Dec 19, 2011

Golden London | England

My mother sent me this multi view postcard from London, when she visited my brother a few weeks back. She told me that she posted me three more postcards, but I have only received this one..Hope that I will receive the rest of them soon :)

Dec 8, 2011

Prague | Czech Republic

Some very dear friends of mine went to Prague a few weeks ago and sent me this lovely postcard. Even though it was really cold, they had a wonderful time!

Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, is our most valuable historical city reserve. In 1992 the historical core of the city covering 866 hectares was listed in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Register.
Prague represents a unique collection of historical monuments dominated by the Prague Castle which towers high above the city. It is a display of all artistic styles and movements. The historical core of the city is situated on both banks of the Vltava river and consists of 6 parts - formerly independent urban units unified in the 18th century. They are as follows: Stare Mesto (Old Town), Josefov (the preserved part of the former Jewish Town - today a part of the Old Town), Nove Mesto (New Town), Mala Strana (Lesser Town), Hradcany and Vysehrad. Naturally, most of the historical monuments, museums and galleries are concentrated right there. []

Beklemishevskaya Tower | Russia

This postcard was sent by Olga from Moscow via postcrossing [RU-624052]. It shows Kremlin's Beklemishevskaya tower.

The Beklemishevskaya Tower is one of the few towers in the Kremlin whose appearance has remained unchanged throughout the ages, and which has not undergone any serious reconstruction. Sometimes referred to as the Moskvoretskaya (Moskva River) Tower due to its proximity to the Moskvoretsky Bridge, it supposedly took its name from the boyar Beklemishev, whose manor lay nearby. The tower was always the first to come under enemy attack, as it was situated at the junction of the Moskva River and the moat. In this respect it served a very important defensive function. At the beginning of the 18th century, during the Northern War between Russia and Sweden, bastions were constructed around the tower, and the loopholes of the tower were widened to accommodate more powerful cannonry.

During the storming of the Kremlin by the Bolsheviks in 1917, the top of the tower was destroyed, but was later restored. The tower is 46.2 metres tall.  []

Nov 13, 2011

New Jersey

This postcard was sent by Lorraine from New Jersey via postcrossing [US-1381433].

New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States of America. As of the United States 2010 Census, its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware. New Jersey lies mostly within the sprawling metropolitan areas of New York City and Philadelphia and is the most densely populated state in the United States. It is also the third wealthiest by 2009-2010 median household income.
The area was inhabited by Native Americans for more than 2,800 years, with historical tribes such as the Lenape along the coast. In the early 17th century, the Dutch and the Swedes made the first European settlements. The British later seized control of the region, naming it the Province of New Jersey. It was granted as a colony to Sir George Carteret and John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton. At this time, it was named after the largest of the British Channel Islands, Jersey, where Carteret had been born. New Jersey was the site of several decisive battles during the American Revolutionary War.
In the 19th century, factories in cities such as Elizabeth, Paterson, and Trenton helped to drive the Industrial Revolution. New Jersey's position at the center of the Northeast megalopolis, between Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., fueled its rapid growth through the suburban boom of the 1950s and beyond.
The Governor of New Jersey is Republican Chris Christie, who assumed office in 2010. [wikipedia]


This postcard was sent by Anja from Amsterdam via postcrossing [NL-858186]. I have never been to the Netherlands, but it looks very nice!

Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of 24 August 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population of 1,209,419 and a metropolitan population of 2,158,592. The city is in the province of North Holland in the west of the country. It comprises the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, with a population of approximately 7 million.
Its name is derived from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city's origin: a dam in the river Amstel. Settled as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age, a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading center for finance and diamonds. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded, and many new neighbourhoods and suburbs were formed. The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam (in Dutch: 'Grachtengordel'), located in the heart of Amsterdam, were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2010.
The city is the financial and cultural capital of the Netherlands. Many large Dutch institutions have their headquarters there, and 7 of the world's top 500 companies, including Philips and ING, are based in the city. In 2010, Amsterdam was ranked 13th globally on quality of living by Mercer, and previously ranked 3rd in innovation by 2thinknow in the Innovation Cities Index 2009.

The Amsterdam Stock Exchange, the oldest stock exchange in the world, is located in the city centre. Amsterdam's main attractions, including its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, Anne Frank House, Amsterdam Museum, its red-light district, and its many cannabis coffee shops draw more than 3.66 million international visitors annually. [wikipedia]

Midnight in Paris

This picturesque view of Pont Neuf in Paris was sent by Alexandra via postcrossing [FR-173795]. It reminds me of a wonderful movie I saw recently, called "Midnight in Paris". So, instead of writing some words of this amazing city, I give you the soundtrack of the movie. Listen to it and travel to Paris!

Oct 24, 2011

Saluti da Ischia

These three postcards show Ischia, a small island near Naples, Italy. They belong to my parents collection and were bought in the '70s, when my mother was studying in Naples.

Ischia is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It lies at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, about 30 km from the city of Naples. It is the largest of the Phlegrean Islands. Roughly trapezoidal in shape, it measures around 10 km east to west and 7 km north to south and has about 34 kilometres (21 mi) of coastline and a surface area of 46.3 square kilometres (17.9 sq mi). It is almost entirely mountainous, the highest peak being Mount Epomeo at 788 m. The island has a population of over 60,000 people.
Ischia is the name of the main comune of the island. The other comuni of the island are Barano d'Ischia, Casamicciola Terme, Forio, Lacco Ameno and Serrara Fontana.
The main industry is tourism, centering on thermal spas that cater mostly to European (especially German) and Asian tourists eager to enjoy the fruits of the island's natural volcanic activity, its thermal hot springs, and its volcanic mud. For many of the inhabitants on the Italian-speaking island, German and English are second languages. This is because of the large number of German- and English-speaking tourists who visit the island each year.

The British classical composer William Walton settled in Ischia in 1949 and lived on the island for the remainder of his life, dying there in 1983.
In 1948, American author Truman Capote stayed in room number 3 in the Pensione Lustro in the town of Forio on the island. He wrote an essay about his stay there, which later appeared in Local Color, published in 1950 by Random House.
Parts of the Hollywood film The Talented Mr Ripley were filmed on the island. Samuel Taylor's Broadway play Avanti! takes place on the island and Billy Wilder's adaptation was filmed there. Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen lived on the island for a short period, and is said to have finished Peer Gynt there in 1867. The Hollywood Hit The Crimson Pirate was also filmed on the island. French novelist Pascal Quignard set much of his book Villa Amalia on the island. Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor was also filmed on the island.
Hergé's The Adventures of Tintin ends in Ischia, which serves as the location of Endaddine Akass's villa in the unfinished book Tintin and Alph-Art. W.H. Auden wrote his poem "In Praise of Limestone" here.


Oct 7, 2011


This is a multi view postcard showing some castles in the Alps. Starting from top left is shows Schloss Linderhof (more you can read here), Kloster Ettal, Schloss Neuschwanstein (more you can read here), Schloss Hohenschwangau, Echelsbacher Brucke, Wierkirche and Fussen.

The Alps (German: Alpen; Italian: Alpi; French: Alpes; Greek: Αλπεις; Occitan: Aups/Alps; Romansh: Alps; Slovene: Alpe) is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west.
The highest mountain in the Alps is Mont Blanc, at 4,810.45 metres (15,782 ft), on the Italian–French border. All the main peaks of the Alps can be found in the list of mountains of the Alps and list of Alpine peaks by prominence. The English name Alps was taken via French from Latin Alpes, which formerly was believed to be ultimately cognate with Latin albus ("white"). Few scholars share this opinion today. The German Albe, Alpe or Alp (f., Old High German alpâ, plural alpûn), the Occitan Alp/Aup and the French Alpage or Alpe in the singular mean "alpine pasture", and only in the plural may also refer to the mountain range as a whole. [wikipedia]

Sep 19, 2011

Introducing Miss Gertie Millar

This is one of my favorite vintage postcards. I just love the bright red color and I think she is very cute! Before I bought this postcard, I didn't know who Gertie Millar even was!

Gertrude "Gertie" Millar (later Countess of Dudley) (21 February 1879 – 25 April 1952) was one of the most famous English singer-actresses of the early 20th century, known for her performances in Edwardian musical comedies.

Gertrude Millar was born in Manningham, Bradford, where her father, John Millar, was a mill worker, and her mother, Elizabeth (née Miller), was a worsted-stuff worker and dressmaker.
As a child, Millar performed in London pantomimes, beginning with Babes in the Wood at the St. James Theatre in Manchester, at the age of 13. She started out as a singer and dancer in the music halls of Yorkshire. Later, she moved to London where she was soon earning good notices and better pay appearing in variety show bills. By 1897, she was playing the role of Phyllis Crosby in A Game of Cards at Shodfriars Hall, Boston, England. Next she toured in The New Barmaid in the role of Dora; in The Silver Lining; and as Sadie Pinkhose, the "other woman", in The Lady Detective. In 1899, she played Dandini in Cinderella at the Grand Theatre, Fulham.
Millar and husband Lionel Monckton

Sep 14, 2011

Trinity College

This is another postcard found in a house that was going to be demolished. It shows the great court of Trinity College at Cambridge.

The history of Trinity goes back to the reign of Henry VIII and most of its major buildings date from the 16th and 17th centuries. The beauty and size of Trinity's courts attract visitors from all over the world, but the College is also a thriving, modern community.

Trinity College was founded by Henry VIII in 1546, combining Michaelhouse and King's Hall. Michaelhouse had existed since 1324; King's Hall had been established by Edward II in 1317 and refounded by Edward III in 1337. Trinity's flag, flown on special occasions, has as its design the royal standard of Edward III.


The oldest parts of the College date from the time of King's Hall, including the range behind the Clock Tower, which are medieval, and the Great Gate, which was built at the beginning of the 16th century. The clock strikes the hour twice, first on a low note and then on a much higher one. The tower once stood about 20 yards from where it is now and was moved to its present site when Great Court (shown in postcard) was laid out.

Sep 11, 2011

Monemvasia, Gibraltar of the East | Greece

Monemvasia is a unique place. It is a small island connected to the mainland via a narrow bridge. It is a perfect getaway for a weekend!

Monemvasia (Greek: Μονεμβασία) is a town and a municipality in Laconia, Greece. The town is located on a small peninsula off the east coast of the Peloponnese. The peninsula is linked to the mainland by a short causeway 200m in length. Its area consists mostly of a large plateau some 100 metres above sea level, up to 300 m wide and 1 km long, the site of a powerful medieval fortress. The town walls and many Byzantine churches remain from the medieval period. The seat of the municipality is the town Molaoi.
The town's name derives from two Greek words, mone and emvasia, meaning "single entrance". Its Italian form, Malvasia, gave its name to Malmsey wine. Monemvasia's nickname is the Gibraltar of the East or The Rock. [wikipedia]

Skiathos island

This vintage postcard shows Skiathos, a small Greek island

Skiathos (Greek: Σκιάθος, pronounced [sciˈaθos]; Latin forms: Sciathos and Sciathus) is a small Greek island in the northwest Aegean Sea. Skiathos is the westernmost island in the Northern Sporades group, east of the Pelion peninsula in Magnesia on the mainland, and west of the island of Skopelos.
In Ancient times, the island played a minor role during the Persian Wars. In 480 BC, the fleet of the Persian King Xerxes was hit by a storm and was badly damaged on the rocks of the Skiathos coast. Following this the Greek fleet blockaded the adjacent seas to prevent naval invasion and provisions for the enemy of 300 Spartans who stood heroically at Thermopylae pass. The Persian fleet was defeated there at Artemisium and finally destroyed at the Battle of Salamis a year later. Skiathos remained in the Delian League until it lost its independence. The city was destroyed by Philip V of Macedon in 200 BC.
In 1207 the Gyzi brothers captured the island and built the Bourtzi, a small Venetian-styled fortress similar to the Bourtzi in Nafplio, on an islet just out of Skiathos Town, to protect the capital from the pirates. But the Bourtzi was ineffective in protecting the population and in the mid-14th century the inhabitants moved the capital from the ancient site that lay where modern Skiathos Town is to Kastro (the Greek word for castle), located on a high rock, overlooking a steep cliff above the sea at the northernmost part of the island.
In 1704 monks from Athos built the Evangelistria monastery which played a part on the Greek War of Independence as a hide-out for Greek rebels. The first flag of Greece was created and hoisted in the Evangelistria monastery in Skiathos in 1807. Several prominent military leaders (including Theodoros Kolokotronis and Andreas Miaoulis) had gathered there for consultation concerning an uprising, and they were sworn to this flag by the local bishop.
After the War of Independence and demise of piracy in the Aegean, Kastro became less important as a strategic location. In 1830s, the island's capital was moved to the original site — where it still remains. Today, ruins of Kastro are one of tourist attractions.
During the 19th century Skiathos became an important shipbuilding centre in the Aegean due to the abundance of pine forests on the island. The pine woods of the island were then almost obliterated. This was brought to a halt though, due to the emergence of steamboats. A small shipwright remains north of Skiathos Town, which still builds traditional Greek caiques.
The film Mamma Mia was partially filmed on Skiathos and nearby island Skopelos. This has increased it's popularity as a tourist destination since the release of the successful movie. [wikipedia]

Breathtaking Mani

Another stop of my Summer vacations was Mani. I believe it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I like it because it is always nice to be there throughout the year! Apart of the amazing scenery, it has very interesting architecture.

The Mani Peninsula (Μάνη in Greek), also long known as Maina or Maïna, is a geographical and cultural region in Greece. Mani is the central peninsula of the three which extend southwards from the Peloponnese in southern Greece. To the east is the Laconian Gulf, to the west the Messenian Gulf. The peninsula forms a continuation of the Taygetos mountain range, the western spine of the Peloponnese.
Mani is home of the Maniots. The terrain is mountainous and inaccessible. The name "Mani" is thought to have originally meant "dry" or "treeless." Until recent years many Mani villages could be reached only by sea. Today a narrow and winding road extends down the west coast from Kalamata to Areopoli, then south to Akrotainaro (the pointy cape which is the most southward soil of continental Greece and continental Europe) before it turns north until Gytheio.

Vatheia (Greek: Βαθειά, also Vathia) is a little town in Laconia, Greece, on the Mani Peninsula. It is part of the municipal unit Oitylo. It is famous for its grand towers (pyrgoi). The hills and mountains dominate the northern part, farmlands are within the valley areas, forests are rare and are only situated in and around the valley area. On the hilltops are abandoned homes, which are colored with earth and topaz along with its rooftops which are like fortresses and were built out of stone south of the place (plateia). Modern buildings exists in the centre. Now Vatheia is a tourist attraction in spring because of its wild flowers that cover the nearby hills and its breathtaking views. [wikipedia]

Macedonian women and Tsolias

Lately I'm started to get more and more interested in vintage postcards and especially the ones showing people and/or national costumes. The first postcard shows two Macedonian women in national costumes. 
Macedonians (Greek: Μακεδόνες, Makedónes) are a regional population group of ethnic Greeks, inhabiting or originating from the region of Macedonia, in northern Greece. They are largely concentrated in the capital city of Thessaloniki, but many have spread across the whole of Greece and in the diaspora.

The second postcard shows a man (Tsolias or Evzonas) dressed in Greek national costume. 
The Evzones, or Evzoni, (Greek: Εύζωνες, Εύζωνοι) is the name of several historical elite light infantry and mountain units of the Greek Army. Today, it refers to the members of the Proedriki Froura (Presidential Guard), an elite ceremonial unit that guards the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Άγνωστος Στρατιώτης), the Hellenic Parliament and the Presidential Mansion. The Evzones are also known, colloquially, as Tsoliades (Greek: Τσολιάδες; singular: Τσολιάς - Tsolias).

Gytheio and Marathonisi

For my Summer vacations I went to a couple of Greek islands and me  and my husband made a small tour of Peloponnese. We stayed a couple of nights at Gytheion, a picturesque small town by the sea. 

Gytheion or Gytheio (Greek: Γύθειο) is located in middle south of Peloponnese at the center of the Laconian Gulf. It is a lively, charming little harbor town. The most of its houses are two- or three-storey neo-classical mansions, stuck to the steep side of the Mt. Koumaros. A long sea-side promenade, the colorful fishing boats, the narrow streets and stairways produce the typical Greek environment which fascinates every visitor.

There are not really mentionable ancient objects to be studied in Gytheio. From its ancient past only a small Roman theater was left by an earthquake that destroyed the city in the 4th century. So, every visitor is free to enjoy just Greek present life.

Gythio is protected by spurs of the mighty Taygetos mountain range. Its highest "Profitis Ilias", with 2.407 m the highest mountain on the whole Peloponnese, makes a marvelous background scene. From November to May, the snow-white peaks are a magnificent sight behind the deep blue sea.

Sep 7, 2011

Russian Barbie | Russia

This postcard was sent by Dinara from Russia via postcrossing [RU-335996]. It shows Matryoshka dolls, or "Russian Barbies". I also own a set of babushka dolls, but I didn't know their history!

A matryoshka doll, or babushka doll is a Russian nesting doll (Russian: Матрёшка) which is a set of matryoshkas consists of a wooden figure which separates, top from bottom, to reveal a smaller figure of the same sort inside, which has, in turn, another figure inside of it, and so on. The number of nested figures is traditionally at least five, but can be much more, up to several dozen with sufficiently fine craftsmanship. Modern dolls often yield an odd number of figures but this is not an absolute rule; the original Zvyozdochkin set, for instance, had an even number. The form is approximately cylindrical, with a rounded top for the head, tapering toward the bottom, with little or no protruding features; the dolls have no hands (except those that are painted). Traditionally the outer layer is a woman, dressed in a sarafan. The figures inside may be of either gender; the smallest, innermost doll is typically a baby lathed from a single small piece of wood (and hence non-opening). The artistry is in the painting of each doll, which can be extremely elaborate.
The word "matryoshka" (матрёшка), literally "little matron", is a diminutive form of the Russian female first name "Matryona" (Матрёна).

Sep 3, 2011

Orang Asli playing a nose flute | Taiwan

This is one of my favorite postcards so far! It was sent by Angel from Taiwan and it shows an Orang Asli (aborigine) playing a nose flute!! I didn't even know there was such an instrument!!

Orang Asli (lit. "original people", "natural people" or "aboriginal people" in Malay), is a generic Malaysian term used for people indigenous to Peninsular Malaysia. Officially, there are 18 orang asli tribes, categorised under three main groups according to their different languages and customs:
  • Semang (or Negrito), generally confined to the northern portion of the peninsula
  • Senoi, residing in the central region
  • Proto-Malay (or Aboriginal Malay), in the southern region.
There is an orang asli museum at Gombak, about 25 km north of Kuala Lumpur.
Orang Asli kept to themselves until the first traders from India arrived in first millennium AD. Living in the interior they bartered in land products like resins, incense woods and feathers for salt, cloth and iron tools. The rise of the Malay sultanates, coinciding with trade in Orang Asli slaves, forced the group to retreat further inland to avoid contact with outsiders. The arrival of British colonists brought further inroads in the lives of Orang Asli. They were the target of Christian missionary and subjects of anthropological research.
During the Malayan Emergency of 1948 to 1960, the Orang Asli became a vital component of national security, as with their help, the Malayan army was able to defeat the communist insurgents. Two administrative initiatives were introduced to highlight the importance of Orang Asli as well to protect its identity. The initiatives were the establishment of the Department of Aborigines in 1950, and the enactment of the Aboriginal Peoples Ordinance in 1954. After independence, the development of Orang Asli become the prime objective of the government where the government adopted a policy in 1961 to integrate the Orang Asli into the wider Malaysian society.

Voronezh | Russia

This postcard was sent by Nataly from Russia via postcrossing [RU-534341]. It shows Voronezh.

Voronezh (Russian: Воро́неж) is a city in southwestern Russia, the administrative center of Voronezh Oblast. It is located on both sides of the Voronezh River, 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) away from where it flows into the Don. It is an operating center of the Southeastern Railway (connecting European Russia with Ural and Siberia, as well as Caucasus and Ukraine), as well as the center of the Don Highway (Moscow—Rostov-on-Don). Population: 889,989 (2010 Census preliminary results). The city is divided into six administrative districts: Kominternovsky, Leninsky, Levoberezhny, Sovetsky, Tsentralny, and Zheleznodorozhny. [wikipedia]

Sep 2, 2011

Point No Point Lighthouse

This beautiful postcard was sent by Paula from Washington via postcrossing [US-1273841]. The image on the card is actually one of her photographs!!She turns some of her photos into postcards and sells them to the local gift shop! What a great idea :)

This Lighthouse is situated at Hansville at a place called Point No Point - pretty weird name, huh?

Point No Point is an outcropping of land on the northeast point of the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington, the United States. It was the location of the signing of the Point No Point Treaty. It was named by Charles Wilkes during the United States Exploring Expedition of Puget Sound in 1841. Named after Point No Point on the Hudson River (which is also called Dietrick's Hook), the point is home to the Point No Point Light. Wilkes gave the point its name because it appears much less of a promontory at close range than it does from a distance.
Local residents wanted the lighthouse located further north on Foulweather Bluff. When the Point No Point location was agreed upon, the owners of the land were reluctant to sell. Finally, the owners agreed to sell 40 acres for $1000. Construction of the lighthouse began in April 1879. The first light used was a kerosene lamp. As 1879 drew to a close, the lens and a glass for the lantern had not arrived, so the first lighthouse keeper, J.S. Maggs, a Seattle dentist, hung a canvas over the south window openings to break the wind and keep the kerosene lamp from blowing out.
Upon completion of the light station in February 1880, the lantern room held a fifth-order Fresnel lens. The original masonry structure was 27 feet (8.2 m) high. The present 30-foot (9.1 m) brick and stucco tower is square and situated between the office and fog signal building. A fog signal, formerly used at New Dungeness Lighthouse, was installed in April 1880. There were no roads to the Point No Point Lighthouse for the first 40 years, so supplies had to be brought in by boat.
Lightning struck the lens in 1931, cracking a prism. The tower was also damaged which required patching and replacing the copper tubing. In 1975, a 90-foot (27 m) radar tower was built on the west side of the lighthouse. The tower is used for the Vessel Traffic Service (VTS). In 1977, the Point No Point Lighthouse became fully automated, and only required one man to be assigned to the station. In 1990, the fog bell was replaced by a Daboll trumpet. The lens in the tower was changed to a fourth-order Fresnel lens, which is still in place today.
In 1997, the last U.S. Coast Guard personnel left Point No Point and it stood empty until the Coast Guard leased the property for Kitsap County Parks and Recreation. [wikipedia]

Aug 28, 2011

Patmos island

 This postcard was also found in that abandoned house. It shows Patmos island, but it is not used, so it doesn't have a date on it. I have never been to Patmos, but I have been told that it is one of the most beautiful Greek islands!

Patmos (Greek, Πάτμος; Italian: Patmo) is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea. One of the northernmost islands of the Dodecanese complex, it has a population of 2,984 and an area of 34.05 km² (13 square miles). The highest point is Profitis Ilias, 269 meters above sea level. The Municipality of Patmos, which includes the offshore islands of Arkoi (pop. 54), Marathi (pop. 6), and several uninhabited islets, has a total population of 3,044 (2001 census) and a combined land area of 45.039 km². It is part of the Kalymnos peripheral unit.
Patmos' main communities are Chora (the capital city), and Skala, the only commercial port. Other settlements are Grikou and Kampos. The churches and communities on Patmos are of the Eastern Orthodox tradition. In 1999, the island's historic center Chora, along with the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse, were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The monastery was founded by Saint Christodulos. Patmos is also home to the Patmian School, a notable Greek seminary.
Patmos is mentioned in the Christian scriptural Book of Revelation. The book's introduction states that its author, John, was on Patmos when he was given (and recorded) a vision from Jesus. Early Christian tradition identified this writer John of Patmos as John the Apostle, though some modern scholars are uncertain. As such, Patmos is a destination for Christian pilgrimage. Visitors can see the cave where John is said to have received his Revelation (the Cave of the Apocalypse), and several monasteries on the island are dedicated to Saint John.
According to a legend within the Greek mythology, the island's original name was "Letois," after the goddess Artemis, daughter of Leto. It was believed that Patmos came into existence thanks to her divine intervention. Mythology tells of how Patmos existed as an island at the bottom of the sea.
Deer-huntress Artemis frequently paid visits to Caria, the mainland across the shore from Patmos, where she had a shrine on Mount Latmos. There, she used to meet up with the moon goddess Selene, who cast her light on the ocean, revealing the sunken island of Patmos.
Selene was always trying to get Artemis to bring the sunken island to the surface and, hence, to life. Selene finally convinced Artemis, who, in turn, elicited her brother Apollo's help, in order to persuade Zeus to allow the island to arise from the sea.
Zeus agreed, and the island emerged from the water. The Sun dried up the land and brought life to it. Gradually, inhabitants from the surrounding areas, including Mount Latmos, settled on the island and named it "Letois" in honour of Artemis. [wikipedia]

Arta's Bridge (Το γεφύρι της Άρτας) "They built all day--each night it fell"

As I have mentioned before, I am an architect so I get to visit many old, abandoned houses. In one of these houses I found 10-15 old postcards. One of them is this one, which was sent on 25 February 1974. It shows the most famous old bridge in Greece, which is situated in Arta. It crosses the Arachthos river (Άραχθος). The bridge is famous because of an urban legend that is connected with its construction. It is said that every day 60 apprentices and 45 craftsmen, under the leadership of the Chief Engineer, tried to build the bridge, but its foundations would collapse every night. Finally a bird with a human voice informed the Chief Engineer that in order for the bridge to remain standing, he must sacrifice his wife. As the wife was being built in the foundations of the construction, she uttered curses that concluded with blessings.
Up until now, whenever someone crosses this Bridge, becomes silent and shy as a tribute to the wife of the Chief Engineer. The legend has it, that her sacrifice made the construction of the Bridge possible, reversing the curse into a wish for the generations to come. The Bridge finally connected the two riversides of Arahthos river. Apart from the physical connection of the river, this Bridge is also what connects Arta with its historical past, its living present and hopefully its future.

Aug 27, 2011

Mystras, the 'wonder of the Morea'

For my summer vacations me and my hubby went for a mini tour of Peloponesse (Southern Greece). One of the stops was at Mystras. I was amazed by the beauty of the place! No wonder it is a Unesco World Heritage Site!

Mystras, the 'wonder of the Morea', was built as an amphitheatre around the fortress erected in 1249 by the prince of Achaia, William of Villehardouin. Reconquered by the Byzantines, then occupied by the Turks and the Venetians, the city was abandoned in 1832, leaving only the breathtaking medieval ruins, standing in a beautiful landscape. The complex of the ruins of Mystras offers the image of a city with a brilliant destiny that was deserted by men and threatened by the return of encroaching vegetation, which is splitting the walls and covering the slopes, thus destroying here and there fragile traces of history.
Mystras came into existence in 1248-49 when the Frankish lord, William II of Villehardouin, Prince of Achaia, resolved to build a great castle on the top of the 620 m hill overlooking Sparta. The castle would be able to withstand attacks by the Byzantines, and also contain the Esclavons, the Slavic tribes of the Melinges and the Lezerites who inhabited the Taygete. Although a few inhabitants continued to live in the ruins, the city was not abandoned until after 1832, when King Otto I founded the new city of Sparta. For almost six centuries, Mystras lived a troubled existence. However, several times and under different regimes it assumed a leading political and cultural role. The vicissitudes of history did not spare the construction built by William II of Villehardouin. The castle had barely been completed when the Prince of Achaia, defeated by Michael VIII Palaeologus at the battle of Pelagonia and made prisoner, was forced to cede as ransom to the basileus the three strongholds of Monemvasia, Mania and Mystras (1261-62). When the favour of victory momentarily shined upon him once again, in 1265, Villehardouin found that the inhabitants of Sparta had deserted that vulnerable city and taken refuge around the castle of Mystras. From 1262 to 1348, because of many wars in which it was often the prize, Mystras was the seat of the Byzantine military governor, first named for a year then, after 1308, for life. The bishopric of Sparta was transferred to the new city, and the Metropolis, dedicated to St Demetrios, was built in 1264, and reconstructed after 1310. Convents, such as those of the Theodore Saints (prior to 196) and those of Brontochion (c. 1310) were built and richly decorated.

Santa Claus is coming to Town

This merry postcard was sent by Heidi from Finland via postcrossin [FI-1177554]!
Santa Claus, or Santa, is a figure in North American culture with legendary, mythological and folkloric aspects, which reflect an amalgamation of the Dutch Sinterklaas, the English Father Christmas, and Christmas gift-bringers in other traditions. Santa Claus is said to bring gifts to the homes of good children during the late evening and overnight hours of Christmas Eve, December 24. Santa Claus in this contemporary understanding echoes aspects of hagiographical tales concerning the historical figure of gift-giver Saint Nicholas, the man from whom the name of Santa Claus derives and in whose honor Santa Claus may be referred to as Saint Nicholas or Saint Nick.
Santa Claus is generally depicted as a plump, jolly, white-bearded man wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots (images of him rarely have a beard with no moustache). This image became popular in the United States and Canada in the 19th century due to the significant influence of caricaturist and political cartoonist Thomas Nast. This image has been maintained and reinforced through song, radio, television, children's books and films. The North American depiction of Santa Claus as it developed in the 19th and 20th century in turn influenced the modern perceptions of Father Christmas, Sinterklaas and Saint Nicholas in European culture.

Aug 26, 2011


This postcard was sent by Elke from Augsburg in Germany via postcrossing [DE-1013760]. 

Augsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town (German: 'Universitätsstadt') and home of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben and the Bezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is, as of 2008, the third-largest city in Bavaria with a population exceeding 264,000 citizens. After Neuss and Trier, Augsburg is Germany's third oldest city.
Augsburg is the only German city with its own legal holiday, the Augsburger Hohes Friedensfest, celebrated on August 8 of every year. This gives Augsburg more legal holidays than any other region or city in Germany.
While commonly coined Fuggerstadt (Fuggers' city) due to the Fuggers residing there, within Swabia it's also often referred to as Datschiburg: which originated sometime in the 19th century refers to Augsburgs favorite sweet: the Datschi made from fruit, preferably prunes, and thin cake dough. The Datschiburger Kickers charity football team (founded in 1965) reflects this in its choice of team name. [wikipedia]

The stamp used on this card shows a Ballonblume. Platycodon grandiflorus is a species of perennial flowering plant of the family Campanulaceae and the only member of the genus Platycodon (from Greek "πλατυκώδων", meaning 'a broad bell'). This species is known as platycodon or Chinese bellflower. Depending upon the region, it is also referred to as the Japanese bellflower, common balloon flower, or balloon flower. It is native to East Asia (such as China, Korea, Japan, and East Siberia) and bears big blue flowers, although varieties with white and pink flowers are in cultivation. In Korea, white flowers are more common. [wikipedia]

Aug 8, 2011

European Patent Office

This postcard shows the European Patent Office in Munich and it was sent by a friend of my parents who had moved to Germany many many years ago.

The European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the two organs of the European Patent Organisation (EPOrg), the other being the Administrative Council. The EPO acts as executive body for the Organisation while the Administrative Council acts as its supervisory body as well as, to a limited extent, its legislative body. 
Within the European Patent Office, examiners are in charge of studying European patent applications, filed by applicants, in order to decide whether to grant a patent for an invention. The patents granted by the European Patent Office are called European patents.
The European Patent Office (EPO) grants European patents for the Contracting States to the European Patent Convention. The EPO provides a single patent grant procedure, but not a single patent from the point of view of enforcement. Hence the patents granted are not European Union patents or even Europe-wide patents, but a bundle of national patents. Besides granting European patents, the EPO is also in charge of establishing search reports for national patent applications on behalf of the patent offices of Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, and Turkey.
The EPO headquarters are located at Munich, Germany. The European Patent Office also includes a branch in Rijswijk (a suburb of The Hague, Netherlands), sub-offices in Berlin, Germany, and Vienna, Austria and a "liaison bureau" in Brussels, Belgium. At the end of 2009, the European Patent Office had a staff of 6818 (with 3718 based in Munich, 2710 in Rijswijk, 274 in Berlin, 112 in Vienna and 4 in Brussels). The predecessor of the European Patent Office was the Institut International des Brevets or IIB. [wikipedia]

The card does not have a date, but has these beautiful stamps.

Aug 7, 2011


Ios (Greek: Ίος, locally Νιός - Nios) is a Greek island in the Cyclades group in the Aegean Sea. Ios is a hilly island with cliffs down to the sea on most sides, situated halfway between Naxos and Santorini. It is about 18 km (11 mi) long and 10 km (6 mi) wide, with an area of about 109 km² (42 mi²). Population was 1,838 in 2001 (down from 3,500 in the 19th century). Ios is part of the Santorini peripheral unit. Ios was the setting for the movie Ginger and Cinnamon (Dillo con parole mie). Also, scenes from the film Big Blue (Le Grand Bleu) were shot in Manganari.
The Port of Ios is at the head of the Ormos harbor in the northwest. From there the bus or a 15-minute walk up the steep donkey path takes you to the village, known as Chora. Chora is a white and very picturesque cycladic village, full of stairs and narrow paths, that makes it inaccessible for cars of any kind. Today, the main path through this village is completely taken over by tourism in terms of restaurants, boutiques, bars and discothèques. Apart from the port and the village of Chora, Ios has only a few small settlements, just a group of spread out houses in the background of major beaches (Theodoti, Kalamos, Maganari). Since the 1990s, the island mayor Pousseos has worked on Ios' development towards attracting different types of tourists. With the help of European Community funds some roads have been built, all of them paved, and a scenic amphitheater has been created by the German architect Peter Haupt (who died in 2003) at the top of the village hill. Unfortunately, cultural events rarely take place up there.
Excavations on Skarkos hill unearthed a prehistoric settlement, proving that Ios has been inhabited since the early Cycladic period. The architecture at Skarkos is preserved in places up to a height of almost three meters, with most of the buildings evidently having two storeys, stone-paved floors and a sewage system. Numerous well-preserved pottery, tools and utensils made of metal, stone and bone were also discovered. Unfortunately, the Skarkos site remains largely unpublished. In 2008, Ios was among six European locations (out of 109 candidates) awarded the European Union Cultural Heritage prize for its exceptional conservation efforts at the archaeological site of Skarkos.
During later times, Ios made rather few marks in history. According to ancient tradition, Homer's mother was from Ios, and he himself was buried there - and indeed the locals will show visitors the site of the ancient town of Plakotos at the northernmost end of the island, where the rocky entrance to a tomb may be seen. There is no physical evidence connecting this with Homer however. There are signs of Mycenaean settlement. The north end of Ios has a ruined Venetian castle from the 15th century. The island is said to have 365 churches and chapels, like the days of the year.
Ios attracts a large number of young tourists, many of whom used to sleep on their sleeping bags during the 1970s on the popular beach of Mylopotas after partying through the night. Today Mylopotas beach has been developed to an equivalent mass package tourism resort like Platys Gialos and Paradise Beach of Mykonos. [wikipedia]

Aug 4, 2011

Salt Castle | Austria

These five postcards are also part of my parents' collection. We have bought them many years ago.

Salzburg (Austro-Bavarian: Såizburg; literally: "Salt Castle") is the fourth-largest city in Austria and the capital city of the federal state of Salzburg.
Salzburg's "Old Town" (Altstadt) has internationally renowned baroque architecture and one of the best-preserved city centres north of the Alps. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The city is noted for its Alpine setting.
Salzburg was the birthplace of 18th-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In the mid-20th century, the city was the setting for parts of the American musical and film The Sound of Music, which features famous landmarks in Austria. The musical was a partnership between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.
The capital city of the State of Salzburg (Land Salzburg), the city has three universities. It has a large population of students who add liveliness and energy to the area, and the universities provide culture to the community.

Villa d'Este | Italy

The Neptune fountain with the fish ponds
Another couple of postcards of my parents' collection. I remember visiting this Villa as a child. The thing that impressed most were the fountains! Truly magnificent!

The Villa d'Este is a villa situated at Tivoli, near Rome, Italy. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, it is a fine example of Renaissance architecture and the Italian Renaissance garden.
The Villa d'Este was commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este, son of Alfonso I d'Este and Lucrezia Borgia and grandson of Pope Alexander VI. He had been appointed Governor of Tivoli by Pope Julius III, with the gift of the existing villa, which he had entirely reconstructed to plans of Pirro Ligorio carried out under the direction of the Ferrarese architect-engineer Alberto Galvani, court architect of the Este. The chief painter of the ambitious internal decoration was Livio Agresti from Forlì. From 1550 until his death in 1572, when the villa was nearing completion, Cardinal d'Este created a palatial setting surrounded by a spectacular terraced garden in the late-Renaissance mannerist style, which took full advantage of the dramatic slope but required innovations in bringing a sufficient water supply, which was employed in cascades, water tanks, troughs and pools, water jets and fountains, giochi d'acqua. The result is one of the series of great 17th century villas with water-play structures in the hills surrounding the Roman Campagna, such as the Villa Lante, the Villa Farnese at Caprarola and the Villas Aldobrandini and Torlonia in Frascati. Their garden planning and their water features were imitated in the next two centuries from Portugal to Poland.

Aug 1, 2011

Cosmopolitan Mykonos

Postcard 01

A month ago, I went to Mykonos island with a group of friends. When I left the island, they wrote a postcard with things we did [what happens in Mykonos, stays in Mykonos] and sent it to me. As I was observing it, I remembered that I had a couple of old postcards from Mykonos. How much has it changed since then!

Postcard 02
Postcard 03

Jul 30, 2011

Tuareg people

This amazing postcard is from my parents' collection! A friend of theirs sent it to them on 16 February 1980 from Libya.

The Tuareg (also Twareg or Touareg, Berber: Imuhagh, besides regional ethnyms) are a Berber nomadic pastoralist people. They are the principal inhabitants of the Saharan interior of North Africa.
They call themselves variously Kel Tamasheq or Kel Tamajaq; ⴾⴻⵍ ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵌⴰⵆ ("Speakers of Tamasheq"), Imuhagh, Imazaghan or Imashaghen ("the Free people"), or Kel Tagelmust, i.e., "People of the Veil". The name Tuareg was applied to them by early explorers and historians (since Leo Africanus).
The origin and meaning of the name Tuareg has long been debated with various etymologies advanced, although it would appear that Twārəg is derived from the "broken plural" of Tārgi, a name whose former meaning was "inhabitant of Targa" (the Tuareg name of the Libyan region commonly known as Fezzan. Targa in Berber means "(drainage) channel", see Alojali et al. 2003: 656, s.v. "Targa").
The Tuareg call themselves by the following names:
  • Amajagh (var. Amashegh, Amahagh, Amazigh), a Tuareg man.
  • Tamajaq (var. Tamasheq, Tamahaq, Tamazight), a Tuareg woman, or the Tuareg language.
  • Imajaghan (var. Imashaghan, Imuhagh, Imazighan), Tuareg men, people.
  • Timajaghen, Tuareg women.
  • Kel Tamajaq, the Tuareg people.
  • Tifinagh, the Tuareg alphabet.
These terms can also refer to Berbers in general. The Tuareg today are found mostly in North Africa and West Africa. Some historians claim they progressively moved south over the last 2000 years. They were once nomads throughout the Sahara. They have a little-used and ancient script known as the Tifinagh. [wikipedia]

You can see my postcard collection on the map below (I am still uploading them, so you can only see part of my collection): 

Προβολή Postcards σε χάρτη μεγαλύτερου μεγέθους

Jul 29, 2011

Tripoli of Libya

These two postcards are also part of my parents' collection and were sent by a friend of theirs, when he was living in Libya. Unfortunately, he has not written a date, but I guess it was around 1980. As he writes, living there, was like joining the army!

Tripoli is the largest city and capital of Libya. It is also known as Western Tripoli (Arabic: طرابلس الغربṬarābulus al Gharb), to distinguish it from Tripoli, Lebanon.
Tripoli is a Greek name that means "Three Cities". It is in Arabic: طرابلسṬarābulus, Libyan Arabic: Ṭrābləs, Berber: Ṭrables, from Ancient Greek: Τρίπολις Trípolis "Three Cities").
The Tripoli metropolitan area (district area) has a population of 1,065,405 (2006 census). The city is located in the northwest of the country on the edge of the desert, on a point of rocky land projecting into the Mediterranean Sea and forming a bay. The city is the principal sea port, and the largest commercial and manufacturing centre in Libya. It is also the site of Al-Fateh University.

Royal Castle Linderhof

These two postcards are from my mother's collection. They show Royal Castle Linderhof in Germany. On the first one, you can see King Ludwig II, who built it.

Linderhof Palace (German: Schloss Linderhof) is in Germany, near Oberammergau in southwest Bavaria near Ettal Abbey. It is the smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and the only one which he lived to see completed. Ludwig already knew the area around Linderhof from his youth when he had accompanied his father King Maximilian II of Bavaria on his hunting trips in the Bavarian Alps. When Ludwig II became king in 1864 he inherited the so-called Königshäuschen from his father, and in 1869 began enlarging the building. In 1874 he decided to tear down the Königshäuschen and rebuild it on its present-day location in the park. At the same time three new rooms and the staircase were added to the remaining U-shaped complex, and the previous wooden exterior was clad with stone façades. The building was designed in the style of the second rococo-period. Between 1863 and 1886 a total of 8,460,937 marks was spent constructing Linderhof.

City of Gardens

This cute postcard was send by my postpal Valerie! She just moved to Canada! The card shows some of the gardens of Victoria! As Valerie says, Victoria is a beautiful city! I sure hope she has a wonderful time there :)

Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada's Pacific coast. The city has a population of about 78,000 within the metropolitan area of Greater Victoria, which has a population of about 330,000, the 15th most populous Canadian metro region.
Victoria is about 100 kilometres (62 miles) from BC's largest city of Vancouver on the mainland. The city is about 100 kilometres (62 miles) from Seattle by airplane or ferry, and 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Port Angeles, Washington by ferry across the Juan de Fuca Strait.

Jul 24, 2011

New Orleans

This amazing postcard is one of the ones I found in the old mansion. Is shows New Orleans and in the back there is an inscription saying: "1986 - printed in Canada". I have never been to New Orleans but I have always imagined it as a mythical place, where everything is possible... This postcard shows something very close to what I have imagined.

New Orleans (French: La Nouvelle-Orléans) is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area, (New Orleans–Metairie–Kenner) has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population of 1,360,436 as of 2000. The city/parish alone has a population of 343,829 as of 2010.

Golden Gate Bridge | USA

As you might know, I am an architect. A few days ago I visited an old mansion that is going to be demolished (it has no architectural or historical value), from which the owners wanted nothing! There I found many interesting old things (furniture, photographs, paintings etc). Among them were many old postcards! I will try to upload them all! The first one is the one you see above, picturing Golden Gate Bridge on a foggy day. It was sent on 7 May 1989.

The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening of the San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean. As part of both U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1, the structure links the city of San Francisco on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula to Marin County. The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge span in the world when it was completed in 1937, and has become one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco, California, and of the United States. Despite its span length being surpassed by eight other bridges since its completion, it still has the second longest suspension bridge main span in the United States, after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City. It has been declared one of the modern Wonders of the World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The Frommers travel guide considers the Golden Gate Bridge "possibly the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed, bridge in the world". [wikipedia]

Jul 17, 2011

Angelos Sikelianos Villa

For my baccalaureate party, my best friend V. took me to this amazing spa resort, called Sikion Coast Hotel and Resort. It is located at Peloponnese, near Xylocastro. We had an amazing time! One thing that really impressed us was the main building, which -we later found out that it- was the house of Angelos Sikelianos, a famous Greek poet.

Angelos Sikelianos (28 March 1884-19 June 1951) (Greek: Άγγελος Σικελιανός) was a modern Greek poet and playwright. One of Greece's most important 20th-century lyric poets, he emphasized national history, religious symbolism, and universal harmony in poems such as The Light-Shadowed, Prologue to Life, Mother of God, and Delphic Utterance. His plays include Sibylla, Daedalus in Crete, Christ in Rome, The Death of Digenis, and Asklepius. He was the first of the twentieth century Greek poets to be nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.