Sunday, 1 December 2019

Forts and Castles, Volta, Greater Accra, Central and Western Regions

The Portuguese called  Elmina "The Gold Mine" because of the vast amount of gold and ivory found there

Elmina Castle and Fort Saint Jago
This postcard was sent by Javier

Elmina Castle was erected by the Portuguese in 1482 as Castelo de São Jorge da Mina (St. George of the Mine Castle), also known as Castelo da Mina or simply Mina (or Feitoria da Mina) in present-day ElminaGhana (formerly the Gold Coast). It was the first trading post built on the Gulf of Guinea, and the oldest European building in existence south of the Sahara. First established as a trade settlement, the castle later became one of the most important stops on the route of the Atlantic slave trade. The Dutch seized the fort from the Portuguese in 1637, after an unsuccessful attempt to the same extent in 1596, and took over all of the Portuguese Gold Coast in 1642. The slave trade continued under the Dutch until 1814. In 1872, the Dutch Gold Coast, including the fort, became a possession of Great Britain.

Fort Coenraadsburg or Conraadsburg, also Fort São Tiago da Mina, is a small Portuguese chapel built in honor of Saint Jago and it is situated opposite the Elmina Castle in the Central region of Ghana, to protect Fort Elmina from attacks. Fort Conraadsburg was built in the 1660s. It was built on the site of a fortified chapel that the Portuguese had built and that the Dutch had burned to the ground in the Battle of Elmina (1637). The Dutch ceded the fort to Britain in 1872, together with the entire Dutch Gold Coast.. Before the fort was built, the Dutch used the hill as a gun-position to bombard the Portuguese in the year 1637. To prevent others from doing the same tactic against the Portuguese, the Dutch constructed a fortified earthwork the following year. - in: wikipedia

The 11 forts and castles (in red what I have)
  • Fort Good Hope (Fort Goedehoop)
  • Cape Coast Castle
  • Fort Patience (Fort Leysaemhyt)
  • Fort Amsterdam
  • Fort St. Jago (Fort Conraadsburg)
  • Fort Batenstein
  • Fort San Sebastian
  • Fort Metal Cross
  • English Fort (Fort Vrendenburg)
  • Fort Saint Antony
  • Elmina Castle (St. George's Castle/ Fort St. Jorge)

Ruins of Loropéni

The quality of the images of this postcard is not the best, but I cannot complain, it's not everyday that I receive postcards from Burkina Faso!

Ruins of Loropéni
This postcard was sent by Mike

The dramatic and memorable Ruins of Loropéni consist of imposing, tall, laterite stone perimeter walls, up to six metres in height, surrounding a large abandoned settlement. As the best preserved of ten similar fortresses in the Lobi area, part of a larger group of around a hundred stone-built enclosures, they are part of a network of settlements that flourished at the same time as the trans-Saharan gold trade and appear to reflect the power and influence of that trade and its links with the Atlantic coast. Recent excavations have provided radio-carbon dates suggesting the walled enclosure at Loropéni dates back at least to the 11th century AD and flourished between the 14th and 17th centuries, thus establishing it as an important part of a network of settlements. - in: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1225/


Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily)

Eight towns are part of this site. So far I only have postcards of two. I think I would like very much of any of these cities because I love Baroque

Baroque Buildings in Via Crociferi
This postcard was sent by Isabella

Via Crociferi is one of the oldest Catania streets in the heart of the city, it starts in Piazza San Francesco D’Assisi (crossing Via Vittorio Emanuele II) through the famous St. Benedict triumphal arch.
This street is considered the symbol of Baroque in Catania, because there are some of the most beautiful eighteenth-century churches of the city. - in: http://citymapsicilia.it/en/structure/crociferi-street/?c=to-see

Noto Cathedral
This postcard was sent by Javier

Noto Cathedral (ItalianCattedrale di Noto; La Chiesa Madre di San Nicolò) is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Noto in Sicily, Italy. Its construction, in the style of the Sicilian Baroque, began in the early 18th century and was completed in 1776. It is dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra, and has been the cathedral of the Diocese of Noto since the diocese's establishment in 1844.
The cathedral dome collapsed in 1996 as a result of unremedied structural weakening caused by an earthquake in 1990, to which injudicious building alterations in the 1950s may have contributed. It has since been rebuilt, and was reopened in 2007. - in: wikipedia


The eight towns (in red what I have):


  • Caltagirone
  • Catania
  • Militello Val di Catania
  • Modica
  • Noto
  • Palazzolo Acreide
  • Ragusa
  • Scicli

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Churches of the Pskov School of Architecture

Ten churches are part of this site. They look all very beautiful but it's hard to find information about some of them 

Church of Pokrova ot Proloma
This postcard was sent by Kseniya

This group of monuments is located in the historic city of Pskov, on the banks of the Velikaya River in the northwest of Russia. Characteristics of these buildings, produced by the Pskov School of Architecture, include cubic volumes, domes, porches and belfries, with the oldest elements dating back to the 12th century. Churches and cathedrals are integrated into the natural environment through gardens, perimeter walls and fences. Inspired by the Byzantine and Novgorod traditions, the Pskov School of Architecture reached its peak in the 15th and 16th centuries, and was one of the foremost schools in the country. - inhttps://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1523/

The 10 churches (in red what I have):

  • Cathedral of Ioann Predtecha (John the Precursor) 
  • Ensemble of the Spaso-Mirozhsky Monastery: the Transfiguration Cathedral
  • Church of the Archangel Michael with a bell tower
  • Church of Pokrova (Intercession) ot Proloma 
  • Church of Koz’ma and Damian s Primostya
  • Church Georgiya so Vzvoza (St. George)
  • Church of Theophany with a belfry
  • Church Nikoly so Usokhi (St. Nicholas)
  • Church Vasiliya na gorke (St. Basil the Greatl)
  • Ensemble of the Snetogorsky Monastery: The Cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God

High Coast / Kvarken Archipelago

In the year 2000 the High Coast in Sweden was inscribed as a World Heritage site and in 2006 the site was extended to Finland. 

High Coast
This postcard was sent by Steffi

The High Coast (SwedishHöga kusten) is a part of the coast of Sweden on the Gulf of Bothnia, in the municipalities of KramforsHärnösand and Örnsköldsvik, notable as an area for research on post-glacial rebound and eustacy, in which the land rises as the covering glaciers melt, a phenomenon first recognised and studied there. Since the last ice age, the land has risen 300 m, which accounts for the region's unusually tall cliffs. - in: wikipedia


Kvarken Archipelago
This postcard was sent by Sini

Kvarken is the narrow region in the Gulf of Bothnia separating the Bothnian Bay (the inner part of the gulf) from the Bothnian Sea.
On the Finnish side of Kvarken, there is a large archipelago, the Kvarken Archipelago, which includes the large islands ReplotBjörkö and a large number of smaller islands. - in: wikipedia

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Royal Building of Mafra – Palace, Basilica, Convent, Cerco Garden and Hunting Park (Tapada)

This year Portugal inscribed two sites in the World Heritage list. There are now two sites in the mainland of Portugal that I've never visited, even though I saw the Mafra palace from far away in 2010 in my holidays in Sintra.

Mafra Palace

The Palace of Mafra (PortuguesePalácio de Mafra) is a monumental Baroque and Italianized Neoclassical palace-monastery located in Mafra, Portugal, some 28 kilometres from Lisbon. Construction began in 1717 and was completely concluded in 1755.
The palace, which also served as a Franciscan friary, was built during the reign of King John V (1707–1750), as consequence of a vow the king made in 1711, to build a convent if his wife, Queen Mariana, gave him offspring. The birth of his first daughter the Infanta Barbara of Portugal, prompted construction of the palace to begin. The palace was conveniently located near royal hunting preserves, and was usually a secondary residence for the royal family.

Mafra Palace
This postcard was sent by Martinha

This vast complex, largely built of Lioz stone, is among the most sumptuous Baroque buildings in Portugal and at 40,000 m², one of the largest royal palaces. Designed by the German architect João Frederico Ludovice, the palace was built symmetrically from a central axis, occupied by the basilica, and continues lengthwise through the main façade until two major towers. The structures of the convent are located behind the main façade. The building also includes a major library, with about 30,000 rare books. The basilica is decorated with several Italian statues and includes six historical pipe organs and two carillons, composed of 98 bells. - in: wikipedia

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde

In 2011 my wife and I visited Vila Nova de Foz Côa. We didn't have the chance to see the real rock art sites because we arrived quite late and the weather wasn't good, but we saw the many reproductions in the wonderful museum of the Côa Parque

Rock Art in the Côa Valley

The Prehistoric Rock-Art Site of the Côa Valley is an open-air Paleolithic archaeological site located in a region of northeastern Portugal, near the border with Spain.
In the early 1990s rock engravings were discovered in Vila Nova de Foz Côa during the course of the construction of a dam in the valley of the Côa River. They include thousands of engraved rock drawings of horses, bovines and other animals, human and abstract figures, dated from 22,000 to 10,000 years B.C.

Rock Art in the Côa Valley


The first drawings appearing in the Côa Valley date between 22–20,000 years B.C., consisting of zoomorphic imagery of nature. Between 20–18,000 B.C. (Solutense period), a secondary group of animal drawings included examples of muzzled horses. There was greater elaboration during 16–10,000 years B.C. (Magdalenense period), with a Paleolithic style. The essentially anthropomorphic and zoomorphic designs included horses identifiable by their characteristic manes, aurochs with mouths and nostrils indicated, and deer.
Other paintings dating back to the Epipaleolithic period were of zoomorphic semi-naturalist design. Another phase of anthropomorphic designs were encountered during the Neolithic, that also included zoomorphic designs that were both geometric and abstract. Anthropomorphic designs also appeared dating back to the Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages; these were primarily anthropomorphic in character.

Rock Art in the Côa Valley
This postcard was given to me by cousin Isabel

Between the 5th and 1st centuries, early organized humans were responsible for producing anthropomorphic and zoomorphic designs that included weapons and symbols.
The final era of recorded rock art, corresponding to the 17th to 20th centuries, include religious, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic designs, inscriptions and dates. The later part of these designs include representations of boats, trains, bridges, planes and representations of various scenes, including drawings completed by António Seixas and Alcino Tomé. - in: wikipedia


Rock Art in Siega Verde

This postcard was sent by Javier

Siega Verde is an archaeological site in Serranillo, Villar de la Yegua, province of Salamanca, in Castile and León, Spain. It was added to the Côa Valley Paleolithic Art site in the World Heritage List in 2010.
The site consists of a series of rock carvings, discovered in 1988 by professors Manuel Santoja, during an inventory campaign of archaeological sites in the valley of the Águeda river. Subjects include equids, aurochs, deer and goats, among the most common ones, as well as bison, reindeer and the woolly rhinoceros, which were not yet extinct at the time.
The engravings date to the Gravettian culture of the Upper Palaeolithic (circa 20,000 years ago). There are also more recent, anthropomorphic representations, dating to the Magdalenian age (c. 9,000 years ago). There is a total of 91 panels, spanning some 1 kilometers of rock. - in: wikipedia