Monday, January 31, 2011

Czech castles

2 czech castles. The 1st was sent by Emerich and the 2nd by Linda "linda718".

Originally a Gothic water castle from late 13th century, the Budyne nad Ohrí Castle, was remodeled in the Renaissance style and further adapted in the Romantic style at the beginning of the 20th century.

"Hluboka Chateau is regarded as one of the most beautiful stately homes in Bohemia.
Hluboka is a monumental Romantic chateau - originally a Gothic castle - remoted in the Baroque style in 18th century. Later it underwent a significant transformation in the 19th century when it was remodeled in the English Windsor-style Gothic into the official seat of the Schwarzenberg dynasty.
The complex includes a glassed-in winter garden, a riding hall, an English park (190 hectares), and a chapel. Sumptuously furnished period interiors feature unique woodcarvings a valuable collections." - in
: http://www.discoverczech.com/ceske-budejovice/hluboka.php4

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk

The mexican card wasn't the only new unesco card i've receive last week.
The Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk is my 11th site from Czech Republic, that means i'm only missing 1 unesco site from this country, the Jewish Quarter and St. Procopius' Basilica in Trebic.
This card was 1 of the 11 cards i've received from Emerich.
"The Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora in Zdar nad Sázavou, is the final masterpiece of Jan Santini Aichel, a maverick Bohemian architect who combined the Barrominiesque Baroque with references to Gothic elements in both construction and decoration.
In 1719, when the Roman Catholic Church declared the tongue of John of Nepomuk to be "incorruptible", work started to build a church in Zelena Hora, where the future saint had received his early education. It was consecrated immediately after John's beatification in 1720, although construction works lumbered on until 1727. Half a century later, after a serious fire, the shape of the roof was altered.
The church, with many furnishings designed by Santini himself, is remarkable for its gothicizing features and complex symbolism, quite unusual for the time. In 1993, it was declared a World Heritage Site. The nomination dossier pointed out to Santini's ratios aimed at "the creation of an independent spatial reality", with "the number 5 being dominant in the layout and proportions" of the church." - in: wikipedia

Teotihuacan - Mexico

Teotihuacan is a mexican World Heritage Site, designated in 1987, the newest in my collection. This card sent by Linda "linda718" shows the Pyramide of the Moon.

"Teotihuacan is an ancient sacred site located 30 miles northeast of Mexico City, Mexico. It is a very popular side trip from Mexico City, and for good reason. The ruins of Teotihuacán are among the most remarkable in Mexico and some of the most important ruins in the world.
Teotihuacán means "place where gods were born," reflecting the Aztec belief that the gods created the universe here. Constructed around 300 AD, the holy city is characterized by the vast size of its monuments, carefully laid out on geometric and symbolic principles. Its most monumental structures are the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, the Pyramid of the Sun (the third-largest pyramid in the world) and the Pyramid of the Moon.

"The Pyramid of the Moon is smaller and faces a plaza at the northern end of the avenue. No cave or other feature has been discovered in its interior. Its form may be patterned on that of the sacred mountain to the north, the Cerro Gordo. The summit provides about the same range of view as you from its larger neighbor because the moon pyramid is built on higher ground. The perspective straight down the Avenue of the Dead is magnificent. http://www.sacred-destinations.com/mexico/teotihuacan

FI-998147

A lovely view from Finland.


FI-998147, sent by Tuula.

CH-70586

This is a swiss official but the card is from Valletta, the capital city of Malta.


CH-70586, sent by Pamela.
Old Mint Street with its steep descent towards the Carmelite Church and its dome, make this one of the most iconic streetscapes in Valletta.

DE-814052

On the same week i booked my trip to Germany, i've received this official from there but i'm not going to Berlin though. My 1st time in Germany will be in Köln but i'll visit other city too.
I've a few cards from Berlin but i think this is my 1st with the Brandenburg Gate.


DE-814052, sent by Gabriela "gabis".
While the only remaining city gate of Berlin formerly used to represent the separation of the city between East and West Berlin, since the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 the Brandenburg Gate has now come to symbolise German unity. In addition, this gate made of sandstone is one of the finest examples of German classicism.
Built according to the plans of Carl Gotthard Langhans from 1788 to 1791, the Brandenburg Gate is modelled on the Propylaeum of Athens’ Acropolis. On both sides, there are six Doric columns supporting the 11 meter-deep transverse beam, which divide the gate into five passages. In 1793, a quadriga designed by Johann Gottfried Schadow was placed on the gate, which points to the east in the direction of the city centre
In light of a decision made by the Berlin Senate, since October 2002 the Brandenburg Gate has been closed for traffic, including buses and taxis." - in:
http://tourist.visitberlin.de/en/spot/brandenburg-gate

US-968141

I really didn't have time to make any updates the last few days. Today is my day off i'm i'm trying to catch up. Like i said before, postcrossing is like a job and i've lots of things to do today, choose cards, write cards (lots of cards), blogs updates and i'm always checking the postcrossing forum, specially the favorites and unesco tags.
Ok, but let's start with the updates with an official from the US, sent from Boston.


US-968141, sent by Kristin "volvomom"
"The Custom House Tower - now Marriott's Custom House Hotel - is a skyscraper in the Financial District neighborhood of Boston. Construction began in the mid-19th century; the tower was added in the 1910s. Standing at 496 feet (151 m) tall, the tower is currently Boston's 17th-tallest building." - in: wikipedia

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Christmas time in Lisbon

This isn't a late Christmas cards, it was a prize for winning one of the hangman's game on the portuguese community.
I don't know if last Christmas this tree was here, at the Commerce Square, or somewhere else. This is a really beautiful square in Lisbon.


The cards was sent by Helena "leninha".

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Metropolitan Cathedral - Mexico

The Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City was also one of my favorites. This isn't the exact view i was looking for but is also grea. Linda said she had 2 different views of the cathedral and i told her to send me the one she liked the most.
"The Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City is the oldest and largest cathedral in all of Latin America. Begun in the late 16th century, the cathedral is a medley of styles and dominates the city's huge plaza, the Zócalo.

When Cortes and his Spanish missionaries converted the Aztec in the 16th century, they tore down their temples and used much of the stone to construct a church on the site. Nearly all of the stone from the nearby Templo Mayor was built into the cathedral. The original Spanish church was torn down in 1628 while the present Metropolitan Cathedral was under construction. The towering cathedral that stands today, begun in 1567 and finished in 1788, is a blend of baroque, neoclassic, and Mexican churrigueresque architecture.

Over the centuries, the cathedral and the Sagrario (chapel) next to it have sunk into the soft lake bottom beneath. The base of the facade is far from level and straight, and when one considers theimmense weight of the towers —127,000 tons — it's no surprise. However, much to the credit of Mexico City and its preservation efforts, the Catedral Metropolitana came off the World Monuments Fund's list of 100 Most Endangered Sites in 2000, as a result of an extensive reconstruction of the building's foundation.

The exterior of the basilica is a medley of architectural styles. Inside, four identical domes are supported by rows of columns. There are 5 naves and 14 chapels, mostly designed in the ornate churrigueresque style (named for Spanish architect José Churriguera, who died in 1725). Like most Mexican churches, the cathedral is all but overwhelmed by innumerable paintings, altarpieces, and statues in full graphic color.

The Metropolitan Cathedral contains many prized works of art from the colonial era, in a variety of artistic styles. Jerónimo de Balbas built and carved the Altar de los Reyes (Altar of Kings) and the Altar del Perdón (Altar of Pardon) in 1737. Among the cathedral's other outstanding features are: the tomb of Agustín Iturbide (1838); a painting attributed to the Spanish artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo; and the fact that the stone holy-water fonts ring like metal when tapped with a coin.

Like many huge churches, the cathedral has catacombs underneath. In front of the cathedral you can find various crystals, gemstones, and herbs for sale, which are believed to provide special qualities of protection and cure from various afflictions.

The much older-looking church next to the cathedral is the chapel known as the Sagrario, another tour de force of Mexican baroque architecture built in the mid-1700s." - in: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/mexico/mexico-city-cathedral.htm

Greek favorites

These two great cards from Greece are two of my favorites and both have been sent by Sofia "sofia_art". I finally have an Acropolis card and another great Meteora card.


"The Acropolis of Athens and its monuments are universal symbols of the classical spirit and civilization and form the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek Antiquity to the world. In the second half of the fifth century bc, Athens, following the victory against the Persians and the establishment of democracy, took a leading position amongst the other city-states of the ancient world. In the age that followed, as thought and art flourished, an exceptional group of artists put into effect the ambitious plans of Athenian statesman Pericles and, under the inspired guidance of the sculptor Pheidias, transformed the rocky hill into a unique monument of thought and the arts. The most important monuments were built during that time: the Parthenon, built by Ictinus, the Erechtheon, the Propylaea, the monumental entrance to the Acropolis, designed by Mnesicles and the small temple Athena Nike." - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/404

"Founded in the 16th century, the easily-accessible Rousannou Monastery occupies a lower rock than the others of the Meteora.

Rousannou (Ρουσανου) Monastery was founded around 1545 by Maximos and Ioasaph of Ioannina. The reason for the monastery's name is not known - it is actually dedicated to St. Barbara - but may reflect the name of a hermit who occupied the rock. It soon declined and became subject to Varlaam Monastery by 1614.

The monastery once again fell into disrepair for the two centuries prior to the 1940s, when it was damaged in World War II then plundered by the Germans. It was later repaired by the regional archaeological service and since 1988 it has been occupied by a small community of 13 nuns.

Rousannou Monastery stands on a low rock and is easily accessible by a bridge built of wood in 1868 and replaced by more solid material in 1930. Despite this, its situation is still quite dramatic, with the rock dropping off sharply on all sides.

The monastery covers the entire surface of the rock and consists of three levels: the church and cells occupy the ground floor, while the two upper floors house the guest quarters, reception halls, an exhibition room, and more cells.

The frescoes in Rousannou's Church of the Transfiguration of Christ, which is essentially a smaller version of Varlaam's church, date from 1560. The narthex is decorated primarily with gruesome scenes of martyrdom, as at other Meteora monasteries.

The resident nuns tend to be friendlier to visitors than their male counterparts in Meteora and often provide sweets to guests as they relax in the courtyard (if so, it is nice to put a small donation in the box)." - in: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/greece/meteora-roussanou-monastery

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Curonian Spit - Russia

This is another new unesco card, this time from Russia. It was sent by Stef. He sent me an official card and in his profile he said he had Curonian Spit cards, one of my missing sites from Russian. I've sent him a message saying i would like to trade. This is a Unesco site shared my Lithuania and Russia. I already had 2 cards from Lithuania and the card from the russian side arrived yesterday.

"The Curonian Spit is a 98 km long, thin, curved sand-dune spit that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast. Its southern portion lies within Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia and its northern within southwestern Lithuania.


The Curonian Spit is home to the highest moving (drifting) sand dunes in Europe. Their average height is 35 meters, but some attain the height of 60 meters. Several ecological communities are present on and near the Spit, from its outer beaches to dune ridges, wetlands, meadows, and forests. Its location on the East Atlantic Flyway means it is frequently visited by migratory waterfowl. Between 10 and 20 million birds fly over the feature during spring and fall migrations, and many pause to rest or breed there.
The largest town on the spit is Nida in Lithuania, a popular holiday resort, mostly frequented by Lithuanian and German tourists. The northern shoreline of Curonian Spit is the site of beaches for tourists. Both the Russian and Lithuanian parts of the spit are national parks." - in: wikipedia

Mount Koya - Japan

The unesco card of the year was this surprise sent from Japan by Claus.
Mount Kōya is the name of a mountain in Wakayama Prefecture, south of Osaka.
In 2004, Unesco designated Mt. Kōya, along with two other locations on the Kii Peninsula, Yoshino and Omine; and Kumano Sanzan, as World Heritage Sites, on the list under the name of "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range".

First settled in 819 by the monk Kukai, Mt. Kōya is primarily known as the world headquarters of the Kōyasan Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. Located in an 800 m high valley, the original monastery has grown into the town of Koya, featuring a university dedicated to religious studies and 120 temples, many of which offer lodging to pilgrims.
The card shows Kongobu-ji, the head temple of the Kōyasan Shingon Buddhism.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tapada Nacional de Mafra

Last week i've only received cards twice, both times, surprise cards. These 6 belong to a collection of 12 cards of rhe Tapada Nacional de Mafra, sent by Luís. I really, really love the cards. That's the kind of animal cards i like. The other 6 cards are displayed in my portuguese blog.

"The Tapada Nacional de Mafra was created in Mafra, Portugal, during the reign of king João V, following the building of the Mafra National Palace, as a park for royal and court recreation.

Covering over 8 square kilometres, the park holds different species of deer, wild boar, foxes, birds of prey and many others coexisting in an unusually rich and diversified natural habitat. A favourite of the Portuguese monarchy for hunting and other leisure pursuits, the Tapada de Mafra took on a noble connotation that has done much to aid its preservation and continuity.

Its natural heritage ensures it is an excellent location for fun environmental awareness and education programmes. The Tapada is also open for walking, mountain biking, horse riding, archery and crossbow shooting activities." - in: wikipedia

Deer.

Fallow deer.

Boar.

Iberian emerald lizard.

Partridge.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Antarctica

My very first card from Antarctica :D It was sent by Adrienne "adriennegarry".
Zodiac cruising in brash ice among the iceberg spires in Curtiss Bay, Antarctic Peninsula.


"Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent, encapsulating the South Pole. Antarctica, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Is considered a desert with annual precipitation of only 200 mm (8 inches) along the coast and far less inland.There are no permanent human residents, but anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at the research stations scattered across the continent.
The Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959 by twelve countries; to date, forty-six countries have signed the treaty. The treaty prohibits military activities and mineral mining, supports scientific research, and protects the continent's ecozone." - in:
wikipédia

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Michigan's Seasons

Yesterday i've received 3 american cards, an official, one of Michele's cards and this Michigan card sent by Colleen "choke".


4 nice views of the Michigan seasons.

Michele's cards

This week i've only received great cards and i really like these 2 sent by Michele "TheGreenOne". She tagged me on 2 different tags and sent these cards from 2 different states, Maine and Colorado.


"This lighthouse has a white conical tower, a charming Victorian keeper's house with a rambling red roof and eyebrow eves on the porch, a commanding setting at the southwest entrance to Portland harbor, and beautifully landscaped grounds. Commissioned by George Washington and dedicated by the Marquis de Lafayette, it is the state's oldest lighthouse and one of its most beloved, with a well-appointed museum in the former keeper's house. It sits in Fort Williams Park, off Shore Road in Cape Elizabeth.
Portland Head Lighthouse was built in 1791." - in: http://www.visitmaine.com/organization/311/portland_head_light/

A great mountain view somewhere in scenic Colorado.

New Year's Meeting

For me 2011 started with another portuguese meeting. After the Christmas meeting in Santarém, the New Year's meeting took place in Sintra, last sunday.
The weather was great and the company was even better.
This was an international meeting with special guests from Switzerland and the Philippines, Caroline "carolisha" and Carole "cloable". And the portuguese postcrossers were, Zé "pilotOne", Ana "ninocas" and family, Susana "susanaportugal" and Diogo, Vitória "blicas blocas", Teresa "caracolinho", Rita "rita_simões", Paula "geminiscp", Luís "ludovico" and me.


Zé sent me this card of the Sintra National Palace, which Rita, Susana, Diogo and i have visited that day.

"The Sintra National Palace is the only surviving Royal Palace from the Middle Ages. Very likely, it was built on the residence of the former Muslim wallis and since the beginning of the Monarchy the Palace was a royal residence. The main building programmes carried out by King John I, which rebuilt the Palace, and by King Manuel I, which added the now called Manueline Wing, granted the Palace its present look.
The chapel, rearranged during King Manuel's programme, is built in the Mudejar style, after the Hispanic-Moorish glazed tiles coating on the walls, which is one of the few evidences of this style in Portugal. From those first two periods, the kitchen is to be stressed, with its two chimneys 33 metres high, and so are the Arab Room, partially coated with glazed tiles of geometrical matrix, or the magnificent Central Patio, with its laced semidetached arches adorned with flounces.
During the Modern Age the Palace didn't stop to expand, as the Renaissance elements of King John III' s time give evidence of: the large Swan's Room, the oldest ceremony room of the Portuguese Palaces, where the portraits of Catarina de Bragança, Charles II of England and Peter II are on display; the Coat-of-Arms Room, whose dome shows King Manuel's arms, his sons' and of seventy-two families' from the Portuguese nobility, and whose walls' entire coating dates back to the 18th century, a work of the Lisbon glazed tiles Great Masters Cycle of that time.
Severely damaged by the Earthquake in 1755, the Palace was rebuilt "in the old manner" and during the 19th and the 20th centuries went through numerous works which definitely changed some parts of it, as the buildings that closed the Largo Rainha Dona Amélia (Queen Amélia Plaza), which had also been destroyed then. The Palace has been a Museum since 1940.
The Sintra National Palace was declared National Monument by decree in June 16th, 1910 and is today one of the most visited monuments in Portugal. The Palace relates to the monumental area designated in December 6th, 1995 by UNESCO as Sintra Cultural Landscape, inscribed in the World Heritage List." - in: http://pnsintra.imc-ip.pt/en-GB/palace/HighlightList.aspx

Christmas cards

The Christmas celebrations end today in Portugal. Today is de Magi's Day. In Christmas tradition, the Magi have visited Jesus after his birth and offered him gold, frankincense and myrrh. In my own tradition, the postman visited me in the last few weeks and brought me these lovely Christmas cards sent by several friends all over the world.
Many thanks to all of you and may you all have a great 2011.
These cards have been sent by Marie, Manú, Ariana, Ula, Essi, Gracinha, Kryx, Paula, Katja, Tjitske and also from my work.

Matthias Church - Budapest

This hungarian card sent from Finland by Pirjo-Liisa "pikkis", was one of my favorites and it was the last card i've received in 2010.
A few months ago i've got another card of the Matthias Church in Budapest but with a different view.


In front of the church there's the Trinity Statue built in 1713.

TW-235854

Today i've only received this official from Taiwan.

TW-235854, sent by Jennifer.
Chung-Shan Park in Taipei.

RU-271327

And the 1st official of 2011 came from Russia. The card shows the Lion Cascade in the Lower Park at the Peterhof Palace.

RU-271327, sent by Larisa.
The Peterhof Palace is actually a series of palaces and gardens located in Saint Petersburg, Russia, laid out on the orders of Peter the Great.
"The palace and park at Peterhof are often referred to as "the Russian Versaille".
Versailles was, however, the inspiration for Peter the Great's desire to build an imperial palace in the suburbs of his new city and, after an aborted attempt at Strelna, Peterhof - which means "Peter's Court" in German - became the site for the Tsar's Monplaisir Palace, and then of the original Grand Palace. The estate was equally popular with Peter's granddaughter, Empress Elizabeth, who ordered the expansion of the Grand Palace and greatly extended the park and the famous system of fountains, including the truly spectacular Grand Cascade.
Improvements to the park continued throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Catherine the Great, after leaving her own mark on the park, moved the court to Pushkin, but Peterhof once again became the official Imperial Residence in the reign of Nicholas I, who ordered the building of the modest Cottage Palace in 1826.
Like almost all St. Petersburg's suburban estates, Peterhof was ravaged by German troops during the Second World War. It was, however, one of the first to be resurrected and, thanks to the work of military engineers and over 1,000 volunteers, most of the estate's major structures had been fully restored by 1947. The name was also de-Germanicized after the war, becoming Petrodvorets, the name under which the surrounding town is still known. The palace and park are once again known as Peterhof." - in: http://www.saint-petersburg.com/peterhof/

US-944750 & US-951770

These are american official cards. The 1st one with some Michigan lighthouses was the last official of 2010 and the 2nd one was the 2nd of 2011.


US-944750, sent by Michelle.
Michigan lighthouses. Top row: Whitefish Point, Point Betsie, Grand Traverse and White Shoal.
Bottom row: Presque Isle, Tawas Point and Round Island.


US-951770, sent by Laura.
On this image of the Washington coast we can see Laura's son playing in their front yard. The picture was taken by Laura.