Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Archaeological Site of Volubilis

This wonderful postcard of Volubilis, that used to be a Roman city, was also sent by Paula

Volubilis (Arabicوليلي‎ Walīlī) is a partly excavated Amazigh then Roman city in Morocco situated near Meknes between Fesand Rabat and commonly considered as the ancient capital of the kingdom of Mauritania. Built in a fertile agricultural area, it was developed from the 3rd century BC onwards as an Amazigh then protoCarthaginian settlement before being the capital of the kingdom of Mauritania. - in: wikipedia

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou

This is a UNESCO site where several movies were shot, including The MummyGladiatorPrince of Persia and Kingdom of Heaven. The postcard was also sent by Paula from Portugal.

Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou

The ksar, a group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls, is a traditional pre-Saharan habitat. The houses crowd together within the defensive walls, which are reinforced by corner towers. Ait-Ben-Haddou, in Ouarzazate province, is a striking example of the architecture of southern Morocco. - in:

Medina of Essaouira (formerly Mogador)

This is another of the great postcards sent by Paula

Streets of Essaouira

Essaouira is an exceptional example of a late-18th-century fortified town, built according to the principles of contemporary European military architecture in a North African context. Since its foundation, it has been a major international trading seaport, linking Morocco and its Saharan hinterland with Europe and the rest of the world. - in

Medina of Tétouan (formerly known as Titawin)

Paula was in Morocco a few years ago, from where she sent me a postcard of Meknes. After some time she sent me from Portugal all the cards that were in my missing list of Morocco!

Tétouan was of particular importance in the Islamic period, from the 8th century onwards, since it served as the main point of contact between Morocco and Andalusia. After the Reconquest, the town was rebuilt by Andalusian refugees who had been expelled by the Spanish. This is well illustrated by its art and architecture, which reveal clear Andalusian influence. Although one of the smallest of the Moroccan medinas, Tétouan is unquestionably the most complete and it has been largely untouched by subsequent outside influences. - in:

Monday, 7 March 2016

Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem

This is the place where is believed that Jesus was born

Church of the Nativity
This postcard was sent by Debora

The Church of the Nativity is a basilica located in BethlehemWest Bank. The church was originally commissioned in 327 by Constantine the Great and his mother Helena over the site that is still traditionally considered to be located over the cave that marks the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth. The Church of the Nativity site's original basilica was completed in 339 and destroyed by fire during the Samaritan Revolts in the 6th century. A new basilica was built 565 by Justinian, the Byzantine Emperor, restoring the architectural tone of the original. The site of the Church of the Nativity has had numerous additions since this second construction, including its prominent bell towers. Due to its cultural and geographical history, the site holds a prominent religious significance to those of both the Christian and Muslim faiths. - in: wikipedia

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls

The old city of Jerusalem is a place of great symbolic importance and full of history.
All these cards were sent by Debora

Temple Mount
 The Temple Mount (Hebrewהַר הַבַּיִת‎, Har HaBáyit), also known as the Haram (Arabicالحرم الشريف‎, al-Ḥaram al-Šarīf, "Noble Sanctuary", or الحرم القدسي الشريفal-Ḥaram al-Qudsī al-Šarīf, "Noble Sanctuary of Jerusalem"), is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years. At least four religious traditions are known to have made use of the Temple Mount: JudaismGreco-Roman paganismChristianity, and Islam. The present site is dominated by three monumental structures from the early Umayyad period: the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Dome of the ChainHerodian walls and gates with additions dating back to the late Byzantine and early Islamic periods cut through the flanks of the Mount. Currently it can be accessed via eleven gates, ten reserved for Muslims and one for non-Muslims, with guard posts of Israeli police in the vicinity of each. - in: wikipedia

Via Dolorosa
The Via Dolorosa (Latin: "Way of Grief," "Way of Sorrows," "Way of Suffering" or simply "Painful Way"; Arabic: طريق الآلام) is a street within the Old City of Jerusalem, held to be the path that Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion. The winding route from the Antonia Fortress west to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre —a distance of about 600 metres (2,000 feet)— is a celebrated place of Christian pilgrimage. The current route has been established since the 18th century, replacing various earlier versions. It is today marked by nine Stations of the Cross; there have been fourteen stations since the late 15th century, with the remaining five stations being inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. - in: wikipedia 

The cardo, an integral component of city planning, was lined with shops and vendors, and served as a hub of economic life. The main cardo was called cardo maximus.
The line of the Cardo Maximus is still visible on the Jewish Quarter Street, though the original pavement lies several meters below the modern street level. In the 7th century, when Jerusalem fell under Muslim rule, the Cardo became an Arab-style marketplace. Remains of the Byzantine Cardo were found in the Jewish Quarter excavations beginning in 1969. - in: wikipedia

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

White City of Tel-Aviv -- the Modern Movement

Sometimes is hard to see if a postcard shows or not the protected area by UNESCO... For example, in this aerial view of Tel-Aviv how will I know if any of the 4000 buildings of the modern movement is shown in the picture? I'm not sure, but I want to believe that at least one is there!

This postcard was sent by Debora

Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 and developed as a metropolitan city under the British Mandate in Palestine. The White City was constructed from the early 1930s until the 1950s, based on the urban plan by Sir Patrick Geddes, reflecting modern organic planning principles. The buildings were designed by architects who were trained in Europe where they practised their profession before immigrating. They created an outstanding architectural ensemble of the Modern Movement in a new cultural context. - in:

Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and the Western Galilee

These holy places have a profound spiritual meaning but also a huge beauty!

Shrine of the Báb and Bahá'í Gardens
This postcard was sent by Debora

The Shrine of the Báb is a structure in HaifaIsrael where the remains of the Báb, founder of the Bábí Faith and forerunner of Bahá'u'lláhin the Bahá'í Faith, have been buried; it is considered to be the second holiest place on Earth for Bahá'ís, after the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh inAcre. Its precise location on Mount Carmel was designated by Bahá'u'lláh himself to his eldest son, `Abdu'l-Bahá, in 1891. `Abdu'l-Bahá planned the structure, which was designed and completed several years later by his grandson, Shoghi Effendi.
Crowning the design, as anticipated by `Abdu'l-Bahá, is a dome, which is set on an 18-windowed drum. That, in turn, is mounted on an octagon, a feature suggested by Shoghi Effendi. An arcade surrounds the stone edifice. - in: wikipedia

Shrine of Buhá'u'lláh
This postcard was sent by Debora

The Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, located in Bahjí near Acre, Israel, is the most holy place for Bahá'ís and represents their Qiblih, or direction of prayer. It contains the remains of Bahá'u'lláh and is near the spot where he died in the Mansion of Bahjí.
The Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh is composed of a central area that contains a small, tree-filled garden surrounded by paths covered with Persian rugs. A glass roof was constructed by Qulám-‘Alíy-i-Najjár after the death of Bahá'u'lláh. At the northwest corner of the central area there is a small room containing Bahá'u'lláh's remains. The central area has doors to a number of other rooms that have, in recent years, been opened to accommodate the growing number of pilgrims and visitors. - in: wikipedia

Old City of Acre

I must confess that I'd never heard of Acre until I received this postcard but judging for these images seems to be the kind of city I would love to visit!

This postcard was sent by Debora

Acre is a historic walled port-city with continuous settlement from the Phoenician period. The present city is characteristic of a fortified town dating from the Ottoman 18th and 19th centuries, with typical urban components such as the citadel, mosques, khans and baths. The remains of the Crusader town, dating from 1104 to 1291, lie almost intact, both above and below today's street level, providing an exceptional picture of the layout and structures of the capital of the medieval Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem. - in:


A "natural fortress of majestic beauty" is how UNESCO describes this place

Masada - Herod's Northern Palace
This postcard was sent by Debora

Masada (מצדה metzadá "fortress") is an ancient fortification in the Southern District of Israel situated on top of an isolated rock plateau, akin to a mesa, on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of Arad.
Herod the Great built palaces for himself on the mountain and fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE. According to Josephus, the Siege of Masada by troops of the Roman Empire towards the end of the First Jewish–Roman War ended in themass suicide of 960 people – the Sicarii rebels and their families hiding there.
Masada is one of Israel's most popular tourist attractions. - in: wikipedia

Biblical Tels - Megiddo, Hazor, Beer Sheba

From the three mounds that form this site, so far I only have the Tel Megiddo and it was sent by Debora

Tel Megiddo

Megiddo (Hebrewמגידו‎; Arabicمجیدو‎, Tell al-Mutesellim, "The Tell of the Governor") is a tell in northern Israel near Kibbutz Megiddo, about 30 km south-east of Haifa, known for its historical, geographical, and theological importance, especially under its Greek name Armageddon. In ancient times Megiddo was an important city-state. Excavations have unearthed 26 layers of ruins, indicating a long period of settlement. Megiddo is strategically located at the head of a pass through the Carmel Ridge overlooking the Jezreel Valley from the west.
The site is now protected as Megiddo National Park and is a World Heritage Site. - in: wikipedia

Necropolis of Bet She’arim: A Landmark of Jewish Renewal

This was the last postcard I received from Israel and it was also the last site of this country to be included in the World Heritage list.

Cave of the Coffins
This postcard was sent by Debora

Consisting of a series of catacombs, the necropolis developed from the 2nd century AD as the primary Jewish burial place outside Jerusalem following the failure of the second Jewish revolt against Roman rule. Located southeast of the city of Haifa, these catacombs are a treasury of artworks and inscriptions in Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew and Palmyrene. Bet She’arim bears unique testimony to ancient Judaism under the leadership of Rabbi Judah the Patriarch, who is credited with Jewish renewal after 135 AD. - in: