July 16, 2017

3112 FRANCE (Saint Barthélemy) / THAILAND - A Thai spot in Gustavia

Located right in the heart of Gustavia, the main town and capital of the island of Saint Barthélemy, the restaurant Black Ginger serves authentic Thai cuisine, concocted by a trio of Thai chef. Its unique interior courtyard opens on the starry sky, matched only by its contemporary design combining a palette of red and black colors, max domes spreading a soft light,and minimalist furniture, including Charles Eames chairs.

3111 MALAYSIA (Johor) - Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque in Johor Bahru

Erected between 1892 and 1900 in Johor Bahru, the capital of the state of Johor, Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque sits on top of a prominent hill, overlooking the Straits of Johor. The architect Tuan Haji Mohamed Arif bin Punak intentionally based much of its appearance on colonial English Victorian architecture as noted by the minarets that take the form of British 19th century clocktowers. The architecture additionally includes some Moorish architecture elements, along with some minor Malay influence.

3106, 3110 HUNGARY - The map and the flag of the country

3106 The map of Hungary

Posted on 05.07.2017, 16.07.2017
Located in Central Europe, in the Carpathian Basin, between Slovakia, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, and Ukraine, Hungary covers an area of 93,030 square kilometres and has 10 million inhabitants. Its capital is Budapest, officially created in 1873 by the merger of the neighboring cities of Pest, Buda and Óbuda. Originally a Celtic settlement, then the Roman capital of Lower Pannonia, it was from around 1300 to 1873 the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary for five periods of less than a century each, and after that, until 1918, became the co-capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

3110 The flag of Hungary, with its map and coat of arms
(from the series Flags of the World)

Following centuries of successive habitation by Celts, Romans, Slavs, Gepids and Avars, the foundation of Hungary was laid in the late 9th century by the Hungarian grand prince Árpád in the conquest of the Carpathian Basin. The year 972 marked the date when the ruling prince Géza officially started to integrate Hungary into the Christian Western Europe. His first-born son, Saint Stephen I, became the first King of Hungary, and turned Hungary in a Catholic Apostolic Kingdom.

July 9, 2017

3109 GERMANY (Saxony-Anhalt) - Magdeburg

3109 Magdeburg: 1. Magdeburg Cathedral 2. The town hall
3. Magdeburg Rose 5. The three churches on the banks of the Elbe river

Magdeburg is the capital city and the second largest city of Saxony-Anhalt, and was one of the most important medieval cities of Europe. Founded by Charlemagne in 805 on the Elbe River, the town was fortified in 919 by King Henry I the Fowler against the Magyars and Slavs. In 929 the city went to Edward the Elder's daughter Edith, through her marriage to Henry's son Otto I (both of them will be buried here). In 1035 Magdeburg received a patent giving the city the right to hold trade exhibitions and conventions, which form the basis of the later family of city laws known as the Magdeburg rights.

July 8, 2017

3108 CZECH REPUBLIC (Zlin) - Hody in Moravian Slovakia

3108 Stárci with Rights in Kostelan village,
near Uherské Hradiště

Centre of the Great Moravian Empire in the 9th century, the Moravian Slovakia (Slovácko) is in nowaday a cultural region in the southeastern part of the Czech Republic, on the border with Slovakia and Austria, known for its characteristic folklore, music, wine, costumes and traditions. Due to the cultural and linguistic links to Slovakia, many ethnographers consider Moravian Slovaks as a people which politically belong to Czech lands but ethnographically and culturally to the Slovak ethnic group. Its most important center is the town of Uherské Hradiště, founded in 1257 on the Morava River by the Czech king Otakar II.

July 6, 2017

3107 ROMANIA (Bacău) - George Bacovia Memorial House in Bacău

George Bacovia Memorial House is the starting point for any cultural itinerary in Bacău,  a city situated in the historical region of Moldavia, at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, and on the Bistriţa River. George Bacovia (true name - Gheorghe Vasiliu; 17 September 1881 - 22 May 1957) is the most important Romanian symbolist poet, precursor of Romanian Modernism, and one of the most important interwar Romanian poets.

July 3, 2017

0913, 2039, 3105 CZECH REPUBLIC (Zlin) - The traditional clothes in Haná region

0913 Children from Haná in traditional clothes

Posted on 24.12.2013, 15.11.2015, 03.07.2017
In addition to its agricultural productivity, Haná (or Hanakia), an ethnic region in central Moravia, located mainly in the lowlands of the Morava River and the Bečva River, is known for its costumes, traditional customs, and Hanakian dialect, still spoken nowadays. The traditional clothes fully correspond to the character of the region, i.e. are dignified and attractive. The male attire can give the impression of being too opulent and boastful, but it's very beautiful, and has the most varied accessories.
2039 Little girl from Haná in traditional clothes

The Haná costume is distinguished according to individual localities, particularly through the color of the trousers - gate - and the tunic or the shape of the hat. For example, a Haná native in Kroměříž, Holešov and Prostějov would have red leather trousers (bane) tied under the knees with tassels. The calves from the knees to the ankles are clothed in linen leg wraps, or velický. These cover about a third of the boots, which are high, and shiny with a woollen rosette on top at the front. The Haná waistcoat is green, colorfully embroidered around the holes and adorned with bright (often silver) buttons.

3105 Peasants from Haná on wheat harvest
at the end of the 19th century (reconstitution)

There is a leather, nicely embroidered belt, about as wide as a palm, around the body. The most interesting are the belts made in the vicinity of Litovel, which were adorned with fine metal strips hammered into them and often combined with embroidery of very narrow straps of multicolored leather. Typical women’s folk dresses consist of petticoats, mudflaps, embroidered bodices, embroidered lace shirts, collar, main trimmed skirt, folk shoes, wreaths, scarves, and caps.

July 1, 2017

1318, 2232, 2647, 3104 TANZANIA / KENYA - Maasai people

3104 Tanzania - Young maasai milking a cow

Posted on 26.10.2014, 22.01.2016, 03.07.2016, 01.07.2017
The Maasai are a Nilotic ethnic group of semi-nomadic people, pastoralists, inhabiting southern Kenya (840,000) and northern Tanzania (800,000), i.e. the African Great Lakes region. They originated from the lower Nile valley and began migrating south around the 15th century. Their territory reached its largest size in the mid-19th century, and covered almost all of the Great Rift Valley and adjacent lands. Followed a period of epidemics and drought (1883-1902), then the British evicted them from the fertile lands between Meru and Kilimanjaro, and most of the fertile highlands near Ngorongoro, to make room for ranches.

2647 Tanzania - Maasai men

As with the Bantu, and the Nilotes in Eastern Africa, the Maasai have adopted many customs and practices from the neighboring Cushitic groups, including the age set system of social organization, circumcision, and vocabulary terms. They are herdsmen, and had a fearsome reputation as warriors and cattle-rustlers. The raiders used spears and shields, but were most feared for throwing clubs (orinka) which could be accurately thrown from up to 100m. In modern time they have resisted the urging of the Tanzanian and Kenyan governments to adopt a more sedentary lifestyle.

1318 Kenya - Maasai morans

The Maasai are monotheistic, worshipping a single deity called Enkai or Engai, who has a dual nature: Engai Narok (Black God) is benevolent, and Engai Nanyokie (Red God) is vengeful. The end of life is virtually without ceremony, and the dead are left out for scavengers. A corpse rejected by hyenas is seen as having something wrong with it. The Maasai lifestyle centres around their cattle which constitute their primary source of food. They eat the meat, drink the milk and on occasion, drink the blood. The measure of a man's wealth is in terms of cattle and children.

2232  Tanzania - Maasai dancers

Maasai society is strongly patriarchal, with elder men deciding most major matters. A full body of oral law covers many aspects of behavior. The men are born and raised to be warriors, and the central unit of the society is the age-set. Every 15 years or so, a new generation of Morans or Il-murran (warriors), formed boys between 12 and 25, will be initiated. One rite of passage to the status of junior warrior is a painful circumcision (emorata) ceremony. The healing process will take 3-4 months, during which urination is painful and nearly impossible at times, and boys must remain in black clothes for a period of 4-8 months.

June 30, 2017

0373, 0818, 1535, 3103 HUNGARY (Budapest) - Hungarian Parliament Building - part of Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue (UNESCO WHS)

3103 Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest (3)

Posted on 09.01.2013, 23.04.2015, 30.06.2017
It has 268 m length, 123 m wide, and 96 m height, being one of the two tallest buildings in Budapest, along with Saint Stephen's Basilica. The number 96 refers to the 1000th anniversary of the country in 1896, when it was inaugurated (even if was completed only in 1904). Its interior includes 10 courtyards, 13 passenger and freight elevators, 27 gates, 29 staircases and 691 rooms. Its architect, Imre Steindl, went blind before its completion.

0373 Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest (1)

It's about Országház (which literally means "House of the Country"), the Hungarian Parliament Building, located on Lajos Kossuth Square, on the bank of the Danube. Budapest was united from three cities in 1873 and seven years later the Diet resolved to establish a new, representative Parliament Building, expressing the sovereignty of the nation. An international competition was held, and Imre Steindl emerged as the victor. Construction was started in 1885 and the building was inaugurated on the 1000th anniversary of the country in 1896, and completed in 1904.

0818 Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest (2)

Similar to the Palace of Westminster, it was built in the Gothic Revival style, and it has a symmetrical facade (where are displayed statues of Hungarian rulers, Transylvanian leaders and military commanders) and a central dome in Renaissance Revival style. The main façade overlooks the River Danube, but the official main entrance is from the square on the east side of the building. About 100,000 people were involved in construction, during which 40 million bricks, half a million precious stones and 40 kilograms of gold were used.

1535 Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest by night

In interior are other statues, including those of Árpád, Stephen I and John Hunyadi. The Holy Crown of Hungary, which is also depicted in the coat of arms of Hungary, is also displayed since 2000 in the hexadecagonal (sixteen-sided) central hall, one of the famous parts of the building. Further features include the stained glass and glass mosaics by Miksa Róth. Some of the best views of the Parliament are from the Danube (take a Danube cruise) or from across the river, especially from Batthyány Square, which is only one stop by subway from Kossuth square on the M2 line.

June 28, 2017

3102 GERMANY (Lower Saxony) - Braunschweig

3102 Braunschweig: 1. Aerial view of the city;
2. The Brunswick Palace; 3. Virgin Mary's Fountain;
4. Burgplatz, with Castle, Cathedral, lion, and Town Hall.

Braunschweig is situated north of the Harz mountains at the furthest navigable point of the Oker river, which connects to the North Sea via the rivers Aller and Weser. A powerful and influential centre of commerce in medieval Germany, it was a member of the Hanseatic League from the 13th until the 17th century, and the capital city of three successive states: the Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1269-1432, 1754-1807 and 1813-1814), the Duchy of Brunswick (1814-1918) and the Free State of Brunswick (1918-1946).

3101 UNITED KINGDOM - Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, (30 November 1874 - 24 January 1965) was a British politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. He led Britain to victory over Nazi Germany during WWII. Churchill was also a non-academic historian and a writer, winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953. Named the Greatest Briton of all time in a 2002 poll, Churchill is among the most influential people in British history.

June 27, 2017

0089, 3100 INDIA (Karnataka) - Group of Monuments at Hampi (UNESCO WHS)

3100 Lotus Mahal at the Zenana Enclosure in Hampi

Posted on 02.01.2012, 27.06.2017
"…as large as Rome and very beautiful to the sight. There are many canals that bring water right into Vijayanagara, and in places there are lakes. The palace of the king, which is larger than the castle at Lisbon, is close to a palm grove and other richly bearing fruit trees. Below the Moorish quarter there is river… and along its banks fruit trees growing so closely together that they look like a thick forest", wrote the Portuguese traveller Domingo Paes around 1520, when he visited Vijayanagara (City of Victory), the capital of the empire with the same name, the last bastion of Hinduism in India.

0089 Elephant Stables in Hapi

The empire has reached its peak during the reign of Krishnadevaraya (1509-1529), when were erected the impressive temples and elephant stables still standing today at the village of Hampi. Even if they don't agree as to the origin of the empire, historians agree the founders were inspired by Vidyaranya, a saint at the Sringeri monastery to fight the Muslim invasion. After more then 200 years, the killing of emperor Aliya Rama Raya in 1565 at the battle of Talikota, against an alliance of the Deccan sultanates, mark the end of the city. The Sultanate's army plundered Vijayanagara and reduced it to the ruins; it was never re-occupied.

June 26, 2017

3099 GERMANY (Saxony) - Dresden

Situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the border with the Czech Republic, Dresden is the capital city and, after Leipzig, the second-largest city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. Although it is a relatively recent city of Germanic origin followed by settlement of Slavic people, it has a long history as the capital and royal residence for the Electors and Kings of Saxony, who for centuries furnished the city with cultural and artistic splendour. The city was known as the Jewel Box, because of its baroque and rococo city centre.

3085, 3098 INDIA / CHINA - Joint India (Chennai) - China (Ningbo) International Postcrossing Meetup, May 7, 2017

3085 INDIA - Joint India (Chennai) - China (Ningbo)
International Postcrossing Meetup, May 7, 2017

Posted on 12..06.2017, 26.06.2017
On May 7th, 2017 took place this meetup, actually two meetups which holded in same day, at the same hour (China is 3 hours earlier than India) in Chennai (India) and Ningbo (China). Chennai (formerly known as Madras) is the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, and one of the biggest cultural, economic and educational centres in South India. Ningbo is a sub-provincial city in northeast Zhejiang province in China, with a port which is among the busiest in the world.

3098 CHINA - Joint India (Chennai) - China (Ningbo)
International Postcrossing Meetup, May 7, 2017

With this occasion, the postcrossers from the two countries issued a special postcard, one alone, on which are joined yoga postures and kung fu stances. Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India, and has as ultimate goal moksha (liberation). Kung fu is an umbrella term for the Chinese martial arts, several hundred fighting styles that have developed over the centuries in China.