Wednesday, May 30, 2012

From the edge of the Qadisha Valley: city of Hasroun, Lebanon

The name Hasroun is of Phoenician origin and means the fortress. A small quite village lodged at the edge of the Qadisha Valley, overlooking the southern branch of this valley. Hasroun is notable for its well preserved Ottoman-era stone houses with red-tile roofs. From Hasroun a path descends to the ancient church of Mar Michael and the monastery of Deir Mar Yaqoub, then continues down into the Qadisha Valley.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Forest of the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz el-Rab)

Even though several regions of Lebanon shelter cedars forests, 'the Cedars' refers to the Arz-el-Rab massif, in north Lebanon. A few minutes away from the town of Bcharreh lays the multi-millennial cedars forest.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rock apes from Gibraltar

Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. Today its economy is based largely on tourism, financial services, and shipping.

The Barbary Macaque population in Gibraltar is the only one in the whole of the European continent, and, unlike that of North Africa, it is thriving. At present there are some 300 animals in five troupes occupying the area of the Upper Rock, though. The Gibraltar Barbary Macaques are considered by many to be the top tourist attraction in Gibraltar.

From a large set of 13 stamps with birds from Gibraltar: the Eurasian Hoopoe.  

Mount Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Mount Kinabalu is a prominent mountain on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. With 4095m it is the tallest mountain in South-East Asia.  It is located in the East Malaysian state of Sabah and is protected as Kinabalu National Park, a World Heritage Site.

Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located at the centre of the Maritime Southeast Asia. This island is divided between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Indonesians refer to the Borneo Island as “Kalimantan”.

(left) A stamp to commemorate the 1st Commonwealth Tourism Ministers Meeting in Kuala Lumpur on the 18th to 21st March 2004.

(right) From a set of four stamps about fireflies.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva, Philippines

The church of Santo Tomàs de Villanueva in Miag-ao is among the best examples in the Philippines of the “fortress baroque” style.

Built of local yellow-orange sandstone, the large fortress-church was completed in 1797. The church withstood typhoons and earthquakes, but it burned twice: first was during the revolution against Spain in 1898 and the second was during the Philippine-American War a few years later.
From a series of stamps about fish: a Copper-band Butterflyfish, a Picasso Trigger and a Murex Shell.

Church of St Nicholas in Kakopetria, Cyprus

In the central part of Cyprus, in the mountains of the Troodos range, some of the most important monuments of the history of Byzantine painting have survived. These are the painted churches which have to this day preserved brilliant examples of various trends of Byzantine and post-Byzantine monumental art, from the 11th to the 19th century.

The church of Ayios Nikolaos tis Stegis is situated in a central area of the Troodos mountain range, about two kilometers southwest of the village of Kakopetria. Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis is the only surviving katholicon (monastery church) of an 11th century Byzantine monastery in Cyprus. The church itself is dated to the 11th century. In 1985 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List which includes nine other painted Byzantine churches of the Troodos range.

From a set of two ATM labels (2010) with topic moufflon. The Cyprus moufflon is a kind of wild sheep and is found only in Cyprus.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A postcard from Ireland: The Skellig Islands

The Skellig Islands, Skellig Michael and Small Skellig, are two small, steep, and rocky islands lying about 13 km west of Bolus Head on the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland. Skellig Michael is known throughout the world of archaeology as the site of a well-preserved monastic outpost of the Early Christian period that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

(right) A matching stamp. from a set of two Europa stamps (2012).

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A postcard from Kyrgyzstan: the Barskoon Waterfall

Kyrgyzstan is a nation located in Central Asia. Landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east. Its capital and largest city is Bishkek.

Located approximately 20km south of the village of Barskoon more on the southern shore of Kyrgyzstan's Lake Issyk Kul is the Barskoon Waterfall. You will find two monuments to Yuri Gagarin here. Legend has it that as he was hurtling into space on the first-ever manned space flight, he looked down and saw this waterfall. After his return from space, he made a point of coming to visit the waterfall, where he left an inscription on one of the rocks.

From a series of 4 stamps about Mountain Yaks of Kyrgyzstan.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Batsheba Beach Barbados


“This is the rugged east coast of Barbados, where visitors come to breath the air, soak in the invigorating Bathsheba Pools and feel alive.

It is breathtakingly beautiful; wide white sand beaches stretch along a dramatic coastline of striking rock formations against which the Atlantic rollers break in cascades of foam. What at first glance are huge boulders washed up on the beach, are actually rock formations broken away from ancient coral reef! “

Barbados is a sovereign island country in the Lesser Antilles. It is 34 kilometres (21 mi) in length and as much as 23 kilometres (14 mi) in width.

(left) From a set of 16 stamps about local fruits: Guave  (2011)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A postcard from Eritrea: Great Regards from Asmara | أسمرة

Asmara is the capital city and largest settlement in Eritrea, home to a population of around 600,000 people. Eritrea's capital is situated on the eastern edge of Eritrea's highland plateau.

Asmara enjoys a great climate, clean and picturesque streets, attractive palm trees, and a reputation as one of the safest, calm and alluring capital cities in Africa. The name is derived from Arbaete Asmara which literally means, in the Tigrinya language, "the four (villages) are united".

(upper left picture) The cathedral of Asmara, built in 1922.



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Colombia: 25 Feria Internacional Del Libro De Bogota

The 25th edition of Bogota's International Book Fair (FILBO) brings book lovers, distributors and publishers to Colombia's capital.

On the postcard we read in Spanish:
“No está en mi naturaleza ocultar nada. No puedo cerrar mis labios cuando he abierto mi Corazón.”

It’s a quote from Charles Dickens, in English it reads:

“To conceal anything from those to whom I am attached, is not in my nature. I can never close my lips where I have opened my heart.”

Charles John Huffam Dickens (1812 – 1870) was an English writer and social critic who is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period.

In 2011 UPAEP (Unión Postal de las Américas, España y Portugal) celebrated its 100 years anniversary. Every year the member countries issues stamps with common theme. In 2011 the theme was mailboxes (buzones).

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Longpan Park Taiwan

Taiwan's southernmost county, Pingtung covers a long and narrow territory with a border defined by mountains to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Taiwan Strait to the west, and the Bashi Channel to the south.

Pingtung is home to Kenting National Park, Taiwan’s first National Park. Longpan Scenic Area is located on the Hengchun Peninsula in Pingtung County. Situated on the east coast of Kenting National Park, Longpan Park is a scenic location like no ordinary park, with incredibly wide vistas and views of the Pacific Ocean set alongside some breathtakingly steep cliffs.

From a souvenir with 4 stamps about wild mushrooms: Clavulinopsis miyabeana. At first glance, the mushroom resembles a flame on the forest ground.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A postcard from Guam: Rock formations at Tanguisson Beach

Guam is located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is the southernmost and largest island in the Mariana island chain and is also the largest island in Micronesia. The indigenous people of Guam are the Chamorros.

“The island of Guam, Guahan in native Chamorro, is a truely cosmopolitan community that reflects the cultures of its original Chamorro inhabitants as early as 2,000 B.C., influenced by countless European, American, Asian, Micronesian, and other people who have occupied, visited and immigrated to Guam since the 16th Century.”

Guam was colonized by Spain from 1595 – 1898. At the end of the Spanish American War the United Stated gained control over the island in 1898. In WWII it was occupied by Japan from 1941 – 1944 but the United States reclaimed it in 1944.

Guam uses USA stamps. The stamp is cancelled in the village of Barrigada.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A postcard from Ashgabat | اشک آباد, Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan is bordered by the Caspian Sea to the west, Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the east, and Iran and Afghanistan to the south.
Ashgabat is the capital and largest city of Turkmenistan.

From a large set of fauna stamps (2009), the leopard cheetah.

THx Sonya and Travis!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

San Marino

San Marino is surrounded by Italy. It is situated in the Apennines, a little inland from the Adriatic Sea near Rimini.

San Marino is the oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world. The highest point in the country, the summit of Mount Titano, is situated at 749 m above sea level. San Marino is the third smallest country in Europe, with only Vatican City and Monaco being smaller.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ivan the Great Belltower, Moscow


On the eastern side of Cathedral Square stands the magnificent Ivan the Great Belltower, which, at a height of 81 metres, was the tallest building in all Russia for almost 400 years.

It was built in 1508 for the Russian Orthodox cathedrals in Cathedral Square, namely the Assumption, Archangel and Annunciation cathedrals, which do not have their own belfries.

This church was build by Grand Duke Ivan Kalita, and was one of the first to be built in Moscow out of stone, rather than wood.

(top left) Russian Kremlins - Rostov Kremlin

(top right) Russian Kremlins - Kolomna Kremlin

(bottom right) Russian Kremlins - Novgorod Kremlin

(bottom left) 15th Anniversary of the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation (2008)


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