Thursday, May 28, 2015

Canela - Brazil

Two different cards of the same cathedral in Canela, Rio Grande do Sul state in Brazil. Yes, it snows in Brazil!!
Both cards are sent by Déa, my sweet brazilian friend. 

Foto: Ernani Marques
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, also known as Cathedral of Stone, is considered one of the major tourist attraction in Canela.
Its characteristic style is English Gothic. The church has a tower with 65 meters high, and a carillon of 12 bells made of bronze by foundry Giacomo Crespi, Italy. In its interior are three panels consisting of painted canvases by the gaucho artist Marciano Schmitz, depicting the "Apparition of Our Lady", the "Allegory of the Angels", and "Annunciation". 

The paintings of Via Sacra were made by Pablo Herrera, a Uruguayan sculptor and restorer of Sacred Art. Wood and clay were used, with the background painting having superimposed images in clay.
Its stained glasses represent the litany of Our Lady. The altar, whose theme is the Last Supper, is a work of art carved in by wood Julius Tixe, a Uruguayan sculptor. - in: wikipedia
In 2010 it was classified as one of the 7 Wonders of Brazil. 

Churches in Minas Gerais - Brazil

A few weeks ago I agreed on a trade with Sílvia. We traded 8 cards in an envelope and most of the card I picked from her albuns were churches cards. All these 5 churches are located in different places around the Minas Gerais state. 

Foto: Sérgio Mourão
This is the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary in Cocais. Although there is not much information about the date of construction of this church and who participated in the works, is believed that it has been built in the 18th century by a group of former black slaves.

Foto: Sérgio Mourão
There was not much information about the previous church but there's even less information about this one in Itamonte. I only know its name, Church of Our Lady of Conceição and it was under renovation works not so long ago. 

Sérgio Ricardo de Freitas
The parish church of St. Anthony in Tiradentes is one of the most beautiful Baroque buildings in Brazil. It was built in 1710. Inside there is an organ dating from 1788, considered one of the fifteen most important in the world.

Sérgio Ricardo de Freitas
The Church of Our Lady of Carmo in Ouro Preto was one of the last projects of the architect Manuel Francisco Lisboa, Aleijadinho's father. The church was built in Rococo style - the last phase of the Baroque, less laden with gold. It is the only church in state with Portuguese tile panels. Its construction took place between 1766 and 1772.

Foto: Sérgio Mourão
This is the beautiful Church of Our Lady of Mercy, in São João Del Rei, built in 1853 to replace a chapel built in 1751.

Itu - Brazil

The next posts will be dedicated to brazilian cards, I've received a lot in the last weeks. This one was sent by Luzia.
Itu is a city in the state of São Paulo. It was founded in 1610 by the portuguese Domingos Fernandes. Itu was the birthplace of the brazilian republic. 

Foto: Cândido Mariano

I didn't find much about this church! It was built by Father Jesuíno do Monte Carmelo and his sons and it was inaugurated in 1819. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Tamarindos Beach - São Tomé and Príncipe

This is not my 1st card from São Tomé and Príncipe but its the 1st I'm posting here. It was also sent by Paulo. 

Foto: Direcção de Turismo e Hotelaria de São Tomé e Príncipe
Tamarindos Beach is located in the north coast of São Tomé island, 15 kms from the capital city. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sabratha - Libya

Getting 135 is great and it gets even greater when you find out that one of the cards is from a missing UNESCO site, an hard to get one. This card is showing the theatre of Sabratha, an archaeological site  inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.
Sabratha in the northwestern corner of modern Libya, was the westernmost of the "three cities" (Sabratha, Oea and Leptis Magna) of ancient Tripolitania. It lies on the Mediterranean coast about 66 km (41 mi) west of Tripoli. 

© High Aothority for Tourism and Antiquities
The theatre was built in 175-200 AD, so it was started by Emperor Marcus Aurelius; the construction was continued by his son Commodus and completed with a lavish proscaenium by Emperor Septimius Severus who was born in Leptis Magna; this time frame is applicable also to the enlargement of the theatre of Ostia. 
The area which best survived to our time is the base of the stage which was decorated with reliefs portraying gods and scenes from comedies and dances; the image used as background for this page shows a relief portraying Paris being asked by Hermes which of three goddesses was the fairest. - in:

Cards from Cyprus

A few months ago I met Paulo and he gave me a bag full of cards. A few days ago I've got another gift from him, an envelope with 135 cards. How nice is that?? These 4 are from Cyprus. 

© Omnicard Photobank
Limassol is a city on the southern coast of Cyprus and capital of the eponymous district. Limassol is the second largest urban area in Cyprus. 
The Port of Limassol is one of the busiest ports in the Mediterranean transit trade and the largest port in Cyprus. It has also become one of the most important tourism, trade, and service-providing centres in the area. 
 A wide spectrum of activities and a number of museums and archaeological sites are available to the interested visitor. Consequently, Limassol attracts a wide range of tourists mostly during an extended summer season to be accommodated in a wide range of hotels and apartments. A large marina is currently being constructed near the old town.
Limassol was built between two ancient cities, Amathus and Kourion, and during Byzantine rule it was known as Neapolis (new town). Limassol's historical centre is located around its medieval Limassol Castle and the Old Port. Today the city spreads along the Mediterranean coast and has extended much farther than the castle and port, with its suburbs stretching along the coast to Amathus. - in: wikipedia

© Omnicard Photobank
 Pafos castle was originally a Byzantine fort built to protect the harbour. It was rebuilt by the Lusignans in the 13th century, dismantled by the Venetians in 1570 during the Ottoman invasion and rebuilt by the Ottomans after they captured the island in the 16th century. Originally, this role was served by the Saranta Kolones fort, the ruins of which lie a few hundred meters to the north. During its long history, the Pafos Castle was used, as well as for protection, as prison cells, and even as a storage area for salt when the island was a British colony. In 1935 it was declared an ancient monument and today is considered as one of the hallmarks of the Pafos region.
Many cultural events take place in the square just in front of the castle, while during September each year the Pafos Aphrodite Festival which presents a different opera every year staged here by world famous artists with the castle building usually acting as part of the scenery. - in:

© George Hadjimenikou
Located in the heart of Kato Paphos, the Byzantine-style Agia Kyriaki church was built around the 13th Century on the site of an earlier Basilica and is surrounded by Roman ruins and mosaics. Ayia Kyriaki lends a real sense of tradition and history to the occasion.
The floor of the basilica was covered with colourful mosaics, some of which are still preserved.

© George Hadjimenikou
The Stavrovouni Monastery, located on the summit of lonely mountain ca 17 km NW of Larnaca, is the oldest and probably also the most important Orthodox monastery on Cyprus.
The Stavrovouni Monastery, as the name already says, is dedicated to the Holy Cross.  According to legend, the monastery was founded by St. Helena, the mother of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine I (she also discovered and bring into monastery a piece of the super-relics, Holy Cross). 
Stavrovouni, the oldest documented monastery on Cyprus (326 AD), had been an important religious centre since the 4th century. In its long history, Stavrovouni went through times of great poverty and hardship caused by the most varied invasions by foreigners on the island. The walls , the church, the iconostasis and monks' cells in Stavrovouni were almost completely destroyed during a great fire in 1888.
Recently, the monastery underwent a complete renovation. Its small church was restored again with frescoes and icons by well-known painter, Fr. Kallinikos, a monk from Stavrovouni. The present monks in Stavrovouni live a very strict form of monastic life, similar to that of the monks on Mount Athos. The rule of their first abbot , Dyonisios, forms the basis of this. Perhaps that is why it is still forbidden even today for women to visit Stavrovouni. - in:

Friday, May 22, 2015


Construction of Sidney's Harbour Bridge in the 1930's. 
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of Australia's most well known and photographed landmarks. It is the world's largest (but not the longest) steel arch bridge with the top of the bridge standing 134 metres above the harbour. It is fondly known by the locals as the 'Coathanger' because of its arch-based design.

Foto:  © State Library of New South Wales
DE-4135230, sent by Cristina.
It was as early as 1815 that Francis Greenway proposed building a bridge from the northern to the southern shore of the harbour.
It took some time for this to become a reality with design submissions invited in 1900. All the submissions were considered unsuitable and so the momentum for the bridge crossing stopped.
However, after the First World War more serious plans were made, with a general design for the Sydney Harbour Bridge prepared by Dr J J C Bradfield and officers of the NSW Department of Public Works. The New South Wales Government then invited worldwide tenders for the construction of the Bridge in 1922 and the contract was let to English firm Dorman Long and Co of Middlesbrough.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge construction started in 1924 and took 1,400 men eight years to build at a cost of 4.2 million. Six million hand driven rivets and 53,000 tonnes of steel were used in its construction. It now carries eight traffic lanes and two rail lines, one in each direction, but at the time of its construction the two eastern lanes were tram tracks. They were converted to road traffic when Sydney closed down its tram system in the 1950s. - in:

Thursday, May 21, 2015


This is an official from Taiwan but the card is actually from Japan, it shows the Matsuyama Castle. 

TW-1578515, sent by Ellie.
Matsuyama Castle is one of Japan's twelve "original castles", i.e. castles which have survived the post-feudal era since 1868 intact. It is also one of the most complex and interesting castles in the country. It is located on Mount Katsuyama, a steep hill in the city center that provides visitors with a bird's eye view of Matsuyama and the Seto Inland Sea. There are about 200 cherry trees on the castle grounds, making this a lovely cherry blossom spot typically around late March to early April each year.
Matsuyama Castle was constructed between 1602 and 1628. In 1635, the castle got assigned to a branch of the Matsudaira family, relatives of the nation ruling Tokugawa, and it remained in their hands until the end of the feudal era. The current three storied castle tower was constructed in 1820 after the original five storied one had been destroyed by lightning.
Matsuyama Castle provides an excellent example of a feudal castle. The main circle of defense (Honmaru) is located on the top of the hill, accessible through multiple, well defended gates. The main keep is one of only a few in the country that boast multiple wings. The complex also includes a secondary keep and multiple turrets, giving Matsuyama Castle a grand appearance and making it interesting to explore. Inside the castle, some exhibits offer information on Matsuyama's history and the feudal period. - in:


An official from Gulangyu, an island off the coast of Xiamen city (historically known as Amoy), Fujian province in southern China. 

CN-1609931, sent by Zheng Yang.
Christ the King Church was built by the Spaniards in 1917. Located at 34 Lujiao Road, Gulangyu Island, it boasts of a Gothic architectural style with beautiful interior designs. The structure occupies a land area of 220 square meters.
Hundreds of local and foreign Catholics flock to this church to attend Sunday services.
As one of the main tourist attractions of Gulangyu Island, it attracts more than 10,000 local and foreign tourists every year.
During the 'Cultural Revolution', church services were temporarily stopped. Services resumed during the Christmas season of 1982.
On April 1, 2005, the Xiamen Municipal government cited Christ the King Church as "An Important Historical Site". As a result, the municipal government has allocated funds for its renovation on numerous occasions.
On May 25, 2006, it was cited in China as the 6th Most Important Cultural Site that must be preserved. - in:

Lipno Dam - Czech Republic

One last card sent by Vladmir.

Foto: Daniel Selucký
The Lipno Dam is the largest of its kind in the Czech Republic. This huge lake set in the beautiful countryside of Šumava is a popular place for all who enjoy an active holiday. During the summer season you can go cycling, inline skating, swimming, windsurfing, sailing or just lounge comfortably on one of the Lipno beaches. - in:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ralsko & Švihov Castles - Czech Republic

When I get a few cards from Czech Republic in an envelope, some of them are definitely castle cards. This time was no exception and Vladimir sent these cards of Ralsko and Švihov Castles.

Foto: Ivan Rillich
The deserted castle was used by thieving knights and later destroyed by treasure hunters. At present, its ruins form the characteristic silhouette of the lonely hill. The castle was not open to the public for a long time as it was located in a military area. At present, you can set out for a challenging trip; the climbing itself is worthwhile. Besides the relics of the castle, the top offers a superb view of the České Středohoří, the Lužické Hory and Jizerské Hory, Ještěd, dominant features of Český ráj and the Mácha region with Bezděz Hill.
Ralsko Castle is connected with several legends. One of them mentions a hidden treasure guarded by a giant dog that rambles through the dense forests. Another legend insists that inside the hill, similarly to Blaník Hill, sleeping soldiers are waiting, to save the country when it gets into really serious problems. - in:

Foto: Ivan Rillich
The Švihov Castle is a late medieval castle located in western Bohemia, Czech Republic. It is considered to be the last real castle in Czech lands – only chateaux were built after it. Švihov is one of the youngest Czech castles. It was constructed at the turn of the 15th and the 16th centuries by Půta Švihovský of Rýzmberk.
During the Thirty Years’ War, the Swedish troops passed by the Švihov Castle two times, leaving it unconquered. After this war, the Habsburg Emperor Ferdinand III issued an order to demolish the castle. However, due to its permanently being put off, the demolition was luckily never carried out entirely; only part of the fortification wall was damaged. Later on, the castle was turned into a farmstead and a granary. The Švihov Castle remained property of the Černín family up to the end of the Second World War, after which it was nationalized. 
The Czechoslovak state took over the important historic landmark in a dilapidated state, and as one of the most treasured monuments, the state decided to make it open to public. In the second half of the 20th century, extensive reconstruction work started turning the granary back into a castle. Starting with this extensive reconstruction, smaller scale work has been continuously carried out at the castle up to the present day. 
The Water Castle of Švihov remains property of the Czech Republic to this day; it is managed and operated by the National Institute for the Preservation of Historical Monuments. - in:

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Czech cities

3 czech cities from 3 different regions, Chrudim in the Pardubice Region, Poděbrady in the Central Bohemian Region and Valeč  in the Karlovy Vary region.

Chrudim town was established before 1276 and soon after came to be a dowry town of Bohemian Queens.

Foto: Ivan Rillich
 Poděbrady is a historical spa town. A historic milestone in the life of the town was the year 1905, when it was visited by the German estate owner Prince von Bülow. This well-known water diviner found in the inner courtyard of the castle signs of a strong spring, which was later bored to a depth of 97.6 metres (320 ft). The discovery of carbonic mineral water resulted in the opening of the first spa in 1908. After World War I Poděbrady rapidly changed into a spa town which from 1926 specialized in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, rapidly gaining renown not only in the Czech Republic, but also abroad in countries including Austria, Germany, Russia and the United States. - in: wikipedia

Foto: Ivan Rillich
The first written mention of the Valeč village dates from 1358, when it was confiscated during the war by the Citbor brothers and Benes.
The village was given municipal rights December 1514, upon a request by Vladislav II (Jagiello) . In 1570 Christopher Štampach of Štampach bought Valeč. Václav Štampach of Štampach then built a Renaissance castle, whose appearance today is not known. - in: wikipedia

Friday, May 15, 2015

Slatiňany - Czech Republic

This week I've got 8 nice czech cards sent by Vladimir. 2 of the cards are from Slatiňany, a town in the Pardubice Region of the Czech Republic. I'm posting those 2 cards with a 3rd one, the 1st official I've received from Czech Republic, almost 9 years ago, in the beginning of my postcrossing activity. 
The first written documents about the town come from 1294. The town reached its complete prosperity when both the manor and the castle were owned by the princely family Auersperg. 

CZ-1638, sent by Martina.
 Formerly a simple manor of local gentry became a favourite summer seat of the powerful Princes of Auersperg for almost 200 years.
In 1878 Franz Joseph Prince of Auersperg married countess Wilhelmine Kinsky. They chose to reside in the chateau of Slatinany and made the place what it is today. The house became the favourite family home, inhabited from late spring till Christmas. - in:
The castle houses now a museum that documents the horses´ evolution since it´s origin 55 million years ago till the present.

Foto: archiv mesta Slatinany, archiv spolecnosti VCES a.s.
In the Švýcárna, built in the style of a Swiss chalet, you can visit the interactive museum about the breeding of Kladruber horses, which are registered on the UNESCO list.

Foto: archiv mesta Slatinany
A miniature of a Gothic walled castle in Slatiňany´s castle´s forest park is a very popular place for children and tourists. The cats castle was built in a romantic style by the princess Vilemina Auersperg.


Vysehrad is one of the most important historical places in Prague. It is a mighty fortress on a high cliff above the river Vltava. You can recognize it from far thanks to Gothic towers of the Church of St. Peter and Paul, situated there. Vysehrad is a storied place and a seat of the first King of Bohemia in the 11 th century. Remains of various buildings on the hill illustrate the colorful history of the place. - in:

Foto: Antonin Holub
CZ-628050, sent by Jana.
The most notable building at Vysehrad in Prague is the Capitular Church of St. Peter and Paul. It was built already in the 11 th century by the first Bohemian King Vratislav II. as a part of his new residence. It became an important religious centre. The chapter was independent of the Prague bishopric and it was subordinated only to the Pope in Rome.
The Church of St. Peter and Paul was built according to the church in Rome with the same name. It was rebuilt many times through the centuries. It was a Romanesque basilica originally, and Charles IV. had it rebuilt as a high-Gothic church in the 14 th century. Three aisles and side chapels were built there.
Baroque rebuilding came in 1720s and finally the church gained its neo-Gothic features in the 19 th century. The two high pseudo-Gothic towers were added between 1902 and 1903. - in:


An official from Ukraine with the monument to Taras Shevchenko in Lviv. 

© Photo Ruslan Lytvyn
UA-1280286, sent by Victoria.
The Shevchenko Monument is a recent addition to Lviv’s cultural landscape.  It was established in 1992, and despite its newness has become one of the most visible images of Lviv. The monument depicts Taras Shevchenko, Ukraine’s greatest poet and the spiritual leader of the Ukrainian nation. There’s a 12-meter stela to the left of figure of Shevchenko, which is meant to symbolize the “wave of a Ukrainian revival”.  Located in the very heart of the city, the monument is a popular meeting point day and night for performances and informal gatherings. - in:

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Novodevichy Convent - Russia

 A few weeks ago I've received my 4th card of the Novodevichy Convent in Moscow. It was about time to dedicate a single and entire post to this beautiful complex, classified as UNESCO WHS in 2004.
These cards were sent by Natalia, Svetlana, Mark and Tatiana.

Founded in 1524 by Grand Duke Vasily III to celebrate the recapture of Smolensk from the Lithuanians, the Novodevichy Convent is one of the most beautiful sights in Moscow. It is particularly notable for its architectural harmony of which its position, on the banks of the Moskva River, allows excellent views.

 The postcard loveliness belies the Convent's original function as one of the ring of fortresses that guarded the outskirts of the medieval city. Novedichy was positioned strategically to protect the main southern access road to the city at the point where it crossed the Moskva. The convent has enjoyed a prominent place throughout its history, in part as a repository for powerful and troublesome women, most famously the Regent Sophia, Peter the Great's half-sister, who did much to rebuild the convent in the 1680's before being confined here after the streltsy revolted in support of her in 1698.

RU-3635234, sent by Svetlana.
During Napoleon's invasion, the monastery weathered French efforts to blow it to pieces, thanks to some quick-thinking nuns who managed to extinguish the fuses on casks of gunpowder after the soldiers had fled. The convent also made notable appearances in 19th Century fiction, as the site of Pierre's proposed execution in War and Peace, and as the meeting place for Lyovin and Kitty in Anna Karenina (the Maiden Field, below the convent walls, was Moscow's most fashionable skating rink, frequented by Tolstoy).

RU-160449, sent by Mark.
After the Revolution, the Convent was turned into the Museum of the Emancipation of Women, but suffered less than many of its counterparts, and was one of the first to be returned to the Church in the patriotic fervor that followed victory in 1945. Nuns did not return here until 1994, however, and it is still much more of a tourist attraction than a working religious institution - for which we can only be grateful considering the wealth of treasures to be seen.

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Smolensk is the oldest, and the most important, building in the convent. It was built at the time of the Convent's founding, although its dazzling onion domes were added over a century later. The interior is also impressive, with glorious frescoes dating from 1684 and painted by Dmitry Grigorev of Yaroslavl. - in:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Officials from Russia

Some of the last officials from Russia. 

RU-3635237, sent by Kate.
The State Hermitage is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. One of the largest and oldest museums in the world, it was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been open to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display, comprise over three million items, including the largest collection of paintings in the world. - in: wikipedia
The Raphael Loggias, on the card, are the exact copy of the Gallery in the Papal Palace in Vatican City. 

RU-3635229, sent by Marina.
This is a chapel located in the Heroes Halley in Volgograd, a city in the south-eastern European part of Russia. 

RU-3637157, sent by Alena.
An autumn view of a park somewhere in Russia or in the world. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015


And now an official also from Belarus showing the Palace of the Rumyantsevs and the Paskeviches in Gomel. 

Photo by A. Makaranka
BY-1597478, sent by Christina.
The construction of the castle in the style of early Classism began in 1777. 
In the 19th and early 20th centuries the palace witnessed lavish receptions, balls and official events. The residence hosted many members of the Romanov imperial family.
The residence, its rich library and collections became part of the Museum of Art and History which was opened in 1919.
The palace was destroyed and restored several times. It suffered the most severe damage during an uprising in 1919 and the Great Patriotic War.
Throughout its history the palace was used for various purposes. It housed a telephone station, a library, a puppet theater, a youth center and a museum.
Today the former residence of the aristocrats in Gomel is one of the most interesting and frequently visited Belarusian museums and a major historical, cultural and educational center. - in:

Dudutki Museum - Belarus

A card from my favorites sent by Olena. 
The museum complex of Dudutki dedicated to ancient folk crafts and technologies. 
The museum of Dudutki is located 40 km far from Minsk, in Pukhovichi district, in a picturesque place near the Ptich River, a kilometer and a half far from the village of Dudichi.

Photo by A. Kliashchuk
Dudutki windmill was constructed in 1903-05 by brothers Michael and Ivan Polyakov. in the village of Berezovka which is located in Kormyansk district of Gomel province. It is a sample of towel windmills. Its height is 14 m and there are five floors inside. During the times of collectivization the mill was taken from the brothers who were exiled to Siberia and given to a local communal farm.
The mill functioned till the 70s of the 20th c. and then it was abandoned and started to decay. ; upon the initiative of Eugene Budinas, a museum founder, in June 1992 it was brought to the museum of Dudutki and restored by carpenters of Victor Karachun supervised by architect Sergey Sergachev and artist Boris Tsitovich. On the right of the windmill there is a miller’s house for guests where countrymen who came to the miller but didn’t manage to grind their grain could have dinner and stay at night. - in: