Tuesday 31 May 2016

Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape

I love gardens with statues and lakes. Joining to that the castles and surrounding buildings, this UNESCO site must be a dream!

Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape
This postcard was sent by Ondrej

The Dukes of Liechtenstein transformed their properties into one large and designed private park between the 17th and 20th centuries. During the 19th century, the Dukes continued transforming the area as a large traditional English landscape park. The Baroque and Gothic Revival style architecture of their chateaux are married with smaller buildings and a landscape that was fashioned according to the English principles of landscape architecture.
In 1715 these two chateaux (castles) were connected by a landscape alée and road, later renamed for the poet Petr Bezruč. The Lednice Ponds (Lednické rybníky) are situated between the villages of Valtice, Lednice, and Hlohovec; as are the Mlýnský, Prostřední, Hlohovecký, and Nesyt Ponds. A substantial part of the cultural landscape complex is covered in pine forests, known as the "Pine−wood"(Boří les), and in areas adjacent to the River Dyje with riparian forests. - in: wikipedia

Monday 30 May 2016

Tugendhat Villa in Brno

For a building of the 1920's this villa looks really modern!

Entrance hall and street access
This postcard was sent by Lenka

The Tugendhat Villa in Brno, designed by the architect Mies van der Rohe, is an outstanding example of the international style in the modern movement in architecture as it developed in Europe in the 1920s. Its particular value lies in the application of innovative spatial and aesthetic concepts that aim to satisfy new lifestyle needs by taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by modern industrial production. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1052

Friday 27 May 2016

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: the Mannerist Architectural and Park Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park

Ania says in one of these postcards that this place was very important for the pope John Paul II since he spent a lot of time there

Passion-Marien Sanctuary
This postcard was sent by Ania

Among the most frequently visited pilgrimage centres of Poland, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is part of one of Europe’s most interesting landscape and architectural projects. Over a million pilgrims visit this devotional complex every year.

Passion-Marien Sanctuary
This postcard was sent by Ania

The origins of the Sanctuary of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska go back to 1601, when Mikołaj Zebrzydowski, voivoda of Krakow, on Mount Żarek (in the Żar group) erected a chapel dedicated to the Crucifixion of Christ, following a model in chalk of the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem.
Today’s basilica is mostly the work of Magdalena Czartoryska, who died in 1694, and her son, Józef, who continued the successive works. - in: http://www.pilgrim-info.com/europe/poland/sanctuary-of-kalwaria-zebrzydowska/

Thursday 26 May 2016

Wadden Sea

In the Wadden Sea up to 6.1 million birds can be present at the same time. That's a lot of birds!

The Wadden Sea in Denmark
This postcard was sent by Rebekka

The Wadden Sea (DutchWaddenzeeGermanWattenmeerLow GermanWattensee or WaddenzeeDanish:VadehavetWest FrisianWaadseeNorth Frisiandi Heef) is an intertidal zone in the southeastern part of the North Sea. It lies between the coast of northwestern continental Europe and the range of Frisian Islands, forming a shallow body of water with tidal flats and wetlands. It is rich in biological diversity. In 2009, the Dutch and German parts of the Wadden Sea were inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List and the Danish part was added in June 2014. - in: wikipedia

The Wadden Sea in Germany
This postcard was sent by Michèle

The Wadden Sea is famous for its rich flora and fauna, especially birds. Hundreds of thousands of waders (shorebirds)ducks, and geese use the area as a migration stopover or wintering site, and it is also a rich habitat for gulls and terns. However, the biodiversity of Wadden Sea today is only a fraction of what was seen before exploitation by humans; for birds, larger species such as geese, eaglesflamingospelicans, and herons used to be common as well. Some species that are regionally extinct are still available here. - in: wikipedia

The Wadden Sea in Germany
This postcard was sent by Elisabeth and Lisa

The Wadden Sea is one of the world's seas whose coastline has been most modified by humans, via systems of dikes and causeways on the mainland and low-lying coastal islands. The Wadden Sea stretches from Den Helder in the Netherlands in the northwest, past the great river estuaries of Germany to its northern boundary at Skallingen north of Esbjerg in Denmark along a total length of some 500 km and a total area of about 10,000 km2. Within the Netherlands it is bounded from the IJsselmeer by the Afsluitdijk. - in: wikipedia

The Wadden Sea in the Netherlands
This postcard was sent by Kim

The word wad is Dutch for "mud flat" (Low German and GermanWattDanishVade). The area is typified by extensive tidal mud flats, deeper tidal trenches (tidal creeks) and the islands that are contained within this, a region continually contested by land and sea. The landscape has been formed for a great part by storm tides in the 10th to 14th centuries, overflowing and carrying away former peat land behind the coastal dunes. The present islands are a remnant of the former coastal dunes. - in: wikipedia

The Wadden Sea in the Netherlands
This postcard was sent by Jet

Although the Wadden Sea is not yet listed as a transboundary Ramsar site, a great part of the Wadden Sea is protected in cooperation of all three countries. The governments of the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany have been working together since 1978 on the protection and conservation of the Wadden Sea. - in: wikipedia

Ilulissat Icefjord

I have a few postcards that are huge and if I'm not mistaken this was my first one. Looks an image taken from the movie Ice Age! We can almost see Scrat chasing acorns! :D

Eqi Glacier in Ilulissat
This postcard was sent by Genek

Located on the west coast of Greenland, 250 km north of the Arctic Circle, Greenland’s Ilulissat Icefjord is a tidal fjord covered with floating brash and massive ice, as it is situated where the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier calves ice into the sea. In winter, the area is frozen solid. One of the few places where ice from the Greenland ice cap enters the sea, Sermeq Kujalleq is also one of the fastest moving (40 m per day) and most active glaciers in the world. Its annual calving of over 46 cubic kilometres of ice, i.e. 10% of all Greenland calf ice, is more than any other glacier outside Antarctica, and it is still actively eroding the fjord bed. The combination of a huge ice-sheet and the dramatic sounds of a fast-moving glacial ice-stream calving into a fjord full of icebergs make for a dramatic and awe-inspiring natural phenomenon.
The Greenland ice cap is the only remnant in the Northern Hemisphere of the continental ice sheets from the Quaternary Ice Age. The oldest ice is estimated to be 250,000 years old, and provides detailed information on past climatic changes and atmospheric conditions from 250,000 to around 11,550 years ago, when climate became more stable. Studies made over the last 250 years demonstrate that during the last ice age, the climate fluctuated between extremely cold and warmer periods, while today the ice cap is being maintained by an annual accumulation of snow that matches the loss through calving and melting at the margins. This phenomenon has helped to develop our understanding of climate change and icecap glaciology. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1149/

City of Valletta

Valletta is definitely a city that I'd like to visit. Probably not in a near future but I can never tell 

This postcard arrived from Italy sent by Gosia

Malta’s capital Valletta is a fortified city located on a hilly peninsula between two of the finest natural harbours in the Mediterranean. The Siege of Malta in 1565 captured the European imagination and mobilised the resources needed to create the new city of Valletta, founded soon after, in 1566. The Knights of St John, aided by the most respected European military engineers of the 16th century, conceived and planned the city as a single, holistic creation of the late Renaissance, with a uniform grid plan within fortified and bastioned city walls. Since its creation, the city has witnessed a number of rebuilding projects, yet those have not compromised the harmony between the dramatic topography and the Hippodamian grid. The fabric of the city includes a compact ensemble of 320 monuments that encapsulate every aspect of the civil, religious, artistic and military functions of its illustrious founders. These include the 16th century buildings relating to the founding of the Renaissance city, such as the cathedral of St John, the Palace of the Grand Master, the Auberge de Castile et Léon, the Auberge de Provence, the Auberge d’Italie, the Auberge d’Aragon and the Infirmary of the Order and the churches of Our Lady of Victory, St Catherine and il Gesù, as well as the improvements attributed to the military engineers and architects of the 18th century such as the Auberge de Bavière, the Church of the Shipwreck of St Paul, the Library and the Manoel Theatre. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/131

Upper Svaneti

These towers in Svaneti are really cool! They could be the perfect setting of an epic movie!

Mestia, Svaneti
This postcard was sent by Ania from Poland

Mestia (Georgianმესტია) is a highland townlet (daba) in northwest Georgia, at an elevation of 1,500 metres (4,921 feet) in the Caucasus Mountains.
Historically and ethnographically, Mestia has always been regarded a chief community of Zemo, or Upper Svaneti province. It was formerly known as Seti (სეთი). The population is mostly Svans, a cultural and linguistic subgroup of the Georgians. Despite its small size, the townlet was an important centre of Georgian culture for centuries and contains a number of medieval monuments, such as churches and forts, included in a list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. - in: wikipedia

Wednesday 25 May 2016

Stari Ras and Sopoćani

I like heavy metal. When I wear a t-shirt of an heavy metal band I can easily make friends anywhere. I'm telling this because of the curious story that Sini tells in this postcard. When she visited this monastery the guide was being very formal until he knew she was from Finland and started asking questions about Finnish heavy metal bands! :)

Sopoćani Monastery
This postcard was sent from Finland by Sini

The Sopoćani monastery (Serbian CyrillicСопоћани), an endowment of King Stefan Uroš I of Serbia, was built from 1259 to 1270, near the source of the Raška River in the region of Ras, the centre of the Serbian medieval state. It is a designated World Heritage Site, added in 1979 with Stari Ras.
during the 20th century the monastery was restored and today it is settled by a thriving brotherhood of dedicated monks. The fact that most of the Sopoćani frescoes still shine with radiant beauty - surviving more than two centuries of extreme exposure to the elements. - in: wikipedia

I still don't have any postcard of Stari Ras

Al Zubarah Archaeological Site

It's always great when we receive a postcard from a country where the postcards are hard to find and even more when we cross that country out of the missing list! 

Al Zubarah Fort
This postcard arrived from Sweden sent by Merja

The Zubarah Fort was originally built by Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani in 1938 to serve as a Coast Guard station, although some utter that it was built to serve as a police station. It was later renovated into a museum to display diverse exhibits and artworks, most especially for contemporarily topical archaeological findings. - in: wikipedia

Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca

Malaysia seems to me a melting pot of cultures that make this country unique. Portuguese, Dutch, British and without forgetting the original Malaysian, all with contributions for the country that we know today.

Trishaw in Malacca
This postcard was sent by Bei Hao

Melaka and George Town, historic cities of the Straits of Malacca have developed over 500 years of trading and cultural exchanges between East and West in the Straits of Malacca. The influences of Asia and Europe have endowed the towns with a specific multicultural heritage that is both tangible and intangible. With its government buildings, churches, squares and fortifications, Melaka demonstrates the early stages of this history originating in the 15th-century Malay sultanate and the Portuguese and Dutch periods beginning in the early 16th century. Featuring residential and commercial buildings, George Town represents the British era from the end of the 18th century. The two towns constitute a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1223/
Porta de Santiago
This postcard arrived from Portugal and it was sent by Marta

In 1511, a Portuguese fleet arrived under the command of Afonso de Albuquerque. His forces attacked and defeated the armies of the Malacca Sultanate. Moving quickly to consolidate his gains, Albuquerque had the fortress built around a natural hill near the sea. Albuquerque believed that Malacca would become an important port linking Portugal to the Spice Route in China. At this time other Portuguese were establishing outposts in such places as MacauChina and Goa, India to create a string of friendly ports for ships heading to Ming China and returning home to Portugal.
The fortress once consisted of long ramparts and four major towers. One was a four-story keep, while the others held an ammunition storage room, the residence of the captain, and an officers' quarters. Most of the village clustered in town houses inside the fortress walls. As Malacca's population expanded it outgrew the original fort and extensions were added around 1586.
The fort changed hands in 1641 when the Dutch drove the Portuguese out of Malacca. The Dutch renovated the gate in 1670, which explains the logo "ANNO 1670" inscribed on the gate's arch. Above the arch is a bas-relief logo of the Dutch East India Company.
The fortress changed hands again in the late 18th century when the Dutch handed it over to the British to prevent it from falling into the hands of Napoleon's expansionist France. The English were wary of maintaining the fortification and ordered its destruction in 1806. The fort was almost totally demolished but for the timely intervention of Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore, who happened to visit Malacca in 1810. Because of his passion for history, this small gate was spared from destruction. - in: wikipedia

Trishaw in George Town, Penang
This postcard was sent by Ben

George Town is the capital city of the Malaysian state of Penang, located on the north-east corner of the island. 
As the Dutch East India Company had dominated the Far East spice trade, the British were determined to establish their presence in the region to control the trade route between mainland China and the Indian subcontinent through the archipelago, and to set up a base to repair British Navy ships. Because of this, Francis Light, who was a captain and a trader for the British East India Company (EIC) was instructed by his company, Jourdain Sullivan and de Souza in Madras,India to establish trade relations in the Malay archipelago. He arrived on Penang Island on 17 July 1786.
As Penang was still under the control of the Sultan of Kedah, Light needed to negotiate with the Sultan Abdullah Mukarram Shah to grant the island to the EIC in exchange for protection of the Sultanate against Siamese and Burmese intrusions. (...) The Sultan was aware that he needed an agreement with the British for protection from the Siamese although he did not realise Light had acted without the approval of his superiors. Following the sealing of agreements by both sides, Light returned to the island on 11 August 1786 to establish possession under the flag of the United Kingdom, and renamed it Prince of Wales Island after George III who later became the King of the United Kingdom.
At the time of his arrival, the island was inhabited by at least 1,000 Malay fishermen. He then built Fort Cornwallis which became the first British presence in the Malay archipelago. - in: wikipedia

Holašovice Historic Village

The houses of this village have an architectural style that can only be found in this region: the Rustic Baroque, also known as South Bohemian Baroque.

This postcard arrived from Portugal sent by Marta

Holašovice (Holaschowitz) is a small historic village located in the south of the Czech Republic, 15 kilometres west of České Budějovice. (...) The village was deserted after the Second World War, allowing its medieval plan and vernacular buildings in the South Bohemian Folk or Rural Baroque style to remain intact. It was restored and repopulated from 1990, and it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.
It consists of 23 brick farmyards containing 120 buildings, each with their gable end facing a central broad village green, with a fish pond and chapel.
The buildings date from the 18th to 20th century, with most of them built in the second half of the 19th century. They are constructed in the South Bohemian Folk Baroque style. The chapel of St. John of Nepomuk in the city centre was built in 1755. - in: wikipedia

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Jewish Quarter and St Procopius' Basilica in Třebíč

This was so far the last site of Czech Republic to be inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list

The ensemble of the Jewish Quarter, the old Jewish cemetery and the Basilica of St Procopius in Třebíč are reminders of the co-existence of Jewish and Christian cultures from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The Jewish Quarter bears outstanding testimony to the different aspects of the life of this community. St Procopius' Basilica, built as part of the Benedictine monastery in the early 13th century, is a remarkable example of the influence of Western European architectural heritage in this region. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1078

St. Procopius' Basilica
St. Procopius Basilica is a Romanesque-Gothic Christian church in TřebíčCzech Republic.
The history of the basilica is closely associated with the history of the former Benedictine monastery in Třebíč. Before the basilica was constructed there was a chapel of St. Procopius, which was built in the year 1104 and was consecrated by Heřman, Bishop of Prague. Five years later, the monastery already had its own church. This was consecrated in year 1109 by then Bishop of Prague, Jan II. In the crypt of the church Duke Litold Znojemský was buried, one of the founders of the monastery, and three years later his brother and Duke Oldřich Brněnský, the second founder of the monastery, was likewise interred.
The monastery grew rich and its influence swelled. For about half of the 13th century the monastery was rebuilt and fortified. This reconstruction was started in about the year 1240 and finished in the year 1260. The reconstruction meant the disappearance of romanesque architecture in the monastery, but allowed for the new basilica to be built. The basilica is preserved in its original style to this day. - in: wikipedia