Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Iguaçu National Park

These waterfalls are shared by Brazil and Argentina and each country has their own national park inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List 

Iguaçu Falls
This postcard was sent by Fernando

The park shares with Iguazú National Park in Argentina one of the world’s largest and most impressive waterfalls, extending over some 2,700 m. It is home to many rare and endangered species of flora and fauna, among them the giant otter and the giant anteater. The clouds of spray produced by the waterfall are conducive to the growth of lush vegetation. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/355


Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas

Congonhas is known for its sanctuary and for the sculptures created by Aleijadinho, one of the best artists in the baroque style 

Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas
This postcard arrived from Portugal sent by Martinha

This sanctuary in Minais Gerais, south of Belo Horizonte was built in the second half of the 18th century. It consists of a church with a magnificent Rococo interior of Italian inspiration; an outdoor stairway decorated with statues of the prophets; and seven chapels illustrating the Stations of the Cross, in which the polychrome sculptures by Aleijadinho are masterpieces of a highly original, moving, expressive form of Baroque art. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/334

Sculptures by Aleijadinho at Congonhas
This postcard was sent by Silvia

The Twelve Prophets are a set of soapstone sculptures completed between 1800 and 1805 by the artist Antônio Francisco Lisboa, commonly known as Aleijadinho. The sculptures are located in the Brazilian municipality of Congonhas do Campo, where they adorn the forecourt of the Santuário do Bom Jesus de Matosinhos. - in: wikipedia

Monday, 28 November 2016

Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona

When I saw this postcard in a shop, I had no idea that it was an UNESCO site, but then I read the back side and I almost jumped of joy :)

Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona
The Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona in the north-eastern part of the country covers a mountainous area of 32,850 ha which features seven peaks that rise above 3,000 m. The area displays an exceptional example of mountain building through continental collision and features .excellent geological sections through tectonic thrust, i.e. the process whereby older, deeper rocks are carried onto younger, shallower rocks. The site is distinguished by the clear three-dimensional exposure of the structures and processes that characterize this phenomenon and has been a key site for the geological sciences since the 18th century. The Glarus Alps are glaciated mountains rising dramatically above narrow river valleys and are the site of the largest post-glacial landslide in the Central Alpine region. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1179

Three Castles, Defensive Wall and Ramparts of the Market-Town of Bellinzona

In 2014 my wife and I went to Lugano and, in the way, we stopped in Bellinzona. It was a very short stop. I hope to go there again to do a proper visit.

Old Poster of Bellinzona
The Castles of Bellinzona are a group of fortifications located around the town of Bellinzona, the capital of the Swiss canton of Ticino. Situated on the Alpine foothills, the group is composed of fortified walls and three castles named CastelgrandeMontebello and Sasso CorbaroCastelgrande is located on a rocky peak overlooking the valley, with a series of walls that protect the old city and connect to Montebello. Sasso Corbaro, the highest of the three castles, is located on an isolated rocky promontory south-east of the other two. 

Castelgrande
The site of Castelgrande has been fortified since at least the late 1st century BC and until the 13th century it was the only fortification in Bellinzona. During its history the castle has been known as the stronghold (before the 13th century), the Old Castle in the 14–15th centuries, Un Castle after 1506 and Saint Michael's Castle from 1818.


White Tower of Castelgrande

In the center of the keep is the tallest tower of Castelgrande, the Torre Bianca or White Tower, which dates from the 13th century. Surrounding the Torre Bianca is the palace of the Bishop of Como (mentioned in the 12th century), which may contain masonry from an earlier 10th or 11th century structure. - in: wikipedia

Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastra

Berat and Gjirokastra are two fortified historic centres in Albania remarkably well preserved.

Bachelors' Mosque in Berat
This postcard was sent by Christina

The Bachelors' Mosque, formerly the Sylejman Pasha Mosque, is a Cultural Monument of Albania, located in Berat. It became a Cultural Monument in 1961.
The mosque is located in the lower Mangalem neighborhood. It has two floors and arcades on three sides of it. The minaret of the mosque is low. The paintings inside the mosque date from the years 1927-1928.

Berat is a city and a municipality located in south-central Albania, and the capital of the County of Berat and also one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities.
The town is still renowned for its historic architecture and scenic beauty and is known as the "Town of a Thousand Windows", due to the many large windows of the old decorated houses overlooking the town. - in: wikipedia


Gjirokastra
This postcard arrived from Austria sent by Christina

Gjirokastër is a town and a municipality in southern Albania. Lying in the historical region of Epirus, it is the capital of Gjirokastër County. Its old town is a World Heritage Site described as "a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town, built by farmers of large estate." Gjirokastër is situated in a valley between the Gjerë mountains and the Drino, at 300 metres above sea level. The city is overlooked by Gjirokastër Fortress, where the Gjirokastër National Folklore Festival is held every five years. Gjirokastër is the birthplace of former Albanian communist leader Enver Hoxha and notable writer Ismail Kadare. It hosts the Eqrem Çabej University
Many houses in Gjirokastër have a distinctive local style that has earned the city the nickname "City of Stone", because most of the old houses have roofs covered with flat dressed stones. A very similar style can be seen in the Pelion district of Greece. The city, along with Berat, was among the few Albanian cities preserved in the 1960s and 1970s from modernizing building programs.- in: wikipedia

Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico), Padua

If I'm not mistaken the only botanical garden I've visited was in Coimbra, Portugal, and it is very beautiful. This one in Padua, the oldest of the world, looks even prettier

Spring Bust in the Botanical Garden
This postcard was sent by Edoardo

The world's first university botanical garden was created in Padua in 1545, which makes the Botanical Garden of Padua the oldest surviving example of this type of cultural property. Botanical gardens have played a vital role throughout history in the communication and exchange not only of ideas and concepts but also of plants and knowledge. The Botanical Garden of Padua is the original of botanical gardens in Europe, and represents the birth of botanical science, of scientific exchanges, and understanding of the relationship between nature and culture. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/824

Sunday, 27 November 2016

City of Verona

Verona is the set of three plays of Shakespeare, including "Romeo and Juliet", however it is unknown if the English playwright and poet ever visited this city or Italy at all

Verona
This postcard was sent by Edoardo

The historic city of Verona was founded in the 1st century B.C. It particularly flourished under the rule of the Scaliger family in the 13th and 14th centuries and as part of the Republic of Venice from the 15th to 18th centuries. Verona has preserved a remarkable number of monuments from antiquity, the medieval and Renaissance periods, and represents an outstanding example of a military stronghold.

Verona
This postcard was sent by Marco

The city is situated in northern Italy at the foot of the Lessini Mountains on the River Adige. 
The core of the city consists of the Roman town nestled in the loop of the river containing one of the richest collections of Roman remains in northern Italy. Surviving remains of this era include the city gate, Porta Borsari, the remains of the Porta Leoni, the Arco dei Gavi, which was dismantled in the Napoleonic period and rebuilt next to Castelvecchio in the 1930s, the Ponte Pietra, the Roman theatre, and the Amphitheatre Arena.
The Scaligers rebuilt the walls during the Middle Ages, embracing a much larger territory in the west and another vast area on the east bank of the river. This remained the size of the city until the 20th century. The heart of Verona is the ensemble consisting of the Piazza delle Erbe and the Piazza dei Signori, with historic buildings that include the Palazzo del Comune, Palazzo del Governo, Loggia del Consiglio, Arche Scaligere, and Domus Nova. The Piazza Bra has a number of buildings dating back to different epochs. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/797

Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco and Other Franciscan Sites

Assisi is a medieval city known for being the birthplace of Saint Francis. 

Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi
This postcard was sent by Cristina

The Papal Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi (ItalianBasilica Papale di San Francesco) is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Order of Friars Minor Conventual in Assisi, a town of Umbria region in central Italy, where St. Francis was born and died. The basilica is one of the most important places of Christian pilgrimage in Italy.
The basilica, which was begun in 1228, is built into the side of a hill and comprises two churches known as the Upper Church and the Lower Church, and a crypt where the remains of the saint are interred. The interior of the Upper Church is an important early example of the Gothic style in Italy. The Upper and Lower Churches are decorated with frescoes by numerous late medieval painters from the Roman and Tuscan schools, and include works by CimabueGiottoSimone MartiniPietro Lorenzetti and possibly Pietro Cavallini. The range and quality of the works gives the basilica a unique importance in demonstrating the development of Italian art of this period. - in: wikipedia

St. Rufino Cathedral in Assisi
This postcard was sent by Marta

Assisi Cathedral (ItalianCattedrale di Assisi or Cattedrale di San Rufino di Assisi), dedicated to San Rufino (Rufinus of Assisi) is a major church in Assisi, Italy, that has been important in the history of the Franciscan order. In this church Saint Francis of Assisi (1182), Saint Clare (1193) and many of their original disciples were baptised.
This stately church in Umbrian Romanesque style was the third church built on the same site to contain the remains of bishop Rufinus of Assisi, martyred in the 3rd century. The construction was started in 1140 to the designs by Giovanni da Gubbio, as attested by the wall inscription visible inside the apse. He may be the same Giovanni who designed the rose-window on the façade of Santa Maria Maggiore in 1163.
In 1228, while he was in Assisi for the canonization of Saint Francis, Pope Gregory IX consecrated the high altar. Pope Innocent IVinaugurated the finished church in 1253. - in: wikipedia


Saturday, 26 November 2016

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

This site is one example of the many underwater wonders of the world

Tubbataha Reef
This postcard was sent by Jan

The Tubbataha Reef Marine Park covers 130,028 ha, including the North and South Reefs. It is a unique example of an atoll reef with a very high density of marine species; the North Islet serving as a nesting site for birds and marine turtles. The site is an excellent example of a pristine coral reef with a spectacular 100-m perpendicular wall, extensive lagoons and two coral islands. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/653

Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras

Here in my region I'm more used to see terraces for vineyards but in the Philippines the terraces are used for rice and they also provide a beautiful landscape

Batad Rice Terraces
This postcard was sent by Jan

The Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (FilipinoMga Hagdan-Hagdang Palayan ng Kordilyera ng Pilipinas) were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995, the first-ever property to be included in the cultural landscape category of the World Heritage List. This inscription has five sites: the Batad Rice Terraces, Bangaan Rice Terraces (both in Banaue), Mayoyao Rice Terraces (in Mayoyao), Hungduan Rice Terraces (in Hungduan) and Nagacadan Rice Terraces (in Kiangan), all in the Ifugao Province, the Philippines. The Ifugao Rice Terraces reach a higher altitude and were built on steeper slopes than many other terraces. The Ifugao complex of stone or mud walls and the careful carving of the natural contours of hills and mountains to make terraced pond fields, coupled with the development of intricate irrigation systems, harvesting water from the forests of the mountain tops, and an elaborate farming system. - in: wikipedia

Everglades National Park

Because of movies and TV series I have the idea that the Everglades is the place where criminals go to dump corps to be eaten by crocodiles. And maybe it's not far from reality, since the senders of these cards claim to have seen a lot of alligators and crocodiles on the side of the roads! Well, of one thing I'm sure: the wildlife in this park is amazing! 

Old Poster of the Everglades National Park
This postcard was sent by Gloria

This site at the southern tip of Florida has been called 'a river of grass flowing imperceptibly from the hinterland into the sea'. The exceptional variety of its water habitats has made it a sanctuary for a large number of birds and reptiles, as well as for threatened species such as the manatee. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/76/

Purple Gallinule in the Everglades
This postcard was sent by Claudia

The purple gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus) is a "swamp hen" in the rail family, Rallidae. 
Their breeding habitat is warm swamps and marshes in southeastern states of the United States and the tropical regions of Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America. This species is resident in southern Florida and the tropics, but most American birds are migratory, wintering south to Argentina. - in: wikipedia

Anhinga in the Everglades
This postcard was sent by Gloria

The anhinga (Anhinga anhinga), sometimes called snakebirddarterAmerican darter, or water turkey, is a water bird of the warmer parts of the Americas. The word anhinga comes from the Brazilian Tupi language and means devil bird or snake bird. When swimming the origin of the name snakebird is apparent: only the colored neck appears above water so the bird looks like a snake ready to strike. They do not have external nares (nostrils) and breathe solely through their epiglottis. - in: wikipedia

Roseate Spoonbill in the Everglades
This postcard was sent by Gloria

The roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) (sometimes placed in its own genus Ajaja) is a gregarious wading bird of the ibis and spoonbill family, Threskiornithidae. It is a resident breeder in South America mostly east of the Andes, and in coastal regions of the CaribbeanCentral AmericaMexico, the Gulf Coast of the United States and on central Florida's Atlantic coast. - in: wikipedia

American Alligators in the Everglades
This postcard was sent by Gloria

The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), sometimes referred to colloquially as a gator or common alligator, is a large crocodilian reptile endemic to the southeastern United States. It is one of two living species in the genus Alligator within the family Alligatoridae; it is larger than the other extant alligator species, the Chinese alligator. Adult male American alligators measure 3.4 to 4.6 m (11 to 15 ft) in length, and can weigh up to 453 kg (1,000 lb). Females are smaller, measuring around 3 m (9.8 ft). The American alligator inhabits freshwater wetlands, such as marshes and cypress swamps from Texas to North Carolina. It is distinguished from the sympatric American crocodile by its broader snout, with overlapping jaws and darker coloration, and is less tolerant of saltwater but more tolerant of cooler climates than the American crocodile, which is found only in tropical climates. - in: wikipedia

Florida Panther in the Everglades
This postcard was sent by Claudia

The Florida panther is an endangered subspecies of cougar (Puma concolor) that lives in forests and swamps of southern Florida in the United States. Its current taxonomic status (Puma concolor coryi or Puma concolor couguar) is unresolved, but recent genetic research alone does not alter the legal conservation status. This subspecies of cougar is sometimes referred to as cougar, mountain lion, puma, and catamount; but in the southeastern United States and particularly Florida, it is exclusively known as the panther, with respect to its distinction from different cougar subspecies found in other regions of the United States. Florida panthers are usually found in pinelands, hardwood hammocks, and mix swamp forests. - in: wikipedia

Friday, 25 November 2016

Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza

In these two small cities is possible to find some nice buildings of the 16th century of the Renaissance period

El Salvador Chapel in Úbeda
This postcard was sent by Juan

It is in an unmatched setting in Úbeda, next to various palaces surrounding the Plaza de Vázquez de Molina.
Its layout was designed by Diego de Siloé. Outstanding in this Holy Chapel is the Plateresque main front, the work of Vandelvira. Inside is the main reredos, by Berruguete, and the series of screens, by Bartolomé. - in: http://www.spain.info/en/que-quieres/arte/monumentos/jaen/capilla_de_el_salvador.html

Baeza Cathedral
This postcard was sent by Juan

It is built on a Roman temple which later became a mosque, and in the reign of Ferdinand III it converted to Christianity under the advocacy of San Isidoro.
The church has undergone numerous transformations and features elements from various different periods, although its dominant character today is Renaissance. The two first parts of the sanctuary have Gothic pillars and cross vaults. It has two doors on the outside: the Perdón door, in the Gothic style, and the Luna door, with a Moorish influence. Notable features include the Renaissance grille in the Sagrario chapel, and the grilles in the old choir stalls and in the sacristy, this last in the Gothic style. The cloister is also Gothic in style, and it has three Mudejar chapels and one Gothic chapel. The golden chapel, which is Renaissance and with a marked Italian influence, is the most important in the cathedral. - in: http://www.spain.info/en/que-quieres/arte/monumentos/jaen/catedral_de_baeza.html

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Sacred City of Kandy

This postcard of Kandy felt like candy in my mail box because I wasn't expecting it! :)

Dalada Maligawa
This postcard was sent by Helen

Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple in the city of KandySri Lanka. It is located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, which houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is a World Heritage Site mainly due to the temple. - in: wikipedia

Ancient City of Sigiriya

It's quite impressive to see how this huge rock was turned into a palace!

Sigiriya Rock
This postcard was sent by Helen

Sigiriya or Sinhagiri is an ancient rock fortress located in the central Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central ProvinceSri Lanka. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure —Sīhāgiri, the Lion Rock. The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king's death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. - in: wikipedia