Thursday, May 5, 2022

Bamileke people - Cameroon

Today there was a great surprise for me in my mailbox. My first, and real, written and stamped card from Cameroon. How cool and unique is this?? I don't often get African cards, much less, written and stamped from there. Thank you very much Eric. 

On the card there's a Bamileke dancer performing a funeral dance with  an elephant mask. 
The Bamileke are a Grassfields ethnic group. They make up one of the largest ethnic groups in Cameroon and are natives of the country's West. The Bamileke are subdivided into 106 groupings in the West region led by a King or fon.

 
Masquerades are an integral part of Bamileke culture and expression. Colorful, beaded masks are donned at special events such as funerals, important palace festivals and other royal ceremonies.
The power of a Bamileke king, called a Fon, is often represented by the elephant, buffalo and leopard. Oral traditions proclaim that the Fon may transform into either an elephant or leopard whenever he chooses. An elephant mask, called a mbap mteng has protruding circular ears, a human like face, and decorative panels on the front and back that hang down to the knees and are covered overall in beautiful geometric beadwork, including much triangular imagery.
Beadwork, shells, bronze and other precious embellishments on masks elevate the mask's status. . in:
wikipedia
 

Temple of Heaven - China

My 1st Temple of Heaven card was received in 2008. Since then I've received a few more cards from them, all depicting the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. The 1st card is an official, the 2nd it was sent by Zhuang and the last one was a surprise card sent by Ariana during her holidays in China in 2012.
 
As the largest of Beijing's imperial of religious building complexes, the Temple of Heaven is known for its rigorous symbolic layout, peculiar structure, and magnificent decoration. It is the most representative example of Chinese ritual architecture. Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties (from 1420 to 1900) worshiped the god of heaven and prayed for good harvests there. - in: https://www.chinahighlights.com

 
CN-3349388, sent by JinZhu. 
"The Temple of Heaven is a complex of Taoist buildings situated in southeastern urban Beijing, in Xuanwu District. The complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. It is regarded as a Taoist temple, although Chinese Heaven worship, especially by the reigning monarch of the day, pre-dates Taoism. The temple complex was constructed from 1406 to 1420 during the reign of the Yongle Emperor, who was also responsible for the construction of the Forbidden City in Beijing.

The Temple of Heaven was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998 and was described as "a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design which simply and graphically illustrates a cosmogony of great importance for the evolution of one of the world’s great civilizations..." as the "symbolic layout and design of the Temple of Heaven had a profound influence on architecture and planning in the Far East over many centuries. 

 
"The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is a magnificent triple-gabled circular building, 32 metres in diameter and 38 metres tall, built on three levels of marble stone base, where the Emperor prayed for good harvests. The building is completely wooden, with no nails." - in: wikipedia

Monday, May 2, 2022

EE-291443

These last weeks I've been receiving official cards from countries I usually don't receive cards from. New Zealand, Norway, Luxembourg and also Estonia. It's nice to get such a variety of ID's.

EE-291443, sent by Katrin.
Kambja Church of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church is the biggest country church in Southern Estonia.
The first wooden church of Kambja was built probably in the beginning of the 14th century. Churches were destroyed and rebuilt several times during centuries. The present Lutheran St. Martin’s Church was originally rebuilt in 1720, this time of stone and a transept was added to the old part in 1874. After World War II, the church, which is one of the biggest in Southern Estonia, was in ruins for many years until restoration began in 1989. - in:
https://www.spottinghistory.com
Today, its good acoustics and almost 600 seats make it a great venue for concerts or wedding ceremonies. 

Porvoo - Finland

I've planned trips to Finland a few times and I've always included Porvoo in my itinenary. However, when I finally made it to Finland, I didn't get to visit the city!!

© Maria W Boström 2010
FI-2993413, sent by Isabel
Founded nearly 800 years ago, Porvoo is the second oldest city in Finland and evidence of its long history can still be seen and felt as you walk its charming streets. For centuries, the city has served as both a home and a source of inspiration for many Finnish artists.
Located about 50 kilometres east from Helsinki, it is possible to travel from the capital to Porvoo by steamboat in the summer. Even though Porvoo is not exactly a coastal town, it is connected to the Gulf of Finland via the Porvoo River. The river flows through the city, passing Porvoo’s most well-known landmarks: its red shore houses. Originally, the shore houses were painted red in honour of the arrival of Gustav III, the king of Sweden.
Historically, Porvoo has been an important centre of trade and the shore houses were once used to store goods and produce, such as exotic delicacies from distant lands. - in: http://www.visitfinland.com/article/summertown-porvoo/
 
Photography: Niko Laurila
FI-4159433, sent by Nina.
Porvoo Cathedral is a gothic cathedral of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, built in the 15th century, although the oldest parts date from the 13th century.
Porvoo Cathedral was burnt down several times in the 16th century: In 1508 the church was destroyed by the Danes, in 1571 and 1590 it was burnt down by the Russians. In the 17th century, the church was restored, but in 1708, during the Great Northern War (1700-1721), it was burnt down again. At that time, the building was completely destroyed, except for the soot-covered walls, the shell vault and the vault of the northern ship. During the Continuation War in 1941, the church was hit by a bomb which fell through the roof and vaults without exploding. Finally, on May 29th 2006, the roof of the church burned completely due to arson. 
The Cathedral is known to have temporarily become the "Parliament of Porvoo", opened in the Cathedral in 1809. It was in this setting that the declaration of the sovereign Alexander I (1801-1825) took place, transferring the eight former provinces of Sweden that constitute Finland to the power of the Russian emperor. - in: https://religiana.com

Saturday, April 30, 2022

NO-229166

Yesterday I came home after a few days on holidays on Madeira island and I was hoping to find a lot of mail in my mailbox but only found 3 cards. Only 3 but nice cards, including this official from Norway, my 5th official from this country and a new card to the FOTW collection.

 
© concept by Postcardsmarket.com 
NO-229166, sent by Marit.
Norway has an area of 385.178 km², a population of 5.214.900 and its capital is Oslo.
 Unique:
 * Longest european coastline - 53.199 km, according to the World Resources Institure;
 * Laerdal Tunnel - 24.5 km, the longest road tunnel in the world, on European route E16;
 Famous:  
* Winter Olympic Kings - Norway has won the most medals with a total of 303 medals (107 gold medals);
* The most olympic medals - 451 medals, the higest number of Summer and Winter Olympics per capita;
 History:
* Formation - 872, Kingdom of Norway with Harald Fairhair as its first king (872 - 930);
* Ahrensburg culture - 11th to the 10th millennia BC, the first inhabitants of Norway. 

FOTW Northern Ireland

The FOTW collection is getting bigger and bigger. This one from Northern Ireland was sent by Monika.

 
© concept by Postcardsmarket.com 
Northern Ireland has an area of 14.130 km², a population of 1.868.700 and its capital is Belfast.
 Unique:
 * Samson and Goliath - Belfast's twin shipbuilding cranes are the biggest free-standing cranes in the world;
 * 46% under 30 years old - almost 46% of the total population of Northern Ireland is under 30 years old;
 Famous:  
* The Pneumatic Tire - invented by John Wood Dunlop;
* The Giant's Causeway - area of about 400000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption;
 History:  
* Government of Ireland Act 1920 - British Parliament partitioned Northern and Sourhern Ireland, creating Northern Ireland;
* The unfortunate ship Titanic - built and launched from Belfast in 1911.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Greenwich - England

Greenwich is a town in south-east London, England, located in the historic county of Kent and the ceremonial county of Greater London. It is situated 5.5 miles (8.9 km) east-southeast of Charing Cross.
Greenwich is notable for its maritime history and for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time.
In 1997 Maritime Greenwich was added to the list of World Heritage Sites, for the concentration and quality of buildings of historic and architectural interest. These can be divided into the group of buildings along the riverfront, Greenwich Park and the Georgian and Victorian town centre. - in: wikipedia
 
GB-1519362, sent by Sally.
Symmetrically arranged alongside the River Thames, the ensemble of the 17th century Queen’s House, part of the last Royal Palace at Greenwich, the palatial Baroque complex of the Royal Hospital for Seamen, and the Royal Observatory founded in 1675 and surrounded by the Royal Park laid out in the 1660s by André Le Nôtre, reflects two centuries of Royal patronage and represents a high point of the work of the architects Inigo Jones (1573-1652) and Christopher Wren (1632-1723), and more widely European architecture at an important stage in its evolution. It also symbolises English artistic and scientific endeavour in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Greenwich town, which grew up at the gates of the Royal Palace, provides, with its villas and formal stuccoed terraces set around St Alphege’s church rebuilt to Hawksmoor’s designs in 1712-14, a setting and approach for the main ensemble. 

 Inigo Jones’ Queen’s House was the first Palladian building in Britain, and also the direct inspiration for classical houses and villas all over the country in the two centuries after it was built.
The Royal Hospital, laid out to a master plan developed by Christopher Wren in the late 17th century and built over many decades by him and other leading architects, including Nicholas Hawksmoor, is among the most outstanding group of Baroque buildings in England.
The Royal Park is a masterpiece of the application of symmetrical landscape design to irregular terrain by André Le Nôtre. It is well loved and used by residents as well as visitors to the Observatory, Old Royal Naval College and the Maritime Museum.
The Royal Observatory’s astronomical work, particularly of the scientist Robert Hooke, and John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal, permitted the accurate measurement of the earth’s movement and also contributed to the development of global navigation. The Observatory is now the base-line for the world’s time zone system and for the measurement of longitude around the globe. - in: https://whc.unesco.org

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Kinderdijk - The Netherlands

Kinderdjik was one of the many places I got to know about because of postcards. I never had much interrest on windmills, that's something we don't have in my region, but after visiting the Kinderdjik once and the Netherlands twice, I'm an huge fan now. 

The Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout is a group of buildings in an exceptional human-made landscape in which the centuries-long battle of the Dutch people to drain parts of their territory and protect them against further inundation is dramatically demonstrated through the survival of all the major elements of the complex system that was devised for this purpose.

Construction of hydraulic works for the drainage of land for agriculture and settlement began in the Middle Ages and has continued uninterruptedly to the present day. 

© www.postcards-for-postcrossing.com
NL-5213522, sent by Frieda.
 
The property illustrates all the typical features associated with this technology: polders, high and low-lying drainage and transport channels for superfluous polder water, embankments and dikes, 19 drainage mills, 3 pumping stations, 2 discharge sluices and 2 Water Board Assembly Houses. The beautifully preserved mills can be divided into three categories: 8 round brick ground-sailers, 10 thatched octagonal smock mills, and one hollow post mill.

NL-4610496, sent by Janneke.
 The installations in the Kinderdijk-Elshout area demonstrate admirably the outstanding contribution made by the people in Netherlands to the technology of handling water.

© Aad Schenk
NL-2234384, sent by Martha.
The landscape is striking in its juxtaposition of its horizontal features, represented by the canals, the dikes, and the fields, with the vertical rhythms of the mill system. There is no drainage network of this kind or of comparable antiquity anywhere else in the Netherlands or in the world. - in: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/818/

Friday, April 22, 2022

LU-84096

I've already posted a few Luxembourg cards here but this is the 1st time I'm posting an official card from this country.

LU-84096, sent by Sandra.
Notre-Dame Cathedral is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Luxembourg City. It was originally a Jesuit church, and its cornerstone was laid in 1613. It is the only cathedral in Luxembourg.
The church is a noteworthy example of late gothic architecture; however, it also has many Renaissance elements and adornments. At the end of the 18th century, the church received the miraculous image of the Maria Consolatrix Afflictorum, the patron saint of both the city and the nation.
Around 50 years later, the church was consecrated as the Church of Our Lady and in 1870, it was elevated by Pope Pius IX to the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. - in: wikipedia

DE-11662831 & DE-11662819

Offcial cards from the German states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Hesse.

 
© Weidelsburg Verlag
DE-11662831, sent by Marion.
The city centre of Neustrelitz is characterised by Baroque architecture. This Baroque church was part of the complex of the Neustrelitz Palace, which was destroyed in 1945. The church was built between 1855-1859.
 
 
© Schöning GmbH & Co. KG
  
DE-11662819, sent by Arno.
The small town of Bad Arolsen has also some examples of Baroque architecture. 
Arolsen Castle is a baroque-style schloss, built during the early 18th century. The castle is now a museum, and is still inhabited by Wittekind, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont and his family.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

St. Peter's Basilica - Vatican

I haven't posted any Vatican postcards here since 2018, it's really not a place where I get many postcards from. However, these last weeks I've received 2 cards from there as officials from other countries, the 1st of these cards as an official from the Netherlands and the French official from the previous post. 
The other postcards in this post were sent by Zé in 2015 and by Ilaria in 2010.
 
NL-5180774, sent by Caroline.
St. Peter's Basilica is a Rennaisance style church in Vatican City. The basilica was built according to tradition above the burial site of St. Peter, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus and the first Bishop of Rome. To maintain this tradition, Popes are now buried within the basilica. 

Servizio Fotografico de L'Osservatore Romano
Regarded as one of the holiest sites in Christendom, it was built to replace the Old St. Peter's Basilica between 1506 and 1626. It was designed by the greatest Old Masters of the time, including Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
 

Today, the church serves as a symbol of Rennaissance architecture, as well as being an integral site of pilgrimage, it is a papal basilica and not a cathedral, since it is not the seat of a bishop. The Arch Basilica of St. John Lateran is actually the cathedral church of Rome. - in: https://www.st-peters-basilica-tickets.com

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

St. Peter's Square - Vatican

I've been to the Vatican in 2010 and that's when I sent from there my 1st written & stamped card from this independent city-state. The other cards were sent by Rita (2nd) and Eduardo (4th). Eduardo's card is also written & stamped from there. The 3rd card is an official french card which arrived with no stamps

St. Peter's Square is one of the largest and most beautiful squares in the world. It is located in Vatican City, at the feet of St. Peter's Basilica.
The dimensions of the square are spectacular: 320 meters long and 240 meters wide. In the liturgies and more noticeable events St. Peter's Square has held more than 300,000 people.

Photo: Massimo Cirilli
The construction of the square was carried out between 1656 and 1667 at the hand of Bernini, with the support of Pope Alexander XII.
 
FR-1408273, sent by Philo.
The most impressive part of the square, besides its size, are its 284 columns and 88 pilasters that flank the square in a colonnade of four rows. Above the columns there are 140 statues of saints created in 1670 by the disciples of Bernini.

2009 © Copyright by Plurigraf - Narni (Tr) Italy
In the centre of the square the obelisk and the two fountains, one of Bernini (1675) and another of Maderno (1614) stand out. The obelisk, which is 25 meters in height, was carried to Rome from Egypt in 1586.
The most spectacular way to arrive at St. Peter's Square is along the Via della Conciliazione, a long street that begins in the Castel Sant'Angelo. - in: https://www.rome.net/st-peters-square

FR-1503509

The Dordogne is a river in south-central and southwest France. It is 483.1 km long. The Dordogne and its watershed were designated Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO on July 11 2012.

 
Photo Edition "France Regard"
FR-1503509, sent by Pascal.
The Dordogne river is one of the most popular destinations in France. The low flow in most parts of the river makes it ideal for a kayak or canoe trip as you can easily descend and visit many beautiful villages and impressive chateaux on the way. The enchanting scenery on the banks of the river includes picturesque villages like Beynac, La Roque Gageac and Domme as well as local flora and fauna near Bergerac. - in: https://www.lostinbordeaux.com