Sunday, December 30, 2012

PL-595928

One last polish card to finish today's updates.
This official shows the Krotoszyce Palace, now an hotel.

PL-595928, sent by Joanna.
Krotoszyce is a village in Legnica County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in south-western Poland.
Joanna says that Lower Silesia has the highest density of palaces and castles in Europe.
Pałac Krotoszyce is an estate from XVIIth century with farm buildings and historic park.
The palace in Krotoszyce was built in 1600, probably by Hans Heinrich Sebladus, and served primarily as a defensive castle. After Sebaldus’ death subsequent owners repaired and altered the building until 1686, when Florian Gottlob von Thielau gave it the shape of neo-baroque palace. A date in heraldic cartouche above the entrance is the evidence of it. Despite the reconstruction in the mid-nineteenth century and the renovation in 1964, the palace hasn’t lost its shape.
Until 1949 the building was under Soviet administration. When they left, it passed in the hands of the Państowe Gospodarstwo Rolne (State Agricultural Farm), and after its collapse it was taken over by the Agencja Własności (Agricultural Property Agency), that was looking for an investor who would save monument from disrepair. - in: http://www.palackrotoszyce.pl/en/palace
The palace is now a 3-star hotel.

Zyrardów - Poland

All the previous polish cards were sent by Emerich but this one was sent by Kriszti, whom i met last March in Krakow.
Żyrardów is a town in central Poland with 41,400 inhabitants.

Photo by Dariuz Krakowiak
The Gothic Revival Church of Our Lady of Consolation  is situated in the town of Zyrardow (55 km south-west of Warsaw), which remains a unique example of nineteenth-century industrial architecture. The church was founded by the owner of the Zyrardow flax plant, Charles Dittrich, who donated over 3 million bricks from his own brickworks.
The church has an impressive neo-Gothic high altar with the statue of the Madonna and Child in the centre. - in: http://www.victorianweb.org/art/architecture/poland/10.html

Grudziadz - Poland

Grudziądz is a city of 96 042 inhabitants on the Vistula River in northern Poland.

Photo by Dariusz Krakowiak
This a lovely night view of the city's granaries.
The first brick granary was built in 1341 and until today together they form an unbroken line on the horizon. They served both to store grain and as a strategic line of defense. Since the 1900’s, some of them are also used as living quarters. Built on a cliff, the buildings are multi-storied on the riverside and 2 or 3 stories high on the city side. The interiors have a wood beam construction in excellent condition. Note the cannonballs embedded into the exterior walls. - in: http://www.it.gdz.pl/granaries

Photo by Dariusz Krakowiak
The City Walls - erected between the 14th-15th centuries, with 5 gates: The Water Gate, Toruń Gate, Side Gate, Łasin Gate, and the Castle Gate, which was connected to the castle buildings. Ten towers were built in the walls. Through the ages, the walls were systematically expanded and fortified. At the end of the 19th century they were partially dismantled due to the expansion of the city. The south-east corner was preserved, together with the lower part of the keep and the Water Tower which was supplied by the Trynka Canal (which presently runs underground). - in: http://www.it.gdz.pl/granaries

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Kosciuszko Mound - Poland

This is how i wanted to have seen Krakow, covered in snow. Instead of snow i've got warm weather, too warm for March.

Photo by Wojciech Gorgolewski
The Kosciuszko Mound was raised in 1820-1823 to commemorate the Polish national hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko. In 1850-1854, under the partitions, the Austrian authorities erected a fortress around the Mound. Nowadays, the restored fortress contains a hotel, the radio station headquarters and two permanent exhibitions. One is dedicated to Tadeusz Kosciuszko and the history of the Mound, while the other one displays wax figures of Polish freedom fighters as well as other well-known Poles. The top of the Mound affords a vast panorama of Krakow and the surrounding area. - in: http://cracowonline.com/376-The_Kosciuszko_Mound-Monument

Polish castles

Castles are never enough. I already have many from Poland but i'm always trying to get new ones. This time i've the Rabsztyn castle, one of the Eagle Nest Castles and the ruins of the medieval castle in Dobczyce, a town in southern Poland.

 Photo by Krysztof Kaminski
Originally built by King Kazimierz to protect the money-making mining centre of nearby Olkusz, Rabsztyn actually consists of two separate castles – the original 14th century upper castle and the much-larger lower castle added at its foot in the 17th century in the Renaissance style. The Swedes saw to it that neither was inhabitable shortly thereafter during their 17th century invasion. Today there is almost nothing to see of the upper castle, in fact most won’t even be able to discern the remnants of its walls from the rock surrounding it. The upper castle’s main feature was a cylindrical tower which irreverent fortuneseekers dynamited in the late 1800s. The walls of the lower castle still stand giving some indication of the size of this former strong-(but not strong enough)-hold, and recently the castle gate, several bridges and one of the towers was restored. Today it houses a small historical museum. - in: http://www.inyourpocket.com/poland/krakow/sightseeing/The-Jura-Upland/Rabsztyn-Castle_104592v

Photo by Wojciech Gorgolewski
The ruins of the Royal Castle in Dobczyce, situated some 30 km south of Kraków, overlook the beautiful Raba River valley. The castle - built on a steep cliff during the 14th century - became a prominent cultural centre for the region during the 15th century. It was heavily damaged during the wars in the 18th century and is presently under restoration. It's worth visiting not only to see the remains of Gothic defensive walls, the chapel and towers but also to admire the picturesque panoramic view of the valley. - in: http://travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-2787962-dobczyce_castle_zamek_w_dobczycach_krakow-i

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tarnów - Poland

I'm already preparing a new swap with Emerich and i still have cards from our last swap to post.
These Tarnów cards were both sent by Emerich the last two times we traded.
Tarnów is a city in southeastern Poland and the cards show the Town Hall. 

 Photo by: Dariusz Krakowiak
The Town Hall is perhaps the most recognisable feature of Tarnów. Located in the middle of the Renaissance market square it naturally becomes the centre of attention once you enter the square. It was built in Gothic and rebuilt in Renaissance at the end of the 16 th c.

Photo by: Dariusz Krakowiak
The building itself is 18 meters high but attached to it is a 30 meter tower which you can climb. The Town Hall contains a Renaissance portal inscribed with the Leliwa crest and a Latin inscription reading, "DOMINUS CUSTODIAT INTROITUM ET EXITUM TUUM," which reads ' may God guard your entrance and exit'. - in: http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Poland/Wojewodztwo_Malopolskie/Tarnow-470541/Things_To_Do-Tarnow-TG-C-1.html

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Beech Forest in Ukraine

The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians was the only Unesco site i was still missing from Ukraine, but now, thanks to Galyna, i've this card from there!!

The forest are the largest remaining 'virgin' forests of the European beech (Fagus sylvatica). They also hold the largest and tallest beech specimens in the world. The designated site consists of 15 properties, 6 of which are located in the Ukraine.
Beech is one of the most important elements of forests in the Temperate Broad-leaf Forest Biome and represents an outstanding example of the re-colonization and development of terrestrial ecosystems and communities after the last ice age, a process which is still ongoing. They represent key aspects of processes essential for the long term conservation of natural beech forests and illustrate how one single tree species came to absolute dominance across a variety of environmental parameters. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/pg.cfm?cid=31&id_site=1133

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A private swap from Ukraine

I've been trading a lot via the official site. In these last days i've received more trades requests; i've checked my email an hour ago and had a request from a boy in Italy.
These cards are from Ukraine and were sent by Kvitka.

 This is a snowy view of a garden in Ternopil, one of the major cities in western Ukraine, located on the banks of the Seret River.

St. George's Cathedral is a baroque-rococo cathedral located in the city of Lviv, the historic capital of western Ukraine. It was constructed between 1744-1760 on a hill overlooking the city. This is the third manifestation of a church to inhabit the site since the 13th century, and its prominence has repeatedly made it a target for invaders and vandals. The cathedral also holds a predominant position in Ukrainian religious and cultural terms. - in: wikipedia

This is another card from western Ukraine, Kamianets-Podilskyi.
The card shows the interior of the St. Apostles Peter and Paul Cathedral, built between the 16th-18th centuries.

UA-380919 & RU-1271685

One official from Ukraine and another one from Russia but both from ukrainian cities, Kyiv and Sevastopol.

 UA-380919, sent by Tanja.
The cards shows the St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery, a working monastery that goes back to the 12th Century. Destroyed during the Soviet era, with many of its art works hastily removed, some of which were trasferred to the museums in Moscow and St Petersburg, some were moved to St Sophia Cathedral. Some mosaics housed in St Sophia subsequently fell into the hands of the Nazis but were returned... to Hermitage in St Petersburg. Rebuilt in 1997-98. Impressive gold domes best visited on a sunny day. Behind the complex is a pleasant park with views of the Dnieper and, to the left, the entrance to the funicular. - in: wikitravel

RU-1271685, sent by Maxim & Ira.
Sevastopol is one of two cities with special status in Ukraine (the other being the capital, Kiev), located on the Black Sea coast of the Crimean Peninsula. Sevastopol is the second largest port in Ukraine, after the Port of Odessa. - in: wikipedia

Saturday, December 22, 2012

BY-561893

A nice mountain view from a non-identified place.

BY-561893, sent by Marina

Religious Buildings from Belarus

Religious buildings is one of my favorites themes and these two cards show two nice exemples of buildings. The 1st, sent by Inna, shows the St. Sophia's Cathedral in Polatsk, and the 2nd, sent by Helen, the Chapel-Tomb of Paskevichs family in Homel.

© Photo by S. Plytkevich
 The Cathedral of Saint Sophia in Polotsk (1044–1066) was a symbol of the independent-mindedness of Polotsk, rivaling churches of the same name in Novgorod and Kiev. The name referred to the original Hagia Sophia in Constantinople and thus to claims of imperial prestige, authority and sovereignty. The cathedral had been ruined by the troops of Peter I of Russia. Hence the present baroque building by Johann Christoph Glaubitz dates from the mid-18th century. - in: wikipedia

© Photo by A. Kliashchuk
Ivan Paskevich (1782-1856) was a Ukrainian-born military leader.  He died in Warsaw and his remains were reburied by his son in the family Russian Revival mausoleum on the grounds of the Homel Palace.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Russian New Unesco WHS

These are the last 2 russian sites that i received. Now i'm only missing 1 site from Russia, the Struve Geodetic Arc. Lena Pillars Nature Park was added this year to the Unesco list and the The Uvs Nuur Basin in 2003.
Both of these cards were sent by Galina.

 Lena Pillars Nature Park is marked by spectacular rock pillars that reach a height of approximately 100 m along the banks of the Lena River in the central part of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia). They were produced by the region’s extreme continental climate with an annual temperature range of almost 100 degrees Celsius (from –60 °C in winter to +40 °C in summer). The pillars form rocky buttresses isolated from each other by deep and steep gullies developed by frost shattering directed along intervening joints. Penetration of water from the surface has facilitated cryogenic processes (freeze-thaw action), which have widened gullies between pillars leading to their isolation. Fluvial processes are also critical to the pillars. The site also contains a wealth of Cambrian fossil remains of numerous species, some of them unique. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1299

The Uvs Nuur Basin (1,068,853 ha), is the northernmost of the enclosed basins of Central Asia. It takes its name from Uvs Nuur Lake, a large, shallow and very saline lake, important for migrating birds, waterfowl and seabirds. The site is made up of twelve protected areas representing the major biomes of eastern Eurasia. The steppe ecosystem supports a rich diversity of birds and the desert is home to a number of rare gerbil, jerboas and the marbled polecat. The mountains are an important refuge for the globally endangered snow leopard, mountain sheep (argali) and the Asiatic ibex. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/769

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

RU-1355532 & 1359231

Two beautiful official cards from Russia.

 RU-1355532, sent by Leka.
The Saint Petersburg Mosque, when opened in 1913, was the largest mosque in Russia, its minarets attaining 49 meters in height and the impressive dome rising 39 meters high. The mosque is situated in downtown St Petersburg, so its azure dome is perfectly visible from the Trinity Bridge across the Neva. It can accommodate up to five thousand worshippers.
The founding stone was laid in 1910 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reign of Abdul Ahat Khan in Bukhara. By that time, the Muslim community of the Russian capital exceeded 8,000 people. The projected structure was capable of accommodating most of them. Its construction was completed by 1921.
Worshippers are separated by gender during a worship service; females worship on the first floor, while the males worship on the ground floor. - in: wikipedia

Photo by Kirill Sokolov
RU-1359231, sent by Natalia.
In Russia there are plenty of churches, fortified hermitages, well-preserved military fortresses and ancient manors of the nobility but castles are quite a rare architectural feature. However in the Vladimir region, there's a medieval French chateau, the Muromtsevo Castle.
Legend has it that the Russian nobleman Vladimir Khrapovitsky was travelling through France in the late 19th century when he met a French lord whom he bet he could build a castle of equal grandiosity in Russia. So he bought a chucnk of land outside of Vladimir, hired some of best artisans and architects in Russia and well, built a castle. The Frenchman reportedly even came to see the castle. For the last decade of the century and into the 20th century, the castle was known as one of the most exquisite in western Russia. A pond, stables, theatre, pavilion and other luxuries were added over the years.
Eventually the Russian Revolution came and castle-type folks weren’t exactly welcome anymore and the Khrapovitskys fled abroad, eventually dying in ruin. The castle then served as a forest college (not a bad place to learn!) and served as a hospital during the Great Patriotic War, before finally falling into obscurity during the end of the Soviet period. The only restoration to date, has been a new roof put on by a German company, but that’s it. The castle remains a a laregly untouched relic just sitting there in the forests. - in: http://www.moscowsurvival.com/wordpress/golden-ring/muromtsevo-castle

Finnish official cards

Everybody used to complain about the big quantity of received official cards from Finland. Nowadays, in may case, i'm not getting finnish official cards that often. I've only received 5 in the last 2 months. I'm only posting 4 here today because they're all church related.

 © Photo Erkki Leppänen
FI-1559933, sent by Keijo.
The Finlayson Church is a church representing the Gothic Revival Architecture located in Tampere, Finland, in the Finlayson industrial area. It was built in 1879 as the church of the Finlayson cotton factory. The church was used as a place where the factory workers could practice religion. Currently the church belongs to the Evangelist-Lutheran congregations of Tampere, and it is used as a children's road church and a popular church for weddings. - in: wikipedia

 Photo by Petter Martiskainen

FI-1567313, sent by Tuija.
Lintula Holy Trinity Convent or Lintula Convent is the only monastery for women of the Church of Finland and is located in the Palokin village of the district of Heinävesi in the eastern part of Finland. The monastery was founded in 1895 on the isthmus of Karelia, in the parish of Kivennapa. In 1946, the Convent moved to Heinävesi.

 Photo by Valok. n ja Y Hulkkonen
FI-1582135, sent by Seija.
All these churches are located in Suomussalmi, eastern Finland, in the Kainuu region.
On the bigger image there's the Suomussalmi church, consagrated in 1950. The small image on the left corner is the Ämmänsaari church, consecrated 1967. On the right side there's the Vuokki church, consecrated 1954, the Ruhtinansalmi church, consagrated in 1968 and the Näljänkä, consagrated in 1981.

Photos by Esko Pärssinen
FI-1590479, sent by Maïja, a 76 year old grandmother.
Maija sent me this card with 6 churches in Turku.
Clockwise: Martin's Church was founded in 1921 andconsecrated on the 450th anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther, on November 12, 1933;
Kakskerta Church was built in 1765–1769, and dedicated in 1770. The seaside church is currently one of the three churches in the Turku Martin parish union. According to legend, the local fishermen got a surprise from the sea with a huge catch of delicious fish. They believed that the area was blessed, and the residents of the island decided to build their own church;
Turku Cathedral, considered to be the most important religious building in Finland;
Turku Orthodox Church is the main church of the Turku orthodox parish. The church was built in under plans drafted by architect Carl Ludvig Engel and was ordered by Nicholas I of Russia on 5 January 1838. Construction, which began in 1839 and was completed in 1845;
Michael's Church is named after Archangel Michael and was finished in 1905. It dominates the western skyline of the city of Turku was designed by Professor Lars Sonck and is one of the most popular wedding churches in Turku;
Hirvensalo Church.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Bunratty Castle - Ireland

This is a great card, isn't it? It was in my favorites wall and it was sent Brian "fisherman". This is a meeting card, a meeting in Dublin by the end of september. Besides Brian, it was also signed by Claudia "chrissybaby" and "ned44440", to whom i've sent an official card some time ago.

© Real Ireland Design - Photo © Liam Blake
Bunratty Castle & Folk park is one of Ireland's premier visitor attractions and richly deserves to feature on the itinerary of every visitor to the Shannon region. Bunratty Castle, built in 1425, is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland and contains furnishings, tapestries, and works of art from the period.
The castle is famous for the night time medieval banquets which operate there throughout the year. Bunratty Folk Park, set on 26 acres, is a stunning recreation of 19th Century Ireland and features various types of farmhouses, a church, a magical walled garden and village street complete with pub, post office and various shops. - in:
http://www.heritageisland.com/attractions/bunratty-castle-folk-park/

GB-377016 & GB-383429

I don't receive british official cards that often but i've received these two in the last weeks. One is from England and the other from a new Unesco site in Wales.

Storti Edizione - Photo by Oawel Libera
 GB-377016, sent by Nathalina.
We all recognize these London's landmarks: Houses of Parliament, St. Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, the London Eye, the Tower Bridge again but now with London's City Hall and Buckingham Palace.

© Sheila Halsall
GB-283429, sent by Eileen "gran7".
This card was a great surprise. It was sent by a forum member, with whom i've already traded before and like the 1st time we traded, now she also sent me a Unesco site, a new one.  
Initially i thought this was a railway bridge but that's not even close to the true. This is the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in north-eastern Wales.
The 18 kilometre long Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal is a feat of civil engineering of the Industrial Revolution, completed in the early years of the 19th century. Covering a difficult geographical setting, the building of the canal required substantial, bold civil engineering solutions, especially as it was built without using locks. The aqueduct is a pioneering masterpiece of engineering and monumental metal architecture, conceived by the celebrated civil engineer Thomas Telford. The use of both cast and wrought iron in the aqueduct enabled the construction of arches that were light and d strong, producing an overall effect that is both monumental and elegant. The property is inscribed as a masterpiece of creative genius, and as a remarkable synthesis of expertise already acquired in Europe. It is also recognized as an innovative ensemble that inspired many projects all over the world. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1303

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dutch official cards

Dutch official cards.

 NL-1481208, sent by Bertha.
Castle Verwolde in Laren is a paradise for anyone who loves nature and culture. The classical nobleman’s residence dating back to 1776 is located in gorgeous surroundings in a large private country estate. Accompanied by a guide, you can enjoy the beautiful landscape architecture, the art treasures in the castle, and then savor a high-tea in the tearoom afterwards.
ForFor 200 years, Castle Verwolde was inhabited by various generations of the same family. In 1977, the house and surrounding gardens were transferred to the ‘Vrienden der Geldersche Kasteelen’ foundation. This foundation restored both the house and the gardens (built in 1926 by the landscape architect Hugo Poortman) to their full former splendor.
Even before it was built in 1776, Castle Verwolde had had a turbulent history. There had already been a castle on this location as early as 1179, which was stormed and destroyed in the 16th century. Years later, Castle Verwolde was rebuilt to become the monument that it is today. - in: http://www.holland.com/global/tourism/Article/castle-verwolde.htm

 © Arnold Voordewind
NL-1495898, sent by Tom.
A sunset at Dwingelderveld National Park located in the Dutch province of Drenthe.  It is the largest wet heathland of Western-Europe.

 Opname Fotostudio Honing
NL-1537694, sent by Ellen.
This card has a curiosity. Ellen is Wilma's daughter, the lady who sent me the Delft card :D The card shows Naarden, a town in the Gooi region in the province of North Holland.
This small town is surrounded by large 17th-century fortifications, considered one of the best preserved in Europe. The typical star shaped form is a spectacular sight from the air and on a satellite picture. The town centre itself has kept its historic character.

 © Tjalf Sparnaay 1985
NL-1554311, sent by Gerrie.
Tulips for sale by Tjalf Sparnaay.

© Uitgeverij van der Meulen bv Sneek
NL-1586954, sent by Dennis & Linda.
A super cute card from the Veluwe National Park in the province of Gelderland.