Sunday, January 15, 2012

WEEK 02/52 - Acropolis, Greece

during 2nd week of our expanding adventure, we'll take a journey to a beautiful country's capital and home of democracy - Athens. i'm lucky enough to tell it is also a place where my dear friend lives, and she is the person i'd like to thank especially for this week's postcard as well. Eirini, thank you so much for supporting me with the project and cheering for me always, i cannot tell enough how thankful i am.

let's take a look at what Eirini herself wrote to us and enjoy visiting lovely Greece (it's a chance to admire beautiful and one of my personal favourite stamps as well) :)


What would a visit to Athens be without going to the Acropolis to see the Parthenon? It is believed to be  the most perfect building created by the world's most advanced civilization and even though specialists have been studying it carefully for centuries, we still can't be 100% sure how exactly it was built. The Acropolis is the most accurate reflection of the splendour, power and wealth of Athens at its greatest peak, the golden age of Perikles.

The Acropolis of Athens is a flat-topped rock that rises 150 m (490 ft) above sea level, with a surface area of about 3 hectares. The hill and its monuments are universal symbols of the classical spirit and civilization – they form the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed to the world by Greek Antiquity. In the second half of the 5th century BC, Athens, following the victory against the Persians and the establishment of democracy, took a leading position amongst the other city states of the ancient world. In the age that followed, as thought and art flourished, an exceptional group of artists put into effect the ambitious plans of Athenian statesman Pericles and, under the inspired guidance of the sculptor Pheidias, transformed the rocky hill into a unique monument of thought and the arts. The most important monuments were built during that time: the Parthenon, the Erechtheon, the Propylaea, the monumental entrance to the Acropolis, designed by Mnesicles and the small temple of Athena Nike.

postcard sent by lovely Eirini, thank you!

Parthenon is the greatest and finest sanctuary of ancient Athens, dedicated primarily to its patron, the goddess Athena, dominates the centre of the modern city from the rocky crag known as the Acropolis. The most celebrated myths of ancient Athens, its greatest religious festivals, earliest cults and several decisive events in the city's history are all connected to this sacred precinct. The monuments stand in harmony with their natural setting. These unique masterpieces of ancient architecture combine different orders and styles of Classical art in a most innovative manner and have influenced art and culture for many centuries.

What makes the Parthenon so facinating is that to look at it you would think that is is made up of interchangable pieces. For example the columns are stones placed on top of each other and you could replace one piece of a column with any of the others. Not true. Each piece of the Parthenon is unique and fits together like the world's biggest and heaviest jigsaw puzzle. Lines that look straight are actually not. The ancient Greeks understood the mechanics of site and that to make a line look straight it had to be tapered or curved.

Regular ticket for seeing this exquisite place is a cost of €12. It allows you to see not only the Parthenon but also Ancient Agora, Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos or Hadrian's Library. There are also free admission days like 6 March, 18 April, 18 May, 5 June, 27 September and more.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

WEEK 01/52 - Kinderdijk, Netherlands

What is the very first association with the Netherlands when you think of it – is it tulips, cheese markets, traditional houses, pottery made of Royal Delft, innovative water-management? For me personally, it has always been tranquility, millions of bicycles and clogs - traditional wooden shoes, mini-version of which my sister brought home from her trip to Holland when I was little. Whatever that is – as we could mention many more examples  – today let us focus on a worldwide-known Dutch icon and landscape feature  –  windmills.

pictures found on &

I’m truly happy to present the postcard that opens the ’52 postcards’ project. It was sent by Moniek from the Netherlands, whom I’d like to thank with all my heart. It’s an exquisite view of the windmills village and Unesco World Heritage Site – Kinderdijk

See what Moniek herself wrote us:



The Netherlands is famous for its windmills –  more than 1 000 are still there nowadays. Nowhere in the world you can find as many of them in one place as near beautiful village Kinderdijk – with 19 magnificent and well-preserved windmills. Kinderdijk is at a distance of only 16 kilometers from Rotterdam and a little bit less than 10 kilometers from the city border of the oldest city in the region, Dordrecht. The mills drain the excess of water from the Alblasserwaard polder; then all of the excessive water supplies the Rijn river.

The country, which is approximately the size of the US states Connecticut and Massachusetts combined, has about 27% of land actually below the sea level; at the same time this area is home to over 60% of the overall population. It’s an example of remarkable water management and techniques of reclaiming the land from the sea. Let’s take a glimpse of how it looks like: firstly a dike is built around a large area covered with water, then the water is completely pumped out of the section. A place created this way is called a polder, which can be used for farming and industrial purposes. The process of draining is possible by using a windmill or mechanical pumps. The main advantage of a mill is that it requires renewable (and free) energy  of the wind, not fuel. On the other hand, the wind is not a factor we can rely on totally and also it has less power and it’s slower than a mechanical pump. 

postcard sent by Moniek, thank you!

Construction of hydraulic works for agriculture and settlement began in the Middle Ages and have continued uninterruptedly to the present day. The installations here illustrate all the typical features associated with this technology – apart from windmills there are also dykes, reservoirs or pumping stations to admire. Although they went out of use in the late 1940s, all 19 mills are still maintained in operating condition, because they function as fall-back mills in case of failure of the modern equipment. So far as the landscape is concerned, the other most striking feature is the evidence that the medieval land-tenure system is still present in two areas. This is a landscape that has not changed significantly for centuries.The mills are lined up in two opposite rows and form a spectacular sight. The unique character was rewarded with a Unesco recognition in 1997, filling 3 criteria of inscription (I, II and IV).
The name Kinderdijk is Dutch for "Children's dike" and comes from a folktale. It is said that when the terrible storm had subsided, someone went to the dike near the polder to see what could be saved. He saw a wooden cradle floating in the distance. When the cradle came nearer, someone saw quiet and dry baby sleeping there safely.

The good news is that visiting the famous 17th century windmills is free. The area has nice infrastructure of roads, walking- and cycling paths (you can go straight to Rotterdam from there on a bike). Apart from walking or cycling, canal cruises are organized – each of them lasts for about 30 minutes and doesn’t require any reservations. Horse and carriage tours are quite famous too & you can also see Kinderdijk from the air.

stamp that came with the postcard
In July and August you can witness how all nineteen mills still operate; while during wintertime  you can capture picturesque moments when families ice-skate along the Kinderdijk. Also, during 2nd week of September every year, the windmills are lighted at night, which is called ‘mills in floodlight’. This attracts many visitors from all over the world. During the tourist season one of the windmills is opened for visitors - anyone can get a pretty good idea about the functioning of the mechanisms and the lifestyle back then while visiting.

It is said that a photo album of your trip to the Netherlands isn’t complete without a photograph of the windmills at Kinderdijk. Looking at the postcard we shouldn’t have any doubts. :)