Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Dresden - Germany

I want to visit many, many cities in Germany, Dresden is definitely one of them. 
The 1st of these cards was from a friend, the 2nd was sent by Sandra and the 3rd is an official that I got last week.

Before World War II, Dresden was called “the Florence of the Elbe” and was regarded as one the world’s most beautiful cities for its architecture and museums. 
At the end of the war, Dresden was so badly damaged that the city was basically leveled. A handful of historic buildings–the Zwinger Palace, the Dresden State Opera House and several fine churches–were carefully reconstructed out of the rubble, but the rest of the city was rebuilt with plain modern buildings. - in: http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/battle-of-dresden

 In the last months of World War II, Allied bombers from the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Force conducted several major bombing raids on the eastern German city of Dresden. Beginning on the night of February 13, 1945, more than 1,200 heavy bombers dropped nearly 4,000 tons of high-explosive and incendiary bombs on the city in four successive raids. An estimated 25,000 people were killed in the bombings and the firestorm that raged afterward. More than 75,000 dwellings were destroyed, along with unique monuments of Baroque architecture in the historic city center. - in: http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2015/02/remembering-dresden-70-years-after-the-firebombing/385445/

Photo: F. Ihlow, H. Voigt, F. Exss, Verlag
On the left bank of the Elbe is Dresden's historical centre with buildings from the Renaissance, the Baroque and the 19th century. Despite being devastated in the Second World War, the Altstadt (Old Town) has kept or regained its attractive buildings.
The most well-known symbol of the rebuilding of the city centre is Dresden Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), the magnificent domed Baroque church which again dominates the Dresden skyline. After the Second World War, Neumarkt square and the symbolic ruins of the Frauenkirche remained almost untouched for half a century before also coming up for construction.

© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG
DE-5174131, sent by Manuela.
The Altstadt is the centre of city life: it is home to the city hall, the Saxon state parliament and important cultural institutions from the Old Masters Picture Gallery, Semper Opera House and the State Theatre to the Green Vault. Between Altmarkt and Neumarkt squares, Prager Strasse and Postplatz you will find plenty of places to shop, eat and drink. - in: https://www.dresden.de/en/tourism/attractions/sights/old-town.php

Monday, April 25, 2016

Nuremberg - Germany

I've already said before that Nuremberg is one of the German cities that would like to visit.
The 1st thing that comes to mind when thinking about this city is the Second World War and it is not surprising, Nuremberg was the 2nd most bombed German city during the war. The city had been the location of the Nazi Party's Nuremberg rallies and after the war the German officials involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity were brought before an international tribunal in the Nuremberg trials.
The first card, an official, shows the destruction caused by bombing during World War II and the second card, sent by Ina, shows the Church of Our Lady.

Fotos: © Stadtarchiv Nürnberg A 41 Nr. 114-7 und Bildagentur Huber
 The city was severely damaged in Allied strategic bombing from 1943–45. On 29 March 1944, RAF endured its heaviest losses in the bombing campaign of Germany. Out of more than 700 planes participating, 106 were shot down or crash landed on the way home to their base, and more than 700 men were missing, as many as 545 of them dead. More than 160 became prisoners of war. On 2 January 1945, the medieval city centre was systematically bombed by the Royal Air Force and the U.S. Army Air Forces and about ninety percent of it was destroyed in only one hour, with 1,800 residents killed and roughly 100,000 displaced. In February 1945, additional attacks followed. In total, about 6,000 Nuremberg residents are estimated to have been killed in air raids.
Despite this intense degree of destruction, the city was rebuilt after the war and was to some extent, restored to its pre-war appearance including the reconstruction of some of its medieval buildings.[12] However, over half of the historic look of the center, and especially the northeastern half of the old Imperial Free City was lost forever. - in: wikipedia

© 2008 by an SICHTEN verlag
The Frauenkirche ("Church of Our Lady") stands on the eastern side of the main market. An example of brick Gothic architecture, it was built on the initiative of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor between 1352 and 1362. The church contains many sculptures, some of them heavily restored. Numerous works of art from the Middle Ages are kept in the church. - in: wikipedia

New Schleissheim Palace - Germany

The New Schleissheim Palace is one of the three palaces that form the Schleissheim Palace Complex in a grand baroque park in the village of Oberschleißheim, a suburb of Munich, Bavaria, Germany. The palace was a summer residence of the Bavarian rulers of the House of Wittelsbach.
This card was sent by Christine.

Elector Max Emanuel, who was hoping to become the next emperor, had the New Palace built as his future residence. Originally planned as a four-wing complex, it was begun in the winter of 1700/01 under the well-known court architect Henrico Zuccalli.
The unfortunate outcome of the Spanish War of Succession, which forced Max Emanuel into exile in 1704, brought the building work to a halt after scarcely more than the shell of the main wing had been built. It was not until the elector returned from his Paris exile in 1715 that the work could be resumed.

© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG
Because of the financial situation in the country, however, the original plan consisting of a cour d'honneur complex with massive side wings, further pavilions and the Old Palace on the west side was gradually simplified. Finally all that remained of the large-scale design was the monumental main tract – the New Palace – without the wings that would have connected it to the Old Palace.
On the death of Max Emanuel at the end of February 1726, the palace complex had not yet been completed, but most of the main building was finished. Many of the rooms were still incomplete and the missing fixtures such as marble fireplaces, wall coverings, panelling and flooring were only gradually installed afterwards by Max Emanuel's son and successor, Karl Albrecht (reigned 1726-45).
Max III Joseph (reigned 1745-77), grandson of Max Emanuel and the last elector of the Old Bavarian line of the House of Wittelsbach, had the guards' hall turned into a dining hall and commissioned two richly carved palace portals from the Bavarian sculptor Ignaz Günther.
With the art collection begun by Elector Max Emanuel, Schleißheim New Palace was already a gallery palace by the end of the 18th century, and was increasingly made accessible to the public. This tradition is continued by the State Gallery of European Baroque Art, part of the Bavarian State Collection of Paintings, which is today housed in the electoral apartments and halls. It comprises works of all the main schools of this art epoch. In 2001, 300 years after the foundation stone of the New Palace was laid, this unique baroque gallery was reopened with a new layout after comprehensive restoration work. - in: http://www.schloesser-schleissheim.de/englisch/n_palace/history.htm

Aigle Castle - Switzerland

It was with these cards that Óscar and his family, wished me happy holidays in the last 2 years.
Aigle Castle is a castle in the municipality of Aigle of the Canton of Vaud in Switzerland. It is a Swiss heritage site of national significance.

© photoglob Zürich * Photo: U. Bangerter
 Built around the end of the 12th century by the Saillon family on behalf of the House of Savoy, the castle protected Aigle, controlled the Rhone valley and the access to Pays-d'Enhaut. 
The Bernese occupiers took it over in 1475 and gave it its current form. When the Lake Geneva Region obtained its independence in 1798, the castle was used as a hospital, prison and court. It has been carefully renovated since the Seventies.

© Leysin Tourisme, José Crespo - © Musée de la Vigne et du Vin, Christophe Bornand
On the initiative of Confrèrie du Guillon, Aigle Castle, which housed the Confederates' cellars, became the Museum of Vine, Wine and Labels in 1971. It preserves the winegrowing heritage of the Lake Geneva Region and describes the production of wine in the Lake Geneva Region, in Switzerland and in the neighbouring countries. There is also a collection of wine bottle labels from 52 countries from the beginning of the 19th century to 1960. - in: http://www.lake-geneva-region.ch/en/cultureheritage/castels/AigleCastle

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Baux-de-Provence - France

One more french card but this one is from Province. Is not the 1st time I receive this card. Back in 2009 Joaquim sent me a blank card and now Damien sent me a written and stamped one. 

Les Baux-de-Provence is a commune in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in southern France, in the province of Province. It has a spectacular position in the Alpilles mountains, set atop a rocky outcrop crowned with a ruined castle overlooking the plains to the south.

Photo: PEC -LT
Built in the 10th century, the castle was ruled by the lords of Baux for five hundred years. In the 15th century the lords of Baux were superseded by the barons of the Masons des Comptes de Provence. This was a golden for the castle, before it came under the control of the Kings of France.
From the 16th century on, family feuds and war of religion brought on the decline of the town until the fortress was pulled down in 1633 on the orders of Louis XIII.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Strasbourg - France

Strasbourg is the capital city of Alsace and the beautiful Kammerzell House is one of the most famous buildings of the city. 
The card was sent by Ara.
Kammerzell House is one of the most ornate and well preserved medieval civil housing buildings in late Gothic architecture in the areas formerly belonging to the Holy Roman Empire.

 Photo © Olivier Anger * Combier Group Editor
Built in 1427 but twice transformed in 1467 and 1589, the building as it is now historically belongs to the German Renaissance but is stylistically still attached to the Rhineland black and white timber-framed style of civil (as opposed to administrative, clerical or noble) architecture.
It is situated on the Place de la Cathédrale, north-west of the Strasbourg Cathedral, with whose rosy colour it contrasts in a picturesque way when seen from the opposite direction.
The building's inside has been decorated on all floors by lavish frescoes by Alsatian painter Léo Schnug (1878-1933). It now houses a restaurant. - in: wikipedia

Colmar - France

Celina, Ara and Rafal have been to Colmar and they all said it is a wonderful town. Looking at these cards, I trully believe them. My must visit list is way too long, Colmar is certainly there. 

 Photos © Olivier Anger * Combier Group Editor
Colmar is a town with many attractions and an undeniable charm all its own including half-timbered houses, flower-decked town centre and the canals,  giving it its reputation of the “Little Venice of Alsace”.

COMBIER Groupe Editor * Photo: ©Ivan Anger
For Georges Duhamel (as he wrote in 1931), Colmar was the "most beautiful town in the world". It has also often been said that it is the most Alsatian town in Alsace! Without going over the top with superlatives, Colmar undoubtedly remains an exceptional town due to the wealth and variety of its historical and architectural heritage.

The capital of central Alsace, situated near Germany and Switzerland between the Vosges and the Rhine, Strasbourg and Mulhouse, the town offers visitors an exciting glimpse of 1000 years of European history. 
Besides, with its 67,000 inhabitants, Colmar retains a 'country town' atmosphere which contributes so much to its charm. Wonderfully preserved from the ravages of time, its homogenous historical centre is classed as a 'protected area' and has benefited from careful restoration and ongoing improvements for more than 20 years. - in: https://www.tourisme-colmar.com/en/discover

Friday, April 15, 2016

Bordeaux - France

Everytime Óscar comes to Portugal, he makes some strategic stops along the way. These strategic stops mean new World Heritage Sites. This time he stopped in Bordeaux, a city located in the southwest of France, classified as a UNESCO WHS since 2007.
The 2nd card was sent by Nancy 6 years ago.

Editions RENE * Photo: Drouot
The Port of the Moon, port city of Bordeaux in south-west France, is inscribed as an inhabited historic city, an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble, created in the age of the Enlightenment, whose values continued up to the first half of the 20th century, with more protected buildings than any other French city except Paris. It is also recognized for its historic role as a place of exchange of cultural values over more than 2,000 years, particularly since the 12th century due to commercial links with Britain and the Low Lands. Urban plans and architectural ensembles of the early 18th century onwards place the city as an outstanding example of innovative classical and neoclassical trends and give it an exceptional urban and architectural unity and coherence. Its urban form represents the success of philosophers who wanted to make towns into melting pots of humanism, universality and culture. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1256

Connecting the left and right banks of the Garonne, commissioned by Napoleon and inaugurated in 1822, the Pont de Pierre was the first bridge ever built in Bordeaux.
Until then, it was necessary to cross the river by boat. 
The bridge has 17 spans... which is also the number of letters in the name Napoleon Bonaparte. The Pont de Pierre was the only bridge to connect the city's historic centre on the left bank and the La Bastide district on the right bank for nearly 150 years.
Today, it is crossed by an ultramodern tramway and is one of half a dozen bridges. The Pont de Pierre nevertheless has a special place in the hearts of the Bordelais, who admire its elegance. The also scrutinise the bridge's piles to ascertain the level of the tide. - in: http://www.bordeaux-tourism.co.uk/offre/fiche/pont-de-pierre/PCUAQU033V500O5D

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral - Spain

Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, is internationally known as one of the most famous pilgrimage destinations in the world.
Since the ninth century, pilgrims from around the world, travel through kilometers on foot to venerate the relics of the Apostle James the Greater, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ, whose alleged tomb is in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
In 1985 the city's Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This city is on the top of my spanish must visit list. The 1st of these cards was brought from there from my cousins, the 2nd was sent by Vanesa and I bought the last one somewhere in Portugal . 

A small church was first built over the tomb of St. James shortly after it was discovered in 819 AD. This was destroyed by al-Mansur's Moorish army in 997, though Almansor left the relics of the Apostle undisturbed. He did, however, force Santiago's citizens to carry the bells of the tower to the mosque in Cordoba (they have since been returned).
Despite its Baroque facade, the present cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is predominantly Romanesque; in fact, one of the finest Romanesque churches in Spain. Construction began in 1060 in the reign of Alfonso VI and was completed in 1211.
Various elements were added in later centuries, culminating in the dramatic Baroque transformation of the exterior in the 16th-18th centuries. The interior of the cathedral, however, retains its pure Early Romanesque style.

www.lafabricadenikis.com
 The remains of St. James, the raison d'être of the cathedral, were lost in 1700 after being hidden before an English invasion. Fortunately, they were rediscovered during building work in 1879.
Actually, three skeletons were found, presumed to be James and two of his disciples. The one belonging to the Apostle was identified thanks to a church in Tuscany, which possessed a piece of his skull that exactly fitted a gap in one of the discovered skulls. The identity was confirmed in 1884 by Pope Leo XIII and reinforced by John Paul II's visit in 1982.

The spectacular Baroque facade of the cathedral, known as the Obradoiro facade, was added between 1738 and 1750 by an obscure local architect, Fernando de Casas. Made of granite, it is flanked by huge bell towers and adorned everywhere with statues of St. James as the pilgrim, with staff, broad hat and scallop-shell badge.
The ground rises to the cathedral, which is reached by a magnificent quadruple flight of steps, flanked by statues of David and Solomon. Access to the staircase is through fine wrought-iron gates marked with a seashell. - in: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/spain/santiago-cathedral

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Valência - Spain

Last December Vitória had plans to go to Prague but instead of going to Czech Republic, se went to Valência in Spain. 

Triangle Postales * Foto © Joan M. Linares
The Serranos Towers are considered to be the largest Gothic city gateway in all of Europe, and were constructed at the end of the 14th century by Pere Balaguer as part of the city's fortification. They provisionaly housed prison cells and served as a triumphal arch on many festive and solemn occasions. You can enjoy splendid views of the city and the river Turia from its terraces.
Construction on these large guard towers was finished in 1391. They were once the main entrance to the city in the long-since destroyed wall. From an architectural point of view, they are both pentagon-shaped, connected by a common gallery, and decorated with gothic designs on the borders. On the top there are parapets, and, around the entire structure, you can see the remains of the old moat. - in: http://www.valencia-cityguide.com/tourist-attractions/monuments/torres-de-serranos.html

Ínsua Fort - Portugal

Last month Vitória went to the north of Portugal and visited a few places in the Minho region. One of the places she visited was Caminha, from where she sent me this card with the Ínsua Fort. 

Nunes de Almeida Editores: Postais de Portugal
Ínsua Fort was built in the seventeenth century, under the reign of King John IV to defend the Convent of Santa Maria de Ínsua (built by the Franciscan Order in the century XIV), which is in the main square of the fort, and strengthen the defense of the Portuguese coast during the War of Restoration.
Note also that has a well of fresh water, one of only three in the world located in the sea. The fortress can be visited by the public, and the crossing to Ínsua provided by the Captaincy of the Port of Caminha.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Arte Xávega - Portugal

Both these cards represent a traditional fishing technique still used in a few portuguese beaches, mainly in the Central Region. These cards, sent from Zé and Sofia are from Praia da Vieira and Mira. 

 Fotografia: Oswaldo Santos
The Arte-Xávega dates from the nineteenth century, time when fishermen go out by boat to launch their fishnets into the sea.The fishnets measured about 300 meters, reaching in some cases 600 (in the four paddle boats). The fishnets were made of linen, which made them heavier, requiring many people to transport them to the boat, and particularly pulling them to land. The Xávega demanded a great collective effort.

Fotografia: Oswaldo Santos
Returning from the labor, the fishnets were removed from the sea to the coast, with the help of yoke of oxen, as well as a multitude of men and women who collaborated in this difficult task of pulling the fishnet across the sand and removing from it all the fish. - in: http://www.rotadabairrada.pt/experiencias/arte-xavega-da-praia-da-tocha_en_1230
Nowadays the nets are pulled out from the sea by tractors.

Silves - Portugal

Silves is one of the cities in the Algarve that I really want to visit! Inês is from there and she says is worth to visit, Susana has been there and says the same. I've no idea when will I finally go to Algarve but I know for sure that I'll visit Silves. 

 Foto © Art & Concept: Gustav A. Wittich | © Edição Vistal
The origin of this town traces back to some 1.000 BC and it was already a notable place in Roman times. 
The earthquake of 1755 destroyed most of the town and its historic buildings. The remains of the Moorish castle are still impressive, and the huge underground water reservoir is still used by the city today.  On the site of a Mosque the Cathedral was built in the 13th Century and suffered significant alteration over the time.

 © Michael Howard Photography www.mikehowardphoto.com
The tumulous city of yesterday is today a quiet market town surrounded by the largest orange growing area in Portugal. Cork is processed locally. North to the fertile valleys is an area of attractive forest covered hills leading to the mountains of Monchique. The dams of Arade and Foz are well worth visiting for the beauty of their natural setting. - in: http://www.algarve-portal.com/en/cities/silves/

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Capelinhos - Portugal

I said on the last post that in August I'll be on 2 of the Azores islands. One of them is Faial, where this card is from. Unfortunelly I'll only stay there a couple of hours, I'll only have time to visit the Horta city. I'd love to visit the Capelinhos volcano but that won't be possible. 
This nice card was sent by Lurdes last December to wish me happy holidays. 

Fotografia © Maurício Abreu
The Capelinhos is a monogenetic volcano located on the western coast of the island of Faial in the Azores. 
The volcanic eruption that lasted for 13 months, from September 27, 1957 until October 24, 1958, enlarged the land by 2.4 km², destroyed 300 houses and caused the evacuation of 2,000 people. 
The volcano is now a landmark on Faial; its ruined lighthouse and Visitors Center (which lies along the cliff from the volcano) is a tourist destination. Although the volcano is dangerous (due to its dormant state and relief), a trail network runs from the Visitors Center and lighthouse to the caldera summit. On September 27, 2007, commemorations marked the 50th anniversary of the eruption and its effects on the islands history and people which were broadcast in Portugal and throughout the Azorean diaspora. - in: wikipedia

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Angra do Heroísmo - Portugal

I've been to the Terceira island in 2012 and this was pretty much the view I had from my hotel room in Angra do Heroísmo. 
Luís visited this island and another one last November and next August I'll visit 2 island too. I can't wait to visit the Azores again. 

© www.veracor.pt
This card shows a partial view of Angra do Heroísmo with Monte Brasil in the background. 
Monte Brasil is an extinct volcano that emerged from the sea to join the city of Angra do Heroísmo. It is a protected landscape and the city's natural park. Monte Brasil has excellent viewpoints and tree and shrub species that are of special interest. - in: http://en.artazores.com/terceira/visita.php

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Meeting in Tavira - Portugal

The meeting in Tavira, Algarve, is a much more recent meeting, it took place by the end of last February. Algarve is way too far for me, well, I was on holidays that week but I wasn't in the country, so I missed one more meeting. Paula, Zé, Vitória, Rita and Ninocas didn't miss it and sent me all these nice cards. 

Photo 2011 Nuno Antunes * Design Ventos Maiores
In traditional architecture, color brightens up the houses. The addition of pigments to whitewash help the corners, the friezes, the cornices and bas-reliefs stand out. Such combinations add elegance and harmony to the buildings. 

 © Michael Howard photography * www.mikehowardphoto.com
Grilled sardines are an institution in the Algarve and are traditionally served with the rough farmhouse bread that is unique to the region.
How to eat grilled Sardines the Algarvean way:
1. Place a grilled sardine on a slice of the bread
2. Without using your hands, chew off the meat on one side of the sardine
3. Flip the fish and eat all the meat on the other side, leaving just the skeleton of the fish. (This is an art and takes a lot of practice.)
4. Replace the skeleton with a fresh sardine and continue in this way until all the fish have been consumed
5. Only then do you eat the delicious oil soaked bread! 
This dish is traditionally served with a “mountain salad” of finely chopped tomatoes, green peppers, onions, sprinkled with oregano and served with oil and vinegar dressing. A veritable feast, even if eaten with knife and fork! - in: http://meravista.com/en/algarve/information/fun-stuff/sardine-festivals-in-the-algarve

 Foto © W. Müller * Art & Concept: G. A. Wittich
Manuel Bivar Garden (former Queen Square) in Faro was already a main square during the Christian conquest and it has always maintained its centrality provided for it has always been linked to administration offices and port activities.
Before the 17th century it already had important buildings around it such as the Hospital and Church of Mercy. In the late 19th century it would change its name to Codfish Garden, due to its shape. Throughout the 18th and 19th century the Customs House and Civil Govern (Central Administration office) are built.
With several alteration to its initial surroundings (establishment of a branch of the Bank of Portugal, a fire department, tax offices) this space is considered the city centre, integrating Faro’s Historic Centre.
This tree lined space is especially used in the summer to host some fairs and cultural manifestations. - in: http://cm-faro.pt/preview.aspx?pageID=5879

 © al-garbdistri
Although the bridge itself is not Roman neither has a Roman origin. It was built when Tavira belonged to al-Andalus (the Islamic Domain of Iberia), most probably in the 2nd half of the 12th century. Then, for a few decades Tavira was an independent commune, before being submitted to the Almohade Empire.
The bridge was a fundamental element of the medieval defence of Tavira and its associated main road, limited with towers in both sides. It had houses on it in the Middle Ages. By 1550 it had apparently a movable wooden floor which could be removed by security reasons. The old bridge collapsed in 1655, being then deeply rebuilt in its present form.
The Bridge, once crossed by cars and people, was partially destroyed again by a flood on the 3rd of December 1989, and restored some time later, but now just pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles are allowed. Tavira always managed to maintain its original appearance and yet, evolve in time. - in: http://tavira.algarvetouristguide.com/attractions/the-old-roman-bridge

Foto ©, Art & Concept: Gustav A. Wittich
The Republic Square, located along the river and the old bridge, is the center of Tavira. The Town Hall building is located here. In the center of this square stands the monument to the fighters of the First World War. In the front of the building of the Municipality of Tavira, is the Tourist Office of the Algarve Tourism.