December 31, 2011

0087 NETHERLANDS (Netherlands / Gelderland) - The Nijmegen road bridge

Behold that Market Garden Corridor (from Eindhoven to Arnhem) start to take shape. After the postcard with the railway bridge from Nijmegen I received it this one, with the road bridge from the same Dutch city (Thanks from the heart, Elsbeth). At the first glance (without claiming to be exhaustive) I ascertain that I would also need the images with the following objectives (of course to the extent that they exist physical nowadays and it were issued the postcards with them): 

December 26, 2011

0083 - CZECH REPUBLIC (Plzeň) - The Benedictine Abbey of Kladruby

For several years I no longer follow the news neither on television nor on the radio, so that events, be they from Romania or from the wider world, reach to me only accidentally, like some echoes. That is why only today I found out of the death of Václav Havel, whom I highly commend as political person, as well as man, because, as Milan Kundera said: "Václav Havel's most important work is his own life". Thank you and God bless you, Mr. Havel, and hats off to the nation which gave birth to such a man. This day is dedicated to the Czech Republic.

December 25, 2011

0082 UNITED STATES (Washington) – The gateway to Alaska


I don't think that I'm the only one for whom Seattle remained forever linked with the grunge. So much touched me the movement in the early '90s, that in 1996 (two years after Cobain's death, because I didn't want to take advantage of it) I wrote a biography of the phenomenon, Nirvana Spirit, which I have edited by myself. Nothing surprising, because the movement was the most important since the punk era and furthermore it came to me, as Romanian, amid a newly gained freedom after 1989.

December 23, 2011

0081 HUNGARY (Budapest) - Saint Stephen's Basilica - part of Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue - Saint Stephen's Basilica (UNESCO WHS)

0081 Saint Stephen's Basilica in Budapest
in nowadays and at the beginning of the 20th century

Saint Stephen's Basilica (Szent István bazilika) is the most important church not only from Budapest, but from the entire Hungary. Completed in 1905 after 54 years of construction, according to the plans of Miklós Ybl, one of Europe's leading architects in the mid to late 19th century, basilica is and will remain the tallest building in Budapest, with 96m (as also Hungarian Parliament Building, the equality symbolizing that worldly and spiritual thinking have the same importance). I said that "is and will remain" the tallest, because the current regulations simply don't allow construction of buildings tallest than that.

December 22, 2011

0080 AUSTRIA (Vienna) - Ball der offiziere 2012

In 1919, under circumstances not very happy for Austria, a group of graduates from the Theresianische Militärakademie (Theresian Military Academy), establish the Asociation Alt-Neustadt (the Old Newstadt). Theresian Military Academy is the oldest military academy in the world and was founded in 1751 by Maria Theresa of Austria. Academy headquarters is in castle of Wiener Neustadt, where he was throughout whole its history except for two short intervals.

December 21, 2011

0079 ITALY (Umbria) - Motor ship Perugia

Today fell the first snow of this winter in my city. Has anything to do the snow  with the postcard that I want to present next? No. But the Christmas is coming, and for me, as for Sheila, winter holidays are closely related to snow. It is a widespread opinion among those living in the temperate zone, although in no case it snowed in Bethlehem when Jesus was born.

December 20, 2011

0078 TAIWAN (Fujian) – Tunnels for ships and cleavers made from bomb shells

Whatever you say, is quite unusual that of the first 50 collectors with whom I swapped, two to be born on the same day as me. That means 4%. A huge percentage. When I found that the 13th postcrosser assigned to me (Mia, from Taiwan) has as the date of birth August 8, I was wincing. After a few days, wanting to thank Sigga, from Iceland, from the postcards send it to me, my eyes have fallen upon her date of birth: August 8. "The owls are not what they seem", I said to myself, and I created a new label on the blog: "Received from those born on August 8". Until now the label contains four postcards (of 103 received, ie about ... 4%), but I'm sure that their number will increase quickly.

December 19, 2011

0077 RUSSIA (Saint Petersburg) - Palace and Park Ensembles of the Town of Lomonosov and its Historical Centre - part of Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments (UNESCO WHS)

0077 Lomonosov - The Chinese Palace

Oranienbaum (orange tree in German of that era), named Lomonosov since 1948, is situated on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, 40km west of Saint Petersburg, and is the site of an 18th-century park and palace complex. In 1707, four years after he founded Saint Petersburg, Peter the Great gave the grounds near the seaside to his right-hand man, Aleksandr Danilovich Menshikov, who commissioned the architects Giovanni Maria Fontana and Gottfried Schädel to built the Grand Menshikov Palace from 1710 to 1727.

December 17, 2011

0076 BULGARIA (Varna) - The Stone Forest

As neighbors we are, even if some Latins and others Slavs, Romanians and Bulgarians had much in common throughout history, whether it's about the closely related ancestors (Dacians and Thracians), about the migratory that often passed through both territories or have settled on them, about the influence or domination firstly Byzantine and then Ottoman and eventually Russian. In Romanian Dobrudja (and not only) live also Bulgarians, Vlachs still live south of the Danube...  The Romanians have mountains (Carpathians), shore to the Black Sea and access to the Danube, the Bulgarians have mountains (Balkan and Rhodope), shore to the Black Sea and access to the Danube. True, we clashed with each other, for example in the Balkan Wars or in WWI, but which neighbors don't argue from time to time?

December 15, 2011

0074 UNITED KINGDOM (Scotland) - Ramsay Gardens - part of Old and New Towns of Edinburgh (UNESCO WHS)

0074 The Ramsay Garden and the Edinburgh Castle

The Ramsay Garden is a block of sixteen private apartment buildings developed into its current form between 1890 and 1893 by the biologist, botanist and urban planner Patrick Geddes (the inventor of the term conurbation). Designed by the architect Stewart Henbest Capper, it was build by Sydney Mitchell, who had also taken over as architect, the result being a combination of traditional Scottish domestic architecture and a rather fanciful proliferation of balconies, towers and eaves.

0073 CANADA (Ontario) – Toronto's Union Station

"You build your stations like we build our cathedrals", said Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, during the official opening of Toronto’s Union Station, on August 6, 1927. He received the first ticket sold at Union Station, to Alberta for a cost of $71.20, which today would cost over $1,100.

Union Station, located in the heart of the City on Front and Bay street, is the central hub for all inter-city transit in Toronto, and the busiest passenger transportation facility in Canada, serving approximately quarter of a million passengers each day. The building of the station came as a result of the great fire in 1904, which demolished 14 acres of the downtown manufacturing and warehouse district. The Canadian Pacific and Grand Trunk Railways negotiated with the City of Toronto for control of some of this land, and construction began in 1914, but the WWI and the collapse of the Grand Trunk Railway in 1919 delayed completion until 1921.

Designed in the Beaux-Arts style, it was the largest and most opulent station erected in Canada. Monumental in design, the great Hall features a coffered vault ceiling of Gustavino tiles. The shape of the ceiling is echoed in the four-storey, barrel-vaulted windows on the east and west walls. Mid-way up the north and south walls are carved names of the cities that were then serviced by the Canadian Pacific Railways and the Canadian National Railways, the government-owned railway that replaced the Grand Trunk. The list alternates from side to side, naming the cities from east to west.

The interior walls are of Zumbro stone from Missouri; the floors are Tennessee marble, laid in a herringbone pattern. The exterior walls of the station are Indiana and Queenston limestone. Each of the 22 Bedford limestone columns weights 75 tons and is 40 feet high. In front of the station, as seen in the photography realised by Tim Peters, is an iron sculpture celebrating Christopher Columbus.

Union Station has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada since 1975.

About the stamp I wrote here.

sender: Pompilian Tofilescu

December 14, 2011

0072 COLOMBIA (Bolívar) - Márquez’s Cartagena

A postcard from Macondo, the town where it rained for four years, eleven months and two days, would be undoubtedly the most important piece of my collection. But since such a thing will not happen, at least not in this world, I very much want a postcard from Aratacama, the city where saw daylight Gabriel García Márquez and which became later, in his imagination and his writings, Macondo, the mythical space in which is conducted, during a hundred years of solitude,  the Buendias saga. 

December 13, 2011

0070 ICELAND - The Turf House Tradition - Árbær farm (UNESCO WHS)

After two postcards with more or less active volcanoes, behold I received from Iceland a totally different picture, more earthly and more friendly (thanks a lot, Sigga). On the back writes this: "The turf church at Árbær farm dates from 1842. It is situated among many other refurbished houses to re-create the flavor of a small icelandic village. This living museum features staff that dress in period clothing and demonstrate various old-time craft and farming practices."

0069 UNITED STATES (New Jersey) - New Jersey map

The fourth U.S. state entered into my collection is the fourth smallest, but is also the most densely populated one. New Jersey, since to him I refer, is among the thirteen original states of the Union, but may be considered the third in order of admission, because it was the third which has ratified the United States Constitution on 18 December 1787. The two goals expressed in the state motto, Liberty and Prosperity, are so comprehensive that hardly you could add something next to them.

First colonized by the Dutch, from who the British took it by force, New Jersey (and not only it) reached in 1661 in the hands of two friends, Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkeley of Stratton, who received large grant of land in American colonies as a reward for loyalty to King Charles II during the English Civil War. That part of New Netherland was named after the largest of the Channel Islands, where George Carteret had been born. I admit that I didn't know this until I received the postcard from Jersey.

În 1673, Berkeley sold his half of the colony to Quakers in England, who settled the Delaware Valley region as a Quaker colony. In 1680 George Carteret died, and two years later East Jersey was also sold at auction to twelve men, one of whom was William Penn. The price paid was £3400 sterling.

During the American Revolution many major battles were fought here making it pivotal in the ultimate victory of the American colonists. Instead in the Civil War was not fought any battle within New Jersey, the last northerner state that has abolished slavery and the only one which rejected Abraham Lincoln twice in presidential elections. Even after a hundred years, racial tensions hasn't disappeared, exploding in riots in 1964 and 1967.

On the map, in addition to the state bird (the gold finch), the state flower (the violet) and neighbors (New York, Atlantic Ocean, Pennsylvania and Delaware), appear (as on any such map) sights and activities representative for the state (from top to bottom or from North to South, if you want):

● High Point Monument (550m), in Montague
● Mountain Creek Ski Resort, in Vernon Township
● Ringwood State Park, in Roingwood
● Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, in Readington Township
● Delawar Water Gap
● George Washington Bridge, connecting Manhattan (New York City) to Fort Lee (New Jersey)
● MetLife Stadium, in East Rutherford
● Meadowlands Racetrack, a horse racing track in East Rutherford
● Red Mill Museum Village, in Clinton
● Nassau Hall at Princeton University
● Windsurfing
● Kingda Ka, the roller coaster from Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson
● Barnegat Lighthouse
● Adventure Aquarium (formerly the New Jersey State Aquarium), in Camden
● Pine Barrens
● Delaware Memorial Bridge- Casino of Atlantic City
● Cap May Lighthouse

Two of the stamps are new First-Class Forever, issued in December 1st, 2010, and feature world-recognized symbols of the United States: the Statue of Liberty and the American flag. They were designed as a se-tenant pair by Terry McCaffrey who used existing photographs to create the designs: the photograph of the Statue of Liberty was taken by Raimund Linke, and the photograph of the U.S. flag is by Ron Watts. About the third stamp, The American Clock, I wrote here.

sender: Barb Campbell (walltype)

December 11, 2011

0068 INDIA (Tamil Nadu) – Let us plant One Tree

I like campaigns like this, even if I doubt of their immediate effect. If, however, are sufficiently numerous and well supported, can form a current of opinion, even a mentality, which isn't such a small thing. I haven't planted any tree (it would be difficult and useless now, given that in Romania is winter and the temperature began to drop below zero at night), but I promise to do it in the springtime. Thanks, Swaminathan.

I thought that the temple in the image of the top wasn't chosen at random, so I searched and finally I found it: is the Shore Temple, the earliest important structural stone temples of South India, built in 8th century on a promontory sticking out into the Bay of Bengal, at Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram), a village south of Chennai (ex-Madras). It's part of the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, which contains nearly forty monuments of different types, inspired by the Pallava Art, and has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.

December 10, 2011

0066 BANGLADESH (Chittagong) – Sangu river

Yes, Safa, I got the postcard in one piece, even in a better condition than others. Thanks a lot. Over time I concluded that the technical level of equipment and logistic organization of a postal operator affect only how quickly is delivered the mail. The condition in which it reaches its destination depends on the conscientiousness and seriousness of the personnel who manipulates it. It's enough one single asshole along the route and the postcard reach damaged. Asshole which can be in Romania, in Bangladesh or in United States, because such people are everywhere.

So. Bangladesh (which means Country of Bengal in Bengali language) is a very young state, which gained the independence only in 1971, by separating from Pakistan, which split in turn from India in 1947. Bangladesh and indian state West Bengal makes up the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal. Bangladesh is in the low-lying Ganges–Brahmaputra River Delta, where the medieval European geographers have placed the paradise.

Most parts of Bangladesh are less than 12m above the sea level, which means that about 10% of the land would be flooded if the sea level were to rise by 1m. The highest region of Bangladesh is in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, the only hill intensive area of the country, divided in 1984 into 3 disctricts: Khagrachari, Rangamati and Bandarban. The postcard received by me is from Thanchi, a remote upazila parishad (county subdivisions) of Bandarban, practically located along the river Sangu. More about this picture I couldn't find.

The stamps are excellent. The first on the left belongs to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 set, consist of 4 stamps with the same denomination (20 taka), which shows bowling (this is on the postcard), batting, fielding and wicket keeping aspects of Cricket.

Also 4 stamps with the same value (5 taka) forming the Traditional Musical Instruments of Bangladesh set, desingned by Anowar Hossain & Jasim Uddin and issuedd on July 21, 201. From this series Safa has used for the postcard two stamps.

sender: Safa Mohammad (direct swap)

0065 FINLAND (Pirkanmaa) - Nokia 9841

"Nokia Corporation is a Finnish multinational communications corporation that is headquartered in Keilaniemi, Espoo, a city neighbouring Finland's capital Helsinki." I see. For the last 8 years I using only Nokia mobiles. "On September 2011, Nokia has announced it will lose another 3,500 jobs worldwide, including the closure of its Cluj factory in Romania." Why? "Nokia's factory in Cluj was seized by the Romanian government in November 2011 to prevent a sale of the assets, after Nokia had accumulated a tax liability of US$ 10 million." No comment.

December 8, 2011

0063 EL SALVADOR (Cabañas) - San Miguel Arcangel church from Ilobasco

Affectionately called Pulgarcito de America (the Tom Thumb of the Americas), El Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America, and the only one in the area that doesn’t have a significant African population, those more than 6 million inhabitants being mostly mestizos.

About Señorío of Cuzcatlán (The Lordship of Cuzcatlán), Mayans and Spanish conquistadors I will write when I will have a postcard with the pyramids of Tazumal or San Andrés. About very commendable but failed attempts to form a republic of Central American countries, when I will have a postcard with San Salvador. About Farabundo Martí and La matanza (The Massacre), when I will have a postcard from one of the provinces affected by the peasant uprising of 1932. About La guerra del fútbol (the Soccer War), when I will have a postcard from Honduras. About the civil war that devastated El Salvador 12 years (1980-1992), when I will have a postcard with Catedral Metropolitana de San Salvador (the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Salvador), where was buried Archbishop Oscar Romero, killed by a member of the death squads. About volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, when I will have a postcard with one of many volcanoes of the Central America Volcanic Arc.

Now I have a postcard with ethereal Iglesia Parroquial San Miguel Arcangel (Parish Church Saint Michael Archangel) of Ilobasco, located 48 km northeast of the capital, San Salvador. The church building began in 1880 and lasted 8 years. The town celebrates its patron saint festivities on September 22nd to 29th in honor of San Miguel Arcangel.

But this town is best known for its pottery, made from local clays, which include the miniatures, no bigger than 2 inches tall. Of all, the most preferred ones are the sorpresas (surprises), small egg shaped figurines covered by a sort of cap that when opened reveal a daily activity of the town. Ilobasco is also known for its moliendas (production of dulce de atado).

Thank you, Guillermo, for this postcard, the first of my collection not only from El Salvador but also from America to the south of Rio Grande.

Hardly I have found some information about the stamps. The first belongs of the special set issued by Correos de El Salvador on June 7, 2011, with the occasion of celebrating the Bicentenario del Primer Grito de Independencia de El Salvador 1811-2011 (Bicentenary of the first cry of independence of El Salvador). On the 8 stamps of the series are presented iconic characters of El Salvador: the Priest José Matías Delgado, General Manuel José Arce, an allegorical image to the First Cry of Independence, photo of the Angel of Independence, and the bell of the church La Merced (the last one it's on the postcard). The paintings were completed between 1857 and 1959 by Chilean artist Luis Vergara Ahumada, who was advised by salvadorian historian Jorge Lardos y Larini.

The second stamp is also a commemorative one, issued on 2009 with the occasion of celebrating 150 years since the establishment of Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

The third I believe that is part of a series, Villa Palestine, dedicated to the improving of the quality of life and issued also in 2009.

sender: William Guillermo Romero Martinez (direct swap)

December 4, 2011

0060 RUSSIA (Saint Petersburg) - Smolny Monastery - part of Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments (UNESCO WHS)

The Smolny Convent, or Smolny Convent of the Resurrection, is located on Ploschad Rastrelli, on the bank of the River Neva in Saint Petersburg. Built by beautiful and vivacious Elizabeth, favorite daughter of Peter the Great (from whom she inherited not only the strength of character, but also the leaning toward culture and art), it consists of a cathedral (sobor) and a complex of buildings, originally intended to be a convent. After she was disallowed to take the throne, Elizabeth opted instead to become a nun, but gave up this idea after she became empress in 1741.

December 1, 2011

0057 SPAIN - The map of the country

I said here, referring to the set of stamps Civic Values issued by Correos España this year, that "I have now three of the four stamps of the set". My friend Eric noticed this and sent me a postcard that has on back even the stamp which I lacked, Mantén limpia tu ciudad (keep your city clean). Now I have the complete set. Warm thanks, Eric, and you to know that I'll make you also a surprise.

November 30, 2011

0056 UNITED STATES (Oregon) – The Fairy Falls

Oregon, located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, became the 33rd state of the union on February 14, 1859 (and the 3rd in my collection in November 25, 2011, thanks to Reggie). The capital is Salem, and Portland is the most populous city. I will write about these cities when I will receive postcards from there, which certainly will happen. But I must say that I love Portland, because it's the hometown of one of my favorite bands, Agalloch, which I had the happyness to see it on stage in Bucharest. Also of Oregon are Pinto Colvig (the voice of Disney's Goofy) and Matt Groening (creator of the Simpsons), so that in any case can't be said that the oregonians lack humor.

Columbia River, the fourth largest river in the U.S.A., originates in two lakes that lie between the Continental Divide and Selkirk mountain ranges in British Columbia (Canada), flows northwest and then south into the state of Washington, then turns west to form most of the border between the states of Washington and Oregon before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. It first appeared on European maps in the early 17th century as "River of the West", when a Spanish maritime explorer Martin de Auguilar located a major river near the 42nd parallel.

An especially dramatically scenic portion of the river cuts through the Cascade Mountain Range, creating the 100-mile-long and 3,000-foot-deep Columbia River Gorge, holds federally protected status as a National Scenic Area. The wide range of elevation and precipitation in the gorge creates a diverse collection of ecosystems, a large variety of endemic wildflowers thriving there.

The gorge also contains many waterfalls (over 90 only on the Oregon side), including the notable 190 m high Multnomah Falls. Fairy Falls, the one from the image, a veil type cataract along an unnamed spring-fed side-creek, is located upstream from the much larger Wahkeena Falls and is rather beautiful than spectacular, being a destination for photographers because of the scenic view.

“For some hikers too eager to turn around at Lemmon's Viewpoint, but perhaps too unsure to travel too much further uphill, Fairy Falls makes for a nice compromise as a spot to about-face”, say a travel guide. “But don't return before resting on the nearby bench, snapping some photos, and taking in the splendor of the lush landscape all around.”

About the stamp, which shows The Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming), I wrote here.

sender: Reggie (walltype)

November 29, 2011

0055 JERSEY (Island of Jersey) - La Corbière Lighthouse

Jersey, officially the Bailiwick of Jersey, is one of the British Crown dependencies (as also Guernsey and Isle of Man), and form, together with Bailiwick of Guernsey, the Channel Islands, an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. It consists of the island of Jersey (the largest of the Channel Islands), along with the surrounding uninhabited islands and rocks, and isn't part of the United Kingdom, having an international identity separate. It was part of the Duchy of Normandy, whose dukes went on to become kings of England from 1066. After Normandy was lost by the kings of England in the 13th century, and the ducal title surrendered to France, Jersey and the other Channel Islands remained attached to the English crown.

November 28, 2011

0054 CANADA (Alberta) - A 190 meters height torch

If the previous post was dedicated to the Milad Tower, the sixth tallest tower in the world, now I will write a few lines about the Calgary Tower (originally called the Husky Tower - a more interesting name, in my opinion), which, with its only 190m height, it's not at least in the list with the World's 150 tallest towers, but that doesn't make it less interesting. But I must say first that, although I'm not a sports fan, mainly of the winter sports, Calgary remained in my mind associated with the 1988 Winter Olympics. Maybe because on that occasion I first heard about it, God knows. Memory works as it wants, not as we wants.

Appeared as a post of the North-West Mounted Police in 1875, Calgary was incorporated as a town in 1884, to one year after the Canadian Pacific Railway reached the area, but its development really began in 1947 (when huge reserves of oil were discovered in area), with an substantially increase after 1973, once with the Arab Oil Embargo. From 1951 onwards the city's population has dramatically grown, with at least 100,000 and at most 200,000 inhabitants every 10 years.

I feel a special empathy for Calgary, because Ploiesti, the city where I live, also owes its development to the oil industry. Unfortunately Ploiesti was, Calgary is. In addition, you can't be indifferent to a town located at the transition zone between the hills and the prairies, at about 700 km from ocean, and which was named Calgary, from the Gaelic Cala ghearraidh, meaning "beach of the meadow".  

After a (too) long introduction, I finally reached at the Calgary Tower, about which I add only that "it was conceived as a joint venture between Marathon Realty Company Limited and Husky Oil as part of an urban renewal plan and to celebrate Canada's centennial of 1967". But also that "the structure was designed by W.G. Milne & A. Dale and Associates", and "the construction was completed in 15 months". Lastly, "a natural gas-fired cauldron was constructed at the top for 1988 Winter Olympics" and one torch is ignited for special events. A 190 meters height torch it’s very cool.

In the left of tower can be seen one of the two office towers of Bankers Hall (East and West), designed by the architectural firm Cohos Evamy in postmodern style. I can't say which one can be seen in the picture, but the two buildings are anyway twins, both with the same hight (197m), only that one was completed in 1989 and the other one in 2000. At the top right edge can be seen the last floors of the Scotia Centre (the building with four vertical ribs) completed in 1976 and having 155m hight. Unfortunately I couldn't identify other buildings in the image.

I received this postcard from a new pal from beyond the seas, Glenn, who is one of more than 1.23 million residents of Calgary's Metropolitan Area. I highly recommend his blog, Gem’s World Postcards, one of the most interesting found so far by me. Many thanks, Glenn, and I wish you to cover all the white spots on your map.  

The stamp is part of a series of two entitled Royal Wedding 2011, issued on April 29, 2011. Of course its about the wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine Middleton, which took place on that day at Westminster Abbey in London. To mark this momentous occasion, Canada Post will issue two commemorative stamps on the Royal Couple’s wedding day. One stamp will be released at the domestic rate (PERMANENT™), and another at the international rate (acesta se află pe cartea poştală). The PERMANENT™ stamp bears a picture taken when the couple announced their engagement in November 2010. The international stamp features the official engagement picture taken by Mario Testino, one of the world’s most well known fashion photographers. In the latter picture, against Miss Middleton’s white dress, the beautiful sapphire and diamond engagement ring first worn thirty years ago by Lady Diana Spencer, who became Princess of Wales, Prince William’s mother, is highly visible. Isabelle Toussaint, the Montreal-based graphic artist is the designer of the stamp products.

sender: Glenn Moores (direct swap)

November 27, 2011

0053 IRAN (Tehran Ostān) – Milad Tower

When I received this postcard I wondered if is home-made and who sent it to me, because on the back is written only a first name. To the first question I don't know either now the answer (I'm still inclined to believe that it's home-made), but the second I solved it browsing about 20 minutes through the hundreds of messages sent and received in the last two months (more sent). “I would love to have some postcards from Iran, with historic buildings (ancient or mosques) and/or people in traditional clothes, something specific for your country”, I wrote in a first message.

Milad Tower is neither a historic building nor (yet) "something specific" for Iran, but in a certain sense satisfies my requirements, because on the one hand by its architecture, incorporating traditional Iranian-Islamic symbols, the structure is a fusion of the country’s past with modern technology, and on the other the authorities wanting to replace the long-time symbol of Tehran, the Borj-e Āzādi (or Azadi Tower - Freedom Tower, formerly Shahyād Āryāmehr - King Memorial Tower), with a new one, which fully reflect the current situation.

With 435 meters height from base to the tip of it's antenna, Milad Tower was the fourth tallest tower in the world in 2008, when it was inaugurated, after several postponements, and it has cost the iranians 11 years of efforts and 194 million dollars. Even if it had been completed more quickly, it would have been also the fourth, because the first three were built long time before (CN Tower / Toronto – 1976, Ostankino Tower / Moskow – 1967, Oriental Pearl Tower / Shanghai – 1994). Meanwhile two others have surpassed its height: Canton Tower / Canton inaugurated in 2009 and Tokyo Sky Tree / Tokyo, which is still under construction and will be completed in 2012. The 315-metre shaft is topped by a 12-story glass and metal head of 60 meters.

The tower is a multi-purpose skyscraper, being designed to function as a communication and television tower, but also helping with many other applications such as weather forecast and traffic control. Iranians have why be proud, especially since the tower was entirely designed, projected and built by their own forces. Furthermore, the tower has been fitted with an ultramodern aircraft warning system which exceeded International Civil Aviation Regulations.

The stamp, shows Chaetodontoplus septentrionalis (1000 rls) is part of a definitive set, Fish, issued on 2010 and containing 11 wonderful stamps. But I found on the Internet many other stamps with the same characteristics, so I guess that  the set is part of a bigger series.

Sender: Mahdi Delbari (direct swap)

November 26, 2011

0052 IRELAND (Leinster) - Brú na Bóinne, Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne (UNESCO WHS)

The celts whom the Romans found in the Great Britain 2000 years ago knew almost nothing about the numerous henges, meghalits and other constructions scattered about everywhere through their lands, just that they were built long before the arrival of their ancestors from the continent. In Ireland, the romans didn't reached, but if they had done it, would be heard the same thing, the constructions being, in the irish mythology, the abode of the Tuatha De Danann, the fifth group settled in this realm, after conquering the island from the Fir Bolg. What do I mean? Only that these mysterious constructions, the purpose of which was not yet fully understood, are older than the history.