Sunday, 25 October 2015

Historical Centre of the City of Arequipa

Who visited recently Peru was Miguel and he sent me this wonderful postcard from Arequipa

Arequipa - Plaza de Armas

The historic centre of Arequipa, built in volcanic sillar rock, represents an integration of European and native building techniques and characteristics, expressed in the admirable work of colonial masters and Criollo and Indian masons. This combination of influences is illustrated by the city's robust walls, archways and vaults, courtyards and open spaces, and the intricate Baroque decoration of its facades. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1016

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Historic Centre of Lima

Peru is the country of South America that I'd most like to visit, mainly because of the UNESCO sites. There are 12, so far, and they seem to be all wonderful! This was my first postcard from this country and it was sent by Vanessa.

Lima - Plaza de Armas

The Plaza Mayor or Plaza de Armas of Lima, is the birthplace of the city of Lima, as well as the core of the city. Located in the Historic Centre of Lima, it is surrounded by the Government PalaceCathedral of LimaArchbishop's Palace of Lima, the Municipal Palace, and the Palace of the Union. - in: wikipedia

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Historic Villages of Korea: Hahoe and Yangdong

Is not every day that I receive postcards from South Korea through the official website of Postcrossing. More rare is to receive a postcard through the official website of Postcrossing from South Korea that is a UNESCO site from my missing list. But it was what happened with this great extra large black and white postcard sent by K.eunjiiin!

Hahoe Village
The Hahae Folk Village (Korean: 안동하회마을) is a traditional village from the Joseon Dynasty. The 'Ha' is short for river and 'hae' means to 'turn around, return, come back." In English, one might call the village 'Swirling River Village', Wandering River Village', 'Round River Village' or 'Snake River Village' or perhaps simply, 'Riverbend' or 'Ouroboros' or 'Kundalini'. The technical term from geology of such a topographic feature is a 'meander' The village is a valuable part of Korean culture because it preserves Joseon period-style architecture, folk traditions, valuable books, and an old tradition of clan-based villages.
The village is located in AndongGyeongsangbuk-do. To the north of the village is Buyongdae Cliff while Mt. Namsan lies to the south. The village is organized around the geomantic guidelines of pungsu (Korean feng shui) and so the village has the shape of a lotus flower or two interlocking comma shapes.
The village is listed by the South Korean government with UNESCO as a World Heritage site with Yangdong Folk Village in 2010. - in: wikipedia

I still don't have any postcard from Yangdong Village.

Historic Monuments and Sites in Kaesong

When I received this postcard I was extremely happy for two reasons: it was my first postcard from North Korea and with it I reached 100 countries with UNESCO sites! And the best of all is that it was completely unexpected!  

Dragon sculpture in Manwoldae
This postcard was sent by Gisela

Situated in Kaesong city, in the south of the country, the site consists of 12 separate components, which together testify to the history and culture of the Koryo Dynasty from the 10th to 14th centuries. The geomantic layout of the former capital city of Kaesong, its palaces, institutions and tomb complex, defensive walls and gates embody the political, cultural, philosophical and spiritual values of a crucial era in the region’s history.  The monuments inscribed also include an astronomical and meteorological observatory, two schools (including one dedicated to educating national officials) and commemorative steles. The site testifies to the transition from Buddhism to neo-Confucianism in East Asia and to the assimilation of the cultural spiritual and political values of the states that existed prior to Korea’s unification under the Koryo Dynasty. The integration of Buddhist, Confucian, Taoist and geomantic concepts is manifest in the planning of the site and the architecture of its monuments. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1278/

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Town of Bamberg

So far, I've already visited UNESCO sites in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Switzerland. I think sooner or later I'll visit one in Germany, unless I leave Switzerland sooner than I expect. I just don't know which one will be... Maybe this one!

Bamberg
This postcard was sent by Michèle

Bamberg is located in southern Germany in the north of Bavaria. It is a good example of a central European town with a basically early medieval plan and many surviving ecclesiastical and secular buildings of the medieval period. When Henry II, Duke of Bavaria, became King of Germany in 1007 he made Bamberg the seat of a bishopric, intended to become a 'second Rome'. Of particular interest is the way in which the present town illustrates the link between agriculture (market gardens and vineyards) and the urban distribution centre.
From the 10th century onwards, Bamberg 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 this town strongly influenced northern Germany and Hungary. In the late 18th century Bamberg was the centre of the Enlightenment in southern Germany, with eminent philosophers and writers such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and E.T.A. Hoffmann living there. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/624

El Tajin, Pre-Hispanic City

Another great pyramid in Mexico in one of my first postcards from this country

Pyramid of the Niches
This postcard was sent by Carlos

Located in the state of Veracruz, El Tajin was at its height from the early 9th to the early 13th century. It became the most important centre in north-east Mesoamerica after the fall of the Teotihuacan Empire. Its cultural influence extended all along the Gulf and penetrated into the Maya region and the high plateaux of central Mexico. Its architecture, which is unique in Mesoamerica, is characterized by elaborate carved reliefs on the columns and frieze. The 'Pyramid of the Niches', a masterpiece of ancient Mexican and American architecture, reveals the astronomical and symbolic significance of the buildings. El Tajin has survived as an outstanding example of the grandeur and importance of the pre-Hispanic cultures of Mexico. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/631

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Pre-Hispanic City of Teotihuacan

I find the Mesoamerican pyramids really amazing and I would love to visit them one day! While I can't, I have the postcards!

Pyramid of the Sun
This postcard was sent by Lando

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. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/414

The Pyramid of the Sun is the largest building in Teotihuacan and one of the largest in Mesoamerica. Found along the Avenue of the Dead, in between the Pyramid of the Moon and the Ciudadela, and in the shadow of the massive mountain Cerro Gordo, the pyramid is part of a large complex in the heart of the city. - in: wikipedia

Painted Churches in the Troodos Region

This site comprises ten painted churches in the Troodos Region, but I think it must be very hard to get postcards from all of them. I'm already happy to have this one!

Agios Nikolaos Church, Kakopetria
This region is characterized by one of the largest groups of churches and monasteries of the former Byzantine Empire. The complex of 10 monuments included on the World Heritage List, all richly decorated with murals, provides an overview of Byzantine and post-Byzantine painting in Cyprus. They range from small churches whose rural architectural style is in stark contrast to their highly refined decoration, to monasteries such as that of St John Lampadistis. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/351/

The ten churches: (in red what I already have)

  • Ayios Nikolaos tis Steyis (Saint Nicholas of the Roof) in Kakopetria
  • Ayios Ionannis Lampadistis (Saint John Lampadistis) in Kalopanayiotis
  • Panagia (Church of Our Lady) Phorbiotissa (or Asinou) in Nikitari
  • Panagia tou Arakou in Lagoudhera
  • Panagia tou Moutoulla in Moutoullas
  • Church of the Archangel Michael in Pedhoulas
  • Timios Stavros (Church of the Holy Cross) in Pelendri
  • Panagia Podhithou (Church of the Virgin Podithou) in Galata
  • Stavros Ayiasmati (Church of the Holy Cross of Ayiasmati) in Platanistasa
  • Metamorfosis tou Sotiros (Transfiguration of the Saviour) in Palaichori

Paphos

This postcard shows the place where allegedly Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, was born.

Paphos

Paphos has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. It was a centre of the cult of Aphrodite and of pre-Hellenic fertility deities. Aphrodite's legendary birthplace was on this island, where her temple was erected by the Myceneans in the 12th century B.C. The remains of villas, palaces, theatres, fortresses and tombs mean that the site is of exceptional architectural and historic value. The mosaics of Nea Paphos are among the most beautiful in the world. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/79/

Gunung Mulu National Park

This postcard shows another of the natural wonders of Malaysia

Mulu Caves
This postcard was sent by Bei Hao

Important both for its high biodiversity and for its karst features, Gunung Mulu National Park, on the island of Borneo in the State of Sarawak, is the most studied tropical karst area in the world. The 52,864-ha park contains seventeen vegetation zones, exhibiting some 3,500 species of vascular plants. Its palm species are exceptionally rich, with 109 species in twenty genera noted. The park is dominated by Gunung Mulu, a 2,377 m-high sandstone pinnacle. At least 295 km of explored caves provide a spectacular sight and are home to millions of cave swiftlets and bats. The Sarawak Chamber, 600 m by 415 m and 80 m high, is the largest known cave chamber in the world. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1013

Kinabalu Park

This was one of the first national parks of Malaysia, the first Malaysia's world heritage site designated by UNESCO and it was my first postcard that arrived from this country! A lot of firsts! :)

Kinabalu Park
This postcard was sent by Zoe

Kinabalu Park, in the State of Sabah on the northern end of the island of Borneo, is dominated by Mount Kinabalu (4,095 m), the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea. It has a very wide range of habitats, from rich tropical lowland and hill rainforest to tropical mountain forest, sub-alpine forest and scrub on the higher elevations. It has been designated as a Centre of Plant Diversity for Southeast Asia and is exceptionally rich in species with examples of flora from the Himalayas, China, Australia, Malaysia, as well as pan-tropical flora. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1012

Iguazu National Park

A thing that I wouldn't mind to do in Argentina is to go to a football match, after all it is the country of MaradonaMessiLucho González and Batistuta, among others. It sounds like a great plan after a day in the Iguazu National Park :)

Iguazu National Park
This postcard was sent by Cynthia 

The semicircular waterfall at the heart of this site is some 80 m high and 2,700 m in diameter and is situated on a basaltic line spanning the border between Argentina and Brazil. Made up of many cascades producing vast sprays of water, it is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. The surrounding subtropical rainforest has over 2,000 species of vascular plants and is home to the typical wildlife of the region: tapirs, giant anteaters, howler monkeys, ocelots, jaguars and caymans. - inhttp://whc.unesco.org/en/list/303

Friday, 16 October 2015

Los Glaciares National Park

Argentina is famous for the tango, but dancing is not with me... If I had the chance to visit this South American country I would prefer to visit places like the one in this postcard


Perito Moreno Glacier 
This postcard was sent by Cynthia

The Perito Moreno Glacier (SpanishGlaciar Perito Moreno) is a glacier located in the Los Glaciares National Park in southwest Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. It is one of the most important tourist attractions in the Argentinian Patagonia.
The 250 km2 (97 sq mi) ice formation, and 30 km (19 mi) in length, is one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field located in the Andes system shared with Chile. This ice field is the world's third largest reserve of fresh water.
The Perito Moreno glacier, located 78 kilometres (48 mi) from El Calafate, was named after the explorer Francisco Moreno, a pioneer who studied the region in the 19th century and played a major role in defending the territory of Argentina in the conflict surrounding the international border dispute with Chile. - in: wikipedia

La Chaux-de-Fonds / Le Locle, Watchmaking Town Planning

Another UNESCO site that we visited after moving to Switzerland was La Chaux-de-Fonds where the highest point was the visit to the International Museum of Horology. Some of the most amazing devices to measure the time can be found here and a lot of them made in La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle.
All these cards show pieces of art of the museum's collection.

Building of control of works in precious metals, Synagogue and golden watch by Paul Ditisheim, style "Art Nouveau", 1901 

 The site of La Chaux-de-Fonds / Le Locle watchmaking town-planning consists of two towns situated close to one another in a remote environment in the Swiss Jura mountains, on land ill-suited to farming. Their planning and buildings reflect watchmakers’ need of rational organization. Planned in the early 19th century, after extensive fires, the towns owed their existence to this single industry. Their layout along an open-ended scheme of parallel strips on which residential housing and workshops are intermingled reflects the needs of the local watchmaking culture that dates to the 17th century and is still alive today.

Masonic Lodge "L'Amitié" and Waltham triangular wristwatch, dial with Masonic symbols, 1960 
  The site presents outstanding examples of mono-industrial manufacturing-towns which are well preserved and still active. The urban planning of both towns has accommodated the transition from the artisanal production of a cottage industry to the more concentrated factory production of the late 19th and 20th centuries. The town of La Chaux-de-Fonds was described by Karl Marx as a “huge factory-town” in Das Kapital where he analyzed the division of labour in the watchmaking industry of the Jura. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1302


Musée International d'Horologie and regulator with calendar by Robert Robin, 1796
In 1865 the Watchmaking School of La Chaux-de-Fonds had the idea of putting together a collection of old clocks. This resulted, in 1902, in the opening of a small museum in the same building as the school. The collection gradually grew and the museum was enlarged three times, in 1907, 1952 and 1967.
It finally became clear that the premises were no longer suitable for a permanent and functional display of the whole collection. The Committee of the Museum therefore suggested to the Municipality of La Chaux-de-Fonds that a foundation should be set up with the purpose of promoting the construction of a new building. Opened in 1974 under the name of Musée international d'horlogerie, this was characterized by a conception and techniques in the avant-garde of architecture and museography. Three decades later its construction is as fascinating as its exhibits. - in: wikipedia

I still don't have any postcard from Le Locle.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Old City of Berne

When my wife and I decided to move to Switzerland we didn't know for how much time we would stay (and we still don't know), but I couldn't miss the chance to visit Berne. And so we did in 2013. I really enjoy all those fountains, statues, buildings and most of all the cathedral and the clock-tower.

Zäringer Fountain and Zytglogge Tower
 The Old City of Bern is the medieval city center of Bern, Switzerland. Built on a narrow hill surrounded on three sides by the Aare River, its compact layout has remained essentially unchanged since its construction during the 12th to the 15th century. Despite a major fire in 1405, after which much of the city was rebuilt in sandstone, and substantial construction efforts in the 18th century, Bern's old city has retained its medieval character.
The Old City is home to Switzerland's tallest cathedral as well as other churches, bridges and a large collection of Renaissance fountains. In addition to many historical buildings, the seats of the federalcantonal and municipal government are also situated in the Old City. It is a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site since 1983 due to the compact and generally intact medieval core and is an excellent example of incorporating the modern world into a medieval city.

Marksman Fountain and Zytglogge Tower

 The Zytglogge tower is a landmark medieval tower in Bern, Switzerland. Built in the early 13th century, it has served the city as guard tower, prison, clock tower, centre of urban life and civic memorial.
Despite the many redecorations and renovations it has undergone in its 800 years of existence, the Zytglogge is one of Bern's most recognizable symbols and, with its 15th-century astronomical clock, a major tourist attraction. It is a heritage site of national significance, and part of the Old City of Bern, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.

Bern Minster

 The Bern Minster (German: Berner Münster) is a Swiss Reformed cathedral, (or minster) in the old city of BernSwitzerland. Built in the Gothic style, its construction started in 1421. Its tower, with a height of 100.6 m (330 ft), was only completed in 1893. It is the tallest cathedral in Switzerland and is a Cultural Property of National Significance.

Bern Minster

The tower is open to the public, for a small fee. The lower viewing platform requires a climb up 254 steps and provides a view over Bern and perhaps as far as the Alps. The upper spire is also accessible by climbing an additional 90 steps from the lower platform. - in: wikipedia

Las Médulas

I saw recently a documentary about Las Médulas and I was amazed with numbers involved in this historic mining!
This postcard was sent by Vanesa, the favorite Spanish of the Portuguese community of the Postcrossing forum :)

Las Médulas

Las Médulas is a historic mining site near the town of Ponferrada in the region of El Bierzo (province of LeónCastile and LeónSpain), which used to be the most important gold mine in the Roman Empire.
Pliny the Elder, who was a procurator in the region in 74 AD, described a technique of hydraulic mining that may be based on direct observation at Las Médulas:

"What happens is far beyond the work of giants. The mountains are bored with corridors and galleries made by lamplight with a duration that is used to measure the shifts. For months, the miners cannot see the sunlight and many of them die inside the tunnels. This type of mine has been given the name of ruina montium. The cracks made in the entrails of the stone are so dangerous that it would be easier to find purpurine or pearls at the bottom of the sea than make scars in the rock. How dangerous we have made the Earth!".

Pliny also stated that 20,000 Roman pounds of gold were extracted each year. The exploitation, involving 60,000 free workers, brought 5,000,000 Roman pounds (1,650,000 kg) in 250 years. - in: wikipedia

Burgos Cathedral

When we came to Switzerland in 2012 we stopped in Burgos to lunch, to see the cathedral and, of course, to buy postcards :) This year we went to Portugal by car and we stopped in Burgos again. The first two postcards I bought them in the first time, the other two I bought them this last time.

Burgos Cathedral
 Burgos Cathedral (Spanish: Catedral de Burgos) is a Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral in Burgos, Spain. It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is famous for its vast size and unique architecture. Its construction began in 1221 and it was in use as a church nine years later but work continued off and on until 1567. It was primarily built in the French Gothic style, although Renaissance style works were added in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Burgos Cathedral
 The cathedral was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on October 31, 1984. It is the only Spanish cathedral that has this distinction independently, without being joined to the historic center of a city (as in Salamanca, Santiago de CompostelaÁvila, Córdoba, Toledo, Alcalá de Henares or Cuenca) or in union with other buildings, as in Seville.

Burgos Cathedral
 The construction of the cathedral was ordered by King Ferdinand III of Castile and Mauricio, the English-born Bishop of Burgos. Construction started on the site of the former Romanesque cathedral on July 20, 1221, beginning at the chevet, which was completed in nine years.
The high altar was first consecrated in 1260, then there was a lengthy hiatus of almost 200 years before construction was recommenced. The cathedral was completed in 1567, with the completion of the lantern spire over the main crossing (which rises above a delicate openwork star vault).

Burgos Cathedral, Portada de la Coronería and Plaza Mayor

The north transept portal, known as the Portada de la Coronería, has statues of the Twelve Apostles. Above, ogival windows and two spires crown the portal. On the south portal, the portada depicts the evangelists at their writing desks. - in: wikipedia