September 30, 2015

1927, 1928 UNITED NATIONS - United Nations Office at Vienna

1927 United Nations - Vienna International Centre

The United Nations Office in Vienna (UNOV) is one of the four major UN office sites where several different UN agencies have a joint presence. The office complex is located in Vienna, the capital of Austria, and is part of the Vienna International Centre (VIC), a cluster of several major international organizations. The UNOV was established on 1 January 1980, and was the third such office established (after New York and Geneva,  and before Nairobi).

1928 United Nations - United Nations Postal Administration Flags
of the United Nations, view from the Memorial Plaza, Vienna

In 1966, the Government of Austria made an offer to the UN to construct in Vienna an international centre, and a year later, together with the city of Vienna, in a joint decision, designated an area on the left bank of the Danube as the site of the centre. The international competition for the design of the buildings, organized in 1968, attracted the interest of architects worldwide, the winner being the Austrian architect Johann Staber.

1926 CHILE (Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena) - Torres del Paine and Bernardo O'Higgins National Parks, Region of Magallanes (UNESCO - Tentative List)

1926 - Torres del Paine National Park

Located in a transition area between the Magellanic subpolar forests and the Patagonian Steppes, Torres del Paine National Park encompass mountains, glaciers, lakes and rivers. Paine means "blue" in the native Tehuelche (Aonikenk) language and is pronounced PIE-nay. The Torres del Paine are the distinctive three granite peaks of the Paine mountain range or Paine Massif. They extend up to 2,500m above sea level, and are joined by the Cuernos del Paine.

September 29, 2015

1924 BELGIUM (West Flanders) - Hallentoren belfry and halls in Bruges - part of Belfries of Belgium and France (UNESCO WHS)

This belfry is one of the 56 belfries of Belgium and France, inscribed by UNESCO on the list of World Heritage Sites as Belfries of Belgium and France about which I wrote here. Added to the Market Square around 1240, when Bruges was prospering as an important centre of the Flemish cloth industry, the belfry of Bruges, or Belfort, is one of the city's most prominent symbols. It formerly housed a treasury and the municipal archives, and served as an observation post for spotting fires and other danger. In the middle of the Market Square stands a statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, historical figures from Flanders' past.

September 28, 2015

1923 NETHERLANDS (Netherlands / Utrecht) - Women from Spakenburg in traditional garb

Spakenburg, formally called Bunschoten-Spakenburg since its fusion with Bunschoten, was for centuries a fishermen village located on the coast of what was then the Zuiderzee (a shallow bay on the North Sea). In the early 1900's the prosperous fishing harbor boasted over 200 ships, but the closing of the Zuiderzee and reclaiming of land brought an end to that. No commercial fishing is now done, but heritage wooden vessels are still being built and repaired here. It is also one of the few places left in the Netherlands where some women still wear local traditional garb.

1919-1922 FRANCE (Saint Martin) - Market Day in Marigot

1919 Saint Martin - Market Day in Marigot (1)

Marigot, the capital of Saint Martin, with its gingerbread houses and sidewalk bistros, is charming in any day of the week, but if you really want to catch the spirit of the place, you must visit it on Wednesday or on Saturday, when are market days. Marigot market is best described as a melting pot of colours, smells and lively hustle and bustle.

1920 Saint Martin - Market Day in Marigot (2)

Opposite the traditional restaurants, a stone statue, erected by Martin Lynn and donated by an American, commemorates black female market sellers. In 2006, as part of a series of events for black history week, a fresco, again commemorating female market sellers, was painted by an artist from Saint Martin on a wall opposite the market.

1921 Saint Martin - Fruits at Marigot Market

One portion of the market is dominated by permanent vendor stalls, housed under a mass of open Creole huts along the water front. Here can be found fruit and vegetables, spices, local meats and fresh fish caught that day. Here, visitors can sample the full range of flavoured rums, subtle blends of rum, fruits and spices, Shrub (orange peel crushed into rum), or Mauby (a tree bark-based beverage grown).

1922 Saint Martin - Spices at Marigot Market

Temporary tent-style stalls forms another section of the market. These are the type that spring forth like mushrooms on major market days (Wednesday and Saturday) to join their permanent cousins, to grow the market to more than double its original size. Here people browsed through clothing, jewelry, and various crafts.

September 27, 2015

1918 MARSHALL ISLANDS - People and moments

Located in the Pacific Ocean, near the equator, slightly west of the International Date Line, the Marshall Islands has a population of 68,480 people, spread out over 29 coral atolls, comprising 1,156 individual islands and islets. Micronesian colonists gradually settled the Marshall Islands during the 2nd millennium BC, and the first Europeans which explored them were the Spaniards, in the 1520s.

1917 GERMANY (Bavaria) - Schwarzenberg Monastery in Scheinfeld

According to the legend, on the beginning of the 17th century, the then Countess of Schwarzenberg have set in a wooded area, not far from the chapel today, a small place for the worship of the Virgin Mary. In that time the Franciscans were stationed in the town of Scheinfeld, and in 1697 addressed a request to the Prince to be allowed to establish a monastery there.

1916 ZAMBIA - Lilac-breasted roller

The lilac-breasted roller (Coracias caudatus) is widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula, being the national bird of Kenya. This bird prefers open woodland and savanna, and also the regions where palm trees grow singly. Its average size is 37cm. Its name comes from their impressive courtship flight, a fast, shallow dive from considerable elevation with a rolling or fast rocking motion, accompanied by loud raucous calls.

1915 CANADA (Quebec) - Montmorency Falls in winter

Located on the boundary between the borough of  Beauport, Quebec City, and Boischatel, about 12 km from the heart of old Quebec City, the Montmorency Falls is a large waterfall, named so in 1613 in honour of Henri II, duc de Montmorency, who served as viceroy of New France from 1620 until 1625. The falls, at 84m high and 46m wide, are the highest in the province of Quebec and 30m higher than Niagara Falls.

September 26, 2015

0545, 1914 MOROCCO - Berber women

1914 Morocco - A Berber woman

Posted on 08.03.2013, 26.09.2015
Even if is practical almost entirely Islamic, the Moroccan society isn't a conservative one, and has no particular rules, but the Moroccans have kept alive the custom to wear the traditional dress. As in all Maghreb, the overwhelming majority of the Moroccans (99%) is considered to be Arab-Berber, with an Arab ethnic identity. However, probably that a third of the population is made up of Berbers, who aren't Arabs, but neither a homogeneous ethnic group, encompassing a range of phenotypes, cultures and ancestries. The unifying forces for the Berber people may be their shared language, belonging to the Berber homeland, or a collective identification with the Berber heritage and history.

0545 Morocco - Young Berber woman from Imilchil

To can cope neighbors, many of the Berber tribes have united throughout history in large confederations. One of them is Ait Yafelman, which lives on the eastern High Atlas, its capital being Imilchi, now a small town, with less than 2,000 inhabitants, located in the valley of Assif Melloul (White River). The area is home of the Ait Hdiddou tribe, and the town, known for its Betrothal Festival (in the early days of September), represents a symbol of Berber culture. The legend say that two young from different tribes fell in love, but were forbidden to see each other by their families. The grief led them to cry themselves to death, creating the neighbouring lakes of Isli (his) and Tislit (hers), near Imilchil. The families decided to establish a day on the anniversary of the lovers' death - when members of local tribes could marry each other. Thus was born the Imilchil Marriage Festival.

1913 ROMANIA (Constanţa) - Tropaeum Traiani

Very soon after he became emperor, Trajan turned his gaze to Dacia, a kingdom stretched and rich, with a strategic position, at north of the Danube, which Roman Empire had failed to conquer it until then. One of the most important battles of the war which followed took place in the winter of 101-102 A.D. on the site where later will be built Civitas Tropaensium, the largest Roman city of Scythia Minor (Dobrogea), in nowadays Adamclisi, in modern Romania. The Romans were victorious in this battle, but with heavy losses.

After the conquest of Dacia following of the second war (105-106 A.D.), Trajan build in 109, on the battle's place, Tropaeum Traiani, inspired by the Augustus mausoleum, and dedicated to the god Mars Ultor (Mars the Avenger). Before Trajan's construction, an altar existed there, on the walls of which were inscribed the names of the 3,800 legionaries and auxilia (servicemen) who had died "fighting for the Republic". The present edifice is a reconstruction dating from 1977.

September 24, 2015

1912 UNITED STATES (California) - RMS Queen Mary and the domed hangar of the Spruce Goose in Long Beach Harbor


Downtown Long Beach is located approximately 35 km south of Downtown Los Angeles, though the two cities border each other for several miles on Long Beach's southwestern portion. The  Port of Long Beach is the United States' second busiest container port and one of the world's largest shipping ports. In the harbour, right at the mouth of the Los Angeles River, is permanently docked the Art Deco ocean liner RMS Queen Mary, famous for being the fastest in the world from 1936 to 1952.

September 22, 2015

1911 FRANCE (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté) - Villeneuve-sur-Yonne


Villeneuve-sur-Yonne lies on the bank of the River Yonne, between the cities of Sens and Joigny. The city was founded in 1163 by Louis VII of France to protect the kingdom of France at the boundary of the Champagne. In 1204 King Philip II Augustus held parliament in the city, and Louis IX resided in the city before departing for the Eighth Crusade. In 1594 the city was burnt down. During the French Revolution the name was changed from le-Roi (the king) to sur-Yonne (on the Yonne). Now it is surrounded by a partly intact wall, built during the 12th century, which was one of the 8 residences of the French kings.

1910 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Punta Cana Beach

Located in  La Altagracia (the easternmost province of the Dominican Republic), Punta Cana has beaches and balnearios which face both the Caribbean and Atlantic, and it has been a popular tourist destination since the 1970s. The name Punta Cana refers to the cane palms in the region, and literally means "Tip of the White Cane Palms". The area offers water attractions, such as racing speedboats, catamaran sailing, deep sea sport fishing, discovery cruises, floating spas, swimming with dolphins, snorkeling cruises, swimming with sharks and stingrays, whale watching, reef exploring and visiting small islands like Catalina and Saona.

September 21, 2015

1909 MACEDONIA - The Church of The Holy Saviour in Skopje

According to the 2002 census, 68.5% of the population of Skopje belonged to the Eastern Orthodox Church, while 28.6% of it belonged to Islam. However, because of its Ottoman past, Skopje has more mosques than churches. Among those is the Church of The Holy Saviour, built in the late 17th century or early 18th century upon foundations on an older church, and situated on a plateau under the Skopje Fortress, in the Old Town, not far from the Stone Bridge. It is interesting to note that inside the church there is preserved fragment of fresco painting that belonged to the older church.

September 19, 2015

1905 BURKINA FASO - Sya, centre historique de Bobo-Dioulasso (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

Situated in the southwest of Burkina Faso, at about 350km from the capital city Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso is the second largest city in the country, and also a major center of culture and music. The name means "home of the Bobo-Dioula"; while it was likely coined by French colonists to reflect the languages of the two major groups in the population, it does not capture the complex identity and ethnicity of the location. The local Bobo-speaking population (related to the Mande) refers to the city simply as Sia.

September 18, 2015

1904 NETHERLANDS (Aruba) - Alto Vista Chapel

Alto Vista Chapel is a small Catholic chapel also known as "Pilgrims Church" that stands on the hills above the north shore of the sea and to the northeast of the town of Noord, 8km from the California Lighthouse. The church painted on the outside in stark bright yellow colour makes it a conspicuous religious monument for people to visit. The present Chapel of Alto Vista was completed in 1952 and stands in the same location as the original chapel, that was built by Domingo Silvestre, the Venezuelan missionary from Santa Ana de Coro, Venezuela, in 1750.

1903 SPAIN (Andalusia) - Marbella, on Costa del Sol

Situated on the Mediterranean Sea, between Málaga and the Gibraltar Strait, in the foothills of the Sierra Blanca, Marbella is one of the most important tourist cities of the Costa del Sol and throughout most of the year is an international tourist attraction, due mainly to its climate and tourist infrastructure. The city also has a significant archaeological heritage, several museums and performance spaces, and a cultural calendar. In addition, the historic part of the city shelters lovely corners of a typically Andalusian flavour, with whitewashed houses and orange trees adorning the streets and squares.

1902 FRANCE - Society of Saint Vincent de Paul

Founded in 1833 to help impoverished people living in the slums of Paris, the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) is an international Catholic voluntary organization dedicated to the sanctification of its members through serving the poor and disadvantaged. The primary figure behind the society's founding was Frédéric Ozanam (1813-1853), a French lawyer, author, and professor in the Sorbonne. He was 20 years old when the society was founded, and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1997. The Society took the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Vincent de Paul as its patrons under the influence of Sister Rosalie Rendu, D.C. Sister Rosalie (who was herself beatified in 2003).

September 17, 2015

0601, 0602, 1900 ROMANIA (Hunedoara) - Corvin Castle

0601 Hunedoara - Corvin Castle (1)

Posted on 16.04.2013, and 17.09.2015
Located in Hunedoara, on a rock at the foot of which flow Zlaşti creek, a tributary of the Cerna River, Corvin Castle, known also as Hunyadi Castle or Hunedoara Castle, is one of the most important monuments of Gothic inspiration from Romania. It was originally given, in 1409, by Sigismund of Luxemburg, king of Hungary, to Vlach (Romanian) knyaz Voyk (Voicu), for his distinction in the wars against the Ottomans. On this occasion Voyk was ennobled and took the name Hunyadi (de Hunedoara) after the property name, as was the custom. His son, John Hunyadi (Iancu de Hunedoara), Ban of Severin (1438-1441), then Voivode of Transylvania (1441-1446), rebuilt the castle from the foundation starting with 1446, the year in which was elected as Regent-Governor of the Kingdom of Hungary by the Diet, a position which he will hold until 1453.

0602 Hunedoara - Corvin Castle (2)

The castle was built mainly in Gothic style, but with Renaissance architectural elements. The walls were flanked by rectangular or circular towers, three of them (the Capistrano Tower, the Deserted Tower and the Drummers' Tower) being used as prisons, and one (the Mace Tower) was solely built for defence purposes. The rectangular shaped towers had large openings to accommodate larger weapons. The castle has three large areas, decorated with marble: the Knight's Hall (used for feasts), the Diet Hall (used for ceremonies) and the circular stairway. In 1456, John Hunyadi died and work on the castle has stagnated.

1900 Hunedoara - Corvin Castle (3)

Ladislaus Hunyadi, the elder son of John, has owned the castle just one year, because in 1457 he fall prey to intrigues. His younger brother, Matthias Corvinus (Matei Corvin), became King of Hungary and Croatia from 1458, then also King of Bohemia and Duke of Austria, and new commissions were being undergone to construct the Matia Wing of the castle. In 1480, the work was stopped and it was recognised as being one of the biggest and most impressive buildings in Western Europe. In 1482 Matthias donated the domain and the castle to his illegitimate son, John Corvinus (Ioan Corvin). After his death and the death of his children the Hunyadi family died out on the paternal side. In the following two centuries the castle passed through several hands, until 1724 when became the property of the Austrian State, then in 1867 to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and in 1918 to the Kingdom of Romania.