Saturday, March 31, 2012

A postcard from the West Indies: Barbados

The West Indies is a large group of islands that separate the Caribbean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean. They comprise three main island groups: Bahamas (north), Greater Antilles (central) and Lesser Antilles (southeast). Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles.

The postcard shows the houses of parliament in Bridgetown. Bridgetown is the capital and commercial centre and has a population of about 80 000. It was originally named "Indian Bridge" for the rude bridge which had been constructed over the river (now known as the Careenage) by the Indians.

(left) From a set of 16 stamps about local fruits: Sea Grape  (2011)
(right) From a set of 15 stamps about local trees: Orchid Tree (2005)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The old city of Erbil | Hewlêr, Iraqi Kurdistan

Iraqi Kurdistan or Kurdistan Region is an autonomous region of Iraq. It borders Iran to the east, Turkey to the north, Syria to the west and the rest of Iraq to the south. The regional capital is Erbil, known in Kurdish as Hewlêr.
From a set of four stamps, Red Crescent.

“The Red Crescent is an internationally accepted symbol that stands for emergency assistance, and is simply another symbol for the commonly known Red Cross.  In fact, the full name of the "Red Cross" is "International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies"

Thx again Steve!

A Roman monument from Tyr, Lebanon

These remains of an old Roman race track are located in the Lebanese city of Tyr. Situated approximately 50 miles south of Beirut, Tyr was founded by Phoenician settlers in the third millennium B.C.

“The Roman hippodrome, the largest in the world, will overwhelm you with its grandeur. You will be transported back into a bygone era as you envision the death-defying chariot races and hear the cheering crowd seated on the enormous stone stands.”


THX Steve!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Port el Kantaoui, Tunisia

Port El Kantaoui is a tourist complex 10 kilometers north of Sousse in central Tunisia. It was built in 1979 specifically as a tourist centre, around a large artificial harbor. It quickly established itself as one of the most popular holiday resorts in Tunisia.

From a set of four stamps with ‘plantes medicinales’: La Verveine odorante (French for Lemon Verbena). This is a medicinal plant, used especially as a tea against digestive disorders due to nervousness or pressure. It is advisable to use it with caution because it can cause a drop in blood pressure. The verbena is also used to flavor a number of dishes and cakes.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The University of Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius University is one of the oldest universities in Eastern Europe. It was founded at a time when the reformation movement was active in Lithuania and Jesuit monks were invited to help fight the mood of reformation. Jesuit monks were quick to take over education. In 1569, they established a college and in 1579 the University of Vilnius was born.

The complexes of Vilnius University were formed over several centuries and, as a result, consist of the buildings built in Gothic, Baroque and Classical styles.

Pilgrim's route of Pope John Paul II. In the background you see The Cathedral of Vilnius.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A monument from Polotsk, Belarus

Monument to Simeon Polotsky (1625-1680) – the poet, teacher and theologian.
Polotsk is a historical city in Belarus.

From a series of stamps about garden flowers: Zinnia.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tripoli | طرابلس

Tripoli is the largest city in northern Lebanon and the second-largest city in Lebanon, 85 kilometers north of Beirut. It is a major port, a commercial and industrial centre, and a popular beach resort.

The Arab League is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia (Middle East).

THx Steve!

A Postcard from the Republic of Palau: Belau dancers

The Republic of Palau (Belau) with its main island Babeldaob, is an island nation in the northern Pacific Ocean, located some 700 km east of the Philippines. The population of Palau is approximately 21,000.

“Palau offers you the world's most beautiful tropical paradise. Famous for its diving, Palau is rated as one of the world's best diving destinations by scuba aficionados. And why not...Palau has unspoiled reefs, caves, and walls with the most amazing array of marine life you can ever imagine.”

From a set of 22 fish stamps: a Giant Kingfish, a Pink Anemonefish and a Peach Anthias.

THx Rod!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

From the Pearl of Siberia: Altai (Upper Multa Lake)

The Altai Mountains are a complex mountain system of Central Asia extending approximately 1,200 miles (2,000 km) in a southeast-northwest direction from the Gobi (Desert) to the West Siberian Plain, through China, Mongolia, Russia, and Kazakhstan. The jagged mountain ridges derive their name from the Turkic-Mongolian altan, meaning “golden.”

Multa lakes are located in the valley of the river Multa that flows along a comparatively shallow valley of the north slope of Katun mountain ridge western part. Multa lakes are divided into three lakes: Upper Multa lake, Middle Multa lake and Lower Multa lake. 

World Natural Heritage of Russia - The Golden Mountains of Altai

The Belukha Mountain
The Katun River
The Telesskoye Lake

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rhododendron blooms on the bank of the Katun River

The Katun River is one of the last large, dam-free wild and scenic rivers in Russia. Flowing for over 680 kilometers, the Katun is famous for its glacier-blue waters, alpine valleys, and world-class kayaking and rafting. Katun River is the main water artery of the Altai Mountains.

‘The word “Katun’,” in Turkic languages, means “woman,” “mother,” “lady”; and so it is considered a sin to throw a rock into the river.’

From a set of two stamps Fauna of Russia: Whales (2012). 

Monday, March 19, 2012

A postcard from the West Indies: Dominica


“Dozens of sulphur springs, bubbling pots and the famous Boiling Lake - wherever you are on the island, there's never a bit of hot water or volcanic activity far away! You may even catch the smell of sulphur in the wind... “

Dominica's Boiling Lake is situated in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park. It is filled with bubbling greyish-blue water that is usually enveloped in a cloud of vapour.

It is believed that the Lake is actually a flooded fumarole, a crack through which gases escape from the molten lava below, rather than a volcanic crater. The natural basin of the Boiling Lake collects the rainfall from the surrounding hills and from two small streams which empty into the lake. The water seeps through the porous bottom to the hot lava below where it is trapped and heated to boiling point.

Vincent's Least Gecko is a gecko found in the Caribbean, on the islands of Dominica, Martinique, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Postcard from the West Indies: Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda  (Spanish for "ancient" and "bearded") is a twin-island nation lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands. Antigua and Barbuda are in the middle of the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles.

The English settled on Antigua in 1632; Sir Christopher Codrington settled on Barbuda in 1684. Most Antiguans are of African lineage, descendants of slaves brought to the island centuries ago to labor in the sugarcane fields. The British ruled from 1632 to 1981, with a brief French interlude in 1666. The islands became an independent state within the Commonwealth Realm system in 1981.

English Harbour, Antigua's graceful and evocative historic district, is focused on the fifteen square miles of Nelson's Dockyard National Park. Developed as a base for the British Navy in the great age of sail, the harbour served as the headquarters of the fleet of the Leeward Islands during the turbulent years of the late 18th century.

From a set of thirteen stamps about plants, flowers and trees: the Mesquite tree.

update: designated in 2016 as a Unesco World Heritage Site 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pingtan Haitan National Scenic Zone, China

Located in Pingtan County, Fujian Province, this national scenic zone is the closest resort to Taiwan, and is a natural scenic zone featured by sandy beaches and marine abrasion landform constituted by granite rocks.

“The higher is 33 meters, and the lower is 17 meters. They stand gloriously in the midstream, just like skyscraping pillars positing between sky and the sea. They are picked up by a reef plate at the bottom, which is like a ship hoisting its sail. In the morning fog or sunset glow, the sea glows with wave light, while the two stones are like two large ships cruising lively with hoisting sails.”


Friday, March 16, 2012

A Postcard from Tajikistan!

Tajikistan is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east. Mountains cover over 90% of this Central Asian republic.

The Tajik people came under Russian rule in the 1860s. In 1929 Tajikistan was made one of the component republics of the Soviet Union – Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic (Tajik SSR) – and it kept that status until its independence in1991.

Tajikistan is the only former Soviet state with Islam as its official religion. During the course of seven decades of political control, Soviet policy makers were unable to eradicate the Islamic tradition.

(left) From a set of 4 stamp, wax figures
(right) From a set of 8 stamps: a copper water pot from the 19th century

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sunset over Río Paraguay

The Paraguay River (Río Paraguay in Spanish) is a major river in south central South America, running through Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina. It flows approximately 2,549 kilometers from its headwaters in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso to its confluence with the Parana River north of Corrientes. It divides Paraguay into two regions, the oriental and the occidental.
(source: wikitravel)

From a set of two stamps about Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Moscow. The Cathedral of Christ the Savior

The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow may be the largest Orthodox church in the world. The building is magnificent, but not as old as it looks: it was rebuilt in 2000 after the original was demolished by Stalin.

(left) A stamp from 2002depicting a geyser in Valley of the Geysers in Kamchatka.  
(right) From a set of two stamps Fauna of Russia: Whales (2012).  

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Postcard from China: Naxi | 納西族 Farmer and his Son

The Naxi people are one of China 's 56 recognized ethnicities. They live on farming, stockbreeding and handicrafts. The people of the Naxi mostly live in the Naxi Autonomous County in Lijiang, Yunnan Province, while the rest live in Sichuan and Tibet.

From a set of 4 stamps (1998)
(left) Yalongwan National Tourism and Resort Zone
(right) Sanya Phoenix International Airport

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Postcard from Tunisia: city of Sousse | سوسة

Sousse is a city in Tunisia. Located 140 km south of the capital Tunis. Sousse is an important tourist resort.

From a set of four stamps with ‘plantes medicinales’: La Verveine odorante (French for Lemon Verbena).

This is a medicinal plant, used especially as a tea against digestive disorders due to nervousness or pressure. It is advisable to use it with caution because it can cause a drop in blood pressure. The verbena is also used to flavor a number of dishes and cakes.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Postcard from San Marino: First tower

San Marino is the oldest state in Europe, and the third smallest country in Europe, when compared to the Vatican and Monaco.

According to tradition, it was founded in 301 AD when a Christian stonemason named Marinus the Dalmatian fled the island of Arbe to escape the anti-Christian Roman Emperor Diocletian. Marinus hid on the peak of Mount Titano and founded a small community of people following their Christian beliefs.

The Three Towers of San Marino are a group of towers located in San Marino. The First Tower, a souvenir from the Middle Ages, built directly on the rock with no foundation, dates back to the tenth century.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Reduit Beach, St Lucia

“The five mile white sands of St Lucia Reduit Beach are one of the most sought after beaches in the North of St Lucia, great for long walks and swimming in the calm Caribbean waters.

Visitors can enjoy a warm day of sunbathing, people-watching, kayaking, snorkeling, windsurfing and other beach activities.

The surrounding sea grape and palm trees offer ample shade and there are beautiful views of Rodney Bay where you can enjoy the many nearby restaurants and shops. Lounge chairs and umbrellas are available for rental as well.”

From a set of 14 stamps issued in 2005 about fruits and nuts.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Postcard from the West Indies: Dominican Republic

Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt.

The Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean nation (after Cuba).

Christopher COLUMBUS explored and claimed the island on his first voyage in 1492; it became a springboard for Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and the American mainland.

After three centuries of Spanish rule, with French and Haitian interludes, the country became independent in 1821.

From a set of two stamps about saving energy (2006)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mosaics from Cyprus

Paphos is a coastal city in the southwest of Cyprus. It is famous for the remains of the Roman governor's palace, where extensive, fine mosaics are a major tourist attraction.

(left) The Refugee Fund Tax Stamp. Every letter, postcard and parcel has to have an additional refugee postage stamp on it in order for it to enter the sending process. The proceeds of the refugee stamps go to the refugee fund, i.e. for the Greek Cypriots who became refugees from their homes in the north of Cyprus after the invasion in 1974.

(right) From 2011, Cyprus Embroidery

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Singapore by night

Singapore is the smallest country in Southeast Asia. Singapore consists only of one main island and 63 other tiny islands. Most of these islands are uninhabited.

The name Singapore is derived from the word “Singapura” or “Lion City” as legend has it that a Sumatran prince sighted a beast that looked like a lion when he first set foot on the island in the 14th century. In the year 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles established a British trading station on this island. Singapore gained its independence as a sovereign and democratic nation on 9 August 1965.

The Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot is a small (13 cm) mainly green parrot found in forested lowlands from Thailand to Borneo.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

MAYAKOVSKAYA metro station from Russia

Mayakovskaya is a Moscow metro station on the Zamoskvoretskaya Line. Considered to be one of the most beautiful in the system, it is a fine example of pre-World War II Stalinist Architecture and one of the most famous Metro stations in the world. The station got its name after a Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930).

(left) Sixth Definitives series  - Russian Kremlins: Pskov Kremlin

(right) Moscow State University Clock
The diameter of this clock is 9 meters in diameter. An accompanying barometer and thermometer are also housed with this clock, which was built in 1953.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Macedonian orthodox churches

(upper left) The Church of St. Panteleimon in Gorno Nerezi, is a small 12th century Byzantine church located in a monastery complex. The church and monastery are dedicated to St. Panteleimon, the patron saint of physicians.

The Church of Saint Clement of Ohrid located in Skopje is the largest Orthodox temple of the Macedonian Orthodox Church today.



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