Thursday, January 30, 2014

Abbey of Saint-Savin sur-Gartempe - France

Here comes my 1st new UNESCO site of this year. A few months ago i've sent an official card to Damien but it got expired; more than 200 days later i've sent a second card and that one was received. After registering my card, Damien read my profile and checked my UNESCO missing list and offered one of my missing sites, the Abbey of Saint-Savin sur-Gartempe. He was really nice, wasn't he? Merci Damien!!

The Abbey of Saint-Savin sur-Gartempe in the Vienne is famed for its 11th century paintings that have made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site – it has been called the Romanesque Sistine Chapel – but the church itself is also beautiful with its marble-style columns (put in during the 19th century) that are swirls of lovely colour, stretching upwards. 

© M. G. Editions
The abbey is said to have been founded in the time of Charlemagne (747-814), to shelter the bodies of two fifth-century martyrs, Savin and Cyprian – the original tomb still survives. It was rebuilt in the 11th century and the murals are from this time. The spire was added in the 14th century.
It suffered, however, during the turbulent centuries that followed, pillaged by the Black Prince, son of Edward III in 1371 then almost destroyed in the 16th century. The abbey ceased to exist as a religious institution during the French Revolution when the monks were thrown out and the abbey transformed into a parish church.
The murals were first restored in the mid-19th century, and then again in between 2005-2008 and now the colours – ochre reds and yellows, browns and greens – are really strong. They portray stories from Genesis and Exodus, in the order in which they are found in the Bible. Some have disappeared but most are still there including Noah’s Ark, the old man drunk and naked sometime later, the Passage through the Red Sea with its rearing horses, and the building of the Tower of Babel.
The latter is one of the reasons the abbey was awarded UNESCO status – the detail shown, from the architect with his set square, to the square design of the fortress and the pulley system used to lift materials to the top of the building – show what life was really like almost 1,000 years ago.
The nave is where the most celebrated murals are, however, there are more on the western porch (the resurrection of Christ) and in the crypt (the martyrdom of Saints Savin and Cyprien. - in:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sélestat - France

Last year's European Taizé meeting was in Strasbourg, France. As a Taizé enthusiastic, Celina didn't miss it. She asked me if i wanted cards from there, i said anything she wanted to send would be fine and she sent me this one. 

Photo: Estel * Editions VALOIRE-ESTEL
Sélestat was the city were Celina stayed during the meeting.
Sélestat is located in central Alsace, 22 km (14 mi) north of Colmar and 47 km (29 mi) south of Strasbourg, on the left bank of the Ill River.
Sélestat is near the Alsace wine route, and other notable sites such as the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg.
The city is one of the richest and most varied in terms of architecture among the smaller cities of Alsace. - in: wikipedia


Ille-et-Vilaine is a department of France, located in the region of Brittany in the northwest of the country. These are a few castles and fortresses one can find in the region. 

FR-352903, sent by Sylvie.
The castles are:
Fougères Castle - The heir to a thousand years of history, the château de Fougères still stands on its rocky islet. The château as it stands today is one of the largest medieval fortress in Europe.
Le Bos - Built in the 17th and 18th centuries by fleet owners from Saint Malo, the Château du Bos is one of the largest “malouinières” houses. The Magons, a well-known family of navigators and merchants who lived in the area, erected it between 1715 and 1717. Le Bos represents the typical architectural style of the area of Clos-Poulet during the 18th century. - in:
La Bourbansais - Built in the 16th century and refurbished in the 18th, the Château de la Bourbansais has long been renowned for its formal french gardens. It now houses a private zoo with over 500 animals, 
Combourg - The castle was originally built in the 13th century, although substantially modified in the two centuries that followed. It was in 1761 that the castle was bought by the Chateaubriand family (parents of the author), subsequently being inherited by the author's older brother in 1786 - an ownership that wasn't to last long, because in the years of terror following the revolution in 1789 they were executed.
The castle is still owned by one of Chateaubriands descendants, and is open to the public where, among other things, you can see various artefacts belonging to the late Chateaubriand and rooms furnished in the style of that time. - in:
CaradeucCaradeuc castle, located within Plouasne city limits, is one of the largest in this region. After WWII, it became a National Park on August 14th 1945. The castle's facades , roofs and service buildings were listed  as  National Heritage sites on February 1st 1978.
Montmuran - Once an imposing fortress, it is now a magnificent 14th century châtelet that has been perfectly preserved - its two drawbridges still work today.
Rochers-Sévigné - The splendid architecture of this castle dates back to the 1500 and is presently the home to a fine museum, chapel and lush French garden as well.
Vitré - Dating from the 13th century, the castle, with its pointy slate turrets, hosted the Parlement de Bretagne on three occasions in the 16th century when plague ravaged Rennes. These days it houses a museum where you can learn more about its history and the town as well as admiring the collection of 19th-century curiosities. - in:

Monday, January 27, 2014


I'm a nature lover and i like hicking. Well, i used to hick a lot a few years ago with some of my friends but i haven't done that recently, which is something that i really miss. 

The Friends of Oscar Scherer Park Inc.
US-2594699, sent by Madeleine.
Oscar Scherer State Park is a Florida State Park located between Sarasota and Venice, near Osprey, amidst the heavily-developed southwest Florida coast. 
The park's genesis was in 1955, when Elsa Scherer Burrows, owner of the 462-acre (1.87 km2) South Creek Ranch, died. Her will left the ranch to the state to form a park. It was to be dedicated to the memory of her father, Oscar Scherer, the developer of a shoe leather dyeing process in 1872. A year later, the park was ready and opened to visitors. - in: wikipédia
A large acreage of scrubby flatwoods makes this park one of the best places to see Florida scrub-jays, a threatened species found only in Florida. The park protects scrubby and pine flatwoods that were once widespread throughout Sarasota County. Fifteen miles of trails through these beautiful natural areas provide opportunities for hiking, bicycling, and wildlife viewing. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle along South Creek, a blackwater stream that flows to the Gulf of Mexico. - in:

Sunday, January 26, 2014


2013 last official. A snowfield in Hokkaido. 

© Okada Mitsushi / amanaimages
JP-479212, sent by Chiaki.
Hokkaido is Japan's second largest island. 
Hokkaido has relatively cool summers and icy/snowy winters.
In winter, the generally high quality of powder snow and numerous mountains in Hokkaido make it a popular region for snow sports. The snowfall usually commences in earnest in November and ski resorts usually operate between December and April. Hokkaido celebrates its winter weather at the Sapporo Snow Festival. - in: wikipedia

Thursday, January 23, 2014


I love to get cards from places i've already been to. I've visited the Jasna Góra Sanctuary in Czestochowa, Poland, almost 2 years ago. 

© paulinianum
PL-832420, sent by Michalina.
The Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa, Poland, is the most famous Polish shrine to the Virgin Mary and the country's greatest place of pilgrimage – for many its spiritual capital. The image of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, also known as Our Lady of Częstochowa, to which miraculous powers are attributed, is Jasna Góra's most precious treasure. - in: wikipedia
Jasna Gora's bell tower, over 106 meters in height, can be seen by those approaching the monastery and acts as a point of reference in Czestochowa. Previously damaged by fire, the newest part of the bell tower dates to the last century, but older sections of the tower are from the early 1700s. A clock tells the time on each of the four sides of the bell tower and the spire bears the symbol of the Virgin and of the Pauline order of monks who founded the monastery. - in: Jasna-Gora-Monastery-Poland.htm


Saint Pokrovskaya in Korma, a village in Dobrush district.

BY-1095143, sent by Alena.
This church was built in 1097 and in 2000 a women's monastery was established here. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Three Brothers - Riga

A latvian card from my favorites sent by Svetlana. The card shows these three builgings, known as "Three Brothers" in Riga. 

The Three Brothers is a building complex consisting of three houses, situated in Riga, Latvia. The houses together form the oldest complex of dwelling houses in Riga. The houses are situated at the addresses 17, 19 and 21 Maza Pils Street, and each represents various periods of development of dwelling house construction.
The building in 17 Maza Pils Street is the oldest, dating from the late 15th century. The exterior of the building is characterised by crow-stepped gables, Gothic decorations and a few early Renaissance details. Originally the building consisted internally of one large room and an attic in use as a storage. The house was restored in 1955-57 by architect P. Saulitis.
The neighbouring house, 19 Maza Pils Street, has an exterior dating from 1646, with a stone portal added in 1746. The style of the building shows influences from Dutch Mannerism.
The last house of the three, located in 21 Maza Pils Street, is a narrow Baroque building which gained its present look probably during the late 1600s.
The Three Borthers complex today houses the State Inspection for Heritage Protection and the Latvian Museum of Architecture. - in: wikipedia

Friday, January 17, 2014

Favorites from Russia

A few weeks ago Tonya tagged me on a favorite tag. Soon after she realized that the Bolshoi card she sent me wasn't exactly the same i had in my favorites album. To apologize, she sent me a second card. She really didn't have to do this but it was a nice gesture from her. Both cards are great.
Although in recent years the Bolshoi has been beset by financial and artistic difficulties, it is still one of the greatest theatres in the world, with its own proud traditions and unforgettable atmosphere. 
The building itself, built between 1821 and 1824, is one of Moscow's most symbolic sites, a truly impressive example of Russian Classical architecture that faces the Kremlin walls. The Bolshoi is the second biggest opera house in Europe (after La Scala), and grandeur and artistic strength are combined in everything from the impressive statue of Apollo that crowns the facade to the ballet's famously muscular style of choreography.
The Bolshoi takes its role as Russia's national theatre seriously, and the policy is to ensure that 70% of its repertoire is made up of Russian masterpieces. In recent years the company has made every effort to increase the number of works by 20th century Russian composers not performed or little performed in the Soviet Union, and some of the most exciting recent additions to the repertoire have been ballets and operas by Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, etc.
For genuine lovers of opera and ballet, it is worth doing some research before choosing the performance you wish to attend, as quality can be variable. For the rest of us, the breathtaking beauty of the setting, the idiosyncrasies of Russian theatre-going and the historic atmosphere should be more than enough to guarantee a truly memorable evening out. - in

© Published by M-ARTS, 2009 * © Photo & design by Mikhail Slavin, 2009
This is a view of Varzuga, a Pomor village in Kola Peninsula, in Murmansk Oblast. The church of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, in the center of the image, is a pearl of the russian wooden architecture. Master Kliment built it in 1674.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


I'm running out of cards to post here. I mean, received cards. It's already mid-january and i've only received 5 or 6 cards :o I used to have a pile of 50 or more cards to post and now i only have 8!! I really hope i'll get more cards in the next days. 

Photographed & Published by Pentti Harala, Espoo
FI-1954807, sent by Eevakaa.

Hvitträsk was built  between 1901-1903 by architects Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren and Eliel Saarinen. The main building, designed in National Romantic style, built of logs and natural stone, was both a common studio and a home for Eliel Saarinen and Armas Lindgren for some years after it was completed. During that time, Gesellius lived in the courtyard building and later moved into the north-wing of the main building after Lindgren relocated in Helsinki.
During the early decades, the main building served as both an architectural office and as a cultural home. It was visited by such esteemed figures as Jean Sibelius, Axel Gallen-Kallela and Maksim Gorki.
The office's staff also lived at Hvitträsk, and this is where the plans were drawn up for the Helsinki Railway Station, the National Museum of Finland and the monumental Munkkiniemi-Haaga project, among other grand works.
Hvitträsk is also the boyhood home for world famous architect Eero Saarinen, who made his reputation primarily in the United States designing buildings and monuments such as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Saarinen home is a museum today, and within the courtyard building are a restaurant and a café. Hvitträsk and its lovely English style garden are surrounded by beautiful nature near the shore of Lake Vitträsk. - in


The red telephone box, a telephone kiosk for a public telephone designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, was a familiar sight on the streets of the United Kingdom, Malta, Bermuda and Gibraltar. Despite a reduction in their numbers in recent years, the traditional British red telephone box can still be seen in many places throughout the UK, and in current or former British colonies around the world. The colour red was chosen to make them easy to spot.
The red phone box is often seen as an iconic British symbol throughout the world. - in: wikipedia

GB-494301, sent by Vicky.
Broad Street, Convent Garden.
A row of classic telephone boxes by Giles Gilbert Scott, who won a competition to design a kiosk held by the Post Office in 1924. The 1926 K2 box was made from cast iron painted in red (although Scott has specified mild steel, painted silver with greenish-blue interior). 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Snowy Oxford - England

Miguel moved to London last year and he already visited a few places outside London. He has been to Oxford, not on a snowy day like in this card, it was rainning, he said.
A few fun facts about this city:
* Fact #1 - The City of Dreaming Spires
Matthew Arnold dubbed Oxford as the "City of Dreaming Spires" based on the architecture of the world famous University buildings.
* Fact #2 - No Women Allowed
The first colleges of Oxford were built in the 13th century, but it wasn't until 1878 that women were admitted to the university, 1920 when they were awarded degrees, and 1974 when the last of the all-male colleges opened their doors to women.
* Fact #3 - The Legend of Frideswide
Legend has it that Oxford was started by a beautiful and pious young princess named Frideswide. When her dream of becoming a nun was threatened by a king who wanted to marry her, Frideswide ran away to Oxford. The king followed her, but when he reached the town boundaries, he was struck blind. After begging her forgiveness and reluctantly agreeing to give her freedom from marrying him, his sight was amazingly restored. Frideswide went on to set up a nunnery on the site of what is now Christ Church cathedral. The earliest built colleges were set up around the nunnery as learning places for monastic scholars.
* Fact #4 - Hitler and Oxford
Hitler was intending to use Oxford as his capital if he conquered England which is one of the reasons it was not bombed.
* Fact #5 - Visit the Ashmolean in 1683
Oxford's Ashmolean Museum was the first museum in the world to be opened to the public when it was officially opened in 1683 according to the Guinness Book of Records. - in

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Austrian Pile Dwelling Museum

Some time ago i said i've lost an austrian UNESCO card, from the only austrian site i was still missing. I didn't find it, i should call a CSI team, but i really wanted that card so i've traded again and Sarah and picked the same card again. Now, i finally have all the austrian UNESCO sites.

In 2011 the prehistoric pile dwellings around the alps were included in the UNESCO world heritage list. This is the story around the pile dwellings at/in the Mondsee lake.
An old legend tells from a sunk village whose rests can be seen in the depth of the Mondsee lake from time to time. Once again a proof that every legend has a true background because you really can see wooden piles from the water surface.

Fotos: W. Weinhäupl
In the year 1854 the first prehistoric pile dwellings were discovered in the Zurich lake and interpreted as the rests of settlements from prehistoric times. The findspot in Switzerland caused a boom in searching for rest in other lakes around the alps and in 1864 the first remains were discovered in the Attersee lake.
But it has been a scientist called Matthäus Much who became the master of the research of the pile dwellings. Much purchased a villa in 1872 at the waterside of the Mondsee lake after discovering the pile dwellings in the Mondsee which allowed him doing his research in front of his home. By using a self constructed excavator shovel venturesome fixed on a plain boat he lifted an extraordinary amount of findings from the lake ground. The image of a self-contained culture appeared to be true and was named after the lake - Mondsee Culture.
The voluminous collection of Matthäus Much was purchased by the University of Vienna where it is still kept today. Another big collection can be found as well in the Austrian Pile Dwelling Museum situated next to the basilica in the town centre of Mondsee. - inunesco-world-heritage-pile-dwellings-1.html

Switzerland by Manuela

Last summer Manuela went on holidays to Switzerland. The pictures on these cards were taken by her. 

 Photo by Manuela Paiva
The Zytglogge tower is a landmark medieval tower in Bern, Switzerland. Built in the early 13th century, it has served the city as guard tower, prison, clock tower, centre of urban life and civic memorial.
Despite the many redecorations and renovations it has undergone in its 800 years of existence, the Zytglogge is one of Bern's most recognisable symbols and, with its 15th-century astronomical clock, a major tourist attraction. It is a heritage site of national significance, and part of the Old City of Bern, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. - in: wikipedia

 Photo by Manuela Paiva
Mount S. Giorgio rises to a height of 1097 m from the shore of the lake in front of the city of Lugano. An enchanting view from the peak astounds visitors, and a network of paths easily joins the various towns in the region. 
The vegetation of the mountain is distinguished by a typical coppice forest that includes rare plants and magnificent chestnut trees, which are thousands of years old and have completely hollow trunks. 
The region is mostly known for its geological treasures and the fossils conserved within the rock; above of all fishes, invertebrates and sea reptiles of rare if not unique species from the mid-Triassic period, about 230 million years ago. 
Many of these can be admired at the Meride Fossil Museum. On June 2nd, 2003 Mount S. Giorgio was included among UNESCO's World Heritage sites and from 2010 the recognition has also been linked to the italian side. - in:

Photo by Manuela Paiva
I'm not sure but this place seems to be the Lauterbrunnen Valley, in Bern's canton.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


This is an official from Taiwan but the card shows the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Biagio in Montepulciano, a medieval and Renaissance hill town in southern Tuscany, Italy.

Foto: Paolo Barcucci
TW-1082779, sent by Hui-Hsin.
Considered one of the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance, this church was designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Elder and built in travertine. Inside, one can find stuccos and Baroque frescoes. The high altar was created in 1584; it was a great marble altar with four statues of saints, carried out by Ottaviano Lazzerini. Above the altar, one can appreciate a stained glass window depicting a Madonna and Saints by Michelangelo da Cortona. The temple’s origin is linked to a miracle that happened on April 23, 1518. Two women and a shepherd passed in front of a fresco depicting Saint Francis and the Madonna and Child and they saw the eyes of the Virgin move as if she were alive. - in:

German cards

German cards sent by Sarah. 

 © Schöning GmbH & Co. KG
Somewhere in Bayern.

Fotos: Günther Lübbers * Verlag Regio - Karten
The construction of the original castle dates back to 14th century. The castle experienced many changes in its long history: theft and depredation during the Saxonian feud in 1517, ravages during the thirty year war, destruction following a fire in the year 1893 and finally partial destruction by aircraft bombs in the second World War. 
The Lütetsburg castle today is a new construction that was built on the foundation walls in 1517 in the modern style. The  four-wing construction was built in the years 1956 to 1962 and is today the residence of the family zu Inn- und Knyphausen. - in:

2013 Christmas cards

The Christmas season is about to end and i want to share the Christmas cards i got in these last weeks. 

Many thanks to Grace, Telma, Marie, Miguel, Katja, Sofia & Mafalda, Lurdes, Óscar & Daniela, Luzia, Cristina, Margarida, Jo and Olha in Ukraine, whose card was my 800th official received card. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Last German officials of 2013

In 2013 most of my received officials cards, 41, came from Germany!! These are the last ones I got. 

DE-2607957, sent by zuckerschnute92.
 The Hohle Fels is a cave in the Swabian Alps of Germany that has yielded a number of important archaeological finds dating to the Upper Paleolithic. Artifacts found in the cave represent some of the earliest examples of prehistoric art and musical instruments ever discovered. The cave is just outside the town of Schelklingen in the state of Baden-Württemberg, near Ulm.
In 2008, a team from the University of Tübingen, led by archaeologist Nicholas Conard, discovered an artifact known as the Venus of Hohle Fels, dated to around 35,000 to 40,000 years ago. This is the earliest known Venus figurine and the earliest undisputed example of figurative art. The team also unearthed a bone flute in the cave, and found two fragments of ivory flutes in nearby caves. The flutes date back at least 35,000 years and are some of the earliest musical instruments ever found. - in: wikipedia

 © type art satz & grafik
DE-2664492, sent by Michael.
Coesfeld is the capital of the district of Coesfeld in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Coesfeld received its city rights in 1197, but was first recorded earlier than that in the biography of St. Ludger, patron and first bishop of the diocese of Munster who was born north of Coesfeld in Billerbeck. 
For centuries, Coesfeld was an important stopping place for pilgrims traveling one of the more popular Germanic Jakobi routes (Way of St. James) leading from Warendorf over Münster (via Billerbeck) to Coesfeld, and then on via Borken to Wesel on the Rhine. - in: wikipedia

 © Schöning GmbH & Co. KG
DE-2684517, sent by Martina.
Monrepos is a lakeside palace in Ludwigsburg, Germany. This is the former hunting lodge of Duke Eberhard Ludwig which was expanded upon  Duke Carl Eugen unpleted during the reign of King Friedrich I of Wurttemberg. It is considered as a rococo masterpiece. Its interior is decorated in the style of the Napoleonic era. In summer, this is the place for romantic concerts like the big open-air concert with the baroque fireworks display of the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele and chamber concerts of the "Gärtner-Duo". - in:,Len/Home/Tourism/Monrepos+lakeside+palace.html

Kunstverlag Brück & Sohn
DE-2727298, sent by Jana.
This is a card from one of the german cities on the top of my must visit list, Dresden. This is a view of the Stallhof and Hofkirche.
Stallhof, the stable yard in Dresden was part of the building complex of the Royal Palace and served in the 17th Century as a venue for large horse shows. It was completed in 1591 under Elector Christian I and is one of the oldest in the original design of championship courses in the world. Today, the stable yard is used for cultural events such as the medieval Christmas market. Occasionally, horse shows and theater events here are still aligned. - in: wikipedia


I've ended 2013 with a card from France and i'm starting 2014 also with a french card, an official from Annecy Lake. 
Happy New Year to all postcards collectors!!!

Photo © Olivier Anger - © Editions Combier
FR-331730, sent by Brigitte.
Lake Annecy is a perialpine lake in Haute-Savoie in France.
It is the third largest lake in France, after the Lac du Bourget and Lac de Grand-Lieu, if the French part of Lake Geneva (which is also partly in Switzerland) is excluded. It is known as "Europe's cleanest lake" because of strict environmental regulations introduced in the 1960s. It is a popular tourist destination known for its swimming and water sports.
The lake was formed about 18,000 years ago, at the time the large alpine glaciers melted. It is fed by many small rivers from the surrounding mountains (Ire, Eau morte, Laudon, Bornette and Biolon), and from a powerful underwater source, the Boubioz, which enters at 82 m depth. - in: wikipedia