Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A postcard from Monaco

Located on the Mediterranean Sea, Monaco is surrounded by France on three sides. This small country is 0.8 square miles in size, or approximately the same size as Central Park in New York City. It is the smallest state in the world after Vatican City.

In 1297 François Grimaldi and a small army seized control of the Rock of Monaco. Although the Grimaldis were expelled in 1301, they returned thirty years later, and the House of Grimaldi has ruled Monaco uninterrupted (except from 1789 to 1814, when it fell under French rule) since then.  

Monaco post issued a commemorative stamp to celebrate the 70th Monaco Grand prix race. Monte Carlo is host to most of the Circuit de Monaco, on which the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix takes place.

Monday, August 27, 2012

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

The Grenadines pick up where Grenada leaves off and stretch northwards till they hit Saint Vincent. They are a collection of 30 islands, only a dozen of which are inhabited.  Most are blessed with perfect Caribbean beaches and diving waters and many of the islands also afford great windsurfing conditions.

Saint Vincent is the cultural hub of the islands, where most of the population live. Kingstown, along its southwestern shore, is the country's capital, a bubbly cultural affair marked by a decidedly relaxing West Indies atmosphere. Arches, cobbled streets, magnificent churches and historic stone buildings blend with the functional and the modern.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, abbreviated to DPRK, and commonly referred to as North Korea, is a country in East Asia, located in the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital is Pyongyang.

It's a small, isolated Asian country, yet North Korea has managed to grab world headlines for decades. Its people are highly sheltered, its government intensely secretive and its borders tightly controlled.

North Korea, with a population of nearly 24.5 million was created in the aftermath of the Second World War. Japan, which had occupied Korea, withdrew, leaving Soviet troops to control the north and U.S. forces to occupy the south. In 1948, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was officially proclaimed. Much of North Korea's history has been dominated by its first leader, Kim Il-sung (The Great Leader), who ruled from 1948 until his death in 1994.

(middle) North Korea flag.
(right) From a set of four stamps about monkeys, the cotton-headed tamarin (Saguinus oedipus).

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A squirrel monkey from Ecuador

Common Squirrel Monkey's live in the tropical forests of Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.
They spend most of their time in the trees and they live in groups consisting of both males and females. These groups generally have 25 - 35 members, but occasionally they can have as many as 200 members. It is common to see these squirrel monkeys in mixed groups, moving along with other primate species and birds.

Bixa orellana is a shrub or small tree originating from the tropical region of the Americas. The inedible fruit is harvested for its seeds, which contain annatto, also called bixin. It is used to color food products, such as cheeses, fish, and salad oil.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hello from Afghanistan

Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia. It is bordered by Pakistan in the south and the east, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far northeast.

From the back of the postcard:
“A typical day in Afghanistan. US forces share a meal with Afghan officials; the Afghanistan flag flutters above the palace of President Hamid Karzai in Kabul; a man guides his donkey along a street; children share a laugh with troops outside a Combat Operating Post.”

The label says “mailed from APO. AE 09320”. APO are the initials from Army Post Office. And 09320 indicates that the postcard is sent from a military camp in Kabul.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The city that touches the sky: La Paz, Bolivia

Between 1438 and 1527, the Inca empire, during its last great expansion, gained control over much of what is now western Bolivia.

The Spanish conquest of the Inca empire began in 1524, and was mostly completed by 1533. After declaring independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed. Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simon BOLIVAR, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825.

La Paz gives a feel of top of the world by all means. Located high above sea level at 3600 metres, this city earns the reputation of being one of the highest cities in the world. La Paz is the legislative capital and largest city of Bolivia. The city of Sucre is the official capital and judicial headquarters of the country.

From a set of two Christmas stamps (2011).

Friday, August 17, 2012

A postcard from Madeira

The Madeira archipelago is located in the Atlantic Ocean, southwest of continental Portugal and is an European autonomous region of Portugal, made up of the island of Madeira, Porto Santo, the Desertas and Selvagens (Wild Islets), the last are uninhabited. The capital and largest city is Funchal located on Madeira Island.

The archipelago comprises the major part of one of the two Autonomous regions of Portugal, the other being the Azores located to the northwest.

Faial is a small picturesque village located on the northeastern coast of the Island named after a local tree known as faia ‘myrica faya’.

Portugese stamps can be used in Madeira.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A postcard from American Samoa

Right in the heart of the South Pacific, to the north of Tonga and 3700km south-west of Hawaii, lie the five islands and two atolls of American Samoa. An unincorporated territory of the United States, southeast of the Independent State of Samoa.

Five of the main islands are volcanic, with rugged peaks, narrow coastal plains and fringing reefs. Swain's and Rose Islands are coral atolls. About 64,000 people live in American Samoa and Pago Pago is the capital city.

It is believed that there was at least an 800 year history of contact with Fiji and Tonga, before the Samoan islands were "officially" discovered by Dutch Explorer Jacob Roggeveen in 1722. Who did little more than naming the islands and sail away.

US stamps can be used in American Samoa.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A postcard from Greenland: the National Museum

Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark. It is, by area, the world's largest island. With a population of 56,749 (2012 estimate) it is the least densely populated dependency or country in the world.

The Greenland National Museum was established in the mid-1960'ies as one of the first museums in Greenland. The museum has nation-wide obligations within archaeology, recent history, art, and handicrafts. The museum maintains the central files about preserved ruins, graveyards, buildings etc. and participate in nature conservation and townplanning.

Europa 2012 stamp: visit Greenland

(Thx Rod!)

Vase Rock, Little Liouciou Island | 小琉球, Taiwan

Little Liouciou lies off the southwestern coast of Taiwan, and is the only one of Taiwan's 14 offshore islands or island groups that is composed of coral. Vase Rock (or Flower Vase Rock) is the symbol of Little Liouciou, and the sight that most tourists come to see. It’s a pretty peculiar looking rock. Maybe shaped more like a mushroom than a vase though. Vase Rock is the result of coral sculpted by wave action.
(left) Fuguejiao (Fu-kuei Cape) Light, Shimen
(right) a fruit

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Madrassah of Sher-Dor in Samarqand, Uzbekistan

Samarqand founded in the 7th century B.C. as ancient Afrasiab is one of the most ancient cities in the world. Over the history this legendary city on the Silk Road went through growths and decays, suffered from destroying invasions of foreign rulers and again revived, becoming more beautiful. Trade routes to the west, to Persia, to the east, to China, to the south, to India, intersected here and formed intersections of the Silk Road. It is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2001.
Sher-Dor Madrassah was built on the Registan Square, Samarqand in 1619-1636. The name is translated as “Madrassah with Lions”.

(left) To commemorate Berdaq, an Uzbek poet from the nineteenth century

(right) Uzbek National Academic Drama Theatre

Historical city centre of Bruges | Brugge, Belgium

Bruges, often called "Venice of the North", is one of Belgiums most popular tourism destination . Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders. The historic city centre is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO.

Bruges was one of the world’s leading cities during the 13th and 14th centuries.  At the time,  it was a center for international commerce and had a population equivalent to London’s during the same period. Unfortunately, the city’s harbor silted up in the middle of the fifteenth century and Bruges lost its ability to function as a commercial port. Soon thereafter, the city fell into decline and was eclipsed in importance by Antwerp.
From a booklet of 5 self-adhesive stamps about Franco Dragone (born in 1952). He is an Italian-Belgian theatre director, known for his work with Cirque du Soleil. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Alhambra, Red Castle of Spain

Granada is situated at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucia. During the centuries the Moors ruled most of Spain, including Andalucia, they built numerous palaces and fortresses in the style of their original country (Morocco, hence the name Moor). But no example is more magnificent than the Alhambra citadel in Granada.

Renewable Energies

Lebanese Folk Dancers in the Forest

Dabke is an Arab folk dance native to the Levant countries only. It is popular in several Arab countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Northern Saudi Arabia. It is widely performed at weddings and joyous occasions. Dabke in Arabic is literally "stamping of the feet”. At weddings, the dance is sometimes performed by a professional troupe dressed in costume.

The Jewel of Lebanon. Lebanese singer Nouhad Wadi Haddad, known as Fayrouz (1935).

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A postcard from Brunei: Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque

Being ruled by the dynasty of sultans for 600 years, Brunei abounds in religious, historical and cultural places. Mosques constitute some of the major tourist attractions in Brunei and one of the most important and the most splendid among them is Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque.

“With its intricately ornamented minarets and shimmering golden domes  clearly visible along the main route into town from the airport, the Kiarong Mosque (as it is locally known) towers over a landscaped terrain dotted with fountains.”

Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien
Born 15 July 1946. Crowned as the 29th Sultan on 1st August 1968.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fürstentum Liechtenstein | Principality of Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein is a small landlocked country, bordered by Austria and Switzerland. It is known as a principality as it is a constitutional monarchy headed by a prince.

Vaduz Castle is the palace and official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein. The castle gave its name to the town of Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein, which it overlooks from an adjacent hilltop.

Prince Hans-Adam II (14 February 1945) and Princess Marie (14 April 1940) are the reigning couple.

From a set of stamps about garden flowers: the pink-colored peony. It was once brought over to the Alps by the Benedictine monks as a herbal remedy and is therefore also known as a Benedictine rose.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A postcard from Albania | Shqipëria


Thethi is a village surrounded by Thethi National Park, up on Albanian Alps, in Northeastern Albania, in Shkodra District.

Om the postcard we see a fortified tower house, used as refuge for men involved in a blood feud that are vulnerable to attack. A blood feud is a feud with a cycle of retaliatory violence, with the relatives of someone who has been killed or otherwise wronged or dishonored seeking vengeance by killing or otherwise physically punishing the culprits or their relatives.

More about tower houses:

 Thx Stefan!

Mexican painter Frida Kahlo

"I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality."
Frida Kahlo


“Frida Kahlo de Rivera (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954; Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón) was a Mexican painter, born in Coyoacán.  Perhaps best known for her self-portraits, Kahlo's work is remembered for its "pain and passion", and its intense, vibrant colors. Her work has been celebrated in Mexico as emblematic of national and indigenous tradition, and by feminists for its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form.”


The marimba is a musical instrument in the percussion family.

Liyu Lake, Taiwan

“The area of Hualien and Taitung is blessed with majestic mountains and fine waters that provide very pleasant scenery.”

Liyu Lake is located at the foot of Liyu Mountain, in Shoufeng Township's Chinan Village. It is the largest inland lake in Hualien County.



Free counters!

Total Pageviews