Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - UAE

Ara spent her last holidays in UAE. Abu Dhabi was one of the emirates she visited and this card is from there. It shows the world famous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the third largest mosque in the world. 
The 2nd card was sent by Claus a couple of years ago.
The mosque was named after the founder and first President of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He chose the location and took substantial influence on the architecture and the design of the mosque. Based on his vision, the mosque was built with the rise of 11 metres above sea level, and 9.5 metres above the street level so that it is clearly visible from all directions.
It is built as a monument to consolidate Islamic culture and a prominent centre for Islamic sciences.
According to his wish, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is also the last resting place of its name giver, who passed away in 2004.

Photo by Nicole Lüttecke
As per the direction of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the mosque is located in the heart of the new Abu Dhabi between Musaffah Bridge and Maqta Bridge. The construction of AED 2.5 billion-project began in the late 1996. Approximately 38 contracting companies and about 3,500 workers helped realising the complex over a period of almost 12 years.
On the 20th of December 2007, the mosque was initially opened to the public and prayers. The first prayer was held in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. - in:!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Dead Sea - Israel

The other card sent by Debora was this one from the Dead Sea. 

The Dead Sea is a salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its surface and shores are 429 metres (1,407 ft) below sea level, Earth's lowest elevation on land. The Dead Sea is 304 m (997 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With 34.2% salinity (in 2011), it is also one of the world's saltiest bodies of water.

© Published by Palphoto Ltd * Photography by Garo Nalbandian
 It is 9.6 times as salty as the ocean. This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea is 50 kilometres (31 mi) long and 15 kilometres (9 mi) wide at its widest point. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley and its main tributary is the Jordan River.
The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. In the Bible, it is a place of refuge for King David. It was one of the world's first health resorts (for Herod the Great), and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from asphalt for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers. People also use the salt and the minerals from the Dead Sea to create cosmetics and herbal sachets.
The Dead Sea water has a density of 1.24 kg/litre, which makes swimming similar to floating. - in: wikipedia

Capernaum - Israel

Cards from Israel are a rare sight in my mailbox and I only have a few in my collection. Last week I got two sent by Debora. This one is from Capernaum, currently an archeological site known as the Town of Jesus. 

Situated on the banks of the Sea of Galilee, the town of Capernaum remained a large (in ancient terms) and prominent city, holding some 1,500 residents, for over nine centuries until its mysterious evacuation in the 7th century AD.
Though no longer a functioning town, Capernaum's importance in modern times is based on its rich history in antiquity and its multiple mentioning in the New Testament. Most notably, Capernaum is believed to have been Jesus' home and the center of his ministry after leaving his birth town of Nazareth. Reference to Capernaum as Jesus' home and the place where He performed many of His miracles is made in the Gospel of Matthew, where it is said that Jesus was approached by a Roman officer who asked Him to heal his servant when the latter fell ill. Jesus' ability to cure the feverish servant serves, to this day, as a reminder of His ability to work miracles. In the Gospel of Luke too, the town of Capernaum is mentioned several times with regard to Jesus prophetic abilities. According to Luke, in the town of Capernaum Jesus healed a man who was possessed by the devil, as well as curing Peter's sickly mother in law.
Capernaum is mentioned twice more in the New Testament, once as the home of Peter, Andrew, James and John, as well as the dwelling place of Matthew the tax collector. The second time Capernaum is referred to is as one of the three cities damned by Jesus for its inhabitants' wrong doings and lack of faith in God.
For all its importance in Jesus' life and His ministry, Capernaum is a destination not to be missed when on a Christian tour to Israel.

© Published by Palphoto Ltd * Photography by S. Mendrea
Of particular interest in Capernaum are the ruins of the ancient synagogue. Though there is no finite knowledge of the time this synagogue was built, archeologist estimate that it dates back to the 1st century AD.
It was the Roman officer who asked Jesus to heal his servant that is credited with building the synagogue as a token of good faith and gratitude to Jesus for his miracle work. Liturgical documents indicate that Jesus held regular sermons in this synagogue, most notably the famed sermon on the Bread of Life (John 6: 35-59).
Of this ancient synagogue, only the western wall remained in tact. It has been the foundation for a later synagogue built on the same grounds some three centuries later.
The ruins seen in Capernaum today are of the later synagogue, which stands out from the rest, much humbler, huts and small stone houses in the city. With white bricks making up its external walls and intricately painted stucco covering its internal walls, the synagogue must have been quite lavish when in use. The excavations carried out by the Franciscans have also uncovered four distinctly separate halls, making the synagogue big enough to seat all the town's inhabitants. - in:

Friday, January 22, 2016

Istanbul - Turkey

Ana has been to Turkey in August, Damien has been there in November and I haven't been there but someday I want to visit this country too. 

© Copyright Ipekyolu Turistik Yayinlan - Her Hakki Mahfuzdur
Many visitors to İstanbul never make it out of Sultanahmet, which is not a surprise because this neighbourhood is a showcase of the city's glorious past, crammed with mosques, palaces, churches and houses dating from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. On the card is possible to see the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Cistern Basilica. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ephesus - Turkey

Ephesus, an ancient city in the turkish İzmir Province, was one of the last sites to be added to the UNESCO WHS and it was also one of the last to me added to my collection. Last August Ana visited this site and couldn't decided which of these cards she would send me so she sent both!! Both are great, thank you so much.

Located within what was once the estuary of the River Kaystros, Ephesus comprises successive Hellenistic and Roman settlements founded on new locations, which followed the coastline as it retreated westward. Excavations have revealed grand monuments of the Roman Imperial period including the Library of Celsus and the Great Theatre.
 The Ancient City of Ephesus is an outstanding example of a Roman port city, with sea channel and harbour basin. - in

The Great Theatre was built on the foot of Panayir mountain and its façade faced the Harbour street, in the first century AD and later on it was renovated by several Roman Emperors. It is considered to be the most imposing and the most impressive structure of Ephesus city. It could host up to 25,000 spectators.
Apart from the theatrical plays and the music performances that took place in the theatre, political and religious events were carried out in it as well. Among the most important of them is the conflict between Christians and the followers of Artemis during which Saint Paul was judged and sent to prison as he was accused of hurting Artemis.
The Great Theatre of Ephesus was destroyed due to an earthquake in the 4th century AD and only a part of it was repaired. In the 8th century AD it had been incorporated into the defense system of the city. - in:
The Library was built by Gaius Julius Aquila to honor his father Julius Celsus Polemaenus, General Governor of the roman province of Asia, in 135 AD, designed by the architect Vitruoya. It was one of the largest libraries of the ancient world and it could host more than 12,000 scrolls. Celsus died when he was 70 years old and hw was buried in a marble sarcophagus in a cellar under an arched ceiling under the ground floor of the Library. It can be accessed through some stairs and then a narrow corridor which leads to the sarcophagus that has been adorned with nice sculptures.
There were nine steps leading to the entrance of the library which consisted of three large doors. The thick columns between the doors had been adorned with statues depicting the Wisdom, the Knowledge, the Intelligence and the Fortune.
The library was burnt during the 3rd century by the Goths who attacked Ephesus. Fortunately, a great part of its façade was not damaged seriously, so it has survived nowadays in a pretty good condition. - in:

Monday, January 18, 2016

Salzburg - Austria

 Another beautiful view, this one from Austria's 4th largest city, Salzburg.
The 1st card was sent by Ara and the 2nd by "maeusefan".

Salzburg's "Old Town" (Altstadt) is internationally renowned for its baroque architecture and is one of the best-preserved city centers north of the Alps. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. 
Salzburg was the birthplace of 18th-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In the mid‑20th century, the city was the setting for the musical play and film The Sound of Music. - in: wikipedia

© Edition Murenwald bei Colorama * Bild: Hans-Jörg Murenwald
Anyone who has wandered around the older parts of Salzburg will tell you that the historical area of the town is divided into two parts – the right bank and left bank of the city. The left bank of the River Salzach is the older of the two, some of the earliest evidence of settlements dating back to Roman times. Those wishing to go from one side of the city to the other can cross one of the numerous bridges that connect up the old part of town along the river: Nonntaler Brücke, Mozartsteg, Staatsbrücke, Makartsteg and Müllnersteg.
As well as enjoying a fantastic location on the banks of the river, the historic section of the city is also blessed with the charm of the verdant hills at the heart of the town, such as Mönchsberg Hill, from which Fortress Hohensalzburg watches over activities below. In just a few minutes visitors to Salzburg can enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding postcard scenery from these hills.

The old part of Salzburg is home to a variety of architectural styles and treasures, protected not least by a number of conservation directives. Tucked away out of clear view, a stroll along the lanes, alleys and passageways can reveal buildings dating back to the medieval, romantic, renaissance and baroque periods, as well as the sophisticated, classical architecture of the homes belonging to the monarchy. There is hardly an epoch of historical note that has not left its mark within the city. - in:

Friday, January 15, 2016

Špičnik - Slovenia

I got this lovely card thanks to Ivana. Although this is a very well known view in Slovenia, there was no identification of its location on the card but it was easy to discover it. This very romantic heart-shaped road meanders through the vineyards on the sunny slopes of Špičnik near Svečina, in the north of the country. 

Foto: © Tomo Jesenicnik
The region attracts many wine loves due to the vineyards, mostly producing white wines but also hikers and cyclists because of the hiking and biking trails on the surrounding hills dotted with endless vineyards. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Slovak Castles

These cards are so, so beautiful!! They were also sent by Emerich. 

© 2012, fotografie Ladislav Renner
 Čachtice castle was one of the boundary royal castles defending the western border of the Kingdom of Hungary. It was built in the first half of the 13th century and widened in the 15th century. 
Elizabeth Báthory lived here at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries. For her sadist habits she was called ”the bloody countess”. She allegedly killed 600 young girls bathed in their blood in order to stay forever young and beautiful. 
The countess was condemned to a lifelong prison in 1611 by the Paladin Thurzo in Bytča and died in 1614. The story of the bloody countess became subject of numerous literary or theatre works.
The castle was burnt during the Rebellion of Estates by the soldiers of Francis II Rákoczi and fell in decay. Today its picturesque ruins offer a nice panoramic view. - in:

© 2014, fotografie Ladislav Renner
Standing on a steep high cliff above Vah - the longest river of Slovakia, magnificent ruins of Beckov castle are a dominant feature on the horizon.
Beckov Castle is one of the oldest castles of former Austro-Hungarian Empire. The first written records of the castle date back to 1208! The legend has it that the castle was built on demand of Duke Ctibor for his clown Becko.
Among the most famous owners of the royal castle was King Matus Cak of Trencin (late 13th century), who reconstructed it extensively. In 1996 the ruins were reinforced and castle was open to the public.
Visitors can see remains of rich Gothic and Renaissance decorations, stone water tanks, water well, Gothic staircase in the castle chapel and other interesting historical architectural elements.
The castle features a magnificent view of the slopes of White and Little Carpathians. - in:

© 2014, fotografie Ladislav Renner
The Castle of Trenčín built on top of a steep rock is undoubtedly the dominant feature of the town Trenčín and the region of Považie. The castle, which is along with those of Spiš and Devín one of the biggest in Europe.
History of the castle goes back to the age of the Roman Empire, which is proved by the inscription on the castle cliff proclaiming the victory of Roman legion II. against Germans in the year 179.
 First mentioned in 1067 as a royal Hungarian sentry fortress, it was gradually augmented until by the 15th century it dominated the northern reaches of the Hungarian Empire.
The castle fell in decay after fire in 1790, as its owners, the Illésházy family preferred to move to the more comfortable manor house in Dubnica. 
Today the castle houses exhibitions of the Trenčín Museum, documenting the history of the region and of the castle. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Czech castles - Czech Republic

A trade with Emerich always means new czech castle castles. 

© 2014, fotografie Ladislav Renner
Uherčice castle, located in the South Moravian Region, orignally a Gothic fortress, was rebuilt in the 16th century as two-storey four-winged Renaissance chateau with an arcade on the north side of the courtyard.

© 2014, fotografie Ladislav Renner
The Smečno fortress was built in the beginning of the 13th century, and than in 1418, it became a property of Markvart of Martinice by purchase. His son named Bořita had this fortress rebuilt to a castle. Smečno remained the property of the Martinic and the Clam-Martinic family until 1921.
The castle today serves the purposes of a social care institution, and it is not open to public. However, we can have a look at the extensive manor park with rich sculptural decorations, and an interesting salla terrena from the first half of the 18th century. - in:

Thursday, January 7, 2016

České Budějovice - Czech Republic

When I was travelling from Český Krumlov to Brno, I had to change buses in České Budějovice. Unfortunatelly I din't have time to visit the city. 

The historic old town of České Budějovice dates from the 13th Century, when it was founded by King Přemysl Otakar II on flat land beside the junction of the Malše and Vltava rivers. The core of the town centre is the enormous marketplace square, one of Bohemia's largest. Like other planned settlements of the Gothic era, a grid of streets radiated out from the corners and sides of the square and the whole settlement was protected by a system of stone walls, guard towers and moats. - in:

In the centre of České Budějovice you’ll find the city’s pride and joy – a square piazza named after King Přemysl Otakar II. One of the largest squares in Europe, it’s exactly a hectare in size and has become an integral part of every Czech mathematics textbook. 

Foto: M. Kolegar
The square is hemmed by exquisite Baroque arcaded houses, and the grand building of the town hall, one of the country’s most attractive, also graces its cobbles. - in:
The most impressive structures in the square are the Samson fountain, one of the country's largest and a favorite meeting point for locals, and the town hall. Originally from 1555, the town hall was rebuilt in the 1720's in the baroque style. 

Sedlec Ossuary - Czech Republic

In september of 2014 I've traveled around Czech Republic and visited many wonderful places in that beautiful country, one of them was Sedlec Ossuary, it was actually, one of the places I wanted to visited the most. The ossuary is one of the most visited tourist attractions of the Czech Republic, attracting over 200,000 visitors annually.
The Sedlec Ossuary is nothing spectacular in the outside but as you enter the church you will soon realize why it is one of the most amazing, unique and creepy churches in the world. The reason why is the thousands of bones that decorate it. 
To give you an idea of how it looks like inside, besides de card sent by Emerich, I'm also posting 2 pictures that I took there. 

Fotografie: Jan Kulich
The Sedlec Ossuary is a small Roman Catholic chapel, located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints (Czech: Hřbitovní kostel Všech Svatých) in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic. It is one of twelve World Heritage Sites in the Czech Republic. The ossuary is estimated to contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people, whose bones have in many cases been artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel. 

Four enormous bell-shaped mounds occupy the corners of the chapel. An enormous chandelier of bones, which contains at least one of every bone in the human body, hangs from the center of the nave with garlands of skulls draping the vault.

 Other works include piers and monstrances flanking the altar, a coat of arms of House of Schwarzenberg, and the signature of Rint, also executed in bone, on the wall near the entrance. - in: wikipedia

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Olomouc - Czech Republic

A few months ago I swapped again with Emerich. When his envelope arrived, I got a few more cards from Czech Republic. 

Foto, design, repro a tisk © SPRINT OLOMOUC
 Saint Wenceslas Cathedral is a neo-gothic cathedral at Wenceslas square in Olomouc. 
The cathedral began in the Romanesque style and was consecrated in 1131. Extensive Gothic modifications were made in 13th and 14th century.
Czech king Wenceslaus III of Bohemia was murdered in a nearby house of the former dean of the cathedral on August 4, 1306. Wenceslaus III was the last of the male Přemyslid rulers of Bohemia.
Gothic revival changes, which included refacing the building, rebuilding the west front and the construction of the central tower, were made during 1883–1892. - in: wikipedia

Sunday, January 3, 2016


Czech Republic is one of the countries from where I've more cards and I'm always happy when I get a new one. 

CZ-743958, sent by Katerina.
Horní Planá  is a town in Český Krumlov District, in South Bohemia. On a hill above the town stands a pilgrim's chapel of St. Mary. 


An official from Lithuania with St. Michael's Small Basilica in Marijampolé, the 7th biggest town in the country.   

LT-475099, sent by Evelina.
The Small Basilica was built in 1824 in a classical, neo-Baroque style with 2 towers and 3 naves. The relic of the Blessed Archbishop Jurgis Matulaitis are buried in the St. Jesus Heart chapel, Vincentas Senkus, the general of Marijonai order, and rebels of 1831, are buried in the churchyard. - in:


A new year has just began and I wish all my postcrosser friends, many, many cards in your mailboxes!!
And tomorrow is the day when our boxes will get the 1st cards of the year, well, I hope so. I've just checked my 2015 postcrossing statistics. Regarding official cards, my mailbox was happy 63 day; I've sent 128 cards and received 130. 3 of them came from Ukraine and this was one of them.  

UA-1365875, sent by Di.
This is a view of the Ukrainian Carpathians, Vaskul Mountain peak in the front and Pip Ivan, Petrosul and other carpathian mountains in the back.