October 6, 2015

1944 SRI LANKA - Avalokiteswara Bodhisathwa Statue from Veheragala

Located a few kilometers east of Mihintale, the temple and monastery Sirisangabo Raja Maha Vihara in Veheragala is famous as a location of several extraordinarily beautiful Buddhist statues from the late Anuradhapura era, which today are among the showpieces of the National Museum of Sri Lanka in Colombo. A special feature of these figures is that they represent forms of Mahayana Buddhism, which actually applies to Sri Lanka as frowned upon as a deviation from the original form of the religion.

1943 FRANCE (Corsica) - Santa Giulia Beach

With some of the best and most accessible beaches on Corsica, Porto Vecchio has become the island's number one tourist region. Located 10 minutes south of this  commune, in Santa Giulia Bay, is a beautiful large lagoon-type beach with turquoise water and pearl-white soft sands. The sea is shallow and calm, with small areas of reef. The beach, arguably the most photogenic of all the beaches in L'Extrême Sud, is backed by maquis and flanked by mountains and pines, adding to its exquisite natural beauty.

1942 FRANCE (New Caledonia) - Spearfishing on the island of Maré

Spearfishing is an ancient method of fishing (maybe the first) that has been used throughout the world for millennia. One could say that it is the most selective fishing method, because uses no bait and has no by-catch. It may be conducted with an ordinary spear or a specialised variant such as an eel spear. Today modern spearfishing makes use of elastic powered spearguns and slings, or compressed gas pneumatic powered spearguns, to strike the hunted fish.

October 5, 2015

1941 UNITED STATES (Massachusetts) - Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port

The Kennedy Compound consists of three houses in Hyannis Port, a small residential village located in Barnstable, in Cape Cod. It was once the home of American businessman and political figure Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., his wife Rose, and two of their sons, Jack and Bobby. Their youngest son, Ted lived in his parents' house, and it was his main residence from 1982 until his death in 2009. Ted also bought President Kennedy's house from his daughter, Caroline. This house now belongs to Ted Jr.

1940 ROMANIA (Iaşi) - The Palace of Culture in Iaşi

Recognized as an effigy of the city of Iaşi (the capital of the Principality of Moldavia from 1564 to 1859), the Palace of Culture hosts, since 1955, the Moldova National Museum Complex, consisting from four museums, as well as other cultural institutions, after previously served as Administrative Palace and then Palace of Justice. It was built between 1906 and 1925, partly on the old ruins of the mediaeval Royal Court of Moldavia (1434), and partly on top of the foundations of the former neoclassical style palace, dated to the time of Prince Alexandru Moruzi (1806), rebuilt by Prince Mihail Sturdza and dismantled in 1904.

October 4, 2015

1935-1939 SAINT MARTIN - The map of the island and the flags of Saint Martin (France) and of Sint Maartin (Netherlands)

1935 The map of Saint Martin Island (1)

Located in the northeast Caribbean, between Anguilla and Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin is the smallest inhabited sea island divided between two nations, respectively between France (60%) and the Kingdom of the Netherlands (40%). The southern Dutch part comprises Sint Maarten and is one of four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the northern French part comprises the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and is an overseas collectivity of France.

1936 The map of Saint Martin Island (2)

The main cities are Philipsburg (Dutch side) and Marigot (French side). The Dutch side is more heavily populated. The largest settlement on the entire island is Lower Prince's Quarter, on the Dutch side. The highest hilltop is the Pic Paradis (424m) in the center of a hill chain on the French side, but both sides are hilly with large mountain peaks. This forms a valley where many houses are located. There are no rivers on the island, but many dry guts. It has a tropical monsoon climate with a dry season from January to April and a rainy season from August to December.

1937 The map of Saint Martin Island (3)

Ancient relics date the island's first settlers, probably Ciboney Indians (a subgroup of Arawaks), back to 3,500 years ago. Their lives were turned upside-down with the descent of the Carib Indians, a warrior nation which killed the Arawak men and enslaved the women. In 1493 Christopher Columbus glimpsed the island and named it Isla de San Martín after Saint Martin of Tours because it was November 11, St. Martin Day, but Spain made the settlement of the island a low priority.

1938 Saint Martin - The border monument which celebrates
the peaceful coexistence of the French and Dutch on St. Martin (1)

Instead, the French and Dutch coveted the island. While the French wanted to colonize the islands between Trinidad and Bermuda, the Dutch found San Martín a convenient halfway point between their colonies in New Amsterdam (present day New York) and Brazil. The Dutch, French and British founded settlements on the island. In 1633 Spanish forces captured Saint Martin from the Dutch, but in 1648 they deserted the island. Preferring to avoid an war, the French and Dutch signed in the same year the Treaty of Concordia, which divided the island in two, as it is now.

1938 Saint Martin - The border monument which celebrates
the peaceful coexistence of the French and Dutch on St. Martin (2)

With the cultivation of cotton, tobacco, and sugar, mass numbers of slaves were imported to work on the plantations, until the slave population became larger than that of the land owners. After abolition of slavery, plantation culture declined and the island's economy suffered. In 1939, Saint Martin received a major boost when it was declared a duty-free port. The Dutch began focusing on tourism in the 1950s. It took the French another twenty years to start developing their tourism industry. Currently, tourism provides the backbone of the economy for both sides of the island.

October 3, 2015

1934 TAJIKISTAN - A Tajik girl in traditional clothes

Tajik is a general designation for a wide range of Persian-speaking people of Iranian origin, with traditional homelands in the Oxus Basin, the Fergana Valley and on both banks of the upper Oxus, i.e. in present-day Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. In Tajikistan they are the main ethnic group (about 80% of the population, i.e. 6,787,000), but most of them live in Afghanistan (between 9,450,000 and 11,550,000). As a self-designation, the term Tajik, which earlier on had been more or less pejorative, has become acceptable only during the last several decades, particularly as a result of Soviet administration in Central Asia.

1933 GREECE (South Aegean) - Rock climbing in Kalymnos

Located in the southeastern Aegean Sea and belonging to the Dodecanese, the Kalymnos Island is widely considered a sport climber's paradise. It is even said that it has the highest concentration of sports routes anywhere in the world. Roughly rectangular in shape, with a length of 21km and a width of 13km, it is mainly mountainous with complicated topography. The coastline is also very irregular, with many sheltered coves, offering a huge range of climbing on slabs, big walls, overhangs and tufas to suit every level and style.

October 2, 2015

1932 NETHERLANDS (Sint Maarten) - Methodist Church in Philipsburg

Two years after Nathaniel Green, a planter from Antigua, discovered the treatise An Appeal to men of Reason and Religion by John Wesley, he traveled to England and converted to Methodism. He returned to the West Indies in 1759 and began to preach to his slaves in Antigua. In 1786, the Methodist church officially recognized its missionary mission in the Caribbean.

1931 FRANCE (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) - Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes

Located on the French Riviera, Cannes is very well known as the host city of the annual Cannes Film Festival, but also for its association with the rich and famous, its luxury hotels and restaurants, and for several conferences. An important landmark of the city is the Promenade de la Croisette, which stretches along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea and is about 2 km long, in short, is a waterfront avenue with palm trees and pines, a natural link and sophistication between the beach and the city.