Monday, August 10, 2009

Wrangel Island, Russia

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

Wrangel Island is an island in the Arctic Ocean, between the Chukchi Sea and East Siberian Sea. Wrangel Island lies astride the 180° meridian. The International Date Line is displaced eastwards at this latitude to avoid the island as well as the Chukchi Peninsula on the Russian mainland. The closest land to Wrangel Island is tiny and rocky Herald Island located 60 km (37 mi) to the east.
Wrangel Island belongs administratively to the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug of the Russian Federation. This rocky island has a weather station and two permanent Chukchi fishing settlements on the southern side of the island


Kronborg Castle, Helsingor, Denmark

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

Kronborg is situated near the town of Helsingør (immortalised as Elsinore in Shakespeare's Hamlet) on the extreme northeastern tip of Zealand at the narrowest point of the Øresund, the sound between Denmark and Sweden. In this part, the sound is only 4 km wide, hence the strategic importance of maintaining a fortress at this location commanding one of the few outlets of the Baltic Sea. The castle has for centuries been one of the most important Renaissance castles in Northern Europe and was added to UNESCO's World Heritage Sites list on November 30, 2000.


Fort William, Scotland, United Kingdom

Fort William (Scottish Gaelic: An Gearasdan, "The Garrison") is the largest town in the highlands of Scotland and second largest settlement behind the city of Inverness.
Fort William is a major tourist centre with Glen Coe just to the south, and Glenfinnan to the west, on the Road to the Isles. It is an important centre for hillwalking and climbing due to its proximity to Ben Nevis and many other Munro mountains, marketing itself as the "Outdoor Capital of the UK". It is also well known for its nearby famous Downhill Mountain Bike Track and its connection to the West Highland Way from Glasgow and the Great Glen Way; a walk/cycle way from Inverness to Fort William through the Great Glen.


Cascata delle Marmore, Italy

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

The Cascata delle Marmore (Marmore's Falls) is a man-made waterfall created by the ancient Romans. Its total height is 165 m (541 feet), making it one of the tallest in Europe and the tallest man-made waterfall in the world. Of its 3 sections, the top one is the tallest, at 83 m (272 feet).
It is located 7.7 km from Terni, a provincial capital of the Italian region of Umbria.


Swedish Lappland. Skäckerfjällen, Jämtland, Sweden

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

The Laponian area is a large mountainous wildlife area in the Lapland province in northern Sweden, more precisely in the Gällivare Municipality, Arjeplog Municipality and Jokkmokk Municipality. It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
The total area is about 9400 km², making it the world's largest unmodified nature area which is cultured by natives -- the natives in this case being the reindeer herding Sami people also known as laps. Being so large, the geography of the area varies greatly. Each nature reserve and national park has its distinctive features.
95% of the area is protected as national parks or nature reserves. It consists of the national parks Muddus, Sarek, Padjelanta and Stora Sjöfallet, and the nature reserves Sjaunja and Stubba. The other 5% are in the areas of Sulitelma, Tjuoltadalen, and Rapadalen. The village Porjus is a natural port to the Laponian area and has recently opened an information center.


Stora Alvaret, Sweden

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

The Stora Alvaret is a limestone barren plain on the island of Öland, Sweden. Because of the thin soil mantle and high pH levels, a great assortment of vegetation is found including numerous rare species. Stora Alvaret has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to its extraordinary biodiversity and prehistory. The area of this formation exceeds 260 km², making it the largest such expanse in Europe and comprising over one fourth of the land area of the island. Stora Alvaret is not devoid of trees, contrary to a common misconception; in fact, it holds a variety of sparse stunted trees akin to a pygmy forest. The Stora Alvaret, sometimes called the Great Alvar, is a dagger shaped expanse almost 40 kilometers long and about 10 kilometers at the widest north end.


Dinosaur Provincial Park, Canada

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

Dinosaur Provincial Park is a World Heritage Site located about two and a half hours drive southeast of Calgary, Alberta, Canada or 48 kilometers (30 mi) northeast of Brooks.
The park is situated in the valley of the Red Deer River, which is noted for its striking badland topography. The park is well known for being one of the greatest dinosaur fossil beds in the world. Thirty-nine dinosaur species have been discovered at the park and more than 500 specimens have been removed and exhibited in museums across the globe. Its significance justified it becoming a World Heritage Site in 1979.


Old Rauma, Finland

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

Old Rauma is the wooden city centre of the town of Rauma, Finland. It is listed as a Unesco world heritage site.

The area of Old Rauma is about 0.3 km², with approximately six hundred buildings (counting both proper houses and smaller buildings like sheds) and about 800 people living in the area. The town of Rauma expanded outside the Old Rauma proper only in the early 1800s. The oldest buildings date from the 18th century, as two fires of 1640 and 1682 destroyed the town. Most buildings are currently inhabited and owned by private individuals, although along the two main streets and around the town square they are mainly in business use.
Locations of special interest include the Kirsti house, which is a seaman's house from the 18th and 19th centuries, and the Marela house, which is a shipowner's house dating to the 18th century but with a 19th century facade, both of which are currently museums. Other sights include the rare stone buildings of the Old Rauma: the Church of the Holy Cross, an old Franciscan monastery church from the 15th century with medieval paintings and the old town hall from 1776. Another church in Rauma, the Church of the Holy Trinity, also from the 15th century, burned in the fire of 1640.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ghost Walkers, Namibia

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

Elephants leaving a waterhole noiselessly at sunset at Etosha.

Etosha National Park is a national park in the Kunene Region of northwestern Namibia. The park shares boundaries with the regions of Oshana, Oshikoto and Otjozondjupa.


Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa, Israel

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

The Bahá'í World Centre buildings are buildings that are part of the Bahá'í World Centre in Israel. The Bahá'í World Centre buildings include both the Bahá'í holy places used for pilgrimage and the international administrative bodies of the Bahá'í Faith; they comprise more than 20 different administrative offices, pilgrim buildings, libraries, archives, historical residences, and shrines. These structures are all set amidst more than 30 different gardens or individual terraces.
The buildings themselves are located in Haifa, Acre, and Bahjí, Israel. The location of the Bahá'í World Centre buildings has its roots to Bahá'u'lláh's imprisonment in Acre, which is near Haifa, by the Ottoman Empire during the Ottoman Empire's rule over Palestine, now Israel.


St.Sophia cathedral, Velikiy Novgorod, Russia

Russia-23, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

The Cathedral of St. Sophia (the Holy Wisdom of God) in the Kremlin (or Detinets) in Novgorod the Great is the cathedral church of the Archbishop of Novgorod and the mother church of the Novgorodian Eparchy.The 38-metre-high, five-domed, stone cathedral was built by Vladimir of Novgorod between 1045 and 1050 to replace an oaken cathedral built by Bishop Ioakim Korsunianin in the late tenth century

Veliky Novgorod is the foremost historic city of North-Western Russia


Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra, Russia

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

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is the most important Russian monastery and the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church. The monastery is situated in the town of Sergiyev Posad, about 90 km to the north-east from Moscow by the road leading to Yaroslavl, and currently is home to over 300 monks.
The monastery was founded in 1345 by one of the most venerated Russian saints, Sergius of Radonezh, who built a wooden church in honour of the Holy Trinity on Makovets Hill. Early development of the monastic community is well documented in contemporary lives of Sergius and his disciples.


Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Spain-10, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

The Palau de la Música Catalana (Palace of Catalan Music) is a concert hall designed in the Catalan modernista style by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. It was built in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, between 1905 and 1908 for the Orfeó Català, a choral society founded in 1891 that was a leading force in the Catalan cultural movement that came to be known as the Renaixença (Catalan Rebirth) (Benton 1986, 56; Fahr-Becker 2004, 199). It was inaugurated February 9, 1908.


Royal Palace of Aranjuez, Spain

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

Aranjuez is a town lying 48 km south of Madrid, in the southern part of the Community of Madrid. It is located at the confluence of the Tagus and Jarama rivers.

The Royal Palace of Aranjuez is a residence of the King of Spain, located in the town of Aranjuez (province of Madrid). The palace is open to the public as one of the Spanish royal sites.


Sagrada Família, The Holy Family, Barcelona, Spain

Spain-11, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (official Catalan name; Spanish: Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia; "Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family"), often simply called the Sagrada Família, is a massive, privately-funded Roman Catholic church that has been under construction in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain since 1882 and is not expected to be complete until at least 2026. Considered the master-work of renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926), the project's vast scale and idiosyncratic design have made it one of Barcelona's (and Spain's) top tourist attractions for many years. A portion of the building's interior is scheduled to open for public worship and tours by September of 2010.
The Sagrada Familia was designed by Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926), who worked on the project for over 40 years. Gaudi devoted the last 15 years of his life entirely to the endeavor.


Dessau, Germany

Germany-35, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Dessau is a town in Germany on the junction of the rivers Mulde and Elbe, in the Bundesland (Federal State) of Saxony-Anhalt. Since 1 July 2007, it is part of the merged town Dessau-Roßlau. Population of Dessau proper: 77,973 (June 2006).
Dessau was first mentioned in 1213. It became an important centre in 1570, when the principality of Anhalt was founded. Dessau became the capital of this state within the Holy Roman Empire. Anhalt was dissolved in 1603, but Dessau remained a prosperous town, and became the capital of the mini-state of Anhalt-Dessau. When Anhalt was reunified in 1863 as the duchy of Anhalt-Dessau, Dessau became the capital again and remained so until 1918.


Dresden Frauenkirche, Germany

Germany-34, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

The Dresdner Frauenkirche ("Church of Our Lady") is a Lutheran church in Dresden, Germany.
The Dresden Frauenkirche survived the firebombing of Dresden during World War II but was totally burned out and collapsed the next day. It has been reconstructed as a landmark symbol of reconciliation between former warring enemies. The reconstruction of its exterior was completed in 2004, its interior in 2005 and after 13 years of rebuilding, the church was reconsecrated on 30 October 2005 with festive services lasting through the Protestant observance of Reformation Day on 31 October.


Zeche Zollverein, Germany

Germany-36, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

The Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex is a large former industrial site in the city of Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It has been inscribed into the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since December 14, 2001 and is one of the anchor points of the European Route of Industrial Heritage.
The first coal mine on the premises was founded in 1847, mining activities took place from 1851 until December 23, 1986. For decades starting in the late 1950s, the two parts of the site, Zollverein Coal Mine and Zollverein Coking Plant (erected 1957−1961, closed on June 30, 1993), ranked among the largest of their kinds in Europe. Shaft 12, built in Bauhaus style, was opened in 1932 and is considered an architectural and technical masterpiece, earning it a reputation as the “most beautiful coal mine in the world”


Reichenau Island, Germany

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

Reichenau Island lies in Lake Constance in southern Germany. It lies between the Gnadensee and the Untersee, almost due west of the city of Konstanz. The island is connected to the mainland by a causeway that was completed in 1838.
It was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000 because of its monastery, the Abbey of Reichenau. The abbey's Münster is dedicated to the Virgin and Saint Mark. Two further churches were built on the island consecrated to St Georg, and to Sts Peter and Paul. The famous artworks of Reichenau include the Ottonian murals of miracles of Christ in St Georg, unique survivals from the 10th century.


The Monticello vegetable garden and garden pavilion, USA

USA-35, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Monticello (pronounced /mɑntəˈtʃɛloʊ/), located in Charlottesville, Virginia, was the estate of Thomas Jefferson, the principal author for the United States Declaration of Independence, third President of the United States, and founder of the University of Virginia.
The house, which Jefferson himself designed, was based on the neoclassical principles described in the books of the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. It is situated on the summit of an 850-foot (260 m)-high peak in the Southwest Mountains south of the Rivanna Gap. Its name comes from the Italian "little mountain."


Aspens Near St. Mary Lake, Glacier National Park, USA

USA-34, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Glacier National Park is located in the U.S. state of Montana, bordering the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia to the North and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation to the East. Glacier National Park contains two mountain ranges, sometimes referred to as the southern extension of the Canadian Rockies mountain ranges, with over 130 named lakes, more than 1,100 different species of vascular plants and hundreds of species of animals. This vast pristine ecosystem, spread across 1,584 mi² (4,101 km²), is the centerpiece of what has been referred to as the "Crown of the Continent Ecosystem", a region of protected land encompassing 16,000 mi² (44,000 km²). The famed Going-to-the-Sun Road, a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, traverses through the heart of the park and crosses the Continental Divide, allowing visitors breathtaking views of the rugged Lewis and Livingston mountain ranges, as well as dense forests, alpine tundra, waterfalls and two large lakes.


Kiva, Spruce Tree House, Mesa Verde National Park, USA

USA-33, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

Mesa Verde National Park is a U.S. National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Montezuma County, Colorado, United States. The park occupies 81.4 square miles (211 square kilometers) near the Four Corners and features numerous ruins of homes and villages built by the ancient Pueblo people known as the Anasazi. The Anasazi made this stone village their home in A.D. 1200s. It is best known for several spectacular cliff dwellings — structures built within caves and under outcroppings in cliffs — including Cliff Palace, which is thought to be the largest cliff dwelling in North America. The Spanish term Mesa Verde translates into English as "green tableland."


Elwha River Valley, USA

USA-32, originally uploaded by Abhishek's Received Postcards.

The Elwha River is a 45-mile-long river located on the Olympic Peninsula in the U.S. state of Washington. From its source at Elwha snowfinger in the Olympic Range of Olympic National Park it flows generally north to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Most of the river is contained within Olympic National Park. There are two dams on the river's lower course, both of which are scheduled to be removed.

The river is one of the only in the Pacific Northwest to contain all 5 species of Pacific Salmon and also contained four other anadromous trout species. Prior to the construction of the dams, approximately 400,000 adult salmon returned to the river each year to spawn in over 70 miles (110 km) of river habitat. Today, less than 4,000 salmon return each year in only 4.9 miles (7.9 km) of available habitat below the first dam.