Thursday, August 28, 2014

Castelo Novo - Portugal

Castelo Novo is one of the 12 portuguese Historical Villages. This is a  group of 12 villages classified under a government program called The Historic Villages Program (Programa de Aldeias Históricas). The aim of the program was to restore and promote a series of ancient villages/human settlements important to the history of Portugal. Most of the villages, 7, are located in my district but that's not the case of this one, Castelo Novo is located in the neighboring district of Castelo Branco. 
The card was a gift from Paulo.

Foto: Homem Cardoso
Situated in the east slope of Gardunha mountain range, this 650 m high Historical Village stands out for its concentrically harmonious design and the well-preserved urban structure. The streets have been drawn in accordance to the contour lines, revealing former manor houses, side by side of stone houses, small wooden verandas and vestiges of Roman paths. Among the must-see places, you should visit the Town Hall, the jail and the pillory, the drinking fountain Chafariz da Bica, Misericórdia Church and the Castle. - in: http://en.lifecooler.com/lifecooleren/castelo-novo-historical-village-historic-villages-and-towns-328209-1.html

Shepherd in Alentejo - Portugal

When I first saw this card, sent by Eduardo, I thought it was from Serra da Estrela, a mountain in my region, my I was wrong, the card is actually from Alentejo, a region in the South-Central part of Portugal. 

The area is commonly known as the "bread basket" of Portugal, a region of vast open countryside with undulating plains and rich fertile soil. With very few exceptions all the major towns are mainly reliant on agriculture, livestock and forestry. There are several types of traditional cheeses, wines and smoked hams and sausages made in the Alentejo region. - in: wikipedia

Postcrossing 9th Anniversary Meeting in Porto

Last month Postcrossing celebrated its 9th anniversary and 6 portuguese and 1 spanish postcrossers attended a meeting in lovely Porto. Luís and Zé sent me these cards, also signed by Paula, Blá, Diana, Ana and Vanesa. 

 Forways Lda. 
Porto is one of my portuguese favorite cities and this year the european citizens elected the city as Best European Destination 2014. I couldn't agree more!!
Porto is one of Europe's oldest tourist destinations. Its wealth of monumental and artistic heritage, Port Wine, open-air leisure spaces and cultural life are just some of the reasons to visit this city.
At any time of the day, 365 days of the year, Porto has a special charm for anyone visiting the city for the first time, as it does for those coming back for a second visit, to discover a city that is simultaneously modern and authentic.
In 1996, the historical centre of Porto was classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The city unfolds along the river bank and the sea shore, to reveal charming vistas, inviting esplanades and all the pleasures of the outdoors, framed by its green spaces.
Setting out to discover Porto means bumping into surprise after surprise. Whilst maintaining its welcoming and conservative nature, the city is, at the same time, contemporary and creative. This can be seen in its streets, its architectures and its monuments, its museums, its leisure spaces, its esplanades and its shopping areas which run from the traditional to the modern and exclusive. - in: http://www.europeanbestdestinations.org/destinations/porto/

Edição: Vistal Gráfica Lda * Foto: Eduard - Fotolia.com
The yellow and red Lisbon's trams are probably more famous than those in Porto but these vintage tramcars are one of the symbols of the city. Its history dates back to 1872  when the first line of "american cars” was opened in the city of Porto. STCP’s Tram network is currently made up of 3 different lines running through Porto’s most iconic. Line 22, or the Downtown Line running through Porto’s most famous downtown streets on a circular route between Carmo and Batalha /Guindais Funicular and Lift. - in: http://www.stcp.pt/en/tourism/porto-tram-city-tour/

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Toronto Meet-Up

One last card from Canada, this one from a meeting in Toronto. Marie has already been to a couple of meetings and she sends me a card averytime she attends a new one, this time was no exception. This was a meeting with 16 postcrossers, well, that's the number of signature I can count on the card. 

This is a view of Toronto's downtown featuring the Roger's Center, CN Tower and the Financial District.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Snowy views from Canada

Also from Canada, are these two lovely snowy view cards, both sent by Christine. I love them. 

 Photo © Michel Degray
Autumn's snow in Montréal. Christine says is common to see buildings with these steep stairs in the city center and also in the portuguese are. I just found out that Montreal has a modest portuguese population but one of the city's neighbourhoods is Little Portugal!! 

Photo: Claudel Huot
Château Frontenac in Quebec City is said to be the most photographed hotel in the world, and it is easy to see why. The Chateau Frontenac has towered over Old Quebec City since 1893 and resembles a castle from a fairy-tale with its grand copper turrets and majestic stone towers. Located high on a bluff overlooking the St. Lawrence River, the Chateau Frontenac’s elegant rooms have hosted royalty, world leaders and movie stars for over a century. It is more than just a grand hotel with stunning architecture- it is the symbol of the city. - in: http://www.quebeccityjourney.com/chateau-frontenac.htm

Sunday, August 24, 2014

CA-455890

An official from Canada showing the Saint Boniface Cathedral in Winnipeg. 

Copyright Property of Henry Kalen LTD.
CA-455890, sent by April.
On the back of the card: Located in French-sepaking St. Boniface, the oldest cathedral in Western Canada was founded in 1818. The original church has been replaced several times as fire destroyed the former structure. After the 1968 fire, a modern cathedral and forecourt were built within the walls of the ruins. In the graveyard are buried Bishop Provencher who founded the church and the controversial Louis Riel. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

US-2921898

This week I've only received 4 cards, all offcials and this is one of them. It shows Georgia's State Capitol in Atlanta. 

US-2921898, sent by Lee.
The Georgia State Capitol, in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States, is an architecturally and historically significant building. It has been named a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the main office building of Georgia's government. The offices of the governor, lieutenant governor, and secretary of state are on the second floor, while the General Assembly meets on the third floor from January to April. There are also visitors' galleries and a museum on the fourth floor.
Like many U.S. state capitols, the Georgia State Capitol is designed to resemble the Classical architectural style of the United States Capitol, in Washington, D.C.. - in: wikipedia
It was completed in 1889. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

American cards

These 6 american cards were sent by Chayah. They're from Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. 

Photos by John Penrod © PENROD/HIAWATHA
 Dow Gardens is a 110-acre (45 ha) botanical garden located in Midland, Michigan. It is open to the public, and currently contains over 1700 varieties of plants hardy in mid-Michigan. 
The Dow Gardens were started in 1899 by Herbert Dow, founder of The Dow Chemical Company, on eight acres (3.2 ha) of flat, sandy land. The Herbert H. Dow House is located at the southwest corner of the gardens. The Alden Dow House and Studio are on the west side of the gardens, separated by a pond. Subsequent generations of the Dow family have continued to develop the gardens. - in: wikipedia

 Photo credit: Raymond J. Malace
On the back of the card: With a drop of 48 feet, the upper Tahquamenon Falls shows its awesome beauty to thousands of visitors each year. Approximately 4 miles downstream is the lower Tahquamenon Falls. Here the Falls are split by a small island which can be reached by rowboat from the Tahquamenon State Park Information Center. 

 Photo by Ann Ledsworth
A lovely snowy view of Grand Haven South Pierhead and its two lighthouses, the Entrance Light on the right and the Inner Light on the left. They're built in 1905 to mark the entrance to the Grand River at Grand Haven, Michigan. The lights are set on a concrete breakwater extending into Lake Michigan on the south side of the river mouth. 

 © Souvenir Factory
The wooden covered bridge named the "Charles A. Harding Memorial Bridge" was built in 1998 by Amish craftsmen to replace the old steel bridge across Plum Creek. 

 Color photo by Bron Miller © Modern-Ad
The McGees Mills Covered Bridge is a historic Burr truss wooden covered bridge located near Mahaffey, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, United States. It is a 109 foot bridge built in 1873 over the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.
It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. - in: wikipedia

Photo © Blair Seitz
On the back of the card: Bruce Lake is a natural glacier lake and part of the Promised Land State Park that is surrounded by 12,464 acres of the Delaware State Forest. The Bruce Lake Natural Area contains two lakes, wetlands and many unique plants, along with an abundance of recreational apportunities. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Brazilian chapels

I'm easily impressed by gothic, romanesque, barroc and other cathedrals or churches but I also like smaller and modest religious temples, such as these two brazilian chapels in São Paulo and Minas Gerais states. 

St. Anthony Chapel is located in São Roque, city in the state of São Paulo. Built in 1681, this chapel is a notable example of the Bandeirista style, an important manifestation of Brazilian architecture from the colonial period.

Foto: Newton França
The chapel of Saint Helen is located on the ridge of Santa Helena mountain, in the municipality of Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais. The chapel was built in colonial style in 1852.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Chapada dos Veadeiros - Brazil

Brazil's Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park is located in the Chapada dos Veadeiros, an ancient plateau with an estimated age of 1.8 billion years. Based in the Brazilian state of Goias, the Park was created on January 11, 1961 by President Juscelino Kubitscheck, and listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2001, together with the Emas National Park. 

Foto: Rui Faquini / Ícone: Ion David / Projecto Gráfico: Priscila Áquila 
The Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park is part of the highest plain in Central Brazil, with its highest point being the Serra da Santana. The region is of outstanding beauty, and is made up of wide plateaus with waterfalls and crystal clear springs. The uplands give way to deep rocky canyons and valleys. The main watercourse is the Preto River, which flows on a north-west to south-west direction; the northern extremity of the park is drained by the Santana and Bartolomeu rivers.
In the region of the park and its surroundings, three landscape areas can be recognized: the Rio Claro Valley Region is a lowland area, with relatively flat, undulating terrain; the Ridge Region is located in the middle-northern portion of the park, including the Rio Preto, Santana, Capim Branco and upland areas to the south; and the Highlands Region is distributed along the central portion of the park and is characterized by a plain relief pattern with some isolated tabular hills that dot landscape. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1035

Saturday, August 16, 2014

ID-102400 & ID-3134

These are my last and 1st official cards from Indonesia, both showing the Borobudur Temple in Central Java, Indonesia. The temple is classified as UNESCO WHS since 1991. 

 Photo: Agus Leonardus
ID-102400, sent by Juned.
"Borobudur is a ninth-century Mahayana Buddhist monument in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. The monument comprises six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. A main dome, located at the center of the top platform, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupa.The monument is both a shrine to the Lord Buddha and a place for Buddhist pilgrimage. The journey for pilgrims begins at the base of the monument and follows a path circumambulating the monument while ascending to the top through the three levels of Buddhist cosmology, namely Kāmadhātu (the world of desire), Rupadhatu (the world of forms) and Arupadhatu (the world of formlessness). During the journey the monument guides the pilgrims through a system of stairways and corridors with 1,460 narrative relief panels on the wall and the balustrades. 

ID-3134, sent by Titish.
Evidence suggests Borobudur was abandoned following the fourteenth century decline of Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms in Java, and the Javanese conversion to Islam. Worldwide knowledge of its existence was sparked in 1814 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the then British ruler of Java, who was advised of its location by native Indonesians. Borobudur has since been preserved through several restorations. The largest restoration project was undertaken between 1975 and 1982 by the Indonesian government and UNESCO, following which the monument was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Borobudur is still used for pilgrimage; once a year Buddhists in Indonesia celebrate Vesak at the monument, and Borobudur is Indonesia's single most visited tourist attraction." - in: wikipedia

MY-216795

An official from Kuala Lumpur with the famous Petronas Towers, which dominates de city's skyline. 

MY-216795, sent by Catherine.
The towers are depicted through its outline, which resembles the letter "M" for Malaysia. The jagged outline subtly resembles one of Malaysia's famous traditional handicrafts – basket weaving – thus highlighting her strong cultural values.
The triangle that symbolises the skybridge acts like a fulcrum that perfectly balances Malaysia's past and future, local values and global outlook, multi-cultural background and united 1Malaysia concept. With an upward-pointing arrow to depict growth and progress, the triangle also symbolises the Twin Towers' ideal location at the heart of the Kuala Lumpur golden triangle. It is finished in the PETRONAS Green to further emphasise that the PETRONAS Twin Towers is built by our national oil company, PETRONAS.
The logo is encapsulated in a square, like a close electric circuit, to depict connectedness. - in: http://www.petronastwintowers.com.my/

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Himeji-jo - Japan

These are two beautiful cards of the Himeji-jo Castle, the largest and most visited castle in Japan. It was registered in 1993 as one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country. 
The 1st of these cards is an official, sent from Singapore, that i've received a few weeks ago and the other was sent by Noriko back in 2008. 

 SG-145728, sent by Angee.
Himeji-jo is the finest surviving example of early 17th-century Japanese castle architecture. It is located in Himeji City, in the Hyogo Prefecture, an area that has been an important transportation hub in West Japan since ancient times. The castle property, situated on a hill summit in the central part of the Harima Plain, covers 107 hectares and comprises eighty-two buildings. It is centred on the Tenshu-gun, a complex made up of the donjon, keeps and connecting structures that are part of a highly developed system of defence and ingenious protection devices dating from the beginning of the Shogun period. The castle functioned continuously as the centre of a feudal domain for almost three centuries, until 1868 when the Shogun fell and a new national government was created.

The principal complex of these structures is a masterpiece of construction in wood, combining function with aesthetic appeal, both in its elegant appearance unified by the white plastered earthen walls – that has earned it the name Shirasagi-jo (White Heron Castle) – and in the subtlety of the relationships between the building masses and the multiple roof layers visible from almost any point in the city. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/661

Taihe Palace - China

This is also a card from a chinese UNESCH WHS, Wudang Mountain Scenic Area and also associated with martial arts. The card was sent by SunXin.
Wudang Mountain which used to be called Taihe Mountain is one of the well-known Taoist sanctuaries in China, covering an area of more than 77,000 acres. It has been inscribed in the list of world heritage site by UNESCO. In the meanwhile, it is the key scenic area of China, the renowned Taoist Mountain, and the birthplace of Wudang chuan (武当拳) - one of the current martial arts in China. - in: http://www.visitourchina.com/guide/wudang_mountains.htm

Located between the Tianzhu Peak and the Golden Hall, Taihe Palace it was one of the most important architecture in Wudang Mountain.  It is believed that only those who have visited the palace have truly been to Wudang Mountain. 
This luxurious temple was first built by the Emperor Zhu Li, of the Ming Dynasty, more than 600 hundred years ago. Taoism was the official religion at the time, and Emperor Zhu himself named the temple "The Palace of Taihe on the Great Mountain". It is also called the Golden Peak because most of its parts are gilded copper. The gigantic sculpture of "Zhengwu God"(真武神), the legendary founder of Taoism, sitting in the center of the main court, is also made of copper and weighs more than 10 tons. - in: http://www.echinacities.com/Wuhan/city-guide/Best-Summer-Escape-near-Wuhan-Wudang-Mountain

Monday, August 11, 2014

Pagoda Forest at Shaolin Temple - China

Here comes a card from a new chinese UNESCO site. Founded in the fifth century, the monastery is long famous for its association with Chinese martial arts and particularly with Shaolin Kung Fu, and can probably be considered one of the most famous Buddhist monasteries.
Shaolin Monastery and its famed Pagoda Forest were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010 as part of the "Historic Monuments of Dengfeng."  in: wikipedia
The card was sent by Zihu.

The Pagoda Forest at Shaolin Temple stands at the foot of Shaoshi Mountain about half a kilometer west of Shaolin Temple in Henan Province. It is a concentration of tomb pagodas for eminent monks and abbots of the temple. A rough count shows more than 240 tomb pagodas of various sizes from the Tang, Song, Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties (618-1911), making it the biggest pagoda forest in China.
Most of the Pagoda Forest is stone and brick structures, ranging from one to seven storeys, less than fifteen meters high -- much smaller than pagodas for Buddhist relics -- and all carry the exact year of their construction and many carvings and inscriptions. They are in a variety of styles, but are mainly multi-eaved and of pavilion-style. Their shapes are varied, including polygonal, cylindrical, vase, conical and monolithic, making the pagoda forest an exhibition of ancient pagodas, carvings and calligraphy of various dynasties. Besides the pagoda forest there are many invaluable tomb pagodas scattered around the Shaolin Temple, including the Faro Pagoda built in 689 in the Tang Dynasty, the Tongguang Pagoda constructed in 926 in the Five Dynasties, the Yugong Pagoda erected in 1324 in the Yuan Dynasty, and the Zhaogong Pagoda built in the Ming Dynasty, which are gems among ancient pagodas.
The Pagoda Forest is a rare treasure for later generations to study the history of Chinese ancient architecture, carving, calligraphy, art and religion. Besides, it is a scenic spot for tourists from home and abroad. - in: http://www.chinaculture.org/gb/en_travel/2003-09/24/content_36204.htm

TR-189141

An official from Turkey with old Istanbul engravings. 

© Copyright by KESKIN COLOR KARTPOSTALCILIK A. S. 
TR-189141, sent by Gözde.
I don't have much to say about this card and the sender didn't have much to say either, she only wrote the card's ID and "best wishes from Turkey"!! 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

CZ-490616

I didn't post this card with the previous two czech official cards because this one is rather special, is my 900th received official card. The card is special and the city is also special, well, I hope I can still say this after my visit to this city. I believe I'll like it. Still 37 days to go. 

Foto: Libor Svácek
 CZ-490616, sent by Zuzana.
Prague - historical pearl of Europe - is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Textbook of architectural styles with its wealth of monuments, a city filled with music, romance and nostalgia is mainly a modern city full of life! Since 1992 the historical core of the city covering 866 hectares has been listed in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage. - in: http://www.praguewelcome.cz/en/visit/

CZ-490617

I must confess I'm not fond of older cards or repruduction of older pictures but this one is ok. 

 CZ-490617, sent by Radka.
Litoměřice is a city in the north part of the Czech Republic, approximately 64 km (40 mi) northwest of Prague.
A plethora of natural and cultural landmarks with a well-developed network of footpaths make Litoměřice a popular destination for visitors to this corner of Bohemia. Here, at the confluence of the Labe and Ohře rivers, in the picturesque region of the Czech Central Mountains, lies one of the oldest and most beautiful Czech towns, the royal town of Litoměřice, whose population nowadays is almost 26,000 people. As mute witness to the historic glory of Royal Litoměřice stand Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings, protected under an urban preservation order since the year 1978. - in: http://www.litomerice.cz/eng/
On this card is possible to see a partial view of the St. Stephen's cathedral and the bishop's residence. 

Ivan the Great Bell Tower, Moscow - Russia

I thought this beautiful building was one of the many churches in Moscow's Kremlin but it is a bell tower, the Ivan the Great Bell Tower. 
The card was sent by Tatiana "MZebra". 

On the eastern side of Cathedral Square stands the magnificent Ivan the Great Belltower, which, at a height of 81 metres, was the tallest building in all Russia for almost 400 years. It was the work of an Italian, Marco Bono, who was ordered by Ivan the Great to design a belltower for the Archangel, Assumption and Annunciation Cathedrals next to the 1329 Church of St. John Climacus-under-the Bells.

Between 1532 and 1543, architect Petrok Maliy built the four-storey Assumption Belfry, which stands next to the tower and houses the 64-ton Resurrection Bell, cast in the 19th Century. In 1624, the tent-roofed Filaret Tower was added.
In 1812, Napoleon's soldiers tore down many of the buildings of the Kremlin, and attempted to blow up the bell tower. Thankfully they failed, although the belfry and the Filaret Tower were badly damaged. They were restored in 1819 by the architect D.I. Gilardi.
There are 21 bells in the tower and belfry, of which the Assumption Bell, located in the central arch of the belfry, is the largest at 70 tons. It was always the first bell to ring on church holidays, a signal that started all the other church bells in Moscow. In 1918 the last Easter service in the Kremlin took place, and the bells of Ivan the Great did not ring again until 1992.
Wide scale restoration work was carried out in the 1950s, and an exhibition hall was created on the ground floor, which is still used for various temporary exhibitions. - in: http://www.moscow.info/kremlin/churches/ivan-great-bell-tower.aspx

Monday, August 4, 2014

St. Isaac Cathedral, St. Petersburg - Russia

I love snow, I love churches, I love these cards! Aren't they trully beautiful? I even have more cards of St. Isaac Cathedral in St. Petersburg but these are my favorites. 
The 1st card is an official and the others were sent by Alena and Elena. 

RU-2758720, sent by Tanya.
"The dome of St. Isaac’s Cathedral dominates the skyline of St. Petersburg and its gilded cupola can be seen glistening from all over the city. You can climb up the 300 or so steps to the observation walkway at the base of the cathedral’s dome and enjoy the breathtaking views over the city. 

 The church itself is an architectural marvel. Built by the French-born architect Auguste Montferrand to be the main church of the Russian Empire, the cathedral was under construction for 40 years (1818-1858), and was decorated in the most elaborate way possible. When you enter the cathedral you pass through one of the porticos - note that the columns are made of single pieces of red granite and weight 80 tons (about 177,770 pounds) each.


Inside the church many of the icons were created using moaic techniques and the iconostasis (the icon wall that separates the altar from the rest of the church) is decorated with 8 malachite and 2 lapis lazuli columns. The cathedral, which can accommodate 14,000 worshipers, now serves as a museum and services are held only on significant ecclesiastical holidays." - in: http://www.saint-petersburg.com/virtual-tour/st-isaacs-cathedral.asp