Friday, 30 June 2017

Tower of Hercules

There are a lot of postcard collectors that collect lighthouses. I'm not a big fan, but this one I love it and I'd be delighted to visit it!

Tower of  Hercules
This postcard was sent by Susana

The Tower of Hercules has served as a lighthouse and landmark at the entrance of La Coruña harbour in north-western Spain since the late 1st century A.D. when the Romans built the Farum Brigantium. The Tower, built on a 57 metre high rock, rises a further 55 metres, of which 34 metres correspond to the Roman masonry and 21 meters to the restoration directed by architect Eustaquio Giannini in the 18th century, who augmented the Roman core with two octagonal forms. Immediately adjacent to the base of the Tower, is a small rectangular Roman building. The site also features a sculpture park, the Monte dos Bicos rock carvings from the Iron Age and a Muslim cemetery. The Roman foundations of the building were revealed in excavations conducted in the 1990s. Many legends from the Middle Ages to the 19th century surround the Tower of Hercules, which is unique as it is the only lighthouse of Greco-Roman antiquity to have retained a measure of structural integrity and functional continuity. - in:

Monday, 26 June 2017

Old Town of Ávila with its Extra-Muros Churches

Ávila is known as the Town of Stones and Saints because of the large number of Romanesque and Gothic churches


The city of Ávila is located in the centre of Spain, in the Autonomous Community of Castile and León. Founded in the 11th century to protect the Spanish territories from the Moors, this 'City of Saints and Stones' has maintained its medieval austerity, and is the birthplace of St Teresa and burial place of the Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada. This purity of form can still be seen in the Gothic cathedral and fortifications that, with their 87 semi-circular towers and nine gates, is the most complete found in Spain. - in:

Walls of Ávila
This postcard was sent from Portugal by Joana

The Walls of Ávila in central Spain, completed between the 11th and 14th centuries, are the city's principal historic feature.
The work was started in 1090 but most of the walls appear to have been rebuilt in the 12th century. The enclosed area is an irregular rectangle of 31 hectares with a perimeter of some 2,516 meters,including 88 semicircular towers. The walls have an average breadth of 3 metres and an average height of 12 metres. The nine gates were completed over several different periods. The Puerta de San Vicente (Gate of St Vincent) and Puerta del Alcazar (Gate of the Fortress) are flanked by twin towers, 20 metres high, linked by a semicircular arch. The apse of the cathedral also forms one of the towers. in: wikipedia

Plaza de Santa Teresa and Church of San Pedro
This postcard was sent by José

The church of Saint Peter is located outside the town walls in the Plaza de Mercado Grande at the door of the Alcazar. Presents analogous with that of San Vicente. - in: wikipedia

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Ibiza, Biodiversity and Culture

I used to think that Ibiza was only beaches and discos, two things I don't like that much, but apparently there's a lot more than that. For example, a fortified town and a unique marine life

Ibiza Upper Town
This postcard was sent by José

Ibiza, also known as Ibiza Town, is a city and municipality located on the southeast coast of the island of Ibiza in the Balearic Islands autonomous community.
Although called Ibiza in English and Spanish, the official name is the Catalan Eivissa (as restored in 1986) and its inhabitants call it the Vila d'Eivissa or simply Vila ("Town"). It is divided into two main parts: the old town, called the Dalt Vila (literally "Upper Town"), located on a little mountain by the sea, and the modern part, called the Eixample ("extension").

Ibiza Upper Town
This postcard was sent by José

Sights include the cathedral of Santa Maria d'Eivissa (14th century), located at the top of the Dalt Vila, and the Punic necropolis of Puig des Molins. Nearby is also the monument of Christ, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a 23-metre-high (75 ft) statue inspired by Christ the Redeemer, which is 3.1 miles (5.0 km) north of the city. - in: wikipedia

Friday, 23 June 2017

Royal Domain of Drottningholm

This was not my first postcard from Sweden but it was my first UNESCO site from there. It hasn't been easy to get UNESCO sites from Sweden. If I'm not mistaken it's the European country with more sites in my missing list

Drottningholm Palace
 This postcard was sent by Merja

The Drottningholm Palace (SwedishDrottningholms slott) is the private residence of the Swedish royal family. It is located in Drottningholm. Built on the island Lovön (in Ekerö Municipality of Stockholm County), it is one of Sweden's Royal Palaces. It was originally built in the late 16th century. It served as a regular summer residence of the Swedish royal court for most of the 18th century. Apart from being the private residence of the Swedish royal family, the palace is a popular tourist attraction. - in: wikipedia

Sunday, 18 June 2017


The natural landscape was used in this cemetery to create an environment of tranquil beauty. It was an influence on cemetery design throughout the world.


This Stockholm cemetery was created between 1917 and 1920 by two young architects, Asplund and Lewerentz, on the site of former gravel pits overgrown with pine trees. The design blends vegetation and architectural elements, taking advantage of irregularities in the site to create a landscape that is finely adapted to its function. It has had a profound influence in many countries of the world. - in:

Friday, 16 June 2017

Ir.D.F. Woudagemaal (D.F. Wouda Steam Pumping Station)

This is the largest still operational steam-powered pumping station in the world, built to prevent floods.

Ir.D.F. Woudagemaal
This postcard was sent by Saskia

The Wouda Pumping Station at Lemmer in the province of Friesland opened in 1920. It is the largest steam-pumping station ever built and is still in operation. It represents the high point of the contribution made by Netherlands engineers and architects in protecting their people and land against the natural forces of water. - in:

Van Nellefabriek

This factory in Rotterdam  is considered a prime example of the International Style and one of the most beautiful factories in the world

Van Nellefabriek
This postcard was sent by Mike

Van Nellefabriek was designed and built in the 1920s on the banks of a canal in the Spaanse Polder industrial zone north-west of Rotterdam. The site is one of the icons of 20th-century industrial architecture, comprising a complex of factories, with façades consisting essentially of steel and glass, making large-scale use of the curtain wall principle. It was conceived as an ‘ideal factory’, open to the outside world, whose interior working spaces evolved according to need, and in which daylight was used to provide pleasant working conditions. - in:

Seventeenth-Century Canal Ring Area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht

Amsterdam is one of the cities of my top 5 "must visit"

Keizersgracht Canal
This postcard was sent by Kim

Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands, has more than one hundred kilometers of canals, about 90 islands and 1,500 bridges. The three main canals, HerengrachtPrinsengracht, and Keizersgracht, dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age, form concentric belts around the city, known as the Grachtengordel. Alongside the main canals are 1550 monumental buildings. - in: wikipedia

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Defence Line of Amsterdam

The Defence Line of Amsterdam consists of 45 forts around Amsterdam built between 1880 and 1920. So far I only have a postcard of one of them

Fort Pampus
This postcard was sent by Kim

Pampus is an artificial island and late 19th-century sea fort located in the IJmeer near Amsterdam. It now belongs to the municipality of Gooise Meren and is open to visitors.
The fort is built of bricks and concrete. The fort has an oval shape and the main building has three floors. On the ground floor were the troops' quarters, kitchen, laundry, two coal-fired steam engines of 20 hp, two dynamos, telegraph, first aid station, and magazines. in: wikipedia

Flemish Béguinages

The Flemish béguinages are architectural ensembles composed of houses, churches, ancillary buildings and green spaces built for the Béguines, women who dedicated their lives to God

Béguinage de Bruges
This postcard was sent by Amina

The Princely Beguinage Ten Wijngaerde is the only preserved beguinage in the Belgian city of Bruges. There are no more Beguines living there, but since 1927 it functions as a convent for Benedictines, founded by canon Hoornaert. In the same year the houses at the west side were also reshaped and enlarged into the Monasterium De Wijngaard, a priory of Benedictine nuns.

Béguinage de Bruges
This postcard was also sent by Amina

The complex includes a gothic beguinage church and about thirty white painted houses dating from the late 16th, 17th and 18th century. Practically all of these are built around a central yard. - in: wikipedia

The 13 Béguinages (in red what I have):

  • Béguinage de Hoogstraten
  • Béguinage de Lier
  • Grand Béguinage de Mechelen
  • Béguinage de Turnhout
  • Beguinage de Sint-Truiden 
  • Béguinage de Tongeren 
  • Béguinage de Dendermonde 
  • Petit Béguinage de Gent 
  • Béguinage de Sint-Amandsberg / Gent
  • Béguinage de Diest
  • Grand Béguinage of Leuven 
  • Béguinage de Bruges 
  • Béguinage de Kortrijk 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon

When I was in the army in Lisbon I passed a few times by the Tower of Belém but I never did a proper visit. I hope to do it one day, not only to the tower but also to the Monastery of the Hieronymites.

Tower of Belém
This postcard was sent by me to myself

Standing at the entrance to Lisbon harbour, the Monastery of the Hieronymites – construction of which began in 1502 – exemplifies Portuguese art at its best. The nearby Tower of Belém, built to commemorate Vasco da Gama's expedition, is a reminder of the great maritime discoveries that laid the foundations of the modern world. - in

Tower of Belém
This postcard was given to me by my cousin Isabel

Belém Tower (Portuguese: Torre de Belém) or the Tower of St Vincent is a fortified tower located in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belém in the municipality of LisbonPortugal. The tower was commissioned by King John II to be part of a defense system at the mouth of the Tagus river and a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon.

Tower of Belém
This postcard was sent by Zé "Pombal" with a great stamp that shows also the Tower of Belém

The tower was built in the early 16th century and is a prominent example of the Portuguese Manueline style, but it also incorporates hints of other architectural styles. The structure was built from lioz limestone and is composed of a bastion and a 30 m (100 foot), four storey tower. It has incorrectly been stated that the tower was built in the middle of the Tagus and now sits near the shore because the river was redirected after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. In fact, the tower was built on a small island in the Tagus River near the Lisbon shore.

Tower of Belém
This postcard was sent by Vanesa

The 16th-century tower is considered one of the principal works of the Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style. This is especially apparent in its elaborate rib vaulting, crosses of the Order of Christarmillary spheres and twisted rope, common to the nautically inspired organic Manueline style. - in: wikipedia

Monastery of the Hieronymites
This postcard was sent by Gracinha. Unfortunately was damaged by the post service. 

The Jerónimos Monastery or Hieronymites Monastery, (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Portuguese), is a monastery of the Order of Saint Jerome located near the shore of the parish of Belém, in the Lisbon MunicipalityPortugal.
The monastery is one of the most prominent examples of the Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style of architecture in Lisbon.
The existing structure was inaugurated on the orders of Manuel I (1469–1521) at the courts of Montemor o Velho in 1495, as a final resting-place for members of the House of Aviz, in his belief that an Iberian dynastic kingdom would rule after his death. In 1496, King Manuel petitioned the Holy See for permission to construct a monastery at the site. - in: wikipedia

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications

This is the only UNESCO site in the mainland of Portugal where I've never been. When it was inscribed I was already living in Switzerland

Amoreira Aqueduct
This postcard was sent by Jackie

The Amoreira Aqueduct (PortugueseAqueduto da Amoreira) is a 16th-century aqueduct (begun in 1537) that spans the Portuguese municipality of Elvas, bringing water into the fortified seat.
The aqueduct has a length of 7,054 metres (23,143 ft) from its spring in the Serra do Bispo until the Chafariz do Jardim, and another 450 metres (1,480 ft) to the town fountain. Its track includes 1,367 metres (4,485 ft) subterranean segments, to a maximum altitude of 4,049 metres (13,284 ft) above sea level, while 1,683 metres (5,522 ft) include arcade segments. From Outeiro de São Francisco is the second canal, which redirects waters to Outeiro dos Pobres, identifiable in the arcade at Rossio. In total there are 833 arches, with at most four registers at any one time (diminishing size at higher altitudes), supported by rectangular pillars and strengthened by semi-circular and pyramidal buttresses. The structure includes the municipal coat-of-arms constructed of marble or azulejo. -in: wikipedia

Fort of Santa Luzia
This postcard was sent by Martinha 

The historic centre with its castle, remnant walls and civil and religious buildings demonstrate the development of Elvas as three successive walled towns from the 10th to the 14th century and its subsequent incorporation into the major fortification works of the Portuguese War of the Restoration period (1641-68), when a wide range of military buildings were built for its role as a garrison town.
The bulwarked fortifications of the town and the outlying Fort of Santa Luzia and Graça and fortlets of São Mamede, São Pedro and São Domingos reflect the evolution of the Dutch system of fortification into an outstanding dry-ditch defence system. - in:

The 7 properties (in red what I have):
  • Amoreira Aqueduct
  • Historic Centre
  • Fort of Santa Luzia and the covered way
  • Fort of Garça
  • Fortlet of São Mamede
  • Fortlet of São Pedro
  • Fortlet of São Domingos

Historic Centre of Évora

In 2011 my wife and I spent our holidays in Algarve. On the way back to the north of Portugal, we stopped in Évora to visit this amazing city. For me it was the highest point of the trip

Details of Évora's Monuments

This museum-city, whose roots go back to Roman times, reached its golden age in the 15th century, when it became the residence of the Portuguese kings. Its unique quality stems from the whitewashed houses decorated with azulejos and wrought-iron balconies dating from the 16th to the 18th century. Its monuments had a profound influence on Portuguese architecture in Brazil. - in:

Giraldo Square, Fountain and Santo Antão Church

In Evora, all streets lead to Giraldo Square, Praça do Giraldo in Portuguese. It has been like this since its construction, in 1571/1573.
After the Portuguese Crown took possession of Evora, the assets including sculptures and a triumphal arch were ordered to be destroyed in order to build the fountain which still today is the centre of attention of the people of Evora and the tourists in Giraldo Square.
Also located in Giraldo Square, we find Santo Antão Church, also built by King Henrique. This building was the reason why the surrounding monuments in Giraldo Square were destroyed, since they blocked the view towards the church. Its construction began in 1557. - in:

Cathedral of Évora

The Cathedral of Évora is a Roman Catholic church in the city of Évora, Portugal. It is one of the oldest and most important local monuments, lying on the highest spot of the city.
Évora was definitively reconquered from Arab hands in 1166 by Geraldo Sem Pavor (Gerald the Fearless), and soon afterwards the new Christian rulers of the city began to build a cathedral, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. This first building, built between 1184 and 1204, was very modest and was enlarged circa 1280-1340, this time in early Gothic style. The cathedral received several valuable additions through time, such as the Gothic cloisters (14th century), the Manueline chapel of the Esporão (early 16th century) and a new, magnificent main chapel in baroque style (first half of the 18th century). It is the largest of the mediaeval cathedrals in Portugal, and one of its best examples of Gothic architecture.

Interior of the Cathedral of Évora

The main chapel was totally rebuilt between 1718 and 1746, a work sponsored by King John V. The architect in charge was João Frederico Ludovice, a German who was royal architect and who had previously designed the Monastery of Mafra. The style favoured by the King and his architect was Roman baroque, with polychrome marble decoration (green marble from Italy, white marble from Montes Claros, red and black marble from Sintra) and painted altars. Although its style does not really fit into the mediaeval interior of the cathedral, the main chapel is nevertheless an elegant baroque masterpiece.  - in: wikipedia

Roman Temple of Évora and Lóios Convent

Lóios Convent and Church: Built in the 15th century, contains a number of tombs; the church and the cloister are Gothic in style, with a Manueline chapterhouse with a magnificent portal. The church interior is covered in azulejos (ceramic tiles) from the 18th century. In 1965 it has been converted into a top-end pousada - in: wikipedia

Roman Temple of Évora

The Roman Temple of Évora (PortugueseTemplo romano de Évora), also referred to as the Templo de Diana (albeit wrongly, after Diana, the ancient Roman goddess of the moon, the hunt, and chastity) is an ancient temple in the Portuguese city of Évora.
The temple is believed to have been constructed around the first century A.D., in honour of Augustus, who was venerated as a god during and after his rule. The temple was built in the main public square (forum) of Évora, then called Liberalitas Iulia. During the 2nd and 3rd centuries, from the traditionally accepted chronology, the temple was part of a radical redefinition of the urban city, when religious veneration and administrative polity were oriented around the central space; the structure was modified around this time. The temple was destroyed during the 5th century by invading Germanic peoples. - in: wikipedia

Roman Temple of Évora
 This postcard was sent by José "Pombal"

The temple is located in the central square of Évora, in what would have been the highest elevation of the city's acropolis. It is surrounded by religious buildings associated with the Inquisition in Portugal, including: the Sé Cathedral, the Palace of the Inquisitor, Palace of the Dukes of Cadaval, the Court of the Inquisition and, the Church and Lóios' Convent, as well as the Public Library and Museum of Évora.
The original temple was probably similar to the Maison Carrée in Nîmes (France). 
There is an equilibrium and harmony between the granite and marble structure: its appearance, although considered one of the best preserved Roman ruins on the peninsula, was actually restored in the Romantic-style by Giuseppe Cinatti, following the then popular notions and theories of the time. in: wikipedia

Capela dos Ossos

The Capela dos Ossos (English: Chapel of Bones) is one of the best known monuments in Évora, Portugal. It is a small interior chapel located next to the entrance of the Church of St. Francis. The Chapel gets its name because the interior walls are covered and decorated with human skulls and bones.
The Capela dos Ossos was built in the 16th century by a Franciscan monk who, in the Counter-Reformation spirit of that era, wanted to prod his fellow brothers into contemplation and transmit the message of life being transitory, a very common spirituality theme summed up in the motto memento mori. This is clearly shown in the famous warning at the entrance Nós ossos que aqui estamos pelos vossos esperamos (“We bones that here are, for yours await"). - in: wikipedia