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: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/318

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: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1147

Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe

This site used to be shared by three countries but recently UNESCO extended it to a total of 18 countries! As if it wasn't already hard enough to get postcards of the previous three...

Kalkalpen National Park
This postcard was sent by Marco

Kalkalpen National Park (in English literally Limestone Alps National Park) is a national park within the Northern Limestone Alps mountain range, located in the state of Upper AustriaAustria. The park was established in 1997. The ancient beech forests within the national park were added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe, because of their undisturbed nature and testimony to the ecological history of Europe since the Last Glacial Period. - in : wikipedia

Sonian Forest
This postcard was sent by Javier

The Sonian Forest or Sonian Wood (DutchZoniënwoudFrenchForêt de Soignes) is a 4,421-hectare (10,920-acre) forest at the southeast edge of Brussels, Belgium.
Today the forest consists mainly of European beeches and oaks. Several trees are more than 200 years old, dating from the Austrian period. - in: wikipedia

Velebit National Park

This postcard was sent by Antonella

The Northern Velebit National Park (CroatianNacionalni park Sjeverni Velebit) is a national park in Croatia that covers 109 km2 of the northern section of the Velebit mountains, the largest mountain range in Croatia. Because of the abundant variety of this part of the Velebit range, the area was upgraded from a nature reserve in 1999, and opened as a national park in September the same year. - in: wikipedia

Paklenica National Park
This postcard was sent by Steffi

The Paklenica karst river canyon is a national park in Croatia. It is near Starigrad, northern Dalmatia, on the southern slopes of Velebit mountain, not far from Zadar. It contains two canyons, Mala (Small) and Velika (Big) Paklenica. Today there is no water flowing through Mala Paklenica.
The wealth of flora is reflected in the list of 1,000 plant species and subspecies recorded to date, 79 of them endemic. The great diversity, the presence of relict, endemic, rare, statutorily protected species make the Park a very valuable floristic area, not just in Croatia, but in Europe and the world as well.
The forest phenomenon is one of the main reasons why the South Velebit area was proclaimed a national park. Areas of oak and oriental hornbeam forests, beech forest, black pine forests, and fern forest, can all be found in the park. In 2017, the beech forests within the national park were added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe because of their testimony to the ecological history of forest dynamics within Europe since the last Ice Age. - in: wikipedia

Jasmund National Park

This postcard was sent by Gerald

The Jasmund National Park (GermanNationalpark Jasmund) is a nature reserve on the Jasmund peninsula, in the northeast of Rügen island in Mecklenburg-VorpommernGermany. It is famous for containing the largest chalk cliffs in Germany, the Königsstuhl (German = "king's chair").

Jasmund National Park
This postcard was sent by Shoni

These cliffs are up to 161 m (528 ft) above the Baltic Sea. The beech forests behind the cliffs are also part of the national park.

Wissower Klinken in Jasmund National Park
This postcard was sent by Michèle

The chalk cliffs face constant erosion. With every storm, parts of the cliffs fall, including rocks and fossils of spongesoysters and sea urchins.
The most majestic part of the cliffs is the Königsstuhl (English: king's chair) which stands at 118 m (387 ft). One of the most scenic and best known of the chalk outcrops, the Wissower Klinken, collapsed into the Baltic Sea on February 24, 2005, in a landslide caused by spring-thaw weather conditions. - in: wikipedia

Grumsin Forest
This postcard was sent by Carola

Buchenwald Grumsin World Heritage Natural Site - the largest nature development area of the Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve. What is special about the 670-hectare nature reserve between the A 11 motorway Berlin-Prenzlau and the city of Angermünde is not only that there are old beech trees, but also a typical landscape shaped by glaciers dating back to the last glacial period (about 10,000 to 15,000 years ago) with deep valleys and rugged heights, resembling mountains with numerous lakes and marshlands. - in: http://www.brandenburg-tourism.com/detail/id/17724/theme/a-z.html

Parco Nazionale delle Casentinesi
This postcard was sent by Sini

The Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona, Campigna is a national park in Italy. Created in 1993, it covers an area of about 368 square kilometres (142 sq mi), on the two sides of the Apennine watershed between Romagna and Tuscany, and is divided between the provinces of Forlì CesenaArezzo and Florence.
A large part of the park is woodland. In the park are areas the mountain vegetation, all types of woodland of the lower sub-mountain belt vegetation. In the forest dominated by hornbeamsturkey oaks and sessile oakschestnut woods (especially in the Camaldoli area and at Castagno d’Andrea on the Florentine side). In rocky places there are some of remaining rare cork oaks . - in: wikipedia

Carpathians in Slovakia
This postcard was sent by Javier

The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians include ten separate massifs located along the 185 km (115 mi) long axis from the Rakhiv mountains and Chornohora ridge in Ukraine over the Poloniny Ridge (Slovakia) to the Vihorlat Mountains in Slovakia. - in: wikipedia

Spain's Beech Forests
This postcard was sent by Javier

Beech forest of Castilla – La Mancha: the Tejera Negra beech forest is 150 kilometres from Madrid, and you will need to reserve a parking space in advance. There are two circular walking routes and a visitors’ centre.Beech forest of the Community of Madrid: the Montejo beech forest, about 100 kilometres from Madrid, includes part of the Sierra del Rincón Biosphere Reserve. Booking is essential, and you can do it up to three months in advance.Beech forests of Navarre: the Lizardoia beech forest is part of the popular Irati Forest, and close to its visitors’ centre (Casa de Irati, in Ochagavía), which organises guided tours and offers information on mountain bike routes. The Aztaparreta beech forest is part of the Roncal Valley and very close to the Larra-Belagua ski resort, in the heart of the Pyrenees.Beech forests of Castilla y León: the beech forests of Cuesta Fría and Canal de Asotín are in León’s share of the Picos de Europa National Park. The park hiking route “Through the villages of Sajambre” covers the beech forest area and is an easy walk. It is about 125 kilometres from the cities of Oviedo and León. - in: https://www.spain.info/en/que-quieres/naturaleza/espacios-naturales/hayedos-patrimonio-mundial-espana.html#

Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine
This postcard was sent by Balyna

The Carpathian Mountains are a mountain range system forming an arc roughly 1,500 km (932 mi) long across Central and Eastern Europe, making them the second-longest mountain range in Europe.

Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine 
This postcard was sent by Marco

They provide the habitat for the largest European populations of brown bearswolveschamois and lynxes. in: wikipedia

I'm still missing postcards from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Switzerland


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: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/278

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: https://www.wienmuseum.at/en/locations/roemermuseum

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: https://tourismus.regensburg.de/en/special-themes/more-sights-to-explore/architectural-monuments/porta-praetoria.html

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