October 31, 2016

2848 PORTUGAL (Viseu) - Soar Door in Viseu

Located approximately 50km East of the Atlantic ocean and surrounded by a number of mountains, Viseu was populated throughout history by a series of cultures, that include the Romans, Suebs, Visigoths and Moors. During the Middle Ages, the city often served as seat for Visigothic nobles (such as King Roderic), and is considered one of the probable birthplaces of Afonso Henriques. Following his successful defense of his hereditary rights, and supported by nobles and clergy, Afonso Henriques founded the Kingdom of Portugal in 1139.

0884, 2847 CZECH REPUBLIC (South Moravia) - Tugendhat Villa in Brno (UNESCO WHS)

0884 Tugendhat Villa in Brno (1)

Posted on 02.12.2013, 31.10.2016
Built between 1928 and 1930 in the wealthy neighbourhood of Černá Pole in Brno for the Jewish factory-owner Fritz Tugendhat by the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), subsequently the last director of Berlin's Bauhaus (1930-1933), Villa Tugendhat is a masterpiece of the Modern Movement in architecture. Its design principle of "less is more" and emphasis on functional amenities created a fine example of early functionalism architecture. Mies used the revolutionary iron framework which enabled him to dispense with supporting walls and arrange the interior in order to achieve a feeling of space and light.

2847 Tugendhat Villa in Brno (2)

There are no decorative items in the villa, but the interior isn't austere due to the naturally patterned materials such as the onyx wall and rare tropical woods. The villa suffered considerable damage at the end of WWII and later, when it shortly served as quarters and stables for the Soviet military. Greta Tugendhat returned to the villa in 1967 with a senior architect from Mies's Chicago studio and filled him in on the original design. Restored after 1980, it was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001, and again restored between 2010 and 2012.

October 29, 2016

2845 FRANCE (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) - The exhibition "Space of Light"

The painter Patrice Giorda was born in 1952 in Lyon, where he lives and works until now. Spotted very early on, notably among the international selection at the XIIIth Paris Biennale in 1985, he has constantly made his personal mark as a painter in the classical sense. Although far removed from the avant-gardes that turn their backs on Painting, his figurative art nevertheless remains absolutely contemporary. His symbolic representation of man and nature goes beyond straightforward landscapes, scenes, portraits or still lives.

2844 CHINA (Anhui) - Mount Huangshan (UNESCO WHS)

Located in the humid subtropical monsoon climate zone of Anhui province, Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) is renowned for its magnificent natural scenery which includes massive granitic boulders and ancient pine trees which are often enhanced by cloud and mist effects.  This dramatic landscape includes formations of natural stone pillars, grotesquely-shaped rocks, waterfalls, caves, lakes and hot springs, formed by its complex geological history.

October 28, 2016

2843 MOLDOVA (Chişinău) - Wine Festival in Chişinău

In the entire Moldavia, from the Carpathians to the Dniester, and from Ceremuş to the Black Sea, the growing of vines is a very old tradition, its viticulture dating back more than 6,000 years. In Middle Ages, it has grown significantly, becoming an important occupation for moldavians, and this was preserved until today. In 2009, Republic of Moldova (which is only a part of historic Moldavia) was the 22nd largest wine producing country in the world. Therefore, a wine festival to celebrate the winemaking traditions is even an obligation.

October 27, 2016

2842 JAPAN (Kantō) - Tokyo Station

Tokyo Station is a railway station in the Marunouchi business district of Chiyoda, being the main intercity rail terminal in Tokyo. It is also the busiest station in Japan in terms of number of trains per day (over 3,000), and the fifth-busiest in Eastern Japan in terms of passenger throughput (415,908 passengers daily). Its façade on the western side is brick-built, surviving from the time when the station opened in 1914. The main station consists of 10 island platforms serving 20 tracks, raised above street level running in a north-south direction.

October 26, 2016

2841 ITALY (Veneto) - The Torrione in Legnago

Located on the Adige river, about 43km from Verona, Legnago had an important military role since the early Middle Ages. In the 19th century it was one of the Quadrilatero fortresses, the main strongpoint of the Austrian Lombardy-Venetia puppet state during the Italian Wars of Independence. The present fortifications were planned and made in 1815, the older defences having been destroyed by Napoleon in 1801. The Torrione (Grand Tower), located in Liberty Square, is the only surviving tower from the old medieval walls.

2840 NETHERLAND (Netherland / South Holland) - Van Nelle Factory (UNESCO WHS)

Designed and built between 1925 and 1931 on the banks of a canal in the Spaanse Polder industrial zone north-west of Rotterdam, Van Nelle Factory is considered a prime example of the International Style, and an example of Nieuwe Bouwen, modern architecture in the Netherlands, influenced by Russian Constructivism. Prominent architects described it as "the most beautiful spectacle of the modern age" (Le Corbusier in 1932) and "a poem in steel and glass" (Robertson and Yerbury in 1930).

October 24, 2016

2838 GERMANY (Hesse) - Braunfels Castle

Lying at a height of some 100m above the valley of the River Lahn, an eastern tributary of the Rhine River, Braunfels is considered in nowadays a climatic spa. The history of the town is closely linked with the history of the castle erected on the crest of a basalt rock, which has been (and still is) the home of the Counts and Princes of Solms-Braunfels for more than 800 years. It seems that the house of Solms has its roots in the 8th century, but the first Lord of Solms appeared in a document in 1129.

October 23, 2016

2837 FRANCE (New Aquitaine) - The Limousins and the Blondes d'Aquitaine

Situated largely in the Massif Central, Limousin, the least populated region of mainland France, is an essentially rural region. Famed for some of the best beef farming in the world, herds of Limousin cattle, a distinctive chestnut red, are a common sight in the region. Initially used mainly as draft animals, interest in Limousins as a source of high quality meat grew about two hundred years ago. The first Limousin herd book was then established in France in 1886 to ensure the breed's purity and improvement by only recording and breeding animals that satisfied a strictly enforced breed standard.

October 21, 2016

2836 UNITED KINGDOM (England) - China Miéville

China Tom Miéville is an English fantasy fiction author, comic writer, political activist and academic. He often describes his work as weird fiction and specifically to the loosely associated movement of writers sometimes called New Weird. Born in Norwich, Miéville was brought up in Willesden, northwest London, and has lived in the city since early childhood. He grew up with his sister Jemima and mother Claudia, a translator, writer and teacher. By virtue of his mother's birth in New York City, Miéville holds dual American and British citizenship.

2835 FRANCE - Flora of the Alps

The Alps are one of the great mountain range systems of Europe stretching approximately 1,200km across eight countries from Austria and Slovenia in the east, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, France to the west and Italy and Monaco to the south. As it is known, in the mountains the vegetation gradually changes with altitude, sun exposure, and location on the mountain. In Alps there are five successive life zones, each with distinct landscapes and vegetation characteristics: premontane, montane, subalpine, alpine, and alvar.

2834 CANADA (Quebec) - Architecture of Montreal

Historically the commercial capital of Canada, Montreal was surpassed in population and economic strength by Toronto only in the 1970s, and this is reflected in buildings inherited, that today provides an invaluable insight into the city's history, especially in the downtown area and the Old Port area. Therefore Montreal is an old, but a very modern city, and the modern buildings are situated right next to some of the oldest and most fascinating structures.

October 20, 2016

2833 ITALY (Friuli-Venezia Giulia) - Aurelio Baruzzi, the hero of Gorizia

Born in 1897 at Lugo, at 30 km from Ravenna, Aurelio Baruzzi voluntarily enrolled in the Royal Italian Army in 1915, at the age of only 18 years, as infantry officer cadet. He participated in the WWI with the rank of second lieutenant, in the 28th Regiment "Pavia", which fought in the Karst region. He distinguished himself in the fighting on the front line in the Third Battle of the Isonzo, receiving a bronze medal. Since August 6, 1916 he took part at the Sixth Battle of the Isonzo, also known as the Battle of Gorizia.

2832 AUSTRIA - "542 Garten Im Regentropfen - Theater - Maul - Cappana 140" by Friedensreich Hundertwasser

Although Friedensreich Hundertwasser (about which I wrote a little here) is more widely known for his architectural works, he first achieved notoriety for his paintings. He used bright colours and organic forms, rejecting the straight lines. Painted in Venice, Lido - Giudecca - Anguillara, in summer-autumn 1962, 542 Garten Im Regentropfen - Theater - Maul - Cappana 140 (Garden in the Raindrop - Theatre - Mouth - Cabin 140) is a watercolour on wrapping paper, primed with chalk and PV (390 mm x 550 mm).

October 16, 2016


0507 Saint Peter's Square in Vatican City (1)

Posted on 11.02.2013, 16.10.2016
Everybody knows that Vatican City is the smallest independent state in the world by both area and population (0.44 km2, and 836 inhabitants). But few know that this walled enclave within the city of Rome was established as an independent state only in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty (signed on behalf of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy by... Prime Minister Benito Mussolini), which spoke of it as a new creation, not as a vestige of the Papal States (756-1870). Even fewer know that Vatican City is distinct from the Holy See, the two entities having distinct passports.

2830 Saint Peter's Square in Vatican City (2)

I think that one of the reasons for the existence of these two entities is diplomatic, because in this way the Pope can address to the Catholic prelates as the leader of the Catholic Church, and to the heads of state (regardless of faith) as a head of a state. The name "Vatican" predates Christianity and comes from the Latin Mons Vaticanus (Vatican Mount). Separated from the city, on the west bank of the Tiber river, Vatican comprise St. Peter's Basilica (in the foreground of the postcard), the Apostolic Palace, the Sistine Chapel, museums, and various other buildings.

2829 Bathed in Moonlight

Obviously, this postcard has no relation to Antarctica. I applied that tag only because it was sent from there. I don't know who is the author of the photography or other details about the postcard. I know only that it was used by Arte Nova Classics label as cover for a CD containing Piano Works of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy.

2828 SENEGAL - The happy people of Cap-Vert

Cap-Vert is a peninsula in Senegal, and the westernmost point of the continent of Africa and of the Old World mainland. Originally called Cabo Verde or "Green Cape" by Portuguese explorers, it is not to be confused with the Cape Verde islands. The indigenous inhabitants of the peninsula, the Lebou, lived as fishermen and farmers. Since about 1444, when the Portuguese first sighted the cape, it has been an entrepôt for African-European trade. The French later established the city of Dakar on the cape in 1857.

2827 ROMANIA - TR-85M1 "Bizonul" (The Bison)

The TR-85 is a main battle tank designed for the armed forces of Romania. Based on the TR-77-580 (Romanian-built version of the Soviet T-55 tank), the TR-85 tank was developed from 1978 to 1985 and produced from 1986 until 1990. A modernization program was initiated in March 1994 in order to upgrade the TR-85 tanks to NATO standards. The result was the TR-85M1 "Bizonul" (The Bison) main battle tank, currently the most modern tank in service with the Romanian Land Forces.

October 15, 2016

2868 CZECH REPUBLIC (Prague) - Postcrossing Meetup, Prague, 20 May 2017

2868 Prague - Charles Bridge and city skyline on sunset

This postcard, a special issue for the postcrossing meetup which held on Prague, 20 May 2017, depicts Charles Bridge, an historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague. It is 621m long and nearly 10m wide, following the example of the Stone Bridge in Regensburg, and was built as a bow bridge with 16 arches shielded by ice guards. Protected by three bridge towers, the bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries, originally erected around 1700 but now all replaced by replicas.

2040, 2041, 2084, 2214, 2664, 2742, 2826 FRANCE (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) - Grenoble

2040 The map of Isère department and The Bastille in Grenoble

Posted on 16.11.2015, 29.11.2015, 14.01.2016, 23.07.2016, 06.09.2016, 15.10.2016
Located at the foot of the French Alps, where the river Drac joins the Isère, Grenoble is the capital city of the Isère department. The proximity of the mountains, as well as its size, has led to the city being known as the "Capital of the Alps". Its history goes back more than 2,000 years, at a time when it was a small Gallic village. While it gained in stature by becoming the capital of the Dauphiné in the 11th century, it remained for most of its history a modest parliamentary and garrison city on the borders of the Kingdom of France.

2742 Aerial view of Grenoble

The Bastille, an ancient series of fortifications at the south end of the Chartreuse mountain range, overlooking the city of Grenoble, was begun in the Middle Ages, but later years saw extensive additions, including a semi-underground defense network, credited as the most extensive example of early 18th-century fortifications in France, and then held an important strategic point on the Alpine frontier with the Kingdom of Savoy. A small garrison was maintained in the fort until 1940.

2826 The Palace of the Parliament of Dauphiné

The Palace of the Parliament of Dauphiné was constructed in Place Saint André around 1500 and extended in 1539. It was the location of the Parlement of Dauphiné until the French Revolution. It then became a courthouse until 2002. The left wing of the palace was extended in 1897. The front of the former seat of the nearby Dauphiné Parlement combines elements from a gothic chapel and a Renaissance façade. The building now belongs to the Isère Council (Conseil Général de l'Isère).

2041 Grenoble - The Isère's quai, the Bubbles,
the Marius Gontard Bridge, and Vercors Massif.

The Marius Gontard Bridge is historically the second Isère crossing site in Grenoble. The first stone bridge was built between 1621 and 1671. After much destruction and reconstruction, it was rebuilt in stone in 1839 and called the bridge of the Hospital. It carries since 1924 the same name as the street that continues, that of a General Counsel of Grenoble (1856-1923). With a total length of 73m, it has three spans, the central span, the longest, with a range of 27m.

2084 Grenoble - The Isère's quai on wintertime, and the Bubbles.

.The first cable transport system was installed on the Bastille in 1875. Since 1934, the Bastille has been the destination of the Grenoble-Bastille Cable Car, known to locals as Les Bulles (the bubbles). It is one of the oldest urban cable cars in the world and runs all year round. The route takes the cars across the Isère and over the roofs of the old Saint Laurent quarter before passing over a bastion of the curtain wall of the fort and then over the Rabot and various successive fortifications before arriving at the upper station.

2214 Grésivaudan Valley - Funiculaire de Saint-Hilaire du Touvet,
villages with Belledone in background, Dent de Crolles, and the Bubbles.

Except for a few dozen houses on the slopes of the Bastille hill, Grenoble is exclusively built on the alluvial plain of the Isère and Drac rivers at an altitude of 214 metres. As a result, the city itself is extremely flat. Mountain sports are an important tourist attraction in summer and winter. Twenty large and small ski resorts surround the city, the nearest being Le Sappey-en-Chartreuse, which is about 15 minutes' drive away. Historically, both Grenoble and the surrounding areas were sites of heavy industry and mining.

2664 Grenoble