Friday, January 31, 2020

Red Square - Moscow

Red Square is the heart of Moscow and the main square of Russia. One cannot visit Moscow without seeing Red Square.

Its monuments embody Moscow’s centuries-old history in all of its manifestations. Few squares in the world combine churches, defensive walls and towers, museums, a cemetery with a mausoleum, and a huge department store in a single space. Buildings of different styles and centuries—from the 15th to the 20th—coexist in a single composition, forming a unified architectural ensemble, so beautiful in its diversity.

Red Square still remains in the thick of the country’s life, hosting festivals, concerts, and street parties and turning into an ice-skating rink in winter. Annual parades are held in the square on May 9 to commemorate the victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945. Not only tourists but Muscovites as well come here to enjoy a stroll, as the square hasn’t turned into a frozen open air museum but keeps up with the pace of the modern megalopolis.

The State Historical Museum was built in the 1870s–1880s by architect Vladimir Sherwood in an unusual pseudo-Russian style to match the look of the Kremlin and the St. Basil’s Cathedral. The museum building is large and ornate, with spires and turrets echoing the outlines of the Kremlin towers. The museum sets the northern boundary of the square.

RU-219658, sent by Aline.
The permanent exhibition gives a vivid overview of the history of Russia since the most ancient times. It displays archaeological finds, utensils, as well as icons, paintings, arts and crafts. - in:

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Bogolyubovo - Russia

Bogolyubovo is one of the Golden Ring cities. "These ancient towns, which also played a significant role in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church, preserve the memory of the most important and significant events in Russian history. - in: wikipedia

Bogolyubovo can be translated as 'God-loving'. It is famous for its UNESCO-protected monastery and  Intercession Church on the Nerl which is considered a masterpiece of Russian church architecture.
 Despite its small-scale and the simplicity of its structure, the Intercession Church on the Nerl is one of the most famous churches in Russia and is often used to represent the very image of Russia churches.  The church was built during the reign of Grand Prince Andrey Bogolyubsky of Vladimir, although the exact date is not known.  Some historians believe it dates from 1158 and the founding of Bogolyubovo itself while others believe that it was built around 1165 based on information contained in the hagiography of Andrey Bogolyubsky which states that the church was built in memory of Andrey's son Izyaslav Andreevich, who died in 1165.

RU-7676329, sent by Alla. 
In 1992 the church was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal.  Today the church is shared between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Vladimir-Suzdal Museum-Reserve. - in:

Glasgow - Scotland

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, situated on the River Clyde.  Transformed from an industrial city to Scotland's cultural center, the city is well known for its stunning architecture, unique neighbourhoods,  excellent museums, art galleries, concert venues, and festivals. 
A city on my list next time I visit Scotland. 

© Copyright Allan Wright Photography
A card sent by Adam with some night views of the city. I can't identify the 1st image but the others are Tolbooth Steeple at Glasgow Cross, Mitchell Library and the Gallery of Modern Art. 

Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle - France

My last time in France was in 2013 and it's probably time to go back. There are many regions to discover there but next time I'd like to go to Alsace. In addition to Strasbourg, Colmar and cute towns, I'd also like to visit this castle. UNESCO and castle sites are a must in every trip and cards collection. These were sent by Valérie, João and Joana.

"Perched at a height of almost 800 m, this famous mediaeval fortress looks down majestically across the Alsatian plain. From the top of its towers, the castle offers an unbeatable view across the Vosges, the Rhine, the Black Forest and even across the Alps.

Images & Reportages
No introduction is really needed for the Haut-Koenigsbourg, which is one of France's most widely visited monuments attracting 600,000 visitors per year. The castle occupied a strategic position when it was built back in the 12th century. Its purpose was to protect the wine and wheat routes to the north, and the silver and salt routes running from west to east.

It was reduced to rubble by the Swedes during the 30 War and abandoned. In 1899, Kaiser Wilhelm II decided to have the castle fully rebuilt with the aim of making this a museum and a symbol of Alsace's return to Germany. Although built relatively recently, the castle has remained true to the spirit of mediaeval architecture. Inside the building, the sheer refinement of the rooms is extremely impressive, with their wall paintings, Renaissance furniture and enormous cast iron stoves. A collection of mediaeval weapons is located in the basement including crossbows, swords and armour of all kinds." - in:

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Roque Nublo - Gran Canaria

Last year UNESCO has declared Risco Caido and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria a World Heritage Site. It is Gran Canaria's first World Heritage Site. 
This is not my 1st card from this Spanish site but is the 1st I'm posting here. It was sent by my penpal Anna-Maria who visited the island last month. 

Risco Caido and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria Cultural Landscape encompasses a huge central mountainous area on Gran Canaria island, sheltered by the Caldera de Tejeda, and formed of cliffs and ravines, in an area of exceptional biodiversity. The property contains a set of manifestations, which are primarily archaeological, of an extinct insular culture that seems to have evolved in total isolation, from the arrival of the first Berbers from North Africa, probably at the beginning of our era, until the Spanish conquest in the 15th century. - in:

© EDICIONES A. M. * Fotografia: A. Murillo
Roque Nublo is one of the most representatives icons from the Canary Islands and, of course, from Gran Canaria. It is located in the municipality of Tejeda and it is the second highest place from the island with 1.813 meters high above sea level. Moreover, the Roque Nublo and its surroundings were declared Special Natural Area in 1987. - in:

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Ana in Portugal

After many years chatting in the Postcrossing forum and exchanging cards, I finally got to meet Ana!!  We met last month in Porto and had a great time together. Meeting (most) postcrossers feels like meeting new old friends, if that makes any sense. New old friends because even if we meet for the 1st time, it is never strange or unconfortable, it is like meeting someone we know for years. I think I've said it before but I'll say it again, postcards bring people together and this is one of the reasons why Postcrossing is such a great hobby. 
What postcrossers do together? Buy, write and send cards. I've sent myself a card from Portugal with the beautiful D. Luís Bridge. Ana signed it too, of course. After Porto, Ana traveled to Lisbon and this week, I've got a card she sent me from there. 

© Layout & design: Editorial Fisa Escudo de Oro S. A. 
Bridge projected over the amazing Douro river by a disciple and co-worker of Gustave Eiffel: the Engineer Teófilo Seyring, in the end of the 19th century. 
This is a representative example of the architecture and Iron techniques. 
The D. Luís Bridge, that links Oporto to Vila Nova de Gaia, is composed by two metallic roadways supported by a big iron arch and five pillars. - in:

Forways, Lda
Lisbon's central park ascends one of the city's hills and provides a wonderful view from the top. It's made up of symmetrical box hedging and a variety of plants, most of them found inside glasshouses from the 1930s (the cool greenhouse and the heated greenhouse), which are filled with exotic species from tropical climates. This is one of the most important green spaces in Lisbon, considered an authentic living museum, with its small lakes and waterfalls, statuary, and hundreds of species of plants. On the opposite side is an attractive tile-covered building dedicated to Carlos Lopes (marathon winner at the Olympics in Los Angeles), which will soon be renovated to host cultural and sporting events. 
Every June the park hosts the city's annual book fair, lasting for several days.
The name is a tribute to the English monarch Edward VII, who visited Lisbon in 1903, five centuries after the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance. 
At the top of the park is a lookout with a huge 20-meter-long Portuguese flag, and a monument to 1974's April 25th Carnations Revolution, inaugurated in 1997. - in:

Friday, January 17, 2020

PT RR - Group 143 * Surprise January '20

The surprise cards of this month from the portuguese RR are already here. This was super fast but never a surprise group was so small, only 4 this month, so I only sent and received three cards. These are the cards sent by Rui, Tiago and Óscar. 

Postais de Setúbal
The Forte de Sao Filipe stands high above Setúbal and is one of the most notable landmarks of the region. 
The fort was built on the orders of Philip II of Spain (Philip I of Portugal), in the  14th century, and was constructed to provide protection to the fishing port from raiding pirates from North Africa. 
 It was classified as a National Monument in 1933. Conservation work was undertaken in the 1940s and in 1962 parts were converted to a hotel, which opened in 1965. 

© GRAFIPOST - Editores e Artes Gráficas, Lda
Although Roman and Moorish fortifications are admitted to the site, it is most likely that Soure Castle was built in the 11th century. It belonged to the orders of the Templars (who had their headquarters here) and of Christ.
The architecture is medieval, Romanesque, with Gothic and Manueline influences. It is a simple and small castle, where the remains of the alcove remain, defined by four towers at the angles, a Suevo-Visigothic door and a Mozarabic window.

© GRAFIPOST - Editores e Artes Gráficas, Lda
Óscar says that the old Main Church of Vila Nova de Famalicão is not that special, but prettier than the new church. I don't know how the new church looks like but for me new churches, most of times, are not interresting, so, I trully believe that Óscar is right and this church from the 17th / 18th century, is prettier than the new one. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

PT RR - Group 142 * Surprise December '19

Last cards of the Portuguese RR in 2019. 

Editions RENE
I'm not sure but this must be the tower of St. Michael's Basilica. If not, Joana may correct me.
The Basilica of St. Michael is a Flamboyant Gothic church in Bordeaux, built between the end of 14th century and the 16th century. The separate bell tower, which is 114 meters tall, was built in the 15th century. - in: wikipedia

I have never been to Paris, have no plans to go there soon but when I finally decide to visit the french capital, I want to see Sacré Coeur. I feel like sitting on those stairs and eat an ice cream or maybe a baguette !! The postcard was sent by Paulo.
The Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre, known in French as the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, is one of the most important religious buildings in Paris. Situated on the top of Montmartre, a 427 ft (130 m) hill, it offers an incredible view of the city.
Designed by Paul Abadie, the construction of the church began in 1875 and was completed in 1914. It was consecrated as a basilica five years later, on 16 October, 1919. - in:

Nunes Almeida Editores
I've been several times to Lamego but I've never seen this chapel, maybe because it isn't located in city center. I'll ask Ana Rita to show it to me next time I visit the city. 
St. Peter of Balsemão Chapel is claimed to be the oldest church in Portugal. 
Believed to have been built in the 7th century by the Visigoths before the arrival of the Moors, its appearance has been much modified. The church contains the 15th century statue in Ançã stone of Senhora do Ó (the pregnant Virgin Mary) and the 14th century tomb of Bishop Afonso Pires of Oporto. Alterations in the 17th and 18th centuries incorporated the church into the country house of the Viscounts of Balsemão. - in:

Fotos: Antº Macedo; David de Abreu; Carlos Reveles; Izhar Perlman; Sergi Zelman; Sérgio Duarte; Vera Sanches * © 2017 - Ed. 19 de Abril: 157
Last year Rui sent me this same postcard, well, not exactly the same because the calendar of the year is different. But the images are the same and the initials of the weekdays are still in English. Why?!! 

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Monthly Fav. Surprise RR * November ´19

With the expection of the windmill card from Germany, all the other cards from the November MFS RR, came from Asia. 

© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG
This card was printed in Germany, Katja sent it from Germany, but it isn't sure that it is a german card as there's no identification of the place on the card nor the name of the mill. Google images didn't help this time. 

The Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque (Malay: Masjid Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz) is the state mosque of Selangor, Malaysia. It is located in Shah Alam. It is the country's largest mosque and also the second largest mosque in Southeast Asia after Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia. Its most distinguishing feature is its large blue and silver dome. 
The mosque was commissioned by the late Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz, when he declared Shah Alam as the new capital of Selangor on 14 February 1974. Construction began in 1982 and finished on 11 March 1988. - in: wikipedia
The card was sent by Pfang. 

This card took almost 2 months to travel from China to Portugal but it's finally here. 
Hong Kong–Shenzhen Western Corridor is a cross border transport infrastructure which connects Hong Kong and Shenzhen. It was opened on 1 July 2007, the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong as a special administrative region of China. - in: wikipedia
Card sent by Annie.

Google images didn't help on this card either. I've no idea where in Japan is this card from. Tomoko didn't say anything about any possible location.

Cape Reinga - New Zealand

I really don't have many cards from New Zealand. Don't know how many but only 5 of them are officials. 

Photography Copyright © Pikitia 2010 Ltd
NZ-208848, sent by Nicky.
"Cape Reinga is the northwesternmost tip of the Aupouri Peninsula, at the northern end of the North Island of New Zealand. Cape Reinga is located over 100 km north of the nearest small town of Kaitaia. The name of the cape comes from the Māori word 'Reinga', meaning the 'Underworld'. Another Māori name is 'Te Rerenga Wairua', meaning the leaping-off place of spirits. Both refer to the Māori belief that the cape is the point where the spirits of the dead enter the underworld.

The lighthouse was built in 1941 and first lit during May of that year. It was the last manned light to be built in New Zealand (...). 
In 1987, the lighthouse was fully automated and the lighthouse keepers were withdrawn. 
The lighthouse is a common New Zealand icon and a popular tourist destination although the lighthouse itself is not open to the public. - in: wikipedia.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Ruins of the Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur - Bangladesh

Today I've got a nice surprise in my mailbox. Last August I arranged a swap with a Aditi to get my 3rd and last UNESCO card from Bangladesh. The 1st time I swapped with her, everything went well and her card arrived quite fast. This 2nd time, as the weeks went by, there were no signs of the card and I thought it got lost. It didn't get lost after all, it just took a long scenic road and after 6 months I finally got it. 

During a period of huge change in the Buddhist faith, it was here at Paharpur that some of the best minds gathered to try to make sense of it all. For centuries, monks came to the large monastery complex to discuss the deepest questions of humanity. Paharpur became one of the most important intellectual centres of history and saw the rise of a new form of Buddhism. The temple at the site's centre would be used as the inspiration for the greatest Buddhist monuments across Southeast Asia, including Cambodia's Angkor Wat and Indonesia's Borobudur.

The great monastery of Paharpur was established in the 8th century in modern-day Bangladesh. 
Paharpur served as one of the most important intellectual centres in the world until the 12th century, and the philosophies that emerged were a synthesis of generations of different ideas.
The main temple of Paharpur rises up from the centre of the site as a physical manifestation of the new Buddhist ideas developed here. It was the first time a cross shape was used for the design of a Buddhist temple and it's still an impressive sight for visitors. Around the edges of the central quadrangle are the four long walls that make up the monastery, each with dozens of rooms that monks would have lived in. With simple harmonious lines and a profusion of carved terracotta plaque decoration, the monastery represents one of the greatest artistic achievements of its time. - in:


The 1st official of the year has already arrived, and no, is not from Germany, not from Russia and not even from USA. It is from Bulgaria. 

BG-138710, sent by Margarita.
The Troyan Monastery is the third largest monastery in Bulgaria. It is located in the northern part of the country in the Balkan mountains and was founded no later than the end of the 16th century.
The Troyan Monastery is, since the 17th century, the home of one of the holiest icons in Bulgarian Orthodoxy, the Three-Handed Virgin. - in: wikipedia