Saturday, 30 July 2016

Ancient City of Ping Yao

Ping Yao used to be a financial centre of China, now it's a major touristic attraction mainly because of the wonderful and well preserved city walls

Ping Yao
Ping Yao is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Han Chinese city, founded in the 14th century. Its urban fabric shows the evolution of architectural styles and town planning in Imperial China over five centuries. Of special interest are the imposing buildings associated with banking, for which Ping Yao was the major centre for the whole of China in the 19th and early 20th centuries. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/812

Ping Yao city walls
The city walls of Pingyao were constructed in the 3rd year of the Hongwu Emperor (1370). The walls have six barbican gates. The north and south sides have one gate each. The east and west sides have two gates each. This pattern is similar to that of a turtle (the head, tail and four legs), earning Pingyao the moniker "Turtle City." The walls measure about 12 metres high, with aperimeter of 6,000 metres. A 4-metre wide, 4-metre deep moat can be found just outside the walls. Aside from the four structured towers at the four corners, there are also 72 watchtowers and more than 3,000 battlements. In 2004, part of the southern walls collapsed but were reconstructed. However, the rest of the city walls are still largely intact and are considered among the best-preserved ancient city walls on this scale. This makes the city walls the centrepiece of the Heritage Site. - in: wikipedia

Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains

According with UNESCO, the buildings in the Wudang Mountains exhibit exceptional architectural art and technology and represent the highest level of Chinese art and architecture achieved over a period of nearly 1,000 years

Wudang Mountains
This postcard was sent by Chao

The Wudang Mountains (Chinese武当山pinyinWǔdāng Shān) consist of a small mountain range in the northwestern part of HubeiChina, just south of Shiyan. They are home to a famous complex of Taoist temples and monasteries associated with the god Xuan Wu. The Wudang Mountains are renowned for the practice of Taichi and Taoism as the Taoist counterpart to the Shaolin Monastery, which is affiliated with Chinese Chán Buddhism. - in: wikipedia

Purple Cloud Monastery at Wudang Mountains
The Purple Cloud Temple, standing on Zhanqifeng Peak, is a Taoist temple of the Wudang Mountains Taoist complex. After being built in 1119-26, it was rebuilt in 1413 and extended in 1803-20.
It consists of several halls and Daoist statues including the Dragon and Tiger Hall, the Purple Sky Hall, the East Hall, the West Hall, the Parent Hall and the Prince Cliff. The Purple Sky Hall is enshrined with statues of Zhen Wu at different stages of his life. Statues of Zhen Wu's parents rest in the Parent Hall. On the left side is the Chinese deity Guan Yin, and on the right is the Shouzi Mother to whom couples traditionally pray for sons. The hall also houses cultural relics, some of which date back as far as the 7th century, including the Green Dragon Crescent Blade. - in: wikipedia

Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui – Xidi and Hongcun

Sometimes is hard to tell exactly from where are the views shown in the postcards. In the case of these two I have no doubt that they are from the ancient villages in Southern Anhui, but not sure if they are from Xidi or from Hongcun. The sender of the first postcard says it is Xidi and the sender of second says it is Hongcun. However, after googling some images, I think they are both from Hongcun.

Ancient Village in Southern Anhui
Xidi (Chinese西递) is a village in Yi County of the historical Huizhou region of Anhui province, China.
First built during the Huangyou era (1049–1053) of Song Dynasty Emperor Renzong, the village was originally called Xichuan (West River), owing to the various water courses flowing through it.
The rise of the village was closely tied to the fortunes of the Hu family. By 1465 CE, during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), family members had started in business as merchants, leading to construction of major private buildings and a public infrastructure. By the middle of the 17th century, the influence wielded by members of the Hu family expanded from commerce into politics. The prosperity of Xidi peaked in the 18th and 19th centuries, at which time the village comprised about 600 residences.

Ancient Village in Southern Anhui
Hongcun (Chinese宏村pinyinHóngcūnlit. "Hong village") is a village in Yi County in the historical Huizhou region of southern Anhui Province, China, near the southwest slope of Mount Huangshan.
The village is arranged in the shape of an ox with the nearby hill (Leigang Hill) interpreted as the head, and two trees standing on it as the horns. Four bridges across the Jiyin stream can be seen as the legs whilst the houses of the village form the body. Inside the “body”, the Jiyin stream represents the intestines and various lakes such as the “South Lake” (Nanhu) form the other internal organs.
The architecture and carvings of the approximately 150 residences dating back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties are said to be among the best of their kind in China. One of the biggest of the residences open to visitors, Chenzhi Hall, also contains a small museum. - in: wikipedia

Friday, 29 July 2016

Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora

A little bit of Greece in Ukraine 

Ruins of Chersonese
This postcard was sent by Sergii

Chersonesus (also rendered as ChersoneseChersonesos), in medieval Greek contracted to Cherson, is an ancient Greek colony founded approximately 2,500 years ago in the southwestern part of the Crimean Peninsula. The colony was established in the 6th century BC by settlers from Heraclea Pontica.
The ancient city is located on the shore of the Black Sea at the outskirts of Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula, where it is referred to as Khersones. It has been nicknamed the "Ukrainian Pompeii". The site is now part of the National Preserve of Tauric Chersonesos. The name "Chersonesos" in Greek means "peninsula", and aptly describes the site on which the colony was established. - in: wikipedia

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans

This amazing complex of buildings is one of the Seven Architectural Wonders of Ukraine

Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans
This postcard was sent by Sergii

The Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans in ChernivtsiUkraine was built between the years 1864 - 1882 to the designs of the Czech architect, Josef Hlávka. The Residence, whose buildings are now part of Chernivtsi University, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011.
The buildings of the complex are laid out on three sides of a courtyard which is approximately 100 metres deep and 70 metres wide: the fourth side of this yard contains the main gates, set in tall railings. - in: wikipedia

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Old Rauma

Rauma is a wooden city and one of the oldest harbours in Finland

Old Rauma
This postcard was sent by Sonja

Situated on the Gulf of Bothnia, Rauma is one of few medieval towns in Finland. The core of the town is Old Rauma, which is composed of some 600 buildings constructed of wood, most of which are privately owned, and covers an area of 29 ha. Originally situated at the seashore, the Old Town is located some 1.5 km inland from the present coastline due to land uplift. Old Rauma is both a commercial and a residential area comprising the town area within the toll boundaries of Rauma in the 19th century.

Old Rauma
This postcard was sent by Stasa

The commercial area is located along two main streets stretching through the Old Town, while the Market Square, in the middle of the Old Town, forms the main meeting point and commercial place for local people and producers. The medieval church, built around a Franciscan monastery, and the former Town Hall built in 1775-76 in the Market Square are landmarks in the harmonious townscape of one-storey residential and commercial buildings. The architecturally homogenous urban area of Old Rauma is a well preserved and representative example of traditional Nordic wooden town building techniques and traditions. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/582

Friday, 22 July 2016

Archaeological Site of Ani

The UNESCO committee inscribed last week 21 new properties. Of those 21, Ani in Turkey is the only one that I already had

Churh of Saint Gregory of Tigran Honents
This postcard was sent by Cuneyt

This church, finished in 1215, is the best-preserved monument at Ani. It was built during the rule of the Zakarids and was commissioned by the wealthy Armenian merchant Tigran Honents. Its plan is of a type called a domed hall. In front of its entrance are the ruins of a narthex and a small chapel that are from a slightly later period. The exterior of the church is spectacularly decorated. Ornate stone carvings of real and imaginary animals fill the spandrels between blind arcade that runs around all four sides of the church. The interior contains an important and unique series of frescoes cycles that depict two main themes. In the eastern third of the church is depicted the Life of Saint Gregory the Illuminator, in the middle third of the church is depicted the Life of Christ. Such extensive fresco cycles are rare features in Armenian architecture – it is believed that these ones were executed by Georgian artists, and the cycle also includes scenes from the life of St. Nino, who converted the Georgians to Christianity. In the narthex and its chapel survive fragmentary frescoes that are more Byzantine in style. - in: wikipedia

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Maloti-Drakensberg Park

The Maloti-Drakensberg Park is a transboundary site composed of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg National Park in South Africa and the Sehlathebe National Park in Lesotho

Drakensberg
This postcard was sent from Germany sent by Gisela, who lived in South Africa from 2006 to 2010

The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa, covering 242,813 ha (2,428 km2) of area. The park includes Royal Natal National Park, a provincial park, and covers part of the Drakensberg, the highest mountain range in Southern Africa.
The Drakensberg mountain range is characterized by a high level of endemism of both invertebrates and vertebrates. - in: wikipedia

I still need a postcard from the Sehlathebe National Park in Lesotho 

Robben Island

Nelson Mandela was imprisoned in this island for 18 years. Today the island is a popular tourist destination.

Robben Island
This postcard arrived from Germany sent by Gisela

Robben Island was used at various times between the 17th century and the 20th century as a prison, a hospital for socially unacceptable groups, and a military base. Its buildings, and in particular those of the late 20th century maximum security prison for political prisoners, testify to the way in which democracy and freedom triumphed over oppression and racism.
What survives from its episodic history are 17th century quarries, the tomb of Hadije Kramat who died in 1755, 19th century ‘village’ administrative buildings including a chapel and parsonage, small lighthouse, the lepers’ church, the only remains of a leper colony, derelict World War II military structures around the harbour and the stark and functional maximum security prison of the Apartheid period began in the 1960s.
The symbolic value of Robben Island lies in its somber history, as a prison and a hospital for unfortunates who were sequestered as being socially undesirable. This came to an end in the 1990s when the inhuman Apartheid regime was rejected by the South African people and the political prisoners who had been incarcerated on the Island received their freedom after many years. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/916

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Fraser Island

The Fraser Island, besides of all its natural beauty, is also known by the wreck of the S.S. Maheno 

Fraser Island

This postcard arrived from Indonesia sent by Shinta

Fraser Island, also known by its Aboriginal name of K’gari, lies along the eastern coast of Australia. The property covers 181,851 hectares and includes all of Fraser Island and several small islands off the island's west coast. It is the world’s largest sand island, offering an outstanding example of ongoing biological, hydrological and geomorphological processes.  The development of rainforest vegetation on coastal dune systems at the scale found on Fraser Island is unique, plus the island boasts the world’s largest unconfined aquifer on a sand island.

Fraser Island
This postcard was sent by Norma

The property has exceptional natural beauty with over 250 kilometres of clear sandy beaches with long, uninterrupted sweeps of ocean beach, strikingly coloured sand cliffs, and spectacular blowouts. Inland from the beach are majestic remnants of tall rainforest growing on sandy dunes and half of the world’s perched freshwater dune lakes. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/630

Urnes Stave Church

An amazing church with an amazing view!

Urnes Stave Church
This postcard was sent by Jo

Urnes Stave Church (NorwegianUrnes stavkyrkje) is a 12th-century stave church at Ornes, along the Lustrafjorden in the municipality of Luster in Sogn og Fjordane county, Norway. It sits on the eastern side of the fjord, directly across the fjord from the village of Solvornand about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) east of the village of Hafslo.
The church was built around 1130 or shortly thereafter, and still stands in its original location; it is believed to be the oldest of its kind. It provides a link between Christian architecture and the architecture and art forms of the Viking Age with typical animal-ornamentation, the so-called "Urnes style" of animal-art. - in: wikipedia

Lavaux, Vineyard Terraces

This summer I've been passing through these vineyards almost every day. And I don't mind at all! The vineyards, the lake and the Alps are a perfect combination!
I know that these postcards, all bought by me, are very similar, but I just can't resist them! They are all beautiful!

Lavaux - The Vineyards, the Lake Geneva and the Alps
The Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, stretching for about 30 km along the south-facing northern shores of Lake Geneva from the Chateau de Chillon to the eastern outskirts of Lausanne in the Vaud region, cover the lower slopes of the mountainside between the villages and the lake. Although there is some evidence that vines were grown in the area in Roman times, the present vine terraces can be traced back to the 11th century, when Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries controlled the area. It is an outstanding example of a centuries-long interaction between people and their environment, developed to optimize local resources so as to produce a highly valued wine that has always been important to the economy. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1243

The Vineyards, Montreux, the Lake Geneva and the Alps
It benefits from a temperate climate, but the southern aspect of the terraces with the reflection of the sun in the lake and the stone walls gives a Mediterranean character to the region. The main wine grape variety grown here is the Chasselas.
There are many hikes possibles through the Lavaux vineyards. There is a hiking trail ("Terrasses de Lavaux"), going from Saint-Saphorin to Lutry, recommended by the Tourism Office of Switzerland. - in: wikipedia

Saint-Saphorin
Saint-Saphorin is a municipality in the Swiss canton of Vaud, located on the shore of Lake Geneva, in the district of Lavaux-Oron.

Saint-Saphorin

The Swiss Reformed Church of Saint-Symphorien with a Gallo-Roman villa as well as part of the UNESCO World Heritage SiteLavaux, Vineyard Terraces are listed as Swiss heritage site of national significance. The entire village of Saint-Saphorin is part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites. - in: wikipedia

Epesses
Epesses is a former municipality in the Swiss canton of Vaud, located in the district of Lavaux-Oron on Lake Geneva. It is noted for its wine production.
The municipalities of Cully, Epesses, GrandvauxRiex and Villette (Lavaux) merged on 1 July 2011 into the new municipality of Bourg-en-Lavaux.
Epesses villages has some densely packed wine growers houses, mostly dating from the 17th to 19th century, offering a picturesque townscape. The Saint-Jacques Church in Epesses is dated from the 14th to the 16th century and has been restored several times since then. The Bovard century, dated to the 15th century is a listed building. - in: wikipedia

Rivaz
Rivaz is a municipality in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland, located in the district of Lavaux-Oron.
The municipality is part of the UNESCO World Heritage SiteLavaux, Vineyard Terraces which is also listed as a Swiss heritage site of national significance. The entire village of Rivaz is part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites. - in: wikipedia

Châtelard Castle and the Vineyards
Châtelard Castle is a castle in the municipality of Montreux of the Canton of Vaud in Switzerland. It is a Swiss heritage site of national significance. - in: wikipedia

Lavaux


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Tokaj Wine Region Historic Cultural Landscape

In this new century a lot of wine regions have been inscribed in the world heritage list. Tokaj was one of them

Tokaj Cellar
This postcard was sent from Poland by Malgosia who says that Tokaj wines are very popular in her country

Located at the foothills of the Zemplén Mountains (in North-East Hungary), along the Bodrog river and at the confluence of the Bodrog and the Tisza Rivers, the Tokaj Wine Region Historic Cultural Landscape was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2002. (...) The entire landscape, its organisation and its character are specially shaped in interaction with the millennial and still living tradition of wine production. Documented history of the wine region since 1561 attests that grape cultivation as well as the making of the ‘aszú’ wine has been permanent for centuries in the area surrounded by the three Sátor-hegy (the Tokaj-hill, the Sátor – hill of Abaújszántó, and the Sátor-hill of Sátoraljaújhely). The legal base of delimitation of the wine region is among the first in the world and dates back to 1737 when the decree of Emperor Charles VI (Charles III, King of Hungary) established the area as a closed wine region.
The unique combination of topographic, environmental and climatic conditions of the Tokaj Wine Region, with its volcanic slopes, wetlands creating a special microclimate that favours the apparition of the “noble rote” (Botrytis cinerea), as well as the surrounding oak-woods have long been recognized as outstandingly favourable for grape cultivation and specialized wine production. All these features have enabled the development of vineyards, farms, villages, small towns and historic networks of wine cellars carved by hand into mostly volcanic rocks, which are the most characteristic structures in Tokaj: that of King Kalman in Tarcal is known to have been in existence as early as 1110. There are two basic types of cellar in Tokaj: the vaulted and the excavated. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1063/

Monday, 11 July 2016

Historic Centre of Vienna

Vienna is in my top 3 of "must visit" cities. I don't know when but I hope to visit the city of the waltzes one day

Vienna
This postcard was sent by my cousin Andreia

Vienna developed from early Celtic and Roman settlements into a Medieval and Baroque city, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It played an essential role as a leading European music centre, from the great age of Viennese Classicism through the early part of the 20th century. The historic centre of Vienna is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, as well as the late-19th-century Ringstrasse lined with grand buildings, monuments and parks. - inhttp://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1033

St. Stephen's Cathedral
 This postcard was sent by Danubia

St. Stephen's Cathedral (more commonly known by its German title: Stephansdom) is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of ViennaChristoph Cardinal SchönbornOP. The current Romanesque and Gothic form of the cathedral, seen today in the Stephansplatz, was largely initiated by Duke Rudolf IV (1339–1365) and stands on the ruins of two earlier churches, the first a parish church consecrated in 1147.

St. Stephen's Cathedral
 This postcard was sent by my cousin Andreia

The most important religious building in Vienna, St. Stephen's Cathedral has borne witness to many important events in Habsburg and Austrian history and has, with its multi-coloured tile roof, become one of the city's most recognizable symbols. - in: wikipedia


Statue of the Waltz King in Vienna
This postcard was sent by my cousin Andreia

Johann Strauss II (October 25, 1825 – June 3, 1899), also known as Johann Strauss Jr.the Youngerthe Son (German: Sohn), Johann Baptist Strauss, was an Austrian composer of light music, particularly dance music and operettas. He composed over 500 waltzespolkasquadrilles, and other types of dance music, as well as several operettas and a ballet. In his lifetime, he was known as "The Waltz King", and was largely then responsible for the popularity of the waltz in Vienna during the 19th century.
Strauss had two younger brothers, Josef and Eduard Strauss, who became composers of light music as well, although they were never as well known as their elder brother. Some of Johann Strauss' most famous works include "The Blue Danube", "Kaiser-Walzer", "Tales from the Vienna Woods", and the "Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka". Among his operettas, Die Fledermaus and Der Zigeunerbaron are the best known. - in: wikipedia