Monday 29 October 2018

Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion

The last years on the way to Portugal or on the way back to Switzerland I always try to go to a new UNESCO site. This year we stopped in Saint-Emilion. It has very beautiful monuments but it could be cleaner... The wine is absolutely great but very expensive. However, I couldn't waste the chance to taste it ;)

This postcard was sent by João Nogueira

Viticulture was introduced to this fertile region of Aquitaine by the Romans, and intensified in the Middle Ages. The Saint-Emilion area benefited from its location on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela and many churches, monasteries and hospices were built there from the 11th century onwards. It was granted the special status of a 'jurisdiction' during the period of English rule in the 12th century. It is an exceptional landscape devoted entirely to wine-growing, with many fine historic monuments in its towns and villages. - in:


Saint-Émilion's history goes back to prehistoric times and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with fascinating Romanesque churches and ruins stretching all along steep and narrow streets.
The Romans planted vineyards in what was to become Saint-Émilion as early as the 2nd century. In the 4th century, the Latin poet Ausonius lauded the fruit of the bountiful vine.
The town, previously called Ascumbas, was renamed after the monk Émilion (d.767), a travelling confessor, who settled in a hermitage carved into the rock there in the 8th century. The monks who followed him started up the commercial wine production in the area.


Saint-Émilion is one of the principal red wine areas of Bordeaux along with the MédocGraves and Pomerol. The region is much smaller than the Médoc and adjoins Pomerol. As in Pomerol and the other appellations on the right bank of the Gironde, the primary grape varieties used are the Merlot and Cabernet Franc, with relatively small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon also being used by some châteaux.


Saint Émilion wines were not included in the 1855 Bordeaux classification. The first formal classification in Saint-Émilion was made in 1955. Unlike the 1855 classification, it is regularly revised. - in: wikipedia

Chaine des Puys - Limagne fault tectonic arena

I bought this first postcard a few years ago at a gas station without knowing that this place was in the World Heritage tentative list. I'm glad I did it because this year it was inscribed. The volcanoes are visible from the highway where that gas station is located and this year I tried find postcards there again but I only found more in Clermont-Ferrand and that allowed me to see the volcanoes a lot closer

Chaine de Puys

The Chaîne des Puys is a north-south oriented chain of cinder coneslava domes, and maars in the Massif Central of France. The chain is about 40 km (25 mi) long, and the identified volcanic features include 48 cinder cones, eight lava domes, and 15 maars and explosion craters. Its highest point is the lava dome of Puy de Dôme, located near the middle of the chain, which is 1,465 m (4,806 ft) high.

Chaine de Puys

The chain began to form approximately 95, 000 years ago, and the volcanic activity that formed the range stopped only about 10,000 years ago. The majority of the cones were formed by Strombolian eruptions, and these cones usually have well-defined summit craters. Some have nested craters, and others show broken rims where lava poured through.
In contrast, Puy de Dôme was created by a Peléan eruption; this type of eruption is characterized by long dormant periods periodically interrupted by sudden, extremely violent eruptions. - in: wikipedia

Sunday 28 October 2018

Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France

This sites includes 78 structures and some of them were already in the UNESCO World Heritage list. I've already been in Périgueux, Bordeaux and more recently in Clermont-Ferrand but I'd love to do the whole route.

Routes of Santiago de Compostela
This postcard arrived from Portugal sent by Martinha

Santiago de Compostela was the supreme goal for countless thousands of pious pilgrims who converged there from all over Europe throughout the Middle Ages. To reach Spain pilgrims had to pass through France, and the group of important historical monuments included in this inscription marks out the four routes by which they did so. - in:

Saint-Front Cathedral

Saint-Front Cathedral is located in Périgueux, the capital of the historic Périgord and Préfecture of the Dordogne department. - in:

Saint-Front Cathedral
The Saint Front Cathedral was designed on the model of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice. The layout of the cathedral is in the form of a Greek cross. Its five domes with turrets show a direct architectural relationship with oriental religious buildings, which served as inspiration for the architects of Saint-Front Cathedral. The domes of Saint-Front Cathedral were once different in size, but were redesigned by architect Paul Abadie to have one size, and to be symmetrical. The pillars carrying the load of the superstructure are 6 meters wide. The domes are inaccessible to the public. - in: wikipedia

Basilica of Notre-Dame du Port

The Basilica of Notre-Dame du Port is a Romanesque basilica, formerly a collegiate church, in the Port quarter of Clermont-Ferrand, between Place Delille and the cathedral. From the 10th century to the French Revolution it was served by a community of canonsregular until the 13th century, and thereafter secular.
According to tradition, the church was founded by the bishop of ClermontSaint Avitus, in the 6th century and was rebuilt in the 11th or 12th centuries after being burned down by the Normans. The establishment here of a community of canons took place no earlier than the middle of the 10th century, under bishop Étienne II of Clermont. - in: wikipedia

Basilica of Saint-Sernin

The Basilica of Saint-Sernin (OccitanBasilica de Sant Sarnin) is a church in ToulouseFrance, the former abbey church of the Abbey of Saint-Sernin or St Saturnin. Apart from the church, none of the abbey buildings remain. The current church is located on the site of a previous basilica of the 4th century which contained the body of Saint Saturnin or Sernin, the first bishop of Toulouse in c. 250. Constructed in the Romanesque style between about 1080 and 1120, with construction continuing thereafter, Saint-Sernin is the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe, if not the world. The church is particularly noted for the quality and quantity of its Romanesque sculpture. - in: wikipedia

Tour Pey-Berland
Bordeaux Cathedral (FrenchCathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux) is a Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to Saint Andrew and located in BordeauxFrance.
The cathedral was consecrated by Pope Urban II in 1096. Of the original Romanesque edifice, only a wall in the nave remains. The Royal Gate is from the early 13th century, while the rest of the construction is mostly from the 14th-15th centuries.
A separate bell tower, the Tour Pey-Berland, stands next to the cathedral. - in: wikipedia

Mont Saint-Michel
This postcard was sent by Ulla

Le Mont-Saint-Michel (EnglishSaint Michael's Mount) is an island commune in Normandy, France.
The island has held strategic fortifications since ancient times and since the 8th century AD has been the seat of the monastery from which it draws its name. The structural composition of the town exemplifies the feudal society that constructed it: on top, God, the abbey and monastery; below, the great halls; then stores and housing; and at the bottom, outside the walls, houses for fishermen and farmers. - in: wikipedia

Vézelay Abbey

Vézelay Abbey (FrenchAbbaye Sainte-Marie-Madeleine de Vézelay) was a Benedictine and Cluniac monastery in Vézelay in the Yonne department in northern BurgundyFrance. The Benedictine abbey church, now the Basilica of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine (Saint Mary Magdalene), with its complicated program of imagery in sculpted capitals and portals, is one of the outstanding masterpieces of Burgundian Romanesque art and architecture. - in: wikipedia

Bourges Cathedral
This postcard was sent by Jordi

Bourges Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Bourges) is a Roman Catholic church located in BourgesFrance.
The present Cathedral was built as a replacement for a mid-11th-century structure, traces of which survive in the crypt. - in: wikipedia

Amiens Cathedral
This postcard was sent by Axel

The Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Amiens (FrenchBasilique Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens), or simply Amiens Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral and seat of the Bishop of Amiens.
The cathedral contains the alleged head of John the Baptist, a relic brought from Constantinople by Wallon de Sarton as he was returning from the Fourth Crusade. - in: wikipedia

Routes of Santiago de Compostela: Camino Francés and Routes of Northern Spain

I'd love to do this historical road. It must be a wonderful adventure. Some of these postcards I bought them in Burgos, but one of them was sent by my cousin Isabel, who is like a sister to me. She did recently part of the Portuguese route with her boyfriend. Even exhausted by the end, she loved it and she wants to do it again

Route of Santiago
This postcard was sent from Portugal by Joana

The Route of Santiago de Compostela (Camino de Santiago) is a narrow route through the north of the Iberian Peninsula extending over 800 km from the Spanish-French border to the city of Santiago de Compostela, passing through five different Autonomous Communities and over one hundred inhabited towns.

Route of Santiago

The Camino de Santiago was originally a religious pilgrimage route culminating in the visit to the tomb of St James the Apostle at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (Galicia). The first source tracing the Apostle to Spain dates back to the end of the 6th century. The Acts of the Apostles attribute the evangelisation of Hispania to St James. This information was later corroborated in De ortu et obitu Patrum by Isidoro de Sevilla (7th century) and in the Commentarium in Apocalypsin by St Beatus of Liebana (8th century). The discovery of the Apostle's tomb in Galicia dates to the 9th century under the rule of Alfonso II the Chaste. As a result of St Jerome’s teachings that the resting place of the Apostles should be in the province where they had preached the gospel, the remains of St. James were taken from Jerusalem to Spain. The news of the discovery spread quickly throughout Western Europe, and Santiago de Compostela became a pilgrimage site. The historical moment when the tomb was discovered, i.e. 9th century Muslim Spain, defined the scope and importance of the discovery in the Christian world of the time, swiftly transforming the place into a pilgrimage site on par with Jerusalem and Rome.

Route of Santiago

During its eleven centuries of known history, the Route of Santiago de Compostela has become a veritable crossroads, fostering ongoing cultural dialogue among the pilgrims travelling it and the towns through which it passes. This route also became an important trade axis and a place for the dissemination of knowledge. Constantly evolving, the Camino includes a set of first-class historical heritage sites, outstanding natural landscapes, and intangible heritage, a prime example of which is the oral narrative that entertained and continues to entertain pilgrims on their journey to Santiago de Compostela. Pilgrimages were an essential part of European cultural and spiritual life during the Middle Ages and along the route, pilgrims were provided with what they needed to ensure their physical and spiritual well-being. Consequently, there is also a wealth of heritage associated with the Camino de Santiago, such as churches, hospitals, hostels, monasteries, traveller accommodations, crosses, bridges, and other types of construction, which today represent all aspects of artistic and architectural evolution from the Romanesque to the Baroque and constitute an indivisible part of the Camino, defining it both physically and culturally.

Route of Santiago

The importance of the Jacobean route also contributed to the economic and social development of the towns along the way, attributable to the large number of visitors and economic activities related to services offered to pilgrims. - in:

Shadows of the Pilgrims
This postcard was sent by my cousin Isabel

The oldest route to Santiago de Compostela, first taken in the 9th century, is referred to as the Original Way or Camino Primitivo, which begins in Oviedo.

Route of Santiago

Pilgrims on the Way of St. James walk for weeks or months to visit the city of Santiago de Compostela. Some Europeans begin their pilgrimage on foot from the very doorstep of their homes, just as their medieval counterparts did. - in: wikipedia

Cape Finisterre
Cape Finisterre is a rock-bound peninsula on the west coast of GaliciaSpain.
In Roman times it was believed to be the end of the known world. The name Finisterre, like that of Finistère in France, derives from the Latin finis terrae, meaning "end of the earth".

Cape Finisterre

Cape Finisterre is the final destination for many pilgrims on the Way of St. James, the pilgrimage to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.  - in: wikipedia

Tower of Hercules

There are a lot of postcard collectors that collect lighthouses. I'm not a big fan, but this one I love it and I visited it last week on a very rainy day

Tower of  Hercules
This postcard was sent by Susana

The Tower of Hercules has served as a lighthouse and landmark at the entrance of La Coruña harbour in north-western Spain since the late 1st century A.D. when the Romans built the Farum Brigantium. The Tower, built on a 57 metre high rock, rises a further 55 metres, of which 34 metres correspond to the Roman masonry and 21 meters to the restoration directed by architect Eustaquio Giannini in the 18th century, who augmented the Roman core with two octagonal forms. Immediately adjacent to the base of the Tower, is a small rectangular Roman building. The site also features a sculpture park, the Monte dos Bicos rock carvings from the Iron Age and a Muslim cemetery. The Roman foundations of the building were revealed in excavations conducted in the 1990s. 

Tower of Hercules

Many legends from the Middle Ages to the 19th century surround the Tower of Hercules, which is unique as it is the only lighthouse of Greco-Roman antiquity to have retained a measure of structural integrity and functional continuity. - in:

Monday 8 October 2018

Palmeral of Elche

It is estimated that there are over 200,000 palm trees in the Palmeral of Elche

Palmeral and Basilica of Santa Maria
This postcard was sent by Boris

The Palmeral of Elche, a landscape of groves of date palms, was formally laid out, with elaborate irrigation systems, at the time the Muslim city of Elche was erected, towards the end of the tenth century A.C., when much of the Iberian peninsula was Arab. 

Palm Grove of Elche
This postcard was sent by Jordi

The Palmeral is an oasis, a system for agrarian production in arid areas. It is also a unique example of Arab agricultural practices on the European continent. Cultivation of date palms in Elche is known at least since the Iberian times, dating around the fifth century B.C. - in:

Thursday 4 October 2018

Old and New Towns of Edinburgh

Scotland is the country of the United Kingdom that attracts me most and this last weekend I finally had the chance to visit Edinburgh with my wife! We were not disappointed! The monuments are wonderful and I tasted haggis and drank a scotch or two. I hope to return to see more of the country

Edinburgh Castle from the Dugald Stewart Monument

Edinburgh has been the Scottish capital since the 15th century. It has two distinct areas: the Old Town, dominated by a medieval fortress; and the neoclassical New Town, whose development from the 18th century onwards had a far-reaching influence on European urban planning. The harmonious juxtaposition of these two contrasting historic areas, each with many important buildings, is what gives the city its unique character. - in:

Edinburgh Castle
This postcard arrived from Portugal sent by Joaninha

Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of EdinburghScotland, from its position on the Castle Rock. Archaeologists have established human occupation of the rock since at least the Iron Age (2nd century AD), although the nature of the early settlement is unclear. There has been a royal castle on the rock since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until 1633. From the 15th century the castle's residential role declined, and by the 17th century it was principally used as military barracks with a large garrison. Its importance as a part of Scotland's national heritage was recognised increasingly from the early 19th century onwards, and various restoration programmes have been carried out over the past century and a half. As one of the most important strongholds in the Kingdom of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle was involved in many historical conflicts from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century to the Jacobite Rising of 1745. 

Ross Fountain and Edinburgh Castle

Few of the present buildings pre-date the Lang Siege of the 16th century, when the medieval defences were largely destroyed by artillery bombardment. The most notable exceptions are St Margaret's Chapel from the early 12th century, which is regarded as the oldest building in Edinburgh, the Royal Palace and the early-16th-century Great Hall, although the interiors have been much altered from the mid-Victorian period onwards. The castle also houses the Scottish regalia, known as the Honours of Scotland and is the site of the Scottish National War Memorial and the National War Museum of Scotland. The British Army is still responsible for some parts of the castle, although its presence is now largely ceremonial and administrative. Some of the castle buildings house regimental museums which contribute to its presentation as a tourist attraction. - in: wikipedia

Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, commonly referred to as Holyrood Palace, is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland, Queen Elizabeth II. Located at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace has served as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scot ssince the 16th century, and is a setting for state occasions and official entertaining. - in: wikipedia

St Giles' Cathedral

St Giles' Cathedral, also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, is the principal place of worship of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh. Its distinctive crown steeple is a prominent feature of the city skyline, at about a third of the way down the Royal Mile which runs from the Castle to Holyrood Palace. The church has been one of Edinburgh's religious focal points for approximately 900 years. The present church dates from the late 14th century, though it was extensively restored in the 19th century, and is protected as a category A listed building. Today it is sometimes regarded as the "Mother Church of Presbyterianism". The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Giles, who is the patron saint of Edinburgh, as well as of cripples and lepers, and was a very popular saint in the Middle Ages. It is the Church of Scotland parish church for part of Edinburgh's Old Town. - in: wikipedia

Scott Monument

The Scott Monument is a Victorian Gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. It is the second largest monument to a writer in the world after the José Martí monument in Havana. It stands in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh, opposite the Jenners department store on Princes Street and near to Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station, which is named after Scott's Waverley novels.
The tower is 200 feet 6 inches (61.11 m) high, and has a series of viewing platforms reached by a series of narrow spiral staircases giving panoramic views of central Edinburgh and its surroundings. - in: wikipedia

Princes Street

Princes Street is one of the major thoroughfares in central EdinburghScotland, and the main shopping street in the capital. It is the southernmost street of Edinburgh's New Town, stretching around 1 mile (1.6 km) from Lothian Road in the west, to Leith Street in the east. The street is mostly closed to private cars, with public transport given priority. The street has virtually no buildings on the south side, allowing panoramic views of the Old TownEdinburgh Castle, and the valley between. - in: wikipedia