Saturday 26 September 2015

Historic Centre of Brugge

Belgium is one of the strong possibilities for my next vacations. Thanks to the film "In Bruges" and to postcards I felt in love with Bruges and now I really want to go there! I hope I can go next year because this year I think it wont be possible.

This postcard was sent by Amina

Brugge is an outstanding example of a medieval historic settlement, which has maintained its historic fabric as this has evolved over the centuries, and where original Gothic constructions form part of the town's identity. As one of the commercial and cultural capitals of Europe, Brugge developed cultural links to different parts of the world. It is closely associated with the school of Flemish Primitive painting. - in:

Belfry of Bruges

The Belfry of Bruges (DutchBelfort van Brugge) is a medieval bell tower in the centre of BrugesBelgium.
The belfry was added to the market square around 1240, when Bruges was an important centre of the Flemish cloth industry. After a devastating fire in 1280, the tower was largely rebuilt. The city archives, however, were forever lost to the flames. - in: wikipedia

Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture

The Pico Island is the place of the highest point of Portugal. Zé "Pombal", who sent me these two postcards, says that is a beautiful island, such as the other 8 islands of the Azores.

Vineyards in the Pico Island
The Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture is an outstanding example of the adaptation of farming practices to a remote and challenging environment. Pico Island is one of nine volcanic islands in the Azores Archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. The island contains spectacular evidence of grape-growing and wine-making (viniculture), with an imposing pattern of orderly, long, linear walls running inland from, and parallel to, the rocky coastline around its northern and western edges. The stone walls form thousands of small, contiguous, rectangular plots built to protect crops from wind and salt spray. Vines were, and continue to be, planted within the small and soilless plots (locally called currais). 

Vineyards in the Pico Islands

The extensive system of small fields, as well as the buildings (manor houses, wine cellars, warehouses, conventional houses, and churches), pathways and wells, ports and ramps, were produced by generations of farmers enabling the production of wine. - in:

Saturday 19 September 2015

Crespi d'Adda

Recently my wife and I spent a weekend in Italy and we visited Crespi d'Adda. It was really cool! We rent two bikes and we visited the village in less than an hour. Unfortunately the factory is closed and the castle cannot be visited but it was worth it!

Aerial view in 1927
Crespi is the name of a family of cotton manufacturers from Lombardy. This family realized an "ideal workers' village" nearby their factory, along the Adda river.
The Villaggio Crespi d'Adda (Crespi Workers' Village) is an entire town, built from nothing by the owner of the factory for his workers and their families. The workers were provided with homes, gardens, vegetable gardens and all necessary local services.
In this perfect little world the master of Crespi "reigned" from his castle and, like a caring father, satisfied all needs of his employees: "from the cradle to the grave" both inside and outside the factory, predating any official state benefits or provisions. Only those who worked in the factory could live in the Village, and the life of everybody was connected to the factory, its rhythms and its demands. - in:

 In 1869 Cristoforo Benigno Crespi, a textile manufacturer from Busto Arsizio (Varese), bought the 1 km valley between the rivers Brembo and Adda, to the south of Capriate, with the intention of installing a cotton mill on the banks of the Adda. - in: wikipedia

 Cristoforo Crespi introduced the most modern spinning, weaving and finishing processes in his Cotton Mill. The Hydroelectric power plant in Trezzo, on the Adda river just a few Km upwards, was built up around 1906 for the manufacturer Cristoforo Benigno Crespi. - in: wikipedia

 The great depression of 1929 and the harsh fascist fiscal policy resulted in the Crespi family being obliged to sell the entire town to STI, the Italian textile enterprise, which transferred it to the Rossarl e Varzi company in 1970. It then passed to the Legler company, which sold off most of the houses. It was last in the hands of the Polli industrial group, which employed some 600 people, as compared with the 3200 employed during the years of maximum activity.
Today the village is inhabited by a community largely descended from the original workers. The factory stopped production only in 2004, its field of activity throughout its working life having been cotton textile production. - in: wikipedia
Crespis' Castle
The castle and church were built geographically aligned and facing each other such that if you were to look out from the castle's tower it is possible to see directly into the church door and to the altar

 Despite being in the province of Bergamo, Crespi shares the Milan telephone prefix (02). This is a direct consequence of the Crespi family installing a private line between their castle in Crespi and home in Milan at the end of the nineteenth century. - in:

The village of Crespi d'Adda was the first village in Italy to have modern public lighting. The workers houses, of English inspiration, are lined up in order along parallel roads to the East of the factory. A tree-lined avenue separates the production zone from the houses, overlooking a chequer-board road plan. The whole architecture and town planning (except the first spinning department, created by engineer Angelo Colla), was submitted to the architect Ernesto Pirovano. For about fifty years Pirovano, helped by the engineer Pietro Brunati, ran the construction of the village. - in: wikipedia

Laponian Area

The Laponian area is a large mountainous wildlife area in the Lapland province in northern Sweden

Stora Sjöfallet National Park

Stora Sjöfallet (SwedishStora Sjöfallets nationalpark) is a national park in Norrbotten County in northern Sweden, in Gällivare Municipality and Jokkmokk Municipality. The national park is 1,278 km2 (493 sq mi) and thereby the third largest in Sweden. It is located about 20 km (12 mi) above the Arctic Circle and lies north and south of the lake system of the Lule River. It is situated by the Norwegian border.
The area was declared a national park in 1909. The national park is part of the Laponian area which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. - in: wikipedia

Sunday 13 September 2015

Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc

This column seems to me something absolutely spectacular! I really like baroque architecture and this monument says "baroque" all over it!

Holy Trinity Column
This postcard was sent by Lucka
The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc is a Baroque monument in the Czech Republic, built in 1716–1754 in honour of God. The main purpose was a spectacular celebration of Catholic Church and faith, partly caused by feeling of gratitude for ending a plague, which struck Moravia (now in the Czech Republic) between 1714 and 1716. The column was also understood to be an expression of local patriotism, since all artists and master craftsmen working on this monument were Olomouc citizens, and almost all depicted saints were connected with the city of Olomouc in some way.
It is the biggest Baroque sculptural group in the Czech Republic. In 2000 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "one of the most exceptional examples of the apogee of central European Baroque artistic expression". - in: wikipedia

Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow

Moscow is another city that I'd love to visit but in summer time because cold weather I have enough here in Switzerland! 


This postcard was sent by Anna

Inextricably linked to all the most important historical and political events in Russia since the 13th century, the Kremlin (built between the 14th and 17th centuries by outstanding Russian and foreign architects) was the residence of the Great Prince and also a religious centre. At the foot of its ramparts, on Red Square, St Basil's Basilica is one of the most beautiful Russian Orthodox monuments. - in:

Saint Basil's Cathedral

This postcard was sent by Eugenia

The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed, commonly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral, is a church in Red Square in MoscowRussia. The building, now a museum, is officially known as the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat. It was built from 1555–61 on orders from Ivan the Terrible and commemorates the capture of Kazanand Astrakhan. A world famous landmark it was the city's tallest building until the completion of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in 1600. in: wikipedia

Saint Basil's Cathedral
This postcard was sent by Slava

 The church acquired its present-day vivid colors in several stages from the 1680s to 1848. Russian attitude towards color in the 17th century changed in favor of bright colors; icon and mural art experienced an explosive growth in the number of available paints, dyes and their combinations. - in: wikipedia

Kazan Cathedral
This postcard was sent by Alena

 Kazan Cathedral RussianКазанский собор, also known as the "Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan", is a Russian Orthodox churchlocated on the northeast corner of Red Square in MoscowRussia. The current building is a reconstruction of the original church, which was destroyed at the direction of then General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet UnionJoseph Stalin, in 1936. - in: wikipedia

Spasskaya Tower
The Spasskaya Tower (RussianСпасская башня, translated as "Saviour Tower") is the main tower with a through-passage on the eastern wall of the Moscow Kremlin, which overlooks the Red Square.
The Spasskaya Tower was built in 1491 by an Italian architect Pietro Antonio Solari. - in: wikipedia

Friday 11 September 2015

Great Living Chola Temples

Another great Hindu Temple, part of the Great Living Chola Temples

Brihadeeswara Temple
This postcard was sent by Nagi

The Brihadeshwara Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva that is located in the city of Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is an important example of Tamil architecture achieved during the Chola dynasty. (...) It is one of the largest temples in India and one of India's most prized architectural sites. Built by emperor Raja Raja Chola I and completed in 1010 AD, Brihadeshwara Temple, also popularly known as the 'Big Temple', turned 1000 years old in 2010.

The Great Living Chola Temples are temples built during the Chola rule in the south of India and neighboring islands. These sites includes 3 temples of 11th and 12th century. These 3 temples are the Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Temple of Gangaikonda Cholapuram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram. - in: wikipedia

Group of Monuments at Hampi

Wonders from India. As it says in the UNESCO website: "austere, grandiose site of Hampi"

Elephant Stables
This postcard was sent by Prashanth

A set of large stables, to house the ceremonial elephants of the royal household. The area in front of them was a parade ground for the elephants, and for troops. This is another structure that shows Islamic influence in its domes and arched gateways. The guards' barracks are located right next to the elephant stables. - in: wikipedia

Virupaksha Temple
This postcard arrived from Germany and it was sent by Claus

Virupaksha Temple is located in Hampi 350 km from Bangalore, in the state of Karnataka in southern India. It is part of the Group of Monuments at Hampi, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Virupaksha is a form of Shiva and has other temples dedicated to him, notably at the Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, another World Heritage Site.

The temple's history is uninterrupted from about the 7th century. The Virupaksha-Pampa sanctuary existed well before the Vijayanagara capital was located here. Inscriptions referring to Shiva date back to the 9th and 10th centuries. What started as a small shrine grew into a large complex under the Vijayanagara rulers. - in: wikipedia

Vittala Temple
This postcard was sent by Sita

Situated northeast of Hampi, opposite the village of Anegondi, this is one of the principal monuments of the city. It is dedicated to Vittala, an aspect of Vishnu worshipped in the Maratha country. It is believed to date from the 16th century.
One of the notable features of the Vittala Temple is the musical pillars. Each of the pillars that support the roof of the main temple is supported by a pillar representing a musical instrument, and is constructed as 7 minor pillars arranged around a main pillar. These 7 pillars, when struck, emanate the 7 notes from the representative instrument, varying in sound quality based on whether it represents a wind, string or percussion instrument. - in: wikipedia

Group of Monuments at Pattadakal

I love religious buildings, and these Hindu Temples are something amazing!

Temples at Pattadakal
This postcard was sent by Nagi

Pattadakal, in Karnataka, represents the high point of an eclectic art which, in the 7th and 8th centuries under the Chalukya dynasty, achieved a harmonious blend of architectural forms from northern and southern India. An impressive series of nine Hindu temples, as well as a Jain sanctuary, can be seen there. - in

Thursday 10 September 2015

Historic District of Old Québec

These two postcards show exactly the same place, but with a difference of about 40 years! Changed a little but not much :)

Porte Saint-Louis
This postcard was sent by Jason with some nice stamps of Canadian bands

Québec was founded by the French explorer Champlain in the early 17th century. It is the only North American city to have preserved its ramparts, together with the numerous bastions, gates and defensive works which still surround Old Québec. The Upper Town, built on the cliff, has remained the religious and administrative centre, with its churches, convents and other monuments like the Dauphine Redoubt, the Citadel and Château Frontenac. Together with the Lower Town and its ancient districts, it forms an urban ensemble which is one of the best examples of a fortified colonial city. - in:

Porte Saint-Louis
This postcard was sent by Carole-Anne

Located in Canada, the Ramparts of Quebec City are the only remaining fortified city walls in North America. The British began refortifying the existing walls, after they took Quebec City from the French in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759.

Porte St. Louis: dates back to at least 1694 was demolished in 1791 because of its poor condition and rebuilt. This gate lasted until 1823 when it was replaced. It was eventually removed altogether in 1871 before being replaced by the gate we see now in 1880 by Lord Dufferin. - in: wikipedia

Historic Centre of Warsaw

Comparing the after and the before Postcrossing, I realize that I knew nothing about Poland. It was the country that most surprised me. Is one of the good things about postcards: we discover wonderful places that we wouldn't imagine and maybe one day we get the chance to go there!

Castle Square
This postcard was sent by Karolina

During the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944, more than 85% of Warsaw's historic centre was destroyed by Nazi troops. After the war, a five-year reconstruction campaign by its citizens resulted in today's meticulous restoration of the Old Town, with its churches, palaces and market-place. It is an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century. - in:

Warsaw Barbican
This postcard arrived from Portugal sent by Miguel

The Warsaw Barbican (Polishbarbakan warszawski) is a barbican (semicircular fortified outpost) in WarsawPoland, and one of few remaining relics of the complex network of historic fortifications that once encircled Warsaw. Located between the Old and New Towns, it is a major tourist attraction.
The barbican was erected in 1540 in place of an older gate to protect Nowomiejska Street. It was designed by Jan Baptist the Venetian, an Italian Renaissance architect who lived and worked in the Mazowsze region of 16th century Poland and was instrumental in the redesign of the 14th-century city walls, which by that time had fallen into disrepair. - in: wikipedia