United Kingdom - Slate Industry of North Wales

List of sites:
- Ogwen-Cegin valleys
- Welsh Slate Museum, Dinorwic Workings
- Nantlle, Moel Tryfan
- Gorsedda quarry, tramway and settlement, the Ynysypandy slate mill
- Ffestiniog slate landscape (postcard collected)
- Southern Gwynedd quarrying landscapes and transport systems
- Bangor University

"The extensive deposits of high quality slate in north Wales were exploited as far back as the Roman period, but it was in the 18th century that the industry began to grow significantly, expanding rapidly between 1856 and 1900, and remaining technically innovative until 1914. During the 19th century the north Wales quarries were major providers of roofing materials and slate products throughout the world, and the associated technologies of quarrying and transport infrastructure were also exported worldwide."

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

Ffestiniog Railway in North Wales built in the 1830's for transporting slate from quarries at Blaeneau Ffestiniog to coast at Porthmadog for sea trnasport until the 1940's. Thanks to Kerstin of United Kingdom. Welsh themed stamps used.

Netherlands - Eise Eisinga Planetarium

"The Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium in Franeker is the oldest working planetarium in the world. Its moving model of the solar system was constructed between 1774 and 1781 by Eise Eisinga, a Frisian wool-comber. It is still in its original state.

Eisinga built the planetarium in his own home. So that it would fit into his living-room, he used a scale of 1:1,000,000,000,000 (1 millimetre: 1 million kilometres).

Eisinga built the planetarium to disprove a contemporary prophecy that certain planets were on a collision course and that the end of the world was therefore imminent. He hoped his model would demonstrate that the planets were actually in conjunction. He was not a scientist in the formal sense but a creative genius who built the planetarium entirely on his own initiative.

The planetarium has always been accessible to interested members of the public. It has also received scientific recognition. All Eisinga's books and writings have been preserved and are accessible to the public." 

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

Postcard 1
Vintage postcard of Planetarium Eise Eisinga. Thanks to Peter of Netherlands.

Postcard 2
Telescopic mechanism of Eise Esiginga Planetarium. Thanks to Ruyi of Netherlands for mailing using matching Eise Esiginga stamp set. Posted in November 11, 2019 and arrived in Penang island on November 23, 2019.

Belgium - Mosan citadels

"Throughout the 151 km of its route in Wallonia, the Meuse defines a valley remarkable for its vertical scale and the presence of numerous rocky outcrops. From Givet to Namur, it crosses the Famenne and the Condruz plateau perpendicular to its west - west fold and prints a trench more than 100 m deep. Downstream from Namur, it marks the transition between the plateaux condruzien and hesbignon and digs its bed a little less than 100 m of the reliefs that border it. This difference in level, although diminishing, is maintained downstream from Liège. Such relief is a significant natural barrier and provides strategic points to support a defense system. During the history of many oppidum, dungeons, castles, forts and citadels were erected on the Moslem peaks. Many have disappeared and remain only in toponymy or as archaeological sites. Some, reduced to ruins, fuel the imagination and give a romantic image of the river. However, three citadels reached us and kept their military function until the second half of the twentieth century. In Dinant, the "barred spur" type site has been occupied since the 11th century when, on the initiative of the Prince Bishop of Liège, a castle and a chapel are built."

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

Wow... Citadel Walls of Dinant. Thanks to Marcel of Germany who visited Dinant in Belgium. Received in November 2019.

Hungary - Caves of the Buda Thermal Karst System

"Pal-volgy cave of thermal water origin situated in the second district of the capital was discovered in 1904 while quarrying. Its explored length of 7.4 Km makes it the third longest cave of Hungary. A 500m section of it can be visited since 1919. The galleries of the maze system are decorated with characteristic dissolution forms and mineral precipitations as well as with dripstones at some places.

Szemlo-hegy cave found in 1930 while quarrying at a distance of 800 m from Pal-volgy cave was the first Buda cave where the thermal water origin was recognised. The narrow, high passages are richly covered by popcorn formations resembling of cauliflower and grapes. The 2200 m long cave called by the discoverers the underground flower-garden Budapest was opened to the public in 1986.

Ferenc-hegy cave was discovered in 1933 during drainage groundwork. The labyrinth system with a total length of 4100 m is found on a relatively small area. Scallops and ‘gun barrals' are known only from this cave. Botryoids are the most frequent speleothems.

Matyas-hegy cave is found very close to Pal-volgy cave. They have very similar morphology, the two systems must have been on a cave in the past however, we don't know the present connection between them. Matyas-hegy cave was discovered in the 30's, the present length is 4900 m. The deepest point of the cave is at 113 m above sea level, where it reaches the present karst level.

Jozsef-hegy "crystal" cave was discovered in 1984, which length is about 4800 m today. The largest hall in the cave with its 70m length, 15m width and 20m height is one of the biggest hydrothermal chambers in the world. Jozsef-hegy cave is the richest in speleothems. Aragonite needles, multi-generated gypsum crystals, snow-white calcite botryoids make the cave really beautiful.

Molnar Janos cave at the present base level is the only active of the area, which passages dip down below the karst level and is known only by the divers. Its length is 400 metres. Mixing of waters of different temperatures can be measured within the system."

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

Szemlo-hegy Cave in Buda Thermal Karst System. Thanks to Bernadett of Hungary. Received in November 2019.

Malta - Knights' Fortifications around the Harbours of Malta

"Geographic location has an emphatic habit of influencing the course of history. The story of Malta is an important case in point. Sited practically in the centre of the Mediterranean, its important strategic position was such that none of the maritime powers then vying for the control of this sea could have afforded to ignore it. The island's position was ideal, for apart from commanding the narrow waters between the two great basins of the Mediterranean, it also possessed excellent natural harbours, secure havens for battle fleets. It was, above all, the presence of the Grand Harbour that was to prove so instrumental in attracting foreign occupation. And once occupied, the need to secure this anchorage from attack was to dictate the scope and form of the island's defenses. Thus, over the centuries, the harbour area has witnessed the building of great works of fortification designed by engineers from most of the major military power: Spanish, Italian, French and British, the result of which is one of the finest collections of military architecture in the world. In the words of Prof. Quentin Hughes, "a monumental heritage... for sheer concentration and majesty quite unmatched". The process was set in motion with the coming of the Knights of the Order of St. John to Malta in 1530. Although some medieval fortifications already existed inside the Grand Harbour, it was the Hospitaller Knights who set out to establish the harbour as a fortified naval base...." 

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

Postcard 1
A multi-view of Fortresses of the Knights in the Maltese islands including the fortress in Valetta, Malta shown in the bottom right corner. Thanks to Jean-Pierre of France. Postmarked 12-12-2012.

Postcard 2
Fort St Angelo is one of the fortified position in the Grand Harbour in Malta. Thanks to Henrik of Sweden visiting Malta.

Jordan - Gadara (Modern Um Qeis or Qays)

"The ancient classical period city of Gadara , and a member city of the Decapolis(Greek Ten Cities), is one of Jordan's most dramatic antiquities sites-both for the many substantial ruins of black basalt and white lime stone ,and for the city's impressive setting overlooking the north Jordan Valley, the Sea of Galilee The extensive site has scores of standing and still buried monuments covering an area of several hectares. These include rock- cut tombs with architectural ornaments, facades and Greek inscriptions; two theatres, one of which is built of black basalt and has a marble sculpture of a goddess seated in the orchestra; a basilica and atrium-shaped courtyard on a semi-artificial terrace ,partly restored by the Department of Antiquities and the German Protestant Institute; a street lined on one side with barrel-vaulted shops; the foundations of the north mausoleum with adjacent traces of the ancient city fortifications ;a well preserved underground Roman era mausoleum with an apsidal entrance hall and a crypto-portico; two excavated Byzantine baths complexes; the partly excavated monumental entrance gate to the city; traces of a possible stadium; and various other built structures that have not been excavated."

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

Umm Qais is a town in northern Jordan known for the ruins of Gadara. Thanks to Jean-Pierre of France - written on August 4, 2019 and arrived in Penang Island on October 21, 2019.

France - The Landing Beaches, Normandy, 1944

"Utah Beach in Manche; Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, Batterie de Longues, Port artificiel Winston Churchill, Gold Beach, Juno Beach, Sword Beach all in Calvados; and underwater remains"

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

Postcard 1
Utah Beach at Manche, Normandy. 60th Anniversary of WW2 Normandy Landing.

Postcard 2
Normandy landing. Thanks to Jean-Pierre of France. Received in September 2019.

Bulgaria - The Ancient Plovdiv

"The locality of Plovdiv on the transport corridor, which is crossing the Balkans, ensures its strategic position in the communications between the East and the West even from the remote past. The Ancient Plovdiv includes the very old part of the town, which had preserved over the centuries its integrity as a historical centre with a homogeneous structure and remarkable historical stratification. The accumulated over the Three Hills layers contain some valuable proofs about the millenary development – marks from the prehistory, Thracian, Hellenic and Roman cultures, from the Middle Ages, the Ottoman period, the National revival and from the XX century. The highest concentration of early layers is in the archeological site “Nebeth tepe”. The first evidence of human presence is dated from the end of the III millenary B.C. The most valuable expression of the antique layer is the Antique Theatre - one of the most imposing examples of the theatric architecture of Roman provinces. The fortification system of the city acropolis is spread between the Nebeth Tepe and the Ancient Stadium. Thus the antique and the middle ages structures both find expression in the town, even just fragmentary revealed. The architectural layer from the National Revival has the highest concentration, integrity and degree of preservation. Its stylistic characteristic is a unique variety of the Balkan’s vernacular architecture from the end of the Ottoman domination – XVIII-XIX centuries. The continuity of the medieval structure is evinced in this historical layer: the compact buildings, homogeneous silhouette; irregular street network; dominants of cults; expression of the fortification axes. Together with this a new spirit of the lay-out of the public and private areas has its expression here."

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

Postcard 1
Plodiv - The Roman Amphitheatre, 2nd century. Thanks to Lilia of Bulgaria.

Postcard 2
A beautiful Plovdiv multi-view postcard signed at Virtual Tourist Euro Meeting at Plovidiv, Bulgaria 2019. Thanks to all who signed and especially to DAO who organized and mailed this wonderful postcard - reminds me of fond memories of my joining Virtual Tourist before. Arrrived in July 2019.

Benin - Site Lacustre de Ganvié

Postcard 1
Ganvier is known as the "Venice of Africa" with many canals and houses on stilts in Benin. Thanks so much Grete for sending me this wonderful card from Benin.

Postcard 2
Aerial view of Ganvier. Thanks to Jean-Pierre of France.

Postcard 3
Ganvie in Lake Nokoue, Benin. Postcard was missent to Mongolia. Thanks to Mike of Netherlands for arranging this postcard to be sent to me from Benin.

Postcard 4
Ganvie water village of Benin. Thanks to Abbas of India who visited Benin. Received in June 2019.

Burkina Faso - Sya, historical center of Bobo-Dioulasso

The village of Sya or Dioulassoba is the original core of the city of Bobo-Dioulasso, economic capital of Burkina Faso, located in the south-west of the country, 365 kilometers from Ouagadougou. Sya is located in the heart of the city of Bobo-Dioulasso, in the district of Konsa, inside the fork formed by the Houet marigot in the East and the Sanyo in the West. Sya occupies an area of ​​fifteen (15) hectares, including the Wara-Wara public square, adjacent to the dwellings. Sya is made up of three villages, Kibidoué and Tiguisso, which dispute the origin of Sya and the Bobo-Dioula village. These three villages gave birth to eighteen (18) households, including four (04) in Konsa, six (06) in Tiguisso and eight (08) in Kibidoué. These villages each have a mother house which is that of the founder or the eldest of the lineage.

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

Laterite constructed mosque in Dioulassaba around 1800 AD. Thanks to Mike of Netherlands for arranging this mailing from Burkina Faso.

Slovakia - The concept of the lenticular historical town core of Košice City

"Alongside with the unique ground-plane organisation, typical just for the region of the East Slovakia, the historical town core has got the preserved valuable compact set of buildings, including even medieval ones located in the centre of the town. It grew up on the crossroads of the long-distance merchant roads, connecting the East Europe with the West Europe and the Baltic with the Black Sea. The settlement persisted here already since the Palaeolithic Age. Its exceptional ground-plane concept is the oldest, the largest and the most preserved one among the East Slovakian towns. Clearly readable street network is formed by the three streets, aiming from the North to the South, the middle one is gradually widened into the shape of a lens and in its largest span, on the crossroads with the street from the East, the parish church has been built. It was built in the centre of a market settlement already in the 2nd half of the 13th century as a one-nave church by the German colonists..."

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

Postcard 1
Nice aerial view of Kosice. Thanks to Martin for sending from Slovakia.

Postcard 2
Elizabeth's Cathedral, Kosice is the largest Gothic cathedral in Slovakia.

China - Huangguoshu Scenic Area

"Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau is located in the south of China. It belongs to the watershed region in the karst plateau rising between Sichuan Basin and Guangxi Hill. Since the Tertiary Period, with the strong neotectonic uplift of Himalayan orogeny and tropical and subtropical humid climates, the strong erosion of the northern Yangtze River system and the southern Pearl River system has formed the plateau-gorge landform structure, which is often distinguished by the geomorphological erosion cycle knickpoint type waterfall. The plateau-gorge landform structure is composed of two significantly different but closely related geomorphic units - the plateau area and the gorge area. In the background of the special regional units, Huangguoshu Scenic Area is created with completely different but closely related landform type, development and evolution, landscape characteristics, living environment, human habitation, land use, and regional culture."

Huangguoshu Scenic Spot: - Huangguoshu Waterfall - Dishuitan Waterfall - Gaodang Ancient Village

Getuhe Scenic Spot:

Tunpu Scenic Spot: - Yunshantun-Benzhai Ancient Village - Baojiatun Ancient Irrigation System - Tiantaishan Ancient Temple

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

Huangguoshu Waterfall of Guizhou is one of the biggest waterfalls in China. It is 70m long and 81 m wide during the flood season. Another postcard that I bought in Beijing, China.

Thailand - Ensemble of Phanom Rung, Muang Tam and Plai Bat Sanctuaries

"Phanom Rung, Muang Tam and Plai Bat. These three temples were designed to reflect Hindu theology and astrology. Two volcanoes and one plain were selected for their construction. The main towers were built and placed on the axis of four directions encircled with square or rectangular walls and galleries. They represent Mount Meru, home of Shiva’s and axis of the universe. The Gopura Gates were placed such that the sun on the shone into the main tower chamber for activating the Shiva Linga, the universal Hindu sacred ritual. This can brought life to the whole complex of communities. These great and enduring masterpieces evidence the high point in Angkorian art and architecture."

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

Prasat Phanomrung,Thailand. Thanks to Apichati of Thailand.

Germany - Frontiers of the Roman Empire - Lower German Limes (Germany)

"The Roman Empire, in is territorial extent, was one of the greatest empires the world has known. Enclosing the Mediterranean World and surrounding areas, it was protected by a network of frontiers stretching over 5,000 kilometres from the Atlantic coast in the west, to the Black Sea in the East, and from central Scotland in the north to the northern fringes of the Sahara Desert in the south. Much has survived above ground along this Frontier, which was largely constructed in the 2nd century AD when the Empire reached its greatest extent. At various times, the Frontier consisted of a linear barrier, at other times of protected spaces, or in some cases a whole military zone.

Substantial remains survive (clockwise from the west) in the UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. Starting on the western coast of northern Britain, the frontier in Europe then ran along the rivers Rhine and Danube, looping round the Carpathian Mountains to the Black Sea. The eastern frontier, stretching from the Black Sea to the Red Sea and running through mountains, great river valleys and the desert. To the south, Rome’s protective cordon embraced Egypt and then ran along the northern edge of the Sahara Desert to the Atlantic shore in Morocco."

1 Remagen - Auxiliary fort - Fort of Rigomagus Visible remains of the principia, partly preserved and visible in the museum

2 Königswinter - Stone quarry - Area of rock stones with roman tool mark Tool marks preserved and visible

3 Bad Münstereifel - Lime kilns - Lime kilns of the 30th legion Ulpia victrix with working rooms Visible remains of lime kilns with information centre

4 Bonn - camps - walls of 11 manœuvre camps in the southern part of the Kottenforst preserved and visible remains of the earthen walls

5 Bonn - Legionary fortress - Legionary fortress of Bonna 85% of the area fortress still preserved in the inner city of Bonn; layout of the fortress preserved in modern road network and spatial development

6 Alfter and Bornheim - camps - walls of 11 manœuvre camps in the northern part of the Kottenforst preserved and visible remains of the earthen walls

7 Köln - fleet base - fort of the Rhine fleet Classis Germanica Remains not visible, partly overbuilt

8 Köln - Praetorium - Headquarter of the Lower German Army Remains preserved and visible

9 Köln - Late roman fortress - Late roman fortress of Divitia Remains preserved and visible

10 Dormagen - Auxiliary fort Fort of Durnomagus Remains preserved and visible in the cellar of the parsonage of St. Michael

11 Monheim - Auxiliary fort Late roman fort of Haus Bürgel Remains preserved and visible, integrated in the medieval castle

12 Neuss - Fortlet Fortlet and watchtower Reckberg Remains not visible, preserved in forest area, ex situ reconstruction of watchtower

13 Neuss - Legionary fortress Legionary fortress (and later cavalry fort) of Novaesium Remains not visible, layout of the fortress preserved in modern road network

14 Krefeld - Auxiliary fort Auxiliary fort of Gelduba Remains not visible, part of the front side destroyed, not overbuilt

15 Duisburg - Fortlet Fortlet Werthausen Remains not visible, partly overbuilt

16 Moers - Auxiliary fort Auxiliary fort of Asciburgium Remains not visible, partly overbuilt

17 Alpen - Camp Marching camp Boenninghardt Remains not visible, small area overbuilt

18 Alpen - Camp Marching camp Drüpt Remains not visible, small area overbuilt

19 Xanten - Legionary fortress Legionary fortress Vetera I, canabae, amphitheatre Amphitheatre visible, fortress not overbuilt

20 Wesel - Camps 4 manoeuvre camps of Flürener Feld preserved and visible remains of the earthen walls

21 Uedem - Camps 13 manoeuvre camps of Uedem-Hochwald preserved and visible remains of the earthen walls

22 Kalkar - Camp Vexillation camp of Kalkar-Monreberg Remains not visible, small area overbuilt

23 Kalkar - Auxiliary fort Auxiliary fort, vicus, limes road and cemeteries of Burginatium Remains not visible on the surface, not overbuilt.

24 Kalkar - Sanctuary Sanctuary of the Germanic war goddess Vagdavercustis, Kalkar-Kalkarberg Remains not visible, not overbuilt

25 Bedburg-Hau Auxiliary fort Auxiliary fort and vicus of Till-Steincheshof Remains not visible, small area overbuilt

26 Bedburg-Hau - Camp 2 marching camps of Till-Kapitelshof Remains not visible, small area overbuilt

27 Bedburg-Hau - Auxiliary fort - Auxiliary fort of Qualburg-Quadriburgium Remains not visible, partly overbuilt

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

Along the Rhine River, at Neuss, a reconstructed fortified Roman tower. Thanks to Marcel of Germany.

Portugal - Vila Viçosa, Renaissance ducal town

"The property includes: The historic town centre of Vila Viçosa; The hunting reserve known as Tapada Real (which extends into the municipalities of Vila Viçosa, Borba and Elvas). A buffer zone has also been drawn up, including rural areas and recent urban areas, in order to protect the property. Vila Viçosa is inseparably connected to the House of Braganza, the royal and noble Portuguese dynasty founded in 1442. The town was associated with the power built up by Dom Afonso (1377-1461), the 1st Duke, who was succeeded by Dom Fernando, and it became part of one of the two most powerful houses in the Portuguese kingdom. A frontier land, its strategic position would justify Dom Fernando being created Marquis of Vila Viçosa in 1455. Dom Fernando was to become responsible for protecting Portugal against any raids from Castile and became Duke of Braganza, Marquis of Vila Viçosa and Count of Arraiolos. Favouring the town with his presence, Dom Fernando (1403-1478), the 2nd Duke of Braganza, chose the town to begin to build the seat of the great House he had inherited. This explains why Vila Viçosa then developed a Court that revolved around this great dynastic House. When he died there, Dom Fernando had sown the seeds for the development of Vila Viçosa as the seat of a ducal court of the House of Braganza."

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

Vila Vicosa, Portugal.Thanks to Tiago of Portugal.