December 6, 2016

2895 UNITED STATES (California) - Chief Lemee from Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley was a protected area (at least theoretically) since 1864, but even in the early 20th century was very little visited, due to the  transport difficulties. In order to encourage families to visit, many activities were planned in 1920's, among which was the presentation of Indian culture through dance performances in traditional dress, basket-making demonstrations and sales, and a event called Indian Field Days. During this period Chris Brown began his dances, under the name Chief Lemee.

December 5, 2016

0093, 0223, 0774, 1330, 2892 UNITED KINGDOM (England) - Stonehenge - part of Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites (UNESCO WHS)

2892 Stonehenge during a storm

Posted on 08.01.2012, 26.05.2012, 30.07.2013, 09.11.2014, 05.12.2016
I don't know if Stonehenge is the most important megalithic construction which survived the history, but certainly is the best known and most intensively researched. Located in the county of Wiltshire, at about 13km north of Salisbury, in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds, Stonehenge assembly consists of four concentric circles made of standing stones set within earthworks.

2892 Stonehenge during a storm (left)

The outer circle (Sarsen Circle), about 33m in diameter, was originally comprised of 30 neatly trimmed upright sandstone blocks (of which only 17 are now standing), above which were placed as lintels some other blocks, circular arc-shaped. Inside is another circle of eggplant stone blocks. They surround a horseshoe-shaped arrangement, built also of eggplant stone, within which is a sandstone slab mecacee called the Altar Stone.

2892 Stonehenge during a storm (center)

The whole construction is surrounded by a circular ditch measuring 104m in diameter. Inside stands a sandbank which contains 56 tombs, known as the Aubrey holes (named after the discoverer). The embankment and the ditch are intersected by a processional path 23m wide and almost 3km long, Stonehenge Avenue, which connects Stonehenge with the River Avon, and the small henge on its bank, discovered in 2008, at West Amesbury. 

2892 Stonehenge during a storm (right)

Near the entrance to the Avenue is Slaughter Stone (a fallen sarsen that once stood upright with one or two other stones across the entrance causeway), and on the other side is the Heelstone, a single huge unshaped sarsen boulder. The main axis of the stones is aligned upon the solstitial axis. At midsummer, the sun rises over the horizon to the north-east, close to the Heel Stone. At midwinter, the sun sets in the south-west, in the gap between the two tallest trilithons, one of which has now fallen.

0223 Stonehenge at sunset

With regard to construction's purpose, opinions are divided, the most important theories circulated claiming that Stonehenge have served as a burial ground, as a place of healing, as part of a ritual landscape or have a celestial observatory function. Even I'm not historian, may have my own opinion, isn't it? Personally I believe that the people who have built it (between 3100 and 1600 BC) just don't thinking like us, ie they not separate the sides of existence as we do, but they viewed things globally.

0774 Stonehenge in summertime

Surrounding universe didn't have for them a sacred dimension and a profran one, but life, death, nature, cosmos, divinity was closely entwined, forming a inseparable whole. As a result I don't think there was a space where they worshiped gods, another in which they buried the dead, another in which they made astronomical observations and so on, but there was only one site (like Stonehenge) which served all these types of activities. Anyway, many aspects of Stonehenge remain subject to debate.

1330 Stonehenge in springtime

Throughout the 20th century, Stonehenge began to be revived as a place of religious significance, this time by adherents of Neopagan and New Age beliefs, particularly the Neo-druids. The historian Ronald Hutton would later remark that "it was a great, and potentially uncomfortable, irony that modern Druids had arrived at Stonehenge just as archaeologists were evicting the ancient Druids from it." The first such Neo-druidic group to make use of the megalithic monument was the Ancient Order of Druids, who performed a mass initiation ceremony there in August 1905.

0093 Stonehenge in wintertime

Between 1972 and 1984, Stonehenge was the site of the Stonehenge Free Festival, culminating with the summer solstice on or near June 21. It emerged as the major free festival in the calendar after the violent suppression of the Windsor Free Festival in August 1974. After the Battle of the Beanfield in 1985, this use of the site was stopped for several years and ritual use of Stonehenge is now heavily restricted. Some Druids have arranged an assembling of monuments styled on Stonehenge in other parts of the world as a form of Druidist worship.

December 3, 2016

2891 ROMANIA (Bistriţa-Năsăud) - Evangelical Church in Bistriţa

Located at the foot of the Bârgău Mountains, not far from the Tihuţa Pass, which connects Transylvania and Bukovina, the city of Bistriţa is one of the oldest around. Saxon colonists, who settled here in 1206, helped develop the town into a flourishing medieval trading post. The greatest attraction of city's Main Square is the Evangelical Church built by Transylvanian Saxons centuries ago. The first mentioned parish in official documents was Johannis plebanus de Bystricia, noted in the papal tax registers of 1332-1333.

December 2, 2016

2890 RUSSIA (Samara Oblast) - Maxim Gorky Samara Academic Drama Theatre

With more then 1,160,000 inhabitants, Samara (known from 1935 to 1991 as Kuybyshev) is the sixth largest city in Russia and the administrative center of Samara Oblast, so, naturally, it has a intense cultural life. It has an opera and ballet theater, a philharmonic orchestra hall, and five drama theaters, all of them highly frequented by locals. The building of the Maxim Gorky Samara Academic Drama Theatre is the main feature of Chapaev's Square, on the Volga bank. 

December 1, 2016

2889 SPAIN (Galicia) - Galician traditional clothes

Located in the North-West corner of the Iberian Peninsula, Galicia is one of three autonomous regions in Spain that have their own official languages (Gallego) in addition to Castilian Spanish, the national language. The Galicians are descended from Spain's second wave of Celtic invaders (from the British Isles and western Europe) who came across the Pyrenees mountains in about 400 BC. The Romans, arriving in the second century BC, gave the Galicians their name, derived from the Latin gallaeci.

November 30, 2016

0210, 2888 POLAND (Pomerania) - Gdansk, Town of Memory and Freedom (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

2888 Gdansk - The Main Town Hall and St. Mary's Church.

Posted on 18.05.2012, 30.11.2016
Built on the site of an early settlements associated with the Wielbark culture, which was followed in 980 by a stronghold, Gdańsk received city rights by Swietopelk II, in 1235. With permanent valences of a free city, due to its location on the Baltic Sea coast, to the mouth of the river Motława, which gives it a opening both towards the sea as well as towards central Poland, and from there towards Eastern Europe, the city belonged, successively, to the Kingdom of Poland, the Teutonic Knights, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Prussia, German Empire, German Reich, and Poland, except for two brief periods, when it was a free city (1807-1814, 1920-1939).

0210 Gdansk - The crane Żuraw

The stronghold and town of Gdansk contained from its beginnings a series of individual urban components which later became distinct districts within which there are valuable examples of urban, sacral and defensive architecture. These include the Main Town (Glowne Miasto), Old Town (Stare Miasto), the Lower Town (Dolne Miasto), the Old Suburbs (Stare Prdedmiejscie), Granary Island (Wyspa Spichrzow), Olowianka, Long Gardens (Dlugie Ogrody), Bishpop's Hill (Biskupia Gorka) and Grodzisko.

November 29, 2016

1907, 2887 THAILAND (Bangkok) - Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram in Bangkok

 1907 Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram in Bangkok (1)

Posted on 19.09.2015, 29.11.2016
Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram, also known as the marble temple, is a Buddhist temple (wat) in the Dusit district of Bangkok. Construction of the temple began in 1899 at the request of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) after building his palace nearby. Actually, the temple's name literally means the Temple of the fifth King located nearby Dusit Palace. It was designed by Prince Naris, a half-brother of the king. It has display of carrarra marble pillars, a marble courtyard and two large singhas (lions) guarding the entrance to the ubosot (ordination hall).

 2887 Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram in Bangkok (2)

Inside the hall is a Sukhothai-style Buddha statue named Phra Buddhajinaraja, cast in 1920 after the original located in Wat Mahathat in Phitsanulok. The ashes of King Chulalongkorn are buried beneath the statue. In the gallery surrounding the ordination hall are 53 buddha statues (33 originals and 20 copies) representing every mudra (gesture) and style from Thai history. The structure is a unique example of modern Thai temple architecture, as is the interior design, which melds Thai features with European influences.

November 28, 2016

2595, 2596, 2886 ROMANIA (Cluj) - Cluj-Napoca

2595 Cluj-Napoca: 1. Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral;
2 & 3. Saint Michael's Church; 5. The Central Park;
6. Lucian Blaga National Theatre. 

Posted on 05.06.2016, 28.11.2016
Located in the Someşul Mic River valley, Cluj-Napoca is is the second most populous city in Romania, and the unofficial capital to the historical province of Transylvania. Established by Romans after the conquer of Dacia in AD 106, Napoca gained the status of a colonia in 2nd century and became a provincial capital of Dacia Porolissensis. The colonia was evacuated in 274 by the Romans, and there are no references to urban settlement on the site for the better part of a millennium thereafter.

2596 Cluj-Napoca: 1. Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral;
2. The Central Park; 3. Iuliu Maniu Street; 3. Lucian Blaga National
Theatre; 4. Saint Michael's Church and the equestrian statue of
Matthias Corvinus; 5. Bánffy Palace.

At the beginning of the Middle Ages, two groups of buildings existed on the current site of the city: the wooden fortress at Cluj-Mănăştur and the civilian settlement developed around the current Museum Place. After the conquest of Transylvania by the Hungarians, the city became part of the Kingdom of Hungary. A castle and a village were built to the northwest of the ancient Napoca no later than the late 12th century, settled by large groups of Transylvanian Saxons.

2886 Postcrossing Cluj Meet-Up - November 24, 2016

In 1541, the citty, named then Klausenburg, became part of the independent Principality of Transylvania; a period of economic and cultural prosperity followed. For a year, in 1600-1601, Cluj became part of the personal union of Michael the Brave, and under the Treaty of Carlowitz in 1699, it became part of the  Habsburg Monarchy. In the 17th century, Cluj suffered from great calamities, suffering from epidemics of the plague and devastating fires.

November 27, 2016

2883-2885 MOLDOVA - Moldavian cuisine

Moldavians are Romanians, so of course that the Moldavian cuisine is part of the Romanian cuisine. It has been greatly influenced by Ottoman cuisine, but has also elements from other cuisines in the region. Probably the best known Moldavian dish is a well-known Romanian dish, mămăliga (a thick cornmeal mush). This is a staple food on the Moldovian table, served as an accompaniment to stews and meat dishes or garnished with cottage cheese or sour cream. Actually, it is often used as a substitute for bread.

There are quite a few different types of dishes, which are sometimes included under a generic term. For example, the category ciorbă includes a wide range of soups with a characteristic sour taste. These may be meat and vegetable soups, tripe (ciorbă de burtă) and calf foot soups, or fish soups, all of which are soured by borş (made from bran), zeamă de varză acră (sauerkraut juice), vinegar, or lemon juice. In Moldavia, the word borș means simply any sour soup. Chicken soup with meat, known as zeamă, is very popular.

A traditional holiday dish (especially for Christmas, and for wedding ceremonies) are sarmale, prepared from minced meat (usually pork, but also beef, mutton or poultry), mixed with rice and spiced, and rolled into leaves of cabbage or vine (fresh or pickled). The combination is then slow boiled, preferably in large clay pots. They are often served with sour cream, mămăligă, and hot pepper. Can be prepared also sarmale for fasting, replacing meat filler with rice, mushrooms or chopped vegetables.

I find extraordinary this set of postcards, and I can't abstain to reveal the link where you can find them all, so you can enjoy them.

November 26, 2016

2393, 2882 FRANCE (Hauts-de-France) - Nord department

2393 Nord department

Posted on 21.03.2016, 26.11.2016
Since 2016 part of the Hauts-de-France region, Nord department is situated in the north of the country along the western half of the Belgian frontier. The majority of the region was once part of the historical Netherlands, but gradually became part of France between 1477 and 1678. Within the department is located the part of France where the French Flemish dialect of Dutch is still spoken (along with French) as a native language. Unusually long and narrow, it is the country's most populous department.

2882 Nord coast

Its coast begins in south with Gravelines and ends to Bray-Dunes, on Belgian border, and is part of Côte d'Opale, which continues in south up to Picardy Coast. The North Sea resort of Les Dunes de Flandre, stretching from Dunkirk to Bray-Dunes, has a 15km long barrier beach of fine sand flanked by an impressive area of dunes. To note are the museums and belfry in Dunkirk, the Art Deco villas on the Malo-les-Bains seafront, the kite park with its three kite surfing schools, and land yachting and sailing in Bray-Dunes.

2881 LITHUANIA - The map of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania

Founded by the Lithuanians, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania existed from the 13th century until 1795, and expanded to include large portions of the former Kievan Rus' and other Slavic lands, including territory of present-day Belarus, parts of Ukraine, Poland and Russia, but also of Estonia and Latvia. At its greatest extent in the 15th century, it was the largest state in Europe, a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state with great diversity in languages, religion, and cultural heritage.

November 25, 2016

2880 FRANCE (Hauts-de-France) - Compiègne

2880 Hôtel de Ville Square in Compiègne

A former imperial city, today just a commune located at the confluence of the Aisne and Oise rivers, at about 90km North from Paris, Compiègne played a major role not only in French history, but also in European history. Of Roman origin, it was referred to in 557 as Compendium, a name derived from a word meaning "short cut" (between Beauvais and Soissons). The town flourished in the Middle Ages and was the site of assemblies and councils under the Merovingian kings.