Monday, January 23, 2012

Volubilis - Morocco

The last post of the day shows a new Unesco site from Morocco. The card was sent by Agata "ddonkey" from Croatia.
The Archaeological Site of Volubilis was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.

Maroc Infini

Volubilis is an archaeological site in Morocco situated near Meknes between Fez and Rabat. It features the best preserved Roman ruins in this part of northern Africa.

In antiquity, Volubilis was an important Roman town situated near the westernmost border of Roman conquests. It was built on the site of a previous Carthaginian settlement from (at the latest) the third century BC.
Volubilis was the administrative center of the province in Roman Africa called Mauretania Tingitana.
Volubilis contains essentially Roman vestiges of a fortified municipium built on a commanding site at the foot of the Jebel Zerhoun. Covering an area of 42 hectares, it is of outstanding importance demonstrating urban development and Romanisation at the frontiers of the Roman Empire and the graphic illustration of the interface between the Roman and indigenous cultures. Because of its isolation and the fact that it had not been occupied for nearly a thousand years, it presents an important level of authenticity. The archaeological vestiges of this site bear witness to several civilizations.
The site has produced a substantial amount of artistic material, including mosaics, marble and bronze statuary, and hundreds of inscriptions. This documentation and that which remains to be discovered
, is representative of a creative spirit of the human beings who lived there over the ages. - in:

Marion Island - South Africa

Last week i've received an envelope from Déa, my dear brazilian friend. She sent me 3 cards and one of them was this one showing a grotto in the rock, on the southeast coast of Marion Island, South Africa.

Photo by Miachel Kracke

Marion Island is one of the two islands of the Prince Edward Islands. They are two small islands in the sub-antarctic Indian Ocean that are part of South Africa.

The islands in the group have been declared Special Nature Reserves under the South African Environmental Management and activities on the islands are therefore restricted to research and conservation management. The only human inhabitants of the islands are the staff of a meteorological and biological research station run by the South African National Antarctic Programme on Marion Island. - in: wikipedia


This is only my 2nd official card with a South African ID. The 1st card was sent from South Africa but the card was from Namibia.

ZA-20690, sent by Stel.
The spectacular Swartberg Pass runs through the Swartberg mountains (black mountain in Afrikaans) which are a mountain range that runs roughly east-west along the northern edge of the semi-arid area called the Little Karoo in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
The Swartberg is amongst the best exposed fold mountain chains in the world, and the pass slices through magnificently scenic geological formations. Much of the Swartberg is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built using convict labour by Thomas Bain and opened on January 10, 1888. The drystone work supporting some of its picturesque hairpin bends is particularly noteworthy. The pass runs between Oudtshoorn in the south and Prince Albert in the north. The pass is not tarred and can be a little treacherous after rain, but offers spectacular views over the Little Karoo to the south and the Great Karoo to the north. The plant life along the pass is very interesting, many hundreds of species being found on the Swartberg. The pass is especially famous due to the spectacular geology that is exposed at its Northern end. The contortions in the rock display astonishing anticlines and synclines, and the vivid coloration of the surrounding Quartzite is remarkable. At the Northern end of the pass seven hundred metre high quartzite cliffs of the upper Table Mountain Group can be seen, and these are often tilted through 90 degrees (sometimes even more). - in: wikipedia


I don't even remember the last time i received a card from New Zealand but it was a long time ago. This an official with a beautiful landscape of Aoraki/Mt. Cook. The purple flowers are mountain lupins.

Kiwi Vista Company Limited

NZ-62159 sent by Annie.

Although wild mountain lupins have a harmful effect on New Zealand's natural environment, witnessing their blanket of brilliant colour, provides everlasting memories.

Maybe you don't know but the yellow legume seeds of lupins, commonly called lupin beans, are very popular in Portugal. Frequently served free of charge in bars alongside a glass of beer but can be quite tricky to consumer to a novice and there is a 'knack' to eating them.
Using you teeth you must tear the outer skin, bite down to 'pop' the bean out and into your mouth. Getting the hang of this can produce some amusing situations.

Kellie's Castle - Malaysia

Kellie's Castle is located near Batu Gajah, and is about 20 minutes' drive from Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.

It was intended to be the hub of social life for the area's wealthy colonial planters and administrators. A grand mansion with a six-storey tower, wine cellar, stately columns. Moorish arches and walls embellished with Greco-Roman designs. There was to be a rooftop courtyard for parties and even an elevator, the first of its kind in the country. But the building was never to be completed. Work halted in December 1926 with the sudden demise of its owner, William Kellie-Smith. The estate on which it was situated was sold and the unfinished mansion soon surrendered itself once to the jungle.

Today, the rediscovered mansion, popularly known as Kellie's Castle, still stands, having survived the ravages of time. It reflects the pioneering spirit of the early colonialists and the romanticism of a bygone era. - in:

The card was sent by Abu "ebreah".

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ancient City of Sigiriya - Sri Lanka

Ancient City of Sigiriya is on the Unesco World Heritage List since 1982. The card was sent by Lídia and is my 3rd Unesco site from Sri Lanka.
The ruins of the capital built by the parricidal King Kassapa I (477–95) lie on the steep slopes and at the summit of a granite peak standing some 370 m high (the 'Lion's Rock', which dominates the jungle from all sides). A series of galleries and staircases emerging from the mouth of a gigantic lion constructed of bricks and plaster provide access to the site.

In the heart of Ceylon, the extraordinary site of Sigiriya, a lofty rock of reddish gneiss dominating, from a height of some 150 m, the neighbouring plateau, has been inhabited since the 3rd century BC, as attested by the graffiti which proliferate in the grottoes and the shelters of the Buddhist monks. The fame of the 'Lion Mountain' is, however, due to one single factor: during a short period in the 5th century AD, a sovereign established his capital there. King Kassapa I (477-95), son of Dhatusena, only came to power after he had engineered the assassination of his father and had, briefly, dispossessed his brother.

Justly fearing the vengeance of the latter, Kassapa had a fortified palace built on the rock of Sigiriya which was reputed to be impregnable.

However, it was there that he was defeated after a short but cruel battle in 495, following which he cut his throat. After the death of Kassapa, Moggallana returned the site of Sigiriya to the monks, thus condemning it to progressive abandonment. During the eleven years that Kassapa resided in Sigiriya, he created a residence of exceptional splendour and founded his capital there, impressive vestiges of which are still extant.

At the summit of the rock is the fortified palace with its ruined buildings, its cisterns and its rock sculptures. At the foot of the rock are the two quarters of the lower city which are defended by a massive wall: the eastern quarter (perhaps postdating the 5th century), which has not been sufficiently excavated, and the aristocratic quarter of the capital of Kassapa I, noteworthy for its terraced gardens embellished by canals and fountains, as well as for numerous monumental remains which have been disengaged from the forest which had invaded the ruins. - in:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hiraizumi - Japan

Another card from Japan and this one was also sent by Kenji. The card shows a lotus flower garden in the Chūson-ji, a Buddhist temple, one of the monuments listed in 2011 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a part of the Hiraizumi – Temples, Gardens and Archaeological Sites Representing the Buddhist Pure Land.

The site features vestiges of government offices dating from the 11th and 12th centuries when Hiraizumi was the administrative centre of the northern realm of Japan and rivalled Kyoto. The realm was based on the cosmology of Pure Land Buddhism, which spread to Japan in the 8th century. It represented the pure land of Buddha that people aspire to after death, as well as peace of mind in this life. In combination with indigenous Japanese nature worship and Shintoism, Pure Land Buddhism developed a concept of planning and garden design that was unique to Japan. - in:

PT x other countries RR - Special Group 11

I believe is not hard to guess which was the theme of this special group, Yeap, castles, and these are from  Poland and Ireland.

Photo by W. Pawluczuk

This Balków Castle card was sent by Ryszard and Marlena "rs100". The castle is located in Balków, a is a town in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in south-western Poland.
Above the town stand the ruins of Bolków Castle, built in the 13th century. Devastated in the Thirty Years' War it became a property of Grüssau Abbey in 1703, though restoration efforts did not begin until 1905. Since 1994 the ruin is the site of the annual "Castle Party" Gothic rock festival. - in: wikipedia

Photo by Willie Rooney

This is the 2nd castle card i've received in a few weeks sent by Brian "fishermen". This time he sent me this view of the Dalkey Castle & Heritage Center, which includes a 14th century fortified Town House, a 10th century church and graveyeard, a heritage museum and a Writers/Art Gallery.

Ravensca - Romania

Ravensca is one of six Czech-inhabited villages in Romania's Banat. It is located on a hill at an altitude of ca. 750 m above sea level and about 7 km southeast of Şopotu Nou village. Of the six Czech villages in the Banat, Ravensca is located at the highest altitude and the best preserved Czech language is spoken there. Thanks to its considerable isolation, the language is not overly influenced by Romanian and Serbian.

Photo by Ivo Fík Dokoupil

Ravensca has the most scenic location of the Banat's Czech villages, making it a favourite destination of romantic travelers. However, life on the mountain range is very hard, particularly in winter, when the village is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. This is perhaps the reason for the rapid decrease in residents.

The village was founded in 1827. - in: wikipedia

Buchlov Castle - Czech Republic

A few weeks ago i've sent an official card to Evelina. When she wrote me her thank you message she said she had seen this blog and would like to send me a card. I sent her my message, send her another card and she sent me this beautiful card.

The Buchlov castle is a royal castle in Moravian Slovakia, which is a region in south-eastern Moravia, Czech Republic.

The castle was built approximately in the first part of the 13th century, but archaeological finds suggest that the area around Buchlov castle was settled in the oldest periods of civilization. The function of the castle was defensive, agricultural and administrative as well.

Although the castle was a permanent possession of a king until the 16th century, it was often given in pawn to aristocratic clans.

A family museum came into existence in the castle thanks to the brothers Leopold I Berchtold and Bedřich Berchtold. In the half of 19th century the museum was opened to public. In the year 1945, the castle became ownership of Czechoslovakia and was added to a list of national cultural monuments. Nowadays it is open to public. Day and night visits with many cultural programmes and actions are held during the year. - in: wikipedia

Ledeč nad Sázavou - Czech Republic

Almost a week without any updates but i'm back and i'll continue with czech cards. This is another one sent by Emerich.

Ledec nad Sazavou is the third largest town in the Havlickuv Brod region. The local castle is the dominant here. Its history is close-nit to the town history. The castle has been established at the first half of 13th century.

Photo by Ivan Rillich

Right opposite the castle, on the left Sazava river bank, there is a church from 14th century sacred to St. Apostles Petr and Pavel. Above the castle there is another point of interest- the Thune’s villa from 1685- 1694. It used to be a summer residence of archbishop Arnost from Thun. Beside this there are many others place to see- significant municipal houses, the cemetery church of “Holy Trinity” from 1585, the synagogue from the year of 1739 and the Jewish cemetery established in 1601- one of the eldest in Czech Republic. - in:

Friday, January 13, 2012

Polish cards

Poland, Poland, Poland... that's the only thing i've been thinking in the last few days. Why?? Because i'm going to Poland next March :D Well, that's not 100% sure yet, that depends on the holidays meeting at work next week, but i'm confident that i'll get my holidays in the 2nd week of March. I'm crossing my fingers.

I won't visit any of these cities though. The main idea is to go to Warsaw, Krakow and Auschwitz but i'll probably visit other places too.

Photo by Dariusz Krakowia

Brama Młyńska (Mill Gate, also called "Harbor Gate" and "Water Gate") is an old city gate of Stargard Szczeciński, in Poland, which functioned also as a watergate. In medieval times the watch lowered a portcullis into the river for the night, which secured Stargard harbour, situated behind the fortification (an exception in this area), from intruders. Today the Mill Gate is the seat of Stargard's Society of Fine Art Lovers.

Photo by Dariusz Krakowia

Białystok is the largest city in northeastern Poland and the capital of the Podlaskie Voivodeship.
Branicki Palace is a historical edifice in Białystok. It was developed on the site of an earlier building in the first half of the 18th century by Jan Klemens Branicki, a wealthy Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth hetman, into a residence suitable for a man whose ambition was to become king of Poland. The palace complex with gardens, pavillons, sculptures, outbuildings and other structures and the city with churches, city hall and monastery, all built almost at the same time according to French models was the reason why the city was known in the 18th century as Versailles of Poland and subsequently Versailles of Podlachia.

Branicki Palace suffered from bombing and fires caused by the Germans, with damage totaling approximately 70%. It was restored after World War II as a matter of national pride.

The Medical University is housed in the Palace. - in: wikipedia

Photo by Dariusz Krakowia

Wrocław, situated on the River Oder, is the main city of southwestern Poland.

This is a view of the Market Square with the Town Hall, a late gothic building from the 14th century.
These cards were sent by Emerich.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Favorites from Germany

These german cards were both my favorites and both have been sent by Bine.

Photo by W. Kraatz

Erlangen is a city in Bavaria. The card shows the Erlangen Castle, built in 1700-1704, is home to a large part of the Erlangen-Nuremberg University administration.
The university was founded in 1742 in Bayreuth by Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, and moved to Erlangen in 1743. The monument in front of the castle, which was built to mark the 100th anniversary of the university (1843), depicts Margrave Friedrich.

Photo by J. Knobloch

Helgoland is a small German archipelago in the North Sea, located 46 kilometres (29 mi) off the German coastline and consists of two islands: the main island Hauptinsel to the west and the Düne to the east.
Northwest of the island proper Heligoland's famous landmark is found: The Lange Anna ("Long Anna" or "Tall Anna") which is a free standing rock column (or stack), 47 metres (154 ft) high and weighing about 25,000 tons. - in:


Cards seem to be the only way i'm having snow this year. We haven't had any yet and i'm missing it. I want to go outside and take pictures. Maybe tomorrow, i'm crossing my fingers.

Editions Cellard

NL-967262, sent by Patrick.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Neolithic flint mines of Spiennes - Belgium

With this card of Neolithic flint mines of Spiennes, sent by Gilles, i'm only missing 1 Unesco site from Belgium, the Lifts on the old Canal du Centre!!

The Neolithic flint mines of Spiennes are Europe's largest and earliest neolithic mines, located close to Walloon village of Spiennes, southeast of Mons, Belgium. The mines were active during the mid and late Neolithic (4400-3000 BC). The site and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 2000.

It is well known for its flint mines, which are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2000. The entry on the list describes them as "the largest and earliest concentration of ancient mines in Europe" and cites the level of human technological development they demonstrate as justification for their inclusion.

The mines cover some 100 hectares of downland near Mons in Belgium and are interesting for showing the transition between opencast and underground mining for the flint nodules. The nodules were extracted using deer antler picks. The stones were then knapped into rough-out shapes of axes, and finally polished to achieve the final state.

The rough-outs were traded over a wide area, and were often polished at their destination. Polishing strengthens the final product, making the axe-head last longer. The axes were used initially for forest clearance during the early Neolithic period, and for shaping wood for structural applications, such as timber for huts and canoes. - in: wikipedia

Abbey of Fontenay - France

Thanks to Fabienne "famalubel" from Spain, i've a new french Unesco site, Abbey of Fonteney. The card shows the church.

The Abbey of Fontenay is a former Cistercian abbey located in the commune of Marmagne, near Montbard, in the département of Côte-d'Or in France. It was founded by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in 1118, and built in the Romanesque style. It is one of the oldest and most complete Cistercian abbeys in Europe, and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.

Photo by Henri Gaud

The abbey church was dedicated by Pope Eugene III in 1147. Located in a small forested valley 60 kilometres northwest of Dijon, it achieved great prosperity in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Fontenay enjoyed the protection of the Kings of France but was plundered in the Hundred Year's War and the Wars of Religion. Later, its fortunes declined, and the refectory was demolished by the monks in 1745. The abbey was closed in the French Revolution, and became a paper mill until 1902, owned for most of its period of operation by the Montgolfier family. In 1905 the abbey was bought by Édouard Aynard and restored.
The church of the abbey was built from 1139 to 1147 in the prevalent Romanesque style, and marked by the austerity typical of Cistercian architecture.
Apart from the demolished refectory, the abbey retains almost all of its original buildings: church, dormitory, cloister, chapter house, caldarium or "warming room", dovecote and forge, all built in Romanesque style, with later abbot's lodgings and infirmary. Today the abbey buildings are set in modern manicured parterres of lawn and gravel. - in:


Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe (specifically Norway and later Denmark) for more than a millennium. Greenland is, by area, the world's largest island that is not a continent. With a population of 56,615 (January 2011 estimate) it is the least densely populated dependency or country in the world.

Photo by Alena a Jaroslav Klempírovi

Greenland has been inhabited, though not continuously, by Inuit peoples via Canada for 4500-5000 years. In the 10th century, Norsemen settled on the uninhabited southern part of Greenland. In the 13th century, the Inuit arrived, and in the late 15th century the Norse colonies were abandoned. In the early 18th century contact between Scandinavia and Greenland was re-established and Denmark established rule over Greenland.

Greenland became a Danish colony in 1814 after being under the rule of Denmark-Norway for centuries. With the Constitution of Denmark of 1953, Greenland became a part of the Kingdom of Denmark in a relationship known in Danish as Rigsfællesskabet (Commonwealth of the Realm). In 1979 Denmark granted home rule to Greenland, and in 2008 Greenland voted to transfer more power from the Danish royal government to the local Greenlandic government. This became effective the following year, with the Danish royal government in charge of foreign affairs, security (defence-police-justice), and financial policy, and providing a subsidy of DKK 3.4 billion, or approximately $11,300 per Greenlander, annually. - in: wikipedia

Lousã Castle - Portugal

Another portuguese card and this one shows one of my missing castles. I've never seen before any cards of this castle. I'm got it thanks to Vitória, another great surprise from her :D

Photo by Oswaldo Santos

This 11th century castle, 3 km southeast of Lousã, is more correctly known as the Arouce Castle after the village of that name, abandoned around 1513. Legend has it that a King Arouce fled from a barbarian invasion of the Roman town of Conimbriga and took refuge here with his daughter and a horde of treasure. The castle played an important part in the battles against the Moors, but all that remains today are the keep, a wall and turrets, all built of the local stone, Silurian schist, except for the door decoration which is of white gritstone. - in:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Portugal x World RR - Group 17

Time now for portuguese cards. These are from Barcelos, Sines and Lisbon.

Guia Turístico do Norte

I've only been to Barcelos once and that was a long time ago. I wanted to visit it agin last year but it wasn't possible. Miguel "leugim" knows that and sent me this card from there.

Barcelos is a city in northern Portugal. Its famous symbol is a rooster, the Rooster of Barcelos.

No rooster on this card though. It shows the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança, destroyed by an earthquake in 1755, now an open-air museum and the medieval bridge, built between 1325-1328.

Some of the 1st cards in my collection are from my Sines but this is the 1st card i received from there by postcrossing. It was sent by Gracinha.

Sines is a coastal city in the district of Setúbal, in the Alentejo region. The card shows the castle,
initiated as protection from pirates in 1362 and the parish church.
Vasco da Gama was a Portuguese explorer and the commander of the first ships to India; for a short time (in 1524) he was Governor of Portuguese India. He was born at the Sines castle where his father Estêvão da Gama was the local alcalde.

Photo by Jorge A. D. N. Costa

This was the 1st card Miguel "maique" sent me and i already had it. Ninocas sent me some time ago. It shows the 25 April Bridge and the Águas Livres Aqueduct in Lisbon.

Big Unesco RR - Group 41 II

These are the other 3 cards i've received from the Big Unesco RR. They're from Poland, Germany and Brazil. I already had cards from these sites but these are different views.

Not so long ago i've received an official card with Krakow's Barbican and for this RR, "bodexs" sent me Warsaw's Barbican. This classical Gothic structure separates the Old Town district from the New Town.
In 1980 the Historic Town of Warsaw was classified as World Heritage Site and the Barbican is a major highlight in this part of the city.
The semi-circular Warsaw Barbican served as a fortified outpost for many years since being built in the mid-16th century.

Speyer is a city of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Founded by the Romans, it is one of Germany's oldest cities.
Speyer is dominated by the Speyer Cathedral, which was added, in 1981, to the UNESCO World Heritage List of culturally important sites as "a major monument of Romanesque art in the German Empire".
The cards was sent by Kerstin "schoolbag".

Luciano sent me my 5th Ouro Preto card. Ouro Preto a city in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, a former colonial mining town, designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980, because of its outstanding Baroque architecture.
Ouro Preto is a major tourist destination, for its well-preserved colonial appearance with old buildings and cobblestone streets.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Big Unesco RR - Group 41 I

A few months ago i've joined this Unesco RR. I've been waiting for the last card but apparently, it got lost in the mail. Instead of 9 cards, i've received 8 and 4 of them were from new places.

Rita "rita_simões" sent this card of the Royal Palace of Caserta, a former royal residence in Caserta, southern Italy, constructed for the Bourbon kings of Naples. It was the largest palace and one of the largest buildings erected in Europe during the 18th century. In 1997, the Palace was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, described in its nomination as "the swan song of the spectacular art of the Baroque, from which it adopted all the features needed to create the illusions of multidirectional space". - in: wikipedia
Sara "zasa" from Switzerland, sent me one of my swiss missing sites, Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona, on the Unesco WHS list since 2008.
The Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona in the north-eastern part of the country covers a mountainous area of 32,850 ha which features seven peaks that rise above 3,000 m. The area displays an exceptional example of mountain building through continental collision and features .excellent geological sections through tectonic thrust, i.e. the process whereby older, deeper rocks are carried onto younger, shallower rocks. The site is distinguished by the clear three-dimensional exposure of the structures and processes that characterize this phenomenon and has been a key site for the geological sciences since the 18th century. The Glarus Alps are glaciated mountains rising dramatically above narrow river valleys and are the site of the largest post-glacial landslide in the Central Alpine region. - in:

Photo by Keuning Photo

When Heather sent me this card, it was new in my collection, but a few days later i've received another one from one of my penpals in the US. I didn't realize immediately it was from the Mammoth Caves National Park. It was a nice surprise.

Mammoth Cave National Park, located in the state of Kentucky, has the world's largest network of natural caves and underground passageways, which are characteristic examples of limestone formations. The park and its underground network of more than 560 surveyed km of passageways are home to a varied flora and fauna, including a number of endangered species. - in:

This National Park was added to the Unesco list in 1981.

Photo by Erick Schnabel

Like the previous card, when i received this one from Zacatecas, Mexico, it was a card from a new site, but i was already waiting for another one, which i already posted here.

This one, sent by Steffi, shows the former Temple of San Francisco. It was founded in 1568 as first monastery in Zacatecas, the monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe, with the primary function of evangelization. It was inaugurated on 12 January 1707, but some parts of the buildings (such as the south tower) were not really completed until the nineteenth century. Today the monastery complex houses a museum but the church is in ruins. The vault of the central nave has fallen and many of its rooms and corridors are in ruins. - in: wikipedia