Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou, Morocco

Morocco-2, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Aït Benhaddou is a 'fortified city', or ksar, along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day Morocco. It is situated in Souss-Massa-Draâ on a hill along the Ouarzazate River and has some beautiful examples of kasbahs, which unfortunately sustain damages during each rainstorm. Most of the town's inhabitants now live in a more modern village at the other side of the river; however, ten families still live within the ksar.


Medina of Essaouira, Morocco

Morocco-1, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Essaouira is an isolated city / wilaya in the western Moroccan economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz (#11), on the Atlantic coast.
The Medina of Essaouira (formerly "Mogador") is a UNESCO World Heritage Listed city, as an example of a late 18th century fortified town, as transferred to North Africa.


Portuguese City of Mazagan/El Jadida, Morocco

Morocco-3, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

El Jadida is a port city on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, in the province of El Jadida. From the sea, El Jadida has a very un-Moorish appearance; it has massive Portuguese walls of hewn stone.
El Jadida, previously known as Mazagan, was seized in 1502 by the Portuguese, and they controlled this city until 1769, when they abandoned Mazagão. Its inhabitants were evacuated to Brazil, where they founded new settlement Nova Mazagão (now in Amapá). El Jadida was then taken over by Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah.
The Portuguese Fortified City of Mazagan was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, on the basis of its status as an "outstanding example of the interchange of influences between European and Moroccan cultures" and as an "early example of the realisation of the Renaissance ideals integrated with Portuguese construction technology".


Medina of Marrakesh, Morocco

Morocco-4, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Marrakech or Marrakesh, known as the "Red City", is an important and former imperial city in Morocco. It has a population of 1,070,838 (as of 2004), and is the capital of the mid-southwestern economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, near the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains.


Fortified medieval town and Jewish Quarter, Slovakia

Slovakia-2, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

The card shows Fortified medieval town and Jewish Quarter in Bardejov. Bardejov is a town in North-Eastern Slovakia. It is situated in the Šariš region and has about 33,000 inhabitants. The spa town, mentioned for the first time in 1241, exhibits numerous cultural monuments in its completely intact medieval town centre. The town is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.


St. Nicholas' Church, Bodurzal, Slovakia

Slovakia-1, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

St. Nicholas' Church in Bodurzal is the orthodox church situated on the castle hill next to the Bratislava Castle. The church was built in 1661 by Paul Pálffy‘s (1589 - 1655) widow Countess Frances, neé Khuen. It is a part of the "Carpathian Wooden Churches" UNESCO World Heritage Site that consists of nine wooden religious buildings constructed between 16th and 18th century in eight different locations in Slovakia. They include two Roman Catholic (Hervartov, Tvrdošín), three Protestant (so-called Articular churches in Hronsek, Leštiny, Kežmarok) and three Greek Orthodox churches (Bodružal, Ruská Bystrá, Ladomirová) plus one belfry in Hronsek.


Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians, Slovakia

Slovakia-3, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathian, an outstanding example of undisturbed, complex temperate forests, constitute a transnational serial property of ten separate components (6 in Ukraine and 4 in Slovakia) along a 185 km axis from the Rakhiv Mountains and the Chornohirskyi Range in Ukraine, west along the Polonynian Ridge, to the Bukovské vrchy and Vihorlat Mountains in Slovakia. They contain an invaluable genetic reservoir of beech and many species associated with, and dependent on, these forest habitats. They are also an outstanding example of the recolonization and development of terrestrial ecosystems and communities after the last Ice Age, a process which is still ongoing.


Skocjan Caves, Slovenia

Slovenia-3, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Škocjan Caves is a system of limestone caves in the Kras (Karst) region in southwestern Slovenia, containing collapsed dolines, about five kilometres of underground passages, caves more than 200 metres deep and many waterfalls. This is one of the best-known sites in the world for the study of karstic (limestone) phenomena.


Aldabra Giant Tortoise, Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles

The Aldabra Giant Tortoise (Geochelone gigantea), from the islands of the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles, is one of the largest tortoises in the world.

Aldabra is a raised coral atoll in the Aldabra Group of islands in the Indian Ocean that form part of the Seychelles. The island is more than 700 miles from Mahé and is closer to the coast of Africa and Madagascar. Virtually untouched by humans, with distinctive island fauna, including the Aldabra Giant Tortoise, the island is designated a World Heritage Site.


Kotor Town and Fortess, Montenegro

Kotor is a coastal town in Montenegro. It is located in a most secluded part of Gulf of Kotor.
The old Mediterranean port of Kotor, surrounded by an impressive city wall built by Republic of Venice and the Venetian influence remains dominant among the architectural influences. The Bay of Kotor (Boka Kotorska), one of the most indented parts of the Adriatic Sea is sometimes called the southern-most fjord in Europe (though it is actually a submerged river canyon). With the nearly overhanging limestone cliffs of Orjen and Lovćen one of the great Mediterranean landscapes is created.
In recent years, Kotor has seen a steady increase in tourists attracted by both the natural beauty of the Gulf of Kotor and the old town of Kotor itself.


Old Bridge area of the Old City of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mostar is a city and municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the biggest and the most important city in the Herzegovina region and the center of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton of the Federation. Mostar is situated on the Neretva river and is the fifth-largest city in the country. Mostar was named by "the bridge keepers" who kept the bridge over river Neretva. During Turkish occupation, the Old Bridge was built and became one of the symbols of Mostar. The bridge was destroyed by Croatian Defence Council units during the Bosnian-Herzegovian War, on November 9, 1993 at 10:15 am. Slobodan Praljak, the commander of the Croat forces, is on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for ordering the destruction of the bridge, among other charges.


Butrint, Albania

Albania-1, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Butrint is an Ancient Greek city and an archeological site in Sarandë District, Albania, some 14 kilometres south of Sarandë and close to the Greek border. It is located on a hill overlooking the Vivari Channel. Inhabited since prehistoric times, Butrint has been the site of an Epirote city, a Roman colony and a bishopric.


Holy Virgin with Christ Breadwinner, Kosovo, Serbia

Kosovo-1, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Fresco in the church of Virgin Ljeviška at Prizren, the middle of the 13th century, before the king Milutin’s restoration.


San Ignacio Mission Ruins, Argentina

San Ignacio Miní was one of the many missions founded in 1632 by the Jesuits in the Americas during the Spanish colonial period near present-day San Ignacio valley, some 60km south of Posadas, Misiones Province, Argentina.


uKhahlamba/Drakensberg National Park, South Africa

The Drakensberg (Afrikaans: "Dragon's Mountain") is the highest mountain range in Southern Africa, rising to 3,482 metres (11,420 ft) in height. In Zulu, it is referred to as uKhahlamba ("barrier of spears"), and in Sesotho as Maluti (also spelled Maloti). Its geological history lends it a distinctive character amongst the mountain ranges of the world. Geologically, the range resembles the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia.


Okapi, Virunga National Park, Congo

Congo-1, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

The Okapi is a giraffid artiodactyl mammal native to the Ituri Rainforest, located in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in central Africa. Although the Okapi bears striped markings reminiscent of the zebra, it is most closely related to the giraffe.


Dubrovnik, Croatia

Croatia-4, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Dubrovnik, also known as "the Pearl of the Adriatic", is a city on the Adriatic Sea coast in the extreme south of Croatia, positioned at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations on the Adriatic, a seaport and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva county. Its population was 43,770 in 2001 down from 49,728 in 1991. In the 2001 census, 88.39% of its citizens declared themselves as Croats.


Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Croatia-2, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

The Plitvice Lakes is a national park in Croatia, situated at 44.85°N 15.62°E , in the Plitvice Lakes municipality, near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Beside its natural beauties it is a place where Croatian War of Independence and Freedom started on "The Bloody Easter" in 1991


Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian, Croatia

Croatia-3, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Diocletian's Palace (Croatian: Dioklecijanova palača) is a building in Split, Croatia that was built by the emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century AD.


Victoria Falls, Zambia

Zambia-1, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) is a waterfall situated in southern Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The falls are some of the largest in the world.


Basilica of St. Mary of Graces, Italy

Italy-24, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.


Colonia Del Sacramento, Uruguay

Uruguay-1, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Colonia del Sacramento (formerly the Portuguese Colónia do Sacramento) is a city in southwestern Uruguay, by the Río de la Plata, facing Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is the oldest town in Uruguay and capital of the departamento of Colonia.
It is renowned for its historic quarter, a World Heritage Site. Modern Colonia del Sacramento produces textiles and has a free trade zone, in addition to a polytechnic center and various government buildings.


The Centennial Hall, Wroclaw, Poland

Poland-9, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

The Centennial Hall is a historic building in Wrocław. It was constructed according to the plans of Max Berg in 1911-1913, when the city was part of the German Empire. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.


Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos, Greece

Greece-17, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Hilandar is a Serbian Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos in Greece. It was founded in 1198 by the Serbian Saint Sava and his father, Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja (who later became a monk there, taking the monastic name of "Simeon") of Raška. Because its founders are Serbs and the first monks were of the Serbian Orthodox Church it is also called "The Serbian monastery" and is nowadays the monastery where Serbian Orthodox monks traditionally reside. Today, Hilandar represents one of the greatest shrines for the Serbian people. Hilandar does not have an abbot, but an under-abbot. The Mother of God through her Icon of Three Hands (Trojeručica), is considered as the abbess.


The Peaks at Changping Gully, China

China-44, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.


Binarowa , Poland

Poland-7, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Binarowa is a village in southern Poland.
The village is the site of St. Michael's Archangel church, built in the beginning of 16th century. This is one of the six Wooden Churches of Southern Little Poland, on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since 2003.


Capuchin Church, Vienna, Italy

Italy-27, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

The Church of the Capuchins in Vienna is a church (also called the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli), and a monastery of 'Order of Friars Minor Capuchins, founded in 1617 and dedicated in 1632. It is located at Neue Markt square, near the Imperial Palace Hofburg.
In his mausoleum underground is the Imperial Crypt (German Kaisergruft or Kapuzinergruft) which is the main burial place of the dynasty of Habsburg, of the Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and their descendants.


Century Hall, Wroclaw, Poland

Poland-8, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

The Centennial Hall is a historic building in Wrocław. It was constructed according to the plans of Max Berg in 1911-1913, when the city was part of the German Empire. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.


Sabbioneta, Italy

Italy-25, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Sabbioneta is a town in Lombardy, northern Italy, in the province of Mantua, about 30 km north of Parma, not far from the northern bank of the Po River. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2008.

Sabbioneta was founded by Vespasiano I Gonzaga in the late 16th century along the ancient Roman Via Vitelliana, on a sandy bank of the Po (whence the name, meaning "Sandy" in Italian; he was its first duke, using it as a personal fortress and residence. It was also during this period that it became a minor musical centre; composers such as Benedetto Pallavicino were employed here by Vespasiano Gonzaga, prior to his moving to the main Gonzaga city of Mantua.
The town is also known for its historic Jewish Ghetto and Synagogue, and in particular for its Hebrew printing-press. In 1567 Tobias Foa set up the press; he had, however, published certain "anti-Christian books" and his career was "forcibly ended". His work and possibly his type were taken up by a Christian printer, Vicenzo Conte.


Taos Pueblo, Mexico

Mexico-5, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Taos Pueblo (or Pueblo de Taos) is an ancient pueblo belonging to a Taos (Northern Tiwa) speaking Native American tribe of Pueblo people. It is approximately 1000 years old and lies about 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the modern city of Taos, New Mexico, USA. The Red Willow Creek, or Rio Pueblo, is a small stream which flows through the middle of the pueblo from its source in the Sangre de Cristo Range. A reservation of 95,000 acres (384 km²) is attached to the pueblo, and about 1,900 people live in this area.


Worker village of Crespi in 1927, Italy

Italy-26, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

"Crespi d'Adda" or "Worker village of Crespi" in Capriate San Gervasio in Lombardy is an outstanding example of the 19th and early 20th-century "company towns" built in Europe and North America by enlightened industrialists to meet the workers' needs. The site is still remarkably intact and is partly used for industrial purposes, although changing economic and social conditions now threaten its survival.


Vancouver Oplympics, Canada

Canada-4, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.


Vancouver Oplympics, Canada

Canada-5, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.


Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens, Australia

Melbourne Museum is located in the Carlton Gardens in Melbourne, Australia. It shares these gardens with the Royal Exhibition Building. It is the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere. It is a venue of Museum Victoria, which also operates the Immigration Museum and Scienceworks Museum.


Fraser Island, Australia

Fraser Island, is an island located along the southern coast of Queensland, Australia, approximately 300 km north of Brisbane. Its length is about 120 km. It was inscribed as a World Heritage site in 1992. The island is considered to be the largest sand island in the world at 1840 km². Its resident human population was 360 at the census of 2006, of which were 11 Indigenous Australians.


Piccaninny Creek, Purnululu National Park, Australia

Purnululu National Park is located in north east of Western Australia. The nearest major town is Kununurra to the north, or Halls Creek to the south.


Thế Miếu, Huế, Vietnam

Vietnam-2, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

The Mieu Temple is dedicated to ten Emperors of the Nguyen dynasty. Built by Emperor Minh Mang in 1821.
Huế (help·info) (化 in chữ Nôm) is the capital city of Thừa Thiên - Huế province, Vietnam. Between 1802 and 1945, it was the imperial capital of the Nguyễn Dynasty.


Blue Mountains, Australia

The Blue Mountains is a mountainous region in New South Wales, Australia, which borders Sydney's metropolitan area, beginning approximately 50 kilometres west of the city's centre. The area is generally considered to begin on the west side of the Nepean River and to extend westward as far as Coxs River. Consisting of a sandstone plateau, the area is dissected by gorges of up to 760 metres in depth, and has high points up to 1,190 metres above sea level. A large part of the Blue Mountains is incorporated in the Greater Blue Mountains Area World Heritage Site and its constituent seven national parks and a conservation reserve.


Mount Elbrus, Russia

Russia-16, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Mount Elbrus is a volcano located in the western Caucasus mountain range, in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia, Russia, near the border of Georgia, in the northern Iranian plateau. A stratovolcano that has lain dormant for about 2,000 years, it is the highest mountain in the Caucasus. Mt. Elbrus (west summit) stands at 5,642 metres (18,510 ft) and it is the highest mountain in Europe; it is also the highest point of Russia. The east summit is slightly lower: 5,621 metres (18,442 ft).


Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai, Egypt

Egypt-4, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Saint Catherine's Monastery on the Sinai Peninsula, at the mouth of an inaccessible gorge at the foot of Mount Sinai in Egypt. The monastery is Greek Orthodox and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to the UNESCO report (60100 ha / Ref: 954) and website hereunder, this monastery has been called the oldest working Christian monastery in the world – although the Monastery of Saint Anthony, situated across the Red Sea in the desert south of Cairo, also holds claim to that title.


Luxor Temple, Thebes, Egypt

Egypt-5, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Luxor Temple is a large Ancient Egyptian temple complex located on the east bank of the River Nile in the city today known as Luxor (ancient Thebes) and was founded in 1400 BC.
Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile. It was the eponymous capital of Waset, the fourth Upper Egyptian nome. Waset was the capital of Egypt during part of the 11th Dynasty (Middle Kingdom).


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Royal Shrine Ritual, Korea

Korea-1, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Jongmyo is a Confucian shrine dedicated to the memorial services for the deceased kings and queens of the Korean Joseon Dynasty. According to UNESCO, the shrine is the oldest royal Confucian shrine preserved and the ritual ceremonies continue a tradition established since the 14th century. Such shrines existed during the Three Kingdoms of Korea period but only the shrines for the rulers of Joseon remain. The Jongmyo Shrine was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1995.


Wudang Mountains, China

China-38, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Sale Stone built during the Yua Dynasty (1279-1368).

The Wudang Mountains, also known as Wu Tang Shan or simply Wudang, are a small mountain range in the Hubei province of China, just to the south of the manufacturing city of Shiyan.
In years past, the mountains of Wudang were known for the many Taoist monasteries to be found there, monasteries which became known as an academic centre for the research, teaching and practise of meditation, Chinese martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine, Taoist agriculture practises and related arts. As early as the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220AD), the mountain attracted the Emperor's attention. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the first site of worship - the Five Dragon Temple - was constructed. The monasteries were emptied, damaged and then neglected during and after the Cultural Revolution of 1966–1976, but the Wudang mountains have lately become increasingly popular with tourists from elsewhere in China and abroad due to their scenic location and historical interest. The monasteries and buildings were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The palaces and temples in Wudang, which was built as an organized complex during the Ming Dynasty (14th–17th centuries), contains Taoist buildings from as early as the 7th century. It represents the highest standards of Chinese art and architecture over a period of nearly 1,000 years. Noted temples include the Golden Hall, Nanyan Temple and the Purple Cloud Temple.


Mount Huang, China

China-39, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Mount Huang, also known as Huangshan, is a mountain range in southern Anhui province in eastern China. The area is well known for its scenery, sunsets, peculiarly-shaped granite peaks, Huangshan Pine trees, and views of the clouds from above. Mount Huang is a frequent subject of traditional Chinese paintings and literature, as well as modern photography. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of China's major tourist destinations.


Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, China

China-37, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

I wish there was an event of climbing trees in the olympics


Terracotta Army, China

China-40, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

The Terracotta Army are the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shi Huangdi the First Emperor of China. The terracotta figures, dating from 210 BCE, were discovered in 1974 by some local farmers near Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China near the Mausouleum of the First Qin Emperor. The figures vary in height (183–195 cm - 6ft–6ft 5in), according to their role, the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots, horses, officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians. Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits.


Beijing National Stadium, China

China-41, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Beijing National Stadium, also known as the National Stadium or colloquially as the "Bird's Nest", is a stadium in Beijing, China. The stadium was designed for use throughout the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.


Huanglong, Sichuan, China

China-42, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Huanglong is a scenic and historic interest area in Songpan County in the northwest part of Sichuan, China. It is located in the southern part of the Minshan mountain range, 150 km north-northwest of the capital Chengdu. This area is known for its colorful pools formed by calcite deposits, especially in Huanglonggou (Yellow Dragon Gully), as well as diverse forest ecosystems, snow-capped peaks, waterfalls and hot springs. Huanglong is also home to many endangered species including the Giant Panda and the Sichuan Golden Snub-nosed Monkey. Huanglong was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992.


The Siguniang Mountains in Winter, China

China-43, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.


Santa Cruz de Mompox, Colombia

Colombia-1, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Mompox or Mompós, officially Santa Cruz de Mompox, is a town and municipality in northern Colombia, in the Bolívar Department, which has preserved its colonial character. Located on an island in the Magdalena River where it joins the Cauca, 249 kilometers from Cartagena. Mompox depends upon tourism, fishing and some commerce generated by the local cattle raising. It has about 30,000 inhabitants, and is adjacent to the municipalities of Pinillos and San Fernando.
This postcard shows the Santa Bárbara Church, which is one of the best-known and most important churches in the city. Completed in 1613 the church has a beautiful baroque bell tower with a balcony. It is decorated with moldings of palm trees, flowers and lions. The tower’s dome is equally baroque, and the church’s three altars are heavily gilded.