Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bergamo - Italy

Every now and then I travel on google maps, I mean, I look for a particular city and from there I see what other interesting places are nearby. I have already done a few routes in northern Italy and I confess that I've never put Bergamo on the itinerary. I need to reconsider that because I've read that it is a very beautiful city and this wonderful card sent by Óscar totally convinced me. 

The city of Bergamo is composed of two parts: there is the suspended Città Alta (Upper City), the historic core built up on the hills, and the Città Bassa (Lower City), which is a lively financial centre of national importance. The two parts are separated, both physically and symbolically, by the powerful Venetian defensive systems, that are a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 9 July 2017.

© Nous srl * foto © Alex Perathoner
One of the attraction in the Upper City is the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. It was built from 1137 on the site of a previous religious edifice of the 7th century. Construction continued until the 15th century. Of this first building the external Romanesque structure and the Greek cross plan remain. The interior was extensively modified in the 16th and 17th centuries. The dome has frescoes by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Noteworthy are the great Crucifix and the tomb of Gaetano Donizetti. - in: wikipedia


A french official card from Bordeaux.

Of all the public buildings in Bordeaux, the Grand-Théâtre is unquestionably the most well-known and appreciated.  It stands on the site of a former temple (Les Piliers de Tutelle) that was once in the middle of a Gallo-Roman forum. 
The Grand Théâtre's construction was made necessary by the destruction of a performance hall in 1755. The latter was located in the outbuildings of the former town hall, near the Grosse Cloche.

FR-918803, sent by Sandrine.
Architect François Lhote, assisted by Soufflot, initially proposed a project that was not accepted by the city aldermen. Eventually, Marshal de Richelieu, governor of the province of Guyenne, imposed the Parisian architect Victor Louis (1731-1800). In order to pay for the construction, the land located on the southern glacis of the Château Trompette was sold.
It took more than five years to build the Grand Théâtre and, after many vicissitudes, it was inaugurated in 1780 with a performance of Athalie, a play by Jean Racine.
The rectangular-shaped structure opens up onto Place de la Comédie to the west with a peristyle featuring 12 Corinthian columns supporting an entablature and a balustrade decorated with 12 statues (the nine muses and three goddesses). At the beginning, this peristyle was on the same level as Place de la Comédie. However, in the mid-19th century, it was decided to lower the level to make it easier for horse-drawn carriages to cross. - in:

Azay-le-Rideau Palace - France

 One of the places I really want to visit in France is the Loire Valley and its castles and palaces. Those castles and palaces are so beautiful. It will be difficult to choose which ones to visit.
The 1st of these cards was a surprise from Zé Pombal and the other one was sent a few years ago by Agnes.

Photo: Marcel Chevret
Described by Balzac over lunch one day as "a facetted diamond set in the Indre", Azay-le-Rideau is one of the most famous châteaux of the Loire.
Built in the early part of the 11th century, the Château of Azay-le-Rideau was burned during the Hundred Years’ War, and later rebuilt during the reign of François I, by a wealthy financier. 

A true synthesis between the French art of construction and the innovations in Italian architecture, the Château of Azay-le-Rideau is an authentic masterpiece of the Renaissance. Set on an island in the middle of the Indre river, this picturesque château has become one of the most popular of the châteaux of the Loire valley. -

Friday, October 13, 2017

Churches in Auvergne - France

Another postcard that Oscar bought on his way from Switzerland to Portugal. Unfortunately, he didn't visit any of these churches in the french region of Auvergne.
These are the churches:
- Church of Saint Astremonius in Issoire, 12th century;
- Church of St. Nectarius, in the city with the same name. Also dates from the 12th century;
- Basilica of Our Lady of Orcival in Orcival, also of the 12th century and Romanesque as the previous two;
- Clermont-Ferrand Gothic Cathedral;
- Basilica of Our Lady of Port, also in Clermond-Ferrand. It was built and rebuilt in Romanesque style between the 6th and 12th centuries;
- Cathedral of Saint-Flour. Built between 1398 and 1466 in Gothic style.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Villars Cave - France

I like to visit caves and it seems that Damien likes caves too. Not so long ago he sent me a Lascaux caves card and this time he sent this one of Villars Cave. 

The Villars Cave is one of Perigord’s largest underground networks with, up until today, about 13 km of explored ground. 

Edition Christophe Levillain
The underground river has dug enormous rooms linked to each other by passages. The infiltration waters have created fantastic natural scenery. 
The prehistoric paintings were discovered in 1958 and are the legacy of the art of our ancestors.
More than 19000 years ago, the Cro-Magnon men frequented the Cluzeau massif. They were nomad hunter-gatherers. These prehistoric men developed a complex cultural world which was expressed through artistic expression.
In Villars, the prehistoric artists used manganese (black natural pigment) which was reduced to a powder and combined with a binder. Some paintings, such as the rotunda of horses is covered by a fine film of calcite, giving it its specific blue hue.
On it, there are many horses as well as ibexes and buffaloes, it is one of the rare human representations of prehistoric art. - in:

Alquezar - Spain

Every now and then Celina goes on short but great trips to Spain. In September she went to Aragon region and a few days ago she sent to Andalucia. 
In September she sent me thos great cards from Alquezar, a town in Huesca province, Aragon region. 

Ediciones Sicilia S. A.
Alquezar is an attractive Moorish village situated on the canyon of the Rio Vero in the Sierra de Guara national park. 
Alquezar has lovely, narrow, arcaded lanes which wind up hill to the Moorish citadel set on a rocky outcrop with views down over the village and the river below. Alquezar is entered throug a Gothic gate and then ambling through the narrow streets is like stepping back in time. The ancient town square is surrounded by arcaded houses
The citadel (castle) was built in the 8th century. Christians took the castle and village in the 11th century and built the Collegiate church of Santa Maria la Mayor in the 12th century. Only the cloister with carved capitals remains from this time and the current church is 16th century. - in:

Monday, October 9, 2017

Camino de Santiago symbols

Every year thousands of pilgrims and hikers make their way to Santiago de Compostela. This is something I'd like to do someday, just don't know when. Óscar would like to do the Camino too. This postcard he sent shows some of the symbols connected with this network of pilgrims' ways.

© Ediciones A. M. Fotos: N. Benitez; P. Bucero; A. Murillo; A. Badía y D. Acevedo
* Stylized Scallop - Universal symbol as identification of the Way of Saint James. Being an element of identification, it represents schematically the convergence of the various European routes to the city of Santiago de Compostela. In some situations, the stylized viera, as well as identifying element, can be assumed as a guiding element of the route for the pilgrim. In the latter case, the application of this symbol may be positioned in the following direction;
* Santiago Cross - is a Latin cross simulating a sword-shaped lily. It is believed to have originated in the time of the Crusades. The three lilies represent the irreproachable honor which refers to the character traits of the apostle James. The sword represents the noble character of St. James and the way he was martyred, beheaded by a sword.
Yellow Arrow - very popular symbol  among the current pilgrims as a guiding element of the course to follow. Elías Valiña, priest in Cebreiro (Spain), was the pioneer in the application of a sign with yellow arrows as a support to the pilgrims who got lost in this locality. Nowadays the use of the yellow arrow is present in almost all the ways towards Santiago de Compostela. For this reason, this symbol became universal with the pilgrims of Santiago.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Graça Fort - Portugal

I've been to Elvas once to attend a Christmas Postcrossing meeting a few years ago. This city located in easternmost central Portugal, has a lot of wonderful monuments worth to visit, the Graça Fort is definitely one of them. 

© Sergiy Scheblykin 2016 * Iberian Landscapes
PT-541987, sent by Alice.
If you ever visit this fort in Elvas, you might meet Alice, she's has been working there for the last 2 years.
Also known as the Count Lippe Fort, the Graça Fort is located in a mount with the same name, one of the highest mounts in the region, with a big strategic-defensive importance, at about 1km distance north from the town of Elvas. 
This wonderful military monument was started in 1763, ordered by king D. José I, and inaugurated in 1792, already during the reign of Queen D. Maria I. 
Built in an area that had already been suffering with the many enemy attacks, namely from the nearby Spanish forces, the Graça Fort has resisted the Spanish attacks during the Oranges War (1801) and to the French bombings commanded by General Soult, in the context of the Peninsular War (1811). 

Graça Fort is constituted by three defensive lines, including in its interior several dependencies such as barracks, chapel, bunkers, the governor house, a big cistern, cannons, among many others. 
Important part of the Elvas defensive strategy, a town that since early times has been an important strategically defensive point, the Graça Fort was built in the place where before was located the ancient Santa Maria da Graça Chapel. - in:
The Fort is classified as National Heritage since 1910 and is part of the UNESCO WHS Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications.

Lourinhã - Portugal

As a teacher, Leninha has taught in several places. This year she moved again and now her postal code is from Lourinhã, from where she sent this postcard with the local Main Church, also known as the Church of Saint Mary of the Castle.

Situated in the lovely village of Lourinhã, this Gothic Church was built in the second half of the 14th century and classified as a National Monument in 1922. 
In the place where the Church is located was, supposedly, located a Moorish fortification dated from the Moorish occupancy of the territory. 
The temple was built in two different phases. It is constituted by a central nave, two laterals and a polygonal apse. The central nave is the highest and wider, separated from the laterals by eight pointed arches with vegetal decorative elements. 
In the southern nave is located a bell tower built in the 17th century. - in:

José Franco Typical Village - Portugal

I had never heard of this typical village until I had received the 1st postcard from there, sent by Ninocas and also signed by Zé and Vitória. The 3 were the participants in the Postcrossing anniversary meeting in 2012.  The other postcard was sent a few days ago by Joana Duarte.

This typical miniature village is located in Sobreiro, about 4 km northwest of Mafra on the road to Ericeira.  

José Franco was born in 1920. His parents were potters by profession, manufacturers of small tiles that farmers in the region used in their homes, and so he too began to manufacture and sell his small pottery door to door and in folk festivals and fairs.By 1945 José Franco dreamed he could build a living museum of his region to mimic the habits of his childhood and some aspects and activities of peasant life.

The most amazing part of this wonderful set is made up of small sets built in the style of a crib, with figurines of clay modeled by José Franco, replicating a village with houses that are copies of the houses on the outskirts of Lisbon from the end of the century.Inside the castle that José Franco built for delight of the children there is another village full of pictures of people in their usual activities - weddings, baptisms, rural churches, and the work of the fields.The center of this small world of wonder is a potters workshop where José Franco was shaping in clay dozens of pictures representing the pastor, the miller, the farmer, the barber, the pig slaughter and all typical figures of the region. - in:

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Ericeira - Portugal

Ericeira is a very old town and we can find there some beautiful architectural features.
Both postcards were sent by Zé.

© Atlanticpost
The most frequent and used colors in Ericeira's typical constructions are blue and white.

A traditional house.

Ericeira's Culture House - Portugal

These two postcards were also sent by Zé, one this month and the other in 2011, both from the House of Culture and Library in Ericeira.

This beautiful building has been operating since the 80s as a Culture House, but its history began in 1861 when the Ericeirense Recreative Club was inaugurated.

After that it was casino, cinema-casino and a radio.
At the moment, the House of Culture Jaime Lobo e Silva is known for its public library.

Mãe d'Água Reservoir, Lisbon

I've been many times is Lisbon, I've visited the main and most famous attractions but there are a few not so famous places that I'd like to visit, Mãe d'Água reservoir is one of them. This card from there was sent by Zé.

Moving around Lisbon, one can’t help but notice the massive 18th century aqueduct that runs for 19 kilometers throughout the city.  Yet, what many people do not know, the aqueduct feeds into a beautifully designed reservoir known as the Mãe d’Água (Mother of Water).

Foto: Jorge Diniz
Located in the heart of the city, in front of the Amoreira Gardens, is the entrance to this “temple of water.”  Completed in 1834, the facility was the key water reservoir for Lisbon.  Modern technology has rendered the reservoir obsolete, yet the beauty of Mãe d’Àgua is now open to the public.
During the day, visitors can meander the cavernous structure covered in marble and supported by massive columns.  Its mesmerizing transparent water is 7.5 meters deep and is 5500 cubic meters in volume.  Mãe d’Àgua is fed through a waterfall fountain on the far wall, which is actually the ending point of the exterior aqueduct.  Stairs allow visitors to climb to the top of the fountain for an extraordinary view of the facility.  A further climb leads to a panoramic terrace on the roof for equally extraordinary views of Lisbon. - in:

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Lisbon - Portugal

A few weeks ago, Joana, a portuguese postcrosser living in France, was on holidays in Portugal and she wanted to meet a few portuguese postcrossers. They had a meeting in Lisbon. Ninocas sent me this card also signed by Joana, Paula, Ana Maria, Inês Brito, Luís, Zé, Rui and Caroline, a Swiss postcrosser also in holidays in Portugal and that I met a few days later in Porto. 

Foto: Nuno Antunes * Design: Catarina Roque
Lisbon overlooking the castle of São Jorge. On the back of the postcard it says that the castle is the most emblematic monument of Lisbon, I actually don't agree, for me the most emblematic monument is the Belém Tower or even the Jerónimos Monastery. Anyway, as it says on the postcard, the castle has witnessed all the historical moments of the city - from the Iron Age, through the Phoenicians, Carthaginian, Roman and Muslim occupations.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Winner of the Month - August (II)

The portuguese cards that I got thanks to this game.

 Fotos: Manuel M. Pinturache, David de Abreu
Sofia sent a card with a few recognizable portuguese images, most of them from Lisbon and Porto. 

A very recognizable image of Lisbon is this one with the 25th of April Bridge and Tagus River. This river is one of the most extensive rivers in the Iberian peninsula and the largest in Portuguese territory, with a total course of about 1100 kilometers.
The card was sent by Ninocas.

A card from Castelo Branco sent by Zé.
The Church of S. Miguel, which is the beautiful Cathedral of Castelo Branco, probably dates back to the thirteenth or fourteenth century. But it suffered numerous damages in the last quarter of century XVII. Missing the means to build a monumental work, it was D. Martim Afonso de Melo, Bishop of Guarda, who rebuilt it in the last quarter of the seventeenth century, bearing most of the expense in its reconstruction. The façade has almost no ornaments.

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies in Lamego is the main attraction of this city. The card was sent by Ana Rita. 

Rui sent a postcard from Ferreira do Zêzere with a landscape of the Ursa Valley. Unfortunately part of this landscape was destroyed by the fires this summer.

A reproduction of a postcard of São Brás de Alportel in 1930. 
The 2017 postcard was sent by Tiago.

© Instituto dos Museus e da Conservação, I. P. / Palácio Nacional de Queluz - Fotografia: Luís Pavão
Inês Brito sent this postcard with an image of the dressing room of Princess D. Maria Francisca Benedita in the Palace of Queluz. Just like me, when Inês went to the palace, she discovered some furniture that would be perfect to store postcards!! 

Winner of the Month - August (I)

In July Inês came up with the idea of opening a "Winner of the Month" game in the portuguese speaking community forum. This game basically consists of sending a postcard to a randomly chosen winner among the participants in that month game. In August I was the winner and received 12 postcards as prize. 

 São João and Ipiranga avenues signs in São Paulo sent by Luzia.

 Foto: Rafael Gushiken
Exactly one year ago I was in Brazil. The Cathedral of São Paulo was one of the monuments I visited in this big city. The postcard was sent by Maria Gabriela.
The construction of the Cathedral as we see it today began only in 1913. The temple was inaugurated on January 25, 1954, to commemorate the 4th Centenary of the City of São Paulo, still without the two main towers.

Photo: Christian Fehr
Jericoacoara is a village in the municipality of Jijoca, 300km from Fortaleza, on the west coast of Ceará state.
The Pedra Furada, the rock formation on the beach, is one of the famous attractions of the village and is thirty minutes walk from the beach of Jericoacoara.
Postcard sent by Edson.

A few weeks ago Ines went on vacation to Greece. For this game she chose to send me a postcard from the Greek capital.
I want to go to many places in this world but I must say that Athens is not on the top of my list. 

Editions D'Art
Dani decided to send a french card. This is the Salon d'Hercule (also known as the Hercules Salon or the Hercules Drawing Room), on the first floor of the Château de Versailles and connects the Royal Chapel in the North Wing of the château with the grand appartement du roi. - in: wikipedia