Monday, 29 October 2018

Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion

The last years on the way to Portugal or on the way back to Switzerland I always try to go to a new UNESCO site. This year we stopped in Saint-Emilion. It has very beautiful monuments but it could be cleaner... The wine is absolutely great but very expensive. However, I couldn't waste the chance to taste it ;)

This postcard was sent by João Nogueira

Viticulture was introduced to this fertile region of Aquitaine by the Romans, and intensified in the Middle Ages. The Saint-Emilion area benefited from its location on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela and many churches, monasteries and hospices were built there from the 11th century onwards. It was granted the special status of a 'jurisdiction' during the period of English rule in the 12th century. It is an exceptional landscape devoted entirely to wine-growing, with many fine historic monuments in its towns and villages. - in:


Saint-Émilion's history goes back to prehistoric times and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with fascinating Romanesque churches and ruins stretching all along steep and narrow streets.
The Romans planted vineyards in what was to become Saint-Émilion as early as the 2nd century. In the 4th century, the Latin poet Ausonius lauded the fruit of the bountiful vine.
The town, previously called Ascumbas, was renamed after the monk Émilion (d.767), a travelling confessor, who settled in a hermitage carved into the rock there in the 8th century. The monks who followed him started up the commercial wine production in the area.


Saint-Émilion is one of the principal red wine areas of Bordeaux along with the MédocGraves and Pomerol. The region is much smaller than the Médoc and adjoins Pomerol. As in Pomerol and the other appellations on the right bank of the Gironde, the primary grape varieties used are the Merlot and Cabernet Franc, with relatively small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon also being used by some châteaux.


Saint Émilion wines were not included in the 1855 Bordeaux classification. The first formal classification in Saint-Émilion was made in 1955. Unlike the 1855 classification, it is regularly revised. - in: wikipedia

Chaine des Puys - Limagne fault tectonic arena

I bought this first postcard a few years ago at a gas station without knowing that this place was in the World Heritage tentative list. I'm glad I did it because this year it was inscribed. The volcanoes are visible from the highway where that gas station is located and this year I tried find postcards there again but I only found more in Clermont-Ferrand and that allowed me to see the volcanoes a lot closer

Chaine de Puys

The Chaîne des Puys is a north-south oriented chain of cinder coneslava domes, and maars in the Massif Central of France. The chain is about 40 km (25 mi) long, and the identified volcanic features include 48 cinder cones, eight lava domes, and 15 maars and explosion craters. Its highest point is the lava dome of Puy de Dôme, located near the middle of the chain, which is 1,465 m (4,806 ft) high.

Chaine de Puys

The chain began to form approximately 95, 000 years ago, and the volcanic activity that formed the range stopped only about 10,000 years ago. The majority of the cones were formed by Strombolian eruptions, and these cones usually have well-defined summit craters. Some have nested craters, and others show broken rims where lava poured through.
In contrast, Puy de Dôme was created by a Peléan eruption; this type of eruption is characterized by long dormant periods periodically interrupted by sudden, extremely violent eruptions. - in: wikipedia

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France

This sites includes 78 structures and some of them were already in the UNESCO World Heritage list. I've already been in Périgueux, Bordeaux and more recently in Clermont-Ferrand but I'd love to do the whole route.

Routes of Santiago de Compostela
This postcard arrived from Portugal sent by Martinha

Santiago de Compostela was the supreme goal for countless thousands of pious pilgrims who converged there from all over Europe throughout the Middle Ages. To reach Spain pilgrims had to pass through France, and the group of important historical monuments included in this inscription marks out the four routes by which they did so. - in:

Saint-Front Cathedral

Saint-Front Cathedral is located in Périgueux, the capital of the historic Périgord and Préfecture of the Dordogne department. - in:

Saint-Front Cathedral
The Saint Front Cathedral was designed on the model of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice. The layout of the cathedral is in the form of a Greek cross. Its five domes with turrets show a direct architectural relationship with oriental religious buildings, which served as inspiration for the architects of Saint-Front Cathedral. The domes of Saint-Front Cathedral were once different in size, but were redesigned by architect Paul Abadie to have one size, and to be symmetrical. The pillars carrying the load of the superstructure are 6 meters wide. The domes are inaccessible to the public. - in: wikipedia

Basilica of Notre-Dame du Port

The Basilica of Notre-Dame du Port is a Romanesque basilica, formerly a collegiate church, in the Port quarter of Clermont-Ferrand, between Place Delille and the cathedral. From the 10th century to the French Revolution it was served by a community of canonsregular until the 13th century, and thereafter secular.
According to tradition, the church was founded by the bishop of ClermontSaint Avitus, in the 6th century and was rebuilt in the 11th or 12th centuries after being burned down by the Normans. The establishment here of a community of canons took place no earlier than the middle of the 10th century, under bishop Étienne II of Clermont. - in: wikipedia

Basilica of Saint-Sernin

The Basilica of Saint-Sernin (OccitanBasilica de Sant Sarnin) is a church in ToulouseFrance, the former abbey church of the Abbey of Saint-Sernin or St Saturnin. Apart from the church, none of the abbey buildings remain. The current church is located on the site of a previous basilica of the 4th century which contained the body of Saint Saturnin or Sernin, the first bishop of Toulouse in c. 250. Constructed in the Romanesque style between about 1080 and 1120, with construction continuing thereafter, Saint-Sernin is the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe, if not the world. The church is particularly noted for the quality and quantity of its Romanesque sculpture. - in: wikipedia

Tour Pey-Berland
Bordeaux Cathedral (FrenchCathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux) is a Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to Saint Andrew and located in BordeauxFrance.
The cathedral was consecrated by Pope Urban II in 1096. Of the original Romanesque edifice, only a wall in the nave remains. The Royal Gate is from the early 13th century, while the rest of the construction is mostly from the 14th-15th centuries.
A separate bell tower, the Tour Pey-Berland, stands next to the cathedral. - in: wikipedia

Mont Saint-Michel
This postcard was sent by Ulla

Le Mont-Saint-Michel (EnglishSaint Michael's Mount) is an island commune in Normandy, France.
The island has held strategic fortifications since ancient times and since the 8th century AD has been the seat of the monastery from which it draws its name. The structural composition of the town exemplifies the feudal society that constructed it: on top, God, the abbey and monastery; below, the great halls; then stores and housing; and at the bottom, outside the walls, houses for fishermen and farmers. - in: wikipedia

Vézelay Abbey

Vézelay Abbey (FrenchAbbaye Sainte-Marie-Madeleine de Vézelay) was a Benedictine and Cluniac monastery in Vézelay in the Yonne department in northern BurgundyFrance. The Benedictine abbey church, now the Basilica of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine (Saint Mary Magdalene), with its complicated program of imagery in sculpted capitals and portals, is one of the outstanding masterpieces of Burgundian Romanesque art and architecture. - in: wikipedia

Bourges Cathedral
This postcard was sent by Jordi

Bourges Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Bourges) is a Roman Catholic church located in BourgesFrance.
The present Cathedral was built as a replacement for a mid-11th-century structure, traces of which survive in the crypt. - in: wikipedia

Amiens Cathedral
This postcard was sent by Axel

The Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Amiens (FrenchBasilique Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens), or simply Amiens Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral and seat of the Bishop of Amiens.
The cathedral contains the alleged head of John the Baptist, a relic brought from Constantinople by Wallon de Sarton as he was returning from the Fourth Crusade. - in: wikipedia

Routes of Santiago de Compostela: Camino Francés and Routes of Northern Spain

I'd love to do this historical road. It must be a wonderful adventure. Some of these postcards I bought them in Burgos, but one of them was sent by my cousin Isabel, who is like a sister to me. She did recently part of the Portuguese route with her boyfriend. Even exhausted by the end, she loved it and she wants to do it again

Route of Santiago
This postcard was sent from Portugal by Joana

The Route of Santiago de Compostela (Camino de Santiago) is a narrow route through the north of the Iberian Peninsula extending over 800 km from the Spanish-French border to the city of Santiago de Compostela, passing through five different Autonomous Communities and over one hundred inhabited towns.

Route of Santiago

The Camino de Santiago was originally a religious pilgrimage route culminating in the visit to the tomb of St James the Apostle at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (Galicia). The first source tracing the Apostle to Spain dates back to the end of the 6th century. The Acts of the Apostles attribute the evangelisation of Hispania to St James. This information was later corroborated in De ortu et obitu Patrum by Isidoro de Sevilla (7th century) and in the Commentarium in Apocalypsin by St Beatus of Liebana (8th century). The discovery of the Apostle's tomb in Galicia dates to the 9th century under the rule of Alfonso II the Chaste. As a result of St Jerome’s teachings that the resting place of the Apostles should be in the province where they had preached the gospel, the remains of St. James were taken from Jerusalem to Spain. The news of the discovery spread quickly throughout Western Europe, and Santiago de Compostela became a pilgrimage site. The historical moment when the tomb was discovered, i.e. 9th century Muslim Spain, defined the scope and importance of the discovery in the Christian world of the time, swiftly transforming the place into a pilgrimage site on par with Jerusalem and Rome.

Route of Santiago

During its eleven centuries of known history, the Route of Santiago de Compostela has become a veritable crossroads, fostering ongoing cultural dialogue among the pilgrims travelling it and the towns through which it passes. This route also became an important trade axis and a place for the dissemination of knowledge. Constantly evolving, the Camino includes a set of first-class historical heritage sites, outstanding natural landscapes, and intangible heritage, a prime example of which is the oral narrative that entertained and continues to entertain pilgrims on their journey to Santiago de Compostela. Pilgrimages were an essential part of European cultural and spiritual life during the Middle Ages and along the route, pilgrims were provided with what they needed to ensure their physical and spiritual well-being. Consequently, there is also a wealth of heritage associated with the Camino de Santiago, such as churches, hospitals, hostels, monasteries, traveller accommodations, crosses, bridges, and other types of construction, which today represent all aspects of artistic and architectural evolution from the Romanesque to the Baroque and constitute an indivisible part of the Camino, defining it both physically and culturally.

Route of Santiago

The importance of the Jacobean route also contributed to the economic and social development of the towns along the way, attributable to the large number of visitors and economic activities related to services offered to pilgrims. - in:

Shadows of the Pilgrims
This postcard was sent by my cousin Isabel

The oldest route to Santiago de Compostela, first taken in the 9th century, is referred to as the Original Way or Camino Primitivo, which begins in Oviedo.
Pilgrims on the Way of St. James walk for weeks or months to visit the city of Santiago de Compostela. Some Europeans begin their pilgrimage on foot from the very doorstep of their homes, just as their medieval counterparts did. - in: wikipedia

Cape Finisterre
Cape Finisterre is a rock-bound peninsula on the west coast of GaliciaSpain.
In Roman times it was believed to be the end of the known world. The name Finisterre, like that of Finistère in France, derives from the Latin finis terrae, meaning "end of the earth".
Cape Finisterre is the final destination for many pilgrims on the Way of St. James, the pilgrimage to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.  - in: wikipedia

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 visited it last week on a very rainy day

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. 

Tower of Hercules

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:

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Santiago de Compostela (Old Town)

This first postcard was brought to me by my parents who visited Santiago de Compostela about 18 years ago. At the time I had the chance to go with them and I didn't want and some time later I regretted, so last week my family and I went there! It was a rainy day but when we arrived to Santiago de Compostela the rain stopped and we could visit the city and its wonderful cathedral

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, a cathedral of the archdiocese is in the World Heritage Site of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in Spain. The cathedral is the reputed burial-place of Saint James the Great, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ. The cathedral has historically been a place of pilgrimage on the Way of St. James, since the Early Middle Ages. The building is a Romanesque structure with later Gothic and Baroque additions. in: wikipedia

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
This postcard was sent by Vanesa

Each of the façades along with their adjoining squares constitute a magnificent urban square. The Baroque façade of the Praza do Obradoiro square was completed by Fernando de Casas Novoa in 1740. Also in baroque style is the Acibecharía façade by Ferro Caaveiro and Fernández Sarela, later modified by Ventura Rodríguez. The Pratarías façade, built by the Master Esteban in 1103, and most importantly the Pórtico da Gloria, an early work of Romanesque sculpture, were completed by Master Mateo in 1188. - in: wikipedia

Cathedral and the relics of St. James
The crypt, below the main altar, shows the substructure of the 9th-century church. This was the final destination of the pilgrims. The crypt houses the relics of Saint James and two of his disciples: Saint Theodorus and Saint Athanasius. The silver reliquary (by José Losada, 1886) was put in the crypt at the end of the 19th century, after authentication of the relics by Pope Leo XIII in 1884. - in: wikipedia

This postcard was sent from Portugal by Paulo

The Botafumeiro is a famous thurible found in the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. In the past, similar devices were used in large churches in Galicia; one is still used in the Tui Cathedral. Incense is burned in this swinging metal container, or "censer". The name "Botafumeiro" means "smoke expeller" in Galician.
The Botafumeiro is suspended from a pulley mechanism in the dome on the roof of the church. The current pulley mechanism was installed in 1604. - in: wikipedia

Cabildo House
The Casa do Cabildo has a beautiful baroque façade. It was designed by the architect Clemente Fernández Sarela in 1758 and fulfils an ornamental function as it serves to enclose and enhance the Plaza de las Platerías square. The Casa del Cabildo was Valle-Inclán's inspiration for his story 'Mi hermana Antonia'.It was restored by the Santiago Consortium in 2011 and since then has formed part of the network of museums in the historic city. - in: