March 9, 2014
In 15th century, Eisleben, situated in the eastern foothills of the Harz Mountains, was a pretty prosperous town, due to its copper mines, exploited since the 13th century. Here was born, on 10 November 1483, Martin Luther, the son of Hans Luder, a leaseholder of copper mines and smelters. Become monk in 1505 and ordained to the priesthood in 1507, he was received into the senate of the theological faculty of the University of Wittenberg in 1512, having been called to the position of Doctor in Bible. Five years later he wrote The Ninety-Five Theses (original Latin: Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum), piece of work which is regarded as the initial catalyst for the Protestant Reformation, one of the most significant events in the religious and political history of the world. The most important collaborator of Luther, and also the primary founder, alongside with him, of Lutheranism, was Philipp Melanchthon, the first systematic theologian of the Protestant Reformation. Because of the importance of Luther and Melanchthon in Protestant Reformation, some individual sites and monuments associated to their lives, located in Eisleben and Wittenberg, were designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site:
March 8, 2014
The gunpowder is only a simple mix of sulphur, charcoal and saltpeter, but it is known how much it influenced our history. Well, among the three ingredients, the last was the hardest to obtain until the 20th century. Derived as name from the Latin sal petrae (salt of the rock), the saltpeter is a nitrate salt (of calcium, potasium or sodium), used also as fertilizer and food preservative. The calcium nitrate (Norwegian saltpeter) forms an efflorescence where the manure comes in contact with the limestone in a dry environment as in stables or caverns. The potassium nitrate (niter, Chinese snow, or India salpeter) occurs also as a crust on the soil and on the surface of rocks in dry climates and in the soil of limestone caves. Both were therefore rare. In this context, you realize what it meant to Chile and Peru the discovery in the Atacama desert of some deposits of sodium nitrate (nitranite) covering immense areas. The accumulations were so big, that this mineral was named Chile saltpeter or Peru saltpeter.
Publicat de Danut Ivanescu la 6:59 PM
March 7, 2014
March 6, 2014
Founded around 315 BC by the King Cassander of Macedon (son of Antipater, one of the great generals of Philip II and Alexander the Great), on or near the site of the ancient town of Therma and 26 other villages, and named after his wife, a half-sister of Alexander the Great, Thessaloniki (from Thessalos - Thessalian, and nike - victory) evolved to become the most important city in Macedon, then an flourishing free city of the Roman Republic, and finally the co-reigning city of the Byzantine Empire, alongside Constantinople. Due to its importance during the early Christian period, but also later, the city is host to several monuments, constructed from the 4th to the 15th century, which constitute a diachronic typological series, with considerable influence in the Byzantine world. In 1988, 15 of these monuments of Thessaloniki were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Rotunda of Galerius (in the first postcard), also known as the Greek Orthodox Church of Agios Georgios, is a cylindrical structure with a diameter of 24.5m, built in 306 AD on the orders of the tetrarch Galerius, and intended to be his mausoleum. Its walls are more than 6m thick, which is why it has withstood Thessaloniki's earthquakes. A flat brick dome, 30m high at the peak, which in its original design had an oculus (a circular opening in the centre), crowns the structure. The Emperor Constantine I converted the building in church in the 4th century, adorning it with very high quality mosaics, from which fragments have survived till today. In 1590 it was converted into mosque by the conquerors Ottomans, but in 1912 was reconsecrated as church.
Located on the Warta river, Poznań was an important cultural and political centre with centuries before the Christianization of Poland, becoming later the capital of Wielkopolska (Greater Poland), and, for a short time, even the capital of the kingdom. After a long time of prosperity, in the 17th and 18th centuries the city was severely affected by a series of wars, plagues and floods, which practically depopulated it. Following, in area were brought, in several waves, Dutch and Bambergian settlers, exclusively Catholics, as ordered in 1710 August II the Strong, Elector of Saxony, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. The polonisation of the latter ones, subsequently named Bambrzy, was, beyond all doubt, a voluntary act and happened very quickly. In the late 19th century, the meaning of the word "Bamber" (singular form) became wider, designating all the people living in those villages, regardless of their ethnic or cultural background.
March 4, 2014
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the name "Guyana" comes from an Amerindian word meaning "land of waters". Anyway, historically speaking, The Guianas (Las Guayanas in spanish) refers to a region in South America, north of the Amazon River and east of the Orinoco River, which includes French Guiana (an overseas department of France), Guyana (former British Guiana), Suriname (former Dutch Guiana), the Guayana Region in Venezuela (former Spanish Guyana), and Brazilian State of Amapá (former Portuguese Guiana). Guyana, officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, was originally colonized by the Netherlands, but became a British colony and remained so for over 200 years until it achieved independence in 1966, to become a republic in 1970.
March 3, 2014
Located in Queen's Park, on that part south of Wellesley Street which is the former site of King's College (later the University of Toronto), and which is leased from the university by the provincial Crown for a "peppercorn" payment of CAD$1 per annum on a 999 year term, the Ontario Legislative Building houses the viceregal suite of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and offices for members of the provincial parliament. As is known, Canada is a constitutional monarchy, in which head of state is the Monarch (since February 6, 1952 Elizabeth II, the Queen of Canada), so the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario is the viceregal representative in Ontario of the monarch.
Publicat de Danut Ivanescu la 8:48 PM
March 2, 2014
Built by Krzysztof Ossoliński (1587-1645), a Polish nobleman and Voivode of Sandomierz, this castle, located in the village of Ujazd, in southern Poland, was partially destroyed during the Swedish invasion in 1655, and then reduced to ruin during the war of the Bar Confederation by the Russians in 1770. During the WWII the complex was again ransacked. A partial remodeling took place in 1971, and in 1980 the Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs decided to rebuild it for use as a rest area for officers. This work was halted in 1981, when martial law was imposed in Poland.
Bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south and by Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont to the east, New York State has a maritime border with Rhode Island, as well as an international border with Canada. It is a center for finance and culture, and also the largest gateway for immigration to the United States. Over 100 million Americans can trace their ancestry to the immigrants who first arrived in America through Castle Clinton and Ellis Island. New York City, with a population of over 8.3 million in 2012, is the most populous city in the U.S.A., making up over 40% of the population of the state. Both the state and city were named for the 17th century Duke of York, future King James II of England. Its capital city is Albany, officially chartered as a city in 1686 and located on the west bank of the Hudson River, about 16km south of its confluence with the Mohawk River.
March 1, 2014
Posted on 28.06.2013, 21.01.2014, 01.03.2014
It is said that there is no better way to experience the hills and views of San Francisco than aboard one of the city’s famous open-air cable cars, the world's last manually operated such system, and the only mobile National Monument in the United States. Of the 23 lines established between 1873 and 1890, have remained three and all three cross Nob Hill, which lies just north of downtown: the Powell-Hyde Line (the most scenic - it is in the postcards), the Powell-Mason Line, and the California Street Line.
As I said before, cable cars were introduced in San Francisco in 1873 by Andrew Smith Hallidie and the Clay Street Railroad company, and until the time of the great fire of 1906, they criss-crossed the entire city. After that, many of the cable car lines where re-opened using cheaper and more energy efficient electric streetcars, but however the cable cars were still much better at navigating the steep slopes of the downtown hills (in 1912 there were only eight lines). In the 1940's, the cable cars were almost destroyed again, making way for automobiles, but the Citizens Committee to Save the Cable Cars managed to defeat the corrupt politicians, who backed the auto industry. Since 1984, Muni (San Francisco Municipal Railway) has continued to upgrade the system.