April 29, 2017

3030 ROMANIA (Ilfov) - Cernica Monastery


Located at 13km ftom Bucharest, on a small peninsula on a lake along Colentina River (actually two islands, the island of St. George and the island of St. Nicholas, linked together, and also with the bank, by a strip of land), Cernica Monastery was a true school of monastic education, being among the most representative monastic settlements in Romania. Founded by great governor of Michael the Brave, Cernica Ştirbei and his wife Chiajna, the monastery is documented in 1608 under the reign of Radu Şerban.

3025, 3029 GREECE (South Aegean) - The Historic Centre (Chorá) with the Monastery of Saint-John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse on the Island of Pátmos (UNESCO WHS)

3025 Monastery of Saint John the Theologian on Pátmos

Posted on 24.04.2017, 29.04.2017
Patmos is one of the northernmost islands of the Dodecanese complex, off the west coast of Turkey, and its main communities are Chorá (the capital city), and Skala, the only commercial port. It is mentioned in the  Christian scriptural Bible Book of Revelation, often called the Revelation to John, or the Apocalypse of John, a book of the New Testament that occupies a central place in Christian eschatology. The book's introduction states that its author, John, was on Patmos when he was given a vision from Jesus, around 95 AD.

3029 The Cave of the Apocalypse on Pátmos

After his death, possibly around 100 AD, a number of Early Christian basilicas were erected on Patmos. Among these was a Grand Royal Basilica in honour of Saint John, built c. 300-350 at the location where the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian stands today. Early Christian life on Patmos barely survived Muslim raids from the 7th to the 9th century, the Grand Basilica being destroyed. In 1088, the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos gave to the monk Christodoulos Latrinos the complete authority over the island, as well as the permission to build a monastery, as part of his policy to create a base in the Aegean.

April 28, 2017

3028 FINLAND - The gates of a barn


Obviously this is the front of a barn. What else would be to said? I searched for information about Finnish barns, based on the idea that they may have something specific, and I discovered that indeed they follow a pattern in the layout of the planks, both those that form the walls, and those that make up the gates. Moreover, the red for large surfaces and the white for gates and windows frames are also traditional colors, often found to the  Finnish barns.

April 26, 2017

1607, 3027 UNITED KINGDOM / AUSTRALIA - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and their son, Prince George

1607 The Duke and Duchess Of Cambridge
with their newborn son
a day after his birth on 22 July 2013

Posted on 24.05.2015, 26.04.2017
Duke of Cambridge is a title which has been conferred upon members of the British royal family several times. It was first used as a designation for Charles Stuart (1660-1661), the eldest son of James, Duke of York (later James II), though he was never formally created Duke of Cambridge, because he had died at the age of six months. The title became extinct several times, before being revived after a hiatus of over a hundred years in 2011, when it was bestowed upon Prince William on 29 April 2011 upon his marriage on the same day to Catherine (née Middleton; born 9 January 1982), who become Duchess of Cambridge.

3027 The Duke and Duchess Of Cambridge
with Prince George at his Christening,
on 23rd of October 2013

Prince William (William Arthur Philip Louis; born 21 June 1982), is the elder son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and  Diana, Princess of Wales. Following his father, William is second in line to succeed his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, as monarch of the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms (including Australia). He was educated at four schools in the United Kingdom and obtained a degree from the University of St Andrews. He spent parts of a gap year in Chile, Belize, and some parts of Africa.

April 25, 2017

3026 INDONESIA (Lesser Sunda) - Abui people


Also known as Barawahing, Barue or Namatalaki, the Abui are an indigenous ethnic group residing on Alor Island, located through southeastern Indonesia, not far from the northwestern coast of Timor. The term Abui means "mountains" or alternatively "enclosed place". Abui language is a member of the  Alor-Pantar languages, a family of clearly related Papuan languages. Their original religion was animistic until much later when Protestant missionaries arrived, and many Abui people become Christians.

April 22, 2017

3024 MALAYSIA (Sabah) - Tun Sakaran Marine Park

3024 Tun Sakaran Marine Park - Aerial view of Bodgaya
and Boheydulang islands

Located off the east coast of Sabah, at the entrance of Darvel Bay, Tun Sakaran Marine Park, also known as Semporna Islands Park, consists of the islands of Bodgaya, Boheydulang, Sabangkat, and Salakan, the sand cays of Maiga, Sibuan, and Mantabuan, and the patch reefs of Church and Kapikan. There are approximately 2,000 people living within the park, most of whom consist of the nomadic Bajau Laut (Sea Gypsies) people, who live in stilt houses and houseboats in and around the marine park.

April 21, 2017

3023 INDIA (Odisha) - Sun Temple, Konârak (UNESCO WHS)

3023 One of the two war horses in front of the southern side
of the Sun Temple at Konârak

The Sun Temple at Konârak, located on the eastern shores of the Indian subcontinent, at 65km from Bhubaneswar, the capital of the Indian state of Odisha, is one of the outstanding examples of temple architecture and art as revealed in its conception, scale and proportion, and in the sublime narrative strength of its sculptural embellishment. It was originally built at the mouth of the river Chandrabhaga, but the waterline has receded since then.

April 20, 2017

2352, 2386, 3022 INDIA - Sādhus

3022 A sādhu at Gangotri, Uttaranchal

Posted on 06.03.2016, 16.03.2016, 20.04.2017
In Hinduism, a sādhu (Sanskrit: good man, holy man) is a religious ascetic or holy person, solely dedicated to achieving moksha (liberation), the fourth and final aśrama (stage of life), through meditation and contemplation of Brahman. Sādhus are sannyāsins (renunciates) who have left behind all material attachments and live in caves, forests and Hindu temples all over India and Nepal. Although the vast majority of sādhus are yogīs, not all yogīs are sādhus.

2352 A sādhu
 

A sādhu is usually referred to as baba by common people, which also means father, grandfather, or uncle in many Indian languages. There are 4 to 5 million sādhus in India today and they are widely respected. It is also thought that their practices help to burn off their karma and that of the community at large, so are supported by donations. They often wear saffron-coloured clothing, symbolising their renunciation, but there are also naked sādhus (digambara, or "sky-clad") who wear their hair in thick dreadlocks called jata.

2386 Naked sādhus

A popular characteristic of sādhu ritualism is the utilisation of cannabis (known as charas) as a form of sacrament in line with their worship of Shiva . Indian culture tends to emphasise an infinite number of paths to God, such that sadhus, and the varieties of tradition they continue, have their place. Some practice extreme asceticism while others focus on praying, chanting or meditating. There are two primary sectarian divisions: Shaiva sādhus (devoted to Shiva), and Vaishnava sādhus (devoted to Vishnu).

April 17, 2017

3021 ROMANIA (Sibiu) - The last Transylvanian saxon in Richiş

3021 Johann Schaas, the last Transylvanian saxon in Richiş

In Târnavelor Plateau, at five km from Biertan, one of the emblem-communes of the Sibiu county, with a fortified church inscribed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is located Richiş (Reichesdorf in Transylvanian Saxon dialect), a small village with a few hundred inhabitants,  documented for the first time in 1283. In 1939 in Richiş lived 1,300 Saxons, but after the WWII many of them either went to Germany or were expropriated and / or deported by the communist authorities, so that in 1989 only 800 remained.

0601, 0602, 1900, 3020 ROMANIA (Hunedoara) - Corvin Castle

0601 Hunedoara - Corvin Castle (1)

Posted on 16.04.2013, 17.09.2015, 17.04.2017
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.

0602 Hunedoara - Corvin Castle (2)

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.
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.

1900 Hunedoara - Corvin Castle (3)

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. 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, 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.

3020 Hunedoara - Corvin Castle (4)

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.

April 15, 2017

3019 NETHERLANDS (Aruba) - Carnival in Aruba


As it is in many Caribbean and Latin American countries, the holiday of Carnival is an important one in Aruba, and goes on for weeks. Its celebration in Aruba started, around the 1950s, influenced by the inhabitants from Venezuela and the nearby islands who came to work for the Oil refinery. Now, the Carnival Celebration starts from the beginning of January till the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday with a large parade on the last Sunday of the festivities (Sunday before Ash Wednesday).

April 13, 2017

3018 CHINA - Yao people


The Yao people are one of the 55 officially recognised ethnic minorities in China, and one of the 54 ethnic groups officially recognised by Vietnam (where they are called Dao), but they also live, in small numbers, in Laos, Myanmar and Thailand. In the last census in 2000, they numbered more tahn 2,600,000 in China and roughly 470,000 in Vietnam. In China they reside in the mountainous terrain of the southwest and south. Long ago, there were about 20 Yao subgroups (and many of them still exist as separate ethnic groupings). Each of these groups had different customs and lifestyles.

April 12, 2017

3017 RUSSIA (Nizhny Novgorod Oblast) - Churches of the Smolensk and Vladimir icons of the Mother of God in Gordeyevka

3017 Church of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother
Of God (in front) and Church of Our Lady of
 Smolensk (in back) in Nizhny Novgorod

The Stroganovs (the richest businessmen in the Tsardom of Russia from the reign of Ivan the Terrible, elevated into the nobility as Barons of the Russian Empire by Peter the Great, and later as Counts) built a number of remarkable Baroque churches throughout Russia in the late 1600s-early 1700s. Only four survived until today, and two of them are in Nizhny Novgorod: the Virgin's Nativity Church and the Church of Our Lady of Smolensk. The last one is located in the former village of Gordeyevka (now, part of the city's Kanavinsky District), where the Stroganov palace once stood.

April 11, 2017

3016 NETHERLANDS (Aruba) - An Aruban girl


The culture of Aruba is an amalgamate of the various cultures that have occupied and lived on the island, including indigenous peoples of South America, descendants of African slaves, and Spanish and Dutch colonialists. Even if the island has been under Dutch administration since 1636, and since 1986 is one of the four countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Spanish influence is very present in the traditions of the islanders.

April 10, 2017

3015 CHINA (Gansu) - Yumen Pass - part of Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor (UNESCO WHS)

3015 The ruin of The Small Fangpa Castle at Yumen Pass

Yumen Pass, or Jade Gate or Pass of the Jade Gate (named for the many jade caravans that passed through it), is a pass of the Great Wall. During the Han dynasty (202 BC - 220 AD), this was a pass through which the Silk Road passed, and was the one road connecting Central Asia and China, the former called the Western Regions. Although the Chinese guan is usually translated simply as "pass", its more specific meaning is a "frontier pass" to distinguish it from an ordinary pass through the mountains.

April 8, 2017

3014 BAHAMAS - Junkanoo


Junkanoo is a street parade with music, dance, and costumes of Akan origin in many towns across the Bahamas every Boxing Day (December 26) and New Year's Day (January 1), the same as Kakamotobi or the Fancy Dress Festival. The largest Junkanoo parade happens in the capital New Providence. In addition to being a culture dance for the Garifuna people, this type of dancing is also performed in The Bahamas on Independence day and other historical holidays. Dances are choreographed to the beat of goatskin drums and cowbells.

April 7, 2017

2045, 3010, 3013 UNITED STATES (Florida) - Miami Beach

3013 Miami Beach: Top left - Mango's Tropical Cafe; Center left - Deco Drive;
Bottom left - Ocean Drive at Twilight; Top right - Swaying Palms;
Bottom right - World famous beach.

Posted on 18.11.2015, 04.04.2017, 07.04.2017
One of the most famous coastal resort city in the world, Miami Beach is located on a variety of natural and man-made barrier islands between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, the latter of which separates the Beach from Miami city. It has been one of America's pre-eminent beach resorts since the early 20th century, the Town of Miami Beach being chartered in 1915; it grew to become a city in 1917. Carl Fisher was the main promoter of its development in the 1920s as the site for wealthy industrialists from the north and Midwest to and build their winter homes here.

3010 Miami Beach - Ocean Drive
 

To accommodate them, several grand hotels were built. The Miami Beach peninsula became an island in 1925 when Haulover Cut was opened. The great 1926 Miami hurricane put an end to this prosperous era, but in the 1930s the resort still attracted tourists, and investors constructed the mostly small-scale, stucco hotels and rooming houses. After Fidel Castro's rise to power in 1959, a wave of Cuban refugees entered South Florida. The three neighborhoods of the city are South Beach, Mid Beach, and North Beach. South Beach (nicknamed SoBe) was the first section of the resort to be developed, and is a major entertainment destination with hundreds of nightclubs, restaurants, boutiques and hotels.

2045 Miami Beach - Art Deco Historic District
 

The famous Ocean Drive, the easternmost street in South Beach, running in a north-south direction, is responsible for the city aesthetic. Art Deco Historic District (bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Lenox Court, 6th Street and Dade Boulevard) is considered the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world and comprises hundreds of hotels, apartments and other structures erected between 1923 and 1943. Mediterranean, Streamline Moderne and Art Deco are all represented in the District. The movement to preserve its architectural heritage was led by Barbara Capitman, who now has a street in the District named in her honor.