Sangiran Early Man Site

Excavations here from 1936 to 1941 led to the discovery of the first hominid fossil at this site. Later, 50 fossils of Meganthropus palaeo and Pithecanthropus erectus/Homo erectus were found โ€“ half of all the world’s known hominid fossils. Inhabited for the past one and a half million years, Sangiran is one of the key sites for the understanding of human evolution.

Sangiran Early Man Site is situated about 15 kilometers in the north of Solo town in Central Java, Indonesia, covering an area of 5,600 hectares. It became famous after the discovery of Homo erectus remains and associated stone artifacts (well-known as Sangiran flake industry) in the 1930s. There is a very significant geological sequence from the upper Pliocene until the end of Middle Pleistocene by depicting the human, faunal, and cultural evolutions within the last 2.4 million years. The property also yields important archaeological occupation floors dating back to the Lower Pleistocene around 1.2 million years ago.

Since 1996 it is a Unesco site.

Thanks to Shinta for the postcard.



Town of Bamberg

From the 10th century onwards, this town became an important link with the Slav peoples, especially those of Poland and Pomerania. During its period of greatest prosperity, from the 12th century onwards, the architecture of Bamberg strongly influenced northern Germany and Hungary. In the late 18th century it was the centre of the Enlightenment in southern Germany, with eminent philosophers and writers such as Hegel and Hoffmann living there.

The World Heritage site covers the three centres of settlement that coalesced when the town was founded. These are the Bergstadt, with the cathedral and its precincts, the former Prince-Bishop’s Residence, and the burgher area with the Parish Church of Our Lady and the former vintners’ settlement; the Inselstadt, defined by the two-arms of the Regnitz River, which was founded in the 12th century with a market and pre-urban settlement; and the Theuerstadt, a late medieval area of market gardens with scattered houses and large open spaces, which has retained this character to the present day.

Since 1993 it is a Unesco site.

Thanks to Katrin for the postcard.


Mesa Verde National Park

A great concentration of ancestral Pueblo Indian dwellings, built from the 6th to the 12th century, can be found on the Mesa Verde plateau in south-west Colorado at an altitude of more than 2,600 m. Some 4,400 sites have been recorded, including villages built on the Mesa top. There are also imposing cliff dwellings, built of stone and comprising more than 100 rooms.

The Mesa Verde landscape in the American south-west is considered to be the type site of the prehistoric Ancestral Puebloan culture, which lasted for some nine hundred years from c 450 to 1300, on this plateau in south-west Colorado at an altitude of more than 2600 meters. There is a great concentration of spectacular Pueblo Indian dwellings. Some 600 โ€˜cliff dwellingsโ€™ have been recorded within Mesa Verde National Park, including the famous multi-storey ones such as Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Square Tower House, built of sandstone and mud mortar, and an additional 4100 archaeological sites have been discovered. New discoveries are routinely made.

Since 1978 it is a Unesco site.

Thanks to Donna for the postcard.


Historic Centre of Oporto

The city of Oporto, built along the hillsides overlooking the mouth of the Douro river, is an outstanding urban landscape with a 2,000- year history. Its continuous growth, linked to the sea (the Romans gave it the name Portus, or port), can be seen in the many and varied monuments, from the cathedral with its Romanesque choir, to the neoclassical Stock Exchange and the typically Portuguese Manueline-style Church of Santa Clara.

The historic centre of is a townscape of high aesthetic value, with evidence of urban development from the Roman, medieval, and Almadas periods. The rich and varied civil architecture of the historic centre expresses the cultural values of succeeding periods – Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, neoclassical and modern. The active social and institutional tissue of the town ensures its survival as a living historic centre. Military, commercial, agricultural, and demographic interests converged here to shelter a population capable of building the city. It is a collective work, not accomplished at a particular moment but the result of successive contributions. One of the most relevant aspects of Oporto is its scenic character, resulting from the complexity of the landform, the harmonious articulation of its roads, and the dialogue with the river. It also represents a successful interaction between the social and geographical environments.

Since 1996 it is a Unesce site.

Thanks to Paula for the postcard.


Historic Centre of SighiลŸoara

Founded by German craftsmen and merchants known as the Saxons of Transylvania, SighiลŸoara is a fine example of a small, fortified medieval town which played an important strategic and commercial role on the fringes of central Europe for several centuries.

The city, which lies in the heart of Transylvania, developed on a plateau, and is dominated by a hill overlooking a bend in the river Tirnava. In the 13th century, German craftsmen and merchants were ordered by the Hungarian sovereigns to colonize Transylvania and protect the border of the Carpathians against the steppe peoples. They settled on a hill, called the City Hill, which has revealed traces of occupation going back to the Palaeolithic period. Following incursions by the Tatars in 1241, the fortified settlement was reinforced with walls, guarded by towers, later extended to surround the entire plateau. The town, known in 1280 as Castrum Sex, developed commercial activities thanks to the powerful guilds of craftsmen. Each guild was responsible for the construction of a tower and its defence. The importance of the town was recognized in 1367 when it obtained the title ‘Civitas’ and became the second national political entity of Transylvania. Under pressure from the Turks between 1421 and 1526, the city heightened its walls.

Since 1999 it is a Unesco site.

Thanks to Veronica for the postcard.


Medieval City of Rhodes

The Order of St John of Jerusalem occupied Rhodes from 1309 to 1523 and set about transforming the city into a stronghold. It subsequently came under Turkish and Italian rule. With the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Great Hospital and the Street of the Knights, the Upper Town is one of the most beautiful urban ensembles of the Gothic period. In the Lower Town, Gothic architecture coexists with mosques, public baths and other buildings dating from the Ottoman period.

The medieval city is located within a wall 4ย km long. It is divided according to the Western classical style, with the high town to the north and the lower town south-south-west. Originally separated from the town by a fortified wall, the high townย was entirely built by the Knights Hospitallers who, following the dissolution of the Templars in 1312, became the strongest military order in all Christendom. The order was organized into seven ‘Tongues’, each having its own seat. The inns of the Tongues of Italy, France, Spain and Provence lined both sides of the principal east-west axis, the famous Street of the Knights, one of the finest testimonies to Gothic urbanism. Somewhat removed to the north, close to the site of the Knights’ first hospice, stands the Inn of Auvergne, whose facade bears the arms of Guy de Blanchefort, Grand Master from 1512 to 1513.

After 1523, most were converted into Islamic mosques. Throughout the years, the number of palaces and charitable foundations multiplied in the south-south-east area: the Court of Commerce, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Hospice of St Catherine, and others. The ramparts of the medieval city, partially erected on the foundations of the Byzantine enclosure, were constantly maintained and remodeled between the 14th and 16th centuries under the Grand Masters Giovanni Battista degli Orsini (1467-76), Pierre d’Aubusson (1476-1505), Aimรฉry d’Amboise (1505-12), and Fabrizio del Carretto (1513-21). Artillery firing posts were the final features to be added. At the beginning of the 16th century, in the section of the Amboise Gate, which was built on the north-western angle in 1512, the curtain wall was 12ย m thick with a 4ย m high parapet pierced with gun holes.

Since 1988 it is a Unesco site.

Thanks to Martina, Giada, Laura and Alessia for the postcard.


Thanks to Silvia for the postcard.



Collegiate Church, Castle and Old Town of Quedlinburg

Quedlinburg, in the Land of Sachsen-Anhalt, was a capital of the East Franconian German Empire at the time of the Saxonian-Ottonian ruling dynasty. It has been a prosperous trading town since the Middle Ages. The number and high quality of the timber-framed buildings make Quedlinburg an exceptional example of a medieval European town. The Collegiate Church of St Servatius is one of the masterpieces of Romanesque architecture.

The importance of Quedlinburg rests on three main elements: the preservation of the medieval street pattern; the wealth of urban vernacular buildings, especially timber-framed houses of the 16th and 17th centuries, and the important Romanesque collegiate church of St Servatius. The original urban layout is remarkably well preserved: it is a classic example of the growth of European medieval towns. The history of the medieval and early modern town is perfectly illustrated by the street pattern of the present-day town.

Since 1994 it is a Unesco site.

Thanks to Katrin for the postcard.