Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tel Aviv | תֵּל־אָבִיב capital of Israel

What makes a city a capital city? The city or town that functions as the seat of government and administrative centre of a country or region is the capital city.

Israel refers to Jerusalem as the country's capital, and seats its government (Knesset) in that city. But the international community does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and the city hosts no foreign embassies. Most countries, as well as the United Nations, recognize nearby Tel Aviv.

The Palestinian National Authority also claims Jerusalem as the capital for their future Palestinian state; but currently the de facto seat of the internationally-recognized Palestinian government is in Ramallah, while the seat of the Hamas-led government is in Gaza City.

(left) In 2011 Israel issued a set of 6 stamps about butterflies of Israel. This one pictures the Common Blue.

(right) Dating back to ancient times Jews have used an Etrog box during Sukkot, the Festival of Booths, to store the Etrog fruit, an oval shaped citron fruit. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Hamar from Ethiopia

The Hamar (or Hamer) are a tribe inhabiting southwestern Ethiopia. They are cattle herders and practice agriculture. They will stay for a few months wherever there is enough grass for grazing, putting up their round huts. When the grass is finished, they will move on.

The Hamar practice various rituals like the bull jumping as a rite of passage for the man, whose female relatives demand to be whipped as part of the ceremony. This is extremely painful and causes severe scaring on the women. 

Definitive stamps Menelik Bushbuck (2002). In Ethiopia two types of Bushbuck can be found: Meneliki and Powelli. Both are fairly widespread and can be seen in much of Ethiopia's highland forest.

Thx one more time Steve!

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Arch of Triumph from Tyre, Lebanon

Tyre is is an ancient Phoenician city located on the southern coast of Lebanon, 83 km south of Beirut.  It was an island in ages past, celebrated for its beauty. Tyre emerges today from the debris of centuries. Excavations on the site have uncovered remains of the Crusader, Arab, Byzantine and Graeco-Roman cities.

(left) Horsh Ehden is a Nature Reserve located in North Lebanon, it contains a particularly diverse and beautiful remnant forest of the Cedar of Lebanon.

(right) 60 Years of Lions International 1952-2012

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Porta Macedonia, a triumphal arch in Skopje

The Skopje 2014 project aimed at rebuilding a city that lost many of its landmarks in a 1963 earthquake. The goal is to give the city a more monumental appearance.

The project envisages the construction of almost 20 buildings, including, museums, theatres, concert halls, hotels and administrative offices. Many more bronze and marble statues are also being erected to adorn the surroundings.

Porta Macedonia is a triumphal arch located on Pella Square, building was completed in January 2012. The arch is dedicated to 20 years of Macedonian independence. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

A postcard from the Kingdom of Swaziland

Swaziland is located in in Southern Africa and is bordered for the most part by South Africa and to the northeast by Mozambique. Swaziland is one of the smallest countries in Africa. It is no more than 200 kilometres by 130 kilometres.

The king of Swaziland, Mswati III, currently has 27 children from his first 13 wives and wives-to-be. 

Thx Francis!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Willems Toren Lighthouse, Bonaire

The Willems Toren Lighthouse is located at the Southern tip of the island of Bonaire. Together with St. Eustatius and Saba the islands are known as Caribbean Netherlands. The lighthouse was established in 1837 and recently completely renovated.

Issued in 2012 as part of a set of four stamps about Sailing Ships. The Optimist is a small, single-handed sailing dinghy intended for use by children up to the age of 15. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Volcanic beach on the island of St. Kitts

The seashore formation known as Black Rocks is located on the north side of the island of St Kitts. A remnant of the once active volcano Mt. Liamuiga. This stratovolcano forms the western part of the island. These rocks being formed of the hot lava as it entered the cool Caribbean.

On the left one more stamp issued by the Department of Tiny Stamps picturing a pineapple. On the right a Zebra butterfly.

A big thank you for Olga!  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

THe ancient city of Butrint, Albania

Butrint was anancient Greek and later Roman city located in southern Albania, close to the Greek border. 

Inhabited since prehistoric times, Butrint has been the site of a Greek colony, a Roman city and a bishopric. Following a period of prosperity under Byzantine administration, then a brief occupation by the Venetians, the city was abandoned in the late Middle Ages after marshes formed in the area. The present archaeological site is a repository of ruins representing each period in the city’s development.

Butrint is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Red Cross stamp, issued 2013.

Shuri castle | 首里城, Japan

The castle is located on Okinawa Island which is the largest of the Okinawa Islands and the Ryukyu Islands. The Kingdom of the Ryukyus reigned over Japan's southwestern islands for approximately 450 years from 1429 to 1879.

Shuri Castle was both the royal residence for the king and his family and the administrative center of the Shuri Royal Government. It also served as a religious center to administer the rituals performed by the cultural and artistic activities, with many musicians, dancers, artisans and craftsmen active in the castle area.

In the spring of 1879, the king was exiled from Shuri Castle, and Okinawa Prefecture was established. Shuri Castle then became the military headquarters of the Japanese troops and served as school buildings. 

The castle was registered as a World Heritage Site in 2000.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, South Korea

Seoul is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea, a megacity with over 10 million inhabitants.

Changdeokgung is one of the "Five Grand Palaces" built by the kings of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897). Gyeonghoeru (Pavilion of Joyous Meeting) is the oldest and most famous of Gyeongbokgung's pavilions.

It was used as a royal banquet hall during the Joseon dynasty. This two story pavilion was built in 1412, burned down by the Japanese in 1592, and reconstructed in 1867.

A very tiny stamp.

Friday, February 14, 2014

A tiger from the Kingdom of Bhutan

The Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked country in South Asia bordered by China and India. The tiger lives in the lush tropical lowland and hardwood forests in the south.
The Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation (BTFEC) is an independent grant-making organization that uses its annual investment income to finance conservation activities.

Issued 2012, Year of the Dragon stamp. The postmark is from Thimphu, Bhutan's capital and largest city.

Thx my friend!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Vicuñas grazing in Puna Catamarqueña, Argentina

Puna Catamarqueña is a desert high plateau at more than 3,000 meters height, located in Catamarca, a province in the Argentine Northwest, about 1.500 km away from the city of Buenos Aires. Its climate is arid and extreme, with less than 200 mm of annual rainfall.

The Vicuña is a wild South American camelid which live in the high alpine areas of the Andes. Vicuñas live exclusively in South America, primarily in the central Andes. They are native to Peru, northwestern Argentina, Bolivia, and northern Chili.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Guyana, Scenes of the Interior

Guyana is located in South America. It borders Venezuela, Brazil, Suriname and the Atlantic Ocean. Guyana is known for its rich bio-diversity, particularly bird species. The inaccessibility of Guyana’s tropical rainforest is fundamental to the survival of some of the world’s most endangered species such as the Harpy Eagle, Cock of the Rock, Arapaima, Giant Otter, Giant Anteater, Jaguar and Black Caiman.
In Guyana, with more than 250 species of mammals and 1,000 species of birds, spreading across 275 waterfalls, four mountain ranges, eighteen lakes and numerous waterways, any wildlife adventure is possible.

Least Grebes are found in a wide variety of wetland habitats, including freshwater ponds, lakes, roadside ditches, and mangrove swamps. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Tovar Colony, a German colonist town in Venezuela

Colonia Tovar (Tovar Colony in English) is a town in Venezuela, founded in 1843 by a group of almost 400 immigrants from Germany.

For nearly a hundred years they lived up there, without even a road connecting them to the rest of the country. Speaking German, preserving their own culture, and marriage outside of the community was prohibited. Today this town is a major tourist attraction. Many of the houses are built in Bavarian style.   

Two stamps to celebrate 200 years of independence from Spain. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Coatepeque Caldera, El Salvador

Santa Ana, El Salvador's highest volcano, is a massive, 2381-m-high stratovolcano that rises immediately west of Coatepeque caldera.

A volcano caldera is a depression in the ground created by the collapse of land after a volcanic eruption. In some cases, the caldera is created slowly, when the ground sinks down after a magma chamber is emptied. In other situations, the magma explodes violently, and the caldera is the deep pit in the ground that remains after the volcano blows its top off.

(left) The stamp is from a set of 2 stamps issued in 2008 under the theme "82 years of radio communication".

Friday, February 7, 2014

Antigua Guatemala

The city of Antigua in Guatamala is known as the best-preserved Spanish colonial city in Central America. It was founded in the early 16th century, 1,500 m above sea-level, in an earthquake-prone region.
Volcán de Agua or the Water Volcano is a dormant volcano since the mid-16th century. Its name traces back to 1541, when water and mudslides from the volcano wiped out Guatemala's then-capital city.

Thx Pat!

Part of a set of four stamps about legends and myths: La Llorona. This legend is about a woman named María who drowned herself and her children.  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Masai Shuka

The Shuka is an African piece of clothing. It is the main garment worn by the Masai, initially made out of animal skins but today cotton is the main material. 

It is a dress-like cloth, traditionally worn wrapped around the body, and over each shoulder. It isn’t specially patterned to fit like this, but is simply a very large square cloth. They are almost always red, and usually have a plaid or striped pattern on them. The patterns are blue, black and purple.

Part of a set of stamps issued 2011 about grasshoppers of Tanzania. According to the text on the stamp this is mole cricket. But it just doesn’t look like it. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Traditional Fishing Dhow from Bahrain

The word 'dhow' is used to describe all types of local boats along the coasts of the Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and East Africa. Dhow is the generic name of a number of traditional sailing vessels with one or more masts with lateen (triangle shaped) sails.

“Nobody had made a wooden dhow in Bahrain for 20 years – until recently to fulfil an order for the king. Ibrahim is one of the last 3 craftsmen who still know the trade: No plans, all made by eye. Indian teak planks fixed with wooden plugs and sealed below the waterline with camel fat. Good for 100 years. Ibrahim can’t find young Bahrainis willing to learn his craft, so he’s teaching apprentices from India and Bangladesh.”

Monday, February 3, 2014

Carribean traditional dress: miss Wob Dwiyet, Dominica

Dominica is a lush green mountainous island located midway down the chain of Caribbean Islands east and south of Puerto Rico. The national dress of Dominica is the ‘Wob Dwiyet’.  

The dress is believed to have originated from Southern France and that style of dress became popular in the French West Indies towards the end of the 18th century. Today, Dominicans and other Caribbean islands take pride in wearing the dress on special occasions such the independence celebrations.  

The last Friday before Independence is Creole Day and all Dominicans will wear at least some variation of the national dress.

Both part of a set of 13 permanent stamps depicting species of lizard found in Dominica: the Golden Skink (left) and  Vincent's Least Gecko (right). 

(Thx a million Olga!)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Catedral Santa Maria la Menor, Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. After Christopher Columbus's arrival on the island in 1492, Santo Domingo became the site of the first cathedral of the Americas:Catedral Santa María La Menor.

The cathedral was constructed between 1514 and 1542, one of the architectural wonders of the Colonial City. The city's Colonial Zone, including the cathedral, was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Montevideo, capital of Uruguay

Montevideo is the capital city of Uruguay. It is also the largest city and the main port of Uruguay. The Hotel Casino Carrasco is a historic hotel and casino. Construction started in 1912 and it was completed in 1921. 

In 2013 Uruguay issued nine permanent stamps about the rights of rural workers. 


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