May 2, 2016

2516, 2517 FRANCE (Île-de-France) - Paris, Banks of the Seine - Louvre Museum (UNESCO WHS)

2516 Louvre Museum in Paris

The Louvre Museum is one of the world's largest museums and a historic monument located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement (ward). The Louvre Palace, which houses the museum, was begun as a fortress by  Philip II in the 12th century, with remnants of this building still visible in the crypt. It was altered frequently throughout the Middle Ages. In the 14th century, Charles V converted the building into a residence and in 1546, Francis I renovated the site in French Renaissance style.

2517 Leonardo da Vinci - Mona Lisa

Francis acquired what would become the nucleus of the Louvre's holdings, his acquisitions including Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, in modern epoca acclaimed as "the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world." After Louis XIV chose Versailles as his residence in 1682, constructions slowed; however, the move permitted the Louvre to be used as a residence for artists.

May 1, 2016

2514, 2515 UNITED NATIONS - The 70th anniversary of the United Nations


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the beginning of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations when he was attending the African Union Summit in Malabo, Guinea to commemorate the past developments including the UN task force achievements and the work for humanity. He has marked it with a name "UN70". He also focused on the unification of the international community in order to make the UN more powerful to better handle the problems of the world.

Without doubt, the United Nations has saved millions of lives and boosted health and education across the world, but is not perfect. Probably Dag Hammarskjöld, the tragic second UN secretary general, defined it the best, saying that it “was created not to lead mankind to heaven but to save humanity from hell”. Tensions between western governments, which see the UN as bloated and inefficient, and developing countries, which regard it as undemocratic and dominated by the rich, have rippled across the organisation as ballooning costs drive the push for reform.

2027, 2227, 2513 CANADA (Alberta) / UNITED STATES (Montana) - Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (UNESCO WHS)

2027 CANADA - Waterton Lakes National Park -
Prince of Wales Hotel on the shore of Waterton Lake

Posted on 12.11.2015, 17.01.2016, 01.05.2016
The Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is the union of the Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada and the Glacier National Park in the United States. Situated on the border between the two countries and offering outstanding scenery, the park is exceptionally rich in plant and mammal species as well as prairie, forest, and alpine and glacial features. It has a distinctive climate, physiographic setting, mountain-prairie interface, and tri-ocean hydrographical divide.

2227 CANADA - Waterton Lakes National Park - Crypt Lake

Waterton Lakes National Park was named after Waterton Lake, in turn after the Victorian naturalist and conservationist Charles Waterton. The park contains 505 km2 of rugged mountains and wilderness, and ranges in elevation from 1,290m at the townsite to 2,910m at Mount Blakiston. Overlooked by the historic Prince of Wales Hotel, Waterton Lake is composed of two bodies of water, connected by a shallow channel known locally as the Bosporus.

2513 CANADA - Waterton Lakes National Park - Cameron Falls

Crypt Lake is a pristine alpine lake occupying a cirque that often has ice into August. Most of the area around the lake is covered in scree and/or snow, and hiking around the circumference of the lake requires approximately 45 minutes. The Crypt Lake Trail is one of the premium hikes in park. Wildlife can be spotted in the mountains towering above including mountain goat and bighorn sheep. The slopes along the Crypt Lake Trail serve as primary bear country. From Crypt Lake it is only a short walk to the edge of Crypt Falls with views over the valley below.

2512 FRANCE (TAAF) - Dumont d'Urville Station in Adélie Land

The Dumont d'Urville Station is a French scientific station in Antarctica on Petrel Island, Geology Archipelago in Adélie Land. It is named after explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville since his expedition landed on  Débarquement Rock in the Dumoulin Islands at the northeast end of the archipelogo on January 21, 1840. It is operated by the French Polar Institute Paul-Émile Victor, a joint operation of French public and para-public agencies.

April 30, 2016

2511 ROMANIA (Bucharest) - Bucharest Botanical Garden

2511 Bucharest Botanical Garden in late 1970's

The first botanical garden in Bucharest was founded in 1860 near the Medicine Faculty by Carol Davila, with the significant financial backing of Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza, at the time the leader of the nascent Romanian state. Its first director was the botanist Ulrich Hoffmann, followed six years later by Dimitrie Grecescu. The garden was eventually moved to its current location (in the Cotroceni neighbourhood) in 1884 by Dimitrie Brândză, a Romanian botanist, and Louis Fuchs, a Belgian landscape architect. The gardens were opened in 1891, when the building of the greenhouses finished.

2510 BURKINA FASO - Wildlife of the country

Burkina Faso is largely wild bush country with a mixture of grass and small trees in varying proportions. The savanna region is mainly grassland in the rainy season and semi desert during the harmattan period. Fauna, one of the most diverse in West Africa, includes the elephant, hippopotamus, buffalo, monkey, lions, crocodile, giraffe, various types of antelope, and a vast variety of bird and insect life. To ensure conservation and preservation of the wildlife of Burkina Faso, four national parks have been established. The forests, fauna and fish have been declared part of the national estate of Burkina Faso.

2507-2509 ITALY (Tuscany) - Tuscany

2507 Tuscany map

Located on the Tyrrhenian Sea, between Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, Umbria and Lazio, roughly triangular in shape, Tuscany is known for its landscapes, traditions, history, artistic legacy and its influence on high culture. Having a strong linguistic and cultural identity, it is sometimes considered "a nation within a nation". It is a traditionally popular destination in Italy, and the main tourist destinations by number of tourist arrivals are  Florence, Pisa, Montecatini Terme, Castiglione della Pescaia and Grosseto. The regional capital is Florence (Firenze), "the Athens of the Middle Ages".

2508 Snapshots from Tuscany

Surrounded and crossed by major mountain chains, and with few (but fertile) plains, the region has a relief that is dominated by hilly country used for agriculture. Many of Tuscany's largest cities lie on the banks of the Arno, including the capital Florence, Empoli and Pisa. The climate is fairly mild in the coastal areas, and is harsher and rainy in the interior, with considerable fluctuations in temperature between winter and summer. Tuscany produces wines, including Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano and Brunello di Montalcino.

2509 Tuscany: 1. Florence; 2. Massa Marittima; 3. Siena;
4. Montecatini; 5. San Gimignano; 6. Pisa; 7. Arezzo;
8. Monteriggioni; 9. Lucca; 10. Cortona.

The Etruscans created the first major civilization in this region, reaching its peak during the 7th and 6th centuries BC, finally succumbing to the Romans by the 1st century. Soon after absorbing Etruria, Rome established the cities of  Lucca, Pisa, Siena, and Florence, endowed the area with new technologies and development, and ensured peace. The Roman civilization in the West collapsed in the 5th century AD, and the region fell briefly to Goths, then was re-conquered by the Byzantine Empire. In the years following 572, the Longobards arrived and designated Lucca the capital of their Duchy of Tuscia.

2506 AZERBAIJAN (Baku) - Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower (UNESCO WHS)

Rising from the south shore of the Absheron Peninsula at the western edge of the Caspian Sea, in Caucasus region, the Walled City of Baku was founded on a site inhabited since the Palaeolithic period. The city reveals, along with the dominant Azerbaijani element, evidence of Zoroastrian, Sassanian, Arabic, Persian, Shirvani, Ottoman, and Russian presence in cultural continuity. The Inner City (İçəri Şəhər) has preserved much of its 12th-century defensive walls, which define the character of the property.

2505 UNITED STATES (New York) - Taxicabs of New York City

The taxicabs of New York City are widely recognized icons of the city, come in two varieties: yellow and green. Taxis painted canary yellow (medallion taxis) are able to pick up passengers anywhere in the five boroughs. Those painted apple green (commonly known as boro taxis), which began to appear in August 2013, are allowed to pick up passengers only in some areas. In March 2014, in New York City were 51,398 men and women licensed to drive medallion taxicabs. Taxicabs are operated by private companies and licensed by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC).

2504 RUSSIA (Murmansk Oblast) - The city of Murmansk

2504 A view of the Murmansk

Murmansk is a port city located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, an inlet of the  Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, close to the Russia's borders with Norway and Finland. Despite its extreme northern location above the Arctic Circle, Murmansk is in many ways similar to other Russian cities of its size, with highway and railway access to the rest of Europe, and the northernmost trolleybus system on Earth.

2504 A view of the Murmansk (1)

Murmansk was the last city founded in the Russian Empire. In 1915, WWI needs led to the construction of the railroad from Petrozavodsk to an ice-free location on the Murman Coast in the Russian Arctic, to which Russia's allies shipped military supplies. The terminus became known as the Murman station and soon boasted a port, a naval base, and an adjacent settlement with a population which quickly grew in size and soon surpassed the nearby towns of Alexandrovsk and Kola.

2504 A view of the Murmansk (2)

In 1916, the railway settlement received the urban status, being named Romanov-na-Murmane (Romanov-on-Murman), after the royal Russian dynasty of Romanovs. On September 21 (O.S. October 4) 1916, the official ceremony was performed, and the date is now considered the official date of the city's foundation. After the February Revolution of 1917, the town was given its present name. From 1918 to 1920, during the Russian Civil War, the town was occupied by the Western powers, who had been allied in WWI, and by the  White Army forces.

2504 A view of the Murmansk (3)

During WWII, Murmansk was a link to the Western world for the Soviet Union with large quantities of goods important to the respective military efforts traded with the Allies: primarily manufactured goods and raw materials into the Soviet Union. German forces in Finnish territory launched an offensive against the city in 1941 as part of Operation Silver Fox, and Murmansk suffered extensive destruction, but it wasn't conquered. For the rest of the war, it served as a transit point for weapons and other supplies entering the Soviet Union from other Allied nations.