Monday, October 31, 2016

Mount Wutai - China

Mount Wutai was probably the hardest chinese UNESCO site to get a card from. I'm really happy I finally got it. Danise also sent me this one. 

With its five flat peaks, Mount Wutai is a sacred Buddhist mountain. The cultural landscape is home to forty-one monasteries and includes the East Main Hall of Foguang Temple, the highest surviving timber building of the Tang dynasty, with life-size clay sculptures. It also features the Ming dynasty Shuxiang Temple with a huge complex of 500 statues representing Buddhist stories woven into three-dimensional pictures of mountains and water. Overall, the buildings on the site catalogue the way in which Buddhist architecture developed and influenced palace building in China for over a millennium. Mount Wutai, literally, 'the five terrace mountain', is the highest in Northern China and is remarkable for its morphology of precipitous slopes with five open treeless peaks. Temples have been built on this site from the 1st century AD to the early 20th century. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1279

Site of Xanadu - China

Here comes another card from a new chinese UNESCO site. This one was also sent by Danise and it shows Kublai Khan statue. Kublai Khan was the fifth Khagan (Great Khan) of the Mongol Empire, reigning from 1260 to 1294. He also founded the Yuan dynasty in China as a conquest dynasty in 1271, and ruled as the first Yuan emperor until his death in 1294. . in: wikipedia
Site of Xanadu was inscribed on the WHS list in 2012. 

North of the Great Wall, the Site of Xanadu encompasses the remains of Kublai Khan’s legendary capital city, designed by the Mongol ruler’s Chinese advisor Liu Bingzhdong in 1256. Over a surface area of 25,000 ha, the site was a unique attempt to assimilate the nomadic Mongolian and Han Chinese cultures. From this base, Kublai Khan established the Yuan dynasty that ruled China over a century, extending its boundaries across Asia. The religious debate that took place here resulted in the dissemination of Tibetan Buddhism over north-east Asia, a cultural and religious tradition still practised in many areas today. The site was planned according to traditional Chinese feng shui in relation to the nearby mountains and river. It features the remains of the city, including temples, palaces, tombs, nomadic encampments and the Tiefan’gang Canal, along with other waterworks. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1389

Kashar - China

The Silk Road or Silk Route was an ancient network of trade routes that for centuries were central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent connecting the East and West from China to the Mediterranean Sea. In June 2014 UNESCO designated the Chang'an-Tianshan corridor of the Silk Road as a World Heritage Site. 
Kashgar, an oasis city in Xinjiang, is the westernmost Chinese city. Located near the border with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, it served as a trading post and was a strategically important city on the Silk Road between China, the Middle East, and Europe.
This card with Afaq Khoja Mausoleum was sent by Danise.

Aba Khoja Mausoleum is the holiest Muslim site in Xinjiang. 
The mazar (mausoleum) was initially built in ca. 1640 as the tomb of Muhammad Yūsuf, a Central Asian Naqshbandi Sufi master who had come to the Altishahr region (present-day southern Xinjiang) in the early 17th century, and possibly was also active in spreading Sufism in China proper. Later, Muhammad Yūsuf's more famous son and successor, Afāq Khoja, was buried there as well. All told, the beautiful tiled mausoleum contains the tombs of five generations of the Afāqi family, providing resting places for 72 of its members. - in: wikipedia

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape - China

Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape was listed as World Heritage Site this year. It is the 49th World Heritage Site in China. This card was also sent by Chenzhen.

Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape is an extensive assembly of historical rock art that was painted on limestone cliff faces in Guangxi, southern China over a period of several hundred years at least. The paintings are located on the west bank of the Ming River. 

The main painted area along the cliff has a width of about 170 metres (560 ft) and a height of about 40 metres (130 ft)[2] and is one of the largest rock paintings in China. The paintings are located between 30 metres (98 ft) and 90 metres (300 ft) above the river's water level. It contains about 1900 discrete countable images arranged in about 110 groups. The paintings have a red color and were executed using a mixture of red ochre (hematite), animal glue, and blood. They depict human figures as well as animals along with bronze drums, knives, swords, bells, and ships. Human figures are typically between 60 centimetres (24 in) and 150 centimetres (4.9 ft) tall, but one figure reaches 3 metres (9.8 ft) in height.
The paintings are believed to be between 1800 and 2500 or between 1600 and 2400 years old. The period of their creations hence spans the times from the Warring States period to the late Han Dynasty in the history of China. Many of the paintings are thought to "illustrate the life and rituals" of the ancient Luo Yue people, who are believed to be ancestors of the present-day Zhuang people and inhabited the valley of Zuo River during this period. However, recent carbon dating suggests that the oldest paintings were executed around 16,000 years ago whereas the youngest are around 690 years old. - in: wikipedia

Monday, October 24, 2016

Hubei Shennongjia - China

This year China inscribed 2 new sites on the Unesco list, one of them was Hubei Shennongjia. 
The card was sent bu Chenzhen.

Located in Hubei Province, in central-eastern China, the site consists of two components: Shennongding/Badong to the west and Laojunshan to the east. It protects the largest primary forests remaining in Central China and provides habitat for many rare animal species, such as the Chinese Giant Salamander, the Golden or Sichuan Snub-nosed Monkey, the Clouded Leopard, Common Leopard and the Asian Black Bear. Hubei Shennongjia is one of three centres of biodiversity in China. The site features prominently in the history of botanical research and was the object of international plant collecting expeditions in the 19th and 20th centuries. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1509

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Khangchendzonga N.P. - India

The 3rd Indian inscription on the UNESCO list this year was Khangchendzonga National Park. This card was sent by K. R. Bhat. 

Photo: Jakub Michankow
Located at the heart of the Himalayan range in northern India (State of Sikkim), the Khangchendzonga National Park includes a unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers and spectacular, snow-capped mountains covered with ancient forests, including the world’s third highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga. Mythological stories are associated with this mountain and with a great number of natural elements (caves, rivers, lakes, etc.) that are the object of worship by the indigenous people of Sikkim. The sacred meanings of these stories and practices have been integrated with Buddhist beliefs and constitute the basis for Sikkimese identity. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1513

Friday, October 21, 2016

Nalanda Mahavihara - India

This year India inscribed 3 sites on the WHS list. That's quite impressive. I already had all the Indian sites before these new inscriptions and it wasn't that hard to get these three new sites. Sita sent me this card of the Nalanda Mahavihara. 

Photo: Sarah Jamerson
The Nalanda Mahavihara site is in the State of Bihar, in north-eastern India. It comprises the archaeological remains of a monastic and scholastic institution dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE. It includes stupas, shrines, viharas (residential and educational buildings) and important art works in stucco, stone and metal. Nalanda stands out as the most ancient university of the Indian Subcontinent. It engaged in the organized transmission of knowledge over an uninterrupted period of 800 years. The historical development of the site testifies to the development of Buddhism into a religion and the flourishing of monastic and educational traditions. in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1502

Palace of the Assembly, Chandigarh - India

I complain many times about how hard it is to get cards from new UNESCO sites, however in the last 4 months I've actually got a few new sites. I've now cards from 869 UNESCO sites. This one from India was sent by Prashanth.

“The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an outstanding contribution to the Modern Movement” is one of this year's new UNESCO sites. The site includes seventeen of Le Corbusier's, a french-swiss architect, buildings, spanning over seven countries. Chandigarh's Capitol Complex in India is one of the classified properties.

Photo: Duncid
Palace of Assembly is one of the three buildings in Chandigarh Capitol Complex.
After the partition of Punjab, in 1947 following the independence of India, the divided Punjab required a new capital as Lahore was now in Pakistan. Thus Le Corbusier was commissioned by first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru to build a new city of Chandigarh as the capital of Punjab and newly carved state of Haryana. The brief for the design was a city "unfettered by the traditions of the past, a symbol of the nation's faith in the future". Subsequently, Corbusier and his team built not just a large assembly and high court building, but all major buildings in the city, and down to the door handles in public offices. Today many of the buildings are considered modernist masterpieces, though most are in a state of neglect. - in: wikipedia

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Thessaloniki - Greece

Back in June Ana went on holidays to Greece. Thessaloniki was one of the places she visited and where she had a mini-meeting with Dimitris. 

Summer Dreams Editions
Thessaloniki is the second-largest city in Greece.
The city of Thessaloniki was founded in 315 BC by Cassander of Macedon. An important metropolis by the Roman period, Thessaloniki was the second largest and wealthiest city of the Byzantine Empire. It was conquered by the Ottomans in 1430, and passed from the Ottoman Empire to modern Greece on 8 November 1912.
The city is home to numerous notable Byzantine monuments, including the Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as several Roman, Ottoman and Sephardic Jewish structures. The city's main university, Aristotle University, is the largest in Greece and the Balkans.
Thessaloniki is a popular tourist destination in Greece. - in: wikipedia

Academy of Athens - Greece

This beautiful building is the Academy of Athens, the most magnificent of all the neoclassical buildings that were constructed in Athens during the 19th century. Its design was inspired by the ancient Erechtheion at the Acropolis. 
The card was sent last June by Sofia.

The building was designed by Theophil Hansen, a Danish/Austrian architect with a classical training. Hansen had previously worked on the University Building with his brother Christian and he would later also design the National Library. These three buildings, all built next to each other, form the so-called Athenian Trilogy. 
The Academy is the most acclaimed of the three buildings. It was constructed in pentelic marble between 1859 and 1885 under the supervision of architect Ernst Ziller, a student of Hansen. The wealthy businessman Simon Sinas, founder of the National Bank of Austria and Greek Consul in Vienna, provided the necessary funds.

© Copyright by M Toubis S A
Flanking the main temple are two tall Ionic columns with statues of Athena and Apollo. Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom, arts, civilization, warfare and justice is shown dressed in armor, holding a shield and a spear. Apollo, god of music and poetry, is depicted holding a lyre in his left hand. Both statues were sculpted by Leonidas Drosis. 
The same sculptor created two more statues, situated on either side of a staircase leading to the Academy. They depict the famous Greek philosophers Plato and Socrates, who are shown seated. - in: http://www.aviewoncities.com/athens/academy.htm

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

CZ-1024770

I bought way too many cards in Czech Republic, one of them was a copy of this beautiful snowy view of Prague's Castle. I'm glad I've now this card written & stamped from there.

Photo © Radim Sulc
CZ-1024770, sent by Pavlina.
Prague Castle was most likely founded in around 880 by Prince Bořivoj of the Premyslid Dynasty (Přemyslovci). According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Prague Castle is the largest coherent castle complex in the world, with an area of almost 70,000 m². A UNESCO World Heritage site, it consists of a large-scale composition of palaces and ecclesiastical buildings of various architectural styles, from the remains of Romanesque-style buildings from the 10th century through Gothic modifications of the 14th century. The famous Slovenian architect Josip Plečnik was responsible for extensive renovations in the time of the First Republic (1918-1938). Since the Velvet Revolution, Prague Castle has undergone significant and ongoing repairs and reconstructions. - in: https://www.hrad.cz/en/prague-castle-for-visitors

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Holy Trinity Column - Czech Republic

I've been to Czech Republic 2 years ago and visited many UNESCO sites, unfortunately, time wasn't enough to go to Olomouc and visit the Holy Trinity Column. 

 Foto © Ales Matejícek
The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc is a Baroque monument built in 1716–1754 in honour of God. The main purpose was a spectacular celebration of Catholic Church and faith, partly caused by feeling of gratitude for ending a plague, which struck Moravia (now in the Czech Republic) between 1714 and 1716. 

Photo: Jan Andreás
CZ-1007564, sent by Michaela and Lucie.
The column was also understood to be an expression of local patriotism, since all artists and master craftsmen working on this monument were Olomouc citizens, and almost all depicted saints were connected with the city of Olomouc in some way.
It is the biggest Baroque sculptural group in the Czech Republic. In 2000 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "one of the most exceptional examples of the apogee of central European Baroque artistic expression". - in: wikipedia

Zakopane - Poland

This card from Zakopane is the last card sent by Ara from Poland.

Zakopane is a lovely town situated at the foothills of the majestic Tatra mountains. It has a population of 30,000 inhabitants. The unusual location of the town, hidden between a gentle range of Gubałówka and the rocky Tatra summits was a decisive factor in its career as a tourism centre. As early as at the end of the 18th century Zakopane, a small and remote village located at the southern end of Poland, started to attract the first summer holidaymakers. The visitors arrived mainly from Cracow in horse carts, often carrying various domestic equipment, which they couldn't find in the modest highland peasant cottage.
In 1889 Zakopane obtained the status of a health resort attracting patients suffering from tuberculosis. When, in 1898 the construction works on a railway track were finished, the first train from Cracow reached the town. This resulted in a rapid increase in the number of tourists from 1600 in 1898 to over 10,000 in 1900 (over 3 million at present).

Fot. © Maciej Gasienica
The thirties of the 20th century were a period of a sudden skiing boom. Before the outbreak of the Second World War two huge investments in Zakopane had been finished, which secured Zakopane's status as the winter capital of Poland. In 1936 a cableway to Kasprowy Wierch (1,998 m above the sea level) was constructed in just six months.
Soon afterwards, in 1938 a chair rail which took the tourists from the centre of Zakopane to Gubałówka, where they could admire beautiful views over the Tatra mountains stretching away from the hill, was opened.
During the Second World War uninvited guests started to appear in the town. They were the Nazis and their families who used the confiscated hotels and boarding houses to spend their holidays in. Many of the Tatra tourist guides and Zakopane skiers put their life at risk during the war, helping the refugees to cross the Polish border through the mountains.
After the war, till the end of the 80s, Zakopane was mainly visited by Polish tourists who spent there their summer and winter holidays.
After the collapse of the communism the number of Polish tourists visiting Zakopane decreased slightly, but more and more international visitors began to come to Zakopane. - in: http://www.discoverzakopane.com/zakopane.html

Monday, October 17, 2016

Auschwitz I - Poland

On her recent trip to Poland, Ara visited the concentration camp of Auschwitz. I've been there 4 years ago. It the saddest place I've ever been to :( As Ara said on the card, this place puts our emotions to the limit.
The 2nd card was sent by Waldeck in 2008. 

The Auschwitz concentration camp complex was the largest of its kind established by the Nazi regime. It included three main camps. All three camps used prisoners for forced labor. Auschwitz I, the main camp, was the first camp established near Oswiecim. Construction began in April 1940 in an abandoned Polish army barracks in a suburb of the city.

Copyright by Panstwowe Muzeum Auschwitz-Birkenau * Fot: Pawel Sawicki
The first prisoners at Auschwitz included German prisoners transferred from Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Germany, where they had been incarcerated as repeat criminal offenders, and Polish political prisoners from Lodz via Dachau concentration camp and from Tarnow in Krakow District of the Generalgouvernement (that part of German- occupied Poland not annexed to Nazi Germany, linked administratively to German East Prussia, or incorporated into the German-occupied Soviet Union).

Similar to most German concentration camps, Auschwitz I was constructed to serve three purposes:
1) to incarcerate real and perceived enemies of the Nazi regime and the German occupation authorities in Poland for an indefinite period of time
2) to provide a supply of forced laborers for deployment in SS-owned, construction-related enterprises (and, later, armaments and other war-related production)
3) to serve as a site to physically eliminate small, targeted groups of the population whose death was determined by the SS and police authorities to be essential to the security of Nazi Germany.
Like some concentration camps, Auschwitz I had a gas chamber and crematorium. Initially, SS engineers constructed an improvised gas chamber in the basement of the prison block, Block 11. Later a larger, permanent gas chamber was constructed as part of the original crematorium in a separate building outside the prisoner compound.
At Auschwitz I, SS physicians carried out medical experiments in the hospital, Barrack (Block) 10. They conducted pseudoscientific research on infants, twins, and dwarfs, and performed forced sterilizations and castrations of adults. The best-known of these physicians was SS Captain Dr. Josef Mengele. - in: https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005189

Friday, October 14, 2016

Cracow's Main Square - Poland

From Warsaw to Krakow and its beautiful Main Square. 
The aerial view card was sent by Emerich, I bought the 2nd, the 3rd is an official received in 2012 and Ara sent the 4th. 

Photo by Wojciech Gorgolewski
The main square of the Old Town of Kraków, is the principal urban space located at the center of the city. It dates back to the 13th century, and at roughly 40,000 m2 (430,000 ft2) is one of the largest medieval town squares in Europe. The Project for Public Spaces (PPS) lists the square as the best public space in Europe due to its lively street life. - in: wikipedia

The main square is a square space surrounded by historic townhouses (kamienice) and churches. The center of the square is dominated by the Cloth Hall (Sukiennice), rebuilt in 1555 in the Renaissance style. It was once a major centre of international trade.

PL-236358, sent by Gosia.
On one side of the cloth hall is the Town Hall Tower, the only remaining part of the old Kraków Town Hall demolished in 1820. 
On the other side the 10th century Church of St. Adalbert. 

Fot. ze zbiorów Muzeum Historycznego Miasta Krakowa
Rising above the square are the Gothic towers of St. Mary's Basilica. 
Now as in the Middle Ages the Grand Square is the focus of the city life. Krakow residents and visitors come here to meet each other, to do business, to shop in numerous stores, and to enjoy themselves in myriad restaurants, cafés and clubs. Krakow’s forum serves also as the city’s most popular site of open-air events – musical, theatrical, commercial, political, etc. - in: http://www.krakow-info.com/rynek.htm

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Warsaw's New Town - Poland

 Ara has recentely been to Poland, where she visited several places and from where she sent me a few cards. I'll start with a card from Warsaw's New Town. 

The New Town is connected directly to the Old Town and was first built in the 14th century.
Most of the buildings had to be rebuilt after the second world war as they had been destroyed or damaged.
The main street of New Town is Freta Street (Ulica Freta), which leads from the Barbican through most of the New Town. By the way, the New Town did not have a city wall and in 1791 it had finally become a part of Warsaw.
The New Town Market Square (Rynek Nowego Miasta) is the center of Warsaw’s New Town. Until 1818 you could find the Townhall standing in the middle of the square, since 1958 you can find a well at the same place. The main sight here however is St. Casimir’s Church.


Fot. Christian Parma

Although the Old Town is more popular tourist destination it is still worth seeing. The card shows some of the New Town's monuments. 
The Raczynski Palace was built 1786. Inside there is a beautiful ballroom. Today the Palace is used as an  archive. 
St. Caisimir’s (Kazimierz) Curch was contructed from 1688 till 1689 and was eventually rebuilt from 1949 till 1955. Most of the things in this Baroque church are from the 20th century, but a few things remain from the 18th century.
The Church of the Holy Spirit is another Baroque style church, it was built in 1717. In former times there used to be wooden church here, but it was destroyed during the Swedish War. The church is also the starting point for the pilgrimages to Poland’s famous Częstochowa sanctuary.
The Barbican is the separation point between Old and New Town which was constructed 1548.
The Church of the Visitation of Blessed Virgin Mary  (St. Mary’s Church) is one of the pldest churches in Warsaw it was built from 1411 in Gothic style. Since then the church was remodeled several times.
The church can be seen easily from the other side of the Vistula, so it is also a part of the charming skyline of Warsaw. - in: http://www.warsawguide.com/new-town-in-warsaw/

Saturday, October 8, 2016

PL-1238423

Everybody seems to love GF cards. I'm really not one of those and that's not because I don't like the cards, I like them, they're nice but not necessarily but kind of favorite cards. Actually, I only have the portuguese card and now this one from Poland. 

Designed by Ewa Slocinska www.postallove.com
PL-1238423, sent by Jacob.
Poland's capital city is Warsaw. The country is 312685 km2 and has a population of 38 483 857; over 25000 are postcrossing members.
Forests cover about 30% of Poland's territory. The country has 9300 lakes and Rysy is the highest mountain with 2499 meters. The country is home of 1225 european bisons, the largest mamals in Europe.
Pope John Paul II, Frederic Chopin, Marie Curie and Nicolaus Copernicus are some of the most famous Poles.
Amber, the baltic gold, comes in more than 300 varieties. Gdansk registered its first amber artisans guild in 1477.
In 2014 the Polish National Volleybal men team won the world championship. 

BY-1930647

Cathedral in the name of Archangel Michael in Mozyr. 

BY-1930647, sent by Lisa.
The Cathedral in the name of Archangel Michael was built in the XIII century in the late Baroque style. Next to the Cathedral close is a Bernardine monastic enclosure founded by order of king Sigismund III Vasa in the early seventeenth century. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Palanga - Lithuania

Justina, one of my penpals, is originaly from Lithuania but she lives in Australia. This summer she traveled with her husband and son to her home country, where she reunited with her family and friends. One of the days she went on a short trip to Palanga, a popular coastal town. 

Foto: © Antanas Varanka
Palanga is a seaside resort town in western Lithuania, on the shore of the Baltic Sea. It is the busiest summer resort in Lithuania and has beaches of sand (18 km long and up to 300 m wide) and sand dunes.
The building on the top left corner is the Tiškevičiai Palace that houses de Amber Museum; Jurate ir Kastytis is a 1961 sculpture by N. Gaigalaté and the 3rd image is the local pier.

Riga Dome Cathedral - Latvia

I've been to Riga last year in September. It was a short visit though but I really like the city's historical center. I know I'll visit the city again.
The 1st card is an official that I got a few days ago, the 2nd, sent by Livija, was in my favorites and the 3rd is an official that I got 2 years ago.

LV-239410, sent by Zigrida.
The foundation stone of Riga Dome Cathedral was laid on July 25, 1211. The last large-scale restoration took place in the late 19th century when the cathedral acquired its present appearance. Today, Riga Dome Cathedral holds services and provide for rich cultural life — various concerts of popular artists take place here.
Riga Dome Cathedral has been one of the major venues for concerts in Riga for hundreds of years. Also today, official services and concerts feature various musical performances.

Photo: Indrikis Stürmanis 
Riga Dome Cathedral was the central cathedral in the Baltics until Livonia fell to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1561. It has Romanesque, early Gothic, Baroque, and Art Nouveau features and is considered the largest Medieval church in Latvia and the Baltic States.
On July 25, 1211 during a ceremony, Bishop Albert laid the foundation stone. According to art historians, the building was initially envisaged as a basilica but later the design was changed and a hall church was built instead.

Photo: Indrikis Stürmanis
LV-160715, sent by Velga.
At the beginning of the 15th century, the cathedral was enlarged by building the western cross-nave and side chapels and elevating the side walls of the central nave thus making the church into a basilica. Riga Dome Cathedral tower was the highest spire in Riga at that time. The cathedral kept its appearance up to 1547, when on a Sunday before Pentecost, a great fire broke out in the inner city and the Gothic spire of the cathedral burned down. A new tower with a pyramidal spire and two galleries were built by 1595. The Cathedral cockerel dating back to that time can still be seen in the inner courtyard of the cathedral.
From 1881 to 1914, Riga Cathedral Building Section of Riga Society of Researchers of History and Ancient Times carried out major reconstruction and renovation for its present-day appearance. - in: http://www.liveriga.com/en/1158-riga-dome-cathedral