Thursday, June 30, 2011

Alejandro Humboldt National Park - Cuba

These last days UNESCO added new sites to the World Heritage List. That means the list is bigger again but at least i've got new unesco cards lately. This cuban card sent by Sylwia from Poland, arrived today.



"Parque Nacional Alejandro de Humboldt is a national park in the Cuban provinces of Holguín and Guantánamo. It is named after the german scientist Alexander von Humboldt who visited the island in 1800 and 1801. The park was inscribed as a Unesco World Heritage Site
in 2001 for of its size, altitude range, complex lithology, landform diversity, and wealth of endemic flora and fauna.

The rivers that flow off the peaks of the park are some of the largest in the insular Caribbean. The park is said to be the most humid place in Cuba and this causes a high biological diversity. The park has an area of 711.38 km2 (274.67 sq mi), of which 685.72 km2 (264.76 sq mi) land area and 22.63 km2 (8.74 sq mi) marine area. Elevation ranges from sea level to 1,168 m (3,832 ft) on El Toldo Peak.

16 of Cuba's 28 endemic plant species are protected in the park including such fauna as Dracaena cubensis and Podocarpus ekman. Fauna present in the park includes various species of parrots, lizards, hummingbirds, the endangered Cuban Solenodon (endemic), hutia and snails." - in: wikipedia

DE-948671

One or two weeks i've got this nice surprise in my mailbox, 2 new mexican unesco sites sent as officials by Claus "elbe" from Germany. It was a double surprise because i love getting new unesco cards and i really enjoy officials from someone i already "know". In this case, i've already received way to many cards from Claus :D

DE-948671, sent by Claus.

"The ensemble of buildings, sports facilities and open spaces of the Central University City Campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), was built from 1949 to 1952 by more than 60 architects, engineers and artists who were involved in the project. As a result, the campus constitutes a unique example of 20th-century modernism integrating urbanism, architecture, engineering, landscape design and fine arts with references to local traditions, especially to Mexico’s pre-Hispanic past. The ensemble embodies social and cultural values of universal significance and is one of the most significant icons of modernity in Latin America." - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1250 It was declared a World Heritage Site in 2007.


The Castillo (or castle in Spanish) is the monument that people think of when they think of Chichén Itzá. It is mostly Toltec construction, and it probably dates to the period of the first combination of cultures in the 9th century AD at Chichén. El Castillo is centrally located on the south edge of the Great Plaza. The pyramid is 30 meters high and 55 meters on a side, and it was built with nine succeeding platforms with four staircases. The staircases have balustrades with carved feathered serpents, the open-jawed head at the foot and the rattle held high at the top. The last remodel of this monument included one of the fanciest jaguar thrones known from such sites, with red paint and jade insets for eyes and spots on the coat, and flaked chert fangs. The principal stairway and entrance is on the north side, and the central sanctuary is surrounded by a gallery with the main portico.
Information about the solar, Toltec, and Maya calendars is carefully built into el Castillo. Each stairway has exactly 91 steps, times four is 364 plus the top platform equals 365, the days in the solar calendar. The pyramid has 52 panels in the nine terraces; 52 is the number of years in the Toltec cycle. Each of the nine terraced steps are divided in two: 18 for the months in the yearly Maya calendar. Most impressively, though, is not the numbers game, but the fact that on the autumnal and vernal equinoxes, the sun shining on the platform edges forms shadows on the balustrades of the north face that look like a writhing rattle snake." - in: http://archaeology.about.com/od/archaeologic7/ig/Chichen-Itza/El-Castillo.htm
Today "El Castillo" is one of the most recognized and widely visited pre-Columbian structures in present-day Mexico.
As one of the buildings the Chichen Itza archaeological site, El Castillo, also known as the Temple of Kukulkan, is on the World Heritage List since 1988.

DE-957532

We can't see any sea on this card but this is a lighthouse, the Pilsum Lighthouse.



DE-957532, sent by Guido.

"The Pilsum Lighthouse was built in 1891 in order to provide a beacon for the Emshörn channel on Germany's North Sea coast. It is located on a dyke near the village of Pilsum in the municipality of Krummhörn. It has guided ships through the narrow channel since 1915. In the First World War its light was extinguished in order that enemy ships could not navigate the route. After that it was no longer needed, because the channel was changed. The height of the structure is 11 metres; the height of the light about sea level is 15 metres. Today the tower is one of the best-known symbols of East Frisia." - in: wikipedia

EE-106277

This is my 2nd official from Estonia and it shows some view in Kuressaare.



EE-106277, sent by Lea.

Kuressaare is a town on Saaremaa island, situated on the coast of Gulf of Riga.

NO-48902

Not so long ago i've received an official from Finland decipting the midnight sun in Lapland and now i got this one, also with the midnight sun, in Nordkaap, Norway.

NO-48902, sent by Damla.
Nordkapp (or North Cape in English) is located in Finnmark county, Norway.
North Cape rises a proud and mighty 308 meters above the Barents Sea. North Cape is the last point before the sea ice in the north.
Some 200,000 tourists visit this place annually, some to experience the midnight sun.
The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon which means that the sun does not set during the summer months. In other words, given fair weather, you can see the sun for a continuous 24 hours. The duration of the midnight sun depends on how far north you are and at the North Cape you can see the sun from 14 May to 29 July.

FI-1118917

A view of the Linnansaari National Park in Finland.



FI-1118917, sent by Pirjo.

"Linnansaari National Park is a national park in the Southern Savonia and Northern Savonia regions of Finland. It lies in the middle of the lake Haukivesi, a part of greater Saimaa. The National Park was established to conserve the valuable natural features of the Finnish lakeland.

On the main island there's an old croft. Field burning is still practised on its fields to protect old forms of culture. A large part of the island is natural-state coniferous forest, with some herb-rich parts.

The critically endangered Saimaa Ringed Seal inhabits the park." - in: wikipedia

BY-195554

An official from Belarus.

BY-195554, sent by Olga.
The card shows the Savetskaya Street in Brest, a city at the border with Poland.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

US-1135820

Last week i've received my 1st San Francisco card and this week i've received the 2nd card from there.


US-1135820, sent by Prows Family.

"San Francisco it is the fourth most populous city in California and the 13th most populous city in the United States, with a 2010 estimated population of 805,235.

San Francisco is a popular international tourist destination, renowned for its chilly summer fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture and its famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Brideg, cable cards and Chinatown." - in: wikipedia

The card shows 4 of the San Francisco landmarks, the victorian houses, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and Lombard Street.

RU-445460

An official from Moscow, Russia.



RU-445460, sent by "mariposa".

The card shows the 11 golden domes of the Upper Saviour Cathedral, part of the Terem Palace, a historical building in the Moscow Kremlin, which used to be the main residence of the Russian tsars in the 17th century.

Auvergne's Volcanoes

Another french card, this one really sent from France. The card shows some of Auvergne's volcanoes but it was sent from Paris due to the meeting that took place last weekend. It was sent by Valérie "octabis" and signed by her, "pazzolina", "doumik" and "Dorsz".



Auvergne is one of the 27 administrative regions of France. The region contains many volcanoes, although the last confirmed eruption was around 6,000 years ago. They began forming some 70,000 years ago, and most have eroded away leaving plugs of unerupted hardened magma that form rounded hilltops known as puys.

The card shows: top left, Sancy puy (1886 m); right, Côme puy (1253 m) and in the background the Dôme puy (1465 m). Bottom left, Mary puy (1787 m); right, Pavin lake.

Nancy - France

One more favorite, a Nancy card, with the Craffe Gate, was sent by "beckerlong" from Italy.


"This impressive gateway into Nancy was built at the end of the 14th century as part of the walls encircling the town. The large twin towers flanking the gate were added on at the end of the 15th century and were used as prisons. The small lantern above the main gate dates back to the 17th century and contained a bell which rang out the hours of the day, the beginning of the curfew and informed the population of public executions. The Lorraine Cross on the facade is a reminder that the emblem was adopted after the victory of the Battle of Nancy." - in: http://www.ot-nancy.fr/uk/centre_historique/porte_de_la_craffe.php

Friday, June 24, 2011

Empress Elisabeth of Austria

This is another card from Austria, also unesco but i didn't want it because of that. I already have other Schönbrunn Palace cards. It was one of my favorites mainly because of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. The card was sent by Katie "katieroxie".


"Sisi (1837 - 1898) was born as daughter of Duke Maximilian and Duchess Ludovika in Bavaria. In 1853, she got to know her cousin Emporer Franz Joseph, who was going to marry Sisi's sister Helene. Franz Joseph fell in love with Sisi immediately and decided to marry her instead of her sister. They married, Elisabeth being 16 years old. The love marriage did not work out: Sisi was an independent girl and totally unprepared for the strict protocol at court, an ambitious stepmother and a busy husband who struggled to fight revolutionary and separatist tendencies in the Habsburg empire…

The Viennese aristocracy was making fun of her and her mother in law Sophie took over the control of her life. Her children were taken from her and Sisi was barely allowed to see them, putting her in deep depression and illness. After two year of cure and lodging in Madeira, Korfu and Bavaria, Sisi returned with new confidence to Vienna. She decided to take control for political issues and soon took interest in Hungary, the very troubled neighbour of Austria. In 1867 she was crowned Queen of Hungary. Sisi was obsessed with her beauty and her perfect figure and taking care of her body, resulting in anorexia. Her very liberal ideas, her call for a republic structure and her effort for the poor and troublesome made her very popular with the Austrian people.
In 1870 she decided to withdraw from public life and tried to live the life of a private person. On the 10th of September, while she was walking through Geneva, she was assassinated by a young Italian anarchist.
The history of the Imperial couple is closely linked to Vienna and its palaces: Schoenbrunn Palace, Imperial Castle or Hermesvilla are just some of the spots reminiscent of the imperial couple." - in: http://www.aboutvienna.org/personalities/wittelsbach.php

Austrian Unesco sites

Anja "anjaaustel" helped me to get all the unesco cards from Germany and she also helped me with this 2 from Austria, Graz and Semmering railway.



"Graz is the second largest city in Austria after Vienna. Politically and culturally, Graz was for centuries more important for Slovenes than Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, and still remains influential.

The old town was added to the Unesco World Heritage List in 1999 due to the harmonious co-existence of typical buildings from different epochs and in different architectural styles. Situated in a cultural borderland between Central Europe, Italy and the Balkan States, Graz absorbed various influences from the neighbouring regions and thus received its exceptional townscape. Today the old town consists of over 1000 buildings, their age ranging from Gothic to Contemporary." - in: wikipedia


"The Semmering Railway, built over 41 km of high mountains between 1848 and 1854, is one of the greatest feats of civil engineering from this pioneering phase of railway building. The high standard of the tunnels, viaducts and other works has ensured the continuous use of the line up to the present day. It runs through a spectacular mountain landscape and there are many fine buildings designed for leisure activities along the way, built when the area was opened up due to the advent of the railway." - in: www.whc.org/en/list/785

Monday, June 20, 2011

Vila Nova de Famalicão - Portugal

Another portuguese card and this one has a little mistery because i still don't know who sent it. I need use my CSI skills and compare the handwriting to other postcards. Anyway, the card shows Vila Nova de Famalicão Town Hall.



Vila Nova de Famalicão Town Hall was inaugurated exactly 50 years ago. It was designed by the architect Januárioo Godinho and is considered an ex-libris of modern Portuguese architecture.

Algarve's cards

I've a portuguese wishlist but i must confess, i didn't pay it much attention in the last months.

These 2 cards are both from the Algarve region and both of them where on that wishlist. They were a nice surprise sent by Vitória "blicas blocas".

"Situated in a lovely square in the charming Silves town, this monument is considered to be the main gothic monument in the Algarve.
The origins of the monument are unknown. Documents affirm that in 1189, when Silves was taken by the Christian troops to the Moors, the Cathedral was built over the ancient Mosque, yet there are no material vestiges of this fact.
The architectonic style that has been maintained until nowadays is markedly Gothic, beginning in the 13th century and kept over long periods of construction.
In fact, several earthquakes that started damaging the still unfinished monument, which was restored in the 15th century in a simple type of Gothic style.
Afterwards other restoration works took place, namely in the 18th century (in the sequence of the big earthquake of 1755) and in the 20th century with the heritage preservation works when some annexes built in other architectonic periods were destroyed, with the goal to give back to the building its original Gothic purity.
The Cathedral presents a plant in latin cross, a nave with about 18 meters height, two lateral naves with golden sculpted altars dated from the Baroque period.
The famous central Portal is formed by an ogival arch with six archivolts.
In the south façade is another Portal in Baroque style dated from 1781, designated as “porta do Sol” (Sun’s Door).
The interior of the Cathedral contains the tombstone of the Portuguese king D. João the 2nd (whose body was later transferred to the wonderful Batalha Monastery), as well as several tombs of bishops and noble families of Silves." - in:
http://www.getportugal.com/en/poi-se-catedral-de-silves-17338


Sagres Lighthouse, located in Cape St. Vicent, the southwesternmost point in Portugal, was built over the ruins of a sixteenth-century Franciscan convent in 1846. This lighthouse, guarding one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, is among the most powerful in Europe (the most powerful being on the French island of Ushant, off the coast of Brittany); its two 1000-watt lamps can be seen as far as 60 kilometers away.

Funchal - Madeira

I've visited Madeira last year in October, Susana, who sent me this card, has been there last month and my brother will be there in a few days. Madeira has never been so popular :)

On the card there's a view of the Funchal Bay.

Funchal is the largest city, the municipal seat and the capital of Portugal's Autonomous Region of Madeira.

"Funchal’s history goes back over 5 centuries when early Portuguese settlers colonised the coast of a bright and sunny bay where fennel (funcho) grew in abundance, giving it’s name to the new town of Funchal. Over the years the population grew, with international trade attracting the attention of all of Europe. Nowadays Funchal is a very modern city with over 104.000 inhabitants. It is one of the safest and cleanest cities in Europe and is a place that takes real pride in itself. In fact, it’s Portugal’s leading re-cycler! The perfectly cobbled streets in the centre mixed with the modern shopping areas, cafes, bars, restaurants and of course tourists, make Funchal a city that is both interesting and exciting.

The city itself is nestled in a great natural amphitheatre, facing the blue Atlantic with a backdrop of dramatic mountains. Located in the stunning south of Madeira, on it’s sunniest coast amidst banana plantations and wonderful gardens where flowers bloom all year round in the shelter of the verdant mountains, it is an extremely lush, green and relaxed city by day but scratch Funchal’s surface and you will find it to have a vibrant and varied nightlife scene with multiple personalities.
Funchal has also for many years been one of the Atlantic Cruise-ship’s main ports of call; with the Liner harbour right in the middle of the town. The approach to Funchal Harbour is well documented as one of the two most spectacular in the world, being on a par with Rio de Janeiro. It has now become a tradition that most European Liners, on their maiden voyage, call here; it is quite usual to see upwards of four cruise ships in at any one time. Once ashore, the cafés, restaurants and history that mark this famed capital are just a stroll away." - in
: http://www.madeira-web.com/PagesUK/funchal.html

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Toronto Meet-Up

Last month, on the 28th, Marie "renegade_cavalcade" had a meeting with a few postcrossers in Toronto. It was a small meeting but like in every meeting, they also signed cards. Marie sent this Perce Rock card, also signed by Karen "blindmelonette", Linda and Jona "sugarbooger".


Percé Rock (French rocher Percé, "pierced rock") is a huge sheer rock formation in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence on the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec, Canada, off Percé Bay. Percé Rock appears from a distance like a ship under sail. It is one of the largest and most spectacular natural arches in the world and is considered a natural icon of Quebec. - in: wikipedia

San Francisco - USA

I believe this is my 1st card from San Francisco. It was sent by Suzanne "stadler" and it shows the famous Painted Ladies, a row of Victorian houses at 710–720 Steiner Street, across from Alamo Square park, in San Francisco, also known as "Postcard Row." The houses were built between 1892 and 1896.



"Painted ladies" is a term used for Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings painted in three or more colors that embellish or enhance their architectural details. The term was first used for San Francisco Victorian houses by writers Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen in their 1978 book Painted Ladies - San Francisco's Resplendent Victorians
About 48,000 houses in the Victorian and Edwardian styles were built in San Francisco between 1849 and 1915 (with the change from Victorian to Edwardian occurring on the death of Queen Victorian in 1901), and many were painted in bright colors.

During World War I and World War II, many of these houses were battleship gray with war-surplus Navy paint. Another sixteen thousand were demolished, and many others had the Victorian decor stripped off or covered with tarpaper, brick, stucco, or aluminum siding.

In 1963, San Francisco artist Butch Kardum began combining intense blues and greens on the exterior of his Italianate-style Victorian House. His house was criticized by some, but other neighbors began to copy the bright colors on their own houses. Kardum became a color designer, and he and other artists such as Tony Cataletich, Bib Buckter and Jazon Wonders began to transform dozens of gray houses into Painted Ladies. By the 1970s, the colorist movement, as it was called, had changed entire streets and neighborhoods. This process continues to this day. - in: wikipedia

Julian Alps - Slovenia

I live in a nountain region and i love mountains. Mountains offer amazing scenic views and this card of the Julian Alps in Slovenia, is a good example. On the card there's a view of Mount Jalovec, the sixth-highest peak in Slovenia, seen from Mount Sleme. The card was sent by Polona "copacabana".



"The Julian Alps are the southeasternmost section of the great Alpine arc.

They extend over the northwestern part of Slovenia and cover a surface area of around 4400 km2. The mountain range is divided into two large sections: the Eastern Julian Alps and the Western Julian Alps. There are approximately 150 mountains over 2000 metres high in the Slovene Julian Alps; 25 of these are over 2500 metres high. The Sava and the Soča are the two major rivers rising in the Julian Alps.
The Julian Alps take their name from the Julian dynasty who ruled on the southern side of the Alps and were first mentioned in ancient times. The Julian Alps are built of Mesozoic marine sediments. Tectonic forces created fractures and folding and carved out magnificent rock faces and peaks. The varied flora and fauna rightly enjoy considerable fame. Natural riches, plentiful water sources and a favourable climate created conditions for early settlement in this wonderful corner of Europe." - in:
http://www.julijske-alpe.com/english/

Oliwa Cathedral - Gdansk

A favorite from Poland, sent by Sylwia "sylwiail". The card shows the Oliwa Cathedral in Gdansk.

"This Holy Trinity, Blessed Virgin Mary, and St Bernard's Church was first erected as a Cistercian shrine back in the 13th century. Reconstructed in 1350 after a great fire, it re-emerged in the Gothic style, but many of the new fixtures were to be relatively short lived. The Gothic interior was extremely damaged in a 1577 fire and was replaced with the Baroque fixtures we admire today for their beauty and intensity. Structurally, the cathedral is a triple-aisle, vaulted basilica built on the plan of the Latin cross. The Oliwa Cathedral is perhaps best known for its massive, yet splendid organ. The organ is comprised of over 7,000 pipes and is decorated with movable angels and brightly painted stars. When built, the instrument was the largest in Europe. The main alter is also very impressive, but if the organ is in use, you're sure to be riveted by its magnificent sound!" - in: http://www.gdansk-life.com/culture/culture_details/306-The_Oliwa_Cathedral

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sugatag - Romania

Also from Eastern Europe, there's another favorite card with the wood church in Sugatag, in the Maramures region, Romania.
The card was sent by Daniela.




"The church in Sat-Sugatag was built in oak in 1642, on the site of an earlier building. Surrounded by a charming, serene village, the compact church has an ornate gate, beautiful wooden cross graveyard, and spacious yard making it a special destination. It is rectangular in plan, with a protruding polygonal sanctuary apse, and is one of the most representative monuments of religious architecture in Maramures. The entrance at the west end is richly decorated with the twisted rope motif and geometrical elements. Only fragments of the wall paintings survive. A number of icons on glass and wood are preserved inside the church, including two, of very fine quality, painted in 1785 by Gheorghe Visovan." - in: http://motoromania.com/index_files/woodenchurches.htm

Putorana Plateau - Russia

Another Unesco site. This one is from Russia, Putorana Plateau, inscribed on the World Heritage List in July 2010. The card was sent by "so_nata".


"This site coincides with the area of the Putoransky State Nature Reserve, and is located in the central part of the Putorana Plateau in northern Central Siberia. It is situated about 100 km north of the Arctic Circle. The part of the plateau inscribed on the World Heritage List harbours a complete set of subarctic and arctic ecosystems in an isolated mountain range, including pristine taiga, forest tundra, tundra and arctic desert systems, as well as untouched cold-water lake and river systems. A major reindeer migration route crosses the property, which represents an exceptional, large-scale and increasingly rare natural phenomenon." in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1234

Chinese Unesco cards

5, five new unesco cards from China :D From up to bottom, Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom; Longmen Grottoes; Yungang Grottoes; Mt. Wuyi and Three Paralel Rivers. All the cards were sent by "orlando112o".


In 37 BC, Zhu Meng of Fuyu Tribe established Gaogouli (or Koguryo Kingdom in Heshenggu City (present day Huanren County, Liaoning Province). In 3 AD, King Liuli Mingwang, the second king of Gaogouli, moved the capital to Guonei City (present day Ji'an City, Jilin Province). During the more than 400 years when its capital existed in Huanren and Ji'an, Gaogouli created a splendid civilization, as demonstrated by the numerous historical sites preserved today.

The existing three cities, 20 imperial mausoleums and hundreds of tombs for nobles of Gaogouli are the representative reclics of the ancient kingdom.

This site is on the Unesco WHS list since 2004.

Located in the southern suburbs of Luoyang City, Henan Province, the Longmen Grottoes houses over 2100 Buddhist niches, more than 100.000 Buddha images, over 3600 inscribed steles and 40 Buddhist pagodas. They are scattered on the eastern and western cliffs on both banks of the Yi River. The constrution of the grottoes began during the period of Northern Wei (386-534), and continued throughout the following dynasties for over 400 years.
These grottoes were inscribed on the Unesco list in 2000.


The Yungang Grottoes, one of the largest grottoes in China, lie south of Mount Wuzhou about 16 kms west of Datong City, Shanxi Province. The honeycomb-shaped grottoes were carved into slopes of the mountain, extending about one km from east to west. With the constraction of it beginning in 453, the grottoes have a history of more than 1500 years. There are 53 caves, over 1100 Buddhist niches and 51000 statues altogether.

In 2001, the Yungang Grottoes were made a Unesco WHS.

It is a famous scenic area in China. lying in northern Fujian Province, Mount Wuyi possesses a well-preserved ecological environment on a danxia landform. Its main attractions include Jiuquxi River, 36 peaks and 96 caves. The mountain is also famous for its numerous historical and cultural heritages, as well as rich species of animals and plants.
Mount Wuyi was added to the Unesco's list in 1999.

The Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas is a Unesco World heritage Site in Yunnan province, since 2003.
Occupying an area that covers 41.300 square miles in northwestern Yunnan Province, the landscape of Three Parallel Rivers is composed of three torrential rivers: Nujiang, Lancang and Jinsha, as well as the mountains in their valleys.

Featuring special geological structure, diverse climate and vegetation, and multifarious biological group, it is a fabulous landscape in the world.