Monday, June 30, 2014

Kama Sutra Cartoon - USA

From Mimi (my naughty American friend) came another awesome Kama Sutra Cartoon, this time with a well-known sexual position called 'The Wheel'. This crazy position appears in lots of sacred paintings and sculptures in India, including the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple in Khajuraho (a UNESCO site from where I received a postcard last year - check it here). I call it a crazy position, because I can't possibly imagine myself doing it without breaking my back of neck... there must be a easier way of doing a "ménage a quatre", so I still prefer the previous position you sent last month, the amazing "Herd of Cows" with five girls! Thank you very much Mimi for this card and the funny message you wrote - a big kiss for you honey. This postcard took 10 days to arrive!
"The Wheel" Position, Kama Sutra
The Kama Sutra is an ancient Indian Hindu text widely considered to be the standard work on human sexual behavior in Sanskrit literature written by Vātsyāyana. Contrary to popular perception, especially in the western world, Kama Sutra is not just an exclusive sex manual; it presents itself as a guide to a virtuous and gracious living that discusses the nature of love, family life and other aspects pertaining to pleasure oriented faculties of human life.

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site - IL - USA - UNESCO #198

Another awesome UNESCO postcard found its way to my mailbox today, this time from Collinsville in the state of Illinois, USA. When we think in pre-Columbian constructions we almost immediatly think of Mexico and South America, but in fact there were several sites on North America territories and Cahokia Mounds are the largest of them all. Today, the mounds look like large grassy hils, but 1000 years ago they were the center of a large settlement. Thank you very much Joanna, I really like this postcard and thanks to it, my collection grows to 414 sites, 593 more and I'm done! This postcard took 7 days to arrive!
UNESCO #198 - Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site - IL - USA
Cahokia Mounds, some 13 km north-east of St Louis, Illinois, is the largest pre-Columbian settlement north of Mexico. It was occupied primarily during the Mississippian period (800–1400), when it covered nearly 1,600 ha and included some 120 mounds. It is a striking example of a complex chiefdom society, with many satellite mound centres and numerous outlying hamlets and villages. This agricultural society may have had a population of 10–20,000 at its peak between 1050 and 1150. Primary features at the site include Monks Mound, the largest prehistoric earthwork in the Americas, covering over 5 ha and standing 30 m high.

Sun Temple - INDIA - UNESCO #246

This peculiar postcard shows a reproduction of a special edition stamp issued in India dedicated to the Sun temple, built in Konârak 800 years ago right on the shores of the Bay of Bengal and a outstanding testimony to the kingdom of Orissa. Thank you very much Akhil for this nice addition to my UNESCO collection (413 down, 594 to go). This postcard took 13 days to arrive!
UNESCO #246 - Sun Temple, Konârak - INDIA
On the shores of the Bay of Bengal, bathed in the rays of the rising sun, the temple at Konârak is a monumental representation of the sun god Surya's chariot; its 24 wheels are decorated with symbolic designs and it is led by a team of six horses. Built in the 13th century, it is one of India's most famous Brahman sanctuaries. A unique artistic achievement, the temple has raised up those lovely legends which are affiliated everywhere with absolute works of art: its construction caused the mobilization of 1,200 workers for 12 years.

Wieliczka Mine - POLAND - UNESCO #32

Lots of people don't realise today the major importance that salt had in world history and civilization development - we take it for granted this days but centuries ago is was very important and with great value, even used as a payment method (have you ever wonder where the word "Salary" come from?). This 2 major mines in Poland were almost as important as a precious metal or gemstone mine, and on the tunnels several churches were built and carved on the stone. According to the sender, the Wieliczka site is beautiful but unfortunately very crowded so she prefers Bochnia. Thank you my dear Natalia for this card and your nice message - this is my 412th UNESCO postcard, only 595 to finish this collection. This postcard took 13 days to arrive!
UNESCO #32 - Wieliczka Mine - POLAND
The deposit of rock salt in Wieliczka and Bochnia has been mined since the 13th century. This major industrial undertaking has royal status and is the oldest of its type in Europe. The site is a serial property consisting of Wieliczka and Bochnia salt mines and Wieliczka Saltworks Castle. Both mines have hundreds of kilometers of galleries with works of art, underground chapels and statues sculpted in the salt, making a fascinating pilgrimage into the past. The mines were administratively and technically run by Wieliczka Saltworks Castle, which dates from the medieval period and has been rebuilt several times in the course of its history.

Callais Bellfry - FRANCE - UNESCO #943

There are lots of beautiful belfries in French and Belgium and more than 50 are classified as World Heritager Sites by UNESCO - I already have 2 belfries from Belgium, but this is my first one from France (still lots of them missing though...), the amazing belfry of Calais (Pas-de-Calais) located on the Town Hall of that historic coastal city in northern France. Thank you so much Veronique. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!
UNESCO #943 - Callais Bellfry - FRANCE
Twenty-three belfries in the north of France and the belfry of Gembloux in Belgium were inscribed as a group, an extension to the 32 Belgian belfries inscribed in 1999 as Belfries of Flanders and Wallonia. Built between the 11th and 17th centuries, they showcase the Roman, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles of architecture. They are highly significant tokens of the winning of civil liberties. While Italian, German and English towns mainly opted to build town halls, in part of north-western Europe, greater emphasis was placed on building belfries.

"Book Boat", Katsuhisa Toda

This official postcard is my first from the well known 'Inkognito' brand, a German publishing house of original and diferent illustrated postcards - this one made by the Japanese artist Katsuhisa Toda. Thank you very much Jet, after browsing the 'Inkognito' website, I now wish to receive a lot more from there, some are really awesome. This postcard took 26 days to arrive!

"Book Boat", Katsuhisa Toda (issued by Inkognito) - NETHERLANDS
Michael Etter established "Inkognito Gesellschaft für faustdicke Überraschungen"  (Inkognito - Society for Huge Surprises) in 1984. He started the company out with seven his friend Michael Sowa's postcards with the idea of specialising in the development of bizarre promotional gifts. Michael Etter's constant stream of new ideas and ability to pass his enthusiasm on to others attracted evermore artists and, in the process, evermore cards. Inkognito quickly became established as a source for gems in the mass of postcards on the market.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cats, Anton Gorcevich - UKRAINE

Postcards showing the paintings of the Russian painter Anton Gorcevichare a hot topic in the Postcrossing Forum. I must confess I never heard anything about this artist before reading some Forum posts, but I really like his work, specially this crazy "bon-vivant" cat, so I asked for this swap. Thank you very much Mila (we both share the pleasure of travelling!), all the best to you. This postcards took 14 days to arrive!

Anton Gorcevich was born on August 16, 1974, in Smolensk. In 1990 he moved to Tver and graduated to the Venezianov art college. Since 2004 Anton is a member of Assosiation of Free Artists of St.Petersburg. The artist's personal exhibitions were held in Smolensk, Tver, St.Petersburg and in the State Duma of The Russian Federation. Anton works in different genres, but prefers fantasy. 

Tórshavn Camping - FAROE ISLANDS

This card shows the camping site where Marnie and her sister stayed when they went to Faroe Islands. According to her message, the site is beautiful but very windy at night; still, a good base camp to visit the city or take a hike in the opposite direction, through the green fields and surrounded by sheeps. Thank you very much Marnie four the wonderful cards and I really enjoy all the things you told me on the messages. This postcard took 5 days to arrive!

Tórshavn Camping (Yviri við Strond) - FAROE ISLANDS
Tórshavn is the capital of the Faroe Islands. The city was founded in the 10th century and named after Thor, the god of thunder and lightning in Norse mythology. Currently the city has a population of around 20.000, almost half of all the inhabitants of the archipelago. 

Tórshavn Camping, Yviri við Strond stands about 1km from the harbor. Pretty low-frills campsite catering to both tenters and trailers. There's a spartan kitchen, (free) hot showers plus coin-operated laundry facilities. 

Map and Flag of FAROE ISLANDS

My first cards from Faroe Islands! Well, they were written and sent from Finland but still it's a good feeling starting a new label (twice today!). In 2012 Marnie went to Faroe Islands with her sister (visited 6 of the 18 islands) and she bought a bunch of postcards there for future swaps... I'm glad I was able to catch one of these, a amazing addition to my Map Card collection. Thank you very much Marnie for the awesome card. This postcard took 5 days to arrive!

Map and Flag of Føroyar - FAROE ISLANDS

The Faroe Islands is an archipelago and autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Norway and Iceland, at about 320 kilometres north-north-west of mainland Scotland. In Faroese, the name appears as Føroyar, translate as "the islands of sheep". The Faroe Islands have been a self-governing country within the Danish Realm since 1948. Over the years, the Faroese have taken control of most domestic matters. Areas that remain the responsibility of Denmark include military defence, police, justice, currency and foreign affairs.

Aurora Borealis - FINLAND

The second card from Marnie shows "Revontulet", the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights, curiously the second I receive this week (luckily they're not equal). She as already saw the Aurora 4 times on her life (she lives in southern Finland so it's not so often visible as in Lapland or other northern regions). Thanks again Marnie for this beautiful card and your message (I do hope I can see this lights for real one day). This postcard took 5 days to arrive!
Revontulet (Aurora Borealis) - FINLAND
An aurora is a natural light display in the sky particularly in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions, caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere (thermosphere). Most aurorae occur in a band known as the auroral zone, which is typically 3° to 6° in latitudinal extent and at all local times or longitudes. In northern latitudes, the effect is known as the Aurora Borealis (or the northern lights), named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas.


I received four cards from Finland today - the first show us one of the most important things in Scandinavian countries... sauna! Almost every house or building has one and it's really part of their day-to-day life (according to the sender, in the old days people were born in sauna! Whoa, I didn't knew that!). There are two things that really impress foreigners when they go to Scandinavia, the habit of Naked Sauna (which of course make all sense because you want your body to sweat freely without clothes restrictions) and the cold showers after (or even rolling outside in the snow) to stimulate blood circulation. Well, I guess I won't have any trouble with that, I feel comfortable around naked people and I'm crazy enough to dive in a frozen lake! Thank you very much Marnie. This postcard took 5 days to arrive!


A sauna is a small room or house designed as a place to experience dry or wet heat sessions, or an establishment with one or more of these and auxiliary facilities. The steam and high heat make the bathers perspire. Saunas can be divided into two basic styles: conventional saunas that warm the air or infrared saunas that warm objects. Infrared saunas may use various materials in their heating area such as charcoal, active carbon fibers, and other materials.

Cathedral of Christ's Nativity, Tiraspol - TRANSNISTRIA (MOLDOVA)

I really find the photo of this card one of the most beautiful of my collection, not only for the nice water reflection (one of my favorite type of photos) but for the great brown, orange and yellow color patterns and the way the blue sky contrasts with the cathedral - I really love this one. Thank you very much Igor, for sending me my first card from Transnistria! Please don't be mad with me for labeling this card under Moldova, but it's where your country still is registered in the ISO 3166 - and thank you for the beautiful Moldova stamp of the Olympic Games. This postcard took 10 days to arrive!
Cathedral of Christ's Nativity, Tiraspol - TRANSNISTRIA (MOLDOVA)
The Nativity Church, also known as the Cathedral of Christ's Nativity, is the largest and newest church in Tiraspol, the capital of Transnistria. It is a Russian Orthodox Church completed in 1999 to serve as the Mother Church of the Orthodox Christian Diocese of Tiraspol. In 2001, the cathedral's image was displayed on the principal coins struck for a commemorative series of gold and silver currency featuring Orthodox Temples of Transnistria.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Historic Bridgetown - BARBADOS - UNESCO #1376

Finally I have a postcard from Bridgetown in Barbados! It's not the first card I've received from that Caribbean paradise, but the first one I have showing the historic city of Bridgetown, one of the most important British colonial cities in the Atlantic. Thank you very much Monika for this card and your message, and of course for being one of the most faithful reader of this blog (wish all the luck to you and your husband in this new adventure in your life, moving from Poland to Barbados, that's radical). Ok now, one more UNESCO postcard added to my collection and since it's the only one in Barbados, I've just completed another country (411 down, 596 till the end). This postcard took 8 days to arrive! 
UNESCO #1376 - Bridgetown Harbor - BARBADOS
Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison, an outstanding example of British colonial architecture consisting of a well-preserved old town built in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, which testifies to the spread of Great Britain's Atlantic colonial empire. The property also includes a nearby military garrison which consists of numerous historic buildings. With its serpentine urban lay-out the property testifies to a different approach to colonial town-planning compared to the Spanish and Dutch colonial cities of the region which were built along a grid plan.

St. Andrew's Cathedral, Kiev - UKRAINE - UNESCO TENTATIVE

The third card in Oksana's envelope has this beautiful photo of the 250 years old Saint Andrew's Cathedral in Kiev, a place she often visits (in her opinion it has a special aura that makes it a unique place). For it's artistic and architectural value it's a tentative site for entering UNESCO WHS list (let's hope it will get there next year!). Thanks again for this awesome swap Oksana, I really like your cards. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!
St. Andrew's Cathedral, Kiev - UKRAINE
St. Andrew's Church in Kyiv is a monument of history, architecture and painting of the 18th century that gained the world significance. The church preserves not only authentic architecture and painting of the Baroque epoch, but also unique decorative stuccowork and woodcarving of the middle of the 18th century. Besides, the painting compositions of the 19th century executed in Classicism are also preserved in the interior of the church.

Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathians - UKRAINE - UNESCO #1424

Another envelope from Ukraine with three cards got into my mailbox this morning (it's the second this week)... the first cards show two more wooden tserkvas of the Carpathians of the sixteen that UNESCO classified as World Heritage Sites (guess I'll only need 13 more now!). This are really interesting constructions and I'm really curious about visiting them one day. Thank you very much Oksana for this two beautiful cards and the nice messages you wrote on each one. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!
UNESCO #1424 - Church of Ascension of Our Lord, Yasynia - UKRAINE

UNESCO #1424 - Descent of the Holy Spirit Church, Rohatyn - UKRAINE

Located at the eastern fringes of Central Europe within the Polish and Ukrainian Carpathian mountain range, the sixteen wooden tserkvas (churches) are outstanding examples of the once widespread Orthodox ecclesiastical timber-building tradition in the Slavic countries that survives to this day. The architectural forms of the tserkvas with tri-partite plans, pyramidal domes, cupolas and bell towers conform to the requirements of Eastern liturgy while reflecting the cultural traditions of the local communities that developed separately due to the mountainous terrain.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

La Fortaleza, San Juan - PUERTO RICO - UNESCO #266

My first card from Puerto Rico arrived today! Located in the northeastern Caribbean Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States of America, which means that it's officially US territory, but not a US State. One of the main landmarks of the capital San Juan is the European style fortress (called 'La Fortaleza'), built almost 500 years ago to protect the city from the pirates of the Caribbean (savvy!). Thank you very much Kato for this postcard that allows me to start a new label and add another UNESCO WHS to my collection (410 down, 597 to go!). This postcard took 8 days to arrive!
UNESCO #266 - La Fortaleza, San Juan - PUERTO RICO - USA
The main elements of the massive fortification of San Juan are La Fortaleza, the three forts of San Felipe del Morro, San Cristóbal and San Juan de la Cruz (El Cañuelo), and a large portion of the City Wall, built between the 16th and 19th centuries to protect the city and the Bay of San Juan. They are characteristic examples of the historic methods of construction used in military architecture over this period, which adapted European designs and techniques to the special conditions of the Caribbean port cities.

Mount Fuji - JAPAN - UNESCO #1418

Mount Fuji is one of those natural places that we all recognize and immediately associate with its country Japan - more than just a beautiful place (and it's really awesome) is has a very strong spiritual meaning for all the Japanese. It's another of those sites that I have on my "bucket list" for ages! I really thought this site was one of the first inscribed in the UNESCO list, but I found out today that it was only last year that it became a World Heritage Site, I wonder why... Thank you very much Fumie, this beautiful card is a wonderful addition to my collection (409 down, 598 to go). This postcard took 7 days to arrive!
UNESCO #1418 - Mount Fuji - JAPAN
The beauty of the solitary, often snow-capped, stratovolcano, known around the world as Mount Fuji, rising above villages and tree-fringed sea and lakes has long been the object of pilgrimages and inspired artists and poets. The inscribed property consists of 25 sites which reflect the essence of Fujisan’s sacred and artistic landscape. In the 12th century, Fujisan became the centre of training for ascetic Buddhism, which included Shinto elements. On the upper 1,500-metre tier of the 3,776m mountain, pilgrim routes and crater shrines have been inscribed alongside sites around the base of the mountain including Sengen-jinja shrines, Oshi lodging houses, and natural volcanic features such as lava tree moulds, lakes, springs and waterfalls, which are revered as sacred.

Hallstatt-Dachstein/Salzkammergut - AUSTRIA - UNESCO #806

The second UNESCO of the day came from Austria where Kerstin, a German postcrosser I've met on the Postcrossing Forum spent some time last week. Thank you so much Kerstin for this nice surprise, I do hope you had lots of fun hiking and climbing on that beautiful landscapes. Me and my wife, we also love to hike and in almost every trip we try to include some stops on natural parks or other referenced landscapes and see the world in the most natural way: on your feet!  Well, my UNESCO collection now reaches 408 sites, 599 more and I'm done. This postcard took 4 days to arrive!
UNESCO #806 - Hallstatt-Dachstein/Salzkammergut - AUSTRIA
Human activity in the magnificent natural landscape of the Salzkammergut began in prehistoric times, with the salt deposits being exploited as early as the 2nd millennium BC. This resource formed the basis of the area’s prosperity up to the middle of the 20th century, a prosperity that is reflected in the fine architecture of the town of Hallstatt.

Zamość - POLAND - UNESCO #564

Today I received another UNESCO site from Poland, this time the Historic city of Zamość, a Renaissance masterpiece that was built almost from scratch by Polish and Italian architects that tried to establish the perfect city - don't know if they achieve that humble goal, but the result sure looks beautiful judging by the photos. Thank you very much for this card, my 407th UNESCO WHS which means I only need 600 more to finish (I'm almost there!). This postcard took 9 days to arrive!

UNESCO #564 - Old City of Zamość - POLAND
Zamość was founded in the 16th century by the chancellor Jan Zamoysky on the trade route linking western and northern Europe with the Black Sea. Modelled on Italian theories of the 'ideal city' and built by the architect Bernando Morando, a native of Padua, Zamość is a perfect example of a late-16th-century Renaissance town. It has retained its original layout and fortifications and a large number of buildings that combine Italian and central European architectural traditions.


I can't really explain why, but Germany is probably the country I know the least in Western Europe and only visited briefly. Looking at the map in this carg I identify lots of names from movies, books and TV shows. I really must start to think in planning a true trip around this country. Thank you very much Liane, this is a great contribution to my map postcard collection. This postcard took 3 days to arrive!
Country Map and Shields of the 16 Federal States - GERMANY
Germany is a federal parliamentary republic in western-central Europe consisting of 16 partly sovereign federal states. Its capital city and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With 80.6 million inhabitants, it is the most populous member state in the European Union. Germany is the major economic and political power of the European continent and a historic leader in many cultural, theoretical and technical fields.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


The last card from Ischa it's a Map of that beautiful Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea that along its history was ruled by several different civilizations and because of this fact it's a true Shangri-la for historians and archeologists. Thank you very much Ischa, I spent a good time looking at your card, remembering the beautiful things I saw when I went there and planning on my head the next trip. This postcard took 9 days to arrive!
Map of Sicily - ITALY
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea; along with surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, and it is officially referred to as Regione Siciliana. Sicily is located in the central Mediterranean. It extends from the tip of the Apennine peninsula, from which it is separated only by the narrow Strait of Messina, towards the North African coast. Its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna, which, at 3350 m, is the tallest active volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. The island has a typical Mediterranean climate. Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature, cuisine and architecture. It also holds importance for archeological and ancient sites such as the Necropolis of Pantalica, the Valley of the Temples and Selinunte.

Mount Etna - ITALY - UNESCO #1427

Today I receive another two cards from Ischa, the Dutch archeologist that went to Sicily to a internship. The first one shows the Mount Etna, the often active volcano that dominates the whole eastern side of the island and that was classified by UNESCO last year as a World Heritage Site. Thank you very much Ischa, when I went to Sicily I didn't saw the Etna and I mean literally... during the 3 days in Catania, big black clouds were hiding the mount (all the roads closed) so unfortunately I didn't had the chance to hike there like I planned, unfortunately. Ok now, 406 down, 601 to go. This postcard took 9 days to arrive!
UNESCO #1427 - Mount Etna, Sicily - ITALY
Mount Etna is an iconic site encompassing 19,237 uninhabited hectares on the highest part of Mount Etna, on the eastern coast of Sicily. Mount Etna is the highest Mediterranean island mountain and the most active stratovolcano in the world. The eruptive history of the volcano can be traced back 500,000 years and at least 2,700 years of this activity has been documented. The almost continuous eruptive activity of Mount Etna continues to influence volcanology, geophysics and other Earth science disciplines. 

Neolithic Flint Mines - BELGIUM - UNESCO #1006

The Spiennes mines, near Mons, in Belgium were used 6400 years ago by neolithic men searching for the Flint, the mineral used in the manufacture of tools during (as it splits into thin, sharp splinters like blades when struck by a hard object such as a round heavy stone). It defies imagination thinking that those tunnels were excavated by ancestral men using only sticks and stones almost 7 millennia ago. Thank you very much Gerda, I didn't knew this mines and I'm very glad you sent me this card the 405th UNESCO WHS in my collection (602 to finish). This postcard took 5 days to arrive! 
UNESCO #1006 - Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes - BELGIUM
The Neolithic flint mines at Spiennes, covering more than 100 ha, are the largest and earliest concentration of ancient mines in Europe. They are also remarkable for the diversity of technological solutions used for extraction and for the fact that they are directly linked to a settlement of the same period.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Aurora Borealis - FINLAND

The natural phenomenon known as "the Northern Lights" or Aurora Borealis always fascinated me and I have the dream of seeing them one day (of course that I feel the same for "the Southern Lights" or Aurora Australis but living in Europe it's easier to dream with Borealis than Australis)... I already have a card from Norway showing them, this one came from Finland and it's really beautiful (it appears to me that it is a photo composition and that the cabin was imposed on the sky,  but the result is very good). Thank you very much Krookus (lucky you that already saw the lights!). This postcard took 6 days to arrive!
Revontulet (Aurora Borealis) - FINLAND
An aurora is a natural light display in the sky particularly in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions, caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere (thermosphere). Most aurorae occur in a band known as the auroral zone, which is typically 3° to 6° in latitudinal extent and at all local times or longitudes. In northern latitudes, the effect is known as the Aurora Borealis (or the northern lights), named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas.


Aloha! My newest addition to my US State Map collection didn't came from location, the sender lives in Washington, but was bought there last November when she went visit her father-in-law. Thank you very much Beckie for this awesome card and your message - visiting Hawaii is a old dream I have (since I was a young boy and watched a Elvis Presley movie set there) and when I got married I thought of having my honeymoon there, but unfortunately it's to expensive (another of those destinations that only the lottery will allow me to visit). This postcard took 11 days to arrive!
HAWAII Map and Symbols - USA
Hawaii is the most recent of the 50 U.S. states (joined the Union on August 21, 1959), and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean,which comprises hundreds of islands spread over 1,500 miles (2,400 km). Its capital is Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu. Hawaii diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, abundance of public beaches, oceanic surroundings, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, (wind) surfers, biologists, and volcanologists alike. 

Novgorod - RUSSIA - UNESCO #604

This two great vintage cards came from Russia (with one of the most beautiful stamps I've seen from that country, showing St. George slaying the Dragon) and in them we can see two of the historical monuments of Novgorod, classified by UNESCO as World Heritage Site, the church of St Sophia from the mid-11th century and the Church of the Transfiguration, decorated with frescoes at the end of the 14th century (by Theophanes the Greek). Thank you very much Verooro for this two awesome cards. Now I have 404 WHS, 603 to finish (and only 3 left in Russia). This postcards took 18 days to arrive!
UNESCO #604-Church of Transfiguration-RUSSIA

UNESCO #604 - Church of St Sophia - RUSSIA
Situated on the ancient trade route between Central Asia and northern Europe, Novgorod was Russia's first capital in the 9th century. Surrounded by churches and monasteries, it was a centre for Orthodox spirituality as well as Russian architecture. Its medieval monuments and the 14th-century frescoes of Theophanes the Greek (Andrei Rublev's teacher) illustrate the development of its remarkable architecture and cultural creativity.

Pray for UKRAINE

The other two cards in the envelope that Aleksandrova sent me are beautiful and filled with meaning, giving the current political situation in Ukraine. I had the opportunity to state in this POST in April that I don't have enough knowledge of this situation to express a opinion or take a position concerning the current conflict (and further more, this is a non-political blog, only the place I share my postcard collection) so the only thing I can sincerely wish is that you may achieve a agreement really soon that allow your country to live in peace again (I'm not a religious man, and don't have the habit of praying, but I honestly wish with all my strengths that the road pictured in the beautiful photo on the postcard may lead you to a better tomorrow, even if the sky id filled of clouds I'm sure the sun will be bright and shiny on the other side)... Thank you very much for your cards and your words Aleksandrova, as I said to Tania in April, all the luck in the world for you and your beloved ones, please stay safe... This postcards took 26 days to arrive!

Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with a deity, an object of worship, or a spiritual entity through deliberate communication. Prayer can be a form of religious practice, may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. People pray for many reasons such as personal benefit or for the sake of others.

Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathians - UKRAINE - UNESCO #1424

This was really a great postcrossing day, I got another wonderful envelope, this time from Ukraine, with three amazing postcards. The first one shows one of the sixteen Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region classified by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. I already had two postcards of this site from Poland, so the counting remains the same, but because this is my first from Ukraine, I can finally cross that entry from the list and with that I've just completed all the Ukraine WHS. Thank you very much Aleksandrova. This postcard took 26 days to arrive!
UNESCO #1424 - St. George's Church, Drohobych - UKRAINE
Located at the eastern fringes of Central Europe within the Polish and Ukrainian Carpathian mountain range, the sixteen wooden tserkvas (churches) are outstanding examples of the once widespread Orthodox ecclesiastical timber-building tradition in the Slavic countries that survives to this day. The architectural forms of the tserkvas with tri-partite plans, pyramidal domes, cupolas and bell towers conform to the requirements of Eastern liturgy while reflecting the cultural traditions of the local communities that developed separately due to the mountainous terrain.

The Dolomites - ITALY - UNESCO #1237

The Dolomites are one of the best hiking destinations in the Alps. I've never been there, but several friends of mine have show me pictures they took there and I was always flabbergasted - it must be a really wonderful place. In this card we have the 'Three Peeks of Lavaredo', the central one with 2999m high. Thank you very much Massimo, now I finally have a postcard from there and since it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site it makes my collection grow to 403, reaching 40% of the WHS (already considering the 2014 sites added this weekend), only 604 to finish. This postcard took 5 days to arrive!
UNESCO #1237 - The Dolomites - ITALY
The site of the Dolomites comprises a mountain range in the northern Italian Alps, numbering 18 peaks which rise to above 3,000 metres and cover 141,903 ha. It features some of the most beautiful mountain landscapes anywhere, with vertical walls, sheer cliffs and a high density of narrow, deep and long valleys. It is characterized by dynamic processes with frequent landslides, floods and avalanches. The property also features one of the best examples of the preservation of Mesozoic carbonate platform systems, with fossil records.

Jodensteeg Synagogue, Winterswijk - NETHERLANDS

The second Maxi-Card that Angela sent me has a representation of the Jodensteeg Synagogue on the city of Winterswijk. Like in the other countries of central Europe, Jews in the Netherlands were chased by the Nazis and were often deported and murdered on the concentration camps - when we think of that we almost immediately think of Anne Frank and the fabulous book that should prevent situations like that to repeat in modern civilized world (unfortunately reality proves that human race has no memory and insists in repeating the same mistakes judging a man by its race and/or religion). Thank you so much Angela, I really loved your cards, you're the best! This postcard took 6 days to arrive!
Jodensteeg Synagogue, Winterswijk (Maxi-Card) - NETHERLANDS
The Winterswijk synagogue was officially reconsecrated in 1951. A second restoration of the synagogue took place between 1982 and 1984. At present, the synagogue is occasionally open for religious services. The two Jewish cemeteries at Winterswijk are maintained by the local authorities. A monument in the Jewish cemetery on the Misterweg is inscribed with the names of Jews from Winterswijk deported and murdered during the war.

St. John's Cathedral, 's-Hertogenbosch - NETHERLANDS

Today I received a envelope from the Netherlands with a code (postcard ID) written - when I opened it I found it was not one official card but two... two amazing Maxi-Cards from the 80s! This one shows the St. John's Cathedral in 's-Hertogenbosch, the magnificent Gothic cathedral I had chance to visit last summer and from where I sent a postcard to myself. Thank you very much Angela. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!
 St. John's Cathedral in 's-Hertogenbosch (Maxi-Card) - NETHERLANDS
The Roman Catholic Cathedral Church of St. John (Sint-Janskathedraal) of 's-Hertogenbosch, North Brabant is the height of gothic architecture in the Netherlands. It has an extensive and richly decorated interior, and serves as the cathedral for the bishopric of 's-Hertogenbosch. The cathedral has a total length of 115 and a width of 62 metres. Its tower reaches 73 metres high. In 1985, it received the honorary title of Basilica Minor from pope John Paul II.

The Great Wall - CHINA - UNESCO #438

This official card came from Taiwan but it shows a beautiful photo taken on the Great Wall of China, because the sender read in my profile that I like UNESCO cards and so she picked one of the cards she bought in one of her frequent trips to China. Thank you very much Iris, I also love traveling but unfortunately never had the chance to visit China or Taiwan. This postcard took 11 days to arrive!
UNESCO #438 - The Great Wall at Jinshanling - CHINA
In c. 220 B.C., under Qin Shi Huang, sections of earlier fortifications were joined together to form a united defence system against invasions from the north. Construction continued up to the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), when the Great Wall became the world's largest military structure, with a total length of more than 20,000 kilometers. Known to the Chinese as the 'Long Wall of Ten Thousand Li', the formidable defensive structures built to ward off invasion of the Celestial Empire by barbarians has a historic and strategic importance, matched only by its architectural significance.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Agrigento - ITALY - UNESCO #831

On the southern coast of the Mediterranean Island of Sicily there is a special place near the city of Agrigento. In this site called "Valley of the Temples" there are ruins of several Greek and Roman temples as well as early Christian constructions and burial sites - a true Eden for all archeologists. Thank you so much Ischa, I really appreciate the fact that you took the time for writing and sending this card during your archeological internship, my collection grows to 401 WHS, only 580 to finish. This postcard took 7 days to arrive!
UNESCO #831 - Archaeological Area of Agrigento - ITALY
Founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century B.C., Agrigento became one of the leading cities in the Mediterranean world. Its supremacy and pride are demonstrated by the remains of the magnificent Doric temples that dominate the ancient town, much of which still lies intact under today's fields and orchards. Selected excavated areas throw light on the later Hellenistic and Roman town and the burial practices of its early Christian inhabitants.

Fortress of Suomenlinna - FINLAND - UNESCO #583

This beautiful painting (made by Zhu Zong-Ci in 1992) shows a view of the  Suomenlinna Fortress in Helsinki, Finland. I've arranged a swap for this cards because I really liked the painting; for my surprised it arrived signed by ten postcrossers that went to the Oulu meet-up in June 13th. Thank you so much Elenna for this swap and thank you Delenna, Helia, Joika, Paavaliina, Sara, Stinap, Taavina, Tarya (and one signature I can't read) for also signing it. This postcard took 7 days to arrive!
UNESCO #583 - Fortress of Suomenlinna - FINLAND
Built in the second half of the 18th century by Sweden on a group of islands located at the entrance of Helsinki's harbour, this fortress is an especially interesting example of European military architecture of the time. In 1747, when Finland was part of the Swedish realm, the Diet in Stockholm decided to build a fortress to serve as the main base for the armed forces stationed in Finland. A group of islands close to Helsinki were chosen to be the site of the fortress, which was to be called Sveaborg, the 'Fortress of Sweden', and construction began in 1748. The purpose was to link and fortify several islands so that entry into the city's harbour could be controlled.

Weinsberg - GERMANY

According t the old tale, when King Conrad III defeated the Duke of Welf (in the year 1140) and placed Weinsberg under siege, the wives of the besieged castle negotiated a surrender which granted them the right to leave with whatever they could carry on their shoulders. The king allowed them that much. Leaving everything else aside, each woman took her own husband on her shoulders and carried him out. I've read this story many years ago and to be honest I didn't recall the name of the town - it's Weisberg, near Stuttgart, a place also famous for the wine production. Thank you very much Hannah for this card and the beautiful story you told. This postcard took 4 days to arrive!
Weinsberg (Multi-view) - GERMANY
Weinsberg is a town in the north of the German state Baden-Württemberg, between the Neckar in the west and the Löwenstein mountains in the east. It was founded ca. 1200 and is situated in the Heilbronn district. During the Second World War, Weinsberg was the site of a prison camp for Allied officers (French and British). On April 12, 1945, the town was destroyed by aerial bombings, gunfire and the fires which resulted from this.The town has now about 11,800 inhabitants.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mt Qingcheng - CHINA - UNESCO #1001

Finally I received my 400th UNESCO WHS! Still a long way from finishing (according to all the veteran collectors, the first half is the easiest part and the last 10% are really a tough challenge) but I'm really happy and somehow impressed how fast my UNESCO postcard collection grew over the last year. This one came from China and it shows Mount Qingcheng, birthplace of the Taoism - it has the reputation of being the most tranquil place in the world. Thank you very much Heng for another great swap and for sending me the 400th site in my collection (just 581 to go). This postcard took 25 days to arrive!
UNESCO #1001 - Mount Qingcheng - CHINA
Mount Qingcheng, dominating the Chengdu plains to the south of the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, is a mountain famous in Chinese history as the place where in 142 CE the philosopher Zhang Ling founded the doctrine of Chinese Taoism. Most of the essential elements of Taoism culture are embodied in the teachings of Taoism that emanated from the temples that were subsequently built on the mountain during the Jin and Tang dynasties. The mountain resumed its role as the intellectual and spiritual centre of Taoism in the 17th century.