Thursday, November 15, 2018

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 375

Alcázar, or Royal Palace, Seville, Spain
[photo:  Angel Olivares]

This unused postcard is another sent by my son and his wife from their trip to Portugal and Spain earlier this year.  Printed in Spain and bearing the number 044 in the space for the stamp on the reverse, the photographer is identified as Angel Olivares.  The publishers/printers are L. Domingues, S.A. of Madrid, Editorial Fisa Escudo de Oro, S.A.

The scenes on the card are from the Alcázar of Seville, a royal palace built in the 1360s for the Christian king Peter of Castile who is sometimes called Pedro the Cruel of Castile.  In 1987 UNESCO registered it as a World Heritage Site and it is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe.  The place where the castle is situated has been occupied since the 8th century B.C.

A map of the palace shows a spreading group of different sections stitched together in a rambling fashion to form a large complex.  Originally the palace was built in the Moorish style for a Christian ruler.  The old portion of the palace has some of the best examples of Mudejar architecture despite the fires and earthquakes that made numerous restorations necessary.  The complex that forms the entire palace has definite sections dating to different eras:  Moorish (11th – 12th century); Gothic (13th century); Mudejar (14th century); and Renaissance (15th – 16th century). 

The left panel on the card shows a pool and plants as well as Moorish carvings and tile work.  It is not labeled on the card but it looks like it may be part of the Patio or courtyard famous for sunken gardens and a reflecting pool.  The gardens contain a variety of fruit trees as well as fragrant flowers.  The garden-orchard supplied food for the palace residents.  Water was used for irrigation as well as in pools, ponds, and fountains that were pleasing to the eye.  The gardens have undergone many changes during the years.

The center panel shows the Ambassador’s Hall with its gold dome, representing the heavens, the most spectacular room in the palace.  There are several lavish reception rooms in the palace like the one shown in the panel on the right.  King Peter used the main room during his stay at the Alcázar.  It is the most richly decorated room in the palace.  

Trivia:  In 1526 Emperor Charles V and Isabella of Portugal were married in this room.  The 1729 Treaty of Seville that ended the Anglo-Spanish War of 1727 was signed here.  The palace has been used in the filming of the 5th season of the television version of Game of Thrones and the movie, Kingdom of Heaven.  It is open to the public.

For additional information, see:ázar_of_Seville

Thursday, November 8, 2018

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 374

 The Giralda, Seville, Spain

The postcard this week features a photograph of the bell tower, called the Giralda, of the Seville Cathedral in Seville, Spain.  The photographer is not identified but the card does have the number 107 V on the reverse.  This card is another of those shared by my son and his wife from their trip to Portugal and Spain earlier this year.

The tower was originally built as the minaret for the Great Mosque of Seville during the reign of the Almohad dynasty in Al-Andalus, Moorish Spain.  Catholics added a Renaissance-style top after Muslims left the area.  UNESCO designated the Giralda as a World Heritage Site in 1987.  The tower is 342 feet or 104.1 meters high and has been one of the prominent symbols of the city since the Middle Ages.

The Mosque was commissioned by caliph Abu Ya-qub Yusuf in 1171 to replace a smaller mosque because the congregation had grown larger than the smaller prayer hall could accommodate.  The Mosque was completed in 1176 except for the minaret where construction did not begin until 1184 even though prayers were held there beginning in 1182.  The death of both the architect and the caliph stalled the building of the minaret and it was not until 1198 that the tower was completed.  That tower had four precious metal spheres of gold or bronze at the peak of the tower.  Those were replaced with a cross and bell after building was made into a cathedral by Christians in 1248.  The cathedral suffered damage during the 1356 earthquake.  A new cathedral was begun in 1433 and completed 73 years later in 1506. 

The Giralda has a series of ramps that wind around the perimeter of several vaulted chambers.  The ramps were designed to be wide enough and high enough to be used by people, custodians, and beasts of burden.  The windows in the tower are decorated to match the ramps and maximize the interior lighting.  Some embellishments to the tower were removed during a modern restoration. 

The Giralda is an example of Gothic and Baroque architectural styles and is one of the largest churches in the world. 

For additional information, see:

Thursday, November 1, 2018

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 373

The Museum of Flight, Seattle
[photo:  Christian Bouchez]

After a two week hiatus that included several rides on airplanes it seemed like this postcard was an appropriate start to the Thursday posts. 

On one of the hottest days of the summer we went to the Museum of Flight so we could get a walk in and still be comfortable in an air-conditioned facility.  Part of the exhibit is undercover but outdoors as seen on the postcard and so it was less cool in that section.  This is an amazing museum that features examples of aircraft from DaVinci’s design recreated to space capsules and rocketry.  I purchased this postcard with a photo by Christian Bouchez from the museum gift shop.  

 DaVinci's aircraft drawing brought to life

A glider of the Wright Brother's era recreated

The Museum of Flight, located on Boeing Field, just south of Seattle in Tukwila, is a private non-profit air and space museum.  Established in 1965 it is the largest private air and space museum in the world and attracts over 500,000 visitors a year.  In addition to the exhibits the museum also hosts educational programs for K-12 students through its Challenger and Aviation Learning Centers.  There is also a summer camp for students.  

One small section of the indoor exhibit

Currently the museum’s Aviation Pavilion is a 140,00 square foot or 13,000 square meter structure.  Most of the museum complex is modern but the original “Red Barn” built in 1909 and used in the early 1900s as the original manufacturing plant for Boeing and a registered historic site also known as Building No. 105, is within the grounds and houses photographs, oral histories and exhibits illustrating how wooden aircraft with fabric overlays were manufactured during the early years. 

 One of the Lunar landing capsules

Space Shuttle Trainer

Mercury space capsule


There have been several major expansions to the museum since it was founded including the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery.  The museum has the Space Shuttle trainer that the Space Shuttle astronauts used. 

For additional information, see: