Friday 25 November 2022

The Trulli of Alberobello

I am a little divided about Alberobello. On the one hand it looks exactly the kind of place I like: a cozy little village that is still unknown by the majority of the people. On the other hand, Isabella, who sent me the first card, says that tourism made this place unauthentic and artificial... I guess I have to go there and see it for myself! :)


The trulli , limestone dwellings found in the southern region of Puglia, are remarkable examples of drywall (mortarless) construction, a prehistoric building technique still in use in this region. 

This postcard was sent by Pasquale 

The trulli are made of roughly worked limestone boulders collected from neighbouring fields. Characteristically, they feature pyramidal, domed or conical roofs built up of corbelled limestone slabs. - in:

Historic Centre of Naples

When I lived in Switzerland I had a few coworkers from Naples but none of them sent me postcards... One was sent by Martina the other by Pasquale


From the Neapolis founded by Greek settlers in 470 B.C. to the city of today, Naples has retained the imprint of the successive cultures that emerged in Europe and the Mediterranean basin. This makes it a unique site, with a wealth of outstanding monuments such as the Church of Santa Chiara and the Castel Nuovo. - in:

Castel dell'Ovo and the Gulf of Naples

Castel dell'Ovo ("Egg Castle") is a seafront castle in Naples, located on the former island of Megaride, now a peninsula, on the Gulf of Naples in Italy. The castle's name comes from a legend about the Roman poet Virgil, who had a reputation in the Middle Ages as a great sorcerer and predictor of the future. In the legend, Virgil put a magical egg into the foundations to support the fortifications. It remains there along with his bones, and had this egg been broken, the castle would have been destroyed[ and a series of disastrous events for Naples would have followed. The castle is located between the districts of San Ferdinando and Chiaia, facing Mergellina across the sea. - in: wikipedia

Tuesday 25 October 2022

Cordouan Lighthouse

This postcard was a surprise even for the sender, who wasn't expecting to find it where she found it!

Cordouan Lighthouse

This postcard was sent by Martinha

Cordouan lighthouse is an active lighthouse located 7 kilometres (4.3 miles) at sea, near the mouth of the Gironde estuary in France. At a height of 67.5 metres (221 ft), it is the tenth-tallest "traditional lighthouse" in the world.

The Tour de Cordouan, the 'Patriarch of Lighthouses' is by far the oldest lighthouse in France, with construction starting in 1584 and finishing in 1611. Designed by leading Paris architect Louis de Foix [fr], the lighthouse is something of a Renaissance masterpiece, drawing inspiration from Roman mausoleums, and the palaces, cathedrals, and forts of the Renaissance. Three stories were added in the 18th century. - in: wikipedia

Sunday 2 October 2022

Monastery and Site of the Escurial, Madrid

I read a few years ago the book For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, a great novel about the Spanish Civil War, where the Escurial is several times mentioned. 

Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escurial
This postcard was sent  by Edit

Built at the end of the 16th century, the Escurial Monastery stands in an exceptionally beautiful site at the foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama, north of Madrid. It was the retreat of a mystic king, Philip II, and became in the last years of 'his reign the centre of the greatest political power of the time.
Philip II founded the monastery in 1563 as a votive monument and pantheon to the Spanish monarchs from the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V onwards. Its design, which is complex yet also simple, was created by Juan Bautista de Toledo, Spanish pupil of Michelangelo during the works of the Vatican Basilica, and completed by Juan de Herrera after Toledo’s death.

Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escurial
This postcard was sent by Marco

The royal site includes the monastery, a stone complex of extraordinary dimensions surrounded by formal gardens and the monks’ gardens, the House of Trades, and the Company Quarters where the palace and monastery services were accommodated. In the 18th century, the new Houses of Trades were built, completing the Lonja (the stone esplanade), and, consequently, a small town arose around the monastery, becoming a model of the Enlightenment, accommodating the court as well as the two country villas for Charles III’s sons.
Within the monastery’s massive volume, there is an ensemble of different buildings: the monastery, the church, the royal palace, the school, the seminary, and the royal library, brilliantly organised around eleven main courtyards and three service courtyards. Some say, the design is similar to that of the grill, the instrument used for St Lawrence’s martyrdom. Its austere architecture, a sparsely ornate style, known as “herreriano”, was a break with previous styles, and had a deep influence on Spanish architecture for more than half a century. Notwithstanding, several rooms do have a very rich and sublime decoration. Contemporary writers praised it as one of greatest paradigms of the arts: the “Eighth Wonder”.
The Royal Monastery and Site of St Lawrence of the Escurial is the monument that symbolises the ideological and artistic expression that inspired and represented the Spanish Catholic Monarchy during the Golden Age, between the 16th and 17th centuries, as well as its permanence until the end of the Ancien Régime. - in:

Ecosystem and Relict Cultural Landscape of Lopé-Okanda

 This was my very first postcard from Gabon

This postcard was sent by Nancy

The Ecosystem and Relict Cultural Landscape of Lopé-Okanda demonstrates an unusual interface between dense and well-conserved tropical rainforest and relict savannah environments with a great diversity of species, including endangered large mammals, and habitats. The site illustrates ecological and biological processes in terms of species and habitat adaptation to post-glacial climatic changes. It contains evidence of the successive passages of different peoples who have left extensive and comparatively well-preserved remains of habitation around hilltops, caves and shelters, evidence of iron-working and a remarkable collection of some 1,800 petroglyphs (rock carvings). The property’s collection of Neolithic and Iron Age sites, together with the rock art found there, reflects a major migration route of Bantu and other peoples from West Africa along the River Ogooué valley to the north of the dense evergreen Congo forests and to central east and southern Africa, that has shaped the development of the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. - in:


Babylon was the capital city of the ancient Babylonian Empire, which itself is a term referring to either of two separate empires in the Mesopotamian area in antiquity. 

Ruins of Babylon
This postcard was sent from the USA by Judi

Situated 85 km south of Baghdad, the property includes the ruins of the city which, between 626 and 539 BCE, was the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. It includes villages and agricultural areas surrounding the ancient city. Its remains, outer and inner city walls, gates, palaces and temples, are a unique testimony to one of the most influential empires of the ancient world. Seat of successive empires, under rulers such as Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon represents the expression of the creativity of the Neo-Babylonian Empire at its height. The city's association with one of the seven wonders of the ancient world—the Hanging Gardens—has also inspired artistic, popular and religious culture on a global scale. - in:

Frontiers of the Roman Empire – The Danube Limes (Western Segment)

Danube Limes refers to the Roman military frontier or limes which lies along the River Danube

Cygnus-Relief found in Vindobona

This postcard was sent by Marco

Vindobona was the name of a Roman army camp that existed nearly 2000 years ago in what is now the historic city centre of Vienna. The legionaries’ mission was to protect the northern border of the Roman Empire. The underground area of the Roman Museum contains the remnants of two tribunes’ houses, Vienna’s most important archaeological finds from this era.

Remains of a hypocaust, found below Hoher Markt

This postcard was sent by Marco

In addition to their military duties, the approximately 6000 soldiers living in the camp engaged in administrative activities and worked in trades and crafts. The periods of peace were longer than those of warfare. The legionaries also enjoyed recreational facilities, from taverns and baths to brothels.

Fragment of Vindobona municipal charter tablet

This postcard was sent by Marco

In 1913, during excavations at the address "Am Hof 4" in Vienna, a fragment of a bronze plaque was found near the southern wall within the former legionary camp of Vindobona. Of the 41 characters, only the words "edicta" and "Galba" could be deciphered with certainty. It was assumed that text was an edict of the Emperor Galba. Since then, the fragment has been stored in the depot of the Wien Museum along with 150,000 other excavated objects.
By analogy with other excavations, the historian Niklas Rafetseder has now been able to prove that the bronze plaque from the Wien Museum's depot is the fragment of a Roman city law plaque. The town charter most likely refers to the civil or camp suburb of the legionary site of Vindobona, whose status as a municipality between 120 and 250 AD can now be established with a high degree of certainty. - in:

Porta Praetoria
This postcard was sent by Marcel

Coming into the city centre from the river, you can see Germany’s most ancient stone building, the Porta Praetoria, a gateway dating from 179 A. D. Giant blocks of stone were used to construct this gate in the northern wall of the Roman military camp. It survives as a reminder of Castra Regina, the Roman settlement. - in:

Gerulata - Altar, Rider Spearman and Blacksmith
This postcard was sent by Tomáš

Gerulata was a Roman military camp located near today's Rusovce, a borough of BratislavaSlovakia. It was part of the Roman province of Pannonia and was built in the 2nd century as a part of the frontier defence system. It was abandoned in the 4th century, when Roman legions withdrew from Pannonia.
Archaeologists have unearthed its remnants and their discoveries are on exhibition in the hall of the museum, which is open in summer and can be found behind the Catholic Church of St Mary Magdalene in the town. Beyond the remains of the Roman forum, fragments of structures and gravestones, bronze, iron, ceramic and stone pieces are on show in a museum showing daily life. - in: wikipedia

Sunday 25 September 2022

Sítio Roberto Burle Marx

Roberto Burle Marx was a Brazilian landscape architect  whose designs of parks and gardens made him world-famous.

Sítio Roberto Burle Marx
This postcard was sent by Mey

Sítio Roberto Burle Marx, located in the west zone of the City of Rio de Janeiro, comprises extensive landscape gardens and buildings set between mangroves and native Atlantic forest in a mountainous area of the district of Barra de Guaratiba. The property was a ‘landscape laboratory’ for landscape architect and artist Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994). Over a period of more than forty years, he experimented with fusing artistic Modernist ideas and native tropical plants to create garden designs as living works of art. - in:

Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta is both a permanent and seasonal home to a wide variety of wildlife which is now a popular tourist attraction. All of the big five game animals—the lionleopardAfrican buffaloAfrican bush elephant and rhinoceros (both black rhinoceros and white rhinoceros)—are present.

Lion in the Okavango Delta
This postcard was sent from the USA by Nancy

This delta in north-west Botswana comprises permanent marshlands and seasonally flooded plains. It is one of the very few major interior delta systems that do not flow into a sea or ocean, with a wetland system that is almost intact. One of the unique characteristics of the site is that the annual flooding from the River Okavango occurs during the dry season, with the result that the native plants and animals have synchronized their biological cycles with these seasonal rains and floods. It is an exceptional example of the interaction between climatic, hydrological and biological processes. The Okavango Delta is home to some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammal, such as the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog and lion. - in:

Thursday 15 September 2022

The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes

So far I only have postcards of three of the many outstanding castles along the Loire Valley. I hope to get more and maybe one day I'll visit some of them

Château de Cheverny
This postcard was sent by Nadia

The castle of Cheverny, is located between Blois and Chambord and a few kilometres below Cheverny village, and is one of the best preserved castles in all of France - and well worth visiting to admire the highly original works of antique kept there and for its architecture, in both classical and Renaissance styles.
The castle of Cheverny, begun around 1500, was concluded in a few years between 1604 and about 1634 by the Hurault Family and it welcomes visitors with a road 6 kilometres long, wide and lush gardens and a stream. It has a rectangular base, at the corners of which stand four pavilions, and, apparently, the overall design of the building was the work of Jacques Bougier (the architect of Blois) and Jean Mosnier (1600-1656), who respectively headed the construction and decoration of the castle. - in:

Château de Chenonceau
This postcard was sent by Marion

The Château de Chenonceau is a French château spanning the River Cher, near the small village of Chenonceaux in the Indre-et-Loire département of the Loire Valley in France. It is one of the best-known châteaux of the Loire valley.

Château de Chenonceau
This postcard was sent by Pasquale

The estate of Chenonceau is first mentioned in writing in the 11th century. The current château was built in 1514–1522 on the foundations of an old mill and was later extended to span the river. The bridge over the river was built (1556-1559) to designs by the French Renaissance architect Philibert de l'Orme, and the gallery on the bridge (1570–1576) to designs by Jean Bullant. - in: wikipedia

Château de Chambord
This postcard was sent from The Netherlands by Gerry

The Château de Chambord at Chambord, Loir-et-Cher, France, is one of the most recognisable châteaux in the world because of its very distinctive French Renaissance architecture which blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Renaissance structures. The building, which was never completed, was constructed by King Francis I of France.
Chambord is the largest château in the Loire Valley; it was built to serve as a hunting lodge for Francis I, who maintained his royal residences at the châteaux of Blois and Amboise.
Chambord was altered considerably during the twenty-eight years of its construction (1519–1547), during which it was overseen on-site by Pierre Nepveu. With the château nearing completion, Francis showed off his enormous symbol of wealth and power by hosting his old archrival, Emperor Charles V, at Chambord. - in: wikipedia

Friday 2 September 2022

The works of Jože Plečnik in Ljubljana – Human Centred Urban Design

I already had some postcards from Ljubljana but none of them showed the works of Jože Plečnik. Now I finally have one.

Triple Bridge
This postcard was sent from Croatia by Anja

The Triple Bridge is a group of three bridges across the Ljubljanica River. It connects Ljubljana's historical medieval town on one bank and the modern city of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, on the other.
There is mention of a wooden bridge in this location from 1280. It was at first called the Old Bridge (Stari most) and later the Lower Bridge (Spodnji most), in contrast to the Upper Bridge that was built in the location of the nowadays Cobblers' Bridge in the same century.
In 1842, the Lower Bridge was replaced by a new bridge designed by Giovanni Picco, an Italian architect from Villach, and named Franz's Bridge, (Frančev most) in honor of Archduke Franz Karl of Austria. (...) The essentials of the bridge have been preserved until today, which is evidenced by the inscribed dedication to the archduke above its central pier, reading in Latin "ARCHIDVCI. FRANCISCO. CAROLO. MDCCCXLII. CIVITAS.", which means "To Archduke Franz Karl in 1842 by the Town."
In order to prevent the 1842 stone arch bridge from being a bottleneck, the architect Jože Plečnik designed in 1929 the extension of the bridge with two footbridges at a slight angle on each side of it. In collaboration with his student Ciril Tavčar, who drew the plans, he published the proposal in the same year in the journal Ljubljanski zvon. Construction started in 1931 and continued until spring 1932. The bridge was opened for traffic in April 1932. - in: wikipedia

Blaenavon Industrial Landscape

Blaenavon is evidence of the pre-eminence of South Wales as the world's major producer of iron and coal in the 19th century.

This postcard was sent by Stella

Blaenavon Industrial Landscape, in and around BlaenavonTorfaen, Wales, was inscribed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000. The Blaenavon Ironworks, now a museum, was a major centre of iron production using locally mined or quarried iron ore, coal and limestone. Raw materials and products were transported via horse-drawn tramroads, canals and steam railways. 
The Industrial Revolution in Britain was based on iron and coal, the main products of the South Wales valleys. Production of pig iron in the region grew from 39,600 tons in 1796 to 666,000 tons in 1852, and the iron was used to build railways, factories and engines around the world. Blaenavon was an important centre of coal mining and iron making in South Wales during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Blaenavon Ironworks was opened around 1789 and caused development of the mines, quarries and housing. - in: wikipedia

The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales

The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales illustrates the transformation that industrial slate quarrying and mining brought about in the traditional rural environment of the mountains and valleys of the Snowdon massif.

This postcard was sent by Adam

Dinorwig sometimes spelled Dinorwic, is a village located high above Llyn Padarn, near Llanberis, in Wales.
The village has a long history of slate quarrying. The Romans used local slate for the construction of Segontium, and slates from the valley were used in the construction of Caernarfon Castle. The main local quarry was the Dinorwic Quarry, which was worked from the late 1770s until 1969. After the First World War, cheaper alternative roofing materials became available and production at the quarry declined. - in: wikipedia

Sunday 21 August 2022

Rila Monastery

This is one of the buildings in Bulgaria that I'd most love to visit. It looks very beautiful and it has wonderful frescoes.

Rila Monastery
The Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila, better known as the Rila Monastery (BulgarianРилски манастир, Rilski manastir) is the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. It is situated in the southwestern Rila Mountains, 117 km (73 mi) south of the capital Sofia in the deep valley of the Rilska River at an elevation of 1,147 m (3,763 ft) above sea level, inside of Rila Monastery Nature Park. The monastery is named after its founder, the hermit Ivan of Rila (876 - 946 AD), and today houses around 60 monks.

Rila Monastery

Founded in the 10th century, the Rila Monastery is regarded as one of Bulgaria's most important cultural, historical and architectural monuments and is a key tourist attraction for both Bulgaria and Southern Europe. In 2008 alone, it attracted 900,000 visitors. The monastery is depicted on the reverse of the 1 lev banknote, issued in 1999. - in: wikipedia