Sunday, 30 October 2016

Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto)

Of all these small towns of great scenic and cultural value I only have postcards of 3 villages of Cinque Terre, so far.

Vernazza is a town and comune located in the province of La SpeziaLiguria, northwestern Italy. It is one of the five towns that make up the Cinque Terre region. Vernazza is the fourth town heading north, has no car traffic, and remains one of the truest "fishing villages" on the Italian Riviera.

 Corniglia is a frazione ("fraction") of the comune of Vernazza in the province of La SpeziaLiguria, northern Italy with a population of about 150 (in 2016). Unlike the other localities of the Cinque Terre, Corniglia is not directly adjacent to the sea. Instead, it is on the top of a promontory about 100 metres high, surrounded on three sides by vineyards and terraces, the fourth side descends steeply to the sea. To reach Corniglia, it is necessary to climb the Lardarina, a long brick flight of steps composed of 33 flights with 382 steps or, otherwise follow a vehicular road that, from the station, leads to the village.

Monterosso al Mare
Monterosso al Mare is a town and comune in the province of La Spezia, part of the region of Liguria (northern Italy). It is one of the five villages in Cinque Terre.
Monterosso al Mare is located at the center of a small natural gulf, protected by a small artificial reef, to the east of Punta Mesco in the Riviera of La Spezia. It is the westernmost of the Cinque Terre. - in: wikipedia

The inscribed properties (in red what I have):
  • Cinque Terre (Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore and Monterosso al Mare) and Portovenere
  • Isola Palmaria
  • Isola del Tino
  • Isola del Tinetto

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Pampulha Modern Ensemble

Martinha visited recently a few UNESCO sites in Brazil, including the last one inscribed, from where she sent me this great postcard

Church of Saint Francis of Assisi
This postcard was sent by Marta

The Church of Saint Francis of Assisi (Igreja de Sao Francisco de Assis, commonly known as the Igreja da Pampulha) is a church in Pampulha region of Belo Horizonte, in the state of Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil. It was designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in the organic modern style. It is the first listed modern architectural monument in Brazil and consists of four undulating concrete parabolas with outdoor mosaics. The distinctive landscape of the church is the work of Roberto Burle Marx, a longtime Niemeyer collaborator.
The church was controversial from the beginning. The mayor of Belo Horizonte, Juscelino Kubitschek, was the patron of the project. Niemeyer said that he was inspired by the French Poet Paul Claudel's statement: "A church is God's hangar on earth," but Time Magazine wrote that the Archbishop of Belo Horizonte, Antonio dos Santos Cabral, saw it as "the devil's bomb shelter." Despite its completion in 1943 and Kubitschek's call for its consecration, it was not consecrated until 1959; Archbishop Cabral opposed both its architectural and artistic forms, particularly the mural of St. Francis behind the altar painted by Candido Portinari. He proclaimed the church "unfit for religious purposes."
It was finally taken over by the National Department of Artistic and Historical Patrimony. After the church was refurbished by Niemeyer, Auxiliary Archbishop João Rezende Costa (Archbishop Cabral was in virtual retirement by then) finally agreed that the church has "great artistic significance and a spiritual atmosphere" and it was consecrated. He consecrated the church in April 1959, saying "Now we can feel the wonderful art created here in homage to the Creator." - in: wikipedia

Monday, 24 October 2016

Historic Centre of Riga

Historic centers are probably my favourite category of UNESCO sites and Riga is one of the reasons why. I hope to go there one day

Riga - Art Nouveau
This postcard was sent by Zane

Riga, which was founded as a port town in 1201, was one of the key centres of the Hanseatic League in Eastern Europe from the 13th to the 15th century. The urban fabric of its medieval core reflects the prosperity of those times, though most of the earliest buildings were rebuilt for actual needs or lost by fire or war. In the 17th century, Riga became the largest provincial town of Sweden. In the 19th century, it experienced rapid industrial development. It is in this period that the suburbs surrounding the medieval town were laid out, first, with imposing wooden buildings in neoclassical style, and later, when permanent stone buildings were allowed instead, in the Art Nouveau style. In the early 1900’s Riga became the European city with the highest concentration of Art Nouveau architecture with around 50 Art Nouveau buildings of high architectural value in the medieval part and more than 300 in the rest of the Historic Centre. The site reflects various architectural styles, which provide valuable insight into the stages of development of Riga as a city. The Historic Centre of Riga is comprised of three different urban landscapes – the relatively well-preserved medieval core, the 19th century semi-circle of boulevards with a green belt on both sides of the City Canal, and the former suburban quarters surrounding the boulevards with dense built-up areas with a rectangular network of streets and wooden architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries. Each of these parts has its characteristic relationship of buildings and public outdoor spaces. - in:

House of the Blackheads
This postcard was sent by Vlad

House of the Blackheads (LatvianMelngalvju namsGermanSchwarzhäupterhaus) is a building situated in the old town of RigaLatvia. The original building was erected during the first third of the 14th century for the Brotherhood of Blackheads, a guild for unmarried German merchants in Riga. Major works were done in the years 1580 and 1886, adding most of the ornamentations.

The structure was bombed to a ruin by the Germans June 28, 1941 and the remains demolished by the Soviets in 1948. The current reconstruction was erected from 1995 to 1999. - in: wikipedia

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch

The gatehouse, known as King's Hall, is one of the very rare buildings from the Carolingian era whose original appearance is intact. 

King's Hall at Lorsch
This postcard was sent by Michèle

The Abbey of Lorsch is a former Imperial abbey in LorschGermany, about 10 km east of Worms. It was one of the most renowned monasteries of the Carolingian Empire. Even in its ruined state, its remains are among the most important pre-RomanesqueCarolingian style buildings in Germany.  - in: wikipedia

The picturesque King's Hall, featuring its world-renowned colourful sandstone façade, is one of the few well-preserved buildings from the Carolingian age. Although its purpose is not yet determined, its importance is undoubted. The upper floor (only accessible on a guided tour) features in part very well preserved wall paintings from various centuries. - in:

St Mary's Cathedral and St Michael's Church at Hildesheim

Outside St. Mary's Cathedral there's the "Thousand-year Rose", which is believed to be the oldest living rose in the world. Unfortunately I only have a postcard of St. Michael's church. The two buildings are exceptional examples of Romanesque churches of the Holy Roman Empire

St. Michael's Church
This postcard was sent by Sabine

The ancient Benedictine abbey church of St Michael in Hildesheim, located in the north of Germany, is one of the key monuments of medieval art, built between 1010 and 1022 by Bernward, Bishop of Hildesheim. St Michael’s is one of the rare major constructions in Europe around the turn of the millennium which still conveys a unified impression of artistry, without having undergone any substantial mutilations or critical transformations in basic and detailed structures.
St Michael's Church was built on a symmetrical ground plan with two apses that was characteristic of Ottonian Romanesque art in Old Saxony. Its interior, in particular the wooden ceiling and painted stucco-work, together with the treasures of St Mary's Cathedral – in particular its famous bronze doors and the Bernward bronze column – make the property of exceptional interest as examples of the Romanesque churches of the Holy Roman Empire. The harmony of the interior structure of St Michael’s and its solid exterior is an exceptional achievement in architecture of the period. - in:

Collegiate Church, Castle and Old Town of Quedlinburg

With several designated stops along the Romanesque Road, Quedlinburg is famous for the timber-framed buildings and the castle hill

This postcard was sent by Michaela

Quedlinburg is a town situated just north of the Harz mountains, in the district of Harz in the west of Saxony-AnhaltGermany. In 1994, the castle, church and old town were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The town of Quedlinburg is known to have existed since at least the early 9th century, when there was a settlement known as Gross Orden on the eastern bank of the River Bode. It was first mentioned as a town in 922 as part of a donation by King Henry the Fowler (Heinrich der Vogler).
The Quedlinburg castle complex, founded by King Henry I and built up by Emperor Otto Iin 936, was an imperial Pfalz of the Saxon emperors. The Pfalz, including the male convent, was in the valley, where today the Roman Catholic Church of St. Wiperti is situated, while the women's convent was located on the castle hill. - in: wikipedia

Aachen Cathedral

This is the oldest cathedral in northern Europe and houses a collection of medieval art objects from the late ClassicalCarolingianOttonian and Staufian periods which are exceptional in their artistic and religious meaning.

Aachen Cathedral
This postcard was sent by Nadine

Aachen Cathedral (GermanAachener Dom), traditionally known in English as the Cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle, is a Roman Catholic church in Aachen, western Germany. It is the oldest cathedral in northern Europe and was constructed by order of the emperor Charlemagne, who was buried there after his death in 814. For 595 years, from 936 to 1531, the Aachen chapel was the church of coronation for thirty German kings and twelve queens. The church has been the mother church of the Diocese of Aachen since 1802. - in: wikipedia

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Pilgrimage Church of Wies

This church looks very rococo, very colourful and extremely beautiful 

Pilgrimage Church of Wies
This postcard was sent by "Crazy-Cooper"

The Pilgrimage Church of Wies (GermanWieskirche) is an oval rococo church, designed in the late 1740s by Dominikus Zimmermann, who lived nearby for the last eleven years of his life. It is located in the foothills of the Alps, in the municipality of Steingaden in the Weilheim-Schongau district, BavariaGermany.
It is said that, in 1738, tears were seen on a dilapidated wooden figure of the Scourged Saviour. This miracle resulted in a pilgrimagerush to see the sculpture. In 1740, a small chapel was built to house the statue but it was soon realized that the building would be too small for the number of pilgrims it attracted, and so Steingaden Abbey decided to commission a separate shrine. Many who have prayed in front of the statue of Jesus on the altar have claimed that people have been miraculously cured of their diseases, which has made this church even more of a pilgrimage site.
Construction took place between 1745 and 1754, and the interior was decorated with frescoes and with stuccowork in the tradition of the Wessobrunner School. "Everything was done throughout the church to make the supernatural visible. Sculpture and murals combined to unleash the divine in visible form". - in: wikipedia

Friday, 21 October 2016


This site is known as one of the most important and best preserved prehistoric sites of the eastern Mediterranean

This postcard was sent by Marcel

Located in the District of Larnaka, about 6 km from the southern coast of Cyprus, the Neolithic settlement of Choirokoitia lies on the slopes of a hill partly enclosed in a loop of the Maroni River. Occupied from the 7th to the 5th millennium B.C., the village covers an area of approximately 3 ha at its maximum extent and is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the eastern Mediterranean. It represents the Aceramic Neolithic of Cyprus at its peak, that is the success of the first human occupation of the island by farmers coming from the Near East mainland around the beginning of 9th millennium. - in:

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes

According with UNESCO this site "bears testimony to the history of the planet, its features and processes". Besides that, looks extremely beautiful 

Volcanic Island of Jeju
This postcard was sent from Sweden by Amina

Jeju, also known as Jejudo, is a volcanic island, 130 kilometers from the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula. The largest island and smallest province in South Korea, the island has a surface area of 1,846 square kilometers.
A central feature of Jeju is Hallasan, the tallest mountain in South Korea and a dormant volcano, which rises 1,950 meters above sea level. The main volcano includes 360 satellite volcanoes. Volcanic activity on Jeju began approximately in the Cretaceous and lasted until the early Tertiary period. The most recent eruptions are estimated to be about 5,000 years ago, which puts the volcano into the active classification, meaning eruptions in the last 10,000 years. - in: wikipedia

Western Caucasus

According with the UNESCO specialists, this site is the only large mountain area in Europe that has not experienced significant human impact. Lets hope it continues like that

Khuko Mountain Lake at the Western Caucasus

The Western Caucasus, extending over 275,000 ha of the extreme western end of the Caucasus mountains and located 50 km north-east of the Black Sea, is one of the few large mountain areas of Europe that has not experienced significant human impact. Its subalpine and alpine pastures have only been grazed by wild animals, and its extensive tracts of undisturbed mountain forests, extending from the lowlands to the subalpine zone, are unique in Europe. The site has a great diversity of ecosystems, with important endemic plants and wildlife, and is the place of origin and reintroduction of the mountain subspecies of the European bison. - in:

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Virgin Komi Forests

This is the largest virgin forest in Europe 

Sharyu River at Komi Forests
This postcard was sent by Elena

The Virgin Komi Forests cover 3.28 million ha of tundra and mountain tundra in the Urals, as well as one of the most extensive areas of virgin boreal forest remaining in Europe. This vast area of conifers, aspens, birches, peat bogs, rivers and natural lakes has been monitored and studied for over 50 years. It provides valuable evidence of the natural processes affecting biodiversity in the taiga. - in:

Putorana Plateau

Russia is a huge country with a lot of mountains and lakes, so no wonder that we can see some breathtaking landscapes like the one in this postcard

Putorana Plateau
This postcard was sent by Natasha

This site coincides with the area of the Putoransky State Nature Reserve, and is located in the central part of the Putorana Plateau in northern Central Siberia. It is situated about 100 km north of the Arctic Circle. The part of the plateau inscribed on the World Heritage List harbours a complete set of subarctic and arctic ecosystems in an isolated mountain range, including pristine taiga, forest tundra, tundra and arctic desert systems, as well as untouched cold-water lake and river systems. A major reindeer migration route crosses the property, which represents an exceptional, large-scale and increasingly rare natural phenomenon. - in:

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Christiansfeld, a Moravian Church Settlement

Postcards not always show the part of the place that we'd like to be shown. In this case I'd prefer something showing the houses of the settlement or the church. Instead, shows only a well and a gate. However, it still is in Christiansfeld

This postcard was sent by Christina

Founded in 1773 in South Jutland, the site is an example of a planned settlement of the Moravian Church, a Lutheran free congregation centred in Herrnhut, Saxony. The town was planned to represent the Protestant urban ideal, constructed around a central Church square. The architecture is homogenous and unadorned, with one and two-storey buildings in yellow brick with red tile roofs. The democratic organization of the Moravian Church, with its pioneering egalitarian philosophy, is expressed in its humanistic town planning. The settlement’s plan opens onto agricultural land and includes important buildings for the common welfare such as large communal houses for the congregation’s widows and unmarried men and women. The buildings are still in use and many are still owned by the local Moravian Church community. - in:

Roskilde Cathedral

The Roskilde Cathedral is known for being the church with more kings and queens buried. And some of the tombs are amazing pieces of art 

Roskilde Cathedral
This postcard was sent by Rebekka

Roskilde Cathedral, on the Island of Zealand is a large brick-built aisled Gothic-style basilica, with twin spires and a semi-circular gallery within. Placed on a small hilltop overlooking the Roskilde Fjord the Cathedral is a very significant landmark.
Built about 1170, the original Cathedral structure was in Romanesque form but, when half-built, the plan was changed under the influence of the incoming Gothic style from France. In the following centuries, chapels, porches, and other structures were added, each in the current architectural style of the time. As a result, the Cathedral has emerged as an epitome of the history of European architecture in a single structure.
The Cathedral's royal monuments commemorate an outstanding series as royal burials that have occurred from the 10th century until the present time. With only one exception since the reformation, all Danish kings and queens have been buried in the Cathedral, their tombs representing the evolution of funerary monumental art. - in:

Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in the Historic Centre of Poreč

This basilica seems to me one of those buildings that are much more prettier in the inside than on the outside 

Euphrasian Basilica
This postcard was sent by Veronika

The Euphrasian Basilica (CroatianEufrazijeva bazilikaItalianBasilica Eufrasiana) or the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of Mary is a basilica in PorečCroatia. The episcopal complex, including, apart the basilica itself, a sacristy, a baptistery and the bell tower of the nearby archbishop's palace, is an excellent example of early Byzantine architecture in the Mediterranean region.
The Euphrasian basilica has for the most part retained its original shape, but accidents, fires and earthquakes have altered a few details. Since it is the third church to be built on the same site, it conceals previous buildings, for example the great floor mosaic of the previous basilica from the 5th century. - in: wikipedia

Historic Centre of Český Krumlov

Český Krumlov was one of the UNESCO sites that Marta from Portugal visited in her trip to Czech Republic and she says that it is a lovely place

Český Krumlov
This postcard arrived from Portugal sent by Marta

Situated on the banks of the Vltava river, the town was built around a 13th-century castle with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements. It is an outstanding example of a small central European medieval town whose architectural heritage has remained intact thanks to its peaceful evolution over more than five centuries. - in:

Český Krumlov Castle
Český Krumlov Castle is located in the city Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic. It dates back to 1240 when the first castle was built by the Witigonen family, the main branch of the powerful Rosenberg family.
By the 17th century the Rosenbergs had died out, and Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II gave the dominion of Krumau to Hans Ulrich von Eggenberg, naming him Duke of Krumau. After the death of Hans Ulrich's son, Johann Anton I von Eggenberg, the castle was administered for the period between 1649 and 1664 by his widow, Anna Maria.
One of her two sons, Johann Christian I von Eggenberg, was responsible for the Baroque renovations and expansions to the castle, including the castle theatre now called the Eggenberg Theatre. - in: wikipedia

Historic Centre of Telč

I really hope to visit Czech Republic one day. Marta from Portugal visited a few UNESCO sites of this country and she loved. I'm pretty sure that I would love it too!

Historic Centre of Telč 
This postcard was sent by Štěpánka

Telč is a town in southern Moravia, near Jihlava, in the Czech Republic. The town was founded in the 13th century as a royal water fort on the crossroads of busy merchant routes between Bohemia, Moravia and Austria.
Besides the monumental 17th-century Renaissance château with an English-style park (a rebuilding of original Gothic castle), the most significant sight is the town square, a unique complex of long urban plaza with well-conserved Renaissance and Baroque houses with high gables and arcades; since 1992 all of this has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Castle of Telč 
This postcard was sent by Marta

The Gothic castle was built in the second half of the 14th century. At the end of the 15th century the castle fortifications were strengthened and a new gate-tower built. In the middle of the 16th century the medieval castle no longer satisfied Renaissance nobleman Zachariáš of Hradec, who had the castle altered in the Renaissance style. The ground floor was vaulted anew, the façade decorated with sgraffito, and the state apartments and living quarters received stucco ornamentation together with trompe l'oeil andchiaroscuro paintings in 1553. The counter-reformation brought the Jesuits to the town, who built the church of Name of Jesus in 1666–67, according to the plans of Domenico Orsi. The column of the Virgin and the fountain in the centre of the square date from the 18th century. - in: wikipedia

Friday, 14 October 2016

Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape

Pergamon was an ancient Greek city. Today is Turkish territory.

Red Basilica
This postcard was sent from Poland by Natalia

The "Red Basilica" (TurkishKızıl Avlu), also called variously the Red Hall and Red Courtyard, is a monumental ruined temple in the ancient city of Pergamon, now Bergama, in western Turkey. The temple was built by the Roman Empire, probably in the time of Hadrian and possibly on his orders. It is one of the largest Roman structures still surviving in the ancient Greek world. The temple is thought to have been used for the worship of the Egyptian gods – specifically Isis and/or Serapis, and possibly also OsirisHarpocrates and other lesser gods, who may have been worshipped in a pair of drum-shaped rotundas, both of which are virtually intact, alongside the main temple. - in: wikipedia


In Kairouan we can find some of the most wonderful masterpieces of north Africa 

Mosque of Uqba
This postcard was sent from Finland by Heidi

The Great Mosque of Kairouan, also known as the Mosque of Uqba, is one of the most important mosques in Tunisia, situated in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Kairouan.
Established by the Arab general Uqba ibn Nafi in 670 AD (the year 50 according to the Islamic calendar) at the founding of the city of Kairouan, the mosque is spread over a surface area of 9,000 square metres and it is one of the oldest places of worship in the Islamic world, as well as a model for all later mosques in the Maghreb. The Great Mosque of Kairouan is one of the most impressive and largest Islamic monuments in North Africa; its perimeter is almost equal to 405 metres (1,328 feet). This vast space contains a hypostyle prayer hall, a huge marble-paved courtyard and a massive square minaret. In addition to its spiritual prestige, the Mosque of Uqba is one of the masterpieces of both architecture and Islamic art. - in: wikipedia