Monday, December 29, 2014

Many Themes RR - Group 1621 (Xiru)

Sérgio, from Brazil, sent these cards from Santos Dumond, a city in the Minas Gerais state, Rio de Janeiro and Petrópolis, both in Rio de Janeiro state. 

Foto: Paulo Laborne
Cabangu Museum is located 16 kilometres from the city centre of Santos Dumont. Is dedicated to the memory of Santos Dumont, a Brazilian aviation pioneer. The place still preserves the house where he was born, personal objects, pictures and the Aviation Museum. The museum also contains the ashes of the first woman pilot of Brazilian aviation, Anésia Pinheiro Machado.

Foto: Paulo Laborne
Erected in 1743, the palace became a Royal Palace  in 1808, when the court of Prince Regent John VI arrived in Rio, escaping the invasion of Portugal by Napoleon. He transformed the building into a residence of the Portuguese royal family. Since then, important events tool place in the palace. In January 9th, 1822 the Prince Regent Peter I announced his refusal to return to Portugal and his decision to remain on in an independent Brazil. In in May 13th, 1888, Princess Isabel signed the Lei Áurea, the law that abolished slavery in the country. 
Since 1984 the Paço Imperial has been an important cultural center, hosting temporary art exhibitions of painting, sculpture, cinema, music, etc. It also houses the Paulo Santos Library, specializing in art, architecture and engineering, and also containing several rare books from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

Foto: Paulo Laborne
The Palácio Rio Negro is a palace located in Petrópolis. It is one of the official residences of the Presidents of Brazil. 
The building was built in 1889 to be the summer residence of Manoel Gomes de Carvalho, the Baron of Rio Negro. 
In 1903, the Palace was incorporated to the Federal Government and became the official summer residence of the Presidents of Brazil. 
The palace was more frequently used when the city of Rio de Janeiro was the Capital of Brazil. Since the transfer of the seat of Government to the newly founded Capital City of Brasília, in 1960, use of Rio Negro Palace declined sharply. The palace was not used at all in the 1970s and 1980s although President Fernando Henrique Cardoso resumed use of the palace for brief vacations in the 1990s. Today, Rio Negro Palace is rarely used. - in: wikipedia

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Many Themes RR - Group 1621 (Sybil)

In this group we had to send 3 unwritten viewcards in an envelope. Sybil sent me these 3 cards from California. 

© California Scene Postcards * Photo: P. Saloutos
Sunset in one of the many beaches in California.

© City Sights Postcards * Photo:James Blank
San Diego is a major city in California, on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California. 
San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest in California. San Diego is the birthplace of California and is known for its mild year-round climate, natural deep-water harbor, extensive beaches, long association with the U.S. Navy, and recent emergence as a healthcare and biotechnology development center. - in: wikipedia

© California Scene Postcards * Photo: James Blank
Aerial view of Balboa Park and San Diego skyline.
Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) urban cultural park in San Diego. In addition to open space areas, natural vegetation zones, green belts, gardens, and walking paths, it contains museums, several theaters, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. There are also many recreational facilities and several gift shops and restaurants within the boundaries of the park. Placed in reserve in 1835, the park's site is one of the oldest in the United States dedicated to public recreational use. - in: wikipedia

Saturday, December 27, 2014

US-3068598 & US-3063107

Officials from Ohio and Texas in the USA. 

 Photo by Harold Marks
US-3068598, sent by Lois.
The North Manchester Covered Bridge was built in 1872 by engineer Robert W. Smith for an estimated cost of $3,515. The entire structure was built of wood and held together by pins, iron bolts, and square-cut nails. It was a single span over the river with no supports. The bridge underwent extensive repairs completed in time for the State sesquicentennial in 1966, including the addition of steel pylons and new flooring. The bridge was closed to traffic in the mid-1980s and re-opened in the 1990s.The covered bridge in North Manchester was added to the Register of Historic Places in 1982. - in: http://kiosk.wabashmuseum.org/architecture-database/national-register/north-manchester-covered-bridge.php

 © Texas Products
US-3063107, sent by Janicka.
Dallas has the ninth largest population in the nation. The Dallas area is the largest metropolitan area in the nation not on a navigable body of water. 
Dallas is Texas' most mythical city, with a past and present rich in the stuff that American legends are made of. The 'Big D' is famous for its contributions to popular culture – notably the Cowboys and their cheerleaders, and Dallas, the TV series that for a time was a worldwide symbol of the USA. - in: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/texas/dallas

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Redwood National Park - USA

Redwood National Park is famous for its giant sequoias but these trees are only one of the species in an incredibly varied ecosystem.
This card was sent by José.

Photographer: Larry Ulrich
On the back of the card: Grasslands of the higher ridges exhibit spectacular seasonal floral displays and provide abundant wildlife habitat. 

Inhotim - Brazil

This card was the prize of a lottery organized by Luzia. 
Inhotim is a museum and contemporary art museum located in Brumadinho in southeast Brazil, in the state of Minas Gerais. 

A sprawling 5000 acres of lush botanical gardens (designed by Brazilian landscape artist Roberto Burle Marx) house approximately 500 works by 100 artists from 30 countries in over two dozen gallery pavilions. Arguably the finest outdoor contemporary art center in the world, Inhotim also boasts the world's largest collection of palm trees (over 1500 different species); 4500 different exotic species of plants; gourmet restaurants; and works by the likes of Matthew Barney, Chris Burden, Janet Cardiff and George Miller, Anish Kapoor, and Brazilian superstar Tunga.
The brainchild of local mining billionaire Bernardo Paz, Inhotim transformed from his private collection into a public museum in 2006. Since then, the complex has attracted over 250,000 visitors each year. Landscapers work in collaboration with each artist to create a series of psychological encounters that extend from the galleries to the gardens. - in: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zach-udko/inhotim-brazils-contempor_b_3826723.html

Friday, December 19, 2014

Essaouira - Morocco

Last month Brigitte travelled to Morocco and visited a few of the country's UNESCO sites, including Essaouira, one of my missing sites. We agreed on a swap and she sent me this nice card from there.

Situated on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, Essaouira is the gateway to the deep south of Morocco renowned for the hospitality of its inhabitants, the mildness of its climate and its superb architecture.
Essaouira is an ancient historical city, founded in the 7th century BC, and has been inhabited by the Phoenicians, Berbers and Romans. In the 15th century under the rule of the Portuguese, it became an important trading post. The city was then named Mogador a name it retains to this day.

In 1764, Sultan Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah undertook the construction of a new harbor for European trade. A Frenchman, Théodore Carnut, was then commissioned to draw the plans of the city, using the fortified town of Saint Malo, in France, as a model. Thus, Essaouira is one of the few cities around the world, which was completely planned before its construction, which gave it the name of Es Saouira, the Well Drawn. The city later played an integral role as an international trade port with the rest of the world until the early 20th century.
The city amazes with its stunning architectural features, and multi faceted cultural influences. It is home to an incredible convergence of many cultures united in peace and facing the inspirational influence of the ocean.
Since 2001, UNESCO has listed the Medina of Essaouira as a World Heritage Travel Site. The Medina, in the heart of Essaouira is an eloquent testimony to its glorious past. - in: http://www.moroccotraveltours.com/morocco/essaouira

Tun Sakaran Park - Malaysia

An aerial view of the islands of Tun Sakaran Park. This marine park located off the east coast of the state of Sabah in Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. 
The card was sent by SL. 

Photograph © Michael Patrick Wong
The park comprises 8 islands, surrounding reefs and sea. The hills of Bodgaya and Bohey Dulang islands are all that remains of the rim of an ancient volcano. 
The park is a famous spot for divers and rich marine life may be found when diving in the park area. 

Nai Harn Beach - Thailand

This card was sent by the same postcrosser who sent me this chinese card, Yanzi. 

Photo by Somkiat Hansukklaw * © In4 World Media
Nai Harn is a very nice spotless beach, tucked between grassy hill  s and tiny islands on the rocky shores of Phuket's southernmost tip. 
The beach is powdery and almost white, the waters calm (at most times of the year) and crystal clear, and development on the beach itself is minimal. It is popular among expats and locals.
The protected bay offers great anchorage for sailing boats and luxury yachts.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

TW-1413704

An official from Taiwan with the most famous of the many rock formations at Yehliu Cape, in the town of Wanli. This cape is mainly composed of sedimentary rocks; the formation of sea bays is due to the impact of sea erosion on softer rock layers, while those hard and solid ones may therefore turn into sea capes eventually. 

Photo by Yuyen
TW-1413704, sent by Sharon. 
Yehliu's trademark Queen's Head is an example of a mushroom rock. As the Earth's crust rises in the vicinity of Taiwan, differential erosion by the sea has shaped the rocks around Yehliu into their current forms. An estimate made on the basis of the average rise in the Earth's crust in northern Taiwan suggests that the Queen's Head is nearly 4,000 years old. After it fractured along the grain of the rock in 1962, it has resembled the profile of England's Queen Elizabeth when viewed from a certain angle, which is how it has come to be called the Queen's Head.
Thanks to its unique shape, the Queen's Head has become a Yehliu landmark, but it has also suffered the ill effects of its great fame. Apart from the erosive forces of wind, sun, and rain, visitors' inappropriate behavior has also accelerated the rate of erosion. According to 2008 measurements, the neck of the rock formation is only 138 cm in circumference at its narrowest point. - in: http://www.taiwan.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=36885&CtNode=2200&mp=1006

Sunday, December 14, 2014

HK-286501

A chinese dragon from Hong Kong. 

HK-286501, sent by Karen.
Chinese dragons are legendary creatures in chinese mythology and folklore. In chinese art, dragons are typically portrayed as long, sclaed, serpentine creatures with four legs. Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, hurricane and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength and good luck. With this, the Emeperor of China usually uses the dragon as a symbol of his imperial power. 

The Earth Forest Of Yuanmou - China

The earth forest is a typical topographic formation by piles of earth accumulating over millions of years. The earth crannies caused by crust movement were deepened and widened by natural force, eventually giving birth to earth pillars. These earth pillars look vividly like a forest from the distance thus the name “earth forest”. Yuanmou, about 200 kilometers away from Kunming, is Yunnan’s most famous place for the earth forest.

The Earth Forest of Yuanmou covers a total area of over 50 square kilometers and mainly includes three parts: Banguo, Xinhua and Hutiaotan. It astonishes lots of visitors with its exotic and erecting earth pillars of which the highest one is nearly 40 meters or as high as a 10-storey building.
The Earth Forest has been there for at least 1.5 million years, and survived frequent earthquakes. When the substances on the upper surface were taken away by the exogenic force, the cementation agents containing calcium and iron etc got exposed and kept the top from being further eroded while the lower part was deepened by rains and winds to eventually form high peaks. Like the stones (Stone Forest) in Kunming, the earth pillars in Yuanmou have been given various names by the locals. Some popular ones are Sword, Dali Three Pagodas, Dunhuang Grottoes, Pretty Girls, Labyrinth, Golden Pagodas and Writing Brush etc. Yuanmou Earth Forest deserves to be called “another natural miracle in Yunnan”. In 1985, it became a new tourist site in Yunnan Province. - in: http://en.ynta.gov.cn/Item/679.aspx

Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine - Japan

Another card from Japan and also from a UNESCO site but this one is new in my collection. Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine was added to the World Heritage Site list in 2007. 
The Iwami Ginzan was a silver mine in the city of Ōda, Shimane Prefecture, on the main island of Honshū.
This card shows the Iwami Silvermine Museum, dating from 1902. It was a town administrative office standing on the site of the magistrate’s office which oversaw the Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine in Omori. The museum houses ancient documents, maps, and other materials relating to the Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine. - in: http://www.kankou-shimane.com/en/blog/archives/3558
The card was sent by Phoebe. 

Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and its Cultural Landscape is a relict mining landscape that flourished between the 17th and 19th centuries due to an exchange of ideas and trade with East Asia and Europe. It gives an overall picture of mine management from silver production to shipment. The entire process was done manually.
The mine was developed in 1526 by Kamiya Jutei, a Japanese merchant. Large amounts of quality silver could be produced due to the introduction of the traditional East Asian metal refining method. It reached its peak production of 38 tons in the early 17th century of approximately 38 tons of silver a year which was then a third of world production. 
Silver production from the mine fell in the nineteenth century as it had trouble competing with mines elsewhere and it was eventually closed in 1923. - in: http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/iwamiginzan.html

Friday, December 12, 2014

Shirakawa-go - Japan

After 3 indian cards, now i've 3 japanese cards. All of them are from the lovely Shirakawa-go village. Shirakawa-go together with Gokayama in Toyama, was registred as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. 
As I said in a previous post, if I ever move to Japan, Shirakawa-go is where you'll find me. 
In 2009 Adriana sent me an envelope with 4 japanese UNESCO sites, the 1st of these 3 cards was one of them and that was when I fell in love with this place. Last year I've received a 2nd card as an official and a few weeks ago Lyan sent a 3rd card from there. 

 Located in a mountainous region that was cut off from the rest of the world for a long period of time, these villages with their Gassho-style houses subsisted on the cultivation of mulberry trees and the rearing of silkworms. The large houses with their steeply pitched thatched roofs are the only examples of their kind in Japan. Despite economic upheavals, the villages of Ogimachi, Ainokura and Suganuma are outstanding examples of a traditional way of life perfectly adapted to the environment and people's social and economic circumstances. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/734

© Hiroyuki Yamaguchi
JP-329605, sent by Momoko. 
The village is located in the Shogawa river valley stretching across the border of Gifu and Toyama Prefectures in central Japan. Both villages, Shirakawa-gō and Gokayama, are famous for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. 

Gassho-zukuri means "constructed like hands in prayer", as the farmhouses' steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer. The architectural style developed over many generations and is designed to withstand the large amounts of heavy snow that falls in the region during winter. The roofs, made without nails, provided a large attic space used for cultivating silkworms. - in: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5950.html

Taj Mahal - India

The Taj Mahal is India’s most recognized monument, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It looks like a palace but actually is a mausoleum containing the tomb of  Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. He had it built as an ode to his love for her. 
These are the three cards I've of this lovely monument. The 1st is an official I got a few weeks ago, I've got the 2nd one on a travelling RR back in 2010 and the 3rd card was sent from the Netherlands
by Jetske in 2008.

IN-114802, sent by Varun.
Taj Mahal was constructed over a period of 22 years, employing 20.000. It was completed in 1648 C.E. at a cost of 32 Million Rupees. The mausoleum is a part of a vast complex comprising of a main gateway, an elaborate garden, a mosque, a guest house, and several other palatial buildings. 
Taj Mahal was built by a Muslim Ruler Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved and favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal at Agra, on the bank of River Yamuna.
Taj Mahal (meaning Crown Palace) is a Mausoleum that houses the grave of queen Mumtaz Mahal at the lower chamber. The grave of Shah Jahan was added to it later.

Shah Jahan had three wives. His second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, whom he had married in 1612, died in 1631. She had been the mother of 14 of his 16 children. It was to her memory that the Taj Mahal was built. In this most beautiful of the world's tombs, the minutest detail has been carefully thought out and executed with tireless precision. In inscribing texts from the Koran round the tall doorways, the artists have shown themselves such masters of perspective that the letters 30 feet or more above the line of the eye appear to be exactly of the same size as those a foot above the floor level. Onyx, jasper, cornelian, carbuncle, malachite, lapis lazuli, and other precious stones are studded in the mosaic. It has been described as "A Dream in Marble." 

The unique mughal style combines elements of Persian, Central Asian, and Islamic architecture. Most impressive are the black and white chessboard marble floor, the four tall minarets at the corners of the structure, and the majestic dome in the middle. The impressive pietra dura artwork includes geometric elements, plants and flowers, mostly common in Islamic architecture. The level of sophistication in artwork becomes obvious when one realizes that a 3 cm decorative element contains more than 50 inlaid gemstones. 
Soon after the Taj Mahal's completion, Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son, Aurangzeb. It is rumored that Shah Jahan died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony with an excellent view of the Taj Mahal. - in: http://www.thokalath.com/tourism/tajmahal.php

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Turkey by Ara

Last month Ara visited Turkey and sent be a few cards from there. 

© Copyright by KESKIN COLOR KARTPOSTALCILIK A. S.
 These are views of the Hadrian Temple in Ephesus; Ölüdeniz; Istanbul; Pamukkale; Alanya and Nemrut. 

© Copyright by KESKIN COLOR KARTPOSTALCILIK A. S.
The art of Turkish tiles and ceramics occupies a place of prominence in the history of Islamic art. Its roots can be traced at least as far back as the Uighurs of the 8th and 9th centuries. Its subsequent development was influenced by Karakhanid, Ghaznavid, and (especially) Iranian Seljuk art. With the Seljuks’ victory over the Byzantines at Malazgirt in 1071, the art followed them into Anatolia and embarked upon a new period of strong development fostered by the Anatolian Seljuk sultanate. - in: http://anatoliahistory.com/2011/07/11/the-art-of-turkish-tiles-and-ceramics/

© BKG - Bilintur, exclusive design
Cappadocia: the site of nature’s wonderful formations, a central Anatolian and World Heritage with a history dating back to 3000 B.C
This awesome geography where history and nature intertwines has been host to many civilizations throughout the centuries.  The unique volcanic landscape of the region took shape as a result of the erosion of the volcanic layers which spread through the area with the eruption of Erciyes, Hasandag and Güllüdag mountains about 60 million years ago.
Cappadocia, which means “land of beautiful horses,”in Persian language, has been the hub of many civilizations and a gigantic shelter and center for Christians who fled from the Roman Empire during the Hittite period and hid in the houses and churches carved inside of rocks.
With the formation of fairy chimneys in time, the local communities carved houses and churches into these rocks and made frescoes inside of these structures connecting the past with the present. - in: http://www.goturkey.com/en/place/detail/cappadocia

RU-3178486

Look what I've got a few days ago as an official from Russia!! A new UNESCO site from.... Armenia! How cool is this? It was a great surprise. 
The monastery of Geghard is located in the Kotayk province of Armenia, being partially carved out of the adjacent mountain. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.

Photo by Tigran Mangasaryan 
RU-3178486, sent by Alevtina.
The Geghard complex is an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a medieval Armenian monastic foundation in a remote area of great natural beauty at the head of the Azat valley, surrounded by towering cliffs. It contains a number of churches and tombs, most of them cut into the rock, which illustrate the very peak of Armenian medieval architecture and decorative art, with many innovatory features that had a profound influence on subsequent developments in the region. It was founded in the 4th century, according to tradition by St Gregory the Illuminator. The first monastery was destroyed by Arabs in the 9th century, but it was flourishing again by the 13th century. The monastery was famous because of the relics that it housed, the most celebrated the spear that wounded Christ on the Cross. Relics of the Apostles Andrew and John were donated in the 12th century and pious visitors made numerous grants of land, money, manuscripts and so on over the succeeding centuries. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/960

Monday, December 8, 2014

RU-3150748

A lake from Russia. 

RU-3150748, sent by Lenka.
Kolyvan Lake is located at the Charysh valley in the Altai Mountains. The lake is small but deep and is surrounded by fantastic granites domes and towers.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

St. Petersburg's Churches

These two churches, Smolny Cathedral and Chesme Church, were both in my PC favorites wall and is easy to understand why. They are so beautiful! I really love these cards, sent by Gennady. 

 Smolny Cathedral was originally intended to be the central church of a monastery, built to house the daughter of Peter the Great, Elizabeth, after she was disallowed to take the throne and opted instead to become a nun. However, as soon as her Imperial predecessor was overthrown during a coup, carried out by the royal guards, Elizabeth decided to forget the whole idea of a stern monastic life and happily accepted the offer of the Russian throne.
Smolny Cathedral’s stunning blue-and-white building is undoubtedly one of the architectural masterpieces of the Italian architect Rastrelli. It was built between 1748 and 1764.
When Elizabeth stepped down from the throne the funding that had supported the constructed of the convent rapidly ran out and Rastrelli was unable to build the huge bell-tower he had planned or finish the interior of the cathedral. The building was only finished 1835 with the addition of a neo-classical interior to suit the changed architectural tastes of the day.
Today Smolny Cathedral is used primarily as a concert hall and the surrounding convent houses various offices and government institutions. - in: http://www.saint-petersburg.com/virtual-tour/smolny-cathedral/

This fairytale gothic church is one of St. Petersburg's most unusual and most delightful, although it is a little off the beaten track for most tourists. Located in the far south of the city, it was built under Catherine the Great as the house church for the Chesme Palace, a resting post between St. Petersburg and the Summer Palace in Tsarskoe Selo.
The Chesme Church was consecrated in 1780, on the tenth anniversary of Russia's naval victory over the Turkish fleet at Chesme Bay, which occurred on the birthday of John the Baptist, hence the church's name.
A wedding-cake structure with striped crenellated walls and five gothic turrets in place of traditional onion domes, this truly unique church has survived almost fully intact to this day, despite the fact that it was turned, along with the Chesme Palace, into part of a forced labour camp by the Soviet government - the cross on the central turret was replaced with a hammer, tongs and anvil to symbolize the toil of the proletariat. Just before the Second World War, the complex was given over to the Institute of Aviation Technology, which still occupies the palace to this day.
Used as a burial site for war heroes almost since its consecration, the area around the church became a graveyard for soldiers who died during the Siege of Leningrad. In the 1970s, the church became a Museum of the Battle of Chesme, and was eventually returned to the Orthodox Church in 1990. It is now an extremely popular church, with regular services and numerous visitors who come to pay their respects to the war dead. - in: http://www.saint-petersburg.com/churches/church-birth-saint-john-baptist-chesme.asp

UA-1182066

Victoria sent me not one but two cards. She said Ukraine has many beautiful churches and she wanted to show me these. They are St. Vladimir Cathedral in Sevastopol and the Dominican Church in Lviv. 

UA-1182066, sent by Victoria.
St. Vladimir's Cathedral is an Orthodox church in Sevastopol, Ukraine which was built in the aftermath of the Crimean War as a memorial to the heroes of the Siege of Sevastopol (1854–1855).
It was the admiral Mikhail Lazarev who came up with the idea to build St. Vladimir's Cathedral in Sevastopol rather than in Chersonesus as was originally intended. The church contains the tombs of Lazarev and three of his disciples – Vladimir Kornilov, Vladimir Istomin and Pavel Nakhimov – who died during the siege.
The architecture of the church is Neo-Byzantine. The original design was submitted by Konstantin Thon for the Chersonesus Cathedral. It was reworked by a local architect, Aleksey Avdeyev. The lower church was consecrated in 1881, the upper church was finished 7 years later.
The building rises to a height of 32.5 meters. The marble-clad interior was decorated by a team of Swiss and Italian artists. The names of the heroes of the 1850s siege are inscribed on the walls. The tombs of the admirals were destroyed by the Soviets in 1931. The church sustained further damage in the Second World War. - in: wikipedia

The Dominican Church is rightfully considered to be one of the best monuments to late baroque architecture not only in Lviv, but all of Europe. The building harmoniously rounds out the historical center’s ensemble. Along with other temples in Lviv, it is included on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. - in: http://discover-ukraine.info/places/western-ukraine/lviv/72