December 22, 2014

1372 FINLAND (Åland Islands) - Hammarudda, in Jomala

Located on  Fasta Åland, the main island from the archipelago Åland, lying at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia in the Baltic Sea, Jomala is a municipality which offers a variety of nature experiences. Apart from the sea coast, it contains also open fields, deciduous woodland meadows and Ice Age formations. It is not known from where the name Jomala originates but theories suggest that "jom" comes from the name of the Viking god Jom and that "ala" means "place". Therefore, Jomala would mean "the place where Jom is worshipped". Prehistoric sites have been found in Jomala, just like in Kökar. Jettböle, a Stone-Age settlement dated to approx. 2500-2000 B.C., is one of the most renowned ancient sites in Finland, where most findings have been discovered.

December 21, 2014

1371 UNITED STATES (South Carolina) - The map and the flag of State of South Carolina

Located across the Savannah River, roughly triangular in shape and bordered to the north by North Carolina, to the south and west by Georgia, and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, originally part of the  Province of Carolina, South Carolina was the first of the 13 colonies that declared independence from the British Crown during the American Revolution, but also the first state to vote to secede from the Union, which it did on December 20, 1860. The largest city of the state is Columbia, chosen as the state capital in 1786. Vacationers are attracted to Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand, to the Sea Island resorts, and to Charleston's stately homes and gardens. The state's historical places of interest include Fort Sumter National Monument, Kings Mountain National Military Park, and Cowpens National Battlefield.

1370 CROATIA (Primorje-Gorski Kotar) - Krk

Krk is an island in the northern Adriatic Sea, located near Rijeka in the Bay of Kvarner, inhabited without interruption since the Neolithic age. According to Greek and Latin sources, it is one of the Apsyrtidian or Electridian islands held by the Liburnians. For many years, Krk has been thought to be the largest Adriatic island, although recent measurements now give the neighboring island of Cres an equal surface area. Anyway, it is the most populous Adriatic island, with numerous towns and villages that contain a total of 19,286 inhabitants. Ruled by the Romans, then by the Byzantines, the island was conquered by Venetians for the first time in 1001, and from then its history was closely linked with the history of the Republic of Venice for seven centuries. In 1822 the Austrians separated the island from Dalmatia and linked it to Istria, so that Krk, Cres and Lošinj came under direct rule from Vienna. This link contributed to the Croatian National Revival and together with Kastav, the town of Krk played a leading role in the spread of Croatian education and culture. after a brief Italian Occupation (1918-1920), it was handed over to Croatia, then in Yugoslavia.

1359, 1369 UNITED STATES (Wisconsin) - The map and the flag of State of Wisconsin

Posted on 14.12.2014, and completed on 21.12.2014
Bordered by the Montreal River, Lake Superior and Michigan to the north, by Lake Michigan to the east, by Illinois to the south, by Iowa to the southwest, and by Minnesota to the northwest, Wisconsin is known as "America's Dairyland" because it is one of the nation's leading dairy producers, particularly famous for cheese. The word Wisconsin originates from the name given to the Wisconsin River by one of the Algonquian-speaking American Indian groups living in the region at the time of European contact. With its location between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, Wisconsin is home to a wide variety of geographical features. The state is divided into five distinct regions: the Lake Superior Lowland in the north, the Northern Highland (with massive mixed hardwood and coniferous forests, as well as thousands of glacial lakes, and the state's highest point, Timms Hill), the Central Plain, the Eastern Ridges and Lowlands, and Western Upland (a rugged, hilly region deeply dissected by rivers and streams). The state capital is Madison, and its largest city is Milwaukee, which is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan.

Wisconsin has been home to a wide variety of cultures over the past 12,000 years, but the agricultural societies emerged over the Woodland period (1000 BCE - 1000 CE). Later, between 1000 and 1500 CE, the Mississippian and Oneota cultures built substantial settlements. The Oneota may be the ancestors of the modern Ioway and Ho-Chunk tribes who shared the Wisconsin region with the Menominee at the time of European contact. The French visited the region since the early 17th century, but they didn't made permanent settlements before Great Britain won control of the region following the French and Indian War in 1763. The first permanent settlers, mostly French Canadians, some Anglo-New Englanders and a few African American freedmen, arrived in Wisconsin while it was under British control, when the fur trade reached its height.

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

Posted on 12.12.2012, and completed on 21.12.2014
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. 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 the WWII, Frankfurt 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's also the seat of the European Central Bank, the German Federal Bank, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and the Frankfurt Trade Fair. According to an annual study by Cushman & Wakefield, the European Cities Monitor (2010), Frankfurt has been one of the top three cities for international companies in Europe, along with London and Paris, since the survey started in 1990. It is also the richest city in Europe by GDP per capita, followed by Karlsruhe, Paris and Munich.

Frankfurt is one of the few European cities with a significant number of skyscrapers (buildings with at least 150m hight). Because of the city's skyline, Germans sometimes refer to Frankfurt as "Mainhattan", a portmanteau of the local Main River and Manhattan. 12 out of a total of 13 skyscapers in Germany are in Frankfurt, with two more under construction, 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 this five postcard can be seen almost all, but I will only talk about the ones that I identified them (the order is the one of the height):

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). Is lighted at night with a yellow lighting scheme.

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). Despite its name, it's used as an office building.

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.

Main Tower, named after the nearby Main river (200 m / built 1996-1999 / architect: Schweger & Partner). Is the one cylindrically shaped, to the right of Commerzbank Tower, also with a red and white antenna spire. The tower's design features what appears to be two connected towers: a smaller one in a cuboid shape and a design common to 1970s architecture, and a taller one, a circular tower with an entire blue glass exterior which features the transmission tower on top.

1367 PAPUA NEW GUINEA (East New Britain) - Tavurvur volcano

Tavurvur is an active stratovolcano that lies near Rabaul, on the island of New Britain, the largest island in the Bismarck Archipelago. It is a sub-vent of the Rabaul caldera and lies on the eastern rim of the larger feature. An eruption of the volcano largely destroyed the nearby town of Rabaul in 1994. It is the most active volcano in Rabaul caldera, and the latest eruption began on 29 August 2014, prompting concerns over disruption of flights in Australian airspace due to the large ash clouds. Communities near the volcano were evacuated, while residents of the town of Rabaul were advised to remain indoors to avoid falling ash.

December 20, 2014

1366 UKRAINE (City of Kiev) - A farmstead in Museum of Folk Architecture and Life from Pirogovo

One of the most interesting landmarks of Kiev is the Museum of Folk Architecture and Life, located in Pyrohiv (Pirogov), originally a village, now a neighborhood in the southern outskirts of the Ukrainian capital city. Its construction began in 1971 on a 150-ha site in a forest and park zone, and when completed, it will be the largest such museum in the world. By the summer of 1976 the first part had been opened to visitors. By 1985 the museum included 250 buildings and about 50,000 artifacts, such as costumes, woven products, implements, ceramics and wooden objects, and over 700 folk musical instruments. The museum site is divided into seven zones that correspond to the architectural-ethnographic regions of Ukraine at the beginning of the 20th century: the Middle-Dnieper River region, the Poltava region, Slobidska Ukraine, Polisia, Podolia, the Carpathian Mountains region, and southern Ukraine. In each zone a typical village was reconstructed.

1172, 1365 SWEDEN - Swedish Royal Family

Posted on 31.07.2014, and completed on 20.12.2014
The current royal house of Sweden is the House of Bernadotte, which has reigned since 1818, and between 1818 and 1905 was also the royal house of Norway. Its founder, Charles XIV John of Sweden (r. 1818-1844), was adopted by Charles XIII of Sweden (r. 1809-818), the last member of the House of Holstein-Gottorp. In the first postcard are several members of the Swedish royal family. In the middle are King Carl XVI Gustaf (full name: Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus, born 30 April 1946), and his spouse, Queen Silvia of Sweden (née Silvia Renate Sommerlath; born 23 December 1943). On 15 September 1973, Carl Gustaf succeeded his grandfather Gustaf VI Adolf. He is the only son of Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten, and Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. In 2011, Silvia (the daughter of Walther Sommerlath and his Brazilian wife Alice, née Soares de Toledo) became the longest serving queen consort of Sweden, a record previously held by Sophia of Nassau.

In the left of the royal couple is Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland (Carl Philip Edmund Bertil; born 13 May 1979), the only son of the King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia. On 27 June 2014, it was announced that Carl Philip is engaged with model Sofia Hellqvist, they planning to marry in the summer of 2015. In his left is his elder sister, Crown Princess Victoria, Duchess of Västergötland (Victoria Ingrid Alice Désirée; born 14 July 1977). She is the King's heir according to the new law establishing absolute primogeniture, adopted on 1 January 1980. In her left is her husband, Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland (né Olof Daniel Westling; born 15 September 1973). The couple have only one child, Princess Estelle of Sweden, Duchess of Östergötland (Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary; born 23 February 2012). In the right of the royal couple is Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland (Madeleine Thérèse Amelie Josephine; born 10 June 1982), the youngest child of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia. In her right is her husband, Christopher Paul O'Neill (born 27 June 1974), a British-American businessman. The couple lives and works in New York, and have only one child, Princess Leonore, Duchess of Gotland (Leonore Lilian Maria; born 20 February 2014).

1364 UNITED KINGDOM (Pitcairn Islands) - Oeno Island

Oeno Island or Holiday Island is a coral atoll in the South Pacific Ocean, part of the Pitcairn Islands overseas territory. Located at 143km northwest of Pitcairn Island, it serves as a private holiday site for the few residents of this island, who will travel there and stay for two weeks in January. In 1824 Captain George Worth named the atoll after his ship, the American whaler Oeno. The island measures about 5km in diameter (is almost round), and has two larger and three smaller islets on or within the rim of the atoll. It has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA) principally for its colony of Murphy's Petrels, which, at some 12,500 pairs, is estimated to be the second largest colony of these birds in the world.At the bottom of the postcard is a series of stamps, Oeno Island Holiday, designed by G L Vasarhelyi, and issued on June 26, 1995. The artwork for this issue is based on photographic material supplied by Meralda Warren and Steve Christian of Pitcairn Island.

December 17, 2014

1362, 1363 TAIWAN - Taipei 101

Icon of modern Taiwan, Taipei 101, formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center, was officially classified as the world's tallest building in 2004 (509m), and remained such until the opening of Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010. In July 2011, the skyscraper, designed by C.Y. Lee & partners and constructed primarily by KTRT Joint Venture, was awarded the LEED Platinum certification, the highest award according the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system. Fireworks launched from Taipei 101 feature prominently in international New Year's Eve broadcasts and the structure appears frequently in travel literature and international media. Architecturally created as a symbol of the evolution of technology and Asian tradition (for example, the repeated segments simultaneously recall the rhythms of an Asian pagoda), it comprises 101 floors above ground and 5 floors underground.

Taipei 101 is designed to withstand the typhoon winds and earthquake tremors common in its area of the Asia-Pacific. The façade system of glass and aluminum panels installed into an inclined moment-resisting lattices contributes to overall lateral rigidity by tying back to the mega-columns with one-story high trusses at every eighth floor. This façade system is able to withstand up to 95mm of seismic lateral displacements without damage. Taipei 101's own roof and façade recycled water system meets 20-30% of the building's water needs. It claimed the official records for the fastest ascending elevator speed, designed to be 1,010 m/min.