Tuesday 30 May 2017

Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand

The landscapes of this UNESCO site of New Zealand can really take the breath away!

Mitre Peak, Fiorland National Park
This postcard was sent by Stephanie

Mitre Peak (Māori Rahotu) is an iconic mountain in the South Island of New Zealand. It is one of the most photographed peaks in the country.
Part of the reason for its iconic status is its location. Close to the shore of Milford Sound, in the Fiordland National Park in the southwestern South Island, it is a stunning sight. The mountain rises near vertically to 5,560 feet (1,690 m), i.e. just over a mile, from the water of the sound; it is more technically a fjord. The peak is actually a closely grouped set of five peaks, although from most easily accessible viewpoints it appears as a single point. Milford Sound is part of Te Wahipounamu, a World Heritage Site as declared by UNESCO. - in: wikipedia

Miilford Track
This postcard was sent by Jackie

The Milford Track is a widely known tramping (hiking) route in New Zealand – located amidst mountains and temperate rain forest in Fiordland National Park in the southwest of the South Island.
The 53.5 km hike starts at Glade Wharf at the head of Lake Te Anau and finishes in Milford Sound at Sandfly Point, traversing rainforests, wetlands, and an alpine pass. - in: wikipedia

Aoraki/Mount Cook
This postcard was sent by Jackie

Aoraki / Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Its height since 2014 is listed as 3,724 metres (12,218 feet), down from 3,764 m (12,349 ft) before December 1991, due to a rockslide and subsequent erosion. It lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island. A popular tourist destination, it is also a favourite challenge for mountain climbers. Aoraki / Mount Cook consists of three summits, from South to North the Low Peak (3,593 m or 11,788 ft), Middle Peak (3,717 m or 12,195 ft) and High Peak. The summits lie slightly south and east of the main divide of the Southern Alps, with the Tasman Glacier to the east and the Hooker Glacier to the southwest. - in: wikipedia

Mount Sefton
This postcard was sent from Germany by Jennifer

Mount Sefton (Māori: Maukatua) is a mountain in the Aroarokaehe Range of the Southern Alps of New Zealand, just 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of Aoraki / Mount Cook. To the south lies Mount Brunner, and to the north The Footstool, both more than 400 metres (1,300 ft) shorter. - in: wikipedia

Monday 22 May 2017

Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz

Besides beautiful gardens, this park has some wonderful buildings

Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz
This postcard was sent by Michaela

The Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz is an exceptional example of landscape design and planning of the Age of the Enlightenment, the 18th century. Its diverse components - outstanding buildings, landscaped parks and gardens in the English style, and subtly modified expanses of agricultural land - serve aesthetic, educational, and economic purposes in an exemplary manner. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/534

Sunday 21 May 2017

Muskauer Park / Park Mużakowski

This UNESCO site is a large English garden between Poland and Germany

Muskau Park
Muskau Park (GermanMuskauer Park, PolishPark Mużakowski) is a landscape park in the Upper Lusatia region of Germany and Poland. It is the largest and one of the most famous English gardens in Central Europe, stretching along both sides of the German–Polish border on the Lusatian Neisse. The park was laid out from 1815 onwards at the behest of Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau (1785–1871), centered on his Schloss Muskau residence.

Muskau Park
This postcard was sent by Maria

The park covers 3.5 square kilometers (1.4 sq mi) of land in Poland and 2.1 km2(0.81 sq mi) in Germany. It extends on both sides of the Neisse, which constitutes the border between the countries. The 17.9 km2 (6.9 sq mi) buffer zone around the park encompassed the German town Bad Muskau (Upper SorbianMužakow) in the West and Polish Łęknica (Wjeska, former Lugknitz) in the East. While Muskau Castle is situated west of the river, the heart of the park is the partially wooded raised areas on the east bank called The Park on Terraces. In 2003 a pedestrian bridge spanning the Neisse was rebuilt to connect both parts. - in: wikipedia

Old City of Zamość

I think I said before that I knew very little about Poland before Postcrossing, and now thanks to postcards there are several Polish cities that I'd love to visit, like Zamość

Old City of Zamość
This postcard was sent by Monika

Zamosc was founded in the 16th century by the chancellor Jan Zamoysky on the trade route linking western and northern Europe with the Black Sea. Modelled on Italian theories of the 'ideal city' and built by the architect Bernando Morando, a native of Padua, Zamosc is a perfect example of a late-16th-century Renaissance town. It has retained its original layout and fortifications and a large number of buildings that combine Italian and central European architectural traditions. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/564

Friday 19 May 2017

Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is the most important monastery of the Russian Orthodox Church and is “the pearl” of the Russian church architecture

Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius
This postcard was sent by Elena

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. Being situated in the town of Sergiev Posad about 70 km to the north-east from Moscow, it is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/657

Historic and Architectural Complex of the Kazan Kremlin

The Kazan Kremlin is a historic citadel built on the ruins of a castle

Kazan Kremlin
Built on an ancient site, the Kazan Kremlin dates from the Muslim period of the Golden Horde and the Kazan Khanate. It was conquered by Ivan the Terrible in 1552 and became the Christian See of the Volga Land. The only surviving Tatar fortress in Russia and an important place of pilgrimage, the Kazan Kremlin consists of an outstanding group of historic buildings dating from the 16th to 19th centuries, integrating remains of earlier structures of the 10th to 16th centuries. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/980/

Cathedral of the Annunciation
This postcard was sent by Christina

Annunciation Cathedral of Kazan Kremlin was the first Orthodox church within the walls of the Kazan Kremlin. Initially, a wooden church was quickly built under direction of Tsar Ivan IV in 1552, before it was replaced by a stone cathedral. The cathedral became the center of religious and educational life and missionary efforts in the province of Kazan. - in: https://orthodoxwiki.org/Annunciation_Cathedral_(Kazan_Kremlin,_Russia)

Spasskaya Tower
This postcard was sent by Maria

The Spasskaya Towerwhich anchors the southern end of the Kremlin and serves as the main entrance to the Kremlin, is named after the Spassky Monastery, which used to be located nearby. Among the monastery's buildings were the Church of St. Nicholas (1560s, four piers) and the Cathedral of the Saviour's Transfiguration (1590s, six piers). They were destroyed by the Communists during Joseph Stalin's rule. - in: wikipedia

Historical Centre of the City of Yaroslavl

Yaroslavl is one of the many Russian cities with several wonderful churches, mainly from the 17th century

Church of Elijah the Prophet

The most beautiful church of the city, the Church of Elijah the Prophet is the pride and joy of Yaroslavl and the favorite tourist attraction. It was built in 1647 – 1650 and is one of the most complete and best-preserved monuments of Yaroslavl. Built on the site of two churches, the Intercession and Elijah, the church is considered a real masterpiece of ancient Russian art. - in: http://www.advantour.com/russia/yaroslavl/elijah-theprophet-church.htm

Thursday 18 May 2017

Bursa and Cumalıkızık: the Birth of the Ottoman Empire

In the first capital city of the Ottoman Empire is possible to find several mosques, bazaars, public baths and many other historic monuments

Tophane Clock Tower
This postcard was sent by Nihan

The clock tower at Tophane proudly stands in Bursa’s old citadel near the tombs of Osman Gazi and Orhan Gazi.  First built during the reign of Sultan Abdülaziz (1861-1876), the original clock tower was destroyed.  

Tophane Clock Tower
This postcard, unfortunately repeated, was sent by Erhan

The existing clock tower was rebuilt in 1904 and in recent years was reconstructed to its current condition.  The tower prominently looks out over the city from the edge of the cliff just inside the ruined city walls.  At night, the brightly lit clock tower shines as a beacon in Bursa’s city center. - in: http://www.thebestofbursa.com/tophane-clock-tower/

Green Mausoleum
This postcard was sent by Onder

Bursa’s Green Mausoleum (Yeşil Türbesi) is the resting place of Mehmet I Çelebi (1381-1421), the fifth Ottoman sultan. The tomb was constructed by the sultan himself and is located in his social complex in Bursa’s Yeşil (green) neighborhood on the east end of the city center. Surrounded by a mosque, a madrassah, a park, and a block of old Ottoman homes now housing souvenir and antique shops, UNESCO-listed Yeşil is one of the most beautiful spots in the city. Mehmet’s Green Mausoleum certainly contributes to the beauty and interest of the complex. - in: http://www.thebestofbursa.com/after-dark-at-yesil-turbesi/

Emir Sultan Mosque

Emir Sultan Mosque (TurkishEmir Sultan Camii) is a mosque in BursaTurkey. First built in the 14th century, it was rebuilt in 1804 upon the orders of the Ottoman Sultan Selim III, and re-built again in 1868, along slightly varying plans each time.
The present-day mosque, bearing his epithet Emir Sultan, and situated in Bursa quarter of the same name (although written contiguously, as “Emirsultan”), was built after the collapse of the original 14th-century monument in the 1766 earthquake.
There are two minarets at its corners on the north. There are numerous historic fountains scattered around the complex (külliye); the earliest dating from 1743. - in: wikipedia


Xanthos was the capital of Lycia, a region in Anatolia, and Letoon was a sanctuary not far from the city

This postcard was sent by Onder

Xanthos was the name of a city in ancient Lycia, the site of present-day KınıkAntalya Province, Turkey, and of the river on which the city is situated. The ruins of Xanthus are on the south slopes of a hill, the ancient acropolis, located on the northern outskirts of the modern city, on the left bank of the Xanthus, which flows beneath the hill. A single road, Xantos yolu, encircles the hill and runs through the ruins.
Xanthos was a center of culture and commerce for the Lycians, and later for the Persians, Greeks and Romans who in turn conquered the city and occupied the adjacent territory. After the fall of the Byzantine Empire in the 15th century, the region became Turkish. The ancient city had long since been abandoned. - in: Wikipedia

City of Safranbolu

Here's another example of a site from where I got first a postcard of a painting but as soon as I could I got another one with a real image

This postcard was sent from Belgium by Hasip

Safranbolu is a town and district of Karabük Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey. It is about 9 km north of the city of Karabük, 200 kilometres (120 mi) north of Ankara and about 100 km south of the Black Sea coast. 


The Old Town preserves many historic buildings, with 1008 registered historical artifacts. These are: 1 private museum, 25 mosques, 5 tombs, 8 historical fountains, 5 Turkish baths, 3 caravanserais, 1 historical clock tower, 1 sundial and hundreds of houses and mansions. Also, there are mounds of ancient settlements, rock tombs and historical bridges. The Old Town is situated in a deep ravine in a fairly dry area in the rain shadow of the mountains. The New Town can be found on the plateau about two kilometers west of the Old Town. - in: Wikipedia 

Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia

Apparently this is a nice place to be viewed from a hot air balloon 

This postcard arrived from Portugal sent by João

Located on the central Anatolia plateau within a volcanic landscape sculpted by erosion to form a succession of mountain ridges, valleys and pinnacles known as “fairy chimneys” or hoodoos, Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia cover the region between the cities of Nevşehir, Ürgüp and Avanos, the sites of Karain, Karlık, Yeşilöz, Soğanlı and the subterranean cities of Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu. The area is bounded on the south and east by ranges of extinct volcanoes with Erciyes Dağ (3916 m) at one end and Hasan Dağ (3253 m) at the other. The density of its rock-hewn cells, churches, troglodyte villages and subterranean cities within the rock formations make it one of the world's most striking and largest cave-dwelling complexes. Though interesting from a geological and ethnological point of view, the incomparable beauty of the decor of the Christian sanctuaries makes Cappadocia one of the leading examples of the post-iconoclastic Byzantine art period.

This postcard was sent by Onder

It is believed that the first signs of monastic activity in Cappadocia date back to the 4th century at which time small anchorite communities, acting on the teachings of Basileios the Great, Bishop of Kayseri, began inhabiting cells hewn in the rock. In later periods, in order to resist Arab invasions, they began banding together into troglodyte villages or subterranean towns such as Kaymakli or Derinkuyu which served as places of refuge.

This postcard was sent from Portugal by José "Pombal"

Cappadocian monasticism was already well established in the iconoclastic period (725-842) as illustrated by the decoration of many sanctuaries which kept a strict minimum of symbols (most often sculpted or tempera painted crosses). However, after 842 many rupestral churches were dug in Cappadocia and richly decorated with brightly coloured figurative painting. Those in the Göreme Valley include Tokalı Kilise and El Nazar Kilise (10th century), St. Barbara Kilise and Saklı Kilise (11th century) and Elmalı Kilise and Karanlık Kilise (end of the 12th – beginning of the 13th century). - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/357/

Tuesday 16 May 2017

Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna

This site, composed by 8 monuments, is known by the wonderful mosaics. These are the kind of buildings where a visit to the interior is a must

Mosaics of Ravenna
This postcard was sent by Martina

Ravenna was the seat of the Roman Empire in the 5th century and then of Byzantine Italy until the 8th century. It has a unique collection of early Christian mosaics and monuments. All eight buildings were constructed in the 5th and 6th centuries. They show great artistic skill, including a wonderful blend of Graeco-Roman tradition, Christian iconography and oriental and Western styles. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/788

Mausoleum of Galla Placidia
This postcard was sent by Paula

The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is a Roman building in RavennaItaly. It was listed with seven other structures in Ravenna in the World Heritage List in 1996. The UNESCO experts describe it as "the earliest and best preserved of all mosaic monuments, and at the same time one of the most artistically perfect".
The interior of the mausoleum is covered with rich Byzantine mosaics, and light enters through alabaster window panels. The inside contains two famous mosaic lunettes, and the rest of the interior is filled with mosaics of Christian and Apocalyptic symbols. - in: wikipedia

Church of St. Vitale
This postcard was sent by Alessandro

The "Basilica of San Vitale" is a church in RavennaItaly, and one of the most important examples of early Christian Byzantine art and architecture in Europe.
The church was begun by Bishop Ecclesius in 526, when Ravenna was under the rule of the Ostrogoths and completed by the 27th Bishop of Ravenna, Maximian, in 547 preceding the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna.
The church is most famous for its wealth of Byzantine mosaics, the largest and best preserved outside of Constantinople. The church is of extreme importance in Byzantine art, as it is the only major church from the period of the Emperor Justinian I to survive virtually intact to the present day. Furthermore, it is thought to reflect the design of the Byzantine Imperial Palace Audience Chamber, of which nothing at all survives. - in: wikipedia

Mausoleum of Theodoric
This postcard was sent by Alessandro 

The Mausoleum of Theoderic is an ancient monument just outside RavennaItaly. It was built in 520 AD by Theoderic the Great as his future tomb.
The current structure of the mausoleum is divided into two decagonal orders, one above the other; both are made of Istria stone. Its roof is a single 300–ton Istrian stone, 10 meters in diameter. A niche leads down to a room that was probably a chapel for funeral liturgies; a stair leads to the upper floor. Located in the centre of the floor is a circular porphyry stone grave, in which Theoderic was buried. His remains were removed during Byzantine rule, when the mausoleum was turned into a Christian oratory. In the late 19th century, silting from a nearby rivulet that had partly submerged the mausoleum was drained and excavated. - in: wikipedia

Basilica of St. Apollinare in Classe
This postcard was sent by Alessandro

The Basilica of Sant' Apollinare in Classe is an important monument of Byzantine art near RavennaItaly.
The imposing brick structure was erected at the beginning of 6th century by order of Bishop Ursicinus, using money from the Greek banker Iulianus Argentarius.
The exterior has a large façade with two simple uprights and one mullioned window with three openings. The narthex and building to the right of the entry are later additions, as is the fine 9th century round bell tower with mullioned windows.
The church is on a nave and two aisles. An ancient altar in the mid of the nave covers the place of the saint's martyrdom. The church ends with a polygonal apse, sided by two chapels with apses. - in: wikipedia

The 8 structures inscribed (in red what I have):

  • Mausoleum of Galla Placidia
  • Church of St. Vitale
  • Neonian Baptistry
  • Archiepiscopal Chapel
  • Basilica of St. Apollinaire Nuovo
  • Arian Baptistry
  • Mausoleum of Theodoric
  • Basilica of St. Apollinare in Classe