Friday 31 October 2008

Brooklyn Bridge

Well, yes, I have a thing for bridges. A very big thing. And this card, sent by linda718, from USA, is just beautiful. It shows the New York’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge, built between 1870 and 1883. It was the first land connection to Manhattan and was designed by John Augustus Roebling in Gothic architectural style. It has six driving lanes and an elevated walkway for pedestrians.

As a symbol of New York City, it has featured in films, TV series and books, having it’s own part in American Culture.

Source: Wikipedia.


Before joining Postcrossing I knew nothing about Slovenia, now this country is in my “to visit list”. Every Slovenian postcard I receive makes me breathless. Such stunning landscapes, beautiful villages and city views and lush forests...

This one, sent by tinkara, shows Bled Island, in the glacial Lake Bled. It is Slovenia’s only island and it’s quite small. In it there are only a few buildings and a church built in the 15th Century, The Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary, a popular site for weddings.

This card’s image is breathtaking, with the Julian Alps in the background and the swans in the lake. It makes me dream of being there...

Source: Wikipedia.

Thursday 30 October 2008

Kõpu Lighthouse

Lighthouse cards from Estonia are always so beautiful and I was very excited when I received this one.

Kõpu lighthouse is the oldest Estonian lighthouse and it’s also the third oldest operating light in the world. It is located in the Kõpu Peninsula, in Hiiumaa Island. It is 600 years old, being lit for the first time in 1531. This great card was sent by soom, from Estonia.

Source: Wikipedia.

Mount Ruapehu

This is an incredible photograph. We can really see the power of Nature, often beautiful and scary at the same time. This eruption of Mount Ruapehu, above Chateau Tongariro, occurred in 1995 and the photo was taken by Tim Whittaker of the Hawke’s Bay Herald Tribune.

Mount Ruapehu is the largest active volcano in New Zealand, located in North Island, in the Taupo Volcanic Zone. It is considered one of the most active volcanoes in the world, with an average of a major eruption every fifty years and smaller ones every couple of years.
The card was sent by adriennegarry, from New Zealand.

Source: Wikipedia.

Wednesday 29 October 2008

Holy City of Mashad

When I received this wonderful card in the mail, sent by ipuenktchen, from Iran, I was thrilled. Never, in my wildest dreams (especially before I joined Postcrossing), had I though I would get a postcard from Iran. But there it was, this amazing postcard of the Holy City of Mashad, the second largest city in Iran and one of the holiest cities in Shia Islam.

Here is located the Imam Reza Shrine, as shown in the postcard. This shrine contains the mausoleum of Imam Ridha, the eighth Imam of Twelvers. During its existence, since the 9th century, it has been destroyed and reconstructed several times. It is a place of pilgrimage in the Muslim World.

Source: Wikipedia.

Tuesday 28 October 2008

Lighthouse of Capelinhos

Every Azorean, at one time or another, has heard of the Lighthouse of Capelinhos. It is located in the village of Capelo, in Faial Island, which was the site of an off-shore violent volcanic eruption in the 50s: the volcano of Capelinhos. It caused the destruction of many houses and two parishes were evacuated. It was such a scary event, that it led to a mass departure from the Azores to North America, especially the USA, where the Senate approved the Azorean Refugee Act.

The lighthouse was inaugurated in 1903 and ceased its activity in the 29th of September of 1957, due to the eruption. It was the closest building to the eruption and was damaged and covered in ashes. Nowadays it’s being turned into a belvedere and close to it is a Museum.

I’ve visited this site a couple of years ago. It is quite stunning.

Source: Wikipedia.

Monday 27 October 2008


Rome is the capital of Italy and one of the most important cities in Europe. Through out time it has had a significant impact in History, being in fact one of the founding cities of the Western Civilization.

Rome has also had an impact in culture and the arts, housing many relevant buildings and monuments built in various architectonical styles, such as renaissance, baroque and neoclassicism.

In the card, sent by effemmedia, from Italy, we can see three important churches (from left to right): Saint Ivo alla Sapienza, St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and Saint Agnese in Agone.

Source: Wikipedia.

The Taj Mahal

If love was a building it would be the Taj Mahal. Exaggeration? I don’t think so. If the tragic love story behind its construction won’t move you, then its beauty and majesty will certainly do the job.

Located in Agra, India, the Taj Mahal was completed in 1648 and it’s an extraordinary example of Mughal Architecture. The materials used in the construction include white marble, jasper, crystal, jade, turquoise, lapis lazuli, safires and quartz. The structure consists of a Mausoleum, where Emperor Shah Jahan and his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal are buried, and a mosque.
The Emperor married Mumtaz Mahal in 1612 and fell irreversibly in love with her. Although he took two other wives as was custom he showed little interested in them. Mumtaz Mahal died giving birth to his 14th son and the Emperor, grieve sick, began almost immediately the construction of the Taj as a tribute to his love.

The Taj Mahal is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World and is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 1983.

The amazing card shown on this post was sent by seetas, from India.

Source: Wikipedia.

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is probably one of the best well known sites in the World. It was built and rebuilt between the 6th Century BC and the 16th Century to protect the northern frontier of the Chinese Empire. During this time, two to three million Chinese died while working on it.

This card, sent by bridge, shows a winter view of the North Pass, known as Badaling. It is one of the many tourist centres along the Wall. The incredible fortification is one of the mightiest works of Man. It is so massive that some actually believe it can be seen from the moon. This belief has persisted, even in some school textbooks, but it is a myth. It’s physically impossible to see such details of earth from the moon.

But in my opinion we don’t need to see it from the moon to understand it is one of the most incredible sites on earth. It was declared by UNESCO in 1987 as a World Heritage Site.

Source: Wikipedia.

Sunday 26 October 2008

Prague... again

Yes, I am a Prague fan, although I have never visited it. Every card I receive from this city is more beautiful than the previous. It looks so full of stories and incredible locations. A perfect place for a voyage.

Both cards shown here were sent from Czech Republic by different postcrossers. Both show well known buildings of the city.
The Municipal House (card on the top) was sent by kengi. It was built in 1905, in Art Nouveau style. This impressive building is the location of the Smetana Hall, a concert hall.

The other card (on the bottom), sent by zas9k, shows Dancing House, also known as Ginger and Fred Building. It was designed by architects Vlado Milunic and Frank Gehry and was completed in 1996. There was some controversy during its construction because many thought it would clash with the surrounding architecture. Personally, I think it’s beautiful.

Source: Wikipedia.

Saturday 25 October 2008

Neuschwanstein Castle

Doesn’t this gorgeous castle resemble the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland? Well, there is a reason for that! This 19th century Bavarian castle was the inspiration behind Disney’s building.

The Neuschwanstein Castle is located in the top of a hill in southwest Bavaria, Germany, and it was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and a tribute to the composer Richard Wagner. The goal was to create a theatrical and fantasy like castle that would impress anyone whom would see it. The construction began in 1869 and was completed in 1886, after the Kings’ death.

Nowadays, it’s one of German’s most popular touristic attractions. This beautiful card was sent by yukikoyh, from Germany.
Source: Wikipedia.

Sugar Loaf Mountain

This beautiful night view card of Pão de Açúcar (English: Sugar Loaf) Mountain was sent by cris, from Brazil. This peak is located in Rio de Janeiro and the name derivates from its resemblance to the traditional shape of concentrated refined loaf sugar.

It’s one of the most recognizable symbols of the city.

Source: Wikipedia.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

I remember quite well the first time I saw an image of a Holocaust extermination camp on an encyclopaedia. I was a 12 year old teenager and I was shocked beyond words. I couldn’t understand how Men could do this to other Men. And after all these years I still can’t.

The holocaust is usually defined as the genocide of approximately 6 million Jews and other groups during World War II. These were not war casualties. These deaths were the result of an intentional Nazi extermination programme, carried out in cold accuracy.

The card above shows a tribute to the victims. It was sent by zimtschnecke and it shows the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, located in Berlin, Germany. It was designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. It has an uneasy, confusing atmosphere about it and its goal was to portrait a supposedly ordered system without human reason. The memorial was built between 2003 and 2004.
Source: Wikipédia.

Belém Tower

If you’ve heard of Portugal, you’ve heard of Lisbon and if you’ve heard of Lisbon... well, then you’ve heard of Belém Tower. This fortified tower is the city’s ex-libris, one of its most recognizable symbols.

It was built in the 16th century as a tribute to Vasco da Gama’s voyage and quickly became a symbol of the Portuguese Age of the Great Discoveries. Through out its life, it was a part of Lisbon’s defence system, a custom house, a telegraphic post, a lighthouse and even a prison.
It was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1983 and it’s been a National Monument since 1907. The card above was sent by Sofia.
Source: Wikipedia.

Callanish Stones or The False Men

This extraordinary card was sent by Sarah (asgerd), from Scotland and it’s a winter view of the enigmatic Callanish Stones. These standing stones are located by the sea, near the village of Callanish, on the west coast of Lewis Island in the Outer Hebridges.

The date of its construction is still uncertain although a date between 2900 and 2600 BC has been strongly suggested by many experts. Also, there is no clear explanation for their existence. Some suggest they form a calendar system, others claim it was a primitive burial chamber. Nobody knows for certain.

I particularly like the last part of Sarah’s message written in the back of the postcard:
"In Gaelic we call them “na Fir Bhreige”, the False Men, because they deceive us..."

And I think that says it all.
Source: Wikipedia.

Friday 24 October 2008

Pena National Palace

This fairylike and romantic Palace is one of Portugal’s most impressive locations.
The Pena National Palace is the first palace built in Romanticism style in Europe. It stands on the top of a hill above the town of Sintra and it’s a national monument. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1995 and it is one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal.

This beautiful building was built between 1842 and 1854, on the ruins of a 16th century monastery. The construction was ordered by King Consort Ferdinand II as a summer residence for the royal family. The design was created by a German amateur architect named Baron Wilhelm Ludwig von Eschwege. It includes Medieval and Islamic elements and red and yellow façades.

This incredible postcard was sent by joana122.

Source: Wikipedia.

Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ

This amazing cathedral should be called, in my opinion, “the church of a thousand names” because there are so many different variations of its name. Wikipedia lists it as the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood; others call it Church on Spilt Blood. The above postcard, sent by Vera, names it Church on the Spilled Blood or Church of Resurrection. I will just use its official name: Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.

It was built by Alexander III as a memorial to his father Alexander II, whom was mortally wounded by an anarchist conspirator in the exact same place where the Cathedral was built. The blood referred to by some of its names is the tsar’s.

It was constructed between 1883 and 1907 in a more traditional medieval Russian architecture, despite St. Petersburg’s more Baroque and Neoclassical buildings. Although it was built as a church, the Cathedral never worked as a public place of worship. Nowadays, it is a Museum of Mosaic.

Source: Wikipedia.

Batalha Monastery

There are many places I would like to visit in my country and this one is at the top of my list. A friend of mine was there in a college assignment to draw the Monastery and she fell in love with it, taking lots of wonderful photographs that I enjoyed seeing.

The Batalha Monastery is located in the Town of Batalha, in the District of Leiria. It has both elements of late Gothic architecture and Manualine style and its original name is Monastery of Saint Mary of Victory. It was built as a tribute to the Virgin Mary, to whom the King D. João I attributed the Portuguese victory over the Castilians in the Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385.
This impressive Monastery took two centuries to be built, from 1386 until 1517. It was voted one of Portugal’s Seven Wonders in 2007 and it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983.

Both postcards were sent by our kind Helena (leninha): the one on the top shows the front of the Monastery, the other shows an arcade screen in the Cloister of King João I, inside the Monastery.

Source: Wikipedia.

Leander's Tower

When I received an envelope full of cards sent by ctrekoza from Turkey, I wasn’t the only one excited. Everyone in my house was exhilarated! They were surprised that I had received cards from such an exotic country. I told them that is the beauty of Postcrossing!

I liked all of them, but this one is my favourite. It shows Leander’s Tower, also known as Maiden’s Tower, located in a small island in Istanbul. It was built in 408 BC by Alcibiades, an Athenian General, to control the Persian movements in the Bosphorus strait. After that, and for many centuries, it was used as a lighthouse and nowadays it’s a restaurant and a café.

There are many legends associated with the Tower and they are all beautiful.

Source: Wikipedia

Kinkaku-ji Temple

Isn’t this snowy scene breathtakingly beautiful?

This stunning postcard was sent from Japan by lovelypostcards24, our amazing Noriko. It shows the Kinkaku-ji Temple (English: Golden Pavilion Temple) located in Kyoto. It was built in 1397 and originally it served as a retirement place to Shogun (English: general) Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. Later, his son turned it into a Zen Temple.

The pavilion is a three-story building in which the top two stories are decorated with pure gold leaf and it houses relics of Buddha. It is standing in the shores of a Mirror Pond ( Kyoto-chi).

This Temple is included in the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto which was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1994.

Source: Wikipedia.

Wat Phra Keo and The Emerald Buddha

Wat Phra Keo (in English: The Temple of the Emerald Buddha) is the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. It holds in its buildings the sacred icon of the Emerald Buddha, a figurine of the sitting Buddha, made of green jade and clothed in gold. This sacred icon is considered the palladium of Thailand and, according to legend, it was created in India in 43 BC and, after travelling from one place to another for hundreds of years, it resurfaced in Thailand in 1434.

This impressive golden temple was built in 1785 and is located in Bangkok. There are three main doors, but the one in the centre can only be used by the King and Queen of Thailand.

In a more curious note, to enter the temple you must always be wearing long trousers. There are no exceptions and if you don’t have any, the facility will rent you a pair.

This beautiful card was sent by cherokee, from Thailand.
Source: Wikipedia.

Thursday 23 October 2008

Prague - The Golden City

Ah, Prague! The mother of cities, the golden city, and the city of a hundred spires... To visit Prague is to visit History and it’s one of my dream trips (so many places to see, so little money ...).

Prague is considered by many as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and its historic centre was declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site in 1992.

The city has many bridges over the river Vltava and the oldest (and most beautiful, in my opinion) is Charles Bridge (2nd from the front, on the card). Its construction began in 1350 and it turned Prague into an important trade route between east and west Europe.
I think this card is amazing. It was sent to me by zas9k, from Czech Republic.

Source: Wikipedia

Boston Light

Lighthouse cards are another of my passions and this one is particularly nice. This beautiful card of the Boston Harbour Lighthouse was sent to me by skipe, from the USA. He volunteers here as a guide for the National Park Service.

This lighthouse is the second oldest working lighthouse in the USA, being built in 1716 and rebuilt in 1783. In 1719 this light developed the World’s first fog warning signal when a cannon was fired at regular intervals during heavy fog. During the American Independency War, the lighthouse was a witness to several attacks from both the British and the American.

It eventually became automated in 1998, but is still staffed by personnel of the Coast Guard.
It is possible to visit the island and lighthouse with guided tours.

Source: Wikipedia.

Golden Gate Bridge

I collect bridge cards and this is one of my favourites. As an interest note: it was photographed in the USA, printed in Korea and sent by rsaloranta from Finland! That’s what I call globalization!

The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge built between 1933 and 1937 over the Golden Gate, the opening of the San Francisco Bay onto the Pacific Ocean. It is an internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco and it was designed by a group of architects and engineers lead by Joseph Strauss (overall design) and Irving Morrow (bridge towers and Art Deco elements).

Sadly, it’s one of the most popular sites to commit suicide in the world and there are suicide hotline telephones all over the bridge.

Source: Wikipedia

Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area

This card was in my wish list for a long time until oopsdada, from China, sent it to me. I think it’s a wonderful scenery, specially the colours in it.

The Jiuzhaigou Valley (lit. Translation: Valley of Nine Villages) is located in Sichuan, China and it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. It features colourful lakes and multi-layered waterfalls, forests and snowy mountains. The water in the lakes is crystal clear, allowing visitors to see their bottoms criss-crossed by ancient fallen tree trunks. The best time to visit is in the autumn because the forests turn into an attractive yellow, orange and red shade.

This site is definitely in my “to visit list”.
Source: Wikipedia.

St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral

I received this beautiful card a while back from dj_christina, from Bulgaria. I love beautiful buildings and night views, so she really chose the right card for me! I love the golden colours and the dark blue of the night sky. Just perfect!

The postcard shows St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. It’s the biggest cathedral in the country and it serves as the main church of the Patriarch of Bulgaria of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. It was built between 1904 and 1912, in honour of the soldiers who died in the Russo – Turkish War of 1877-1878. The church was designed by architect Alexander Pomerantsev and it’s named after St. Alexander Nevsky, the Grand Prince of Novgorod and Vladimir.
Nowadays, the cathedral holds in its crypt a museum of Bulgarian icons.

Source: Wikipedia.

The longest name

Now, this is what I call a big name. In fact, a huge name. This village, located in Anglesey island in Wales, United Kingdom, has the privilege of being the longest officially recognized place name in the United Kingdom.
It is named Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (in the original welsh) or The church of Mary in the hollow of the white hazel near the fierce whirlpool and the church of Tysilio by the red cave (in an English translation). It has 58 letters in length and it’s known to locals as Llarfairpwll or simply Llanfair.
The name was created in the 19th Century as a way to increase tourism in the area. It was artificially created in the 1860s with the objective of turning it into the longest name in an UK railway station. Nowadays, it still is a touristic attraction and there are many places you can visit there, such as the Marquess of Anglesey’s Column (a monument built in honour of Henry Paget, the 1st Marquess of Anglesey for his heroism in the Battle of Waterloo) and the railway station where you can take pictures next to the station sign.

This beautiful card was sent by enigmaxuan, from Wales.
Source: Wikipedia
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