Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world's great natural wonders - the glistening white sands of New Mexico. In White Sands National Monument, great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert and created the world's largest gypsum dune field.
The pure gypsum (hydrous calcium sulfate) that forms these unusual dunes originates in the western portion of the monument from an ephemeral lake or playa with a very high mineral content. As the water evaporates (theoretically as much as 80" per year!), the minerals are left behind to form gypsum deposits that eventually are wind-transported to form these white sand dunes.
Many species of plants and animals have developed very specialized means of surviving in this area of cold winters, hot summers, with very little surface water and highly mineralized ground water.
High in the mountains of Southern Africa, unique in that it is an independent nation completely surrounded by South Africa, is the Kingdom of Lesotho — the Kingdom in the Sky. It is the only independent state in the world that lies entirely above 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) in elevation. Its capital and largest city is Maseru.
Aloe broomii is a short-stemmed, robust aloe reaching a height of 1.5 m.Lekhala means aloe in Lesotho.
“A stunning set of rocks welcome you to the city of Beirut. Pigeons’ Rock (also known as the Rock of Raouché) is located at Beirut’s western-most tip, the two huge rock formations stand like gigantic sentinels to the city. Locals love to walk along the corniche (seaside promenade) at any time of day, but during sunset it is especially busy.”
(left) Arabic League
(right) from a set of three, picturing traditional buildings
The city of Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 to the immediate north of the walled port city of Jaffa, on the hills along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. During the era of British rule in Palestine (1917-1948) it developed into a thriving urban centre, becoming Israel's foremost economic and metropolitan nucleus.
The White City was constructed from the early 1930s until the 1950s, based on the urban plan by Sir Patrick Geddes, reflecting modern organic planning principles. The buildings were designed by architects who were trained in Europe where they practiced their profession before immigrating.
The architects and designers of the city could not imagine that their choice of the Bauhaus style of architecture would eventually make Tel Aviv the largest open-air Bauhaus museum in the world.
From a series of four stamps about historical cities of Brazil: historic city of Mariana.
Rovinj is a city in Croatia situated on the north Adriatic Sea with a population of about 14,000. It is located on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula and is a popular tourist resort and an active fishing port.
The Brandenburg Tor (Tor is German for Gate) is a former city gate and one of the most well-known landmarks of Berlin and Germany. It is the only remaining gate of a series through which Berlin was once entered.
Simply known as "The Cedars", this resort settlement in Lebanon's highest range is one of the most dramatically beautiful spots in the country. Its centerpiece is an ancient grove of cedars, a tree synonymous for millennia with Lebanon itself.
The Cedars tree, majestic and indestructible, is the emblem of Lebanon and adorns its flag.
(left) Arabic League
(right) from a set of three picturing traditional buildings
The incense tree has been the reason for the Omani merchants' fortune for over 2,000 years. The trees, which can reach up to 13 ft, grow naturally in the far ends of the wadis of Dhofar, in the south of the country. The collecting of the sap, also called olibanum, takes place in the spring when the sap hardens into small ‘tears' of variable color between yellow and white.
The incense was very valuable in Ancient History and during the Middle Ages because the places of production were kept secret and the journey to the West by caravan, across Yemen and Saudi Arabia, or by boat along the Red sea, would take several months in all.
Copan is an archaeological site of the Maya civilization located in the Copán Department of western Honduras, not far from the border with Guatemala.
Copan - known as Xukpi to the Maya - was the dominant Mayan city in the south of their territory. Its rich stone sculptures and intricate hieroglyphs make Copan a feature attraction along 'La Ruta Maya'.
From a set of three stamps, National symbols from Honduras, the White Tailed Deer.
Tela is a popular destination for Hondurans on holidays.
Tela was founded by the conquistador Cristobal de Olid the third of May 1524. Because of the date, which the Catholic Religion dedicates as the day of the Holy Cross, the city was given the name of Triunfo de la Cruz (Triumph of the Cross). As it was a rather long name, it was soon abbreviated as T. de la +, and by 1829 it was referred to as Tela.
There are historians who say that the origin of the name is a contraction of Tetela, which in the Nahua language means "land of hills and craggy mountains."
From a set of three stamps, National symbols from Honduras, the White Tailed Deer.
The National Museum “George Enescu” was opened in the Cantacuzino Palace, one of the most beautiful buildings in Bucharest, a historical monument and one of the European Heritage Label buildings. The sumptuous entrance, in Art Nouveau style, announces the luxury and the refinement of the époque, reunited in one of the most imposing palaces in Bucharest.
Built in 1899–1902 by Gheorghe Grigore Cantacuzino, former mayor of Bucharest, leader of the Conservative Party, and one of the richest men in Romania ever. After Cantacuzino died in 1913, the palace was inherited by his son Mihail Cantacuzino and his wife, Maria.
After the premature death of her first husband, Maria re-married in 1939, becoming the wife of George Enescu, Romania's greatest composer. George Enescu (1881-1955) was a composer, a violinist, a teacher, a pianist and a conductor, a complex and brilliant artistic personality.
After the death of George Enescu, in 1955, his wife donated the domain to the Museum and to the Composers’ and Musicologists’ Union of Romania, to be dedicated to the memory of the musician. Thus, on the 19th of June 1956, George Enescu Museum was opened.
From a large set of stamp picturing Romanian Pottery, Pots & Cups II - Pot handcrafted in Transylvania.
Samoa is a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It became independent from New Zealand in 1962. Samoa is a postcard of natural beauty consisting of ten islands, each offering very distinct and different environments to explore.
At the turn of the 20th century, the Tripartite Convention partitioned the Samoan Islands into two parts: the eastern island group became a territory of the United States and is today known as American Samoa.
2012 started the most unusual way when on 29 December 2011, Samoa officially traveled in time and changed time zone to be in line with Australia and New Zealand. Samoa jumped from the 29th to the 31st of December and was one of the first nations to greet the New Year.
Burj Al Arab, the Tower of the Arabs,is a luxury hotel located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. At 321 m (1,053 ft), it is the fourth tallest hotel in the world. Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island 280 m (920 ft) out from Jumeirah beach, and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. The shape of the structure is designed to mimic the sail of a ship.
This is the 'Spice Isle' of the Caribbean; a geographical gem where visitors can sink into the serenity of warm breezes and soft moonlight; feel history in centuries old forts; touch the floor of the rain forest and swim among coral reefs. This is the land of spices, exotic flowers and rare fruits; the three island nation of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique and the gateway to the Grenadines.
The three islands of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique are located in the eastern Caribbean at the southern extremity of the Windward Islands, only 100 miles north of Venezuela. To the north lie St. Vincent and the Grenadines and to the south lie Trinidad and Tobago.
From a set of seven butterfly stamps: the Cream-spotted Tigerwing.
The Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque was built in 1958. It was named after Omar Ali Saifuddien, the 28th Sultan of Brunei, who is also fondly referred to by locals as the “architect of modern Brunei.” Currently, it is considered one of the most magnificent mosques in the entire Southeast Asian region.
Two stamps to mark Farmers and Fishermen Day and, from a set of three stamps about Wild Orchids of Borneo, the dendrobium.
Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about 900 kilometers (560 mi) east of Madagascar. Its capital city is Port Louis. Mauritius became independent from the UK in 1968.
In 1598 a Dutch squadron landed at Grand Port and named the island "Mauritius", in honour of Prince Maurits van Nassau, stadtholder of the Dutch Republic. However, it was not until 1638 that there was a first attempt of Dutch settlement. It was from here that Dutch navigator Abel Tasman set out to discover the western part of Australia. The Dutch abandoned Mauritius in 1710.
A Tourloulou Crab and International year of chemistry (2011).
Around the year 1080 Thomas of Bayeux became Archbishop and started building a cathedral that in time grew into the Minster we have today. This vast Norman church was completed around the 1100. In 1215 Walter Gray became archbishop and he was to serve the cathedral for 40 years. It was Walter who started to transform the Norman Church in to the Minster we have today. The Minster that we know today had taken about 250 years to build.
Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants. Ethiopia is bordered by Eritrea to the north, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south.
The country is a land of natural contrasts, with waterfalls and volcanic hot springs. Ethiopia has some of Africa's highest mountains as well as some of the world's lowest points below sea level. It has the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa.
The National Theatre of Costa Rica is located in the central section of San José, Costa Rica. Construction began in 1891, and it opened to the public on 21 October 1897 with a performance of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust.
The National Theater was modeled after the art deco style of Paris’ Opera House.
Horse drawn surreys (carriage rides) take you to focal points in Nassau.... Government House, Parliament Square, Queen’s Staircase. National Art Gallery, Pompey Museum, Stately Houses & Cathedrals, Straw Market, Festival Place where cruise ships dock and much more.
The pink building in the backround is Government House, where the Governor General lives. The statue is of Christopher Columbus who discoverd the New World when he landed on the tiny Bahamian island of San Salvador in 1492.