Monday, June 30, 2014

US-2824132 & US-2843346

American offcials from California and Michigan. 

Photographer: Philip Wright
US-2824132, sent by Hanna.
On the back of the card: Rays of sunlight illuminate the lush, mist-enshrouded foliage along Damnation Creek Trail. Fog plays an intricate role in the habitat of the redwoods, keeping the area cool and moist year-round.

Photos by John & Sam Pencod
US-2843346, sent by "MissBeerbower".
On the back of the card: Counter-clockwise from top left: White River, South Haven South Pier, St. Joseph North Pier, Little Sable Point, Grand Haven, Muskegon, Holland Harbor and Big Sable Point.  

Historical Parks in Thailand

Thai cards sent by Emerich, both showing historical parks. 

Photography: Jatuporn Rutnin
The old city of Si Satchanalai  is a historical park in Si Satchanalai district, Sukhothai Province, northern Thailand. Together with the associated historic parks in Kamphaengphet and Sukhothai, it was declared a World Heritage site in 1991. 
While it offers similar Sukhothai era temples and monuments, it is much less visited than Sukhothai. 
The old city of Si Satchanalai is considered the sister city of historic Sukhothai, and existed contemporary with Sukhothai. Direct family members of the Kings of Sukhothai usually ruled nearby Si Satchanalai. During the reign of King Li Thai (1347-1368) many temples were built and restored at Si Satchanalai. - in: http://www.thaiwebsites.com/sisatchanalai.asp

Photography: Jatuporn Rutnin
Prasat Phanom Rung is an historical park located in Buriram.
Prasat Phanom Rung is one of the most significant Khmer monuments in Thailand. It was built in the 10th-13th century A.D. Phanom Rung was a Hindu Saivite (Shiva) monastery. Sculptures also present images of Vishnu. A processional way leads through Naga bridges to the main sanctuary. Lintels, pediments depict the Hindu Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, with also scenes of the Ramayana. The most famous lintel (Vishnu Anantasayin) depicts Vishnu reclining on the back of the Naga King Ananta. This lintel disappeared for many years outside the country, but was recently returned.
The setting of Phanom Rung is quite scenic, with views of the countryside all around. The site is probably the most visited Khmer monument in Thailand. - in: http://www.thaitravel.info/Phanomrung/

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Return of the Przewalski’s Horse - Mongolia

This is a postcard issued by Prague's Zoo, which has been having an important role on the preservation and reintroduction of the Przewalski’s Horse to their original homeland. The zoo organized several transports of these horses to different areas of Mongolia. 
Partnering with the Czech Army, the zoo transported four horses to Mongolia each year between 2011 and 2013 – 11 mares and one stallion in total. They were taken to the Khomyn Tal reserve and the Gobi B national park, where, following acclimation, they joined the wild herds. The success of the endeavor can be judged by the fact that only a year after their arrival, some of the mares were already raising their own foals. - in: http://www.zoopraha.cz/en/animals/we-help-them-to-survive/projects/7678-return-of-the-przewalski-s-horse-to-mongolia

Foto: Petr Jan Juračka
Przewalski's horse is a rare and endangered subspecies of wild horse (Equus ferus) native to the steppes of central Asia, specifically Mongolia. At one time extinct in the wild (in Mongolia, the last wild Przewalski's horses had been seen in 1966), it has been reintroduced to its native habitat in Mongolia at the Khustain Nuruu National Park, Takhin Tal Nature Reserve, and Khomiin Tal. The taxonomic position is still debated, and some taxonomists treat Przewalski's horse as a species, Equus przewalskii.
The horse is named after the Russian geographer and explorer Nikolai Przhevalsky.
Most "wild" horses today, such as the American Mustang or the Australian Brumby, are actually feral horses descended from domesticated animals that escaped and adapted to life in the wild. In contrast, Przewalski's horse has never been domesticated and remains a truly wild animal today. - in: wikipédia

RU-2761714

A nice view of the Belukha Mountain in Russia. 
Belukha Mountain, located in the Katun Mountains, is the highest peak of the Altai Mountains in Russia. It is part of the World Heritage Site entitled Golden Mountains of Altai.

RU-2761714, sent by Victoria.
Belukha is a twin-peaked mountain massif that rises along the border of Russia and Kazakhstan, just north of the point where these two borders meet those of China and Mongolia. There are several small glaciers on the mountain, including Belukha Glacier. Of the two peaks, the eastern peak (4,506 m, 14,784 ft.) is higher than the western peak (4,440 m, 14,567 ft.).
Belukha was first climbed in 1914 by the Tronov brothers. Most ascents of the eastern peak follow the same southern route as that taken in the first ascent. Though the Altai is lower in elevation than other Asian mountain groups, it is very remote, and much time and planning are required for its approach. - in: wikipedia

Saturday, June 28, 2014

BY-1314442

An official from Belarus showing the modern Minsk Arena.

BY-1314442, sent by Marina.
Minsk-Arena (Belarusian: Мінск-Арэна, Russian: Минск-Арена) is a multi-use indoor arena in Minsk.
The Minsk-Arena Complex is unique in its complexity and functionality not only in Belarus but also in Europe. It includes a multi-sports and entertainment arena for 15,000 spectators (making it the largest full-time arena in use by a Kontinental Hockey League team), a skating stadium for up to 3,000 spectators and a velodrome at 2,000 spectators. - in: wikipedia

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mir Castle - Belarus

Mir Castle is the most famous castle in Belarus and one of the country's UNESCO WHS. Castles and UNESCO sites are 2 of my favorite kind of cards, so is no surprise that I already got a few Mir Castle cards, some of them twice. 

BY-16035, sent by Olga.
I think most of the postcrossers are familar with the beautiful Mir Castle as it looks nowadays but a few years ago it didn't look that beautiful. This is how the castle looked in 1979 before the modern restoration.
The construction of this castle began at the end of the 15th century, in Gothic style. It was subsequently extended and reconstructed, first in the Renaissance and then in the Baroque style. After being abandoned for nearly a century and suffering severe damage during the Napoleonic period, the castle was restored at the end of the 19th century, with the addition of a number of other elements and the landscaping of the surrounding area as a park. Its present form is graphic testimony to its often turbulent history. 

BY-1314441, sent by Marina. This card was also sent by Natalia. 
Mir Castle is an exceptional example of a central European castle, reflecting in its design and layout successive cultural influences (Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance) that blend harmoniously to create an impressive monument to the history of this region.

The region in which Mir Castle stands has a long history of political and cultural confrontation and coalescence, which is graphically represented in the form and appearance of the ensemble. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/625
Lena and "MaryBy" have both sent me this card. 

St. George Church, Drohobych - Ukraine

St. George Church is one of the eight ukrainian wooden tserkvas inscribed last year on the UNESCO WHS list. This was the last ukrainian sites I was still missing. 
I must say that I love wooden churches and this one is so beautiful. Thank you so much Knesiya for sending me this amazing card. 

The church was built sometime in the late XVI century in the village of Nadiyiv. In 1657 the church was purchased for a barrel of salt, taken apart, transported and erected in Drohobych on the site of an earlier church which was destroyed by tartars in 1499. The bell tower was built in 1670. The church is officially labelled as a "three-room log constructed church with three levels".
The church was repaired and improved during the period of 1820-1830 and then again in 1974-5. The church has been labelled as an architectural monument for a long time and has been used as a museum during the Soviet period. - in: http://www.infoukes.com/culture/architecture/st_george/

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska - Poland

The 38th session of the World Heritage Committee ended yesterday. 26 new sites and 4 extensions have been inscribed on the World Heritage List. The UNESCO postcards collections can start now looking for cards of the new sites. I don't have any of the new sites but two of them are already on my way. 

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is already on the World Heritage List since 1999. 
Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is a breathtaking cultural landscape of great spiritual significance. Its natural setting – in which a series of symbolic places of worship relating to the Passion of Jesus Christ and the life of the Virgin Mary was laid out at the beginning of the 17th century – has remained virtually unchanged. It is still today a place of pilgrimage. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/905

The Sanctuary in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska in Poland was one of Pope John Paul II´s favourite places of pilgrimage. Situated in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains 33km from Krakow, it was established in 1600 as Poland´s first Calvary sanctuary to offer Christian pilgrims an alternative to Jerusalem that had been acquired by Muslim Turks.
It´s humble origins began as quaint chapel dedicated to the Crucifixion of Christ, followed by a chalk model of the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. Over the next two centuries the sanctuary would become the largest pilgrimage site in Europe and today receives over a million visitors a year, making it one of the most visited places in Poland.

Recognized as one of the most fascinating architectural projects in Europe, this vast complex features 42 churches and chapels including the domineering 17th century baroque Basilica dedicated to the Angelic Mother of God in the centre and the adjoining Franciscan monastery. - in: http://www.krakow-poland.com/krakow-tourist-information/krakow-and-surrounding-areas/sanctuary-in-kalwaria-zebrzydowska

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Šumava National Park - Czech Republic

This is an amazing view of the Šumava National Park. The park is located in the Plzeň and South Bohemian Regions of the Czech Republic along the border with Germany and Austria. 
Since 1990 it has been the protected Biospherical Reserve of UNESCO.

Foto: Jiri Suttner
The Šumava Range is covered by the most extensive forest in Central Europe, whose natural composition was, however, changed and today spruce plantations prevail in most of the area. In many places non-native spruce varieties were planted. These are not well adapted to the harsh local climate and are therefore susceptible to a range of elements, such as strong winds (e.g. in the 1980s or recently at the beginning of 2007) and bark beetle (Ips typographus). Numerous large plateaux with raised peat bogs, glacial lakes and remnants of primeval forests (e.g. Boubín) complete a mosaic of habitats which are little disturbed by human settlements as most of the predominantly German speaking inhabitants were expelled after the World War II and the area became a part of the deserted zone along the Eastern block border. Since the 1970s there has existed a stable population of lynxes. - in: wikipedia

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Vrchlabí Castle - Czech Republic

I don't know how many castle cards I've from Czech Republic, but I've quite a few and every time I swap with Emerich, I get new ones. This is Vrchlabí castle. 

Foto: Ivan Rillich
Vrchlabí  is a town in northern part of Hradec Králové Region, in the roots of the Krkonoše Mountains. 
The Vrchlabí Renaissance castle was built between 1546-1548 by Kryštof from Gendorf. It was built in Saxon-Silesian style as a water stronghold. In 1820 it was reconstructed into two-storied castle with domes at the top of eight-edged towers. The interior includes a great hall with a vault and lunettes, a remarkable ceramic stove from 1545 and stucco decoration. It is situated in the castle park and is surrounded by rare woods. Nowadays, the castle is a residence of the town council. - in: http://www.infocesko.cz/content/clanek.aspx?clanekid=7691&lid=2


Monday, June 23, 2014

Stříbro & Klatovy - Czech Republic

I've traded again with Emerich a few days ago, which means i've a few new czech cards to show. These two are both from cities in the Pilsen Region. 

Foto: Ivan Rillich
Stříbro was a mining settlement, first documented in 1183. It became a town in 1263.
The Town Hall building was built in the 16th century.

Foto: Ivan Rillich
Klatovy was founded during 1260–1263 by Přemysl Otakar II. There are several historic buildings in the town such as the Black Tower, the Baroque Pharmacy, the Jesuit church with catacombs and the Archeacon's church. - in: wikipedia
On the card is possible to see the Black Tower and the Virgin Mary's Immaculate Conception and St. Ignatius' Jesuit church.
The Black Tower rises to a height of 81 meters and its 226 stairs on a side-walk way invite visitors to negotiate it. The Black Tower construction was completed by architect Antonin in 1557.
The catacombs of the Jesuit church are the resting place of nobility, members of the Jesuit Order and their benefactors. Today, visitors can see 30 mummified bodies and other 7 bodies are stored in an inaccessible area of a crypt.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Telč - Czech Republic

Looking at these cards, sent by "lovelysunflower" and Emerich, is easy to understand why I want to visit Telč. 

Telč is one of the most beautiful towns in the Czech Republic, and the facades of the houses that surround its main square must be some of the most photographed buildings in Moravia. The historic centre of Telč was added to the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage in 1992, thanks mainly to the chateau and beautifully preserved town square.

The appearance of the Telč town square is a result of a catastrophic fire in 1530 that destroyed much of the town. When Lord Zachariáš of Hradec chose Telč as his seat shortly afterwards, he set about turning the stone castle into a stylish residential chateau, and rebuilt most of the devastated centre to a uniform plan.

Foto: Ivan Rillich
The main square is completely encircled by arcade-fronted townhouses all of similar size and proportion, but with fascinating and intricate surface decorations unique to each building. Though it's a colourful, busy place ringed with outdoor cafes and restaurants, the Telč square has essentially kept the same appearance for centuries and is one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture north of the Alps. - in: http://www.myczechrepublic.com/telc/

CZ-463786

This official from Czech republic shows all the 12 UNESCO sites in the country. I'll visit some of them in September. I'm finally going to visit the country. I'll stay in Prague, Cesky Krumlov and Brno but I also want to visit Kutna Hora and 2 or 3 other sites, especially Telc and Trebic.  

CZ-463786, sent by Blanka.
The 12 czech UNESCO sites are:
* Historic Centre of Prague (1992) - Built between the 11th and 18th centuries, the Old Town, the Lesser Town and the New Town speak of the great architectural and cultural influence enjoyed by this city since the Middle Ages;
* Historic Centre of Český Krumlov (1992) - Situated on the banks of the Vltava river, the town was built around a 13th-century castle with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements. It is an outstanding example of a small central European medieval town whose architectural heritage has remained intact thanks to its peaceful evolution over more than five centuries;
* Historic Centre of Telč (1992) - The houses in Telc, which stands on a hilltop, were originally built of wood. After a fire in the late 14th century, the town was rebuilt in stone, surrounded by walls and further strengthened by a network of artificial ponds;
* Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora (1994) - This pilgrimage church, built in honour of St John of Nepomuk was constructed at the beginning of the 18th century on a star-shaped plan, it is the most unusual work by the great architect Jan Blazej Santini, whose highly original style falls between neo-Gothic and Baroque;
* Kutná Hora: Historical Town Centre with the Church of St Barbara and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec (1995) - The Church of St Barbara, a jewel of the late Gothic period, and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec, which was restored in line with the Baroque taste of the early 18th century, were to influence the architecture of central Europe;
* Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape (1996) - Between the 17th and 20th centuries, the ruling dukes of Liechtenstein transformed their domains in southern Moravia into a striking landscape. At 200 km2 , it is one of the largest artificial landscapes in Europe;
* Holašovice Historical Village Reservation (1998) - Holašovice is an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a traditional central European village. It has a large number of outstanding 18th- and 19th-century vernacular buildings in a style known as 'South Bohemian folk Baroque', and preserves a ground plan dating from the Middle Ages;
* Gardens and Castle at Kroměříž (1998) - The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens;
* Litomyšl Castle (1999) - Litomyšl Castle was originally a Renaissance arcade-castle of the type first developed in Italy and then adopted and greatly developed in central Europe in the 16th century;
* Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc (2000) - This memorial column, erected in the early years of the 18th century, is the most outstanding example of a type of monument specific to central Europe;
* Tugendhat Villa in Brno (2001) - The Tugendhat Villa in Brno, designed by the architect Mies van der Rohe, is an outstanding example of the international style in the modern movement in architecture as it developed in Europe in the 1920s;
* Jewish Quarter and St Procopius' Basilica in Třebíč (2003) - The ensemble of the Jewish Quarter, the old Jewish cemetery and the Basilica of St Procopius in Trebíc are reminders of the co-existence of Jewish and Christian cultures from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. - source: www.unesco.org

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

FI-2119557 & FI-680949

The ID of these finnish officials are very different because the 1st one was received last week and the 2nd in 2009. I'm posting these cards together because both shows Bengtskär Lighthouse. 

 FI-2119557, sent by Mari.
Bengtskär Lighthouse is located on a rocky skerry, the southernmost inhabited place in Finland. 
The lighthouse is the highest one (52 meters) in the Nordic countries. It was built in 1906, and after falling into disrepair in the 1980s, it was reopened in 1995 as Finland's first lighthouse museum.

FI-680949, sent by Maari.
The lighthouse was bombarded in World War I, and attacked again in World War II." - in: wikipedia

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Stirling Castle - Scotland

Two beautiful cards of the Stirling Castle in Scotland. The 1st was sent by Miguel and the 2nd by Doyel. 
Every card I get from Scotland, reminds me that I must visit it as soon as possible. 

 © Colin Baxter
Stirling Castle, located in Stirling, is one of the largest and most important castles, both historically and architecturally, in Scotland. The castle sits atop Castle Hill, an intrusive crag, which forms part of the Stirling Sill geological formation. It is surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs, giving it a strong defensive position. Its strategic location, guarding what was, until the 1890s, the farthest downstream crossing of the River Forth, has made it an important fortification from the earliest times. Most of the principal buildings of the castle date from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

© Duncan I. McEwan
A few structures of the fourteenth century remain, while the outer defences fronting the town date from the early eighteenth century. Several Scottish Kings and Queens have been crowned at Stirling, including Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1542. There have been at least eight sieges of Stirling Castle, including several during the Wars of Scottish Independence, with the last being in 1746, when Bonnie Prince Charlie unsuccessfully tried to take the castle. Stirling Castle is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and is now a tourist attraction managed by Historic Scotland. - in: wikipedia

DE-3228119

The last time i've received a german card was exactly 2 months ago. Thats somehow unusual because german cards used to arrive almost every week. 
Finally, last thursday arrived this beautiful card with St. Emmeram Palace in Regensburg. 

© Lichtbilder Thomas Ferber * Regensburg
DE-3228119, sent by Sonja.
St. Emmeram Palace is the royal residence for the Thurn and Taxis dynast, which lived here for almost two hundred years after they moved from Frankfurt to Regensburg in 1748. In 1816, the palace was converted into a magnificent residence that is regarded as one of the most important examples of historicism in Germany.
As compensation for losing the Bavarian mail monopoly, the princes were given the former Abbey of St. Emmeram in 1812. From 1816, this was converted into a magnificent residence that is now considered one of Germany's finest example of historicist architecture – a revival of styles from the past. - in: http://www.germany.travel/en/towns-cities-culture/palaces-parks-gardens/st-emmeram-palace.html

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Lavertezzo - Switzerland

These cards are both showing the beautiful and old double arch stone bridge in Lavertezzo, a village in the Verzasca Valley, in the district of Locarno, canton of Ticino. 
The 1st card was sent by Óscar and the 2nd by Grace. 

 © photoglob Zürich
The old double-arched bridge Ponte dei Salti, which mistakenly is also known as "Roman Bridge", crosses the River Verzasca and was built in the 17th century. 

www.at-verlag.ch www.sondereggerfotos.ch 
The bridge is one of the main atractions of the village. 

Church of S. Maria degli Angeli, Lugano - Switzerland

Another swiss card sent by Óscar, this time a church, S. Maria degli Angeli in Lugano. He says that the outside is a bit plain but once you enter, it takes your breath away, due to an huge Renaissance fresco covering the whole wall of the nave. The "Passion and and Crucifixion of Christ" is Switzerland's most famous fresco and it was created by Bernardino Luini in the 16th century. 

© photoglob Zürich
The church, located on Piazza Bernardino Luini, was built in 1499 and was originally part of a Franciscan monastery, which was dissolved and torn down in 1848. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mercier & Neu-Thierstein Castles - Switzerland

Óscar keeps helping me with my castle collection. He already sent me a few swiss castle cards and these two are his last contribuitions. 

Edition Perrochet
 The Château Mercier occupies a superb position on Pradegg hill, above Sierre. It was built between 1906 and 1908 by the Mercier de Molin family, a well-known family of tanners from Lausanne.
A real architectural jewel of the Sierre region, ownership of the Château was transferred to the cantonal authorities in 1970, with a view to mixed use for cultural purposes and hospitality. - in: http://www.sierretourisme.ch/tourism/chateau-mercier-1046.html

Foto: Roland Gerth © photoglob.com
Neu-Thierstein Castle is a ruined castle on a small rocky outcrop above the municipality of Büsserach in the canton of Solothurn. 
The castle was founded in 1100 and a new building was built around 1294/95. The castle was apparently built by the Saugern-Pfeffingen family. As heirs of the Saugern-Pfeffingen family, in the late 12th Century, the count of Thierstein took over the castle. 
By 1400 it was known as Thierstein Castle. The castle was occupied by the Canton of Solothurn in 1445, 1467 and 1499. After the extinction of the counts of Thierstein in 1522, Solothurn acquired the castle and made it the administrative center of the secular bailiwick of Thierstein. In 1798 the castle was sold for demolition. However, in the 19th Century, the destruction of the castle are stopped by private individuals who wanted to repair the ruins. - in: wikipedia

Ribeauvillé - France

Ribeauvillé is a town in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France, located around 16 km (10 miles) north of Colmar and 75 km (47 miles) south of Strasbourg.

Photo: © Ivan Anger
Ribeauvillé is in part surrounded by ancient walls, and has many picturesque medieval houses, and two old churches, of St. Gregory and St. Augustine, both fine Gothic buildings, which can be seen on the card. 

Farol Island - Portugal

I've already said here that mail has been really slowly and this card is a perfect example of that slowness. Tiago send it in the beginning of April and I got it just a few days ago. It was an almost 2 months travel from southern Portugal to my city!! 

© al-garbdistri
Farol Island, also known as Culatra Island, is a small fishermen village filled with colourful small houses in the Algarve. 
The Cabo de Santa Maria Lighthouse was built in in 1996 as a reconstruction of an 1851 lighthouse.