Thursday, 29 September 2016

Birka and Hovgården

This site from Sweden reminds me that I still have to watch the tv series Vikings, recommended by several friends of mine 

Keys from the Viking Age at Birka
This postcard was sent by Doris

During the Viking Age, on the island of Björkö in present-day Sweden, was an important trading center which handled goods from Scandinavia as well as Central and Eastern Europe and the Orient. Björkö is located in Lake Mälaren, 30 kilometers west of contemporary Stockholm, in the municipality of Ekerö. The archaeological sites of Birka and Hovgården, on the neighbouring island of Adelsö, make up an archaeological complex which illustrates the elaborate trading networks of Viking Scandinavia and their influence on the subsequent history of Europe. Generally regarded as Sweden's oldest town, Birka (along with Hovgården) has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993. A silver ring from a Viking-era grave in Birka is the first ring with Arabic inscription from that era found in Scandinavia. - in: wikipedia

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Historic Centre of Oporto, Luiz I Bridge and Monastery of Serra do Pilar

Porto is one of my favorite places. I love this city and when I lived in Portugal, my wife and I used to go there often. I have a lot of postcards of Porto, so I will post only a few in here and if you want to see them all you can go to my album of postcards

Porto
 The city of Oporto, built along the hillsides overlooking the mouth of the Douro river, is an outstanding urban landscape with a 2,000-year history. Its continuous growth, linked to the sea (the Romans gave it the name Portus, or port), can be seen in the many and varied monuments, from the cathedral with its Romanesque choir, to the neoclassical Stock Exchange and the typically Portuguese Manueline-style Church of Santa Clara. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/755


Luiz I Bridge
  The Luís I (or Luiz I) Bridge (Portuguese: Ponte Luís I or Luiz I) is a metal arch bridge that spans the Douro River between the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia in Portugal. At the time of construction its span of 172 m was the longest of its type in the world.


Luiz I Bridge
 The government held a competition for the construction of a metallic bridge over the Douro River on a site that was adjacent to an existing bridge that it would replace. Téophile Seyrig had engineered the D. Maria Pia Bridge project nearby, whilst working as a partner of Gustave Eiffel. He now took sole responsibility for the new, major Luís I Bridge. The construction was begun in 1881 and the bridge opened on 31 October 1886 (the upper deck; the lower deck opened in 1887) - in wikipedia


Luiz I Bridge
  • Total length 385.25 m
  • Weight 3045 tons
  • The arch measures 172 m in length and 44.6 m in height


Rabelo Boats
 The Rabelo boat is a traditional Portuguese cargo boat that for centuries was used to transport people and goods along the Douro River.


Rabelo Boats, the Douro River and the city
 Native from the Douro region, it does not exist in any other place of the world. Its history is closely linked to the production and trade of port wine. Before the arrival of the railway, the rabelo was the fastest and the most efficient means of transport between the Douro Valley, where port wine is produced, and the city of Porto, where it was traded and exported world wide. - in: wikipedia


Arrábida Bridge
 The Arrábida Bridge is an arch bridge over the Douro River that connects Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia, in Portugal. It is the most downstream bridge across the Douro River, just a few kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean.
At the time of its completion in 1963, the bridge's main span of 270m was the largest of any concrete-arch bridge in the world. The total length of the deck is 493.2m, having a width of 26.5m. The arch has a rise of 52m, and the maximum clearance above river level is 70m above. The engineer responsible for its project and construction was Edgar Cardoso. - in: wikipedia
Porto Cathedral
 The Porto Cathedral (Portuguese: Sé do Porto), located in the historical centre of the city of Porto, Portugal, is one of the city's oldest monuments and one of the most important Romanesque monuments in Portugal
The current Cathedral of Porto underwent construction around 1110 under the patronage of Bishop Hugo and was completed in the 13th century, but there is evidence that the city has been a bishopric seat since the Suevi domination in the 5th-6th centuries.
The cathedral is flanked by two square towers, each supported with two buttresses and crowned with a cupola. The façade lacks decoration and is rather architecturally heterogeneous. It shows a Baroque porch and a beautiful Romanesque rose window under a crenellated arch, giving the impression of a fortified church. -in: wikipedia

Churches of Carmo and Carmelitas
 These two churches are located near Clérigos Tower. The Church of Carmelitas was built between 1616 and 1628. The Church of Carmo was built between 1756 and 1768.


Church of São Francisco
 The Igreja de São Francisco (Church of Saint Francis) is the most prominent Gothic monument in PortoPortugal, being also noted for its outstanding Baroque inner decoration. 
The Franciscan Order was established in Porto around 1223. Initially, the order was antagonised by the secular and clergy of other religious institutions, particularly by the bishop of Porto. It took a papal bull, the Bulla Doelentis accepimus by Pope Innocent V, to restore to the Franciscans the plot of land previously donated to them. They began building the convent and a first, small church dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi around 1244.
In 1383, under the patronage of King Ferdinand I, the Franciscans began to build a more spacious church. This new structure was finished around 1425 and followed a relatively plain Gothic design, typical for the mendicant orders in Portugal. The general structure of the church has not been extensively altered, making São Francisco the best example of Gothic architecture in Oporto.
In the early 18th century the lateral aisles and apse chapels were extensively decorated with exuberant gilt wood work (talha dourada) by several Portuguese wood carvers. This decorative richness is the most notable feature of the Franciscan church, covering almost completely the roofs of the aisles, pillars, window frames and chapels and hiding the underlying mediaeval architecture. Even though the Baroque gilt work does not completely harmonise with the Gothic structure of the church, it is considered one of the most outstanding of Portugal. - in: wikipedia

Clérigos Tower and Church
 The Clérigos Church (Portuguese: Igreja dos Clérigos; "Church of the Clergymen") is a Baroque church in the city of Porto, in Portugal. Its tall bell tower, the Torre dos Clérigos, can be seen from various points of the city and is one of its most characteristic symbols.
The church was built for the Brotherhood of the Clérigos (Clergy) by Nicolau Nasoni, an Italian architect and painter who left an extense work in the north of Portugal during the 18th century - in: wikipedia

Church of Massarelos
 The Church of Massarelos was built in 1776. On the back of the church there's a façade of tilework depicting Infante D. Henrique

Church of the Congregados
 The Igreja dos Congregados is located in the Almeida Garret Square and it was built in 1703.


Church of Saint Ildefonso
The Igreja de Santo Ildefonso is an eighteenth-century church in Porto, Portugal, situated near Batalha Square. Completed in 1739, the church was built in a proto-Baroque style and features a retable by the Italian artist Nicolau Nasoni and a façade of azulejo tilework. The church is named in honour of the VisigothIldephonsus of Toledo, bishop of Toledo from 657 until his death in 667. - in wikipedia

Monastery of Serra do Pilar

Part of the area classified by UNESCO as World Heritage in December 1996, the Monastery of Serra do Pilar is the architectural landmark of Gaia. The interesting church and cloisters are laid out according to a circular design unique in Portugal.

The convent built in the 16th century belonged to the Order of Saint Augustine. The church is characterised by a circular shape, a replica of the Church of Santa Maria Redonda in Rome, and is covered by a hemispheric vault with a narrow balcony running its full extent. It took 72 year to complete due to the lack of funding and the political turmoil of those times – with the kingdom of Portugal having fallen to neighbouring Spain. One legacy of that event was the adoption of a Spanish saint for the monastery, Our Lady of Pilar.

In 1832, during the Siege of Oporto, its military value was made use of with the convent swiftly turned into an improvised fort. At the beginning of the 20th century, the monastery was used for military barracks and remains under the tutelage of the Serra do Pilar Artillery Regiment.

Within, the Church features some impressive carved gold leaf altars with Solomonic columns. There are also 18th century, polychrome wooden carvings of the saints Eulalia, Apollonia and Augustine.

In front of the church, there is a wonderful view point taking in the full splendour of the city of Oporto and the river Douro below. - in: https://www.visitportugal.com/en/NR/exeres/C8D59E5F-88CE-4311-BA22-9B829204C47D

Monday, 26 September 2016

Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier

Trier, "the Rome of the North", must be a wonderful place to visit with so many and well preserved Roman monuments!

Roman Bridge in Trier
This postcard was sent by Suenja

The Roman Bridge (GermanRömerbrücke) is an ancient structure in TrierGermany, over the Moselle. It is the oldest standing bridge in the country. The nine bridge pillars date from the 2nd century AD. The upper part was renewed twice, in the early 12th and in the early 18th century, after suffering destruction in war. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. - in: wikipedia

Igel Column
This postcard was sent by Ina

The Igel Column is a multi-storeyed Roman sandstone column in the municipality of IgelTrierGermany, dated to c. 250 AD. The column is the burial monument of the Secundinii cloth merchant family. Measuring 30 m in height, it is crowned by the sculptural group of Jupiterand Ganymede.
The column includes a four-stepped base, a relatively low podium, topped by a projecting cornice, a storey, its flat Corinthian pilasters with decorated shafts, supporting an architrave, a sculptured frieze and a heavy cornice. The bas-reliefs feature a procession of six coloni, bringing various donations to the house of their master. The coloni are received before the entrance to the atrium. The donations consist of a hare, two fish, a kid, an eel, a rooster and a basket of fruit. - in: wikipedia

Porta Nigra
This postcard arrived from Turkey sent by Nihan

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is a large Roman city gate in TrierGermany. It is today the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps.
The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.
The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. (...) For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. (...) Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier. It serves as an entrance to town. - in: wikipedia


Cathedral of St Peter in Trier
This postcard was sent by Michaela

The High Cathedral of Saint Peter in Trier (GermanHohe Domkirche St. Peter zu Trier), or Cathedral of Trier (GermanTrierer Dom), is a Roman Catholic church in TrierRhineland-PalatinateGermany. It is the oldest cathedral in the country. The edifice is notable for its extremely long life span under multiple different eras each contributing some elements to its design, including the center of the main chapel being made of Roman brick laid under the direction of Saint Helen, resulting in a cathedral added onto gradually rather than rebuilt in different eras. Its dimensions, 112.5 m length by 41 m width, make it the largest church structure in Trier. 
The structure is raised upon the foundations of Roman buildings of Augusta Treverorum. Following the conversion of the Emperor Constantine the Bishop Maximin of Trier (329-346) coordinated the construction of the grandest ensemble of ecclesiastical structures in the West outside Rome: on a groundplan four times the area of the present cathedral no less than four basilicas, a baptistery and outbuildings were constructed; the four piers of the crossing formed the nucleus of the present structure.
The fourth-century structure was left in ruins by the Franks and rebuilt. Normans destroyed the structure again in 882. Under Archbishop Egbert (d. 993) it was restored once more. - in: wikipedia

The monuments listed World Heritage in Trier (in red what I have):

  • Ampitheatre
  • Moselle Roman Bridge
  • Barbara Baths
  • Igel Column
  • Porta Nigra
  • Imperial Baths
  • Aula Palatina (Basilica)
  • Cathedral
  • Church of Our Lady (Liebfrauenkirche)

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Acropolis, Athens

This is for sure the most well-known place of Greece 

Acropolis
This postcard was sent by Elena

The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on an extremely rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon
While there is evidence that the hill was inhabited as far back as the fourth millennium BC, it was Pericles (c. 495 – 429 BC) in the fifth century BC who coordinated the construction of the site's most important buildings including the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. The Parthenon and the other buildings were seriously damaged during the 1687 siege by the Venetians in the Morean War when the Parthenon was being used for gunpowder storage and was hit by a cannonball. - in: wikipedia

Parthenon
This postcard arrived from China sent by Sheremy

The Parthenon is a former temple, on the Athenian AcropolisGreece, dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron. Construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power. It was completed in 438 BC although decoration of the building continued until 432 BC. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered the zenith of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient GreeceAthenian democracy and western civilization, and one of the world's greatest cultural monuments. - in: wikipedia