Thursday, March 30, 2017

Kernavė Archaeological Site - Lithuania

Kernavė Archaeological Site in Lithuania is an UNESCO site since 2004 and I was there in 2015. It was a wonderful place to spend my last morning in Lithuania. I also went to the museum, looking for cards but they didn't have any. Fortunately I already had sent by Johnson. In the beginning of this year, I've received another one, actually, it was the 1st official of 2017.

Photo by Vaidas Jurgelis, 2015
The Kernavė Archaeological site, about 35 km north-west of Vilnius in eastern Lithuania, represents an exceptional testimony to some 10 millennia of human settlements in this region. Situated in the valley of the River Neris, the site is a complex ensemble of archaeological properties, encompassing the town of Kernavė, forts, some unfortified settlements, burial sites and other archaeological, historical and cultural monuments from the late Palaeolithic Period to the Middle Ages.

The site of 194,4 ha has preserved the traces of ancient land-use, as well as remains of five impressive hill forts, part of an exceptionally large defence system. Kernavė was an important feudal town in the Middle Ages. The town was destroyed by the Teutonic Order in the late 14th century, however the site remained in use until modern times. - in:

Roskilde Cathedral - Denmark

Besides Copenhagen, I also want to visit other places nearby. Roskilde is not far from Copenhagen but there are two other UNESCO places in the area that I'd like to visit.
The 1st of these cards was also sent by Margarida and the other one by Genek.

Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, this was Scandinavia's first Gothic cathedral to be built of brick and it encouraged the spread of this style throughout northern Europe. It has been the mausoleum of the Danish royal family since the 15th century. 

Porches and side chapels were added up to the end of the 19th century. Thus it provides a clear overview of the development of European religious architecture. - in:

Grundtvig's Church, Copenhagen - Denmark

Is just a coincidence that I'm posting these cards on the same day my friend and I booked our flights to Copenhagen in June. I've only started to consider Denmark as an option for part of my holidays in June, a few weeks ago but Copenhagen has been on my must visit list and I can't wait to go. 
The 1st card was sent by Paola almost 10 years ago and Margarida sent the other three. 

Grundtvigs Church was erected in commemoration of the great Danish priest, poet, and reformer N.F.S. Grundtvig (1783 - 1882). 

Foto & produktion: Gronlunds Forlag
This monumental church is referred to in modern terms as a gothic cathedral. Master builder and architect Peder Vilhelm Jensen Klint (1853 - 1930) died before the church was finished.

Foto & produktion: Gronlunds Forlag
 The task was entrusted to his son architect and designer Kaare Klint (1888-1954), who completed the building of the church in 1940. Kaare Klint has also designed the chairs for the Grundtvigs Church - a chair made of beech wood with wickerwork seat - a Danish furniture design classic. 

Foto & produktion: Gronlunds Forlag
Despite its massive size, the church seems to exude an atmosphere of calm contentment. Perhaps it is the appeal of the regular yellow brickwork forming the sole decoration of the church. - in:

Sunday, March 26, 2017


Maastricht is a city in the southeast of the Netherlands. It's location excluded it from my plans when I visited Netherlands but I may consider it for a future visit. With its 1677 national heritage sites, which is the second highest number in a Dutch town, after Amsterdam, this city is definitely worth a visit. 

Photo: Frans Lemmens
NL-3747411, sent by Fons.
Vrijthof, the largest and best-known square in Maastricht, with many well-known pubs, restaurants and also these structures on the card. 
Basilica of Saint Servatius, a predominantly Romanesque church with important medieval sculptures. The tomb of Saint Servatius in the crypt is a favoured place of pilgrimage;
Sint-Janskerk, a Gothic church dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, the city's main Protestant church since 1632, adjacent to the Basilica of Saint Servatius, with a distinctive red, limestone tower;
Hoofdwacht ("Main Watch"), a 17th-century military guard house, used for exhibitions. - in: wikipedia

Amsterdam - Netherlands

Amsterdam is one of those cities that I'd like to visit again and that may happen in a few months, I'm not sure yet though. 
Ara wrote me this card exactly one month ago. 

Some fun facts about Amesterdam.
- 165: That’s the number of canals in Amsterdam. In total these waterways add up to more than 100 kilometers or about 60 miles. The Seventeenth-century canal ring area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht became part of the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2010;
- 11,000,000: That’s the approximate number of wooden poles that support Amsterdam’s buildings. All of the structures in the city are supported by 15 to 20 meter long wood poles that sink through the mud and are fixed in a sandy layer that is 11 meters deep on average;
- 25,000: That’s the number of bicycles that end up in Amsterdam’s canals each year;
- 1,281: That’s the number of bridges in all of Amsterdam;
- 881,000: That’s approximately the number of bicycles in Amsterdam. Oddly enough, there are only about 799,400 people living in the city;
- 2,500: That’s approximately the number of houseboats in Amsterdam. - in:

Bock Casemates - Luxembourg

I've been to Luxembourg city a few years ago. It was a day trip from Bruxelles but it was enough to visit the city and explore the Bock casemates, one of the coolest places to visit there. 
Luís was there a few weeks ago. He sent me the 1st of these cards and the other was bought by me. 

Editions Gropalux
In 963, Count Siegfried built a fortified castle on the Bock promontory, which was soon to become the cradle of the city. In the course of the centuries, on the western side, mighty ring walls were added, which, however, did not foil the Burgundians in their attempt to conquer the city in 1443. The best builder-engineers of the new masters (the Burgundians, the Spaniards, the French, the Austrians and the German Confederation) eventually turned the city into one of the most powerful emplacements in the world, the "Gibraltar of the North". 

Its defences were bolstered by three fortified rings with 24 forts, 16 other strong defensive works and a unique 23 km long network of casemates: these could not only shelter thousands of soldiers and their horses, but also housed workshops, kitchens, bakeries, slaughter-houses etc. In 1867, after the declaration of neutrality,the military withdrew from the fortress and during the following 16 years 90% of the defences were demolished. In 1875, the superstructure of the Bock, a tremendous construction, was razed. However, it proved to be impossible to blow up the casemates, without also demolishing part of the city, so the entrances and the key connecting galleries were sealed. In spite of this, 17 kilometres of tunnels remain, often on different levels and tremendous stairways penetrate up to 40 metres inside the rock face. - in:

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Turnhout - Belgium

Luzia has been to Europe a few months ago and now she's about to return, this time to visit Portugal. I hope I can meet her again. 
Turnhout is a city located in the Flemish province of Antwerp in Belgium. The beguinage was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1998.

Thought to have been founded in the 13C and rebuilt in the 16C and 17C, this is a charming complex, with houses set around a small triangular square overlooked by a Baroque church. A museum devoted to the begijnhof is housed at no 56. - in:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

St. John's Hospital, Brugge - Belgium

St. John's Hospital in beautiful Brugges. Brugges is one of my favorite cities in Europe! Loved it ❤ 
The 1st card was bought by me and the 2nd is an official.

Saint John’s Hospital has an eight hundred-year-old history of caring for pilgrims, travellers, the poor and the sick. Visit the medieval wards where the nuns and monks performed their work of mercy.

Sint-Janshospitaal is one of the oldest preserved hospital buildings in Europe. In the museum, you can learn more about hospital life in the past and how the wards would have looked then. Furniture, paintings, sculptures, silverware, and pewterware are the silent witnesses of the care for bodies and souls that took place in this hospital through the centuries. The building’s supporting framework is also unique and is one of the oldest and largest in Europe.

BE-492648, sent by Pascal.
The old infirmary took patients in from the 12th to the middle of the 19th century. Initially anyone in need of food or a bed could come here. The nuns, however, had limited medical knowledge and devoted themselves mainly to the care of the soul. Paintings and sculptures of healing saints, reliquaries, and an atmospheric chapel bear witness to a strong faith. In the 19th century the hospital moved to a nearby neo-gothic building of bright red brick, where patients could go until 1978. - in:

Augustusburg Palace - Germany

Anja and Heidi sent me these cards in 2011. Back then I needed a card from one of the Brühl Palaces to have all the german UNESCO sites. Since 2011 6 other sites were added to the WHS list. 

Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – was added to the World Heritage List in 1984.

Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence.
In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle.
In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance.

The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.
From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.
Today, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia maintains these palaces for the public as museums, preserving its status as an internationally renowned World Heritage Site. - in:

Neuschwanstein Castle - Germany

The Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most visited castles in Germany and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
The castle is located in Bavaria, near the town of Fussen. It was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, also known as the “Fairytale King”. 

© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG

DE-5927634, sent by Ecke.
King Ludwig was a great admirer and supporter of Richard Wagner, the world-renowned composer.
Neuschwanstein Castle was built in his honor and many rooms in the castle’s interior were inspired by Wagner’s characters.
The third floor particularly reflects Ludwig’s admiration of Wagner’s operas.The Singers Hall, which occupies the entire fourth floor of Neuschwanstein also contains characters from Wagner’s operas.
Neuschwanstein literally means “New Swan Castle” referencing of “the Swan Knight” one of the Wagner’s characters.

The Neuschwanstein Castle looks like a fairytale castle. Neuschwanstein is a castle of the paradox, it was built in the 19th century in Bavaria, in a time when castles no longer had strategical and defensive purposes.
While Neuschwanstein’s look is that of a medieval castle, it was equipped inside with state of the art technology at that time. For example on every floor of the castle there were toilets with automatic flushing system, as well as an air heating system for the whole castle. Water was supplied by a nearby spring situated at only 200 meters above the castle.

Alpiner Kunstverlag Hans Huber, Garmisch-Partenkirchen
US-2051824, sent by Louise
Neuschwanstein’s positioning is also a fairytale one. It is located in the Alps in Bavaria, Germany, in a magnificent landscape, on the top of a hill. Neuschwanstein overlooks the Hohenschwangau valley. If you come to visit this castle, you will be amazed by the extremely beautiful landscape that surrounds it.
Also, Neuschwanstein lies very close to the town of Fussen, which is also a popular tourist destination in Germany.

DE-425666, sent by Andrea.
The construction of the Neuschwanstein castle began in 1869, and originally it was projected to last three years. But Ludwig II wanted the castle to be perfect, so the immense building was not finished even at Ludwig’s death in 1886 and it is not completely finished to this day.

 Neuschwanstein Castle has a very beautiful inner garden surrounded by a walled courtyard. It even has an artificial cave. Neuschwanstein’s interior is as beautiful as its outside. Though only 14 rooms were finished before Ludiwg II’s sudden death in 1886, these rooms were majestically decorated.

DE-2624717, sent by Klaus.
The two story throne room was designed in Byzantine style, with wall paintings depicting angels. Ironically, there is no throne in the Throne Room, as Ludwig died before it was completely finished.

 Copyright: Foto Studio Verlag Kienberger
DE-3654451, sent by Lotte.
This fairytale look of the Neuschwanstein castle inspired Walt Disney to create the Magic Kingdom. Today, Neuschwanstein is the most visited castle in Germany, and one of the most popular tourist destination in the world. Every year over 1.300.000 people cross its gate. - in:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

DE-6048588 & DE-5935736

Officials from Germany. 

Photo: B. Böhmer
DE-6048588, sent by Ariane (I think).
The towers of two churches, Hugenottenkirche and Neustädter Kirche in Erlanger, a city in Bavaria.

Martin Vollet/2016
DE-5935736, sent by Lea.
Neuendettelsau Palace and Lutheran St. Nikolai church in Neuendettelsau, another Bavarian city.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Cinque Terre - Italy

Cinque Terre was on Ara's must visit list and is also on my list. I really, really want to go there someday. 

The Cinque Terre (five towns) is a string of five fishing villages perched high on the Italian Riviera (region Liguria) which until recently were linked only by mule tracks and accessible only by rail or water.
An ancient system of footpaths is still the best way to visit the five villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.
The Cinque Terre is noted for its beauty. Over centuries, people have carefully built terraces to cultivate grapes and olives on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the Mediterranean Sea.
The breathtaking views of harbours far below the wild but hospitable coastline along with the medieval fortresses and plentiful vines and vibrant colours make this a memorable holiday. - in:
The Cinque Terre are classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. They are also a National Park and Protected Marine Area with the aim of protecting this great cultural heritage and natural environment. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Varenna - Italy

There's no better way to start a year than travelling somewhere. I bet Ara agrees with me. Last January she traveled to Italy. 

Varenna is an attractive village on the eastern shore of Lake Como, looking over the central part of the lake towards Bellagio. Varenna's picturesque lanes and old fishermen's houses are unpretentiously appealing, and some visitors prefer the town to its grander neighbours. Although Varenna is a tourist destination, and its pretty waterfront and tiny stone beach fill up with holidaymakers, it has somehow a more authentic air than the other hotel-packed resorts. The main tourist activities in Varenna are relaxing by the lake, and visiting the gardens of two villas, Villa Monastero and Villa Cipressi.
Varenna is a useful gateway to Lake Como, as it lies on a railway line with direct trains to Milan, and is connected to the other lake resorts by regular car and passenger ferries. - in:

Limoges Cathedral - France

I've added this card to my favorites wall just a few days ago and now, thanks to Damien, is already in my collection. Love it!! 

Editions RENE
Limoges Cathedral (French: Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Limoges) is a Roman Catholic church located in Limoges, France. It is a national monument and the seat of the Bishop of Limoges.
The construction of the Gothic cathedral began in 1273 and finished only in 1888 when the nave was connected to the belltower. It is noted for its Renaissance rood loft built in 1534 and for the fine, partly octagonal, bell tower. - in: wikipedia

Friday, March 17, 2017


Côte-d'Or is a department in the eastern part of France. Some of the major tourist attractions in the department are castles. These are some of them. 

M.G. Editions
FR-813018, sent by Yannick
Castles on the card: Bussy-Rabutin; Époisses; Flavigny; Savigny-lès-Beaune; La Rochepot; Butte de Thil; Châteauneuf-en-Auxois; Dijon and Semur-en-Auxois.