June 27, 2016

2638 POLAND (Lower Silesian) - Wrocław Town Hall

The Old Town Hall of Wrocław stands at the center of Market Square and is one of the main landmarks of the city. It was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this period in response to the needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known, but between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers' Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time.

June 25, 2016

0410-0413, 1368, 2637 GERMANY (Hesse) - Skyline of Frankfurt am Main

0410 Skyline of Frankfurt am Main (1)

Posted on 12.12.2012, 21.12.2014, 25.06.2016
Grown around a fort built by the Franks in the 8th century on the site of a Roman settlement, where the River Main was shallow enough to be crossed by wading, Frankfurt am Main (Franconofurd - fort of the franks)  became one of the most important cities in Holy Roman Empire. From 855 the German kings and emperors were elected in Frankfurt and crowned at first in Aachen (until 1562), then also in Frankfurt (until 1792). The Frankfurter Messe (Frankfurt Trade Fair) was first mentioned in 1150, and in 1372 the city became a Reichsstadt (Imperial city), directly subordinate to the Holy Roman Emperor.

0411 Skyline of Frankfurt am Main (2)

It remains practically a free city until 1806, when become part of the principality of Aschaffenburg, and in 1866, after the Austro-Prussian War, Prussia annexed it. After WWII, it was incorporated in the German state of Hesse, and in the recent years, even it isn't so large in terms of population (about 700,000 inhabitants), became the financial and transport centre of Germany and the largest financial centre in continental Europe. It is also the richest city in Europe by GDP per capita, followed by Karlsruhe, Paris and Munich.

0412 Skyline of Frankfurt am Main (3)

Frankfurt is one of the few European cities with a significant number of skyscrapers. Because of the city's skyline, Germans sometimes refer to Frankfurt as "Mainhattan", a portmanteau of the local Main River and Manhattan. 14 out of a total of 15 skyscapers in Germany are in Frankfurt, most of them being located in the financial district (Bankenviertel) near the city centre, around the trade fair premises (Europaviertel) and at Mainzer Landstraße between Opernplatz and Platz der Republik, which connects the two areas. In postcards can be seen almost all, but I will write only about the ones that I identified them:

0413 Skyline of Frankfurt am Main (4)

Commerzbank Tower (259m / built 1994-1997 / architect: Norman Foster). Is the tallest in the images (with a red and white antenna spire), the tallest in Frankfurt, the tallest in Germany and the second tallest in the European Union (after The Shard, in London). It had been the tallest building in Europe from 1997 until 2003 when it was surpassed by the Triumph-Palace in Moscow. Is lighted at night with a yellow lighting scheme. It was the world's first so-called ecological skyscraper: besides the use of 'sky-gardens', environmentally friendly technologies were employed to reduce energy required for heating and cooling.

1368 Skyline of Frankfurt am Main (5)

Messeturm / Trade Fair Tower (257m / built 1988-1990 / architects: Helmut Jahn and Richard Murphy). Is the one with a pyramid on the top (which brought its the nickname Bleistift - The Pencil). With only 2m shorter than Commerzbank Tower, was built postmodern architectural style, similar to Bank of America Plaza in Atlanta (Georgia) or Key Tower in Cleveland (Ohio). The tower uses numerous geometric shapes in its design such as the square footprint which is the main shape used throughout the tower. The construction of the building's foundation set a world record for the longest continuous concrete pour.

2637 Skyline of Frankfurt am Main (6)

Westend Tower, known also as Westendstrasse 1 (208m / built 1990-1993 / architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox). Is the one cylindrically shaped, to the left of Commerzbank Tower and it has on top a truncated cone-shaped structure, with the small base facing down, in fact a ring beam, known commonly as the crown, a reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty, but also a reminder to Frankfurt's history as the city where German emperors were crowned. Is similar in style to a later building by the same architect, 1250 René-Lévesque in Montreal.

June 23, 2016

2635, 2636 FRANCE (Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées) - Tautavel

2635 Images from Tautavel

Located in the Southern France, in the valley of Verdouble, at 26km from Perpignan, Tautavel is a commune which appeared for the first time in a document written in 1011. Heritage of Tautavel is very rich, the main landmarks being Arago Cave and museum of prehistory, but also the church of Saint-Genis and his furniture, the chapel of Saintes-Puelles, the remains of the castle, the Torre del far and Visigoth sarcophagi. It is also home to The European Centre for Prehistoric Research (CERP).

2636 Arago Cave

The commune is famous due to the Tautavel Man (Homo erectus tautavelensis), a proposed subspecies of the hominid Homo erectus, the 450,000-year-old fossil remains of whom were discovered in the Arago Cave. Excavations began in 1964, with the first notable discovery occurring in 1969. Occupied from 600,000 to 400,000 B.P., the cave is of the earliest known from the middle Pleistocene to archaeology of the Pyrenees.

2634 RUSSIA (Saint Petersburg) - Saint Petersburg Mosque

When was opened in 1913, the Saint Petersburg Mosque was the largest mosque in Europe outside Turkey, its minarets 49 meters in height and the dome is 39 meters high. The founding stone was laid in 1910 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reign of Abdul Ahat Khan in Bukhara. By that time, the Muslim community of the Russian then-capital exceeded 8,000 people. The architect Nikolai Vasilyev patterned the mosque after Gur-e Amir, the tomb of Tamerlane in Samarkand. Its construction was completed by 1921.

June 21, 2016

2633 TAIWAN - An 1950's shop

Unlike the mainland China, which in 1949 became People's Republic of China, taking the road of communism, Taiwan, the Republic of China's refuge, has kept the pro-American orientation. Initially, the United States expected that Taiwan would fall to the Communists, but in 1950 the conflict between North Korea and South Korea caused it to change its attitude, and began an aid program. The products displayed in this  store from 1950's illustrate complete the American influence.

2632 UKRAINE - Vertep in Galicia

2632 Ukrainian Christmas Vertep theater group in 1948,
in village of Trostianets, Zboriv District, Ternopil Province

Vertep is a portable puppet theatre and drama predominantly in Ukraine (but also met in Russia, Belarus, Croatia and Serbia), which presents the nativity scene, other mystery plays, and later secular plots as well. The original meaning of the word is "secret place", "cave", "den", referring to the cave where Christ was born, i.e., the Bethlehem Cave in the liturgy of the Russian Orthodox Church. Religious Christmas carols were also sung, often in harmony.

2631 FINLAND (Uusimaa) - Motorcyclists on the Linvävaregatan in Tammisaari

Tammisaari (Ekenäs in Swedish) is a coastal town and former municipality in Southern Finland, that included the former municipalities Snappertuna and Tenala together with the town of Ekenäs. It was merged with Pohja and Karis to form the new municipality of Raseborg on January 1, 2009. The town is bilingual, with the majority being Swedish speakers (81%), and the minority Finnish speakers (17%).

June 20, 2016

2630 UNITED KINGDOM (England) - The red double decker buses of London

London's bus network is one of the largest in the world, running 24 hours a day, with about 8,500 buses, more than 700 bus routes and around 19,500 bus stops. In 2013, the network had more than 2 billion commuter trips per annum, more than the Underground. The distinctive red double-decker buses have become a national symbol of England and United Kingdom, and are an internationally recognised trademark of London transport along with black cabs and the Tube.

2629 FRANCE - Just a wave

The stamps covers almost all the back of the postcard and I couldn't find the picture on the Internet, so all I can say about it is that I received it from France. It could therefore be a wave photographed on the coast of France. The coast of the Atlantic or the coast of the Mediterranean? Who knows? I know instead that I found the same wave in a postcard depicting Rimini. So?

2626-2628 ROMANIA (Braşov) - The Pentecost in Şona

2626 The Pentecost in Şona - Lads and girls in the courtyard of the host.

For residents of Şona, a village located on the right bank of the Olt River, at 5 km from Făgăraş, in the ethnographic area of Târnava Mare, the Pentecost (the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Jesus), celebrated by Christians at 50 days after the Easter, is the most important holiday. On this occasion, the group of lads constituted at the Christmas resumes its activity and sing carols to the householders homes, along with the village girls.

2627 The Pentecost in Şona - The cart with girls in the courtyard of the host.

The group of lads on horseback, accompanied by a cart to which, until the 1950s, were yoked the most beautiful oxen, and now the most beautiful horses, is the pride of the village. Even if the celebration has undergone in time changes, it kept some significant archaic elements. After Christmas, the lads chose another leader, named summer mayor, which coordinate the activities of the year, and designated the host (the owner of the most beautiful horses), from who will start the showiness on the day of Pentecost.

2628 The Pentecost in Şona - The showiness of lads

In the past, on the Pentecost eve, the lads gathered oak leaves and twigs of hazel in the woods, and the girls picked field flowers to decorate the cart and horses. In nowadays are made crepe paper flowers. The next morning, the lads wash the horses in the River Olt, and go to the girls, who put woolen blankets with tassels (lepedeu) under saddles, and adorn the harnesses with flowers (căpeţel). Then the lads and girls gather in the courtyard of the host, where is the adorned cart, and go to the church.