the broad education and cultural vision of its founder, Emperor Frederick II.
As a leader of modern humanism, the Germanic Emperor brought scholars together in his court from throughout the Mediterranean, combining Eastern and Western traditions. The castle’s unique design, an octagonal plan with octagonal towers at each angle, represents a search for perfection. Interior features reflect Eastern influences, such as the innovative hydraulic installation used by Frederick II for bathing in accord to the typical Arabic customs.
The site is of outstanding universal value in its formal perfection and its harmonious blending of cultural elements from northern Europe, the Muslim world and classical antiquity. Castel del Monte is a unique masterpiece of medieval architecture, reflecting the humanist ideas of its founder, Frederick II of Hohenstaufen. - in: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/398

ES-535506

Officials from Spain are as difficult to get as the portuguese. Only 15 so far. 
This one came from Valencia, the third-largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. These are only 3 of the many attractions in the city. 

© EDICIONES A. M. * Fotografia: José Barea
ES-535506, sent by Mireia.
Torres de Quart are one of the two fortified gates of the medieval wall of Valencia that still remain standing. They were built between 1441-1460; 
Known as El Miguelete, the bell tower of the cathedral of Valencia, is a tower of Valencian gothic style. The construction of the tower starts in 1381 and ends in 1429;
The current Puerta de la Mar is a reproduction of the old Puerta del Real. The original gate had been opened in the wall in 1356 but it was destroyed in 1865.