Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ibiza - Spain

Ibiza is the smallest of the three spanish Balearic Islands and well known for its nightlife offers with several discos, bars and night clubs which have gained international reputation particularly because of the numerous intense dance music sessions and parties held during the summer months. Nevertheless, the island of Ibiza is also known for its cultural and natural features. A great part of the island is classified as a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1999.
The card was sent from Netherlands by Suzanne.

"Ibiza provides an excellent example of the interaction between the marine and coastal ecosystems. The dense prairies of oceanic Posidonia (seagrass), an important endemic species found only in the Mediterranean basin, contain and support a diversity of marine life. Ibiza preserves considerable evidence of its long history. The archaeological sites at Sa Caleta (settlement) and Puig des Molins (necropolis) testify to the important role played by the island in the Mediterranean economy in protohistory, particularly during the Phoenician-Carthaginian period. The fortified Upper Town (Alta Vila) is an outstanding example of Renaissance military architecture; it had a profound influence on the development of fortifications in the Spanish settlements of the New World." - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/417/

Estonian cards

I'm trying to get rif of some cards so i decided to open a thread on the postcrossing forum, hopping to trade the for something i like and collect. Eda "philakas" was the 1st to make an offer, she sent me these 2 cards and i've sent 4 of mine.


"The formation of the Narva castle began in XIII-XIV cc. and was completed by the middle of the XVI c. It was fortification of a castle type. In XIV-XVI cc. the construction of the castle was continued, converting it into a convent house in accordance with traditions of the Livonian Order. It consisted of the main building, (rectangular in plan), with the tower Tall Hermann in its northwest corner. At the end of the XIV c. the tower got its final height (51 m), and in the XVIII c. it got a new pyramidal roof and a small watchtower in the middle of it. The castle was significantly damaged during the Second World War. Restoration works started in 1955 and they still go on. Since 1987 Narva Museum is housed in the restored rooms of the castle." - in: http://www.baltic-castles.org/portal/members/?id=19

"The Kuremäe Convent, located in the centre of Kuremäe, was established in 1891, and is the only functioning Russian Orthodox nunnery in Estonia. In ancient times, a sacred place of the Estonians was located here and a sacrificial spring was at the foot of the hill. The spring is knows as a “holy spring” today for the curative powers of its water. One can also bathe in the refreshing water. The convent gates are open and you can walk around and observe convent life. Those who are more interested in the life and history of the convent can order a tour from the nuns, in order to see the various churches in the convent complex that are otherwise closed to the public." - in: http://www.visitestonia.com/en/the-puhtitsa-dormition-convent-kuremae-convent

Joan of Arc Church - Rouen

I wasn't expecting this card from France. At first i couldn't figured out who sent it, the signature was clear but the handwriting was familiar. I've checked a few cards and finally found a match, it was sent by Luís "ludovico".

Rouen is an historic capital city in Normandy, northern France. It was in Rouen where Joan of Arc was burnt in 1431.
The "Sainte Jeanne d'Arc" church was built in 1979 by Louis Arretche on a place that was rebuilt after world war II, between the ruins of the Saint-Sauveur church and the Joan of Arc wooshed. It evokes at the same time the wooshed flames and the Rouen harbour life. Although, it must
obviously be a modern church, it had to display the XVIth century stainglasses that were previously installed in the Saint-Vincent church (destroyed during the bombings).

São Lourenço Beach - Portugal

Another portuguese card and also sent by a José, this time "pilotOne".


São Lourenço beach is one of the most crowded beaches during summer season duo to its natural wind protection and a quite big sand area. On its right side top cliff you can enjoy a magnificent sight view with a small bar. A stairway leads you from there, down to the beach. It is a very good surf spot.

Queen Leonor Museum - Portugal

Beja is one of the portuguese capital cities but this is only my second card from there. It was sent by José and it shows the Queen Leonor Museum.


Queen Leonor Museum or Beja Regional Museum is a Museum in Beja, Portugal, installed in the Conceição Convent. The Convent was founded in 1459, by the Infante D. Fernando, brother of D. Afonso V, and by his wife, Dª Beatriz.
Beja Regional Museum possesses several articles documenting a fairly extended period of time – from pre-history to the present day. The collections of archaeology, painting, tiles, ceramics, jewellery and sculpture and metrology are stand out for their historical and artistic value.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Panama Canal

After Ethiopia and Tanzania, Panama is the newest country in my collection. Last monday i've received this Panama Canal card sent from Brazil by Ana Letícia. The cards shows the "SS Ancón" on August 15th, 1914, the day the Panama Canal was officially opened.
"The 48 mile-long (77 km) international waterway known as the Panama Canal allows ships to pass between the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean, saving about 8000 miles (12,875 km) from a journey around the southern tip of South America, Cape Horn.

From 1819, Panama was part of the federation and country of Colombia but when Colombia rejected United States plans to build a canal across the Isthmus of Panama, the U.S. supported a revolution that led to the independence of Panama in 1903.
The new Panamanian government authorized French businessman Philippe Bunau-Varilla, to negotiate a treaty with the United States. The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty allowed the U.S. to build the Panama Canal and provided for perpetual control of a zone five-miles wide on either side of the canal.
Although the French had attempted construction of a canal in the 1880s, the Panama Canal was successfully built from 1904 to 1914. Once the canal was complete the U.S. held a swath of land running the approximately 50 miles across the isthmus of Panama.
The 1977 treaty established the canal as a neutral international waterway and even in times of war any vessel is guaranteed safe passage. After the 1999 hand-over, the U.S. and Panama jointly shared duties in defending the canal.
The canal makes the trip from the east coast to the west coast of the U.S. much shorter than the route taken around the tip of South America prior to 1914. Though traffic continues to increase through the canal, many oil supertankers and military battleships and aircraft carriers can not fit through the canal. There's even a class of ships known as "Panamax," those built to the maximum capacity of the Panama canal and its locks.
It takes approximately fifteen hours to traverse the canal through its three sets of locks (about half the time is spent waiting due to traffic). Ships passing through the canal from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean actually move from the northwest to the southeast, due to the east-west orientation of the Isthmus of Panama." - in: http://geography.about.com/od/specificplacesofinterest/a/panamacanal.htm

JP-126184

An official card from Japan with a Maiko girl at Gion, a "district of Kyoto, Japan, originally developed in the Middle Ages, in front of Yasaka Shrine. The district was built to accommodate the needs of travelers and visitors to the shrine. It eventually evolved to become one of the most exclusive and well-known geisha districts in all of Japan." - in: wikipedia


JP-126184, sent by Chie.
"The word Geisha is derived from ‘Gei’, which in Japanese means performance or entertainer, and ‘sha’, which means person, and dates back 400 years ago to the 'Edo' period. During this time the Geisha entertained at banquets and social gatherings by playing a Japanese guitar (called a Shamisen), and singing and giving dance performances.
There is often a misconception by some that Geisha's are prostitutes, but nothing could be further from the truth. Geisha are refined and cultured girls and women who are highly trained in a variety of traditional skills. Besides playing the Shamisen, singing and dancing, the Geisha perform the Japanese tea ceremony, and are well versed in the art of conversation.
The training involved in becoming a Geisha is very rigorous, and because of this the numbers of Geisha are declining. Few young women in today's society are willing to devote themselves to such demanding training. To become a Geisha, if accepted, a young girl must go through an apprenticeship that involves living with a head Geisha. This training period takes five to six years. During this time, the Geisha trainee must help with the chores and the running of the house, learn customs and social skills, and take music and dance lessons. After about six months, the trainee Geisha is called a maiko girl, and accompanies a Geisha on her appointments in order to become acquainted with customers. At about age 20, the maiko must make the decision to become a full-fledged Geisha or not. If a girl wishes to marry she cannot become a Geisha. Geishas often live near temples and shrines, in areas are called hana-machi. Geishas entertain visitors at teahouses called o-chaya that are located near these areas. The o-chaya is not a shop that serves only tea or coffee, but rather a sort of banquet hall where rooms can be rented for dinner parties. It is usually a small Japanese style house with tatami (wooden) floors and Japanese style gardens." - in: http://www.asianartmall.com/geishaarticle.htm

Friday, September 17, 2010

USA-826182

This official from Atlantic City, NJ in the USA, was one of the cards i've received today.

US-826182, sent by Kaella.
Atlantic City is a city in Atlantic County, New Jersey, famous for its boardwalk, casino gambling, sandy beaches, shopping centers, view of the Atlantic Ocean, and as the inspiration for the board game Monopoly.

DE-695490

The Fischerstrasse, a street, in Frankfurt (Oder).


DE-695490, sent by Angela.
"Frankfurt (Oder) is a town in Brandenburg, Germany, located on the Oder River, on the German-Polish border.
The official name Frankfurt (Oder) and the older Frankfurt an der Oder are used to distinguish it from the larger city of Frankfurt am Main." -in: wikipedia

FI-897761

And now the officials i've got this week.


FI-897761, sent by Niina.
Ylivieska is located in Northern Ostrobothnia about 130 kilometres (80 mi) south of the city of Oulu.
Ylivieska Church was built in 1786.

TVI cards

Two weeks ago postcrossing was on a portuguese national tv channel, TVI. Two portuguese postcrossers, "pilotOne" and "ludovico" were invited to talk about postcrossing and the poscard trading experience in a morning show. It was a short but nice interview, who knows, maybe the 1st of many more. At the end of the interview each one of them received 1000 cards, yes, 1000 cards as a gift. Can you imagine that??
José "pilotOne" decided to share his gift by sending 5 cards to some postcrossers of the portuguese community. I've received these cards.

Some portuguese cities and places: Aveiro, Costa Nova, Costa de Prata, Peniche, Porto, Lisbon, Douro, Algarve, Arcos de Valdevez, Ponte de Lima, Viana do Castelo and Coimbra.

Ponte de Lima is a town of of 2,800 inhabitants in the northwest of Portugal. It is named after the long medieval bridge that passes over the Lima river that runs next to the town.
One of the oldest towns in Portugal (founded on the 4th March of 1125), it was historically significant as a Roman settlement in the road from Braga to Santiago de Compostela and Lugo, and the first place in Portugal getting a municipal chart.

Arcos de Valdevez is also a city in northwest Portugal. The card shows the river Vez and the Church of the Holy Spirit, built by the Confraria do Espírito Santo - Confraternity of the Holy Spirit - in 1681, in the Mannerist style. It was remodelled during the 19th century in the neo-Classical tradition.

"Vieira Beach is ann ancient fishermen village, that even nowadays decorate the sandy area with their fishing nets and traditional colourful embarkations.
The Vieira Beach is still nowadays an excellent tourist and summer resort, with great conditions for all visitors.
Beyond a charming sandy area with typical colourful sun shades, the beach is endowed with other facilities, such as bars and esplanades over the sandy area.
A fantastic parallel sideway goes parallel to the beach, decorated with special Portuguese pavement, providing great walks and relaxing moments of contemplation." - in
: http://www.getportugal.com/portugal/poi/14446/10/praia-da-vieira&lg=en

Finally, a Costa Nova, with the typical Moliceiros boats, very common in the Ria de Aveiro (estuary of the river Vouga). These boats were used to gather the "moliço" (algae and water plants), the exploitation of the salt-pans, the fluvial transportation of the maritime fishing and the river fishing
The boats, with about 15 meters long and 1,5 meters wide, are constructed with pine-tree. In the extremities, there are decorative panels with naif paintings of popular flavor, with a legend of satirical, romantic or religious character. In each boat there are four paintings, none of them repeated.

Baeza - Spain

Today i've received a new spanish unesco site, sent by Joaninha.
"Baeza is a town of approximately 16,200 inhabitants in Andalucia, Spain, in the province of Jaén, perched on a cliff in the Loma de Baeza, a mountain range between the river Guadalquivir on the south and its tributary the Guadalimar on the north. It is chiefly known today as having many of the best-preserved examples of Italian Renaissance architecture in Spain. Unesco added Baeza and Úbeda to the World Heritage Sites list in 2003." - in: wikipedia


The Jabalquinto Palace was built in the 15h century and Baeza's best example of civil architecture, combining a flamboyant gothic structure with Isabelline decorations on it's façade. Today this building houses de International University of Andalucia.

Porta de Santiago - Malaysia

SLLiew wanted to help a friend with her 1st portuguese card and asked me if i could send her a card. I said yes and he picked a nice portuguese card, which i sent this week. In return SL sent me this Melaka card with the Porta de Santiago. I chose this card because it shows this building built by the portuguese centuries ago.

"The Porta de Santiago is all that remains of this Portuguese fortress, but it was used to house a Christian city and is a poignant reminder of the Portuguese occupation of Melaka over 400 years ago.

The Porta de Santiago is one of the four main gates of the A Famosa fortress, and is the best evidence of Portuguese occupation hundreds of years ago. Located at the foot of St. Paul's Hill, it was built by the Portuguese in 1512 under the command of Alfonso de Albuquerque.

Hundreds of slaves and inmates were forced to work on building this concrete structure. It had a strong foundation and thick walls, and used boulders taken from the ruins of palaces, mosques and tombstones. Equipped with cannons, the fort with its four gates was once an object of fear and respect among the people of this city.

A Famosa was later expanded to include the surrounding hills and nearby European settlements. The surrounding area today includes Jalan Kota, Jalan Gereja, Jalan Mahkamah and Jalan Istana. In fact, the Portuguese had turned this fort into a Christian city, with brick buildings that included five churches, chapels, a monastery, a hospital, the governor's and bishop's palaces, and a castle.

For almost 150 years, this magnificent fort had successfully protected the Portuguese position in Melaka, until it was overrun by the Dutch. It was damaged during the attack, but the Dutch later repaired and renamed it VOC.

Its significance started to fade when the British settled here in the early 19th century. The British had almost destroyed the whole complex when Sir Stamford Raffles arrived in 1808. He was able to stop the destruction, but unfortunately what is left until today is nothing more than a gateway called Porta de Santiago with an embossed 'VOC' emblem above it." - in: http://www.virtualmalaysia.com/destination/porta%20de%20santiago%20(a%20famosa).html

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Megalithic Temples of Malta

Ula "ulpa" from Poland went on holidays to Malta. Malta is one of the countries i would like to visit, and look, postage there is cheap, only 0,37€ for a stamp to Europe :o I guess Ula send a few from there and i've received one of them with the Megalithic Temples of Ggantija, Mnajdra and Hagar Qim.

"The Megalithic Temples of Malta are a series of prehistoric monuments in the Maltese archipelago. Archaeologists believe that these megalithic complexes are the result of local innovations in a process of cultural evolution. This led to the building of several temples of the Ġgantija phase (3600-3000 BC) and culminated in the large tarxien temple complex, which remained in use until 2500 BC. After this date, the temple building culture disappeared.
The Ggantija temples were listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1980. In 1992, the UNESCO Committee further extended the existing listing to include five other megalithic temple sites. These are hagar Qim, L-Imnajadra, Ta'Skorba and Tarxien. Heritage Malta today protects the sites, while ownership of the surrounding lands varies site-by-site. They are the oldest free-standing structures on Earth." - in: wikipedia

Rauma - Finland

This is another of the cards i've received yesterday. It's a surprise from Heidi "dollart". She spent a week around the finnish west coast and visited a few old cities such as Rauma, which is an Unesco World Heritage Site.

The card was and signed by the Jyväskylä postcrossing meeting participants that took place on September 04. And the postcrossers there were: dollart, suzie, marjatta9, annet10, levisia, kiraffi, erjamaarit and LapinLintu.

Modica - Italy

I've only received 1 card today but yesterday my mailbox was full. One of the cards was this one from Modica, sent by Johnson. Modica is a city in Sicily, Italy and along with the Val di Noto is an Unesco World Heritage Site, on the list under the name "Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily)" since 2002.

"As the city developed it gradually became divided into "Modica Alta" (Upper Modica) and "Modica Bassa" (Lower Modica). During the last century the city has extended and developed new suburbs which include Sacro Cuore (or "Sorda"), Monserrato, Idria, these are often referred to as Modern Modica; both old and modern quarters of the city are today joined by one of Europe's higher bridge, the Guerrieri bridge (300 m).
Despite being ravaged by earthquakes in 1613 and 1693 and floods in 1833 and 1902, Modica has maintained some of the most beautiful architecture in Sicily, in the Sicilian Baroque style. The city possesses a large Baroque Cathedral dedicated to San Giorgio. While the cathedral was rebuilt following the earthquake of 1693, like many other parts of the city its roots are in the Middle Ages.
There is another church dedicated to San Pietro in Modica Bassa, featuring a principal façade crowned by a typical Sicilian Baroque belltower 49 m in height." - in: wikipedia

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Gulf of Girolata - Corsica

My last update of this week is dedicated to another unesco site, Gulf of Porto: Calanche of Piana, Gulf of Girolata, Scandola Reserve, a Unesco whs in Corsica, France, on the list since 1983.
I believe this is my 1st card from Corsica. Thanks Marie for sending it.

The Gulf of Girolata is located on the Western coast of Corsica.

Chinese unesco sites

China has 40 sites inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage Site list, with these 3 cards i've 20 of those 40 sites. Thanks "nuomidai."

"The Summer Palace is a palace in Beijing, China. The Summer Palace is mainly dominated by Longetivy Hill and the Kunming Lake. It covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometers, three quarters of which is water. The central Kunming Lake covering 2.2 square kilometers was entirely man made and the excavated soil was used to build Longevity Hill. In the Summer Palace, one finds a variety of palaces, gardens, and other classical-style architectural structures.

The Summer Palace started out life as the Garden of Clear Ripples in 1750 (Reign Year 15 of Emperor Qianlong). Artisans reproduced the garden architecture styles of various palaces in China. Kunming Lake was created by extending an existing body of water to imitate the West Lake in Hangzhou.
In December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List. It declared the Summer Palace "a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value." It is a popular tourist destination but also serves as a recreational park." - in:
wikipedia

This lovely postcard shows the Tower of Buddhist Incense (Fo Xiang Ge), which forms the focal point for the buildings on the southern slope of Longevity Hill.

"Fujian Tulou is a property of 46 buildings constructed between the 15th and 20th centuries over 120 km in south-west of Fujian province, inland from the Taiwan Strait. Set amongst rice, tea and tobacco fields the Tulou are earthen houses. Several storeys high, they are built along an inward-looking, circular or square floor plan as housing for up to 800 people each. They were built for defence purposes around a central open courtyard with only one entrance and windows to the outside only above the first floor. Housing a whole clan, the houses functioned as village units and were known as “a little kingdom for the family” or “bustling small city.” They feature tall fortified mud walls capped by tiled roofs with wide over-hanging eaves. The most elaborate structures date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The buildings were divided vertically between families with each disposing of two or three rooms on each floor. In contrast with their plain exterior, the inside of the tulou were built for comfort and were often highly decorated. They are inscribed as exceptional examples of a building tradition and function exemplifying a particular type of communal living and defensive organization, and, in terms of their harmonious relationship with their environment, an outstanding example of human settlement." - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1113
On the card there's the tulous of Gaobei Tulou cluster at Gaotou village of Yongding County.

"The South China Karst region extends over a surface of half a million km2 lying mainly in Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi provinces. It represents one of the world’s most spectacular examples of humid tropical to subtropical karst landscapes. The stone forests of Shilin are considered superlative natural phenomena and a world reference with a wider range of pinnacle shapes than other karst landscapes with pinnacles, and a higher diversity of shapes and changing colours. The cone and tower karsts of Libo, also considered the world reference site for these types of karst, form a distinctive and beautiful landscape. Wulong Karst has been inscribed for its giant dolines (sinkholes), natural bridges and caves." - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1248

Unesco cards from Ethiopia

These are the Ethiopia cards Pavel sent, 8 cards from 3 different unesco sites, "Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela", "Tiya" and "Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town".

Lalibela, a rural town in nothern Ethiopia, is known around the world for its monolithic churches which play an important part in the history of rock-cut arcgitecture. Though the dating of the churches is not well established, most are thought to have been built during the reign of Lalibela, namely during the 12th and 13th centuries. There are 13 churches, Bete Giyorgis is said to be the most finely executed and best preserved of them.
Built in the early thirteenth century, it is the most well known and last built of the churches in the Lalibela area, and has been referred to as the "Eighth Wonder of the World. The dimensions of the complex are 25 meters by 25 meters by 30 meters, and there is a small baptismal pool outside the church, which stands in an artificial trench. The church itself is part of the Unesco World Heritage Site "Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela".
The first European to see these churches was the portuguese explorer Pêro da Covilhã.

"Tiya is a town in southern Ethiopia.
Tiya is best known for its adjacent archeological site, which is distinguished by 36 standing stones or stelae, "32 of which are engraved with enigmatic symbols, notably swords," marking a large, prehistoric burial complex. A German ethnographic expedition had visited the site in April 1935, and had found at one hour's journey to the south of the caravan camp the stone monoliths with sword symbol, which had been seen earlier by Neuville and Père Azaïs. The archeological site was designated a World Heritage Site in 1980." - in: wikipedia

"The fortified historic town of Harar is located in the eastern part of the country on a plateau with deep gorges surrounded by deserts and savannah. The walls surrounding this sacred Muslim city were built between the 13th and 16th centuries. Harar Jugol, said to be the fourth holiest city of Islam, numbers 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, and 102 shrines, but the townhouses with their exceptional interior design constitute the most spectacular part of Harar's cultural heritage. The impact of African and Islamic traditions on the development of the town's building types and urban layout make for its particular character and uniqueness." - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1189

The rest of the cards, most of them from Harar and another showing the stelae in Tiya.

Stone Town - Zanzibar

A few ago i've received a message through the official site from Pavel, a czech postcrosser, saying that he had unesco cards from Ethiopia and Tanzania to trade. Wow, cards from Ethiopia and Tanzania, that would be great.... but then, i must confess, i thought this was too good to be true. I checked Pavel's profile and his more than 300 sent official cards gave me some security for this trade. His cards arrived this week.
One of the cards was this one from the Stone Town, the older part of Zanzibar City in Zanzibar, Tanzania. The card shows the Ijamaa mosque, one of the oldest in the old quarters of Zanzibar.
Known in Kiswahili as Msikiti Ya Ijumaa Mizingani, it was originally built by Sunni immigrants from Faza in 1831.

"The town was the centre of trade on the East African coast between Asia and Africa before the colonization of the mainland in the late 19th century after which the focus moved to Mombasa and Dar es Salaam. The town also became a base for many european explorers, particularly the portuguese, and colonizers from the late 19th century. David Livingstone used Stone Town as his base for preparing for his final expedition in 1866.

The old town is built on a triangular peninsula of land on the western coast of the island. The oldest part of the town consists of a warren of narrow alleys to houses, shops, bazaars and mosques. Its swahili architecture incorporates elements of Arab, Persian, Indian, European and African styles. The Arab houses are particularly notable because they have large and ornately carved wooden doors and other unusual features such as enclosed wooden verandas.

Two large buildings dominate the main front of Stone Town. One is Beit-El-Ajaib or the House of Wonders, which was built by Sultan Seyyid Barghash as a grand palace for ceremonial purposes. The other is the Arab Fort which stands on the site of a former Portuguese settlement and was converted to a fort during the 18th Century.

Stone Town has been designated by Unesco as a World Heritage Site. However, this designation does not provide complete protection for the town's heritage. In 1997, "of the 1709 buildings in the Stone Town, about 75% were in a deteriorating condition."" - in: wikipedia

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Brest - Belarus

Finally, the last card and the last update. Who said postcrossing is an hobby? This is more like a full time job.... but a wonderful job :D
This last card is also a favorite and it was sent by Tanya "smooth".


The Resurrection Church of Brest is the biggest in Belarus, commemorates the victims of World War II. Brest is a city at the border with Poland.
Is absolutely lovely this winter view.

St. Michael's Castle

Another of my favorites. This is a great view of the St. Michael's Castle in St. Petersburg. The card was sent by Olya "reddew".
St. Michael's Castle is a former royal residence in the historic centre of St. Petersburg, Russia. St. Michael's Castle was built as a residence for Emperor Paul I by architects Vincenzo Brenna and Vasili Bazhenov in 1797-1801. The castle looks different from each side, as the architects used the motifs of various architectural styles such as French Classicism, Italian Renaissance and Gothic.
Afraid of intrigues and assassination plots, Emperor Paul I didn't like the Winter Palace where he never felt safe. Due to his personal interest in Medieval knights and his constant fear of assassination, the new royal residence was built like a castle with rounded corners in which a small octagonal courtyard is located.


Ironically, Paul I was assassinated only 40 nights after he moved into his newly built castle. He was murdered on 12 March 1801, in his own bedroom. The conspirators forced him to a table, and tried to compel him to sign his abdication. Paul offered some resistance, and one of the assassins struck him with a sword, and he was then strangled and trampled to death. He was succeeded by his son, the Emperor Alexander I, who was actually in the palace, and to whom general Nicholas Zubov, one of the assassins, announced his accession.
After Paul's death, the imperial family returned to the Winter Palace; St. Michael's Castle was abandoned and in 1819 was given to the army's Main Engineering School (later to become the Nikolayevskaya Engineering Academy). Since then the building has been called the Engineer Castle. Between 1838 and 1843, the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky studied as a cadet at the Main Engineering School.
In the early 1990s, St. Michael's Castle became a branch of the Russian Musseum and now houses its Portrait Gallery, featuring official portraits of the Russian Emperors and Empresses and various dignitaries and celebrities from the late 17th to the early 20th century." - in: wikipedia

Lake Triglav - Slovenia

This is so beautiful. I really need to visit the slovenian lakes. The card was on my favorites album and i got it thanks to Yvonne "floridagirl".

The Lake Triglav is located on a rocky hanging valley in the Julian Alps, inside the Triglav National Park, the only Slovenian national park.