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CARTHALIA shows my collection of old and new postcards of exterior and interior views of theatres of all times worldwide. The web site does not yet feature the entire collection - "black" text in the menu on the left means that I have not yet scanned my postcard(s) of that theatre. However, you can already have a look at over 4800 images of over 2100 buildings in 110 countries.

CARTHALIA includes ancient theatres, drama theatres, opera houses, variety theatres, cabarets, music halls, cinemas, spa theatres, garden theatres, ship theatres, open-air stages, concert halls (especially for classical music) and similar buildings. Also included are cards depicting theatre fires, theatre ruins, and plans, models, or paintings of theatres. Excluded from this site are ancient amphitheatres (which are rather sport stadiums than theatres and are only included if they have been used for theatre performances in modern times) and mere bandstands or bandshells.

Of many theatres, I have a lot more postcards than can be shown on these pages - in these cases, I try to include at least one older and one modern card of each view. Modern reproductions of old postcards or paintings are included if they offer significant historical views that I have not yet been able to locate on original postcards. Apart from that, reproductions may also be a way to understand which historical views are still a vivid part of public imagination.

CARTHALIA is not intended to be "purist" in any way, as it also contains some non-postcard collectables such as theatre tickets, trading cards, greeting cards, postal stamps, first day covers, postal stationery, decorative postmarks, decorative unofficial stamps, money bills, or telephone cards.

Giving a complete account of the history of each theatre is clearly out of scope of a project like this - the accompanying texts are merely thought to give a short overview of a building's history. To illustrate the importance of a theatre building, some dates of world premieres of famous and lesser known works of the international dramatic, operatic and symphonic repertoire are listed. The texts are heavily indebted to a lot of books on theatre architecture (see Selected Bibliography), countless web pages, and many useful comments from friends and internet users worldwide.

CARTHALIA is a made-up word mixing

  • CARD, derived from the Latin CHARTA (= a sheet of paper , also root of the French "carte", Italian "cartolino", German "Karte" and many more)

  • with THALIA, the Greek Muse of comedy. While other Muses, such as Melpomene (the muse of tragedy), Euterpe (music), Terpsichore (dance), and also Clio (history), would be equally suitable patrons for this site, Thalia is probably most widely known as the theatrical Muse. There are even several theatres named in her honour. If you think that all this is not enough of fancy mythology, you might consider that Thalia, like all muses, is a daughter of Zeus (powerful ruler of Heaven) and Mnemosyne (goddess of Memory) - in a similar vein, this collection tries to combine the heavenly powers of theatre and its often magnificent architecture with the memory of "golden ages of theatre" and the many theatres lost to posterity by war, fire, or plain neglect.


Do you know more details? Have you spotted a mistake? Please send me an e-mail message! I will try to include any information about the history and current use of theatre buildings - especially if a theatre has been renamed or destroyed. Of course, your contribution will be credited unless you do not wish to be mentioned.

If you want to help, why not also have a look at Postcards I could not yet attribute.


Legend of categories:

Country: English name (local name in brackets)

State/Region/County etc.: local name of administrative division, in the UK: historic county

City: local name (former local names in brackets)

Location: borough, quarter, address etc. (former addresses in brackets)

Picture: details describing the picture on the card if not mentioned otherwise

Front/Reverse Text: text printed on cards, inscription, posters, signs: text featured in the picture itself, on houses, posters, signs etc.

Handwritten Text: notes by senders, recipients or earlier collectors

Publisher: publisher and editorial information

Type: Divided Back/Undivided Back, Real Photo, Hold-to-Light, Advertisement, Moonlight, Reproduction etc.

Size: "Classic" (older cards of small size, also known as "standard size"; scan resolution: 100 dpi) or "Modern" (larger than older cards, but scanned at 75 dpi, hence the screen images appear to be smaller than those of "classic" cards!). For very small cards, very large cards, or any other items of unusual size, the size is given in centimetres. (N.B.: Stamp blocks are generally scanned at 100 dpi, with only very large blocks scanned at 75 dpi. Single stamps are generally scanned at 150 dpi.)

Sent: "from" and "to" cities, year of postal use etc.
- or -
Not sent = not been postally sent as a postcard (although it may have been used for private messages, or sent in an envelope)


Legal Issues:

License: This is a private site celebrating a passion for theatres and a passion for collecting postcards. The purpose of the gallery is to show my collection - it is entirely non-commercial. All texts and all public domain pictures on the site are published without any usage restrictions from my part. The copyright for any images that have not entered the public domain yet remains with the respective copyright holder.

Your copyright is infringed? Please send me an E-Mail message. If you authorize me to show the items on this site, I will add appropriate copyright/license information (and, if you wish, a link to your home page). If you choose to prohibit the exhibition, I will remove the images in question as soon as possible.

You want to re-use an image? Due to the low resolution of the scans, none of the images on the site are ready for being printed. Neither are they too useful for certain research purposes. If you want to use public domain images in publications or for your research, please send me an E-Mail message. I will try to provide a better scan, free of charge. Copyrighted images can be scanned and e-mailed for research purposes, but naturally I cannot grant any permission to publish them.

Some images may contain political symbols that are illegal in some countries. See a note on Nazi postcards shown on this site.


CARTHALIA - Eine kurze Einführung in deutscher Sprache (short introduction in German)



Andreas Praefcke, 2001-2016. Responsible for contents on www.andreas-praefcke.de: Andreas Praefcke, Stauferstrasse 34, 88214 Ravensburg, Germany.

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