Sunday 26 August 2018

Historic Town of Ouro Preto

Ouro Preto is probably the place of Brazil that I would most love to visit, much because of the concentration of baroque churches in this city.

Panoramic view of Ouro Preto

This postcard was sent by Gisely

 Founded at the end of the 17th century, Ouro Preto (Black Gold) was the focal point of the gold rush and Brazil’s golden age in the 18th century. With the exhaustion of the gold mines in the 19th century, the city’s influence declined but many churches, bridges and fountains remain as a testimony to its past prosperity and the exceptional talent of the Baroque sculptor Aleijadinho. - in:

This postcard was sent by Paulo

Ouro Preto, in the state of Minas Gerais, is one of Brazil's best-preserved colonial towns and a UNESCO world heritage site. Among other historical and colonial cities of Minas Gerais (TiradentesSão João del ReiMariana and Diamantina), Ouro Preto is one of the most popular travelling destinations in Brazil. - in:

Churches of Nossa Sra. da Conceição, São Francisco de Assis and Nossa Sra. do Rosário
This postcard arrived from Russia sent by Yulia

Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Immaculate Conception): This 1727 church is famous for its 8 lavishly decorated altars. The cemetery here has the grave of Aleijadinho, and the sacristy houses a museum dedicated to him.

Church of São Francisco de Assis (Saint Francis of Assisi): This unique rococo-style church, built in 1776, is arguably Aleijadinho's greatest work.

Church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário: Built in 1785 with slave labor. Slaves were forbidden to worship at any other church. The church has a unique shape, with a contour formed by three convergent ovals. - in:

Church of Saint Francis of Assisi
This postcard was sent by Luzia

The Church of Saint Francis of Assisi is a Rococo Catholic church in Ouro PretoBrazil.
Its erection began in 1766 after a design by the Brazilian architect and sculptor Antônio Francisco Lisboa, otherwise known as Aleijadinho. Lisboa designed both the structure of the church and the carved decorations on the interior, which were only finished towards the end of the 19th century. The circular bell towers and the oculus closed by a relief were original features in religious architecture of that time in Brazil. The façade has a single entrance door under a soapstone frontispiece under a relief depicting Saint Francis receiving the stigmata. The interior is richly decorated with golden woodwork, statues and paintings, and the wooden ceiling displays a painting by Manuel da Costa Ataíde. - in: wikipedia

Sunday 19 August 2018

Kathmandu Valley

Unfortunately, Nepal was hit in 2015 by a strong earthquake that resulted in several damages in the Kathmandu Valley. Boudhanath was one of the many buildings afected. On November 2015 reconstruction began.

This postcard was sent from Canada by Jason

Boudhanath is a stupa in KathmanduNepal. (...) Located about 11 km (6.8 mi) from the center and northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu, the stupa's massive mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal.
The Buddhist stupa of Boudhanath dominates the skyline. The ancient Stupa is one of the largest in the world. The influx of large populations of refugees from Tibet has seen the construction of over 50 Tibetan Gompas (Monasteries) around Boudhanath. As of 1979, Boudhanath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with Swayambhunath, it is one of the most popular tourist sites in the Kathmandu area. - in: wikipedia

Bhaktapur Durbar Square
This postcard was sent from Australia by Helen

Bhaktapur Durbar Square is the plaza in front of the royal palace of the old Bhaktapur Kingdom, 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) above sea level.
The Bhaktapur Durbar Square is located in the current town of Bhaktapur, also known as Bhadgaon, which lies 13 km east of Kathmandu. While the complex consists of at least four distinct squares (Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square and Pottery Square), the whole area is informally known as the Bhaktapur Durbar Square and is a highly visited site in the Kathmandu Valley.
The Durbar square is surrounded by spectacular architecture and vividly showcases the skills of the Newari artists and craftsmen over several countries. - in: wikipedia

Thursday 16 August 2018

Brú na Bóinne - Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne

When I was in Portugal I had an Irish teacher who suggested me to go to work to Ireland. I didn't go and now I'm in Switzerland... 

This postcard was sent by Nora

Newgrange (IrishSí an Bhrú) is a prehistoric monument in County Meath, Ireland, located about one kilometre north of the River Boyne. It was built during the Neolithic period around 3000 BC to 2500 BC, making it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. The site consists of a large circular mound with a stone passageway and interior chambers. The mound has a retaining wall at the front and is ringed by engraved kerbstones. There is no agreement about what the site was used for, but it has been speculated that it had religious significance – it is aligned with the rising sun and its light floods the chamber on the winter solstice

This postcard was sent by Ania

It is the most famous monument within the Neolithic Brú na Bóinne complex, alongside the similar passage tomb mounds of Knowth and Dowth, and as such is a part of the Brú na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage Site. Newgrange also shares many similarities with other Neolithic constructions in Western Europe, such as Maeshowe in Orkney, Scotland and the Bryn Celli Ddu in Wales. - in: wikipedia

Tuesday 14 August 2018

Australian Fossil Mammal Sites (Riversleigh / Naracoorte)

This UNESCO site is located in two different places in Australia.

Riversleigh Fossil Mammal Site
This postcard was sent by Penny

Fossils at Riversleigh are found in limestone by lime-rich freshwater pools, and in caves, when the ecosystem was evolving from rich rainforest to semi-arid grassland community. Some of the fossils at Riversleigh are 25 million years old. High concentrations of calcium carbonate has meant the fossils are extremely well preserved. The fossil collection reveals mammalian evolution across a time span of more than 20 million years. There are more than 200 individual locations where fossils have been found. The fossil record here is significant because it provides evidence on evolution and the distribution of species across Gondwana.
Thirty-five fossil bat species have been identified at the site, which is the richest in the world. Cave deposits have been particularly rich in bat species. - in: wikipedia

Naracoorte Caves
This postcard was sent by Xue

Naracoorte Caves National Park is a national park near Naracoorte in the Limestone Coast tourism region in the south-east of South Australia (Australia).
The limestone of the area was formed from coral and marine creatures 200 million years ago and again 20 million years ago when the land was below sea level. Ground water since then has dissolved and eroded some of the limestone, creating the caves. The caves, such as the Victoria Fossil Cave and Blanche Cave, are often not far below ground, and holes open up creating traps for the unwary. This is the source of the remarkable collection of fossils. Mammals and other land creatures have fallen into open caves and been unable to escape. The fossil record has been preserved in strata formed from eroded topsoil washed and blown in. In some places, the fossil-bearing silt is up to 20 metres thick. Some of these areas are being preserved for future research when better methods of dating and reconstructing fossil records may have been found. These fossil traps are especially significant for tracing Australian megafauna. - in: wikipedia

Monday 13 August 2018

Christiansfeld, a Moravian Church Settlement

Postcards not always show the part of the site that we'd like to be shown. In this case I only had a card showing a well and a gate. Now I'm much happier with an aerial view, much more representative of the property 

This postcard was sent from Sweden by Doris

Founded in 1773 in South Jutland, the site is an example of a planned settlement of the Moravian Church, a Lutheran free congregation centred in Herrnhut, Saxony. The town was planned to represent the Protestant urban ideal, constructed around a central Church square. The architecture is homogenous and unadorned, with one and two-storey buildings in yellow brick with red tile roofs. The democratic organization of the Moravian Church, with its pioneering egalitarian philosophy, is expressed in its humanistic town planning.

This postcard was sent by Christina

The settlement’s plan opens onto agricultural land and includes important buildings for the common welfare such as large communal houses for the congregation’s widows and unmarried men and women. The buildings are still in use and many are still owned by the local Moravian Church community. - in:

Wednesday 8 August 2018

The Ahwar of Southern Iraq: Refuge of Biodiversity and the Relict Landscape of the Mesopotamian Cities

This was my very first postcard of an Iraqui site! The quality of the image is not very good but I'm extremely happy to have it!

Ziggurat of Ur
This postcard was sent from Denmark by Genek

The Ziggurat (or Great Zigguratof Ur (meaning "temple whose foundation creates aura") is a Neo-Sumerian ziggurat in what was the city of Ur near Nasiriyah, in present-day Dhi Qar ProvinceIraq. The structure was built during the Early Bronze Age (21st century BCE) but had crumbled to ruins by the 6th century BCE of the Neo-Babylonian period, when it was restored by King Nabonidus.
Its remains were excavated in the 1920s and 1930s by Sir Leonard Woolley. Under Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, they were encased by a partial reconstruction of the façade and the monumental staircase. The Ziggurat of Ur is the best-preserved of those known from Iran and Iraq, besides the ziggurat of Dur Untash (Chogha Zanbil). It is one of three well preserved structures of the Neo-Sumerian city of Ur, along with the Royal Mausolea and the Palace of Ur-Nammu (the E-hursag). - in: wikipedia

The seven components of this site (in red what I have):
  • The Iraqi side of Huwaizah Marshes
  • The Central Marshes
  • The East Hammar Marshes
  • The West Hammar Marshes
  • Uruk Archaeological City
  • Ur Archaeological City
  • Tell Eridu Archaeological Site

Thursday 2 August 2018

Morne Trois Pitons National Park

Now that I reached 800 UNESCO sites in my collection it's even harder to get new ones. And when I think the next one won't come any time soon, a nice surprise like this one arrives

Valley of Desolation
This postcard was sent from Austria by Monika

Morne Trois Pitons National Park is a World Heritage Site (since 1997) located in Dominica. This area was established as a national park by the Dominican government in July 1975, the first to be legally established in the country. The National Park is named after its highest mountain, Morne Trois Pitons, meaning mountain of three peaks. The park is a significant area of volcanic activity. Features within the part include the Valley of Desolation, a region of boiling mud ponds and small geysers; the Boiling LakeTitou Gorge, and Emerald Pool. - in: wikipedia

Wednesday 1 August 2018

Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura

Some of these caves, located in Ach Valley and in Lone Valley, were inhabited 40000 years ago

Caves and Ice Age Art in Swabian Jura
This postcard was sent by Gabi

Modern humans first arrived in Europe 43,000 years ago during the last ice age. One of the areas where they took up residence was the Swabian Jura in southern Germany. Excavated from the 1860s, six caves have revealed items dating from 43,000 to 33,000 years ago. Among them are carved figurines of animals (including cave lions, mammoths, horses and bovids), musical instruments and items of personal adornment. Other figurines depict creatures that are half animal, half human and there is one statuette of a woman. These archaeological sites feature some of the oldest figurative art worldwide and help shed light on the origins of human artistic development. - in:

Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region

This site consists of ten villages, Hara Castle and a cathedral, built between the 17th and 19th centuries. However,  the initial nomination included 26 sites.

Oura Church
This postcard was sent by Akiko

The Basilica of the Twenty-Six Holy Martyrs of Japanalso Ōura Church, is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and Co-cathedral in NagasakiJapan, built soon after the end of the Japanese government's Seclusion Policy in 1853. It is also known as the Church of the 26 Japanese Martyrs. It was for many years the only Western-style building declared a national treasure, and is said to be the oldest church in Japan.
In 1863, two French priests from the Société des Missions Étrangères, Fathers Louis Furet and Bernard Petitjean, landed in Nagasaki with the intention of building a church honoring the Twenty-Six Martyrs of Japan, nine European priests and seventeen Japanese Christians who were crucified in 1597 by order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The church was finished in 1864. Constructed by the master carpenter of the Glover ResidenceKoyama Hidenoshin, it was originally a small wooden church with three aisles and three octagonal towers. The present structure is a much larger Gothic basilica that dates from around 1879. This version was built of white stuccoed brick with five aisles, vaulted ceilings, and one octagonal tower. The design most likely came from a Belgian plan used by Catholic missionaries in an earlier church built in Osaka. The stained glass windows were imported from France. - in: wikipedia

The twelve properties part of this site (in red what I have):

  • Remains of Hara Castle
  • Kasuga Village and Sacred Places in Hirado (Kasuga Village and Mt. Yasumandake)
  • Kasuga Village and Sacred Places in Hirado (Nakaenoshima Island)
  • Sakitsu Village in Amakusa
  • Shitsu Village in Sotome
  • Ono Village in Sotome
  • Villages on Kuroshima Island
  • Remains of Villages on Nozaki Island
  • Villages on Kashiragashima Island
  • Villages on Hisaka Island
  • Egami Village on Naru Island (Egami Church and its Surroundings)
  • Oura Cathedral