In Telč there were originally only houses built of wood. After a fire in the late 14th century, the town was rebuilt in stone, surrounded by walls and further strengthened by a network of artificial ponds. The town’s Gothic castle was reconstructed in High Gothic style in the late 15th century.
The later Middle Ages in central Europe saw the ‘plantation’ of planned settlements in areas of virgin forest for reasons of political control and economic expansion, and Telč is the best-preserved surviving example. It preserves its original layout and the castle-settlement relationship very clearly.
The town is located near the south-western border between Moravia and Bohemia, in a region that was thickly forested until the 13th century.
Besides the monumental 17th century Renaissance chateau with an English-style park (a rebuilding of original Gothic castle), the most significant sight is the town square, a unique complex of long urban plaza with well-conserved Renaissance and Baroque houses with high gables and arcades.
Since 1992 it is a Unesco site.
Thanks to Kevan for the postcard.
Thanks to Ondrej for the postcard.
Because of its strategic position, Luxembourg was, from the 16th century until 1867, when its walls were dismantled, one of Europe’s greatest fortified sites. It was repeatedly reinforced as it passed from one great European power to another: the Holy Roman Emperors, the House of Burgundy, the Habsburgs, the French and Spanish kings, and finally the Prussians. Until their partial demolition, the fortifications were a fine example of military architecture spanning several centuries.
Despite the many assaults from the 15th to the 18th century and the systematic dismantling in the late 19th century, the old quarters and fortifications of the City of Luxembourg enable a complete representation of its historical significance as a fortress and historic city. Bastions and other fortifications still characterize the site of the city, even if they have lost all military significance. Inside the ramparts, the narrow streets recall the minimal housing conditions of the medieval urban fabric.
Since 1994 it is a Unesco site.
Thanks to Amina for the postcard.
Thanks to Monique for the postcard.
This 360-km network of navigable waterways linking the Mediterranean and the Atlantic through 328 structures (locks, aqueducts, bridges, tunnels, etc.) is one of the most remarkable feats of civil engineering in modern times. Built between 1667 and 1694, it paved the way for the Industrial Revolution. The care that its creator, Pierre-Paul Riquet, took in the design and the way it blends with its surroundings turned a technical achievement into a work of art.
It combines with its technological innovation a concern for high aesthetic architectural and landscape design that has few parallels.
Since 1996 it is a Unesco site.
Thanks to Cedric for the postcard.
The Verla groundwood and board mill and its associated residential area is an outstanding, remarkably well-preserved example of the small-scale rural industrial settlements associated with pulp, paper and board production that flourished in northern Europe and North America in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Only a handful of such settlements survive to the present day.
The ‘Industrial Revolution’ that reached the Kymi river valley in the first half of the 1870s is one of the most dramatic phenomena in the economic history of Finland. Over a very short time dozens of steam sawmills, groundwood mills and board mills were established, in many cases by foreign businessmen. The Kymi valley benefited in particular from the construction of timber-floating facilities and the introduction of cooperative floating, enabling logs from the virgin forests of central Finland to be brought to the processing facilities. At the same time a new social class of factory and mill-workers emerged.
The first mill on the western bank of the Verlankoski Rapids was founded in 1872, but it encountered financial problems and closed down after a fire in 1876. A new, larger groundwood mill with adjoining board mills was built in 1882 by two master papermakers. The new mill was again built entirely in wood, but set apart from the other buildings to minimize fire risk. The main section of the present owner’s residence was completed in 1885, and the hostel for the workers in the following year. When the board-drying section was destroyed by fire in 1892 it was replaced by an impressive ornamental building in red brick on four floors.
Since 1996 it is a Unesco site.
Thanks to Sini for the postcard.
San Cristóbal de La Laguna, in the Canary Islands, has two nuclei: the original, unplanned Upper Town; and the Lower Town, the first ideal ‘city-territory’ laid out according to philosophical principles. Its wide streets and open spaces have a number of fine churches and public and private buildings dating from the 16th to the 18th century.
San Cristóbal de la Laguna was the first non-fortified Spanish colonial town, and its layout provided the model for many colonial towns in the Americas.
San Cristóbal was founded in 1497 by Alonso Fernández de Lugo. The original settlers, almost all soldiers, were not allocated building plots; the defined non-fortified urban area was considered to be a public space where anyone could build. As a result small houses were erected haphazardly around the church of La Concepción, without any overall plan. In 1502, a regular town plan based on Leonardo da Vinci’s model for Imola was drawn up for the area. The resulting Lower Town expanded rapidly, attracting the island’s ruling classes and monastic communities began building. A piped water supply was installed at the expense of the Town Council in 1521, and the first public buildings were constructed. However, the political, religious and economic centre was progressively transferred to Santa Cruz, and San Cristóbal declined.
Since 1999 La Laguna is a Unesco site.
Thanks to Patricia for the postcard.
The first card I received of Unesco site was this one.
The Historic Centre of Prague has been a Unesco site since 1992 due to the relevant architectural and cultural influence enjoyed by this city since the Middle Ages.
Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe in terms of its setting on both banks of the Vltava River, its townscape of burger houses and palaces punctuated by towers, and its individual buildings. The Prague architectural works of the Gothic Period (14th and 15th centuries), of the High Baroque of the 1st half of the 18th century and of the rising modernism after the year 1900, influenced the development of Central Europe, perhaps even all European architecture. Prague represents one of the most prominent world centres of creative life in the field of urbanism and architecture across generations, human mentality and beliefs.
I also visited this charming city for the New Year’s Eve in 2012-2013 and I’ve been really impressed by the various beauties of this city.
Thanks to Stanislav for the postcard.
Thanks to Luca for this postcard.
Thanks to Lucy for the postcard.