Sunday, December 27, 2015

RU-3927996 & RU-3927994

Officials from Russia, the 1st with some popular symbols of the country and the 2nd with the Church of the Intercession of the Mother of God in Vladivostok. 

RU-3927996, sent by Olga.
Every country has its offcial and non official symbols, Russia in no exception and these are a few of the most popular ones. 
Samovar - the Russian word samovar literally means “self-boiling.” The vessel consists of a metal container for boiling the water and a fire-pan with a tube. 
Bayan - is a type of chromatic button accordion developed in Russia in the early 20th century and named after the 11th-century bard Boyan.
Balalaika - is a plucking string instrument that resembles a guitar, but has a triangular shape and only three strings (or two in some cases). 
Valenki - or felt boots, are Russian national footwear. They are traditionally made of milled fleece, and each pair requires at least a kilogram of fleece that must undergo a long processing treatment.
Matryoshka -  is the most famous symbol of Russia and the most popular Russian souvenir all around the World. It is a set of wooden dolls nested into each other. The painted image on them is most often a woman wearing traditional Russian costume decorated with flowers and patterns.

Photo by Georgiy Khruschov
RU-3927994, sent by Lubov.
There are about 40 Russian Orthodox chapels in Vladivostok. The biggest and most majestic is the Church of the Intercession of the Mother of God.
The first church in honor of the Intercession of the Mother of God was built in 1902 on the territory of the town cemetery, the resting place of several generations of Vladivostok and Primorye residents. The five-domed Church of the Intercession was designed for seven hundred people. After the establishment of Soviet power in 1923, the cemetery was closed. In 1934, construction began on a city culture and recreation park. A year later, the Church of the Intercession was blown up.
Donations were collected in 1991 to restore the Church of the Intercession. However, its construction was delayed for various reasons. Finally, construction began in September 2004. In March 2007, 10 bells were consecrated, and installed in the bell tower on April 3, with the largest weighing 1,300 kg.
The new church can seat up to 1,000 people, and its appearance is as close as possible to the five-domed original. - in:

Chapel of the Madonna - Moscow

This card features 2 religious buildings in Moscow, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the Chapel of the Madonna. It was because of the last one that this card was in my favorites, I really like wooden religious buildings. The card was sent by Tatiana.

A small wooden chapel, dedicated to the Sovereign Madonna is located close on the grounds to the rear of the Cathedral. Built in 1995, the chapel became a place to pray for the reconstruction project and for the builders and artists labouring to rebuild the cathedral. - in:

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Jyväskylä - Finland

These cards are both from Jyväskylä and both were sent by Heidi. The 1st one is from a meeting and the 2nd celebrates Heidi's 10th Postcrossing anniversary. 

Kuva: J. Laine

Jyväskylä is located in the western part of the Finnish Lakeland. With a population of 135,591, is the largest city in the region of Central Finland. 

The Harju ridge is the best known of Jyväskylä’s observation points and green areas. Ascending its steep slope are the Nero steps, which were named after former city engineer Oskar Nero. There is a large building on the top of the Hill known as Vesilinna Water tower, which houses an observation gallery offering the best possible view of Jyväskylä, and Restaurant Vesilinna. The stone steps of Harju hill are flanked each summer by a fantastic array of flowers. The area contains a network of footpaths, a sports ground and summer theatre. - in: 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


A beautiful tundra wolf, I think, from Finland. 

Photographed and published by Janne Harala
FI-2551781, sent by Maria.
The tundra wolf (Canis lupus albus), also known as the Turukhan wolf, is a subspecies of grey wolf native to Eurasia's tundra and forest-tundra zones from Finland to the Kamchatka Peninsula.
The Finnish wolf population was hunted down in the 1920's. In 2012, there were about 180 - 200 wolves living in Finland. This population is a part of a large Russian wolf population. In the whole Russia there are about 30 000 wolves, but just across the border, in Karelia, only about 350 individuals. 


This card only shows a detail of Wells cathedral. If you google it, you'll see how amazing it is, it has been described as "unquestionably one of the most beautiful" and as "the most poetic" of English cathedrals.

Foto H. & D. Zielske
DE-4359600, sent by Judith.
Wells Cathedral (officially the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Wells) is the glory of the small town of Wells in Somerset. Dating primarily from the early 13th century, Wells Cathedral is spectacular in its uniqueness and richness of decoration.
The cathedral boasts a magnificent west front covered in medieval sculptures of saints and kings. The pretty Early Gothic interior is dominated by the love-em-or-hate-em "scissor arches," seen nowhere else. - in:

The Brithish Museum

A card from a mini meeting between Laerke and Elizabeth in London. 

Featuring photographs by Dudley Hubbard, Philip Sayer and Simon Tutty
Founded in 1753, the British Museum’s remarkable collection spans over two million years of human history. Enjoy a unique comparison of the treasures of world cultures under one roof, centred around the magnificent Great Court.
World-famous objects such as the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon sculptures, and Egyptian mummies are visited by up to six million visitors per year. In addition to the vast permanent collection, the museum’s special exhibitions, displays and events are all designed to advance understanding of the collection and cultures they represent. - in:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Rømø Island - Denmark

Rømø is one of the island of the Wadden Sea National Park in Denmark. Since June 2014 it has constituted the Danish part of the UNESCO's Wadden Sea World Heritage Site. 
This card is also from a missing site in my collection. It was sent by Christa. 

The Wadden Sea is of particular importance because it is one of the world's most valuable tidal areas, being located in the middle of the Eastern Atlantic migratory routes. It attracts between 10-12 million migratory birds each year that use the coastline as their stopover and wintering area in northern Europe.
In addition to the birdlife, this vast wetland area with its miles of precious beaches is home to Denmark’s largest population of spotted seals, with sightings throughout the summer months being virtually guaranteed. - in:

Foto: Trojaborgs Forlag
Rømø is a Danish island in the Wadden Sea. The island has 650 inhabitants as of 1 January 2011 and covers an area of 129 km². Rømø is a popular tourist spot each year, attracted by the clothing optional beaches which can be driven on with motor vehicles legally.
Rømø is now the southernmost of Denmark's Wadden Sea Islands. It is linked to the Danish mainland by a road running across a causeway. - in: wikipedia

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Blegny-Mine - Belgium

Major Mining Sites of Wallonia was the last belgium UNESCO site I was still missing. The Canal du Centre card was sent by Natália and she also sent me this one. 

The four sites of the property (Gand-Hornu, Bois-du-Luc, Bois du Cazier and Blegny-Mine) form a strip 170 km long by 3–15 km wide, crossing Belgium from east to west, consisting of the best-preserved 19th- and 20th-century coal-mining sites of the country. 

© Blegny-Mine
The coalfields of Wallonia were once amongst the most productive in western Europe, but in the 1970s one mine after another was forced to close as the black stuff became uneconomical to extract. The Blegny Mine, near Liège, was one of the last to cease production (in 1980), but within a few months the authorities decided to preserve it so that future generations could appreciate the physically punishing work the miners had to endure, and the huge contribution they made to Belgium’s prosperity.
Thirty years on, you’d hardly know that coal is no longer produced here. Blegny is the only mine in continental Europe where you can descend to the underground galleries and literally touch the coalface at a depth of 30 and 60 metres. Some of the mining drills still work, and you’re given a startling demonstration of the noise, the cramped conditions and the darkness in which the men – and their pit ponies, who lived and died underground – had to work.
Back above ground, some of the surface buildings have been preserved too, including the buildings where the coal was washed and sorted, the gallery where the miners clocked on every morning and collected their electric lamps, and the shower room where they washed off the dust and grime and returned to normality again. - in

Canal du Centre - Belgium

Here comes another UNESCO site from Belgium, this one new in my collection. It was sent by Natália last August. 
The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louvière and Le Roeulx (Hainaut) were inscribed on the UNESCO WHS list in 1998.

The Canal du Centre is a canal in Belgium, which, with other canals, links the waterways of the Meuse and Scheldt rivers. It has a total length of 20.9 km. Because of the differences in height of the Canal it was necessary to built hydraulic boat lifts. 
There is a rise of some 90 metres from Mons to the summit level of 121 metres above sea level. Most of this rise is concentrated in a few kilometres - hence the artificial help. 

© Photos F. T. P. H.: C. Carpentier
The canal, the lifts and its associated structures, constitute a remarkably well-preserved and complete example of a late-19th-century industrial landscape. Of the eight hydraulic boat-lifts built at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, the only ones in the world which still exist in their original working condition are these four lifts on the Canal du Centre. - in

Friday, December 11, 2015

Mons - Belgium

It was on March the 28th that the belgium city of Mons hosted a Postcrossing Meeting. Raquel was there and she sent me the 1st of these two card card signed by other 14 postcrossers. In August Raquel went to the city again for another meeting and sent me a 2nd card from there. 

© Edit. Thill, S. A., Bruxelles
Mons, also known as the cultural capital of Wallonia and the actual capital of the Hainaut Province, is located in the southwest of Belgium, 1 hour by train from Brussels. 
Together with the Czech city of Plzeň, Mons is the European Capital of Culture in 2015.
I can't identify the building on the bottom left corner but the other images are the Town Hall, the belfry, the guardhouse money, a local festivity, maybe the Lumeçon fight, where Saint George confronts the dragon and Saint-Waudru Collegiate Church. 

Photo de S. Santarelli
Listed by UNESCO since 1999, Mons Belfry is a remarkable example of local architectural history. The only baroque belfry still in existence, it was built between 1661 and 1672 by Louis Ledoux (architect and sculptor) and Vincent Anthony (architect and surveyor).  A symbol of the city of Mons and an important landmark, the belfry was constructed following the collapse of its predecessor, the clock tower, due to dilapidation. Primarily for reasons of civic safety, the authorities were obliged to replace it with a new tower, in the style of the era. Chiming to indicate sunrise, the opening of the gates, curfews, the start of work and rest periods, and any fires spotted by the lookout, the belfry was a key part of everyday life.
With a square footprint, 459,000 bricks make up the walls, and a spiral staircase connects the various floors. The exterior is made of Ecaussinnes blue stone.
With 365 steps, a height of 87 metres and 49 bells to discover, the belfry is scheduled to reopen in 2015. This fabulous structure will accommodate an interpretive centre dedicated to its history and its listing as a UNESCO heritage site, as well as enabling visitors to enjoy panoramic views. - in:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Potsdam - Germany

Potsdam is the capital city of the German federal state of Brandenburg. It directly borders the German capital Berlin and is part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the River Havel, 24 kilometres (15 miles) southwest of Berlin's city center.

Potsdam was a residence of the Prussian kings and the German Kaiser, until 1918. Around the city there are a series of interconnected lakes and cultural landmarks, in particular the parks and palaces of Sanssouci, the largest World Heritage Site in Germany. The Potsdam Conference, the major post-World War II conference between the victorious Allies, was held at another palace in the area, the Cecilienhof. - in: wikipedia

© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG
DE-4435081, sent by Steffi & family.
 The cultural landscape with its parks and buildings was designed and constructed between 1730 and 1916 in a beautiful region of rivers, lakes, and hills. The underlying concept of Potsdam was carried out according to Peter Joseph Lenné’s plans, which he designed after the mid-1800s, to transform the Havel landscape into the cultural landscape it is today. These designs still determine the layout of Potsdam’s cultural landscape. The ensemble of parks of Potsdam is a cultural property of exceptional quality. It forms an artistic whole, whose eclectic nature reinforces its sense of uniqueness. - in:

 Sanssouci is the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, in Potsdam, near Berlin. It is often counted among the German rivals of Versailles. While Sanssouci is in the more intimate Rococo style and is far smaller than its French Baroque counterpart, it too is notable for the numerous temples and follies in the park. The palace was designed/built by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff between 1745 and 1747 to fulfill King Frederick's need for a private residence where he could relax away from the pomp and ceremony of the Berlin court.

© mauritius images /
DE-1907328, sent by Monike.
The palace's name emphasises this; it is a French phrase (sans souci), which translates as "without concerns", meaning "without worries" or "carefree", symbolising that the palace was a place for relaxation rather than a seat of power.
Sanssouci is little more than a large, single-story villa, more like the Château de Marly than Versailles. Containing just ten principal rooms, it was built on the brow of a terraced hill at the centre of the park. The influence of King Frederick's personal taste in the design and decoration of the palace was so great that its style is characterised as "Frederician Rococo", and his feelings for the palace were so strong that he conceived it as "a place that would die with him". Because of a disagreement about the site of the palace in the park, Knobelsdorff was fired in 1746. Jan Bouman, a Dutch architect, finished the project.

During the 19th century, the palace became a residence of Frederick William IV. He employed the architect Ludwig Persius to restore and enlarge the palace, while Ferdinand von Arnim was charged with improving the grounds and thus the view from the palace. The town of Potsdam, with its palaces, was a favourite place of residence for the German imperial family until the fall of the Hohenzollern dynasty in 1918.
After World War II, the palace became a tourist attraction in East Germany. Following German reunification in 1990, Frederick's body was returned to the palace and buried in a new tomb overlooking the gardens he had created. Sanssouci and its extensive gardens became a World Heritage Site in 1990 under the protection of UNESCO; in 1995, the Foundation for Prussian Palaces and Gardens in Berlin-Brandenburg was established to care for Sanssouci and the other former imperial palaces in and around Berlin. These palaces are now visited by more than two million people a year from all over the world. - in: wikipedia

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Bad Kreuznach - Germany

I also like this card very much. It was sent by Sabine. Like the previous one, was also in my favorites.
Bad Kreuznach is a spa town in the Bad Kreuznach district in Rhineland-Palatinate. 

© Herst. u. Verlag Schöning & Co. + Gebr. Schmidt
One of the landmarks of Bad Kreuznach is an interesting  bridge on River Nahe with houses on its piers. The bridge with its eight arches was built around the year 1300 and the fascinating bridge houses were built from 1480 onwards.
The houses are half-timbered and parts of the houses jutting out are supported by wooden buttresses.

Prehistoric pile dwellings - Switzerland

This is not exactly a beautiful postcard but when it comes to postcards from a UNESCO site, beauty is not the most important requirement.
Getting cards from the pile dwellings is not easy. This postcard sent by Ania, is from one of four sites classified in the swiss Canton of Thurgau.

Foto: Amt für Archäologie TG, M. Schnyder
The «stilt houses» are remnants of pre-historic settlements in lakes and moors around the Alps. This serial trans-boundary site consists of 111 of the roughly 1000 known sites in six countries, of which 56 are located in Switzerland. - in:

Friday, December 4, 2015


An official from Swizterland with Burgdorf castle. 

© Fotografie: Verena Gerber-Menz
CH-264773, sent by Thomas.
The 800-year-old Burgdorf Castle is known as the best-preserved Zähringen era castle in Switzerland. Three museums, including one of the country’s oldest historical museums, can be found within its enchanting walls: The Burgdorf Castle Museum was founded in 1886 and holds an abundance of historical objects and documents stretching from the middle ages to the 20th century; The nearby gold-bearing Emmen River has been a target for treasure hunters for centuries, and the Helvetian Gold Museum showcases the material in all its glory; Finally, the Ethnological Museum holds remarkable collections from Asian, African, American and Oceanic cultures. - in:

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Brescia - Italy

The other UNESCO site that Óscar visited in northern Italy was Longobards in Italy, Places of Power (568–774 A.D.), which is the official name given by UNESCO to seven groups of historic buildings that reflect the achievements of the Germanic tribe of the Lombards (also referred to as Longobards) who settled in Italy during the 6th century and established a Lombard Kingdom which ended in 774 A.D.
The groups comprise monasteries, church buildings and fortresses and became UNESCO World Heritage Sites in June 2011 as they testify "to the Lombards' major role in the spiritual and cultural development of Medieval European Christianity". - in: wikipedia

The monumental archaeological area of the Roman forum and the monastic complex of San Salvatore-Santa Giulia in Brescia is one of the groups classified. 

Fotostudio Rapuzzi
Capitolium was the most important temple of the ancient Brixia, dedicated to the cult of the Capitoline Triad. It was built in 73 AD and consists of three cellae that have preserved much of the original polychrome marble floors,[18] while their interior walls are decorated by ancient Roman epigraphs placed here in the 19th century. In front of them, there are the remains of the portico, composed of Corinthian columns that support a pediment containing a dedication to the Emperor Vespasian. Almost entirely buried by a landslide of the Cidneo Hill, it was rediscovered in 1823 through various archaeological campaigns. During excavation in 1826, a splendid bronze statue of a winged Victory was found inside it, likely hidden in late antiquity to preserve it from one of the various lootings that the town had to endure in those times. Since the spring of 2013, after a new archaeological restoration, it has opened again to the public. - in: wikipedia

Monday, November 30, 2015

Crespi d'Adda - Italy

Last summer Óscar went to northern Italy and visited some UNESCO sites, Crespi d'Adda was one of them. Later on he sent me a card from there that I'm posting here with the other card I already had. 
This italian site was inscribed in the UNESCO WHS list in 1995.

Crespi d'Adda in Capriate San Gervasio in Lombardy is an outstanding example of the 19th - and early 20th-century 'company towns' built in Europe and North America by enlightened industrialists to meet the workers' needs. The site is still remarkably intact and is partly used for industrial purposes, although changing economic and social conditions now threaten its survival. - in:

Crespi d'Adda, a genuine, ideal and picturesque village, was built by the Crespi Family in the 1800s and 1900s for the employees (and their families) of the textile factory that stands right next to the village. 
Indeed, this village is the perfect model of an architectural complex that illustrates a rather significant historical period: that of the birth of Italy’s modern industry.
Not only, but the Site was maintained in its best possible form, and to this day still bears its original urbanistic and architectonic aspects.
The Crespis at the time were textile industrialists that decided to give life to their concept of the "ideal modern work city,” in which they also realized their magnificent castle. 
Specifically, the original idea belonged to Cristoforo Benigno Crespi and his son, Silvio Benigno; the two were captains of industry and philanthropists whose intention resembled the construction of a sort of feudal fief. Thus, the habitation of the masters themselves was symbolic for both authority and benevolence toward the workers and their families. 

Ed. Mariani Manenti Priv. Nº1
The residents of the village consisted only of the factory’s employees, meaning the life of the community revolved entirely around the factory, its rhythms and demands. 
It was the master that provided all the needs of the employees and their dependents; such included housing and all the public places necessary to a real and functioning community life: church, school, hospital, recreation club, theatre, public baths, clothing and food shops, etc.
The village’s urbanistic aspect derived primarily from the presence of the factory, built along the main roadway. 
The factory is in the neo-Medieval style, with a splendid central entrance rich in decorative elements, and particularly tall smokestacks. Meanwhile, its warehouses are distributed in an orderly fashion along the main road; they are refined, with brick contours and friezes made up of eight-pointed stars. Finally, rose windows done in terra cotta embellish each facade. 
Next to the factory rises the imposing, Medieval-style main villa  (14th-Century) with its tower, symbol of the Crespi Family’s power. 
Begun in 1878, Crespi d’Adda is a functioning community still today, made up in large part descendents of the original employees that lived and worked here. The very cotton factory around which the city was founded functioned until 2004. - in:

Murano - Italy

Miguel got married this year and his honey moon was a cruise in the Adriatic Sea. One of the places he visited was Murano, a series of islands linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon. It lies about 1.5 kilometres (0.9 miles) north of Venice and has a population of just over 5,000. It is famous for its glass making.

Copyright 2006 by Mazzega Art & Design s.r.l. - Venezia * Foto: archivio Mazzega Art & Design
The Church of Santa Maria e San Donato is known for its twelfth century Byzantine mosaic pavement and is said to contain the relics of Saint Donatus of Arezzo as well as large bones behind the altar said to be the bones of a dragon slain by the saint.
The church is one of the oldest in the Venetian lagoon. It was originally built in the 7th century and is known to have been rebuilt in the 9th century and in 1040 AD, although it is possible that there have been more rebuildings in later times. - in: wikipedia

St. Mark's Basilica - Venice

From Rome to Venice with two cards of the St. Mark's Basilica. The 1st was bought by me during a short stop in Venice a couple of years ago and the 2nd is from a tag in the PC forum. 

St Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco in Italian) is the most famous of the many churches of Venice and one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture in the world. Located just off the Grand Canal, the gleaming basilica overlooks the Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square) and adjoins the Doge's Palace. San Marco is a cathedral, but has not always been so: it was the Doge's chapel until it became the seat of the Archbishop of Venice in 1807.

 © Copyright 2006 by Mazzega Art & Design s. r. l - Venezia * Foto: archivo Mazzega Art & Design
In 828, Venetian merchants stole the relics of Saint Mark the Evangelist from their original resting place in Alexandria, Egypt. It is said the Venetians hid the relics in a barrel under layers of pork to get them past Muslim guards. The adventure is depicted in the 13th-century mosaic above the door farthest left of the front entrance of the Basilica.
The relics were initially housed in a temporary chapel within the Doge's Palace, but a more substantial church was built to shelter the valuable relics in 829-32. This burned in a rebellion against Doge Pietro Candiano IV in 976, but was restored by Doge Domenico Contarini (d. 1070). The present basilica, which incorporates the earlier buildings, was completed around 1071.

© Copyright 2003-2013 by Storti Edizioni srl * Foto: Archivio Storti
While the basic structure of the building has changed very little over the last millennium, its decoration was regularly modified after its completion. The succeeding centuries, especially the 14th, all contributed to its adornment, and Venetian vessels from the Orient brought a virtually continous supply of columns, capitals, or friezes from ancient buildings to adorn the basilica.
The exterior brickwork was gradually covered with various marbles and carvings, some much older than the building itself. A new frontage was constructed and the domes were covered with higher wooden domes in order to blend in with the Gothic architecture of the redesigned Doge's Palace.
The Basilica di San Marco was the chapel of the Doges for most of its history, but in 1807, it became the cathedral of Venice. - in:

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Fontana di Trevi - Rome

No more french cards for now, it's time to share cards from Italy and I'm starting with cards from beautiful Rome with the impressive and amazing Trevi Fountain. 
I bought the 1st 2 cards 5 years ago in Rome and the 3rd card was sent by Paula last July. 

Work on the celebrated rococo fountain was first begun in 1732 by Nicola Salvi (who beat off competition to be awarded the commission by Pope Clement XII) and was completed by Giuseppe Pannini in 1762.
The monument, whose water is supplied by one of the oldest Roman aqueducts, the “Acqua Virgine”, has been sculptured against the backdrop of Palazzo Poli and depicts Triton taming Oceanus’ shell-shaped chariot drawn by sea horses.

Before moving off, do not forget to throw a coin in the fountain. Custom has it that travellers doing this will one day return to the eternal city. Those seeking a little romance, perhaps even an Italian love, should then toss a second, third coin to make sure wedding bells will soon be chiming.

© Copyright by Plurigraf - Narni (Tr) Italy
Not forgetting of course that the fountain provided the splendid setting for the best-known scene from director Federico Fellini’s classic film “La Dolce Vita”: a provocative Anita Ekberg swathed in a long black evening dress calls out for Marcello Mastroianni, “Marcello, Come Here!” as she glides through the fountain’s sparkling waters. - in: