Friday, February 28, 2014

Teotihuacan - MEXICO - UNESCO #414

The second card I got from Mexico shows one of the most famous Pre-Hispanic constructions. The Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan is the central building in a sacred city that is still a big mystery... when the Aztecs arrived to this place, they found the city already built and deserted, so they believed it was erected by the Gods (according to some crazy guys in the History Channel, aliens are also a possibility!). Thank you very much Irene for this amazing double swap, I would love to climb those steps (I've visited Chichen-Itza and Tulum in 2010 and felt the magic of such places). So, after this 2 awesome cards, my collection grows to 315 WHS, only 666 (the number of the beast) to the end. This postcard took 18 days to arrive!
UNESCO #414 - Pre-Hispanic City of Teotihuacan - MEXICO
The holy city of Teotihuacan ('the place where the gods were created') is situated some 50 km north-east of Mexico City. Built between the 1st and 7th centuries A.D., it is characterized by the vast size of its monuments – in particular, the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, laid out on geometric and symbolic principles. As one of the most powerful cultural centres in Mesoamerica, Teotihuacan extended its cultural and artistic influence throughout the region, and even beyond.


Central University City Campus of UNAM - MEXICO - UNESCO #1250

The University Campus of UNAM in Mexico City, built in the early 50s is another of those modern architecture landmarks that UNESCO decided to classify as WHS right now, before some "enlighten" mind would remember to replace some building for a new and totally different structure. The thjing that impress me the most are the fabulous murals representing the Pre-Hispanic Heritage. According to the sender, that studies there, this is the best university in whole Latin America - in the postcard we can see the Central Library. Thank you very much Irene and congratulations for having the chance of studying in such a beautiful place. This postcard took 18 days to arrive!

UNESCO #1250 - University Campus of UNAM, Mexico City - MEXICO
The ensemble of buildings, sports facilities and open spaces of the Central University City Campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), was built from 1949 to 1952 by more than 60 architects, engineers and artists who were involved in the project. As a result, the campus constitutes a unique example of 20th-century modernism integrating urbanism, architecture, engineering, landscape design and fine arts with references to local traditions, especially to Mexico’s pre-Hispanic past. The ensemble embodies social and cultural values of universal significance and is one of the most significant icons of modernity in Latin America.


Thursday, February 27, 2014


A Gothic cathedral in Manila is something that sounds a bit strange, specially when that cathedral is all made of steel and German stained glass! This is another of those places I have no idea that exist (it's incredible how POSTCROSSING increased my knowledge of the world). If I ever go to Manila I'll definitely visit this church (maybe I can catch a Jeepney to go there!), must be a unique place, hopefully soon a WHS. Thank you very much (Maraming Salamat Po!) Raine, I really love this one. This postcard took 16 days to arrive!

San Sebastian Church, Manila - PHILIPPINES - UNESCO TENTATIVE
San Sebastian Church is located in Quiapo, one of Manila's older districts.  Surrounding it are rows of old houses.  The Church of San Sebastian is made of a steel frame and panels and is  known for its distinct characteristic - that of being the only neo-gothic steel church in the Philippines and in Asia. The steel parts were manufactured in the Societe Anonyme's foundry in Binche, Belgium and were shipped to Manila.  The stained glass windows were imported from the Henri Oidtmann Company, a German stained glass firm. The Church of San Sebastian is a reflection of the late 19th century innovations in architecture, art and construction.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

China Danxia - CHINA - UNESCO #1335

The second card I've got today came from China, but my first thought when I took it from my mailbox was "Great, a postcard from Mars!"... These peculiar sharp red rock formations located allover south-west China are something I never saw (incredibly, a quick search tell me that are places with similar topography in Central Europe) and I can only guess how astonishing beautiful must be walking on those hills. Thank you very much Luo for this amazing card, my 313th UNESCO WHS, 668 more and I'm done. This postcard took 9 days to arrive!
UNESCO #1335 - Chinese Danxia landform - CHINA
China Danxia is the name given in China to landscapes developed on continental red terrigenous sedimentary beds influenced by endogenous forces (including uplift) and exogenous forces (including weathering and erosion). The inscribed site comprises six areas found in the sub-tropical zone of south-west China. They are characterized by spectacular red cliffs and a range of erosional landforms, including dramatic natural pillars, towers, ravines, valleys and waterfalls. These rugged landscapes have helped to conserve sub-tropical broad-leaved evergreen forests, and host many species of flora and fauna, about 400 of which are considered rare or threatened.

Monastery of Horezu - ROMANIA - UNESCO #597

Two more cards with UNESCO WHS to my collection today! The first one came from Romania and it shows the 17th century Orthodox Monastery of Horezu in Wallachia, Romania. According to the sender, its a beautiful place and the painted pottery they make there is simply amazing (I'll search it online). Thank you very much Daniela for the card and the astonishing beautiful stamp with a Orthodox Icon. My collection rises to 312 sites, 669 to finish it. This postcard took 10 days to arrive!

UNESCO #597 - Orthodox Monastery of Horezu - ROMANIA

Founded in 1690 by Prince Constantine Brancovan, the monastery of Horezu, in Walachia, is a masterpiece of the 'Brancovan' style. It is known for its architectural purity and balance, the richness of its sculptural detail, the treatment of its religious compositions, its votive portraits and its painted decorative works. The school of mural and icon painting established at the monastery in the 18th century was famous throughout the Balkan region.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Berlin Wall - GERMANY

The last card in the envelope from Gracinha don't show a Portuguese site but the infamous Berlin Wall in Germany, a construction we don't like to remember but it's really important that we never forget those stupid "Cold War" times that unfortunately seem that are trying to rise again. Thank you very much for this 5 extraordinary cards Gracinha, I'm really touched by this awesome surprise. This postcard took 5 days to arrive!
Berlin Wall - GERMANY
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off (by land) West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin.The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the "death strip") that contained anti-vehicle trenches, "fakir beds" and other defenses. On 9 November 1989 crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere and soon after it was teared down.

Pombaline 'Baixa' or Downtown of Lisbon - PORTUGAL - UNESCO TENTATIVE

This two cards are simply amazing, definitively my favorite from the ones Gracinha sent me (and the only ones with the date printed in the back). Here we can see two of the most iconic places in the downtown of Lisbon; in the first one we have Rossio all filled with flowers (and I would "kill" to have that old Alfa Romeo on my garage) and in the second a view of D. Pedro IV square, only a couple of footsteps away (this picture is awesome, it somehow looks like a black and white photography later colorized). Thank you very much Gracinha, this amazing cards are my first from the Pombaline 'Baixa', hopefully one day a UNESCO WHS. This postcard took 5 days to arrive!

Rossio with flowers (1967), Lisbon - UNESCO TENTATIVE

D. Pedro IV Square (1950), Lisbon - UNESCO TENTATIVE
As a result of the destruction of the greater part of the city, including the symbolic centres of power, by the 1755 earthquake, - the most violent registered in history, and a catastrophe which, at the time, became the subject of literary and philosophical works - a complex reconstruction scheme was imposed by the commanding figure of the Marqugs de Pombal. Although the logic behind the physical limits of the Pombaline "Baixa" is rather unclear-and somewhat fluid in certain zones it is possible to identify an area of 235,620 m2, covering 62 blocks and 430 building lots.

Sintra - PORTUGAL - UNESCO #723

Another awesome vintage card sent by Gracinha, this time showing a detail of the entrance of the magnificent Pena Palace in Sintra, one of the most beautiful palaces in the world - when we visit it we really feel like entering on a fairy tale. The surrounding forest and National Park are also amazing, it's one of my favorite spots for a romantic weekend getaway. Thanks again Gracinha, I love this vintage card and it will turn my UNESCO collection even better. This postcard took 5 days to arrive!

UNESCO #723 - Pena Palace (Arabian Door), Sintra - PORTUGAL

In the 19th century Sintra became the first centre of European Romantic architecture. Ferdinand II turned a ruined monastery into a castle where this new sensitivity was displayed in the use of Gothic, Egyptian, Moorish and Renaissance elements and in the creation of a park blending local and exotic species of trees. Other fine dwellings, built along the same lines in the surrounding serra , created a unique combination of parks and gardens which influenced the development of landscape architecture throughout Europe.

Ajuda National Palace - LISBON

Today I had a big surprise on my mailbox. A member of the POSTCROSSING Forum, knowing my love for vintage postcards sent me a big envelope with a wonderful letter and a bunch of beautiful vintage cards. This one shows the "Palácio Nacional da Ajuda" in Lisbon, originally a Royal residence, currently a great cultural center and very popular among tourists - it's been a long time since my last visit, I really must return there. Thank you very much Gracinha for remembering me and for this nice surprise. This postcard took 5 days to arrive!
Ajuda National Palace, Lisbon - PORTUGAL
The Ajuda National Palace is a neoclassical monument in the civil parish of Ajuda in the city of Lisbon, central Portugal. Built on the site of a temporary wooden building constructed to house the Royal family after the 1755 earthquake and tsunami, it was planned a late Baroque-Rococo building. Later, it was entrusted to José da Costa e Silva and Francisco Xavier Fabri, who planned a magnificent building in the modern neoclassical style.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Mir Castle - BELARUS - UNESCO #625

This beautiful card was sent by my friend Elena, a postcrosser from Belarus and one of the most active followers of this blog. According to her, the Mir Castle is the most beautiful on Belarus (she likes it even more the Nesvizh Castle) and after looking to some pictures on the web and reading the UNESCO page I have to problem at all in agreeing with you. Thank you very much Lena, for this card and for your friendship! As for my collection it reaches 311 different WHS, only 670 to finish (and only one missing from Belarus). This postcard took 21 days to arrive!
UNESCO #625 - Mir Castle Complex - BELARUS
The construction of this castle began at the end of the 15th century, in Gothic style. It was subsequently extended and reconstructed, first in the Renaissance and then in the Baroque style. After being abandoned for nearly a century and suffering severe damage during the Napoleonic period, the castle was restored at the end of the 19th century, with the addition of a number of other elements and the landscaping of the surrounding area as a park. Its present form is graphic testimony to its often turbulent history.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Mount Wuyi - CHINA - UNESCO #911

This card brings me another beautiful photography from China (as I've said yesterday, I really love water reflections). The Mount Wuyi is famous for it's amazing combination between water and mountains. According to the sender that lives near this site, it's a wonderful place, but in July and August so crowded of noisy tourists that it's not easy to enjoy the views (that's a problem almost everywhere, unfortunately). Thank you so much Lily for this awesome adiction to my collection (310 down, 671 to go). This postcard took 27 days to arrive!
UNESCO #911 - Mount Wuyi - CHINA
Mount Wuyi is the most outstanding area for biodiversity conservation in south-east China and a refuge for a large number of ancient, relict species, many of them endemic to China. The serene beauty of the dramatic gorges of the Nine Bend River, with its numerous temples and monasteries, many now in ruins, provided the setting for the development and spread of neo-Confucianism, which has been influential in the cultures of East Asia since the 11th century.



A Jeepney is one of the most peculiar public transportation in the - the first ones were made from scraps left by the Americans during WWII (hence the name) and the owners use bright lights, paintings and really loud music in order to attract passengers world (and according to friend of mine that was in Manila, in a jeepney there's always room for one more). Thank you very much Raine for the card and the nice message (she travels on 3 jeepneys a day!). This postcard took 16 days to arrive!    

Jeepneys are the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines. They are known for their crowded seating and kitsch decorations, which have become a ubiquitous symbol of Philippine culture and art. Originally made from U.S. military jeeps left over from World War II, the word jeepney came from the combination of the words "jeep" and "jitney", a franchised small bus that carries passengers on a regular route with flexible schedule.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Classical Gardens of Suzhou - CHINA - UNESCO #813

This awesome card shows one of the treasures of China that UNESCO classified as World Heritage Site. It took almost 800 years to complete the nine gardens in the city of Suzhou and only a fraction of a second to picture it in this beautiful photography that helps me forget the heavy rain outside. Thank you very much Zihu, I really like this postcard (I love water reflections photos) and now my collection grows to 309 WHS, only 672 to finish. This postcard took 16 days to arrive!
UNESCO #813 - Classical Gardens of Suzhou - CHINA
Classical Chinese garden design, which seeks to recreate natural landscapes in miniature, is nowhere better illustrated than in the nine gardens in the historic city of Suzhou. They are generally acknowledged to be masterpieces of the genre. Dating from the 11th-19th century, the gardens reflect the profound metaphysical importance of natural beauty in Chinese culture in their meticulous design.



The second official card of today came from the Netherlands and it shows a picture of the harbour of the little town of Marken and its traditional old wooden houses. Thank you very much Petra, this was one of the places that unfortunately I didn't had the chance to visit last summer when I went to Holland, but I remember checking it on the guide and the road map... maybe next time. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!

The Harbour in Marken, North Holland - NETHERLANDS
Marken is a peninsula in the Markermeer, in the Netherlands and a former island in the Zuiderzee, North Holland. It is the namesake of the Markermeer, the body of water which surrounds it. Marken is a well-known tourist attraction, well known for its characteristic wooden houses. Marken and its inhabitants were the focus of considerable attention by folklorists, ethnographers and physical anthropologists, who regarded the small fishing town as a relic of the traditional native culture that was destined to disappear as the modernization of the Netherlands gained pace.


Petäjävesi Old Church - FINLAND - UNESCO #584

This official postcard came from Finland and it shows the ancient wooden church of Petäjävesi; it's the third one I get from this site, but I like it, because it shows a different angle from those I already have. The sender really want to send me a card with the church because it's the only UNESCO WHS in Finland she already visited more than once. Thank you so much Elina, for taking the time to check my collection and avoid duplicates, I'm very glad with that and I really don't mind getting several cards from the same place as long as they aren't exactly equal. This postcard took 4 days to arrive! 
UNESCO #584 - Petäjävesi Old Church - FINLAND
Petäjävesi Old Church, in central Finland, was built of logs between 1763 and 1765. This Lutheran country church is a typical example of an architectural tradition that is unique to eastern Scandinavia. It combines the Renaissance conception of a centrally planned church with older forms deriving from Gothic groin vaults.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sangiran Early Man Site - INDONESIA - UNESCO #593

The only card I've got today is from a World Heritage Site in Indonesia that was still missing in my collection. This particular site is one of the most important in the world to understand the evolution of human beings. Thank you very much Dewimartha for this postcard, the 308th in my collection, 673 to finish (and only 2 in Indonesia). This postcard took 13 days to arrive!
UNESCO #593 - Sangiran Early Man Site - INDONESIA
Sangiran Early Man Site is situated about 15 kilometers in the north of Solo town in Central Java, Indonesia, covering an area of 5,600 hectares. It became famous after the discovery of Homo erectus remains and associated stone artifacts in the 1930s.  Later, 50 fossils of Meganthropus palaeo and Pithecanthropus erectus/Homo erectus were found – half of all the world's known hominid fossils. Inhabited for the past one and a half million years, Sangiran is one of the key sites for the understanding of human evolution.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Brown Bear, Białowieża Forest - BELARUS - UNESCO #33

The Białowieża Primeval Forest in Belarus and Poland (UNESCO WHS since 1979) is the last remaining primary deciduous and mixed forest of the European lowlands. The postcard collection entitled "Fauna of Belarus" shows some of the animals that live there. I already have the Lynx and now I've got this badass looking Brown Bear, I wonder if I can get them all? Thank you very much, I really apreciate the fact that you've used the Belarus special edition "Happy Postcrossing 2014" stamp. This postcard took 8 days to arrive! 

UNESCO #33 - Brown Bear, Białowieża Forest - BELARUS
Situated on the watershed of the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, this immense forest range, consisting of evergreens and broad-leaved trees, is home to some remarkable animal life, including rare mammals such as the wolf, the lynx and the otter, as well as some 300 European Bison, a species which has been reintroduced into the park.

Cáceres - SPAIN - UNESCO #384

On my way back from Mérida I've made a stop in Cáceres for lunch and a big walk on the Historic City Center... I was there many years ago, but to be honest I didn't remember how beautiful it is - a tour on those narrow streets is like a time travel, specially because the medieval walls and monuments are really well preserved. Lots of things to do and see, and only two hours drive from my home; I'll return there soon, no doubt about that. With this card I've sent to myself, I reach 307 WHS in my collection, only 674 to finish it. This postcard took 2 days to arrive! 
UNESCO #384 - Old Town of Cáceres - SPAIN
Cáceres is an outstanding example of a city that was ruled from the 14th to 16th centuries by powerful rival factions: fortified houses, palaces and towers dominate its spatial configuration. This city in Estremadura bears the traces of highly diverse and contradictory influences, such as Islamic arts, Northern Gothic, Italian Renaissance, arts of the New World, etc. The walls of the city bear exceptional testimony to the fortifications built in Spain by the Almohads. The Torre Desmochada in Cáceres is part of an ensemble of walls and towers which is representative of a civilization and which has been largely conserved.

Extremadura Map - SPAIN

Last weekend I went to Mérida for romantic Valentine's Day getaway with my wife. Mérida is a very beautiful city with amazing Roman Ruins (a UNESCO WHS from where I already have a card) and a nige nightlife. I bought and sent to myself this Mapcard of the region of Extremadura (Mérida is the capital) for my collection. This postcard took 2 days to arrive!  
Extremadura Region Map - SPAIN
Extremadura is an autonomous community of western Spain whose capital city is Mérida. Its component provinces are Cáceres and Badajoz. It is bordered by Portugal to the west. To the north it borders Castile and León (provinces of Salamanca and Ávila); to the south, it borders Andalusia (provinces of Huelva, Seville, and Córdoba); and to the east, it borders Castile–La Mancha (provinces of Toledo and Ciudad Real). Its official language is Spanish. It is an important area for wildlife, particularly with the major reserve at Monfragüe, which was designated a National Park in 2007, and the project of the International Tagus River Natural Park (Terreno Natural Río Tajo Internacional).

Monday, February 17, 2014

Palaces of Dresden - GERMANY

The second official of the day came from Germany, a multiview card of Palaces in the city of Dresden and in its surroundings, they really seem beautiful. The Dresden Elbe valley used to be a UNESCO WHS, but after the construction of the Waldschlösschen Bridge (a awful four lane bridge right in the middle of the valley) it became the second site delisted, unfortunately. Thank you very much Benno. This postcard took 4 days to arrive!  
Dresden and its surroundings - GERMANY
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The city was known as the Jewel Box, because of its baroque and rococo city center. The controversial British and American bombing of Dresden in World War II towards the end of the war killed at least 25,000 civilians and destroyed the entire city center. The impact of the bombing ruined the face of the city, but after the war Restoration work has helped to reconstruct parts of the historic inner city, including the Katholische Hofkirche, the Semper Oper and the Dresdner Frauenkirche as  well as the suburbs.

Greetings from FINLAND

Two official cards came in the mail today. This one was sent by Maza, a postcrosser from Finland and it's really a amazing photography so beautiful and peaceful as the quote she wrote on the back: "Friends are the Family you choose for yourself"... so true! Thank you very much Maza. This postcard took 4 days to arrive!
Greetings from FINLAND
The Republic of Finland is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden to the west, Norway to the north and Russia to the east, while Estonia lies to the south across the Gulf of Finland. 5.4 million people live in Finland (end of 2012), with the majority concentrated in its southern regions. In terms of area, it is the eighth largest country in Europe and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Colonial City of Santo Domingo - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - UNESCO #526

This is my first card received from the distant Dominican Republic. It shows Saint Mary Cathedral, Prime of America - it's construction was ordered by Christopher Columbus itself, in order to thank the Virgin Mary the fact of reaching India (as it was his belief) by sea. Thank you so much Idrialis, you can't imagine how I love this card and how I wish to visit Santo Domingo one day. As for my UNESCO collection, it reaches the number of 306 different sites (675 till the end) and since Santo Domingo is the only WHS in Dominican Republic, I've just completed another country! This postcard took 25 days to arrive!

UNESCO #526 - Saint Mary, Santo Domingo - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
After Christopher Columbus's arrival on the island in 1492, Santo Domingo became the site of the first cathedral, hospital, customs house and university in the Americas. This colonial town, founded in 1498, was laid out on a grid pattern that became the model for almost all town planners in the New World. Among the most outstanding buildings, the cathedral was constructed between 1514 and 1542; it is the oldest in America, and is one of the architectural wonders of the Colonial City. The main entrance stands next to the Columbus Plaza, where stands a giant statue of the great navigator himself.

Wooden Churches of Maramureş - ROMANIA - UNESCO #904

Only two cards today, but both from WHS I didn't have yet. The first one came from Romania and it shows four wooden orthodox churches (Bârsana, Desestiş, Plopiş and Ieud) in the Maramureş region (UNESCO classified eight churches in this region). Thank you so much Daniela for this amazing card - I've never been inside a wooden church and from the silhouettes on the photos, they should be really beautiful. 305 down, 676 to go. This postcard took 19 days to arrive!

UNESCO #904 - Wooden Churches of Maramureş - ROMANIA
These eight churches are outstanding examples of a range of architectural solutions from different periods and areas. They show the variety of designs and craftsmanship adopted in these narrow, high, timber constructions with their characteristic tall, slim clock towers at the western end of the building, either single- or double-roofed and covered by shingles. As such, they are a particular vernacular expression of the cultural landscape of this mountainous area of northern Romania.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Struve Geodetic Arc - FINLAND - UNESCO #1187

I'm really happy for getting this card - first of all it's the first time I see a card like this (pre-paid and address in front with all the back available for the message) and second because it's the 3rd card I get showing Struve Geodetic Arc (already got from Ukraine and Russia) the 10 country WHS. Thank you so much Elenna, I now have all the UNESCO sites in Finland, another country completed! This postcard took 4 days to arrive!

UNESCO #1187 - Struve Geodetic Arc - FINLAND
The Struve Arc is a chain of survey triangulations stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea, through 10 countries and over 2,820 km. These are points of a survey, carried out between 1816 and 1855 by the astronomer Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve, which represented the first accurate measuring of a long segment of a meridian. 


This beautiful postcard came all the way from Finland to my mailbox and it was signed by 6 postcrossers that gather for a meet-up in Oulu. It shows the boat that tours the immense lake of Saimaa, a site that is trying to enter the UNESCO list since 2004. Thank you very much Ellena for sending me this card and to Hillewi, Paavaliina, Ulledulle, Stinal and Taavina for signing it - Happy Postcrossing to you all! This postcard took 4 days to arrive!

Saimaa is a lake in southeastern Finland. At approximately 4,400 square kilometres, it is the largest lake in Finland, and the fourth largest natural sweetwater lake in Europe. It was formed by glacial melting at the end of the Ice Age. The number of islands in the region (14,000) shows what a maze of detail the system is. An endangered freshwater seal, the Saimaa Ringed Seal, lives only at Saimaa. Another of the lake's endangered species is the Saimaa salmon.

Bauhaus Sites, Dessau - GERMANY - UNESCO #729

The word Bauhaus for me is much more about music (because of the late 70s English band) than the German Architecture and Design School (that will celebrate one century soon). I've wrote it here several times that I'm not really a modern architecture lover, but I understand the importance of this movement in the definition of urban construction in present days.  Thank you so much Katrin, this card really helps making my collection a better one; the number of WHS is now 304, 677 more and I'm done (and only 8 missing from Germany!). This postcard took 7 days to arrive!
UNESCO #729 - Bauhaus School and Sites, Dessau - GERMANY
Between 1919 and 1933, the Bauhaus School, based first in Weimar and then in Dessau, revolutionized architectural and aesthetic concepts and practices. The buildings put up and decorated by the school's professors (Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Wassily Kandinsky) launched the Modern Movement, which shaped much of the architecture of the 20th century.

Mammoth Cave National Park - KY - USA - UNESCO #150

I love visiting caves - when I was a young boy I went with my family to "Mira de Aire" here in Portugal and it was like entering Aladdin's world; since then it's one of my favorite activities when abroad (I will never forget the amazing Škocjan Caves in Slovenia). After reading the description of the Mammoth Cave I really want to go there one day. Thank you very much for this wonderful postcard Inez and since it is a UNESCO WHS, my collection grows to 303 sites, only 678 to finish. This postcard took 15 days to arrive!

UNESCO #150 - Mammoth Cave - KY - USA
Mammoth Cave is the most extensive cave system in the world, with over 285 miles (456 km) of surveyed cave passageways within the property. The park illustrates a number of stages of the Earth's evolutionary history and contains ongoing geological processes and unique wildlife. It is renowned for its size and vast network of extremely large horizontal passages and vertical shafts. The flora and fauna of Mammoth Cave is the richest cave-dwelling wildlife known, with more than 130 species within the cave system.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mountain Resort in Chengde - CHINA - UNESCO #703

The last card of today is probably the most beautiful one I ever receive from China. It's the first time I read something about the Qing dynasty's palace in Chengde but I have to say that in the 18th century the emperor have chosen a awesome place to build his summer resort - from the picture it really seams a piece of Heaven (and I'm almost sure that he didn't have to climb 7200 steps to reach it). Thank you very much Yachne, this card is simply amazing and it makes my collection grow to 302 UNESCO WHS,only 679 to finish. This postcard took 21 days to arrive!
UNESCO #703 - Mountain Resort in Chengde - CHINA
The Mountain Resort (the Qing dynasty's summer palace), in Chengde, Hebei Province, was built between 1703 and 1792. It is a vast complex of palaces and administrative and ceremonial buildings. Temples of various architectural styles and imperial gardens blend harmoniously into a landscape of lakes, pastureland and forests. In addition to its aesthetic interest, the Mountain Resort is a rare historic vestige of the final development of feudal society in China.

Mount Taishan - CHINA - UNESCO #437

The sacred Mount Tai ('shan' means 'mountain') is the most famous mountain in China and one of the most important in Chinese culture (maybe that's why it's listed by UNESCO as a Nature and Cultural WHS). In a quick research on the web I've learned that more that 6 million visitors come every year to this site and that to reach the top they have to climb 7200 steps(!)... In this picture we see 'The South Gate to Heaven' - I'm sure that after finally climbing all those stairs we feel in Heaven. Thank you very much Heng (have you ever climbed to the top?) for another awesome card for my collection, I now have 301, only 680 WHS to complete my collection. This postcard took 19 days to arrive!

Mount Taishan - CHINA - UNESCO #437
Mount Taishan is the most famous sacred mountain of China, with exceptional historic, cultural, aesthetic and scientific value.  Settled by humans as early as the Neolithic (a Dawenkou site is nearby), the mountain has been worshipped continuously throughout the last three millennia.  A large and impressive rock mass covering 25,000 ha and rising to 1,545 m above the surrounding plateau, Mount Taishan is considered one of the most beautiful scenic spots in China and was an important cradle of oriental East Asian culture since the earliest times. 


Vietnam War Propaganda Poster - CHINA

Today I had in my mailbox three cards from China waiting for me. The first is a reproduction of one of the thousands of propaganda posters that were published during the Vietnam War. This one in particular is from 1965 and says in its title something like "The army and citizens of Vietnam are battling the American well, accurately and mercilessly". Thank you very much Chen, I really like old propaganda posters (in this I really love the detail of the falling US planes after being shot with a rifle!). This postcard took 16 days to arrive!

Vietnam War Propaganda (1965) - CHINA

The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, was a Cold War-era proxy war that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from December 1956 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam—supported by the Soviet Union, China and other communist allies—and the government of South Vietnam—supported by the United States and other anti-communist countries.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Vratsa Karst Nature Reserve - BULGARIA - UNESCO TENTATIVE

Now that I have all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites from Bulgaria, my good friend Tsvetana is helping me with sites that are trying to enter the list. This one shows the Vratsa Karst Nature Reserve, part of the Natural Park Vrachanski Balkan (the upper right photo was taken on the green part of the map, the Vratsata Gorge, right in area that is a UNESCO tentative). Thank you very much sweet Tsveti for another amazing card from Bulgaria (4 tentatives down, 9 to go) and for the nice message and stamps on the back. This postcard took 9 days to arrive!

Vratsa Karst Nature Reserve covers an area of 1438.9 ha and includes the northern rocky slopes of the Vratsa Mountain, West Balkan Mountain Range. The Reserve contains an impressive, continuous 10 km long rocky outcrop with NW-SE direction, divided in the middle by the Vratsata Gorge and Leva River. The territory includes a major karst region with exceptional natural beauty. Specific to the Reserve are the abundance of characteristic karts formations, which cover about quarter of the territory. The rest of the area is covered mainly by mixed deciduous forests of oak, hornbeam, flowering-ash, maple and less beach forests, and mountain pastures and meadows.

Novodevichy Convent, Moscow - RUSSIA - UNESCO #1097

The second Russian card of the day brings me a new UNESCO WHS for my collection. The Novodevichy Convent is a amazing building in Moscow and I probably is now covered in snow like in this beautiful photo, because according to the sender, Moscow is currently with -19ºC and everything is frozen. Thank you very much Julia, this is my 300th UNESCO site postcard, only 681 to finish. This postcard took 16 days to arrive!

UNESCO #1097 - The Novodevichy Convent, Moscow - RUSSIA
The Novodevichy Convent, in south-western Moscow, built in the 16th and 17th centuries in the so-called Moscow Baroque style, was part of a chain of monastic ensembles that were integrated into the defence system of the city. The convent was directly associated with the political, cultural and religious history of Russia, and closely linked to the Moscow Kremlin. The convent provides an example of the highest accomplishments of Russian architecture with rich interiors and an important collection of paintings and artefacts.


"Aurora" Cruiser, St Petersburg - RUSSIA

The Aurora Cruiser is one of the symbols of the October Soviet Revolution and still active, after more than one century, preserved at St. Petersburg, Russia where the sender of this postcard lives. Thank you very much Mary (loved the Matryoshka stickers on the back), I already have several vintage CCCP cards with a drawing of this boat, but now I also have this nice photo of this piece of naval history. This postcard took 12 days to arrive!
"Aurora" Cruiser - RUSSIA
Aurora is a 1900 Russian protected cruiser, currently preserved as a museum ship in St. Petersburg. She battled the Japanese Navy in the Russo-Japanese War. One of the first incidents of the October Revolution in Russia took place on the cruiser Aurora on 25 October 1917, when Aurora refused to carry out an order to put to sea.

Historic City of Quedlinburg - GERMANY - UNESCO #535

My good friend Henk from Belgium sent me another of his surprise swaps, this time a photo of the historic city of Quedlinburg where he went for a little weekend getaway. Thank you very much Henk, your next surprise card from me will be posted on the next days. This postcard took 4 days to arrive! 
UNESCO #535 - Quedlinburg - GERMANY
Quedlinburg, in the Land of Sachsen-Anhalt, was a capital of the East Franconian German Empire at the time of the Saxonian-Ottonian ruling dynasty. It has been a prosperous trading town since the Middle Ages. The number and high quality of the timber-framed buildings make Quedlinburg an exceptional example of a medieval European town. The Collegiate Church of St Servatius is one of the masterpieces of Romanesque architecture.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Bamberg - GERMANY - UNESCO #624

The third card Michaela sent me is from the Town of Bamberg a place with more that 1000 years of history (another place I've never heard about until now, thanks to postcrossing). One of the reasons it is a UNESCO WHS is because its architecture strongly influenced the constructions in Germany and Hungary... ok, now I'm wondering if 1000 years in the future people will admire the Berlin Modernism Housing Estates (yes I know, I should leave the Berlin houses issue). Thank you som much Michaela, you really helped my UNESCO collection, now I have postcars from 299 diferent sites (30/39 from Germany!), only 682 to complete it. This postcard took 7 days to arrive!

UNESCO #624 - Town of Bamberg - GERMANY
From the 10th century onwards, this town became an important link with the Slav peoples, especially those of Poland and Pomerania. During its period of greatest prosperity, from the 12th century onwards, the architecture of Bamberg strongly influenced northern Germany and Hungary. In the late 18th century it was the centre of the Enlightenment in southern Germany, with eminent philosophers and writers such as Hegel and Hoffmann living there.


Muskauer Park - GERMANY/POLAND - UNESCO #1127

After the Berlin Modernism Housing Estates, this was the perfect WHS to "clean" my sight and using the postcard to do my favorite thing: dream of visiting the place pictured on it. This Park on the border between Germany and Poland (I wonder if it has a peace memorial?) really seems a beautiful place and I would love to be able to walk there one day. Thank you very much Michaela.  This postcard took 7 days to arrive!

UNESCO #1127 - Muskauer Park - GERMANY/POLAND
A landscaped park of 559.9 ha astride the Neisse River and the border between Poland and Germany, it was created by Prince Hermann von Puckler-Muskau from 1815 to 1844. Blending seamlessly with the surrounding farmed landscape, the park pioneered new approaches to landscape design and influenced the development of landscape architecture in Europe and America. The site also features a reconstructed castle, bridges and an arboretum.