Sunday, November 29, 2020

Sibelius Monument - Finland

I've been to Helsinki last year but didn't get to see this monument. 
The 1st card was sent by Maija and the 2nd is one of my 1st oficial cards from Finland, received in 2006.

Photo: Pentti Harala

The world famous composer Jean Sibelius' (1865-1957) monument by Eila Hiltunen is located at the Sibelius park. It was unveiled 7 September 1967. 
FI-93417, sent by Annette. 
 The Sibelius Monument, resembling organ pipes, is made of welded steel with over 600 pipes and with the bust of the composer on one side. The monument is one of Helsinki's most popular statues and one of the most well-known tourist attractions. - in:


Getting officials from Sweden doesn't happens that often. 
The medieval church in the north of the island of Visingsö in Lake Vättern is best known nowadays for its cut-off tower, from which visitors can enjoy the view.

SE-184211, sent by Annette. 
Kumlaby Church was built in the 12th century using local slate, with sandstone door and window frames. The church comprises nave, chancel, apse and a west tower added slightly later. In the 15th century, the church was vaulted and decorated with frescos depicting motifs from the legends of the saints and medieval symbolism.
During the 16th century, the island’s two parishes were merged into one and, in 1636, all church activity was moved to the newly completed Brahe Church. Per Brahe the Younger then converted the abandoned church into schoolrooms for the school he had founded: ‘Schola Brahea’, the Visingsborg School. Among other things, he had the steeple removed and built a platform there for the pupils to study astronomy.
The church served as a school for 175 years, after which it was left to its fate. For a number of years during the 19th century, it was used by the missionary movement. In 1922, the church underwent radical restoration, assuming its present appearance.
As a visitor, not only can you go into the church but also up to the top of the cut-off tower. The staircase up to the tower is narrow and dark, but well worth the effort. It is said that in fine weather you can see four of Sweden’s provinces – Småland, Östergötland, Närke and Västergötland – from the top. - in:


One more card on which the ID doesn't match with the image. The card is an official from Switzerland but the castle is located in Ireland.

 CH-508519, sent by Marta.  
In the very heart of the county town, towering over the River Eske, stands Donegal Castle. Red Hugh O’Donnell himself built it as his personal fortress in the fifteenth century. It is said that, leaving to seek succour in Spain in the wake of the Battle of Kinsale, Hugh determined to make sure his castle would never ever fall into English hands – by setting it on fire.
But he was to be disappointed. English captain Sir Basil Brooke became the castle’s new lord in 1616. As part of a massive programme of improvements, Brooke built a handsome manor house beside the tower. He also commissioned the magnificent chimney-piece, finely decorated with carved fruit and his own imperious coat of arms.
The building complex fell into ruin in the twentieth century, but was brought back to its former glory in the 1990s. Currently, a suite of information panels illuminates the chequered history of the castle and its disparate owners. . in:


 Another official sent from Germany but the lighthouse on the card is from Denmark. 

Christian Back
DE-9598252, sent by Anke.
Taksensand lighthouse is located on the small island of Als in Denmark.
It stands on the water´s edge and its boulder foundation looks beautiful together with the stony seach.
The lighthouse was built in 1905 and was originally 32 metres high.
In 1953 the lighthous was reduced in hight to 19 metres. - in

Friday, November 27, 2020

German Officials

 Some of the last german official cards I've received recently.

© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG 
DE-9613692, sent by Kati. 
In the vine-decked Neckar Valley, Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg. For hundreds of years until the 19th century the city was the seat of the Counts and then the Kings of Württemberg, and they left behind royal palaces for that have become government buildings and museums. - in:

DE-9602054, sent by Detlef. 
St. John's Church in Groß Eichsen, a district of Mühlen Eichsen, is one of the larger village churches in the Mecklenburg parish of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany. It is located on the northeastern edge of the village near the shore of the Groß Eichsener Lake.
Heinz Wohner
DE-9597386, sent by Holger.
The building on the card is St. Vitus' chape, part of the Pilgrimage Church of St. Marinus and Anian, in the village of Wilparting, Bavaria. The small chapel marks the place where the cell of Saints Marinus and Anianus is said to have been located.
Huber - Images / Chris Seba
DE-9611787, sent by Becky.
Hohenschwangau Castle, may be best known as the castle next to the world-famous Neuschwanstein Castle, but it has a unique and vibrant history all of its own.
Hohenschwangau had its beginnings in the 12th century as the fortress Schwanstein. The family of knights who had founded the fortress died out by the 16th century. From this time until the 19th century, the fortress changed hands numerous times and, predictably, fell into ruins.
However, in April of 1829, a young crown prince went on a walking tour and discovered the remains of this once-proud castle. This was, of course, the future King Maximillian II of Bavaria, father to Ludwig, who would be best-known for his own series of fantastical castles. Maximillian gained possession of the ruins in 1832 and one year later had set about restoring it to its former greatness.
Maximillian worked on the castle with the help of his architect, Domenico Quaglio (and others following Quaglio’s death) to bring new life to the ruin and create the glorious Hohenschwangau.
Hohenschwangau became the summer residence for the King, his wife Marie of Prussia and their two sons, Ludwig and Otto. When the king died in 1864, Ludwig took up residence in his childhood home, where he also oversaw the construction of his own castle, Neuschwanstein, just across the way.
Ludwig died mysteriously in 1886, leaving his mother Marie as the only resident in the vast palace. The Queen’s brother-in-law, Luitpold, was next to live within Hohenschwangau. After installing electricity and an elevator, he died in 1912 and one year later, Hohenschwangau became a museum open to the public.
Miraculously, it suffered no damage during either of the world wars and remains in pristine condition. Each year, more than 300,000 guests come to experience the glory and fantasy of this Bavarian masterpiece. - in:

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Brandenburg Gate - Germany

Just like the Memorial Church, the Brandenburg Gate is also a symbol for peace, unity and reconciliation in Berlin. 

The Brandenburg Gate is one of Berlin's most important monuments – a landmark and symbol all in one with over two hundred years of history. A former symbol of the divided city, it drew visitors who used to climb an observation platform in order to get a glimpse of the world behind the Iron Curtain, on the other side of the barren "death-strip" which separated East from West Berlin, geographically and politically.
Foto: Berlin Nr. B. 92 - © Ute + Bernd
DE-9680830, sent by Ipek
  It was here that on June 12, 1987, Ronald Regan issued his stern command to his cold war adversary admonishing him with the words: "Mr. Gorbachov – tear down this wall!". The speech delivered to West Berliners was also audible on the east side of the Gate and echoed President von Weizsacker’s words which translate as: "The German question is open as long as the Brandenburg Gate is closed."

DE-814052, sent by Gabriela.
When Germany was reunified following the fall of the Berlin in November 1989 Brandenburg Gate quickly reinvented itself into the New Berlin's symbol of unity. It was officially opened to traffic on December 22, 1989 and 100,000 people came to celebrate the occasion. Unfortunately this also resulted in severe damage to the monument which needed to be restored and was only officially reopened on October 3, 2002.

 Photo by G. Schneider
DE-1872833, sent by Silke.
The Brandenburg Gate was erected between 1788 and 1791 according to designs by Carl Gotthard Langhans whose vision was inspired by the Propylaea in Athens' Acropolis. Prussian sovereign Friedrich Wilhelm II was looking for a suitable architectural statement to enhance the approach into the Boulevard Unter den Linden. The classical sandstone work is one of the masterpieces of this era and is the only surviving one of 18 previous city portals. The Quadriga, a sculpture representing the Goddess of Victory, by Johann Gottfried Schadow which can be spotted from a long distance was erected on the Gate in 1793. From 1806 to 1814 the statue was held captive in France as a Napoleonic trophy during the years of France and Prussia's military rivalry for imperial domination. During WWII Brandenburg Gate was damaged but not destroyed by allied bombing. - in:

Ramsau - Germany

Officials from Germany, both showing St. Sebastian Church in Ramsau. 
© fisfra | Benutzung unter Lizenz von
DE-9656453, sent by Dorle.
A lovely snowy view card from Ramsau in the Bavarian Alps, located in the district of Berchtesgadener Land in Bavaria, close to the border with Austria. The church of Ramsau, parish church of Saint Sebastian, is often on postcards and looking at these cards I can understand why.

 © Premium/FB-Rose

DE-3385458, sent by Karin.
The church is consecrated to the saints Sebastian and Fabian. It was built in 1512 under provost Gregor Rainer and was extended in 1692 in the baroque style. It has a tower with baroque onion shaped tower which is covered like the whole church with wooden shingles. - in:

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Wertheim - Germany

My penpal Tanja has recentely been to Wertheim. As I told her that I've never heard about this town, she sent me this card so that I could see and learn a bit about it. 
Wertheim is a small town in the southwest of Germany, at the northern border between Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bavaria. The town is locatet at the mouth of the river Tauber into the river Main.

© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG

High above the town, with an astonishing view over the valleys of Main and Tauber, there is Wertheim Castle which is the landmark of the town. Today the castle is just a ruin (on of the oldest fortress ruins in Baden-Wuerttemberg), formerly it was the residence of the Earls of Wertheim, an noble dynasty which died during the 16th century, and the castle was finally destroyed during the Thirty Years' War in 1634. During the 1980s the castle was reconstructed and opened to the public. It's worth a visit for sure.
But not just the castle is worth a visit - it's one of the most beautiful city centers in Germany at all which makes Wertheim so advisable. Numerous half-timbered houses - one more beautiful than the other, and which you can't take your eyes off. Some of them go back to the 16th century! - in:

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Rugen Island - Germany

Rügen is Germany’s largest island by area. It is located off the Pomeranian coast in the Baltic Sea and belongs to the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
Foto by Bianca Lohr

DE-9601016, sent by Anne.
Rügen has a maximum length of 51.4 km (from north to south), a maximum width of 42.8 km in the south and an area of 926 km². The coast is characterized by numerous sandy beaches, lagoons (Bodden) and open bays (Wieke), as well as projecting peninsulas and headlands.

DE-963065, sent by Michaela "michigirl".
The island of Rügen is part of the district of Vorpommern-Rügen, with its county seat in Stralsund. The towns on Rügen are: Bergen, Sassnitz, Putbus and Garz. In addition, there are the Baltic seaside resorts of Binz, Baabe, Göhren, Sellin and Thiessow.

Atelier Schumann 
In June 2011, UNESCO awarded the status of a World Heritage Site to the Jasmund National Park, famous for its vast stands of beeches and chalk cliffs like King’s Chair, the main landmark of Rügen island. - in:

Petit Minou Lighthouse - France

Both these cards came from Russia but both depict a lighthouse in Britanny, France. The Petit Minou Lighthouse is loocated at Plouzané, a Breton municipality of Finistère. 

RU-8056256, sent by Alyona.
In front of the fort of the same name, and connected by a stone bridge, the maritime building indicates the route to follow in order to enter the bay for boats wishing to go to the port of Brest.

RU-7967073, sent by Tatiana.
Built in the mid-nineteenth century, it was fully automated in the late 1980s. Built in ashlar stone of the Aber Ildut, this cylindrical tower rises to a height of twenty-six meters on the ground.
The white tower in front of it was once used as a tower of the semaphore of the Navy, before it was moved to the tip of Portzic in 1984. - in:

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Brittany's headdresses - France

Nice card from France depicting the coiffes de Bretagne, Brittany's headdresses. The card was sent by Damien.
Brittany is a historical region in the north-west of France, with a population of just over 4 million people. This small region is famous for its variety of traditional costume, officially there are 66 of them. Essential part of the women's costume is a headgear called coiffe. There are more varieties of coiffe than of costume, because for a young woman of marriageable age, for a married lady or for a widow coiffe must be different. They vary in size and complexity, from small pieces of lace worn over a bun, to elaborate, towering creations with flowing ribbons, but there is something common between them all: they are of white colour and mostly are made of lace (sometimes embroidered calico is used instead).

Editions D'Art
Each village and region has singularities in the coiffe, which tell the others about where the woman is from. And the names of the headdresses come from the names of those regions. 
The use of such headdress disappeared quite recently, and even in the 50s, their use was still common. Nowadays no one wears coiffe in everyday life anymore (except for a few older women in some villages), but during festivals the Breton women still, like a hundred years ago, cover their heads with lace, ribbons, cones and caps.- in:

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Val d'Aran - Spain

From the sunny beach views of Mallorca island, to snowy mountain views in Val d'Aran. Both these cards have been sent by Gemma, who visits this region every now and then.

Val d’Aran is located in the Central Pyrenees and it has the characteristic of an Atlantic slope valley; due to this, its main river, the Garona, makes its way through Aquitaine lands and flows into Bordeaux (France). 
Val d’Aran has an extension of 620 km and 30% of its territory is above 2.000 m of altitude. 
Val d’Aran consists of 33 villages where a hint of maturity in the wood, the slate and the stones is mixed up with the beauty of intense nature in the mountainous and alpine landscapes. Each of them have their own characteristics which are put out especially in their towers and steeples.

It is one of the most notable villages of High Aran due to its two churches, Sant Joan and Santa María, and its quaint old town with some of the most stately Renaissance houses of the Valley. Not to mention its active and vibrant bars and restaurants. Sant Joan is a harmonius combination of the purest Gothic style while Santa María is a good example of the superposition of different styles from its older Romanesque nave to its splendid Gothic 5 story bell tower with its grand clock. - in:

Mallorca - Spain

Mallorca is the largest island in the Balearic Islands archipelago, which are part of Spain and located in the Mediterranean. The island is a popular holiday destination for the portuguese and also for tourists from Germany and the United Kingdom. 
This not my kind of place to visit but I admit that the landscapes are really beautiful. That's exactly what Gemmam, Vera and Ara said. 

 Tullio Gatti Photo Gallery
Mallorca is the largest and most densely populated of the four Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera) which form the Spanish Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, east of mainland Spain.
Tullio Gatti Photo Gallery
The immense natural beauty together with Mediterranean weather (hot dry Summers and mild Winters) are the main reason why this Island has been so popular as a holiday destination.

© Ediciones Costa de Mallorca, S. L. 
We also enjoy a very diverse landscape from the rocky Tramuntana Mountainous region in the North-West to the flat plains in the centre of the Island. The beautiful beaches, varying resorts and range of sports and tourist activities provide a multitude of options for visitors. This is the reason why so many tourists return to the Island year after year! - in:

Postal Plus
 Originally the town of Colonia Sant Jordi was an agricultural and fishing village with tourists only starting to choose this destination as a holiday spot in the 1950s. Colonia Sant Jordi and neighbouring Ses Salines are famous for their extraction of salt and both towns carry this symbol in their town coat of arms. Salt is still extracted using traditional methods each year during a festival in August.
Colonia de Sant Jordi is now a busy resort. The fishing harbour is still a major part of the town and its small beach looks out over several islets, with good views all the way to the Cabrera Archipelago. - in: