The Monastery

Petra, Jordan

Petra, Jordan

My first postcard from Jordan, ever, comes from Mervat. It shows the Monastery at Petra, which was built, or shall I say carved, as early as 312 BC. The Smithsonian Magazine reckons that it is one of the 28 places that you have to see before you die. Crap, another list that I now have to add to my bucket of lists. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985 and is one of the greatest things on the list in my humble opinion. Strangely enough, this masterpiece of the Middle East was not known to the Western world until 1812, when Swiss explorer, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, introduced it. One would think that by then, someone would have said something about it. Thank you Mervat, I love it!

Happy 700th (Almost)

Gracanica Monastery, Pristina, Kosovo

Gracanica Monastery, Pristina, Kosovo

This great postcard comes from Michaël from Starring You who recently paid a visit to Kosovo. He sent me this great postcard of the Gracanica Monastery, which is located in the capital of Kosovo, Pristina. This Serbian orthodox monastery was built by the Serbian king, Stefan Milutin, in 1321. That makes the monastery, 692 years old! I always have to mention just how cool I find it that Europe has had such a long and wonderful recorded history that has been preserved so well through time. Since 2009 the monastery has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it should be. It’s pretty darn brilliant, thanks a bunch Michaël!

The Throne of Jamshid

Persepolis, Iran

Persepolis, Iran

This great postcard of Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire comes from Soode who lives in Iran. The city was built 515 BC and was laid to waste in 330 BC, with the conquest of the region by Alexander the Great. The city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. In contemporary Persian, the site is known as “The Throne of Jamshid,” who was a mythological king of Iran. The specific place shown on the postcard is Tachara Palace, which was the throne room of Darius I. He unfortunately did not see it being completed and after his death, his successor, Xerxes I, finished the job. Very interesting. Thank you Soode!

Tikal My Fancy

Tikal, Guatemala

Tikal, Guatemala

My first postcard, and boy is it a great one, from Guatemala was sent to me by Alejandra. Tikal is one of the largest archaeological sites of the Mayans… Kidding Monica, I am kidding. MAYA. Tikal is situated in the Tikal National Park in Guatemala and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. Definitely deserves that title in my humble opinion. Tikal was the capital of one of the most powerful Maya kingdoms and dominated the region economically, politically and militarily between 200 BC and 900 AD. The name, Tikal, is from the Yucatec Maya language and means “at the waterhole.” This was not the original name though, but the name given to it upon its discovery in the 1840s. The original name of the city was in fact Yax Mutal, which means “first Mutal.” I guess one would have to know what a mutal is in order to understand even that name though. It is estimated that Tikal had a population of between 10 000 and 90 000 people. Either way, it sure did seem like a great city, considering the time. Thank you Alejandra, what a brilliant piece of history is encapsulated into this postcard!

Jerusalem of the Balkans

Ohrid, Macedonia

Ohrid, Macedonia

This beautiful postcard of the Macedonian city of Ohrid comes from Anita. It was a swap that Dilyana set up for me ages ago but the backlog of the postcards that I still need to post is just huge. The title of this post is based on the nickname that the city got for having 365 churches, one for each day of the year. The city is the largest city on the banks of Lake Ohrid and is home to 42 000 people. Between 1979 and 1980 Ohrid and Lake Ohrid were declared both Cultural and Natural UNESCO World Heritage site. This makes Ohrid one of only 28 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to be accepted on both lists. The name of the city used to be Lychnidos but from 879 the slavs started referring to the city as Ohrid, which means “on the hill.” This is a part of the world that has always fascinated me and I’m glad that it is so beautiful too. I simply cannot wait to travel to a place like Ohrid. Thank you Anita, this postcard is stunning!

60 Domes 1 Postcard

Gombuj Mosque, Bangladesh

Gombuj Mosque, Bangladesh

This great postcard of the Sixty Dome Mosque or Gombuj Mosque comes all the way from Sumanto in Bangladesh. The mosque is the largest mosque from the Sultanate period and has often been described as the most impressive mosque on the Indian subcontinent. It is also on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The mosque was built in the Bagerhat district in the South of Bangladesh in the 15th century. The year of its completion was 1459, to be exact. There are actually 77 domes in the mosque but 60 columns. The name of the mosque, locally, is Shat Gombuj Masjid, which means 60 dome mosque but it is argued that the name was corrupted and the original name of the mosque referred to its 60 pillars and not to the domes. I don’t know the story here but at least I love the postcard. Thank you Sumanto!

Pre-Islamic Tombs of Saleh

Mada'in Saleh

Mada’in Saleh

Ian from Saudi Arabia sent me this postcard as a result of a swap that would just confuse you. But I also need to thank Edwin from Bahrain. Mada’in Saleh dates back to the pre-Islamic period of Saudi Arabia. The site of the tombs have been inhabited (according to the Qur’an) since after the days of Noah but before Moses. That means that people have been living in this part of the world for approximately 5000 years. These 131 tombs have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008 and have enjoyed protection as archaeological sites since 1972. According to Islamic texts, the area is cursed by Allah and as a result, the government has struggled to overcome the stigma, as it is trying to develop the site as a tourist attraction. Quite interesting. Thank you Ian and Edwin!

Diarise Seeing Diriyah

Diriyah, Saudi Arabia

Diriyah, Saudi Arabia

This postcard of Diriyah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, came all the way from Ian in Saudi Arabia. Diriyah is located near the country’s capital, Riyadh. It served as the first Saudi dynasty’s seat and capital of Saudi Arabia from 1744 to 1818. The city, however, dates back much further back to somewhere between 1446 and 1447. I don’t know about many places like this that are still standing in the world, it definitely looks like something one would have to see before trading the temporary for the eternal. I’ll have to add it to my future travel plans. Thank you Ian!

Victoria’s Jubilee Station

Chatrapathi Shivaji Terminus

Chatrapathi Shivaji Terminus

My first postcard from India come to me all the way from Som. The postcard shows a UNESCO World Heritage Site named Chatrapathi Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai. It is an old railway station that was completed in 1887 and built by Frederick William Stevens in the Bori Bunder area of the city in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. I cannot imagine her getting anything in commemoration of anything in my country and if she did, I’d rather not know about it. The final design of the railway station resembles St Pancras Railway Station in London. It really does seem like an amazing place worthy of its UNESCO status. Thank you Som!

Historic Bulgaria

Bulgaria

Bulgaria

From the awesome Dilyana in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, I received this multi-view of a bunch of magnificent historical sites in the country. The top picture is of Rila Monastery, which is the most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in the country. It was named after its founder, Ivan of Rila. It was originally built in the 10th century, later destroyed and rebuilt in the 15th century. Even so, it out-dates anything standing in my country. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stunning building at the bottom left is the Great Basilica of Pliska, which was completed in 875 AD. It was the largest christian cathedral built in medieval Europe, outside of Constantinople with an impressive size of 2920 square meters. At the bottom in the middle is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak. The tomb is part of a Thracian necropolis and dates back to the 4th centrury BC. The pieces in the tomb are Bulgaria’s greatest preserved artworks from the Hellenistic period. Last but not least one can see Asen’s Fortress at the bottom right. The fortress dates back to the time of the Thracians and has seen many conquerors being both repelled by it and raze it. It really does seem like a country very rich in history, full of great people and wonderful scenery. Now for my favourite line: Definitely a place I want to visit someday! Thank you Dilyana!