Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Porto - Portugal

Porto is one of my favorite cities in Portugal but this year I think I haven't been there yet. Ninocas has been there twice recently, 1st with a few postcrossing friends and then with her family. 

Foto © Ricardo Vicente
D. Luis I Bridge was planned by the engineer Teófilo Seyrig, a disciple of Eiffel. It was inaugurated in 1886 and it is composed by two overlapping iron decks. The bridge has 395 metres long and 8 metres wide, and its arch is still considered to be the world's biggest one in forged iron. Nowadays the upper deck is used by the Metro of Porto, connecting the area of Porto's Cathedral to the Garden of Morro and to the Avenida da República in Vila Nova de Gaia. - in:

Foto © Ricardo Vicente
The Church of St. Ildefonso was constructed between 1709 and 1739. The façade is decorated with tiles by Jorge Colaço (1932), depicting scenes from the life of St. Ildefonso and allegories from the Eucharist. Inside, there is a baroque and rococo retable from the first half of the eighteenth century planned by Nicolau Nasoni. - in:

Monday, November 28, 2016

Marvão Castle - Portugal

Marvão is one of those places that I really want to visit again. I've enough cards from there but I want to take more pictures.
These 1st two cards were bought by me and the last one was sent by Vitória. 

The Marvão Castle is located on the highest peak of the lovely São Mamede Mountain, in the heart of the Natural Park. 
The first Portuguese king, D. Afonso Henriques, would have conquered this fortification to the Moors, around the year 1166, on the sequence of the campaign that started with the conquest of Alcácer do Sal. The most ancient date that confirms the Portuguese presence in this Castle is 1214. 

In 1271 the Castle was donated to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and already in the reign of king D. Dinis (1279 to 1325) was increased and was built the Donjon tower. Also king D. João I, after the 1385 crisis, ordered the reinforcement of the Castle’s defences and implements the region’s populating. 
New conservation works took place after the restoration of the Portuguese Independence in 1640, for the artillery adaptation, and even before the end of the works, the Castle was attacked by the Spanish forces that also attacked again in 1704 and 1772. 
Already in the 19th century, during the French Invasions, this Castle got to be occupied by the French troops.
Classified as a National Monument, it is now in a good state of conservation. 
This Castle is a fortress town, as the settlement is surrounded by the first line of defensive walls. 
Here is also located the armoury archaeological Museum. - in:

Óbidos Castle - Portugal

Last August Sofia went to visit the beautilful town of Óbidos with her family. The castle is Óbidos' main attractions but the ginginha, a  liqueur made by infusing sour cherries in alcohol and adding sugar together with other ingredients, is also very popular.  In Óbidos, Ginjinha is commonly served in a small edible chocolate cup.

The Óbidos Castle would have been built by Moors, in a site that had already been occupied by Lusitans, Romans and Visigoths. The first Portuguese king, D. Afonso Henriqus, conquered this castle from the Moors around the year 1148, in the context of the Christian Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula. 
During the reign of King D. Sancho I (1185 to 1211) some improvement works were made in the Castle that resisted the attacks and kept faithful to king D. Sancho II (1223 to 1245) during the crisis that would lead to the king’s deposition and the arise to the throne of D. Afonso III. 
One of the Castle’s particularity is that after it was delivered by king D. Dinis (1279 to 1325) as a marriage gift to Queen Saint Isabel, it would be also part of the gifts of the following Queens, and was also residence to Queen D. Leonor, the wife of D. João II. 
King D. Manuel I (1495 to 1521) is the responsible for important improvements in the Castle and in the village, dating from that time the Alcaide Palace. 
The big Earthquake of 1755 caused great damages in the Castle, yet it was still important during the French invasions, contributing for the French army defeat. 
Classified as a National Monument, here is located the Óbidos Pousada (a luxury and charm hotel) that occupies the Manueline Palace built in the beginning of the 16th century. - in:

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Monsaraz - Portugal

Both these cards were sent by Ninocas. The 1st card is one of the last cards she sent me, only a few days ago and the 2nd was sent many years ago. 

Monsaraz lies by the Guadiana River at the top of a hill that rises in the Alentejo plain. It was conquered to the Moors in 1167 by Geraldo the Fearless and it was given to the Templars by King D. Sancho II for its defense and settlement.
The castle of Monsaraz played for centuries the role of watchman of the Guadiana, from where one could observe the border with Castile. It was the county seat until 1838, when this function passed to the parish of Reguengos.

The medieval village of Monsaraz, protected by its walls is a small village, with its shale streets and whitewashed walls. With narrow streets and full of corners it has a breathtaking view of the Alentejo landscape and the Alqueva reservoir.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Vilamoura - Portugal

Every now and then my dear friend Vera goes to the Algarve. Not so long ago she has been to Vilamoura and, just like last year, this time she also sent me a card from there. 

Photography & design © Michael Howard *
 Unlike many of the Algarve’s coastal resorts that started out as traditional fishing villages, the sophisticated resort of Vilamoura was purpose-built with the most discerning holiday maker’s requirements in mind. Environmentally conscious development, attractive landscaping and tasteful design led to the creation of this quality resort that is home to every sport, leisure, entertainment and amenity imaginable and one of the Algarve’s most sought after holiday destinations. 

© Edição Vistal
Foremost among Vilamoura’s many attractions are its glorious beaches and numerous championship golf courses. The Blue Flag beaches on either side of the marina offer a wide choice of water sports and amenities, their gently shelving shores and calm waters being a favourite with families. Vilamoura’s famous marina, one of the largest in Europe, attracts luxurious yachts from all over the world, its fashionable boutiques, cafés, bars and restaurants lending to its chic, cosmopolitan atmosphere. Boats departing from the marina offer an impressive array of additional sports or leisure activities, including dolphin-sighting, water-skiing, big game fishing, scuba diving and parasailing. - in:

Thursday, November 24, 2016

PT RR - Group 37 * Churches

More cards from a RR in portuguese.
Óscar sent me a view of Geneva's Old Tower with the city's cathedral and Ana, a card from Paris with Sacré-Coeur Basilica.

Photo: Christophe et Viviane Blatt
The St. Pierre Cathedral is a cathedral in Geneva, Switzerland, today belonging to the Reformed Protestant Church of Geneva. It is known as the adopted home church of John Calvin, one of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. Inside the church is a wooden chair used by Calvin. - in: wikipedia

Photo: Frank Godard
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacré-Cœur Basilica is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris. A popular landmark, the basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city. 
The Sacré-Cœur Basilica was designed by Paul Abadie. Construction began in 1875 and was finished in 1914. It was consecrated after the end of World War I in 1919. - in: wikipedia

Monthly Fav. Surprise RR * October'16

Last month I've got nice cards from Ukraine, Japan, Spain, Netherlands and USA. 

A brand new card from Crimea to showing  sent by Ira.
The old white Tarkhankutskyi Lighthouse is the main attraction of Trakhankut Cape. It was built in 1816.

Tomoko surprised me with a card from a japanese UNESCO site still missing in my collection. It definitely made my day.
Established in 1872, the Tomioka Silk Mill is Japan's first, modern silk factory for processing silkworm cocoons into raw silk. The mill was built as a model factory by the Japanese government with the help of French specialists to improve the quality of silk produced in Japan through the use of modern machines and advanced working conditions for its workers. It was part of far-reaching efforts by the government of the Meiji Period to modernize Japan and catch up to the West.
The Tomioka Silk Mill received world heritage status in 2014 for its crucial role in making Japanese silk a major, international trade commodity and establishing the textile industry as the country's most important industry which it remained for many decades into the 20th century. - in:

Foto: A. Mulet
I've many postcards from Spain but this is my 1st one from Tortosa, Yolanda's city, and I've to confess that I know nothing about it. Well, now I know it has a castle and a cathedral.
Castle of Sant Joan, or Suda, commanding the city from a 59-metre-high hill. Though the Romans were the first to fortify the place, the current structure dates to Muslim Caliph Abd ar-Rahman III. After the conquest by Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona, in 1148, it became a residence of the Montcada and the Knights Templar, and from the 13th century it became a royal mansion. - in: wikipedia
The Cathedral of Santa Maria de Tortosa is located on the site that was originally the place for the Roman forum, which then became a place of worship, then a Visigothic Cathedral and later on a mosque. The construction of the Gothic Cathedral began in 1347 and continued until the middle of the eighteenth century and in the Canonical common areas, founded in the twelfth century. - in:

© Anne Frank Stichting * Foto: Allard Bovenberg
If you ever visited Anne Frank's House in Amsterdam, you'll definitely remember and recognize the movable bookcase that covered the entrance to the Annex. I've been there last year.
The hiding place is located in an empty section of the building owned by Otto Frank's company. While business continues, as usual, in the front part of the building, there are people hiding in the annex out back.
The hiding place at 263 Prinsengracht is relatively spacious. There is enough room for two families. This is unusual given that parents and children who go into hiding are frequently separated from each other. Most hiding places are small spaces in damp cellars or dusty attics. People hiding in the countryside are sometimes able go outside, but only if there is no danger of them being discovered.
Before too long, the entrance to the Secret Annex is concealed behind a movable bookcase. Father Voskuijl, the warehouse manager, constructs the movable bookcase to conceal the entrance to the Secret Annex. - in:
The card was sent by Marja.

Photo © Jeff Nachman
The last October card arrived from USA and it was sent by Ashley.
The World War II Memorial is a memorial of national significance dedicated to Americans who served in the armed forces and as civilians during World War II. Consisting of 56 pillars and a pair of small triumphal arches surrounding a plaza and fountain, it sits on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on the former site of the Rainbow Pool at the eastern end of the Reflecting Pool, between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.
Opened on April 29, 2004, it was dedicated by President George W. Bush on May 29. - in: wikipedia

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Monthly Fav. Surprise RR * September'16

In September's RR I've received cards from Lithuania, Russia, China and Australia. 

Foto © Antanas Varanka
In September I've got another card from Ieva, this one from Vilnius with the Gates of Dawn. 
The Gates of Dawn is one of the most visited shrines in Vilnius that is famous not only in Lithuania but also abroad, worshipped by the representatives of other creeds too. This is the only surviving gate of the first original five gates in the city wall that was built between 1503 and 1522.
The gates were first mentioned in 1514. At first the Gates of Dawn were called the Medininkai Gate, as it is on the road to Medininkai, in Polish Ostra Brama, the “Sharp Gate” because they were in the southern end of the city, which was called the Sharp. - in:

This beautiful building in Nizhny Novgorod may look a palace but actually is a bank. Its definitely the most beautiful bank I've ever seen. The card wa sent by Irina.
The State Bank was built in 1913 so as to commemorate the three hundred years of the Romanov dynasty following the project of architect V. A. Pokrovsky. It is an original construction that reminds both of a medieval castle and an Old Russian wooden house. The interior of the bank was painted according the drawings of painter I. Bilibin. - in:
The building is occupied by the Nizhny Novgorod branch of Central bank of Russia.

This beautiful snowy view of Malaya Sadovaya Street in St. Petersburg is not only a RR card but also a meet-up card. Alyona sent it and 5 other postcrossers also signed it.
The shortest street in St. Petersburg runs between Nevsky Prospekt and Italianskaya Ulitsa - all 179 meters of Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. However, despite its diminutive size, Malaya Sadovaya generates an indescribable atmosphere that attracted even Emperor Alexander II, who used to enjoy walking here. At the end of the 20th century, this street was made entirely pedestrian and adorned with numerous monuments and sculptures, and Malaya Sadovaya became an even more popular destination for walks and meetings for both St. Petersburg's residents and visitors. - in:

I don't remember exactly when but Twinkle already sent me a card of a chinese water town and I really loved it. This card is from another water too and I also love it. 
Wuzhen Water Town, lying in the northern part of Tongxiang City, Zhejiang Province, is a typical ancient town in southern China. It is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from both Hangzhou and Suzhou, and 87 miles (140 kilometers) from Shanghai.
As one of the top six ancient towns in the southern region of the Yangtze River, Wuzhen boasts more than six thousand years of history and has always been a fertile land with abundant rice, fish and silk. It preserves the ancient appearance well and oozes charm of the water town itself. The small town, with houses made of black bricks and gray tiles contrasting sharply with the white walls, making it appear like a Chinese ink wash drawing. Stone bridges are seen here and there. Small boats with black awnings are floating on the murmuring rivers. Whether wandering along the riverside or strolling in the lanes paved with blue flagstones, you will be deeply impressed by the picturesque scenery and slow lifestyle. - in:

© SCANCOLOR Australia
September's last card is from Australia and it was sent by Alison.
The Grampians National Park is a national park located in the Grampians region of Victoria, Australia. The 167,219-hectare (413,210-acre) national park is situated (...) 260 kilometres (160 mi) west of Melbourne and 460 kilometres (290 mi) east of Adelaide. Proclaimed as a national park on 1 July 1984, the park was listed on the Australian National Heritage List on 15 December 2006 for its outstanding natural beauty and being one of the richest indigenous rock art sites in south-eastern Australia.The Grampians feature a striking series of sandstone mountain ranges. - in: wikipedia

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Monthly Fav. Surprise RR * July 16

Its now time for a few RR posts. For the July Monthly Favorite Surprise RR, I got cards from Germany, Lithuania, Russia and Australia.

Stefanie sent me a Corvey Abbey card with a matching stamp.
The Imperial Abbey of Corvey or Princely Abbey of Corvey was a Benedictine abbey on the River Weser, 2 km northeast of Höxter, now in North Rhine-Westphalia. It was one of the Imperial abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire from the late Middle Ages until 1792 when the abbey was dissolved and Corvey converted into a prince-bishopric. It was in turn secularized in 1803 and absorbed into the newly created Principality of Nassau-Orange-Fulda. In 2014, the former abbey was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. - in: wikipedia

© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG
Also from Germany and also sent by  Stefanie, a card from Nuremberg, a city in the German state of Bavaria. 
On the card there's the medieval church of St. Lorenz, dedicated to Saint Lawrence. It was built in gothic style between 1243 and 1315. It was badly damaged during the Second World War and later rebuilt. It is one of the most prominent churches of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.

Fotografas: a. Kuliesis
Last year I've been to Kaunas, I've been to the castle but couldn't find castle cards. Now, thanks to Ieva, I finally have one.
This splendid 13th-century castle, probably built by Grand Duke Kęstutis to defend the way to Trakai, was the country's first defensive bastion and the only double-walled castle in Lithuania. 
The surrounding walls were initially over two metres wide and 13m high. Unlike most other castles of the time this one was made of stone, not wood. - in:

The Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow is by itself the symbol of new Russia. Built in 19th century, it was destroyed by the Communists to be restored almost hundred years later. 
Card sent by Olga.

Photos: Dana Yergi, Bob Halstead and Dinah Halstead 
These colorful fishes are: clown fish, coral trout, big eyes and angel fish. The card was sent by Alison.
On the back of the card: The Great Barrier Reef, the 7th Natural Wonder of the World, is home for over 1500 species of fish and 400 special of coral.