Monday, May 30, 2016

Kuks - Czech Republic

These are the last czech cards sent by Emerich.

Kuks is a village in the Czech Republic, Hradec Králové Region. Its main feature is a baroque spa building with famous sculptures by Matthias Braun.

The large baroque complex in the valley of the Elbe River was constructed between 1692 and 1724 on the demand of count František Antonín Špork, the owner of the mansion. He had big plans for the locality, gradually starting to realise the large-scale transformation of the valley into a summer resort, which became the spa and social centre of the period nobility. One of the most representative spas in Bohemia of the time was built on the left bank. Gradually, a staircase with a chateau, a theatre, a race track, spa houses, guest houses and Philosophers’ House with a library were constructed. The importance of the local spa already started to decline during the life of earl Špork and its destiny was definitely sealed after his death. Consequently, today there is practically nothing left from the buildings on the left bank except for the cascade staircase to the Elbe River. 

Foto © Petr Toman
However, the right bank of the Elbe River is much more interesting. In 1696, earl Špork decided to found a hospital for the old veterans from the surrounding area at his mansion. He had the hospital and the Holy Trinity Church and crypt of an earl built according to the project of Italian architect Giovanni Battista Alliprandi. The monumental space in front of the church’s frontage and hospital is decorated by sculptures made by the significant baroque sculptor Matyáš Bernard Braun. The sculpture decoration was created from 1712 to 1731 and depicts the Allegory of Religion and a number of Virtues and Vices. 
Nowadays, the Kuks complex serves as a historical museum with exhibitions of baroque art and development of medicine. It is possible to visit the church, the gardens, the earl’s tombs as well as the perfectly preserved baroque pharmacy from 1743. - in: http://www.czech.cz/en/Business/Czech-companies/Kuks-Hospital-National-Cultural-Monument

Photo by Lubomír IMLAUF
Three kilometers from Kuks is Braun’s Nativity Scene, another creation of the sculptor of the twelve virtues and vices. This one, however, is open air. The collection of statues and carved grottos in the middle of the woods is a little eerie: hermits, saints, headless bodies, and more than a few skulls.
Braun was assisted by members of his workshop who included some of the best late-Baroque sculptors in Bohemia. The group of Biblical and other scenes sculptures are cut into living rock.
Due to various circumstances, only a torso has survived from the original complex and in spite of the toll taken by the elements over the years, still remains a unique example of Baroque sculpture at its best in Central Europe.
The scenes which have been preserved are the Nativity and the Advent of Three Kings, the gigantic figures of the legendary hermits, Onufrius and Juan Garinus, as well as John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, The Vision of St. Hubert and the Jacob´s Well.
In 2000 Braun´s Nativity was, by the World Monuments Fund, put on the list of 100 most endangered monuments in the world. In 2001 this collection was proclaimed a National Monument.
These sculptures are also on the Unesco Tentative List.

Church of St. Mary, Broumov - Czech Republic

This church is found at the edge of the town of Broumov in Eastern Bohemia, just a few kilometres from the Polish border. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it is the oldest wooden church still standing in the Czech Republic and one of the oldest wooden buildings in Bohemia. The settlement of Broumov was originally founded in 1171 and the first church was constructed on this site a few years later in 1177. 

Foto: Horst Bauer
An invasion of the town by Hussite troops in 1421 caused severe damage to the church, and in 1449 it was struck by lightning and burned almost to the ground. The church was completely rebuilt in 1450-1451 in the form that we can see today. A windstorm damaged the tower of the church in 1550, which required extensive repairs. Further alterations to the tower and roof were made in 1811. 
The roofed porch gallery which surrounds the church was originally enclosed with wooden siding, but this was removed in 1779. Wooden planks attached to the walls of the gallery are covered with inscriptions which provide a chronicle of the town's history, recording the years of disasters such as fires, floods, invasions and the plague.
The wooden beams of the ceiling are decorated with stencil decorations of plant and animal themes. These decorations likely date from the time of the reconstruction in 1450, and they have a strong resemblance to those found in wooden churches across the border in Polish Silesia. 
The main altar is designed in the rococo style and also features a late-Gothic statue of the Virgin Mary.
In 2008 the church was declared a Czech national cultural monument. - in: http://carpathianwoodenchurches.blogspot.pt/2011/11/broumov-czech-republic.html

Plzeň

Plzeň is a city in western Bohemia in the Czech Republic, about 90 kilometres west of Prague. It is the fourth most populous city in the country.

© Ivan Rillich
The structure that really dominates Plzeň is the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew. Its building started together with foundation of the city and it was completed at the beginning of the 16th century. The cathedral is a national monument as well as housing the argillite statue on the main altar - the famous Plzeň Madonna. The statue represents the so-called “Beautiful style“ of the Gothic period. The Cathedral boasts as having the tallest church spire in the Czech Republic (102,6 m). From its galleries you can see the entire city and its surroundings from the height of 60 metres. The Šternberk Chapel with the overhanging roof bolt dates from the 1st half of the 16th century. In 1993, Pope John Paul IInd established the Bishopric in Plzeň and St. Bartholomew became the cathedral. The statuary on the outer eastern side of the cathedral shows Christ on the Mount of Olives protected by a number of little angels, one of which will fulfil your secret wish according to the legend.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Nové Město nad Metují Castle - Czech Republic

Emerich is one of the 10.000 inhabitants in Nové Město nad Metují, a town in the Hradec Králové Region, north of the Czech Republic, a few miles from the Polish border. 
All of these cards of the castle were sent by him. 

 The castle of Nové Město nad Metují is a part the town historical preserve and is located in the west corner of the square. It was built together with the town itself, originally as a gothic style fort. Historical recourses say that the foundation stone of the town and the castle was laid on the 10th of August 1501 at 2 p.m., by Jan Černčický of Kácov, the owner of the estate.
After the town fire in 1526, Jan Černčicky sold the estate to the Pernstejns, who were important and wealthy noble family of the time. Following the then modern Renaissance concepts, they began with renovations of their new residence and the town itself. The estate was then sold to Protestant noble family from Styria – the Stubenberks. They completed the renaissance renovations of the town and the castle became a Renaissance chateau.  After the Estates Rebellion of 1620, in which the Stubenberks took the part of the anti-imperialist side, the Nové Město estate was confiscated by the emperor Ferdinand II. 

Foto: Ivan Rillich
The property and possesions were consequently given away by the Emperor as a reward for the assassination of the nobles. A Scottish noble, Walter of Leslie, a chief constable of Cheb at the time, later promoted to a field-marshal and a count of the empire, obtained the Nove Město estate. Under the reign of the House of Leslie, the Chateau received its most extensive renovations. The Baroque style structural changes and additions accomplished during this time remain to this day.

Foto: Lubomír Imlauf
After purchasing the Nové Město Estate in 1908, the Bartons embarked on an extensive renovation of the Chateau. The entire project was placed in the hands of unique Czechoslovak architects - Dusan Jurkovic and Pavel Janak. The chateau turned into a modern residence decorated by renowned Czech craftsmen, designers and artists of the early 20th century. While incorporating the modern styles such as Art-Noveau, Art-Deco, Cubism and Functionalism, their prime objective was the preservation and restoration of all historical elements of the entire structure. On top of that, the castle was equipped with many technical conveniences, i.e. water piping, central heating, electricity, telephones and a home and a dumbwaiter elevators. Thanks to all this the Nove Mesto Castle is a prime example of an unique historical monument adaptation. The Bartons owned the place until 1948. It was then put under state control and managed by the Czech state until 1991.
In 1992, Josef Marian Bartoň-Dobenín, restituted not only the castle but also the estates that used to belong to the family before 1948. In 2013, his son Joseph Michael Barton Dobenin, took over the family property and is the current owner of the castle as well as holding other posts in family business.
Since 1992, the castle is the property of the Bartoň-Dobenín family once again and is open to the public for tours and events. - in: http://www.zameknm.cz/en/castle-history.html

Pardubice - Czech Republic

Pardubice is a city in the Czech Republic. It is the capital city of the Pardubice Region and lies on the river Elbe, 96 kilometres east of Prague.
The 1st card was sent by Claire and the 2nd by Emerich.

Arnošt of Pardubice, the Velká Pardubická Steeplechase, the Golden Helmet, gingerbread – this is just a brief list of what Pardubice is famous for in the minds of people in the Czech Republic and the entire world. 
Pardubice lies on the point where the Labe and Chrudimka rivers meet and dates back to more than 700 years. 
The city experienced its greatest flourishing during the time, when the estate belonged to the noble family the Pernštejns, who gave the historical centre of Pardubice’s its appearance. 

© Ivan Rillich
The beginnings of the feudal residence on the site of the chateau go back to the end of the 13th century. It underwent numerous reconstructions. The most significant took place at the end of the 15th century and beginning of the 16th century under the rule of the lords of Pernštejn. The original castle was transformed into a palace. A new, massive fortress was built around it. Thus, a combination of a castle and chateau was created. No building of this type has been preserved to this extent in Central Europe. Highly valuable remains of early renaissance wall paintings, two soffit ceilings, plus valuable elements of architecture such as the entry portal. The Pernštejns sold the chateau and manor to the King in 1560. The last significant reconstructions date back to the 1570s. The original furnishings of the interior were not preserved. The chateau is now the residence of the Museum of East Bohemia in Pardubice and part of the area is also used by the Gallery of East Bohemia. - in: http://www.visitpardubice.com/

Sloup v Čechách - Czech Republic

Sloup v Čechách is a small village in the Liberec Region, north Bohemia. The village's attraction is the Sloup Rock Castle. 
This and the previous polish card, were sent by Emerich. 

© 2014, fotografie Ladislav Renner
The Sloup Rock Castle was built probably at the end of the 13th century by House of Ronovci on a lonely inaccessible sandstone rock massive. The castle, around 1420 seat of robber knight Mikeš Pancír of Smolno, was almost impregnable because on one side it was protected by a row of ponds along the rock massive. However, the castle was conquered in the 1445 and left desolate and finally was burned down in 1639 by the Swedish army.
From the medieval structures remain only those parts carved into the rock. In 1670-1785 the dilapidated castle became a place for hermits, who adjusted it to their needs. Emperor Joseph II abolished the hermitage in end of 18th century and the Kinský noble family reconstructed the castle into a romantic summer residence. - in: http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM8AR9_Skaln_hrad_Sloup_Sloup_Rock_Castle_Sloup_v_Cechch_North_Bohemia
Little has been preserved of the original structure on the elevated plateau, although the spaces sunk into the rock can be clearly seen today like the dungeon, well, hermitage, passage and the terraced walkways. In the former prison, dungeon carvings have been preserved, which were dug out of the walls by former prisoners. Sloup has now become a romantic place for outings and occasionally candlelit concerts and historical jousting matches are held. - in: wikipedia

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Radom - Poland

Radom is a city in east-central Poland with 219,703 inhabitants. It is located 100 kilometres south of Poland's capital, Warsaw, on the Mleczna River.

Dariusz Krakowiak
The Bernardine church and monastery was founded by Casimir IV of Poland, built in the years 1468–1507.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Włocławek - Poland

Włocławek is a town in central Poland, situated on the rivers Vistula and Zgłowiączka, with a population of 113,939.
On this card sent by Emerich, is possible to see the st. Mary Assumption Cathedral and part of the Marschall Edward Rydz-Śmigły Bridge. 

Dariusz Krakowiak
The Gothic Cathedral under the name of the St. Mary Assumption was built in 1340-1411. It is one of the oldest and highest (86 m) churches in Poland. 

Gediminas Castle - Lithuania

I bought a few cards in Vilnius but I haven't seen any Gediminas Castle cards. Maybe Evelina saw that I didn't have any cards of the castle when decided to send me this one. Ačiū!

It is said that Gediminas Castle was built when the Duke of Lithuania Gediminas had a prophetic dream. This small but powerful castle withstood numerous Crusader attacks. Now Vilnius is unthinkable without it, and the tower of the castle became a symbol of not only the capital city, but also of Lithuania. And it is not surprising that this red-brick building overlooking the magnificent panorama of the capital city of Lithuania is a must in the list of many tourists coming to our country.

Photo: Laimonas Ciunys
Gediminas Castle was built and to date is one of the most beautiful Old Town embellishments. It is clearly visible from every place. Like Vilnius, the castle was first mentioned in 1323. By the way, during the reign of Gediminas, the Castle was not only a political centre of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, but also part of the defensive complex. On 1 January 1919, after the restoration of the state of Lithuania, the flag of Lithuania was officially raised for the first time on the Gediminas Castle Tower. - in: http://www.lithuania.travel/en-gb/attractions/gediminas-castle/17125

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Pskov Kremlin - Russia

This card is so, so beautiful. It was in my favorites and I got it thanks to Svetlana with whom I traded some time ago. 

Pskov is one of the oldest cities in Russia. The city located about 20 kilometers (12 mi) east from the Estonian border, on the Velikaya River. 

The Krom is the main attraction of Pskov, its architectural and historical center. This old building, majestically rising on a rocky promontory, is considered one of the best examples of ancient Russia defensive architecture. The height of the strong walls of Krom, occupying an area of 3 ha, comes to 8 meters, while their thickness is 6 meters.
Nobody knows, when the Kremlin walls were established, or when its first tower out of its numerous ones (there are seven of them with a sightseeing platform, built on the Vlasiev Tower) was erected, while the Kremlin fortress as already existing one was first mentioned in written records of 1605.
The Pskov Kremlin, together with the other city’s fortifications, experienced more than a hundred wars and dozens of sieges, but actually, was destroyed only once - as a result of betrayal, rather than the fall of the walls. This long-suffering fortification surrendered only to the fascist invasion: after occupation by the Nazi, the Krom, which was in active military use nearly 1,000 years, turned into ruins. - in: http://www.advantour.com/russia/pskov/pskov-kremlin.htm

Church of the Intercession at Fili - Russia

Another beautiful russian church. The card was sent by Yulia. 

West of Moscow's center, Fili is a residential neighbourhood that was once the estate of Lev Naryshkin (brother-in-law to Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich and uncle to Peter the Great). The story goes that Naryshkin’s brothers were killed in the Moscow uprising of 1682. In their honour, he constructed the Church of the Intercession at Fili. This spectacular church, a red-brick wedding cake topped with gilded domes, is a stunning example of the architectural style that came to be known as Naryshkin baroque. - in: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/russia/moscow/sights/religious/church-intercession-fili

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Kazan Cathedral - Russia

Two nice cards of the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg. The 1st was sent by Anna 8 years ago and the 2nd arrived last March. 

The impressive Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan. Kazan Cathedral, constructed between 1801 and 1811 by the architect Andrei Voronikhin, was built to an enormous scale and boasts an impressive stone colonnade, encircling a small garden and central fountain. The cathedral was inspired by the Basilica of St. Peter's in Rome and was intended to be the country's main Orthodox Church. After the war of 1812 (during which Napoleon was defeated) the church became a monument to Russian victory. Captured enemy banners were put in the cathedral and the famous Russian Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov, who won the most important campaign of 1812, was buried inside the church.

RU-4482524, sent by Irina.
The cathedral was named after the "miracle-making" icon of Our Lady of Kazan, which the church housed till the early 1930s. The Bolsheviks closed the cathedral for services in 1929, and from 1932 it housed the collections of the Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism, which displayed numerous pieces of religious art and served anti-religious propaganda purposes. A couple of years ago regular services were resumed in the cathedral, though it still shares the premises with the museum, from whose name the word "atheism" has now been omitted. - in: http://www.saint-petersburg.com/virtual-tour/kazan-cathedral.asp

Finlandia Hall - Finland

When it comes to architecture, I like historical styles, such as Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque, Renaissance and others. I must confess its hard for me to see beauty in modern architecture. Sorry Mr. Aalto, but I really don't like this!
The card was sent by Damien who visited Finland last January. 

The Finlandia Hall is a congress and event venue in the centre of Helsinki on the Töölönlahti Bay. The building, which was designed by architect Alvar Aalto, was completed in 1971. 
Finlandia Hall is one of the most iconic buildings designed by world-renowned Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto, and was planned from the ground up for visitors and a wide range of events. In addition to his overall vision for the building, Aalto designed many of its details, such as the lights and door handles, creating something very unique in the process. The building complements the surrounding park and forms an almost unbroken link with the local landscape. The interior includes many typical Aalto features, such as asymmetrical forms and natural materials and colours. - in: https://www.finlandiatalo.fi/en/are-you-a-visitor

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Newgrange - Ireland

I'm not only collecting cards from UNESCO sites, I also love to visit UNESCO sites and when I travel I always try to visit at least one site. In Ireland I visited Newgrange, the most famous monument within the Neolithic Brú na Bóinne complex, classified as WHS in 1993. 
The 1st of these cards was bought by me at the  Brú na Bóinne Visitor Center and the others were sent by Seamus, Claudia and Brian. 

Newgrange is a Stone Age monument in the Boyne Valley, County Meath, Ireland. It was built about 3200 BC during the Neolithic period, which makes it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. Newgrange is a large circular mound with a stone passageway and chambers inside. The mound is ringed by 'kerbstones' engraved with artwork. 
Archaeologists classified Newgrange as a passage tomb, however Newgrange is now recognised to be much more than a passage tomb. Ancient Temple is a more fitting classification, a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance. 
The passage and chamber is aligned with the rising sun on the winter solstice.

 Photography by Tom Kelly
IE-114018, sent by Seamus
On the mornings around the winter solstice, the rising sun shines directly along the long passage into the chamber for about 17 minutes and illuminates the chamber floor. Professor Michael J. O'Kelly was the first person in modern times to observe this event on 21st December 1967. The sun enters the passage through a specially contrived opening, known as a roofbox, directly above the main entrance. Although solar alignments are not uncommon among passage graves, Newgrange is one of few to contain the additional roofbox feature. 
The alignment is such that although the roofbox is above the passage entrance, the light hits the floor of the inner chamber.
Anyone visiting the historic site can experience an approximation of the phenomenon any time of year, and is often the highlight of the tour. A lottery is held annually for "tickets" to allow the holder into the tomb to view the actual event. 

 Photos by H. Rooney & M. Diggin
IE-42173, sent by Claudia.
The Newgrange monument primarily consists of a large mound, built of alternating layers of earth and stones, with grass growing on top and a reconstructed facade of white quartz stones studded at intervals with rounded cobbles covering part of the circumference. The mound is 76 metres (249 ft) across and 12 metres (39 ft) high, and covers 4,500 square metres (1 acre) of ground. Within the mound is a chambered passage, which can be accessed by an entrance on the south-eastern side of the monument. The passage stretches for 19 metres (60 ft), or about a third of the way into the centre of the structure. At the end of the passage are three small chambers off a larger central chamber, with a high corbelled vault roof. Each of the smaller chambers has a large flat "basin stone", which was where the bones of the dead were probably deposited. 

 Photo: Liam Blake
Newgrange contains various examples of Megalithic Art including circles, spirals, arcs, chevrons and lozenges, radials. One of the most notable examples of art at Newgrange is the triskele-like features found on the entrance stone. It is about 10 foot (2 meters). long and 4 foot (1.2 meters) high and about 5 tons in weight. It has been described as "one of the most famous stones in the entire repertory of megalithic art." Archaeologists believe that most of the carvings were produced prior to the stones being erected in place, although the entrance stone was instead carved in situ before the kerbstones were placed alongside it. - inhttp://www.boynevalleytours.com/newgrange.htm

Melrose Abbey - Scotland

I didn't send a card from Edinburgh but I sent myself a card from Melrose, a small town in the Scottish Borders, where is located one of the most beautiful monastic ruins in Great Britain, Melrose Abbey. As it was possible to take pictures from the other side of the fence, I didn't get in. 

© Graeme Peacock
St Mary's Abbey, Melrose is a partly ruined monastery of the Cistercian order in Melrose. It was founded in 1136 by Cistercian monks on the request of King David I of Scotland, and was the chief house of that order in the country until the Reformation. It was headed by the Abbot or Commendator of Melrose. Today the abbey is maintained by Historic Scotland.
The east end of the abbey was completed in 1146. Other buildings in the complex were added over the next 50 years. The abbey was built in the Gothic manner, and in the form of a St. John's cross. A considerable portion of the abbey is now in ruins. A structure dating from 1590 is maintained as a museum open to the public.
Alexander II and other Scottish kings and nobles are buried at the abbey. A lead container believed to hold the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce was found in 1921 below the Chapter House site; it was found again in a 1998 excavation. This was documented in records of his death. The rest of his body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey.
The abbey is known for its many carved decorative details, including likenesses of saints, dragons, gargoyles and plants. On one of the abbey's stairways is an inscription by John Morow, a master mason, which says, Be halde to ye hende ("Keep in mind, the end, your salvation"). This has become the motto of the town of Melrose. - in: wikipedia

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Edinburgh - Scotland

Last February I finally traveled to Scotland and I must say I loved it. Wonderful landscapes, great monuments, nice weather and rich history. 
I've said a couple of times on this blog that I'd love to visit Edimburgh and now I can say it is one of my favorite cities in Europe. 
I already had a few cards from Edinburgh, so I didn't send any cards from there but exactly one month after my trip, I got a card from there sent by Ara (4th card on this post). The other cards are sent by Petra, Joana, Heidi and Doyel. 

© Douglas Corrence
NL-1821289, sent by Petra.
Of all the cities in the world, Edinburgh - the capital and cultural center of Scotland for over 500 years - occupies one of the most beautiful locations. Sometimes described as the "Athens of the North", this famous festival city boasts Greek-style columns on Calton Hill, a wide choice of museums and art galleries, as well as a host of historical gems. Edinburgh actually consists of two cities: the castle, set on high basalt rock, dominates the densely populated Old Town, a labyrinth of narrow alleys and rows of houses. While grand squares, wide avenues and elegant facades characterize the Georgian New Town, a masterpiece of 18th century town planning. - in: http://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions-/edinburgh-sco-loth-edin.htm

Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, from its position on the Castle Rock. 
There has been a royal castle on the rock since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until the Union of the Crowns in 1603. From the 15th century the castle's residential role declined, and by the 17th century it was principally used as military barracks with a large garrison. Its importance as a part of Scotland's national heritage was recognised increasingly from the early 19th century onwards, and various restoration programmes have been carried out over the past century and a half.

As one of the most important strongholds in the Kingdom of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle was involved in many historical conflicts from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century to the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Research undertaken in 2014 identified 26 sieges in its 1100-year-old history, giving it a claim to having been "the most besieged place in Great Britain and one of the most attacked in the world".
Few of the present buildings pre-date the Lang Siege of the 16th century, when the medieval defences were largely destroyed by artillery bombardment. The most notable exceptions are St Margaret's Chapel from the early 12th century, which is regarded as the oldest building in Edinburgh, the Royal Palace and the early-16th-century Great Hall, although the interiors have been much altered from the mid-Victorian period onwards. 

Photography © Ian Mills
The castle also houses the Scottish regalia, known as the Honours of Scotland and is the site of the Scottish National War Memorial and the National War Museum of Scotland. The British Army is still responsible for some parts of the castle, although its presence is now largely ceremonial and administrative. Some of the castle buildings house regimental museums which contribute to its presentation as a tourist attraction.
The castle, in the care of Historic Scotland, is Scotland's most-visited paid tourist attraction, with over 1.4 million visitors in 2013. As the backdrop to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo during the annual Edinburgh International Festival the castle has become a recognisable symbol of Edinburgh and of Scotland and indeed, it is Edinburgh's most frequently visited visitor attraction - according to the Edinburgh Visitor Survey, more than 70% of leisure visitors to Edinburgh visited the castle. - in: wikipedia

   © Colin Baxter
GB-343788, sent by Doyel.
Besides the castle, the card also shows the Balmoral Hotel.
The Balmoral is a luxury five-star hotel and landmark in Edinburgh, Scotland, known as the North British Hotel until the late 1980s. It is located in the heart of the city at the east end of Princes Street, the main shopping street beneath the Edinburgh Castle rock, and the southern edge of the New Town.
Resulting from a competition of 1895, the hotel originally opened in 1902. It was designed by architect W. Hamilton Beattie and for most of the twentieth century was known as the North British Hotel or simply the N.B., a traditional railway hotel built for the North British Railway Company adjacent to their Waverley Station. It kept the same name until the late 1980s when it was renamed the Balmoral Hotel after refurbishment, despite being located over 100 miles (160 km) south of Balmoral Castle. Edinburgh residents managed to retain the "NB" nickname by the popular but entirely colloquial suggestion that this stood for "New Balmoral".
For travellers arriving by train, the hotel provided comfortable and elegant lodgings, before they continued their journeys. To assist passengers in reaching their train on time, the hotel tower's clock, visible from a considerable distance away, is traditionally set to be two minutes fast. The clock tower, at 190 feet (58 m) high, forms a prominent landmark in Edinburgh's city centre. The building’s architecture is Victorian, influenced by the traditional Scottish baronial style. Sadly it was stripped of most of its ornamental stone balconies in its refurbishment, and whilst remaining ornate, is visibly "scarred". - in: wikipedia

Holy Island of Lindisfarne - England

I've heard about Lisdisfarne on Globetrekker and immediately thought it was a place that I'd like to visit. A few days ago Jemma was offering some cards, I saw these two and asked her if we could trade. It was a fast and successful trade. 

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is a tidal island off the northeast coast of England. It is also known just as Holy Island. It constitutes the civil parish of Holy Island in Northumberland. Holy Island has a recorded history from the 6th century. It was an important centre of Celtic Christianity under Saints Aidan of Lindisfarne, Cuthbert, Eadfrith of Lindisfarne and Eadberht of Lindisfarne. - in: wikipedia

Photograph and design: © Leslie Garland
 The ruins of Lindisfarne's Norman priory stand on or near the site of the Anglo-Saxon monastery founded by St Aidan in A.D 635, on land granted by Oswald, King and Saint of Northumbria. Aidan is believed to have chosen the island site because of its isolation and proximity to the Northumbrian capital at Bamburgh.
Aidan the first Bishop of Lindisfarne, an Irish-Celtic monk from the Scotish isle of Iona, travelled widely throughout Northumbria and with the help of King Oswald as interpreter, began the conversion of the pagan Northumbrians to Chrisatianity. 
St Aidan's death in 651 A.D, is said to have been related in a vision to a young shepherd boy called Cuthbert who lived in the hills somewhere near the River Tweed.
The vision convinced Cuthbert that he should take up the life of a monk and at the age of sixteen, he entered the Northumbrian monastery of Melrose in Tweeddale (now in the southern borders of Scotland).
In 654 Cuthbert came to Lindisfarne, where his reputed gift of healing and legendary ability to work miracles, achieved far reaching fame for the island. Cuthbert was elected Bishop of Hexham in 684 A.D but exchanged the see for Lindisfarne, to become the fifth successor to Bishop Aidan.
When Cuthbert died in 687 A.D, he was burried in accordance with his wishes on the island of Lindisfarne, but eleven years after his death, his body was found to be in an incorrupt state by the astonished monks of the island. The monks were now convinced that Cuthbert was a saint and pilgrims continued to flock to Lindisfarne in numbers as great as during Cuthbert's lifetime.
In 793 A.D Lindisfarne was to witness the first Viking raid on the coast of Britain. 
Viking raids on Lindisfarne's wealthy coastal monastery continued throughout the following century and in 875 A.D the monks of Lindisfarne fled their Holy Island with the body of Cuthbert, remembering the dying wishes of their saint.
 For many years the monks wandered the north of England, with the coffin of St Cuthbert, and after settling for just over a hundred years in the old Roman fort at Chester-le-Street they moved on to Durham in 995 A.D where St Cuthbert's body lies to this day in the cathedral that was built for his shrine.

Northumbrian Postcards Photographed and Published by Michael Goonan
Today the only feature of Holy island that suggests any involvement with the violent border history of Northumberland is Lindisfarne Catle. First built in 1550, it sits romantically on the highest point of the island, a whin stone hill called Beblowe and rises from the rock in such a beautiful way that the castle almost seems to be a part of the rock itself . A small but superbly rugged looking building, it has been a National Trust property since 1944.
Lindisfarne Castle has never witnessed any major battle or Border siege although it was occupied by some Northumbrian Jacobites at the time of the 1715 Rising. Lindisfarne Castle was converted into a private residence by the well known British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1903. Inside, the building has great character where architect has made incredible use of the confined space. - in: http://www.englandsnortheast.co.uk/Lindisfarne.html

Friday, May 13, 2016

GB-770523

In History 8 May 1945 marked the end of Second World War. This day is known as Victory in Europe Day. 

GB-770523, sent by Marjorie.
Victory in Europe Day, generally known as V-E Day, VE Day or simply V Day was the public holiday celebrated on 8 May 1945 (7 May in Commonwealth realms) to mark the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender of its armed forces. It thus marked the end of World War II in Europe.
The term VE Day existed as early as September 1944, in anticipation of victory. On 30 April 1945, Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader, committed suicide during the Battle of Berlin. Germany's surrender, therefore, was authorised by his successor, Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz. The administration headed by Dönitz was known as the Flensburg Government. The act of military surrender was signed on 7 May in Reims, France and on 8 May in Berlin, Germany.
After regaining their independence from the Soviet Union, the Baltic countries now commemorate the end of World War II on 8 May, the Victory in Europe Day. In Ukraine from 2015, 8 May was designated as a day of Remembrance and Reconciliation, but it is not a public holiday. - in: wikipedia

Stevens Klint - Denmark

I hardly get cards from new UNESCO sites nowadays, this one from Denmark was probably the last one. 
Stevns Klint is a white chalk cliff located some 6 km (3.7 mi) southeast of Store Heddinge on the Danish island of Zealand. It was declared as a UNESCO WHS in 2014.
The card was sent by Rebekka.

This geological site comprises a 15 km-long fossil-rich coastal cliff, offering exceptional evidence of the impact of the Chicxulub meteorite that crashed into the planet at the end of the Cretaceous, about 65 million years ago. Researchers think that this caused the most remarkable mass extinction ever, responsible for the disappearance of over 50 per cent of all life on Earth. The site harbours a record of the cloud of ash formed by the impact of the meteorite – the exact site being at the bottom of the ocean off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. An exceptional fossil record is visible at the site, showing the complete succession of fauna and micro-fauna charting the recovery after the mass extinction. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1416

Monday, May 9, 2016

Nyhavn - Copenhagen

Thanks to Genek, I finally have cards from beautiful Nyhavn in Copenhagen. I really want to visit the Danish capital city and I can imagine myself taking dozens of pictures in this area. 

Nyhavn is a 17th-century waterfront, canal and entertainment district in Copenhagen, Denmark. Stretching from Kongens Nytorv to the harbour front just south of the Royal Playhouse, it is lined by brightly coloured 17th and early 18th century townhouses and bars, cafes and restaurants. The canal harbours many historical wooden ships.

 Edition Cromática S. L. * Foto: Tullio Gatti
Nyhavn was constructed by King Christian V from 1670 to 1673, dug by Swedish prisoners of war from the Dano-Swedish War 1658–1660. It is a gateway from the sea to the old inner city at Kongens Nytorv (King's Square), where ships handled cargo and fishermens' catch. It was notorious for beer, sailors, and prostitution. Danish author Hans Christian Andersen lived at Nyhavn for some 18 years.
As ocean-going ships grew larger, Nyhavn was taken over by internal Danish small vessel freight traffic. After World War II land transport took over this role and small vessel traffic disappeared from the Port of Copenhagen, leaving Nyhavn largely deserted of ships.
In the mid-1960s, the Nyhavn Society  was founded with the aim of revitalising the area. In 1977, Nyhavn was inaugurated as a veteran ship and museum harbour by Copenhagen’s Lord Mayor Egon Weidekamp. In 1980 Nyhavn quay was pedestrianised; it had been used as a parking area in the previous years which had coincided with a dwindling of harbour activities. Since then it has become a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, serving the function of a square according to architects Jan Gehl and Lars Gemzøe.

 Edition Cromática S. L. * Foto: Niels Christiansen
The northern side of Nyhavn is lined by brightly coloured townhouses built with wood, bricks, and plaster. The oldest house, at No. 9, dates from 1681.
Between 1845 and 1864, Hans Christian Andersen lived at No. 67, where a memorial plaque now stands.
Nyhavn Veteran Ship and Museum Harbour, occupying the inner section of Nyhavn, between the Nyhavn Bridge and Kongens Nytorv, is lined with old ships. From the foundation of the heritage harbour in 1977, the south side of the canal has been reserved for museum ships owned by the Danish National Museum, which received a donation of carefully restored ships from A. P. Møller, while the northern side of the canal was put at the disposal of the Nyhavn Society and privately owned, still usable wooden ships.  - in: wikipedia