Friday, December 30, 2022


 And the last official of the year came from Australia, the only one I received from this country in 2022.
The Whitsunday Islands are a group of 74 islands that lie off the coast of Queensland, Australia and form part of the Great Barrier Reef. The islands are one of the most popular Australian tourist destinations.

AU-845406, sent by Rae.
The vast majority of islands are designated national parks and major attractions include access to coral reefs for snorkeling and diving, pristine beaches, especially Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island and clear aquamarine warm waters. They are well connected by two major airports on Hamilton Island and the mainland town of Proserpine. Over half a million visitors come to the Whitsundays each year.- in:
Hill Inlet is a stunning inlet located at the northern end of Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island.

Prasat Phanon Rung - Thailand

Khmer ruins can be found all around Thailand, but the most famous sites are in the provinces that border modern Cambodia.
Buriram Province has two of the best ruins. The most beautiful and best-known of these is Prasat Hin Phanom Rung.

 Prasat Phanom Rung was built by the Khmer Empire between the 10th and 13th Centuries. As is typical of Khmer architecture, the buildings have a foundation of laterite, while the upper portions and carvings are sandstone. It is this stone construction that gives the name “Prasat Hin” which means “stone castle” in Thai. Phanom Rung was built during the early part of the Khmer Empire when it was a Hindu society before later converting to Buddhism. The entirety of Phanom Rung is built as a shrine to the Hindu god Shiva. The temple sits at an elevation of 402 meters on an extinct volcano which symbolizes Mount Kailash, the heavenly dwelling of Shiva. - in:

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Shirakawa-go - Japan

All of these cards are from the lovely Shirakawa-go village. Shirakawa-go together with Gokayama in Toyama, was registred as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. 
Back in 2009 Adriana sent me my 1st card from there and that was when I fell in love with this place.

 Located in a mountainous region that was cut off from the rest of the world for a long period of time, these villages with their Gassho-style houses subsisted on the cultivation of mulberry trees and the rearing of silkworms. 
JP-1792846, sent by Misa.
The large houses with their steeply pitched thatched roofs are the only examples of their kind in Japan. Despite economic upheavals, the villages of Ogimachi, Ainokura and Suganuma are outstanding examples of a traditional way of life perfectly adapted to the environment and people's social and economic circumstances. - in:

© Hiroyuki Yamaguchi
JP-329605, sent by Momoko. 
The village is located in the Shogawa river valley stretching across the border of Gifu and Toyama Prefectures in central Japan. Both villages, Shirakawa-gō and Gokayama, are famous for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. 

Gassho-zukuri means "constructed like hands in prayer", as the farmhouses' steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer. The architectural style developed over many generations and is designed to withstand the large amounts of heavy snow that falls in the region during winter. The roofs, made without nails, provided a large attic space used for cultivating silkworms. - in:

FOTW Brunei

In case you wonder where in the world is this country located, check Borneo island in Southeast Asia. 
I don't know how Eric managed to send me this card but it was a wonderful surprise.

© concept by

Brunei has an area of 5.765 km², a population of 417.200 and its capital is Bandar Seri Begawan.
* Healthcare - citizens are charged B$1 per consultation and free for kids under 12 years;  
* 1 car per 2.09 persons - Brunei has one of the highest car ownership rates in the world;
* 24K gold coated car - the Sultan has a unique Rolls-Royce: 
* Blessed Harbor - is the meaning of Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei;
* Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque - is considered the major landmark of the country. The main dome is covered in pure gold. The mosque stands 52 meters high and can be seen from virtually anywhere in Bandar Seri Begawan;
* Muhammad Shah - established the Sultanate of Brunei in 1368 and was its first sultan;
* Independence - 1 january 1984 from the UK;
* Name origin - Brunei Darussalam means "abode of peace".


Before this official that I received a few weeks ago, the previous official from Malaysia arrived in... 2017!! 

There are many mosques in Malaysia due to Islam being the official religion. However, one of the most, if not the most, unique mosque in this country is the Crystal Mosque. The uniqueness of this mosque has made it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Malaysia. The mosque is located in the Islamic Heritage Park in Wan Man Island off Terengganu. The mosque took two years to be built from 2006 until 2008 and was only opened to the public on 8th February 2008 by the 13th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu.

MY-574911, sent by Aisha.
The uniqueness of the mosque comes from its interesting exterior. The mosque is coated with steel, glass and crystal which are the three main materials in the development of this magnificent piece of architecture which gave it its name. Its sleek and modern look is reflected off the river surrounding the mosque. The illumination from inside the mosque also makes it look like the glass domes are shining. The Crystal Mosque is able to accommodate up to 1,500 worshippers at a given time and also made its name internationally for its beauty. - in:

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Alishan Railway - Taiwan

For quite some time it was not possible to send and received mail from Taiwan. Now, after more than 2 years, I started to received officials from there again. These, both from the Alishan Railway, are two of the nicest I've ever received with TW id. I kinda like cards with old trains.

Alishan Forest Railway is one of the most iconic, best preserved and most beautiful historical mountain railways in the world. Starting at the center of Chiayi City, it passes through tropical forests, subtropical hills, and rising into the temperate forests in the mountains, originally ending up at Alishan. It is definitely something you should experience while you are in Taiwan.
The railway attracts visitors from all over the world and is one of the most popular attractions in Taiwan.

TW-3313730, sent by Shengjie.
The Alishan forest railway was opened in 1912 during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. Originally it was built to transport lumber from mountain areas in Chiayi County, especially cypress and Taiwania wood. The railway consists of narrow gauge track, and has 50 tunnels and70 wooden bridges.
 TW-3411510, sent by Vasya.
After the Alishan highway was completed in 1982 and logging in Taiwan was banned, passengers along the railway dropped considerably. However, the railway has become popular again in recent years due to its unique and historic preservation. - in:

Bada Bagh - India

At first glance this structure may look like a palace, that's what I thought it was, but this is actually a series of cenotaphs. These cenotaphs are nothing but tomb shaped structures which are locally referred to as Chhatris.
Bada Bagh is one of the most significant relics of India.

The art of constructing Chhatris began somewhere around the 17th century and lasted until the 20th century. The first cenotaph that marked its presence here was erected as a tribute to the Maharaja Jai Singh II. After that, different Chhatris were constructed, which differ widely in their sizes. Today, you could see them standing tall in two rows reflecting the power quotient and the social status of the members of the Royal family. If you look closely at the top of each Chhatri, there’s a small stone inscription there with the date and the name of the person to whom it has been commemorated. Very few of them have brief descriptions, as well. - in:

Monday, December 12, 2022

Uplistsikhe Cave Town - Georgia

When you already have cards from almost 1000 UNESCO sites, it is hard to get cards from new ones. Getting cards from places on the Tentative list is the next best thing. I was more than happy when I realized that this card from Georgia is from a place on that list.
Uplistsikhe Cave Town-Fortress is situated on a rocky massif in 15 km eastwards to town Gori on the left bank of the river Mtkvari. Its history begins in the I-II millennium B.C. Uplistsikhe was an important religious, political and cultural centre in the Hellenistic and the late Antique periods (IV c. B.C. - IV c. A.D.).  The town was in its heyday as far back as the 9th - 11th centuries. In 13th century, it was ravaged by Mongols. 
 Living quarters and premises for communal purposes occupy a cliff territory of almost 8 hectares and are connected by footways. The majority of the caves are devoid of any decorations. The central ensemble, a big hall with coffered tunnel-vaulted ceiling, and the palace complex, is the most interesting one architecturally. The natural rock easily lent itself to various kinds of treatment, making it possible to create complex decorative compositions. The ribbed ceiling with an aperture, a smoke outlet which also admitted light, was supported by two columns carved from the living rock; the hall had niches-loggias on three sides. Next to this hall, a three-nave basilica was hewn from rock in the second half of the 6th century, and to the east of it, a three-church basilica of brick was built in the 9th - 10th centuries. The cave complexes dating to high medieval times usually included a number of small hall-churches beside the dwellings. - in:

RU-9410674 & RU-9410667

 Officials from Russia.

Photo: Prokudin-Gorsky

RU-9410674, sent by Sergey.
The card looks a bit like a painting but this is actually an old picture taken in 1909. The wooden structure is a chapel for the blessing of water in the village of Deviatiny, located on the Vytegra River.

RU-9410667, sent by Alyona.
Winter landscape with the orthodox church of St. Nicholas in Filippovskoye village, Vladimir region.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Novgorod Kremlin - Russia

"Situated on the ancient trade route between Central Asia and northern Europe, Novgorod was Russia's first capital in the 9th century. Surrounded by churches and monasteries, it was a centre for Orthodox spirituality as well as Russian architecture. Its medieval monuments and the 14th-century frescoes of Theophanes the Greek (Andrei Rublev's teacher) illustrate the development of its remarkable architecture and cultural creativity." - in:  

The Novgorod Kremlin, or Detinets, as it was called in Novgorod in old times, is the most ancient out of the preserved Kremlins in Russia (it is first mentioned in the chronicle of 1044). It was founded by Prince Yaroslav.

The Kremlin was an administrative, a social and a religious centre of Novgorod. Veche, elections of a posadnik were held here. From this place, squads of Alexander Nevsky marched out to the battle with the Swedes. Novgorod walls protected the main Cathedral of St.Sophia and the residence of the Archbishop of Novgorod. It was the Kremlin where the chronicles were kept and books were collected and copied.
Today the Kremlin is the cultural and tourist centre. The main expositions of the Novgorod State United Museum are displayed here. Restoration workshops, the library, the philharmonic, college of arts, art and music schools are located in this place. - in:

 RU-7988086, sent by Maria.
The Millennium of Russia is a bronze monument in the Novgorod Kremlin. It was erected in 1862 to celebrate the millennium of Rurik's arrival to Novgorod, an event traditionally taken as a starting point of the history of Russian statehood. 
During World War II, the Nazis dismantled the monument, and prepared it to be transported to Germany. However, the Red Army regained control of Novgorod and the monument was restored to public view in 1944. A 5-ruble commemorative coin was released in the USSR in 1988 to commemorate the monument. - in: wikipedia

Kazan Kremlin - Russia

 The Historic and Architectural Complex of the Kazan Kremlin was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 2000.
The Kazan Kremlin is located on the top of a hill on the left banks of the Volga and Kazanka rivers. It became a white-stone fortress in the second half of the 16th century, before that the outpost had been defended by massive oak walls.

There is a whole range of architectural monuments in the territory of the Kazan Kremlin, among them the Syuyumbike Tower, Governor’s Palace (current residence of the President of the Republic of Tatarstan), Public Offices, Cadet School, archeological remains of one of the most representative buildings of the complex of the khan’s court, khan’s mosque and tombs of Kazan khans dating back to the 15th-16th centuries that are currently displayed as museum pieces. An Islamic mosque, Kul Sharif, and an Orthodox church, Annunciation Cathedral, stand side by side inside the Kazan Kremlin and represent a perfect example of a peaceful coexistence between two religious confessions. - in:

RU-9410666, sent by Oleg.
The Kul Sharif Mosque, built in place of the old mosque of the Khanate of Kazan that was destroyed in 1552, is the great symbol of Kazan and the Republic of Tatarstan. 
It is one of the largest mosques in Europe and the principal mosque of Kazan. It is the largest Muslim place of worship in Europe, serving as home to a rich collection of ancient books.

War on cards

The war in Ukraine has caused death, destruction, misery but has also created some iconic moments, images and heroes. 
I've got these cards as part of a birthday gift from my friend Telma.

One of the most iconic images is that of a soldier showing middle finger to Russian warship. An illustration of that moment was the winning design in an online competition organised by the Ukrainian Postal Service, Ukrposhta. The stamp titled “Russian warship go f*** yourself” is a tribute to the Snake Island soldiers who refused to surrender to Russian forces.
I still didn't get that stamp but I've this postcard with the same image.

Russian tanks being towed by Ukrainian tractors is another iconic image of Ukraine’s resistance to the Russian invasion and is also imortalized on stamps, cards and hundreds of memes. 
The stamp “Good evening, we are from Ukraine!” depicts the real events that took place in the Mykolaiv and other regions, when Ukrainian peasants took away Russian equipment without using any weapons, helping the Armed Forces to win. This stamp, just like its predecessors, shows the indomitability, fearlessness and ingenuity of Ukrainians. - in:

This cute Jack russel is a hero with a presidential medal. Patron the bomb-sniffing dog — and his owner, Mykhailo Iliev of the Civil Protection Service— received a medal from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in recognition of their service to the country. 
Patron, whose name means "ammo" in Ukrainian, is credited with detecting more than 200 undetonated explosive devices since the beginning of the war.
With his powerful snout and pint-sized protective vest, Patron has become a fixture of Ukraine's official social media channels and an international symbol of patriotism. - in:

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Lviv - Ukraine

Lviv is the largest city in western Ukraine, and the seventh-largest in Ukraine. The city has the largest number of historical and architectural monuments in Ukraine, counting 2,500 of them. Therefore, is not a surprise that the old city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

UA-1890710, sent by Sonia.
"The city of L'viv, in Ukraine, founded in the late Middle Ages, was a flourishing administrative, religious and commercial centre for several centuries. The medieval urban topography has been preserved virtually intact (in particular, there is evidence of the different ethnic communities who lived there), along with many fine Baroque and later buildings.

In its urban fabric and its architecture, L’viv is an outstanding example of the fusion of the architectural and artistic traditions of eastern Europe with those of Italy and Germany. The political and commercial role of L’viv attracted to it a number of ethnic groups with different cultural and religious traditions, who established separate yet interdependent communities within the city, evidence for which is still discernible in the modern townscape." - in:

Friday, December 2, 2022


 It's been over a year and a half since I received a card from Poland. 
PL-1863735, sent by Madzia.
Jastrzebia Gora, a charming little town lying on the Polish seacoast is famous as a popular holiday resort. Beside beautiful beaches and many venues crucial for whiling away one’s time in the summer, it is equally attractive in other seasons thanks to the marvellous beech forest forming the “Cape Rozewie” national park, a 350 m long gorge known as Foxy Ravine and an old lighthouse. - in:

FOTW Iceland

 When Eric can't send cards himself, he asks someone else to send them for him. Kevin visited Iceland for the 1st time and sent me this card on behalf of Eric. Thank you both.

© concept by

Iceland has an area of 102.775 km², a population of 332.529 and its capital is Reykjavik. 
* Most peaceful country in the world -according to Global Peace Index;  
* The world's largest electricity producer per capita - due to the utilization of abundant hydroeletric and geothermal power; 
* "Geysir" - in Haukadalur valley is located the oldest know geyser in the world;
* Vigdís Finnbogadóttir - Pesident (1980 - 1996) was the world's first directly elected female head of state;
* Volcanoes - Iceland has hundreds. About 30 volcanic systems are active;
* ca. 874 - Iceland was still uninhabited  long after the rest of Western Europe had been settled. Recorded settlement has conventionally beed dated back to 874;
* ca. 1000 - Leif Erikson is the first known European to have discovered North America (excluding Greenland), approximately five centuries before Christopher Columbus.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Egeskov Castle - Denmark

Getting cards of new castles is almost as good as getting cards of new UNESCO sites. Egeskov is one of the most famous and historic castles in Denmark bur I still didn't have any cards of it. 

Egeskov Castle is located near Kværndrup, in the south of the island of Funen. The castle is Europe's best preserved Renaissance water castle.
Egeskov was first mentioned in 1405. The castle structure was erected by Frands Brockenhuus in 1554.
The castle is constructed on oaken piles and located in a small lake with a maximum depth of 5 metres (16 ft). Originally, the only access was by means of a drawbridge. According to legend, it took an entire forest of oak trees to build the foundation, hence the name Egeskov (oak forest).
The estate has belonged to the Bille-Brahe family since 1784, when they acquired it from descendants of the Brockenhuus family. In 1882 it was inherited by the counts Ahlefeldt-Laurvig-Bille, who still own it. - in:

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Vindobona - Austria

I wanted to reach 1000 UNESCO sites still this year but I don't think I'll cards from 4 new sites in the next weeks. The last addition to my collection was this one from Austria, sent by Óscar to thank me for a card that I sent him from France. Frontiers of the Roman Empire – The Danube Limes (Western Segment), was the only Austrian site I was still missing.

This roughly hand-sized fragment is part of a bronze plaque on which the municipal law of the Roman legionary site of Vindobona was written. A long-cherished but never proven assumption is now certain: Vienna's oldest municipal law most likely dates from Roman times and is therefore around 1,000 years older than the previous "oldest municipal law", which dates from the Middle Ages.
The Vienna fragment was found in 1913 during excavations in the first district at the address "Am Hof 4", near the southern wall within the former Vindobona legionary camp.

 Foto: Birgit und Peter Kainz
Like many other cities of Continental Europe, Vienna originated in ancient Roman times. In the first century AD, the Romans set up a military camp, called Vindobona, which formed part of the large number of similar facilities along the Limes frontier. The camp was situated in what is today the core of the city. The course of the wall is reflected, to this day, in a series of very striking streets in the inner city. From the third century, there is evidence for a civilian settlement in the southeast, a little outside the camp. Much less is known about its layout and buildings, however, than about the camp. Neither of these facilities on the site of the present city had any significance within the ancient "cityscape" of Austria. The late 4th and 5th centuries began to see the dramatic decline not only of the Roman Empire in general but also of Vindobona in particular. - in:

DE-12360321 & US-8871402

Street art in Berlin and Washington DC.

© Jaron Verlag GmbH
DE-12360321, sent by Elke.
It may look like a Banksy work but this Mushroom Girl is actually a work by Dolk, a Norwegian stencil artist. The girl can be found in Berlin but also in an abandoned house in Lofoten, a district of Nordland in Norway. 

US-8871402, sent by Kenny.
With this card I've discovered the colorful work of Miss Chelove. 
This four-story mural  titled "You are welcome," is painted on the wall of a local clinic in Columbia Heights, a very ethnic part of Washington DC. The mural reflects the multicultural patients of the clinic and a message to them: "Immigrants and people of color enrich our communities with invaluable cultural depth, extending our awareness into the broader world outside of our borders. Without these populations, the American tapestry simply would not exist."

Saturday, November 26, 2022

DE-12377797 & DE-12377737

 Still in Germany but with different views and different states.

DE-12377797, sent by Alexandra. 
Beautiful views from Föhr, one of the North Frisian Islands on the German coast of the North Sea. It is part of the Nordfriesland district in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein. Föhr is the second-largest North Sea island of Germany and a popular destination for tourists. - in: wikipedia


DE-12377737, sent by Norbert. 
Postcards are a great way to learn about traditions. A maypole is a tall wooden pole erected as a part of various European folk festivals. In Germany, this tradition goes back to the 16th century and is particularly popular in the south of the country. 
"Maibaum" a maypole, is a tall wooden pole made from a tree trunk (pine or birch), adorned with colorful ribbons, flowers, carved figures, and various other decorations, depending on regional customs. The chosen tree must be trimmed, smoothed, and painted before it is ceremoniously raised in a prominent spot, usually the town or market square  on either the 30th of April or the 1st of May. In Bavaria, the Maypoles are usually white and blue stripes, symbolizing the Bavarian flag. 
Hoisting a Maypole is properly done by manpower, helped by ropes and wooden poles for support. For safety and other reasons, in larger cities tractors and cranes are used, but purists consider that cheating.