Saturday, 30 January 2016

Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin

When a UNESCO site is formed by two or more places or buildings I like to have a postcard of each or a multi-view that shows them all. But when a site, like this one, is formed by 150 buildings, well, I'm not gonna say that it's impossible, but it would take some time to collect them all! However it's not imperial to cross it from my missing list.


Sanssouci Palace
Sanssouci is the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, in Potsdam, near Berlin. It is often counted among the German rivals of Versailles. While Sanssouci is in the more intimate Rococo style and is far smaller than its French Baroque counterpart, it too is notable for the numerous temples and follies in the park. The palace was designed/built by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff between 1745 and 1747 to fulfill King Frederick's need for a private residence where he could relax away from the pomp and ceremony of the Berlin court. The palace's name emphasises this; it is a French phrase (sans souci), which translates as "without concerns", meaning "without worries" or "carefree", symbolising that the palace was a place for relaxation rather than a seat of power. - in: wikipedia

Chinese House at Sanssouci Park

The Chinese House (German: Chinesisches Haus) is a garden pavilion in Sanssouci Park in Potsdam, Germany. Frederick the Great had it built, about seven hundred metres southwest of the Sanssouci Summer Palace, to adorn his flower and vegetable garden. The garden architect was Johann Gottfried Büring, who between 1755 and 1764 designed the pavilion in the then-popular style of Chinoiserie, a mixture of ornamental rococo elements and parts of Chinese architecture. - in: wikipedia

Cecilienhof Palace

Cecilienhof Palace (GermanSchloss Cecilienhof) is a palace in PotsdamBrandenburgGermany built from 1914 to 1917. Cecilienhof was the last palace built by the House of Hohenzollern that ruled the Kingdom of Prussia and the German Empire until the end of World War I. It is famous for having been the location of the Potsdam Conference in 1945, in which the leaders of the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States took important decisions affecting the shape of post World War II Europe and Asia. Cecilienhof has been part of the Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990. - in: wikipedia

Pfaueninsel Castle

Pfaueninsel ("Peacock Island") is an island in the River Havel situated in Berlin-Wannsee, in southwestern Berlin, near the border with Potsdam and Brandenburg. The island is part of the Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1793, the Prussian king Frederick William II, a descendant of Frederick William I, acquired the island and had the Pfaueninsel castle built for himself and his mistress Wilhelmine Enke in 1794-1797. The small Lustschloss was placed on the western tip of the island, visible from the king's residence at the Marmorpalais in Potsdam. - in: wikipedia

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Roman Theatre and its Surroundings and the "Triumphal Arch" of Orange

Last year, on my way to Portugal, I stopped in Orange purposely to by postcards! Of course that once there I had to take a look at the wonderful Theatre! 

Théâtre antique d'Orange
 The Théâtre antique d'Orange ("Ancient Theatre of Orange") is an ancient Roman theatre in Orange, France, built early in the 1st century AD. It is owned by the municipality of Orange and is the home of the summer opera festival, the Chorégies d'Orange.
It is one of the best preserved of all the Roman theatres in the Roman colony of Arausio which was founded in 40 BC. Playing a major role in the life of the citizens, who spent a large part of their free time there, the theatre was seen by the Roman authorities not only as a means of spreading Roman culture to the colonies, but also as a way of distracting them from all political activities.
The Théâtre d'Orange, originally called the Arausio Theatre, was created under the rule of Augustus, and is believed to be one of the first of its kind in this area of modern-day France. One of the most iconic parts of this structure is the grand exterior facade, which measures to be 103 meters long and 37 meters high. - in: wikipedia

Statue of the Emperor Augustus
 The central niche houses the imperial statue of Augustus measuring 3.55 metres in height. This niche almost certainly contained a representation of Apollo and it is likely that the triumphant emperor was only substituted at a later date. The statue is dressed in a general’s coat, the paludamentum imperatoris, and is holding his staff. It serves as a reminder that to preserve peace throughout the Roman Empire everyone must respect its laws. - in: http://www.theatre-antique.com/en/discovering-site/roman-theatre-orange/exterior-facade-and-stage-wall

Triumphal Arch of Orange
The Triumphal Arch of Orange (FrenchArc de triomphe d'Orange) is a triumphal arch located in the town of Orange, southeast France. There is debate about when the arch was built, but current research that accepts the inscription as evidence favours a date during the reign of Augustus (27 BC - AD 14). It was built on the former via Agrippa to honor the veterans of the Gallic Wars and Legio II Augusta. It was later reconstructed by emperor Tiberius to celebrate the victories of Germanicus over the German tribes in Rhineland. - in: wikipedia

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon Bridge

It was also in my first trip to Switzerland that I bought these two first postcards. The third one I bought it last year on my way to Portugal.

Avignon
 In the 14th century, this city in the South of France was the seat of the papacy. The Palais des Papes, an austere-looking fortress lavishly decorated by Simone Martini and Matteo Giovanetti, dominates the city, the surrounding ramparts and the remains of a 12th-century bridge over the Rhone. Beneath this outstanding example of Gothic architecture, the Petit Palais and the Romanesque Cathedral of Notre-Dame-des-Doms complete an exceptional group of monuments that testify to the leading role played by Avignon in 14th-century Christian Europe. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/228

Ramparts and the Palais des Papes
 The Palais des Papes (English: Papal palace, lo Palais dei Papas in Occitan) is a historical palace in Avignon, southern France, one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe. One time fortress and palace, the papal residence was the seat of Western Christianity during the 14th century. Six papal conclaves were held in the Palais, leading to the elections of Benedict XII in 1334, Clement VI in 1342, Innocent VI in 1352, Urban V in 1362, Gregory XI in 1370 andAntipope Benedict XIII in 1394.
The Palais is actually made up of two buildings: the old Palais of Benedict XII which sits on the impregnable rock of Doms, and the new Palais of Clement VI, the most extravagant of the Avignon popes. Not only is the final combination the largest Gothic building of the Middle Ages, it is also one of the best examples of the International Gothic architectural style. - in: wikipedia

Pont Sain-Bénézet
The Pont Saint-Bénézet, also known as the Pont d'Avignon, is a famous medieval bridge in the town of Avignon, in southern France.
A bridge spanning the Rhone between Villeneuve-lès-Avignon and Avignon was built between 1177 and 1185. This early bridge was destroyed forty years later during the Albigensian Crusade when Louis VIII of France laid siege to Avignon. The bridge was rebuilt with 22 stone arches. It was very costly to maintain as the arches tended to collapse when the Rhone flooded. Eventually in the middle of the 17th century the bridge was abandoned. The four surviving arches on the bank of the Rhone are believed to have been built in around 1345 by Pope Clement VI during the Avignon Papacy. The Chapel of Saint Nicholas sits on the second pier of the bridge. It was constructed in the second half of 12th century but has since been substantially altered. The western terminal, the Tour Philippe-le-Bel, is also preserved. - in: wikipedia

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Pont du Gard (Roman Aqueduct)

When my wife and I decided to move to Switzerland we thought in making the trip by plane, but we changed our mind and we did it by car and I couldn't be happier! By car we have the chance to stop as many times we want and know the way. And it was on the way of that first trip that I bought these two postcards.

Pont du Gard
 The Pont du Gard is an ancient Roman aqueduct that crosses the Gardon River in the south of France. Located near the town of Vers-Pont-du-Gard, the bridge is part of the Nîmes aqueduct, a 50-kilometer system built in the first century AD to carry water from a spring at Uzès to the Roman colony of Nemausus (Nîmes). Because of the uneven terrain between the two points, the mostly underground aqueduct followed a long, winding route that called for a bridge across the gorge of the Gardon River. The Pont du Gard is the highest of all elevated Roman aqueducts, and, along with the Aqueduct of Segovia, one of the best preserved.
Pont du Gard
The bridge has three tiers of arches, standing 48.8 m (160 ft) high. The whole aqueduct descends in height by only 17 m (56 ft) over its entire length, while the bridge descends by a mere 2.5 cm (0.98 in) – a gradient of only 1 in 3,000 – which is indicative of the great precision that Roman engineers were able to achieve, using only simple technology. The aqueduct formerly carried an estimated 200,000 m3 (44,000,000 imp gal) of water a day to the fountains, baths and homes of the citizens of Nîmes. It continued to be used possibly until the 6th century, with some parts used for significantly longer, but lack of maintenance after the 4th century meant that it became increasingly clogged by mineral deposits and debris that eventually choked off the flow of water. - in: wikipedia

Brazilian Atlantic Islands: Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas Reserves

I really like postcards showing animals in their natural habitat, but I don't like that much if the place is not identified. When the place and the animal are both identified in the postcard, like in this one, then it's perfect!

Spinner Dolphins at Fernando de Noronha
This postcard was sent by Silvia

Peaks of the Southern Atlantic submarine ridge form the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago and Rocas Atoll off the coast of Brazil. They represent a large proportion of the island surface of the South Atlantic and their rich waters are extremely important for the breeding and feeding of tuna, shark, turtle and marine mammals. The islands are home to the largest concentration of tropical seabirds in the Western Atlantic. Baia de Golfinhos has an exceptional population of resident dolphin and at low tide the Rocas Atoll provides a spectacular seascape of lagoons and tidal pools teeming with fish. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1000

The spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) is a small dolphin found in off-shore tropical waters around the world. It is famous for its acrobatic displays in which it spins along its longitudinal axis as it leaps through the air. It is a member of the family Delphinidae of toothed whales. - in: wikipedia

Friday, 22 January 2016

Wood Buffalo National Park

This is the largest park of Canada and is larger than Switzerland! It is home of the Wood Bison. I love this animal, is so majestic!

Wood Buffalo National Park
This postcard was sent by Natasha

Situated on the plains in the north-central region of Canada, the park (which covers 44,807 km2) is home to North America's largest population of wild bison. It is also the natural nesting place of the whooping crane. Another of the park's attractions is the world's largest inland delta, located at the mouth of the Peace and Athabasca rivers. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/256

Wood Bison in Wood Buffalo National Park
This postcard was sent by Jason

The wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) or mountain bison (often called the wood buffalo or mountain buffalo), is a distinct northern subspecies or ecotype of the American bison. Its original range included much of the boreal forest regions of Alaska,Yukon, western Northwest Territories, northeastern British Columbia, northern Alberta, and northwestern Saskatchewan. It is currently listed as threatened on Schedule I of the Species At Risk Act. - in: wikipedia

Costiera Amalfitana

Kerstin sent me this postcard from Germany but the postcard shows a wonderful landscape from Positano, Italy, where she spent her summer holidays two years ago. She says that this UNESCO site is amazing and surrounded by others UNESCO sites! 

Positano


Positano is a village and comune on the Amalfi Coast (Costiera Amalfitana), in CampaniaItaly, mainly in an enclave in the hills leading down to the coast.
Positano was a port of the Amalfi Republic in medieval times, and prospered during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, the town had fallen on hard times. More than half the population emigrated, mostly to America.
Positano was a relatively poor fishing village during the first half of the twentieth century. It began to attract large numbers of tourists in the 1950s, especially after John Steinbeck published his essay about Positano in Harper's Bazaar in May, 1953: "Positano bites deep", Steinbeck wrote. "It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone." - in: wikipedia

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Historic Centre of Naples

Since I'm in Switzerland I already had a few coworkers from Naples but none of them sent me postcards... This one was sent by Martina, a postcrosser.

Naples

From the Neapolis founded by Greek settlers in 470 B.C. to the city of today, Naples has retained the imprint of the successive cultures that emerged in Europe and the Mediterranean basin. This makes it a unique site, with a wealth of outstanding monuments such as the Church of Santa Chiara and the Castel Nuovo. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/726

Historic Centre of Siena

The historic centre of Siena is one of the many Italian historic centers that have been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. I'd love to visit them all! :)

Siena
This postcard was sent by Marco

Siena is the embodiment of a medieval city. Its inhabitants pursued their rivalry with Florence right into the area of urban planning. Throughout the centuries, they preserved their city's Gothic appearance, acquired between the 12th and 15th centuries. During this period the work of Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini was to influence the course of Italian and, more broadly, European art. The whole city of Siena, built around the Piazza del Campo, was devised as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/717/

Siena Cathedral
This postcard was sent by Edo

Siena Cathedral (ItalianDuomo di Siena) is a medieval church in SienaItaly, dedicated from its earliest days as a Roman Catholic Marian church, and now dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta (Holy Mary, Our Lady of the Assumption).
The cathedral itself was originally designed and completed between 1215 and 1263 on the site of an earlier structure. It has the form of a Latin cross with a slightly projecting transept, a dome and a bell tower. The dome rises from a hexagonal base with supporting columns. The lantern atop the dome was added by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The nave is separated from the two aisles by semicircular arches. The exterior and interior are constructed of white and greenish-black marble in alternating stripes, with addition of red marble on the façade. Black and white are the symbolic colors of Siena, etiologically linked to black and white horses of the legendary city's founders, Senius and Aschius. - in: wikipedia

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

The Trulli of Alberobello

I am now a little bit divided about Alberobello. On the one hand it looks exactly the kind of place I like: a cozy little village that is still unknown by the majority of people. On the other hand, Isabella, who sent me this card, says that tourism made this place unauthentic and artificial... I guess I have to go there and see it for myself! :)


Alberobello

The trulli , limestone dwellings found in the southern region of Puglia, are remarkable examples of drywall (mortarless) construction, a prehistoric building technique still in use in this region. The trulli are made of roughly worked limestone boulders collected from neighbouring fields. Characteristically, they feature pyramidal, domed or conical roofs built up of corbelled limestone slabs. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/787

Historic Centre of Florence

Florence is probably the place in Italy that I would most like to visit. Maybe one day!

Florence
This postcard was sent by Gian Luca

Built on the site of an Etruscan settlement, Florence, the symbol of the Renaissance, rose to economic and cultural pre-eminence under the Medici in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its 600 years of extraordinary artistic activity can be seen above all in the 13th-century cathedral (Santa Maria del Fiore), the Church of Santa Croce, the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace, the work of great masters such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli and Michelangelo. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/174

Florence Cathedral
This postcard was sent by Paula.

The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (in English "Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flowers") is the main church of Florence, Italy. Il Duomo di Firenze, as it is ordinarily called, was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style with the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white and has an elaborate 19th-century Gothic Revival façade by Emilio De Fabris.
The cathedral complex, located in Piazza del Duomo, includes the Baptistery and Giotto's Campanile. These three buildings are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site covering the historic centre of Florence and are a major attraction to tourists visiting Tuscany. The basilica is one of Italy's largest churches, and until development of new structural materials in the modern era, the dome was the largest in the world. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed. - in: wikipedia