Friday, August 30, 2013

Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo - BULGARIA - UNESCO #45

Today I've got one more UNESCO WHS postcard from Bulgaria (one of the few EU countries I haven't visit yet), this time with tyhe impressive churches digged in the rocks of Ivanovo. What a wonderful place this must be. Thank you very much for sending me this one Lilia. Now I have 142 sites in my collection, only 839 to the end. This postcard took 11 days to arrive!

Ivanovo Rock-hewn Churches - BULGARIA - UNESCO #45
In the valley of the Roussenski Lom River, in north east Bulgaria, a complex of rock-hewn churches, chapels, monasteries and cells developed in the vicinity of the village of Ivanovo. This is where the first hermits had dug out their cells and churches during the 12th century. The 14th-century murals testify to the exceptional skill of the artists belonging to the Tarnovo School of painting.

Cortiça (Cork) - PORTUGAL

Portugal is much more than Fado and Cristiano Ronaldo... Did you know that 50% of all the cork ("Cortiça" in portuguese) produced in the world come from Portugal (and concerning corks for champagne bottles we're talking almost 100%)? It's true, this amazing material (nowadays much famous in other uses like clothes, shoes, wallets and umbrellas) is one of the most important productions in Portugal. Next time you pop a bottle remember this - that cork was harvested in my country! This postcard took 2 days to arrive!
Cork production and harvesting, Alentejo - PORTUGAL
Cork is an impermeable, buoyant material, a prime-subset of bark tissue that is harvested for commercial use primarily from the Cork Oak (Quercus Suber), which is endemic to southwest Europe and northwest Africa. Because of its impermeability, buoyancy, elasticity and fire resistance, Cork is used in a variety of products, the most common of which is for wine stoppers. The montado landscape of Portugal produces approximately 50% of cork harvested annually worldwide.

Monsaraz, Alentejo - PORTUGAL

To spend my last days of summer vacation I went to Alentejo (one of my favorite portuguese regions) for a few days of "dolce fare niente". Monsaraz is a wonderful place, with a very old castle, lots of little shops with handcraft and home made jams and since the construction of Alqueva Dam, an astonishingly view over the largest artificial lake in Europe. A perfect spot for a getaway. This postcard took 2 days to arrive!
Medieval village of Monsaraz, Alentejo - PORTUGAL
Monsaraz is a civil parish (freguesia) on the right margin of the Guadiana River in Portuguese Alentejo region, near its border with Spain. Due to its geographic position, the hilltop of Monsaraz always occupied an important place in the history of the municipality, having been occupied by different peoples since the pre-historical record. It is one of the oldest Portuguese settlements of the southern Portugal.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Boyana Church, Sofia - BULGARIA - UNESCO #42

The second card Tsveti sent me is from the first Bulgarian site added to the UNESCO list, the Boyana Church near Sofia. To be honest I didn't knew this place, but it seems really unique and, according to her there is a wonderful small park around the church filled with huge trees. Thanks a lot Tsveti, you're increasing my collection with your beautiful cards - 141 down, 840 to go. This postcard took 12 days to arrive!

UNESCO #42 - Boyana Church, Sofia - BULGARIA
Located on the outskirts of Sofia, Boyana Church consists of three buildings. The eastern church was built in the 10th century, then enlarged at the beginning of the 13th century by Sebastocrator Kaloyan, who ordered a second two storey building to be erected next to it. The frescoes in this second church, painted in 1259, make it one of the most important collections of medieval paintings. The ensemble is completed by a third church, built at the beginning of the 19th century. This site is one of the most complete and perfectly preserved monuments of east European medieval art.


Madara Horserider - BULGARIA - UNESCO #43

Tsvetana, my good friend from Sofia, sent me two UNESCO postcards from Bulgaria. This one shows the famous Madara Horserider in the National Historical and Archeological Reserve of the same name. According to her, more details were visible in the past, but the rock is slowly disintegrating - I hope that archeologists and geologists soon discover a way to preserve this iconic figure. Thank you very much Tsveti, this is my 140th UNESCO card, only 841 to finish. This postcard took 12 days to arrive!
UNESCO #43 - Madara Rider - BULGARIA
The Madara Rider, representing the figure of a knight triumphing over a lion, is carved into a 100-m-high cliff near the village of Madara in north-east Bulgaria. Madara was the principal sacred place of the First Bulgarian Empire before Bulgaria’s conversion to Christianity in the 9th century. The inscriptions beside the sculpture tell of events that occurred between AD 705 and 801.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Khajuraho - INDIA - UNESCO #240

With this card I've reached the benchmark of 300 postcards since I've joined POSTCROSSING almost 5 months ago - to be honest I wasn't expecting to become so addicted to this new hobby, but I must say it's really an amazing upgrade in my daily life. Enough chit-chat, let's look to this amazing postcard that came all the way from India showing in detail one of the many tantric sex statues carved on the walls on the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, one of the Khajuraho group of monuments listed by UNESCO. Thank you very much George, this position looks exciting and amusing, but I bet I would break my back if I tried it! My collection rises to 139, 842 more and I'm done. This postcard took 12 days to arrive!

UNESCO #240 - Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, Khajuraho - INDIA
The temples at Khajuraho were built during the Chandella dynasty, which reached its apogee between 950 and 1050. Only about 20 temples remain; they fall into three distinct groups and belong to two different religions – Hinduism and Jainism. They strike a perfect balance between architecture and sculpture. The Temple of Kandariya is decorated with a profusion of sculptures that are among the greatest masterpieces of Indian art.


Kamianets-Podilskyi - UKRAINE - UNESCO TENTATIVE

Another official card from Ukraine, showing the famous castle of the historic city of Kamianets-Podilskyi (hopefully it will become a UNESCO site). I'm discovering lots of interesting things about Ukraine thanks to POSTCROSSING and I must admit I'm really growing a strong desire of visit it soon, it seems a extraordinary country. Thanks a lot Yana, I really loved your card. This postcard took 16 days to arrive!  
Castle of Kamianets-Podilskyi - UKRAINE - UNESCO TENTATIVE
Kamianets-Podilskyi  is a city on the Smotrych River in western Ukraine, to the north-east of Chernivtsi. The first part of the city's dual name originates from kamin’ or kamen, meaning "stone" in the Old East Slavic language. Famous tourist attractions include the ancient castle, and the numerous architectural attractions in the city's center, including the cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Holy Trinity Church, the city hall building, and the numerous fortifications.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Lavaux Vineyards - SWITZERLAND - UNESCO #1243

Today I've got two cards from Óscar and Daniela, the Portuguese postcrossers (UNESCO collectors as well) that live and work in Switzerland. The Berne card and this one that shows the village of St. Saphorin in the heart of the Lavaux Vineyards (astonishing beautiful place) - I remember driving the scenic route on my way to Vevey, but I didn't had the chance to try the wine... Thanks a lot guys for remembering me and for making my collection grow to 138, only 843 to the end. This postcard took 8 days to arrive!

UNESCO #1243 - St.Saphorin, Lavaux Vineyards - SWITZERLAND
The Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, stretching for about 30 km along the south-facing northern shores of Lake Geneva from the Chateau de Chillon to the eastern outskirts of Lausanne in the Vaud region, cover the lower slopes of the mountainside between the villages and the lake. Although there is some evidence that vines were grown in the area in Roman times, the present vine terraces can be traced back to the 11th century, when Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries controlled the area.


Old City of Berne - SWITZERLAND - UNESCO #267

This postcard shows the Marksman-fountain and Clock-tower in the city of Berne (UNESCO site for 30 years now) in Switzerland, an amazing place I had the chance to visit some years ago when I made a road trip around Switzerland (beautiful country but awfully expensive). Thank you very much Oscar and Daniela for this nice surprise - 137 down, 844 to go. This postcard took 4 days to arrive! 
UNESCO #267 - Old City of Berne - SWITZERLAND
Founded in the 12th century on a hill site surrounded by the Aare River, Berne developed over the centuries in line with a an exceptionally coherent planning concept. The buildings in the Old City, dating from a variety of periods, include 15th-century arcades and 16th-century fountains. Most of the medieval town was restored in the 18th century but it has retained its original character.


Riga - LATVIA - UNESCO #852

Zanna is a Russian girl from Latvia that lives in Bristol, UK since 2009... confused? Well I must confess I'm a little bit lost, but the important thing is that this official card came from a very nice postcrosser who likes to travel and to make people happy by sending a little bit of love in each postcard (well, that's two things we have in common). Thanks a lot Zanna, this is my first UNESCO card from Latvia (eeer... sent by a Russian from UK) - a big kiss for you with a bright ray of love! I now have 136 sites, only 845 to finish. This postcard took 16 days to arrive!
UNESCO #852 - Riga (Blackheads House) - LATVIA
Riga was a major centre of the Hanseatic League, deriving its prosperity in the 13th–15th centuries from the trade with central and eastern Europe. The urban fabric of its medieval centre reflects this prosperity, though most of the earliest buildings were destroyed by fire or war. Riga became an important economic centre in the 19th century,and it is generally recognized that Riga has the finest collection of art nouveau buildings in Europe.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Ruins of Tauric Chersonese, Crimeia - UKRAINE - UNESCO #1411

This official card came from Sevastopol in Ukraine showing the beautiful Tauric Chersonese. Thank you very much Natalia, I'm very glad you picked a new UNESCO postcard for my collection (I already have from this site, but different). This postcard took 14 days to arrive!
UNESCO #1411 - Ruins of Tauric Chersonese, Crimeia - UKRAINE
Tauric Chersonese and its chora are the remains of an ancient city, founded in the 5th century BCE as a colonial settlement of the Dorian Greeks, located on the Heraclean Peninsula in south-west Crimea. It features several public building complexes and residential neighbourhoods, as well as early Christian monuments alongside remains from Stone and Bronze Age settlements; Roman and medieval tower fortifications and water supply systems; and exceptionally well-preserved examples of vineyard planting and dividing walls.

Porto - PORTUGAL - UNESCO #755

Today I've got my first repeated card - it was just a matter of time - to be honest I don't mind, each postcard has a background story and the idea that someone remembered and took the time to buy, write, stamp and mail me a postcard is enough for me to cherish it. Thanks a lot Fernanda, I will not add this to the UNESCO list and stats, but I post it in my blog with pleasure... all the best for you! This postcard took 4 days to arrive!
UNESCO #755 - Oporto (Aerial View) - PORTUGAL
The city of Oporto, built along the hillsides overlooking the mouth of the Douro river, is an outstanding urban landscape with a 2,000-year history. Its continuous growth, linked to the sea (the Romans gave it the name Portus, or port), can be seen in the many and varied monuments, from the cathedral with its Romanesque choir, to the neoclassical Stock Exchange and the typically Portuguese Manueline-style Church of Santa Clara.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Gauja Valley, Sigulda - LATVIA

Today I received my first official card from Latvia, showing a wonderful photo of the Gauja Valley (Sigulda). Thank you very much Maija for this  beautiful card. Flying in a air balloon is one of the many thinks I really wish to do one day, and doing it in the mist of a valley seems just perfect! This postcard took 7 days to arrive!

Sigulda, The Gauja Valley - LATVIA

The picturesque ancient valley of the Gauja River has been attracting tourists from all over the world for centuries, and not without reason – Gauja National Park is the most popular tourist destination in Latvia. Its first visitors were hiking in the Sigulda area with walking-sticks as far back as in the 19th century and the evidence of this is the engravings left by them on the sandstone walls of the caves.



"Fado" and "Saudade" are two Portuguese words impossible to translate in any other language because they describe feelings and emotions that only a Portuguese can understand. I can't explain in one or two sentences what FADO is, I prefer to recommend you to listen to it and try to feel its strength. Thanks a lot Maria, I loved this card, my first one from the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, a collection I think it will be harder to complete than the World Heritage Sites. This postcard took 3 days to arrive!

Fado, urban popular song of Portugal - UNESCO ICH #563
Fado is a performance genre incorporating music and poetry widely practised by various communities in Lisbon. It represents a Portuguese multicultural synthesis of Afro-Brazilian sung dances, local traditional genres of song and dance, musical traditions from rural areas of the country brought by successive waves of internal immigration, and the cosmopolitan urban song patterns of the early nineteenth century.


PORTUGAL Multi-View Card

In my mailbox I've discovered two more cards sent by my sweet mother. This one is a pretty multi-view card showing some of the most famous sites in our country (Lisbon, Sintra, Coimbra, Porto, Évora, Batalha, Algarve and of course the inevitable Cock of Barcelos)... thanks a lot mum! This postcard took 3 days to arrive!
PORTUGAL - Multi-View Postcard
Portugal is the most amazing place in the world!... 
I'm really a lucky guy, I live in the most beautiful country on Earth. :)


Thursday, August 22, 2013


The third card Ale sent me from Guatemala is definitely my favorite - I've always loved the Mayan culture and Tikal is another of that magical places I have inscribed in my big list of sites I dream to visit one day... Thank you very much Ale, I really loved all the cards you sent me in this amazing swap. Ok now, with this three, my collection rises to 135 UNESCO sites, only 846 to the end, and I've completed Guatemala! This postcards took 15 days to arrive! 

UNESCO #64 - Tikal National Park - GUATEMALA
In the heart of the jungle, surrounded by lush vegetation, lies one of the major sites of Mayan civilization, inhabited from the 6th century B.C. to the 10th century A.D. The ceremonial centre contains superb temples and palaces, and public squares accessed by means of ramps. Remains of dwellings are scattered throughout the surrounding countryside.


Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quirigua - GUATEMALA - UNESCO #149

Another card from Ale, this time showing the archaeological park of Quirigua, located near the border with Honduras and famous for the carvings (stars and calendars) which aren't fully deciphered yet. Thanks again Ale, I loved your card and stamps! This postcards took 15 days to arrive! 

UNESCO #149 - Ruins of Quirigua, Izabal - GUATEMALA
Inhabited since the 2nd century A.D., Quirigua had become during the reign of Cauac Sky (723–84) the capital of an autonomous and prosperous state. The ruins of Quirigua contain some outstanding 8th-century monuments and an impressive series of carved stelae and sculpted calendars that constitute an essential source for the study of Mayan civilization.


Antigua - GUATEMALA - UNESCO #65

My postcards from Guatemala arrived today, four in total - this two show Antigua Guatemala, "La muy noble y muy leal Ciudad de Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala" thank you very much Ale, I know you had to search several places to find all the three UNESCO sites. My collection became so much better because of you...  This postcards took 15 days to arrive!
UNESCO #65 - San José Cathedral, Antigua - GUATEMALA

UNESCO #65 - Calle Real, Antigua - GUATEMALA
Antigua, the capital of the Captaincy-General of Guatemala, was founded in the early 16th century. Built 1,500 m above sea-level, in an earthquake-prone region, it was largely destroyed by an earthquake in 1773 but its principal monuments are still preserved as ruins. In the space of under three centuries the city, which was built on a grid pattern inspired by the Italian Renaissance, acquired a number of superb monuments.


Pedrogão Beach - PORTUGAL

The Pedrogão Beach was one of my favorite spots when I lived in Leiria (along with São Pedro de Moel). It's difficult for a Portuguese to stay away from the sea during the summer... my sweet friend Ana Paula went on a  beach vacation last week and sent me this nice postcard - thanks a lot, I'm sorry about the bad weather, I promise I didn't cast any spell. This postcard took 2 days to arrive!

Pedrogão Beach, West Atlantic Coast - PORTUGAL
Situated on the marvellous Atlantic Coast, the Pedrógão Beach which stretches to Fausto beach on the north and Foz do Rio Lis beach on the south; it lies between the pine forest and the sea. Pedrogão owes its name to the big rocks next to the sea. In this lovely summer resort in the Leiria Municipality, were discovered recently vestiges that show off that this area has been occupied by Men since pre-history. 


Downtown Montevideo - URUGUAY

Today I've got 6 cards, another great day! The first one came all the way from Uruguay sent by my nice friend Agustina. It shows a map of downtown Montevideo (the capital of Uruguay) with several views including the Parliament (Palacio Legislativo) that is on the UNESCO tentative list. Thank you very much Agus, I wasn't expecting this nice surprise... keep your eyes on your mailbox, maybe you'll get something in return soon! This postcard took 18 days to arrive!

Downtown Montevideo - URUGUAY
The Uruguay Parliament (Palacio Legislativo) is a reticle-shaped ground plan, 4 stories : basement, ground floor, 1st and 2nd stories. Surrounded by gardens, the Capitol, see of the Legislative Power, enjoys a privileged location that allows the best views of the city and of its historical Bay. The building was inaugurated on August 25th, 1925 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and was declared a National Historic Monument in 1975.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sultanahmet Mosque, Istanbul - TURKEY - UNESCO #356

My first card from Turkey arrived today. Thank you very much Onder for this beautiful night view of the Sultanahmet Mosque. Istanbul is another of those cities I have in my "bucket list" since I was young and for one reason or another I still haven't visit - it's a strong possibility for the Easter school break next year. Well, this rises my UNESCO collection to 132 sites, only 849 to finish. This postcard took 9 days to arrive!

UNESCO #356 - Sultanahmet Mosque, Istanbul - TURKEY
With its strategic location on the Bosphorus peninsula between the Balkans and Anatolia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Istanbul has been associated with major political, religious and artistic events for more than 2,000 years. Its masterpieces include the ancient Hippodrome of Constantine, the 6th-century Hagia Sophia and the 16th-century Süleymaniye Mosque, all now under threat from population pressure, industrial pollution and uncontrolled urbanization.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pelkosenniemi - FINLAND

Three official cards in one day - nice! This one came from Finland, sent by a postcrosser that lives in Turku in the south, but have chosen a card of a lake on the remote little village of Pelkosenniemi. Thank you Eevakaa, yes the summer is almost over so let's enjoy this last days of sun and warm weather! This postcard took 5 days to arrive!

Pelkosenniemi Kathunjuomalampi - FINLAND
Pelkosenniemi is located in the province of Lapland. The municipality has a population of 972 and covers an area of 1,881.73 km2. Lapland is the largest and northernmost of the regions of Finland. In many European Countries tradition, Lapland is the home of Father Christmas.


Kazan - RUSSIA

One more official card from Russia and once again showing Kazan, this time sent by Olya a postcrosser from Yekaterinburg - thank you! She doesn't give any information about the building on the photo and I can't understand the inscription in Cyrillic on the back of the card so I'm not sure if this beautiful building is part of the UNESCO site, therefore I won't add the card to my list. This postcard took 21 days to arrive!

Kazan - RUSSIA
Kazan (Каза́нь) is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. With a population of 1,143,535, it is the eighth most populous city in Russia. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia.


A walk on the beach of Calais - GERMANY

This official POSTCROSSING card came from Germany but it shows the famous French Calais beach, very important in WWII and the main port for the ferry between UK and France. Thank you very much Florian, I love the sea as well and I really hope you had a wonderful time in your holidays in France. This postcard took 5 days to arrive!

Lonely Steps on the Beach, Calais - FRANCE
Calais is a town and major ferry port in northern France in the department of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Due to its position, Calais since the Middle Ages has been a major port and a very important centre for transport and trading with England.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Ruins of St Paul - MACAO - CHINA - UNESCO #1110

Finally I've got a card from Macao - this is another Portuguese settlement in the Far East, established exactly 500 years ago and that I dream to visit since I was a young boy. The postcard shows a beautiful illustration of the Ruins of St Paul's (which represent the remaining front elevation of the Church of Mater Dei) with a Van Gogh twist. Thank you very much Winkie, I really love this card. My UNESCO collection rises to 131, only 850 to the end. This postcard took 9 days to arrive!
UNESCO #1110 - St.Paul, Macao - CHINA

Macao, a lucrative port of strategic importance in the development of international trade, was under Portuguese administration from the mid-16th century until 1999, when it came under Chinese sovereignty. With its historic street, residential, religious and public Portuguese and Chinese buildings, the historic centre of Macao provides a unique testimony to the meeting of aesthetic, cultural, architectural and technological influences from East and West. The site also contains a fortress and a lighthouse, the oldest in China.


Ruins of Conimbriga - PORTUGAL

Last week, on my way to Aveiro, I've made a small detour to (re)visit the Roman ruins of Coimbra - my last visit was probably 20 years ago and, probably because I've just read the Conn Iggulden first Emperor book, I decided to return there. The infrastructures are much better (a wonderful museum, restaurant and gift shop) and the ruins of the city remain quite impressive. The postcard shows the tile floor of the main house. Very hot under August sun, but it's worthwhile - I truly recommend. This postcard took 5 days to arrive!

House of the Fountains - Ruins of CONIMBRIGA
Conimbriga, one of Europe's great Roman archaeological finds and one of the best preserved in the Iberian peninsula, is located only 16 kilometers from Coimbra. It was first a Celtic settlement in the Iron Age, but was occupied by the Romans in the 1st century A.D., who turned it into a prosperous city. It was destroyed during the barbarian invasions, when the Suevi attacked in 468 A.D.


Another wonderful Map-Card of a USA state, this time MAINE, the pine tree state and home of my  favorite writer Stephen King. This postcard was sent by my good Canadian friend Jason that went on a summer hiking vacation there. Many thanks Jason, for my 2nd state Map-Card (only 48 to go). This postcard took 6 days to arrive!
MAINE  map and symbols - USA
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost portion of New England. It is known for its scenery—its jagged, mostly rocky coastline, its low, rolling mountains, its heavily forested interior and picturesque waterways—as well as for its seafood cuisine, especially lobsters and clams.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Historic Town of Vigan - PHILIPPINES - UNESCO #502

Th Town of Vigan was founded by the Spanish almost 500 years after discovering the maritime route from Europe to that archipelago, but let's not forget it was a Portuguese that was leading the squad (Magalhães and not Magellan). Ok, after this patriotic statement, I should say I was very happy when I saw this postcard in my mailbox because now I have another country complete in my list. Thank you very much Cristina, now I own all the Philippines UNESCO sites. The new numbers are 130 down, 851 to go. This postcard took 9 days to arrive!

UNESCO #502 -Historic Town of Vigan - PHILIPPINES
Established in the 16th century, Vigan is the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia. Its architecture reflects the coming together of cultural elements from elsewhere in the Philippines, from China and from Europe, resulting in a culture and townscape that have no parallel anywhere in East and South-East Asia.


Hiroshima Peace Memorial - JAPAN - UNESCO #775

This is my first postcard from a Japanese UNESCO site and it probably one of the most important sites on the list - what happened in Hiroshima on 1945 can't be forgotten and unfortunately, after only 68 years, I see countries still running after the bomb and leaders crazy enough to think in using it... let's hope that the world never forget, specially the young generation, that in a nuclear war there are no winners, we all lose! Thank you very much Yukie for this card - the 129th in my UNESCO collection, 852 more and I'm done. This postcard took 5 days to arrive!

UNESCO #775 - Genbaku Dome, Hiroshima - JAPAN
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) was the only structure left standing in the area where the first atomic bomb exploded on 6 August 1945. Through the efforts of many people, including those of the city of Hiroshima, it has been preserved in the same state as immediately after the bombing. Not only is it a stark and powerful symbol of the most destructive force ever created by humankind; it also expresses the hope for world peace and the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons.


Ruins of Tauric Chersonese, Crimeia - UKRAINE - UNESCO #1411

It's been a while since I didn't receive a Maxi-Card and this is absolutely astonishing picturing the Ruins of Chersonesus Taurica and the St. Vladimir's Cathedral in Crimea, Ukraine. Thank you very much Helga, your card is simply amazing and the more I know about Ukraine more I want to visit it (specially Crimea). I already have a card from this site, so the counting remains. This postcard took 5 days to arrive!
UNESCO #1411 - Ruins of Tauric Chersonese, Crimeia - UKRAINE
Tauric Chersonese and its chora are the remains of an ancient city, founded in the 5th century BCE as a colonial settlement of the Dorian Greeks, located on the Heraclean Peninsula in south-west Crimea. It features several public building complexes and residential neighbourhoods, as well as early Christian monuments alongside remains from Stone and Bronze Age settlements; Roman and medieval tower fortifications and water supply systems; and exceptionally well-preserved examples of vineyard planting and dividing walls.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Kazan Kremlin - RUSSIA - UNESCO #980

One official card - it's really good to receive them! This came from Russia, sent by a postcrosser from Kazan, showing the Kremlin with the river Volga behind. Thank you very much Kate for picking a UNESCO site for my collection. Your postcard rises it to 128, 853 to go. This postcard took 22 days to arrive!

UNESCO #980 - Historic and Architectural Complex of the 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.


Skogskyrkogården cemetery - SWEDEN - UNESCO #558

Normally people avoid going to cemeteries and in a way it's comprehensible, because we cannot dissociate them from the grief of losing someone you love. In my case I don't avoid them and I've visited several with interest like Pére Lachaise in Paris, the WWI and WWII massive gardens of stone in France, the cemetery of Monreal, Canada (I can't forget the astonish look on our driver's face when my wife and I said that we wanted to visit it) - to be honest it gives me a peaceful feeling. I didn't knew about the Skogskyrkogården prior to this swap, but now I really wish to visit it. Thanks a lot Merja for the first card I receive from Sweden and my 127th UNESCO site postcard, only 854 to the end. This postcard took 3 days to arrive!
UNESCO #558 - Skogskyrkogården cemetery - SWEDEN
This Stockholm cemetery was created between 1917 and 1920 by two young architects, Asplund and Lewerentz, on the site of former gravel pits overgrown with pine trees. The design blends vegetation and architectural elements, taking advantage of irregularities in the site to create a landscape that is finely adapted to its function. It has had a profound influence in many countries of the world.


Canal ring area of Amsterdam - NETHERLANDS - UNESCO #1349

Amsterdam is one of my favorite places and one of the few big-cities I imagine myself living (along with Barcelona and perhaps London). This card shows the Keizersgracht, the second of the three major 17th century canals that allowed the growth of Amsterdam. Thanks a lot Ischa I've been in the Netherlands 2 weeks ago and I thought of mail a postcard of the canals to myself, but I didn't went to Amsterdam and so decided not to - I only send cards to myself from the exact spot! Ok now, in terms of UNESCO cards, 126 down, 855 to go. This postcard took 3 days to arrive!

UNESCO #1349 - Keizersgracht Canal in Amsterdam - NETHERLANDS
The historic urban ensemble of the canal district of Amsterdam was a project for a new ‘port city’ built at the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th centuries. It comprises a network of canals to the west and south of the historic old town and the medieval port that encircled the old town and was accompanied by the repositioning inland of the city’s fortified boundaries, the Singelgracht. This was a long-term programme that involved extending the city by draining the swampland, using a system of canals in concentric arcs and filling in the intermediate spaces.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bogas de Baixo - PORTUGAL

What can I say about Bogas?... Well, it's the name or a fish that lives in our rivers (Iberochondrostoma lusitanicum, family of Cyprinidae, order of Cypriniformes) and there are three small villages named after it in the municipality of Fundão: Bogas de Cima (Upper Bogas), Bogas de Baixo (Lower Bogas) and Bogas do Meio (Middle Bogas). In the POSTCROSSING Forum I've met a very nice girl with a amazing sense of humor - she lives and work near Lisbon, but her sweet hometown is Bogas de Cima where she spend part of her summer vacations (literally doing nothing according to her). I asked for a Bogas postcard and, surprise of surprises it arrived today! Well it's from the nearby village Bogas de Baixo, but it's a Bogas! Thanks a lot Paula, this card really brighten my day!

Bogas de Baixo, Fundão - PORTUGAL
Bogas de Baixo is a little village (less than 200 inhabitants) near Fundão, the city I live.  If you want to know more, you really have to visit it, because even with Google I can't find much online! About Bogas de Cima, you can check this site (in Portuguese)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

City of Palenque, Chiapas - MEXICO - UNESCO #411

What a nice surprise this postcard was. I've arranged a three card direct swap with Ale from Guatemala - she went on holidays to Mexico and I've said to her "Have fun and don't forget to send me a card from there!"... and she did! Thank you very much Ale, I really wasn't expecting it and I loved your card - Mayan cities are awesome. This is my 125th UNESCO site, only 856 to the end.  This postcard took 20 days to arrive!
UNESCO #411 - Ruins of Palenque (El Palacio), Chiapas - MEXICO
A prime example of a Mayan sanctuary of the classical period, The Pre-Hispanic City of Palenque was at its height between AD 500 and 700, when its influence extended throughout the basin of the Usumacinta River. The elegance and craftsmanship of the buildings, as well as the lightness of the sculpted reliefs with their Mayan mythological themes, attest to the creative genius of this civilization.


Marina Bay - SINGAPORE

This is my second direct swap with Farna, a very nice postcrosser from Singapore who sent me her favorite weekend hangout place in the city... the Marina Bay. I believe it's must be a very exciting place - Thank you Farna and continue to have fun with your friends (if you ever win the giant jackpot on the slots remember me). This postcard took 9 days to arrive!

Marina Bay Sands Resort - SINGAPORE

Marina Bay Sands is an Integrated Resort fronting Marina Bay in Singapore. Developed by Las Vegas Sands, it is billed as the world's most expensive standalone casino property at S$8 billion. The resort features a 2,561-room hotel, a 120,000 m2 convention-exhibition centre, the 74,000 m2 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands mall, a museum, two large theatres, seven "celebrity chef" restaurants, two floating Crystal Pavilions, an ice skating rink, and the world's largest atrium casino with 500 tables and 1,600 slot machines.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Algarve - PORTUGAL

Now that I'm back home, I can enjoy again the nice feeling of opening the mailbox at the end of the day and discover some postcards waiting for me - it's really nice and kind of a comforting feeling, specially after a difficult day. Today I received two cards from my sister sent from her vacation in Algarve early this month. Thank you very much Helena, unfortunately this year I'm not going to Algarve, but thanks to your cards I can still feel a little of the scent of that beautiful mackerel and chill on that rocky beach! This postcard took 11 days to arrive! 
Traditional Fish Seller - PORTUGAL

Praia da Marinha. Algarve - PORTUGAL
The Algarve (from Arabic Al-Gharb, meaning "The West") is the southernmost region of mainland Portugal. The region coincides with the Faro District, and has as its administrative centre the city of Faro. Production of food, which includes fish and other seafood, fruit, oranges, carob beans, figs and almonds, is also economically important in the region. The Algarve is the most popular tourist destination in Portugal, and one of the most popular in Europe. Almost 10 million people visit the Algarve every year.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

LISBOA 1996 by Paulo Nozolino - PORTUGAL

I love photography it's one of my major passions, and in this card is an amazing snap by Paulo Nozolino one of the best Portuguese BW shooters. The story behind this postcard is interesting. My good friend Ana bought this card in Serralves Museum of Modern Art in Oporto and sent it from Lisbon while participating on a teacher's protest rally with a nice quotation from José Luís Peixoto on the back. Thanks a lot Ana, I really loved this one!

LISBOA 1996 by Paulo Nozolino - PORTUGAL
Well known in the world of European photography, Paulo Nozolino was born in Lisbon in 1955. In the seventies, he lived in London, in the eighties and nineties in Paris, and recently he moved back to Portugal. He travelled extensively in Europe, the Arab world, North and South America and Macao, and published his photographs in numerous books.



The Forest Park of Buçaco (or Bussaco, you can write it both ways) near Coimbra is truly a lost piece of the Garden of Eden. Created by nuns of the Order of Carmelites it's one of the most beautiful parks in Portugal and home of the most amazing hotel in the country an really deserves to be on the UNESCO list. Thank you Martinha for remembering me while you visited the park, I hope someday I'll have a UNESCO collection half as impressive as yours.

Measuring 1450m by 950m, the National Forest is surrounded by a wall with several gates scattered around the perimeter, providing access to the leafy woods which surround the church, part of a Carmelite convent, a monumental palace, and several other buildings of a religious nature. Buçaco's cultural landscape predates this, the only "wilderness” of its kind in Portugal, which was created by the Order of Discalced Carmelites between 1628 and 1630. 


Malbork - POLAND - UNESCO #847

Another direct swap with a UNESCO collector, this time from Poland showing the Malbork Castle, one of Poland Seven Wonders and, by the photo and the senders description seems really a wonderful place. Thank you very much Agnieszka for this great card, my 3rd Polish site and number 124 on my collection, 857 and it's done.

UNESCO #847 - Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork - POLISH
This 13th-century fortified monastery belonging to the Teutonic Order was substantially enlarged and embellished after 1309, when the seat of the Grand Master moved here from Venice. A particularly fine example of a medieval brick castle, it later fell into decay, but was meticulously restored in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of the conservation techniques now accepted as standard were evolved here. Following severe damage in the Second World War it was once again restored, using the detailed documentation prepared by earlier conservators.

Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn - SWITZERLAND - UNESCO #1037

What a nice surprise I've got when browsing the cards received while I was gone - Óscar and Daniela, two Portuguese postcrossers that live and work in Switzerland sent me this amazing panoramic postcard showing the Alps. We didn't arrange any swap, it was really a nice gesture from them... well you probably got by now my surprise card sent from France! It's also for this moments that postcrossing is such a great hobby - thanks a lot and all the best for you! As for the UNESCO collection, it's now 123 down, 858 to go!

UNESCO #1037 - Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch - SWITZERLAND
The Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn region is the most glaciated part of the European Alps, containing Europe's largest glacier and a range of classic glacial features, and provides an outstanding record of the geological processes that formed the High Alps. A diverse flora and fauna is represented in a range of habitats, and plant colonization in the wake of retreating glaciers provides an outstanding example of plant succession.