Friday, July 27, 2012

Chartres Cathedral - France

I also have an Unesco new site from France, this one thanks to Ulla "mirabelle". This cathedral is an Unesco World Heritage Site since 1979.

The French medieval Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres is a Latin Rite Catholic cathedral located in Chartres, about 80 kilometres (50 mi) southwest of Paris. It is considered one of the finest examples of the French High Gothic style. The current cathedral, mostly constructed between 1193 and 1250, is one of at least five which have occupied the site since the town became a bishopric in the 4th century.

 Éditions VALOIRE - ESTEL - BLOIS
What makes the cathedral special from an artistic viewpoint is its exceptional state of preservation. The majority of the original stained glass windows survive intact, while the architecture has seen only minor changes since the early 13th century. The building's exterior is dominated by heavy flying buttresses which allowed the architects to increase the window size significantly, while the west end is dominated by two contrasting spires – a 105-metre (349 ft) plain pyramid dating from the 1140s and a 113-metre (377 ft) early 16th century Flamboyant spire on top of an older tower. Equally notable are the three great façades, each adorned with hundreds of sculpted figures illustrating key theological themes and narratives.
Since at least the 12th century the cathedral has been an important destination for travellers – and remains so to this day, attracting large numbers of Christian pilgrims, many of who come to venerate its famous relic, the Sancta Camisa, said to be the tunic worn by the Virgin Mary at Christ's birth, as well as large numbers of secular tourists who come to see this UNESCO World Heritage Site. - in: wikipedia

Almadén - Spain

I'm very happy and pround to announce that i've all the spanish Unesco sites :D Yes, i've all the 44 sites, including the newest, Almadén, a joint site with Idrija in Slovenia, which i'm about to receive aswell.
Many thanks to Fabienne "famalubel" who sent me some really nice cards in previous swaps and helped me getting some hard-to-get sites from Spain.

Diseño - foto Domingo
The property includes the mining sites of Almadén, where mercury (quicksilver) has been extracted since Antiquity. A relative rare metal, liquid at room temperature, mercury is produced only by a few mines across the world, of which the largest is at Almadén
Almadén and Idrija represent the two largest mercury mines in the world and were operational until recent times.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Moratalla - Spain

Getting these cards made me so, so happy and the Unesco symbols on both cards explains why. That's right, the cards are from a missing spanish site, the Rock art of the Iberian Mediterranean Basin. I've got them thanks to a FB swap with José Ramon.
This is a collection of 727 rock shelters, caves, or ravine walls (as listed by UNESCO) that contain a figurative representation, or geometrical design, which can be found from the Pyrenees to the province of Granada, falling within the territory of the autonomous communities of Catalonia, Aragon, Castile-La Mancha, Murcia, Valencia and Andalusia. 

Photos by Miguel Ángel Mateo Saura
 Moratalla is one of the 72 protected places in the region of Murcia.
Both these cards have been issued by the “Casa de Cristo” Rock-Art Centre, located in the historic and natural town of Moratalla.

Photos by Miguel Ángel Mateo Saura
This Rock-Art Centre is one of the best starting points for visiting prehistoric and rock-art sites in the Region of Murcia.

7th Anniversary Meeting - Portugal

Every postcrosser knows that Postcrossing's anniversary is on July the 14th. Like the previous years, a group of portuguese postcrossers had a meeting to celebrate Postcrossing, postcards and friendship. The group was small, only Vitória "blicas blocas" & husband, José "PilotOne" and Ninocas & family, but they had lots of fun. They visited the Mafra Palace, Ericeira and the José Franco's Village. 

Forways, Lda
Vitória sent me this view of the Algodio Beach in Ericeira.

 Forways, Lda
 José also sent me an Ericeira card.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Amoreira Aqueduct, Elvas - Portugal

The Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications is the newest portuguese Unesco site and the Amoreira Aqueduct is one of the classified properties.
To celebrate this good news, Zé "PilotOne" hosted a lottery and i was the lucky winner. I already had cards from this town but i've never been there.

 Cômer
The towering Amoreira Aqueduct, 7km (4.5miles) in length that took over 100 years to complete. With a total of 843 arches, and at some places rising to over 30m (100ft), it still brings water to town.

Portuguese castles

Two portuguese castles. I've only been to the Castelo Branco castle, Aljezur is way too far from here. Vitória sent me Aljezur castle card and Paula de Castelo Branco card.

© Grafipost - Editores e Artes Gráficas, Lda
 The important position of this region, next to a fluvial port, helped the fixation of populations since prehistory.
The Aljezur Castle is visible from every point of the village and dates from the 10th century, at the height of the arab occupation in the south of Portugal.
The strategic importance of this castle decreased over the years, and the Castle was already abandoned on the 15th century.
The big earthquake of 1755 launched the final strike in the castle, damaging much of its structure, still remaining nowadays part of the walls and a tower.
In 1977 the Aljezur Castle is considered a Monument of Public Interest, and has been having consolidation and conservation works over the years. - in:
 http://guides.getportugal.com/algarve/see/13812/03/aljezur-castle

 Photo by Dias dos Reis - EGIG
Paula already sent me another card of the Castelo Branco card, but the other one was a multiview card of the city with an image of the castle. Now she sent this one only with the castle images.
This 470m high granite column was probably occupied during Pre-History and Proto-History. However, it was not until 1214 that the castle was built by the Templar Order. The construction of the castle lasted until 1230. It was changed under D. Dinis reign. Nowadays, you can still observe wall remains and the keep of the former commanders’ palace. 
Church Santa Maria do Castelo, the first main church of the region, is located inside the wall perimeter. From the top of the castle, the view is superb, covering the whole city, the surrounding fields and afar in the north Estrela and Gardunha mountains. - in: http://en.lifecooler.com/lifecooleren/castelo-branco-castle-castles-and-forts-364008-1.html

Friday, July 20, 2012

Galé Beach - Portugal

From a beach on the Pacific in Canada, to a beach on the Atlantic in Portugal. The beach is located in Melides, Alentejo region.

 Photo by Pedro Bento

In this beach you can appreciate fossil cliffs, some old formations from the plio-Quaternary age (less than 5 million years), consisting of clay sandstones, generally little permeable. The erosive effect of seepage water promotes the intense gullying across the face of the cliff, which gives it a unique look.

Long Beach - Canada

Laura contacted me via the official PC site because she wanted some of the cards i was trying to get rid of. I haven't send the cards yet but i've already got her card, a view of the Longe Beach, the largest and longest beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

The beaches' consistent surf, exposed to the open Pacific Ocean, established it as one of the earliest and most popular surfing locations in British Columbia.
Long Beach features rocky 'islands' in the mid-tidal zone of the beach that are accessible only at low tide; when the tide is high, these islands are either surrounded by water or thrashed by ocean swells. In addition, dangerous rip-currents exist around the larger islands, and to some extent in the open sea farther out. Unsupervised swimming is considered extremely hazardous, and park visitors have been swept from shorebound rocks during storm season; for this reason, beach access is restricted during heavy storm weather. Prominently-posted signs warn about the danger of visiting the beach during high tide, as shorebound logs can be shifted unexpectedly by swells that wash onto the higher reaches of the beach. - in: wikipedia

Monday, July 16, 2012

CA-261053

Last night i dreamt my mailbox was completely full... lots of heavy envelopes and cards. Today when i checked it i found a not so heavy envelope and 3 official cards. This is one of those officials, a view of the Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site in British Columbia, Canada.

 CA-261053, sent by German.
Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site is a 19th-century coastal artillery fort. The site is adjacent to Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site, the first lighthouse on the west coast of Canada. Both the fort and lighthouse are managed and presented to the public by Parks Canada.
Fisgard Lighthouse was built in 1860 to guide vessels through the entrance of Esquimalt harbour. It was automated in 1929. - in: wikipedia

US-1746959

A nice official from California, an aerial view of Point Loma and San Diego Bay, looking north towards La Jolla.

 © California Scene, Photo: J. Blank
US-1746959 sent by Mimi.
Point Loma is a seaside community of San Diego, California. Geographically it is a hilly peninsula that is bordered on the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, the east by the San Diego Bay and Old Town and the north by the San Diego River. Along with the Coronado peninsula, Point Loma separates San Diego Bay from the Pacific Ocean.
 Point Loma is historically important as the landing place of the first European expedition to come ashore in present-day California. The peninsula has been described as "where California began". Today Point Loma houses two major military bases, a national cemetery, a national monument, and a university, in addition to residential and commercial areas. - in: wikipedia

Humberstone - Chile

Humberstone is a former saltpeter refinery located in northern Chile. Together with the Santa Laura Saltpeter refinery, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
Situated in the remote desert Pampa, one of the driest deserts on earth, thousands of pampinos lived and worked in this hostile environment, for over 60 years. Both works grew quickly, becoming busy towns characterized by lovely buildings in the English style. On this card, sent by Hernán, there's a general view of the Humberstone refinary, the nitre foundry, a grocery, housings, an hotel, the theatre and the church.

 Photo by Alex Huber
Humberstone of established in 1872 by James Thomas Humberstone.  It was originally named "La Plama. It became one of the largest saltpeter extractors of the whole region. However the economic model collapsed during the Great Depression of 1929. 
Practically bankrupt, both works were acquired by COSATAN (Compañía Salitrera de Tarapacá y Antofagasta) in 1934. COSATAN renamed La Palma into "Oficina Santiago Humberstone" in honor of its founder. The company tried to produce a competitive natural saltpeter by modernizing Humberstone, which led to its becoming the most successful saltpeter works in 1940.
Both works were abandoned in 1960 after the rapid decline that caused COSATAN to disappear in 1958. In 1970, after becoming ghost towns, they were declared national monuments and opened to tourism. In 2005 they were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. - in: wikipedia

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rafflesia - Malaysia

I also got this card thanks to the cards i wanted to get rid of. It was sent by Nadz and it shows a rafflesia (sp. Rafflesia Tuan-Mudae), the world largest flower, photographed at Gunung Gading National Park by Dennis Lau.

Rafflesia tuan-mudae is a member of the Rafflesiaceae family. It lives as a parasite on the Tetrastigma vine. The enormous flowers may reach up to 1 m in diameter. The buds normally emerge where the vine is growing along the ground, unlike some of the other Rafflesia species whose buds can emerge from vines hanging in the air.
In the Malaysian language, tuan-mudae translates as 'Beloved or young Prince' after Charles Brooke the British Rajah of Sarawak. Locally the flower is referred to as bunga pakma - "bunga" means "flower" in Malaysian.
Typically the flowers are around 60 cm in diameter opening from a 20 cm bud. Occasionally these buds reach 30 cm in diameter in which case a flower nearly 1 m across may form.

 Photo © Adventure Images Sdn Bhd 1997.
The flowers can be found on liana-like vines, specifically Tetrastigma sp.. The seeds reach the host plant by an unknown animal vector, penetrate the tissue of the root and grow inside the host tissue for an indefinite period of time before buds develop. The bud develops for 9 months, before it becomes a gigantic orange to red flower. It stays in full bloom for just 7 days. The main pollinator for this flower are flies. All Rafflesia flowers emit a rotting meat stench attracting pollinators, although the smell of R. tuan-mudae is comparatively mild. However, they are no less effective at attracting these flies, upon whose back pollen is deposited.
Male and female flowers can only be identified by fingering under the central disk for the anthers. However, visitors are encouraged not to touch or handle the buds in particular, as they are fragile and may die. - in: wikipedia

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Guilin - China

I've sent Jiang 3 of the cards i wanted to get rid of and she sent me this lovely sunset view in Guilin.


Guilin is a city in North Guangxi, China. Guilin is a scenic town and one of the best-known tourist destinations in China. There are many scenic places within short traveling distance of Guilin. - in: wikitravel

Tower of Kamyanyets - Belarus

This card sent by Vera "Vakhnyuk" shows the Tower of Kamyanyets, a monument on the UNESCO Tentative List.  
The Tower of Kamianiec is the main landmark of the town of Kamianiec in Belarus. Erected in 1271–1289 by the architect Oleksa as a frontier stronghold on the northern border of the principality of Volhynia, it is the only such tower remaining to this day in the area.

Standing atop a gentle rise overlooking the Liasnaja river, the tower is the main landmark of Kamianiec today. The first record in the chronicles about the foundation of the tower dates from 1276. It was erected in the 1270s. Today it is a national historic site. Since 1960 the tower houses a branch of the Brest regional museum. Once similar towers were built in Brest (Bierascie), Hrodna, Turaŭ, Navahradak, but they were destroyed in the course of wars. The tower of Kamianiec is the only one that survived in Belarus until the present. - in: wikipedia


Sunday, July 8, 2012

BY-476731

One more official, this one from Minsk, with some of the city's churches.

 artia
BY-476731, sent by Svetlana.
The churches on the card are: top left corner, the Protection of the Holy Virgin Church; bottom left corner, the Icon of Joy of All Who Sorrow Church; top right corner, St. Mary Magdalene Church; bottom right corner, the Nativity of Christ Church and on the middle of the card the Holy Spirit Cathedral.

Friday, July 6, 2012

PL-470658

On the same day i've got the swedish card, i've also got this official from Sanok, a town in south-eastern Poland.

 Photo by Jerzy Ginalski
PL-470658, sent by Ola.
The cards shows one of the orthodox churches in Sanok's Ethnographic Outdoor Museum), which is one of the biggest open air museums in Poland. It was established in 1958 by Aleksander Rybicki and contains 200 buildings which have been relocated from different areas of Sanok Land (Low Beskids, Pogórze Bukowskie, Doły Jasielsko Sanockie). The Sanok museum shows 19th and early 20th century life in this area of Poland.
The park is divided into distinct but similar-looking sections - each featuring an ethnic group who lived in the region prior to the post-WWII forced resettlements. (Boykos, Lemkos), Dolinians (Dale Dwellers) and Polish Uplanders (pl. Pogórzanie) homes and churches have been transported there from surrounding villages, restored to their original condition and furnished with authentic objects of the period.
The individual ethnographic groups (the Bojko, Lemko, Pogórzanie and Dolinianie folks) are arranged in separate sections which perfectly fit the landscape physiography: the Bojko and Lemko architecture was located in the upper part of the Park, whereas that of the Pogórzanie and in the upper part of the area.
One can go inside many of the buildings including several homes, a school house and a Roman Catholic or Greek-Catholic church. The museum also possesses a large photographic archive, including authentic photos from the 19th and 20th centuries. - in: wikipedia

Gammelstad - Sweden

This week i've only received cards twice :o Nice cards but not enough!! Cards are never enough.
One of the few cards i've got was this swedish card from a missing Unesco site, Gammelstad, sent by Merja.

 Photo by Alf Lindbergh
Gammelstad, at the head of the Gulf of Bothnia, is the best-preserved example of a 'church village', a unique kind of village formerly found throughout northern Scandinavia. The 424 wooden houses, huddled round the early 15th-century stone church, were used only on Sundays and at religious festivals to house worshippers from the surrounding countryside who could not return home the same day because of the distance and difficult travelling conditions. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/762/

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Kortrijk - Belgium

I had a card from Kortrijk in my favorites, Raquel saw it and send me this card from there as a thank you for the Lisbon meeting card i've sent her.
Kortrijk is a Belgian city and municipality located in the Flemish province West Flanders.

 © Uitg, Thill, N. V., Brussels
Much of the city's medieval architecture remains intact and is remarkably well preserved and restored.
The Broel Towers are a classified monument and one of the most important symbols of the city.
Although they look identical, the towers were not built at the same time. The Southern tower, also known as the Speyetoren, was built in 1385 to control the traffic on the river Lys. This tower was part of the fortified fence of the first medieval castle of the Counts of Flanders. The Speyentoren was also part of the 12th century rampart, destroyed by Louis XIV in the 17th century.
The Northern tower, known as the Ingelborchtoren was built in 1415 and was used as an armory.
Nowadays, the towers are, together with the Artillerytower (in Dutch: Artillerietoren), the last remaining parts of the medieval city wall around the city. Most of the fortifications in Kortrijk were ordered to be destroyed by Vauban in 1683, a period in which the French and the Spanish armies repeatedly fought over control of the region. The remaining parts were destroyed in the 18th century and during the world wars.
A statue of John of Nepomuk can be found in the middle of the bridge spanning between the two towers. This statue of the patron saint of the drowned has, ironically, fallen into the river Lys on several occasions due to warfare in the city. The bridge between the two towers was destroyed in both world wars. - in: wikipedia

Route of Santiago de Compostela in Navarre

To finish the spanish cards sent by Luis, now i've to beautiful temples located along the Route of Santiago de Compostela in Navarre, northern Spain. The 1st card shows the Church of Saint Mary of Eunate and the 2nd the Monastery of Irache.  

 Postales Iruña
The Church of Saint Mary of Eunate is a 12th century Romanesque church located about 2 km south-east of Muruzábal, Navarre, Spain, on the Way of Saint James. Its origins are discussed due to lack of documentation. Its octagonal plan and the fact that it is not located in a present-day village or town but in the countryside contribute to its enigmatic nature. - in: wikipedia
Its octagonal layout and the cloister that surrounds it differentiate it from any other Romanesque church.
The continuing mystery about its origin and its unsettling interior have aroused great interest in this church, which has been a pilgrims' hospital, a funeral chapel, a beacon and guide for walkers, a place of Christian worship and a telluric sanctuary for those seeking esoteric powers. - in: http://www.turismo.navarra.es/eng/organice-viaje/recurso.aspx?o=3118

Postales Iruña
A pilgrims' hospice, university, military hospital, religious college and, in the future, a Parador. These are the different functions that the Monastery of Irache has performed down the years, which have turned it into one of the most important monumental complexes in Navarre.
Its location, on the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela, has made it an obligatory stopping-place for pilgrims and friends of the Pilgrim's Way, who you will see during your visit to this monastery that the Benedictines started building in the second half of the 11th century on top of another older one from the 8th century.
A tour of the Romanesque church (12th century), the Plateresque cloister, the Herrerian-style tower and other sections built between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries will give you an insight to the history of this monumental construction, which has been uninhabited since 1985construction, which has been uninhabited since 1985. - in: http://www.turismo.navarra.es/eng/organice-viaje/recurso.aspx?o=3150

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Plasencia & Almeria

Lets continue with more spanish cards.
Recently Spain inscribed one more site on the World Heritage List, Heritage of Mercury - Almadén but there was another site on the list of candidates, Plasencia-Monfrague-Trujillo: Mediterranean Landscape and i was hoping that they choose this one instead of the other. I've cards from Trulillo, Luis sent me one from Plasencia and i've none from Almadén.

Photo by Modesto Galán
 This is the Plasencia card.
Plasencia is a walled market city in the province of Cáceres, Extremadura, Western Spain.  Plasencia has a historic quarter that is a consequence of the city's strategic location along the Silver Route, or Ruta de la Plata. Since the 15th century, the noblemen of the region began to move to Plasencia, defining its current appearance. - in: wikipedia
On the card there's the façade of the Marquis de Mirabel Palace,  built in the 16th century with a two-order court.

Photo by Jesus Gomez
Almería is a city in Andalusia.
On this card there's the tower of city's morish castle, the Alcazaba, which is found around 90 meters above from the city. Next to the Alhambra in Granada it is one of the main castles in the south of Spain. It was constructed in the X century by the Califa Abderramán III. It offered shelter to 20,000 people at one time.
In 1522, a great part of the Castle was destroyed by an earthquake. Since the 50's a large portion has been restored.

Cáceres & Vic

These two from Cáceres, in the community of Extremadura and Vic in Catalonia, were also sent by Luis.

 Ed. Pergamiño
Cáceres was declared a World Heritage City by UNESCO in 1986 because of the city's blend of Roman, Moorish, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance architecture.
The Torre de Las Cigüeñas - Stork Tower, is an example of a Renaissance building in the city. It was built in the late 15th century by Diego de Cáceres. The tower offers spectacular views over the city.

Postales Escudo de Oro
The romanesque belfry of the San Pedro Cathedral in Vic, was built in the 11th century.

Cuenca - Spain

Cuenca is a city in the autonomous community of Castile–La Mancha in central Spain. I've never been there but i'd love too. The city is a popular day or weekend trip from Madrid, to which it is very well connected.
Historic Walled Town of Cuenca is an World Heritage Site since 1996.

 I've bought this card in a street fair the last time i've been to Madrid.
Built by the Moors in a defensive position at the heart of the Caliphate of Cordoba, Cuenca is an unusually well-preserved medieval fortified city. Conquered by the Castilians in the 12th century, it became a royal town and bishopric endowed with important buildings, such as Spain's first Gothic cathedral, and the famous casas colgadas (hanging houses), suspended from sheer cliffs overlooking the Huécar river. Taking full advantage of its location, the city towers above the magnificent countryside. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/781/
 © FISA - ESCUDO DE ORO, S. A. - Barcelona
On this card, sent by Luis, there's an example of how the hanging houses look like.
The Casas Colgadas (translated as Hanging Houses), is a complex of civil houses. In the past this kind of houses was frequent in the eastern border of the antique city, located near the ravine of the river Huécar. Today, however, there are only a few of them remaining. Of all of these structures, the most well-known is a group of three with wooden balconies.
Its origin remains uncertain. There is proof of their existence from the 15th century. Throughout their history they have been refurbished several times. The most recent took place during the 1920's.
They have been used as individual homes, council houses, and currently the host to a mesón, a type of restaurant, and the Museo de Arte Abstracto Español (Spanish Abstract Art Museum), in Cuenca. - in: wikipedia

Monday, July 2, 2012

PT RR - Group 75 * I Wish

For this group i wished Unesco, churches and castles and i've got an Unesco landscape and 2 churches.

 Photo by Oswaldo Santos
 This card sent by Gracinha shows a Douro Valley landscape, classified as World Heritage Site in 2001. 
Wine has been produced by traditional landholders in the Alto Douro region for some 2,000 years. In fact, this is the world oldest wine-producing region. It was created in 1758 under the orientation of Marquis of Pombal. Its main product is the world famous Port wine.

 Edição exclusiva: Região de Turismo Templários
 Tânea sent me a new church card for my collection. The Main Church of Tancos dates back to the 16th century, preserving a Renaissance portico and a Mannerism style altarpiece in gilt carved wood. This place offers a breathtaking view over Tagus river and Almoroul Castle.

 Padua Postais
From Brazil, Anthony sent me this card of Caruaru's cathedral and the city's town hall back in 1900.
The construction of the cathedral started in 1856 and finished after 1907/1909.