Thursday 28 January 2016

Roman Theatre and its Surroundings and the "Triumphal Arch" of Orange

Last year, on my way to Portugal, I stopped in Orange purposely to by postcards! Of course that once there I had to take a look at the wonderful Theatre! 

Théâtre antique d'Orange
The Théâtre antique d'Orange ("Ancient Theatre of Orange") is an ancient Roman theatre in Orange, France, built early in the 1st century AD. It is owned by the municipality of Orange and is the home of the summer opera festival, the Chorégies d'Orange.
It is one of the best preserved of all the Roman theatres in the Roman colony of Arausio which was founded in 40 BC. Playing a major role in the life of the citizens, who spent a large part of their free time there, the theatre was seen by the Roman authorities not only as a means of spreading Roman culture to the colonies, but also as a way of distracting them from all political activities.
The Théâtre d'Orange, originally called the Arausio Theatre, was created under the rule of Augustus, and is believed to be one of the first of its kind in this area of modern-day France. One of the most iconic parts of this structure is the grand exterior facade, which measures to be 103 meters long and 37 meters high. - in: wikipedia

Statue of the Emperor Augustus
 The central niche houses the imperial statue of Augustus measuring 3.55 metres in height. This niche almost certainly contained a representation of Apollo and it is likely that the triumphant emperor was only substituted at a later date. The statue is dressed in a general’s coat, the paludamentum imperatoris, and is holding his staff. It serves as a reminder that to preserve peace throughout the Roman Empire everyone must respect its laws. - in:

Triumphal Arch of Orange
The Triumphal Arch of Orange (FrenchArc de triomphe d'Orange) is a triumphal arch located in the town of Orange, southeast France. There is debate about when the arch was built, but current research that accepts the inscription as evidence favours a date during the reign of Augustus (27 BC - AD 14). It was built on the former via Agrippa to honor the veterans of the Gallic Wars and Legio II Augusta. It was later reconstructed by emperor Tiberius to celebrate the victories of Germanicus over the German tribes in Rhineland. - in: wikipedia

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon Bridge

It was also in my first trip to Switzerland that I bought these two first postcards. The third one I bought it last year on my way to Portugal.

In the 14th century, this city in the South of France was the seat of the papacy. The Palais des Papes, an austere-looking fortress lavishly decorated by Simone Martini and Matteo Giovanetti, dominates the city, the surrounding ramparts and the remains of a 12th-century bridge over the Rhone. Beneath this outstanding example of Gothic architecture, the Petit Palais and the Romanesque Cathedral of Notre-Dame-des-Doms complete an exceptional group of monuments that testify to the leading role played by Avignon in 14th-century Christian Europe. - in:

Ramparts and the Palais des Papes
The Palais des Papes (English: Papal palace, lo Palais dei Papas in Occitan) is a historical palace in Avignon, southern France, one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe. One time fortress and palace, the papal residence was the seat of Western Christianity during the 14th century. Six papal conclaves were held in the Palais, leading to the elections of Benedict XII in 1334, Clement VI in 1342, Innocent VI in 1352, Urban V in 1362, Gregory XI in 1370 andAntipope Benedict XIII in 1394.
The Palais is actually made up of two buildings: the old Palais of Benedict XII which sits on the impregnable rock of Doms, and the new Palais of Clement VI, the most extravagant of the Avignon popes. Not only is the final combination the largest Gothic building of the Middle Ages, it is also one of the best examples of the International Gothic architectural style. - in: wikipedia

Pont Sain-Bénézet
The Pont Saint-Bénézet, also known as the Pont d'Avignon, is a famous medieval bridge in the town of Avignon, in southern France.
A bridge spanning the Rhone between Villeneuve-lès-Avignon and Avignon was built between 1177 and 1185. This early bridge was destroyed forty years later during the Albigensian Crusade when Louis VIII of France laid siege to Avignon. The bridge was rebuilt with 22 stone arches. It was very costly to maintain as the arches tended to collapse when the Rhone flooded. Eventually in the middle of the 17th century the bridge was abandoned. The four surviving arches on the bank of the Rhone are believed to have been built in around 1345 by Pope Clement VI during the Avignon Papacy. The Chapel of Saint Nicholas sits on the second pier of the bridge. It was constructed in the second half of 12th century but has since been substantially altered. The western terminal, the Tour Philippe-le-Bel, is also preserved. - in: wikipedia

Saturday 23 January 2016

Pont du Gard (Roman Aqueduct)

When my wife and I decided to move to Switzerland we thought in making the trip by plane, but we changed our mind and we did it by car and I couldn't be happier! By car we have the chance to stop as many times we want and know the way. And it was on the way of that first trip that I bought these two postcards.

Pont du Gard
 The Pont du Gard is an ancient Roman aqueduct that crosses the Gardon River in the south of France. Located near the town of Vers-Pont-du-Gard, the bridge is part of the Nîmes aqueduct, a 50-kilometer system built in the first century AD to carry water from a spring at Uzès to the Roman colony of Nemausus (Nîmes). Because of the uneven terrain between the two points, the mostly underground aqueduct followed a long, winding route that called for a bridge across the gorge of the Gardon River. The Pont du Gard is the highest of all elevated Roman aqueducts, and, along with the Aqueduct of Segovia, one of the best preserved.
Pont du Gard
The bridge has three tiers of arches, standing 48.8 m (160 ft) high. The whole aqueduct descends in height by only 17 m (56 ft) over its entire length, while the bridge descends by a mere 2.5 cm (0.98 in) – a gradient of only 1 in 3,000 – which is indicative of the great precision that Roman engineers were able to achieve, using only simple technology. The aqueduct formerly carried an estimated 200,000 m3 (44,000,000 imp gal) of water a day to the fountains, baths and homes of the citizens of Nîmes. It continued to be used possibly until the 6th century, with some parts used for significantly longer, but lack of maintenance after the 4th century meant that it became increasingly clogged by mineral deposits and debris that eventually choked off the flow of water. - in: wikipedia

Brazilian Atlantic Islands: Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas Reserves

I really like postcards showing animals in their natural habitat, but I don't like that much if the place is not identified. When the place and the animal are both identified in the postcard, like in this one, then it's perfect!

Spinner Dolphins at Fernando de Noronha
This postcard was sent by Silvia

Peaks of the Southern Atlantic submarine ridge form the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago and Rocas Atoll off the coast of Brazil. They represent a large proportion of the island surface of the South Atlantic and their rich waters are extremely important for the breeding and feeding of tuna, shark, turtle and marine mammals. The islands are home to the largest concentration of tropical seabirds in the Western Atlantic. Baia de Golfinhos has an exceptional population of resident dolphin and at low tide the Rocas Atoll provides a spectacular seascape of lagoons and tidal pools teeming with fish. - in:

The spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) is a small dolphin found in off-shore tropical waters around the world. It is famous for its acrobatic displays in which it spins along its longitudinal axis as it leaps through the air. It is a member of the family Delphinidae of toothed whales. - in: wikipedia

Friday 22 January 2016

Wood Buffalo National Park

This is the largest park of Canada and is larger than Switzerland! It is home of the Wood Bison. I love this animal, is so majestic!

Wood Buffalo National Park
This postcard was sent by Natasha

Situated on the plains in the north-central region of Canada, the park (which covers 44,807 km2) is home to North America's largest population of wild bison. It is also the natural nesting place of the whooping crane. Another of the park's attractions is the world's largest inland delta, located at the mouth of the Peace and Athabasca rivers. - in:

Wood Bison in Wood Buffalo National Park
This postcard was sent by Jason

The wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) or mountain bison (often called the wood buffalo or mountain buffalo), is a distinct northern subspecies or ecotype of the American bison. Its original range included much of the boreal forest regions of Alaska,Yukon, western Northwest Territories, northeastern British Columbia, northern Alberta, and northwestern Saskatchewan. It is currently listed as threatened on Schedule I of the Species At Risk Act. - in: wikipedia

Thursday 21 January 2016

Historic Centre of Siena

The historic centre of Siena is one of the many Italian historic centers that have been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. I'd love to visit them all! :)

This postcard was sent by Marco

Siena is the embodiment of a medieval city. Its inhabitants pursued their rivalry with Florence right into the area of urban planning. Throughout the centuries, they preserved their city's Gothic appearance, acquired between the 12th and 15th centuries. During this period the work of Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini was to influence the course of Italian and, more broadly, European art. The whole city of Siena, built around the Piazza del Campo, was devised as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape. - in:

Siena Cathedral
This postcard was sent by Edo

Siena Cathedral (ItalianDuomo di Siena) is a medieval church in SienaItaly, dedicated from its earliest days as a Roman Catholic Marian church, and now dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta (Holy Mary, Our Lady of the Assumption).
The cathedral itself was originally designed and completed between 1215 and 1263 on the site of an earlier structure. It has the form of a Latin cross with a slightly projecting transept, a dome and a bell tower. The dome rises from a hexagonal base with supporting columns. The lantern atop the dome was added by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The nave is separated from the two aisles by semicircular arches. The exterior and interior are constructed of white and greenish-black marble in alternating stripes, with addition of red marble on the façade. Black and white are the symbolic colors of Siena, etiologically linked to black and white horses of the legendary city's founders, Senius and Aschius. - in: wikipedia

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Historic Centre of Florence

Florence is probably the place in Italy that I would most like to visit. Maybe one day!

This postcard was sent by Gian Luca

Built on the site of an Etruscan settlement, Florence, the symbol of the Renaissance, rose to economic and cultural pre-eminence under the Medici in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its 600 years of extraordinary artistic activity can be seen above all in the 13th-century cathedral (Santa Maria del Fiore), the Church of Santa Croce, the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace, the work of great masters such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli and Michelangelo. - in:

Florence Cathedral
This postcard was sent by Paula.

The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (in English "Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flowers") is the main church of Florence, Italy. Il Duomo di Firenze, as it is ordinarily called, was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style with the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white and has an elaborate 19th-century Gothic Revival façade by Emilio De Fabris.
The cathedral complex, located in Piazza del Duomo, includes the Baptistery and Giotto's Campanile. These three buildings are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site covering the historic centre of Florence and are a major attraction to tourists visiting Tuscany. The basilica is one of Italy's largest churches, and until development of new structural materials in the modern era, the dome was the largest in the world. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed. - in: wikipedia

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve

I said before that I love postcards with animals, but I really love the second postcard of this post because it looks a picture taken from a Star Wars movie! :)

Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve
This postcard was sent by Vadim

Located well above the Arctic Circle, the site includes the mountainous Wrangel Island (7,608 km2), Herald Island (11 km2) and surrounding waters. Wrangel was not glaciated during the Quaternary Ice Age, resulting in exceptionally high levels of biodiversity for this region. The island boasts the world’s largest population of Pacific walrus and the highest density of ancestral polar bear dens. It is a major feeding ground for the grey whale migrating from Mexico and the northernmost nesting ground for 100 migratory bird species, many endangered. Currently, 417 species and subspecies of vascular plants have been identified on the island, double that of any other Arctic tundra territory of comparable size and more than any other Arctic island. Some species are derivative of widespread continental forms, others are the result of recent hybridization, and 23 are endemic. - in:

Muskoxen at the Mamontovaya River
This postcard was sent by Ira

The muskox (Ovibos moschatus), also spelled musk ox and musk-ox, in Inuktitut umingmak, is an Arctic mammal of the family Bovidae, noted for its thick coat and for the strong odor emitted during the seasonal rut by males, from which its name derives. (...) Muskoxen primarily live in the Canadian Arctic and Greenland, with small introduced populations in SwedenSiberiaNorway, and Alaska.
In Russia, animals from Banks and Nunivak alike were imported and released in the Taymyr Peninsula between 1974 and 1975, and from Nunivak to Wrangel Island in 1975. Both locations are north of the Arctic Circle. Once established, these populations have been, in turn, used as sources for further introductions in Siberia between 1996 and 2010. - in: wikipedia

Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi

In this postcard, also sent by Prashanth, he shares that it is believed that a tooth of Buddha is buried in this stupa!

The Great Stupa at Sanchi
On a hill overlooking the plain and about 40 km from Bhopal, the site of Sanchi comprises a group of Buddhist monuments (monolithic pillars, palaces, temples and monasteries) all in different states of conservation most of which date back to the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. It is the oldest Buddhist sanctuary in existence and was a major Buddhist centre in India until the 12th century A.D. - in:

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park

Prashanth gave me a big help with the UNESCO sites from India. He says in this postcard that this is one of the less known sites of the country. I must confess that I didn't know it either but after reading a bit about it seems to be a very interesting place!

Sat Kaman, Pavagadh
There are eleven different types of buildings at the UNESCO-protected Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park in Gujarat, India, including mosques, temples, granaries, tombs, wells, walls, and terraces.The monuments are situated at the foot of and around the Pavagadh Hill. The Baroda Heritage Trust lists 114 monuments in the area, of which only 39 are maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India, due to limited funding. The Forest Department owns 94% of the land here, while the temple trusts and other sectarian establishments provide facilities for boarding and lodging to pilgrims and tourists. On the southern side near the foot of the hill some dilapidated houses and the foundations of Jain temples can also be seen. - in: wikipedia

Saturday 16 January 2016

Wachau Cultural Landscape

I always prefer my postcards written, even if they are sent in an envelope, but if they come unwritten I don't mind. The problem is that sometimes I don't remember who sent them. It's the case of these two...

The Wachau is an Austrian valley with a picturesque landscape formed by the Danube river. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations of Lower Austria, located midway between the towns of Melk and Krems that also attracts "connoisseurs and epicureans" for its high-quality wines. It is 40 kilometres (25 mi) in length and was already settled in prehistoric times. A well-known place and tourist attraction is Dürnstein, where King Richard the Lion-Heart of England was held captive by Duke Leopold V. The architectural elegance of its ancient monasteries (Melk Abbey and Göttweig Abbey), castles and ruins combined with the urban architecture of its towns and villages, and the cultivation of vines as an important agricultural produce are the dominant features of the valley. - in: wikipedia
Melk is a city of Austria, in the federal state of Lower Austria, next to the Wachau valley along the Danube. Melk has a population of 5,257 (as of 2012). It is best known as the site of a massive baroque Benedictine monastery named Melk Abbey. - in: wikipedia

Krems an der Donau is a town in Austria, in the federal state of Lower Austria. It is the fifth-largest city of Lower Austria and is approximately 70 kilometres (43 miles) west of Vienna.
Krems is located at the confluence of the Krems and Danube Rivers at the eastern end of Wachau valley, in the southern Waldviertel. - in: wikipedia