February 28, 2015

1022, 1472 GUYANA - The map and the flag of the country

1472 - Guyana's map and national symbols

Posted on 04.03.2014 and 28.02.2015
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the name "Guyana" comes from an Amerindian word meaning "land of waters". Anyway, historically speaking, The Guianas (Las Guayanas in spanish) refers to a region in South America, north of the Amazon River and east of the Orinoco River, which includes French Guiana (an overseas department of France), Guyana (former British Guiana), Suriname (former Dutch Guiana), the Guayana Region in Venezuela (former Spanish Guyana), and Brazilian State of Amapá (former Portuguese Guiana). Guyana, officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, was originally colonized by the Netherlands, but became a British colony and remained so for over 200 years until it achieved independence in 1966, to become a republic in 1970.

1022 - Guyana's flag

It is the third-smallest independent state on the mainland of South America (after Uruguay and Suriname), and has a population of approximately 770,000 inhabitants, of which 90% reside on the narrow coastal strip. Racially and ethnically heterogeneous, with ethnic groups originating from India, Africa, Europe, and China, as well as indigenous or aboriginal peoples, its present population shares two common languages: English and Creole.

1471 SPAIN (Canary Islands) - Playa de las Américas in Tenerife

Playa de las Américas is a purpose-built holiday resort in the southern and southern-west part of the Municipality of Arona, in the west of Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. It was built in the 1960s beside the town of Los Cristianos and stretching west to the Costa Adeje. The resort area features bars, nightclubs, restaurants, attractions, and beaches, most of which are man-made with imported sand from Africa due to the darkness of the native volcanic sand. It is a centre of nightlife in Tenerife, and can be considered the party capital of the island. In other words, if you are looking for peace and quiet, then perhaps Playa de las Américas may not be for you.

February 26, 2015

1469 ROMANIA (Brașov) - A Transylvanian Saxon bride of Meșendorf

The Transylvanian Saxons is the oldest and the numerous group of German ethnicity who live in Transylvania. In the 12th century they followed the call of King Geza II, which promoted the colonization of Germans in terra ultrasilvana (The Land Beyond the Forests) to protect the border of the Kingdom of Hungary. The colonization continued until the end of the 13th century, the Germans being also sought for their ability to develop the region's economy. Although the colonists came mostly from the western Holy Roman Empire and generally spoke Franconian dialects, they were known as Saxons. In 1224 the Golden Charter of King Andrew II ensured them a large autonomy, lost only after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, which led to the final annexation of the region by Hungary.

February 25, 2015

1468 PHILIPPINES (Central Visayas) - Fort San Pedro in Cebu

Front entrance of Fuerte de San Pedro

Built in 1565 in the pier area of the Cebu City by Spanish and indigenous Cebuano labourers under the command of conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi, Fuerte de San Pedro served as the nucleus of the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines. The fort is triangular in shape, with two sides facing the sea and the third side fronting the land. The two sides facing the sea were defended with artillery and the front with a strong palisade made of wood. The three bastions were named La Concepción; Ignacio de Loyola, and San Miguel. The walls are 6.1m high by 2.4m thick, and the towers are 9.1m high from the ground level. Fourteen cannons were mounted in their emplacements most of which are still there today.

February 22, 2015

1467 JAPAN (Shikoku) - Koi in Ritsurin Garden

In Japanese culture, garden-making is a high art, equal to the arts of calligraphy and ink painting. Gardens are considered three-dimensional textbooks of Daoism and Zen Buddhism, and that's why they are very different in style from occidental gardens. They were developed under the influences of the Chinese gardens, but gradually Japanese garden designers began to develop their own aesthetics, based on Japanese materials and Japanese culture. The ability to capture the essence of nature makes the Japanese gardens distinctive and appealing to observers. They can be categorized into three types: tsukiyama (hill gardens), karesansui (dry gardens) and chaniwa gardens (tea gardens).

1466 POLAND (Silesia) - Rozbarsko-Bytomski folk costume

Silesians are the inhabitants of Silesia, a region of Central Europe, along the Odra river, now located mostly in Poland, with small parts in the Czech Republic and Germany. They are of Slavic descent, but because Germany ruled Silesia for a long time, Silesians have been deeply influenced by German culture. They are generally considered to belong to a Polish ethnographic group, but there is also the opinion that they constitute a distinct nation. 847,000 people declared themselves to be of Silesian nationality in the 2011 Polish national census (including 376,000 who declared it to be their only nationality). The region is rich in mineral and natural resources and includes several important industrial areas (its largest city being Wrocław).

February 21, 2015

1465 LESOTHO - Thaba Putsoa Range Malealea

It can be said that this kind of mountainous landscape shown in the postcard is specific for Lesotho, the only independent state in the world that lies entirely above 1,000m in elevation (over 80% of the country lies above 1,800m). Thaba Putsoa (Blue Mountain) lies along the road to the Mohale Dam, in south-western Lesotho, and attains a height of 2,902m. Malealea is a remote valley, set in the foothills of the Thaba Putsoa range. Malealea Lodge dates back to 1905 when it was a trading post founded by Mervyn Bosworth-Smith, a charismatic colonial character educated at Oxford, who served in both the Anglo-Boer and First World wars, then fell in love with Basutoland and lived there for over 40 years. A small village subsequently developed round the trading store, which has changed hands several times since Mervyn’s death in 1950.

February 20, 2015

1464 FRANCE (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté) - House of Châteauneuf

The Château de Châteauneuf-en-Auxois is a 15th-century fortress located at 43km from Dijon, a vast stone building, 75m in length and 35m broad, situated on a rocky outcrop 475m above the surrounding plains which dominates the valley of Canal de Bourgogne. The castle was built in 1132 by Jean de Chaudenay for his son Jehan, who took possession of it in 1175 and became Jean I de Châteauneuf. After nine generations in the castle, the reign of the Châteauneufs ended in tragedy when in 1456 the last heiress, Catherine de Châteauneuf, was burnt alive for poisoning her second husband, Jacques d'Haussonville. In 1457, Philippe le Bon, duke of Burgundy, offered the fortress to his advisor Philippe Pot, who modified the castle to make it more comfortable as a residence.

February 19, 2015

1463 ROMANIA (Braşov) - The city of Braşov presented in the 1960s style

Euphemistically speaking, my knowledge regarding visual arts are very sketchy, but however I have, like any man, a certain visual memory, especially in terms of things I like. As a result, it wasn't hard to me to recognize in the illustration of this postcard the style used in the 1960s in many areas, from cartoons to advertising and book illustration. I don't know if it has a name, if it is a school or something like that, but I know that I always liked, maybe because of my technical formation. The principles which underpin them are very eclectic, because here we find the lack of perspective of the naive painting, the accuracy of the technical drawing, and the wish of representativeness and of functionality of the communication design.

February 15, 2015

1462 NETHERLANDS (Curaçao) - Historic Area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour, Netherlands Antilles (UNESCO WHS)

Formerly the capital of the Netherlands Antilles, Willemstad is the capital city of Curaçao, a country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and part of the Dutch Caribbean. It is a typical port town, but one without a hinterland, which focused on the neighbouring Spanish, English, and French colonies on the mainland of South America. The historic centre of the city consists of four quarters: the Punda and Otrobanda, separated by the Sint Anna Bay (an inlet that leads into the large harbour called the Schottegat), as well as the Scharloo and Pietermaai Smal quarters.

1461 UNITED STATES (Hawaii) - Sweetheart Rock in Lānaʻi

Lānaʻi, also known as Pineapple Island because of its past as an pineapple plantation, is the smallest publicly accessible inhabited island in the chain. Since 2012, it is 98% owned by Larry Ellison (Founder and Chairman of Oracle), the remaining 2% being owned by the state of Hawaii. On the southern coast of the island is picturesque Hulopoe Bay and its main boat harbor, Manele Bay. Rising from the sea just between these two bays is the iconic Pu'u Pehe, or Sweetheart Rock. Besides being a picturesque natural landmark, Puu Pehe is also steeped in Hawaiian legend.

February 14, 2015

1460 UKRAINE - Old Hutsul woman

Hutsuls are an ethno-cultural group, or rather an ethnic subgroup, who for centuries have inhabited the Carpathian mountains, mainly in Ukraine (Trans-Carpathia and Pokuttya) and in the northern extremity of Romania (in the areas of Bukovina and Maramureş). Hutsuls regard themselves as being part of the broader Rusyn ethnic minority and/or as Ukrainian highlanders. Rusyns are, in their turn, the descendants of a minority of Ruthenians who didn't adopt the use of the ethnonym Ukrainian in the early 20th century.

1459 CAPE VERDE (Boa Vista) - Chave Beach

Part of the Barlavento islands (literally, the Windward), the northern island group of Cape Verde archipelago, Boa Vista (Portuguese meaning "good view") is known for marine turtles and traditional music, as well as its ultramarathon and its sand dunes and beaches. With an area of 620 km², it is the third largest island, after Santo Antão and Santiago, and is located at 455km west of the coast of Africa. Much of the island is flat, the highest point being Monte Estância (387m). Boa Vista has wonderful beaches with white sand dunes, slim coconut palms and turquoise blue waters.

February 13, 2015

1458 ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA (Antigua) - Long Bay Beach

The shorelines of Antigua, the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda, are greatly indented, with beaches, lagoons, and natural harbours, rimmed by reefs and shoals. It is said to have 365 beaches, one for every day of the year. Probably that is an exaggeration, but anyway its economy is reliant upon tourism, and it promotes the island as a luxury Caribbean escape. One of its most popular beach is Long Bay Beach, located about 5 minutes from the village of Willikies at Long Bay on the east coast of the island. Its fine white sand, the crystal blue waters and the Barrier Reef situated just a few meters from the shore, make it a great place for snorkelling.

1457 JAPAN (Chūbu) - Japanese macaques in the hot springs of Jigokudani Monkey Park

The largely temperate Japan has its own endemic species of monkey, which comes as a surprise to those who associates these mammals with tropical and sub-tropical areas. In fact, these monkeys are unusual in being among the northernmost of all non-human primates. The Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata), also known as the snow monkey, is a terrestrial Old World monkey species found on three of the four main Japanese islands (Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu), in a variety of habitats. The total population has been estimated to be 114,431 monkeys, and the northernmost point where they live is the Shimokita Peninsula, on Honshu island. In modern times, they have lost their fear of humans and have increased their presence in both rural and urban areas, with one macaque recorded living in central Tokyo for several months.

February 12, 2015

1454-1456 UNITED STATES (New York) - Fire Island Lighthouse

The Fire Island Lighthouse is a visible landmark located on the Great South Bay, actually a lagoon situated between Long Island and Fire Island. It is part of the Fire Island Light Station which contains the Light, Keepers Quarters, Lens Building containing the original First Order Fresnel Lens, and a boat house. It was an important landmark for transatlantic ships coming into New York Harbor at the turn of the last century. For many European immigrants, the Fire Island Light was their first sight of land upon arrival in America.


The first lighthouse built on Fire Island was completed in 1826. It was a 23m high, cream colored, octagonal pyramid made of Connecticut River blue split stone. Built at the end of the island, adjacent to the inlet, it wasn't effective due to its lack of height; so was taken down and the stone was reused to build the terrace for the present lighthouse. Today a circular ring of bricks and stone are all that remain of the original lighthouse. Due to the westward migration of sand along the beach, known as littoral drift, the inlet is now approximately six miles westward of this site.


A new lighthouse, 55m tall, made of red brick, painted a creamy yellow color, began operation in 1858. It was changed to the present day-mark of alternating black and white bands in 1891. Over the years various fuels were used for the lamps, including whale oil, lard oil, mineral oil and kerosene. Electricity finally reached the lighthouse in 1938. The light was decommissioned in 1974, but in 1982 the Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society was formed to preserve it. Four years later the Coast Guard returned the lighthouse to an active aid to navigation, and in 2006, the light became a private aid to navigation.

February 11, 2015

1453 GUINEA (Faranah) - Kissi woman with a djabara


Kissi people live in Guinea (420,000), Liberia (176,000) and Sierra Leone (125,000), speak a Niger–Congo language, and are well known for making baskets and weaving on vertical looms, although are primarily farmers. In past times they were also famous for their iron working skills, the Kissi smiths producing the famous Kissi penny, an iron money widely used in West and even Central Africa. They live in small, self-governing villages that are tucked inside groves of mango or kola trees. Each village is compact, containing no more than about 150 people. Although they have converted to Christianity, most of them continue to practice their traditional ethnic religion. Ancestor worship or praying to deceased relatives is a common practice among the Kissi.

1452 NORWAY (Svalbard) - An aurora borealis seen from Svalbard archipelago

Nature gives us a lot of amazing performances, but none is so impressive, mysterious and beautiful as the aurora, a show of light and color that can be seen on the sky of the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Those who lived this experience say it can't be compared with anything in the world, and the photos seem to give them right. Scientifically speaking, an aurora is a natural light display in the sky, caused by charged particles, mainly electrons and protons, entering the atmosphere from above causing ionisation and excitation of atmospheric constituents, and consequent optical emissions. When it occurs in the northern hemisphere (from September to October, and from March to April), the phenomenon is known as the aurora borealis (or the northern lights), a term originally used by Galileo Galilei, referring to the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and to the Titan who represent the winds, Boreas.

February 10, 2015

1451 A world map

I like this map, but I don't know what can I say about it. It was printed in Russia... Otherwise... Ah, it is deformed in an unusual way... Any map is distorted, because it's a problem to represent a globe on a plane, but this map has a disproportionate ratio between water and land, i.e. that the seas and oceans occupy an area much smaller than in reality. But who cares? There is no one going to be guided by such a map. In another train of thoughts, the fantastic animals present on the maps of the great geographical discoveries era were replaced, in a cute way, with childish representations of animals common in cartoons.

February 9, 2015

1450 TAJIKISTAN (Districts of Republican Subordination) - Gissar fortress

Situated at 26 km from Dushanbe, at an altitude of 799-824m, in the center of Gissar valley, the most green and densely-populated part of the country, Gissar fortress is surrounded from all sides by high mountains: from the North - Gissar Range, from the South - the Babatag and Aktau ranges. The fortress has been known for more than 2500 years. As the residence of Gissar bek, the governor-general of the emir of Bukhara, it was an important center of ancient Tajikistan. Time didn't spare the fortress and its structures. In the old days it had walls of 1 meter thick, loopholes for guns and cannons, a pool and a garden inside. The only thing that remained is a monumental gateway with two cylindrical towers, between which there is an ogival arch, built in the 16th century. Besides the castle there are two huge plane trees, which are about 500-700 years old.

1449 GERMANY (Lower Saxony) - Wolfenbüttel Castle

Located on the Oker river, about 13km south of Brunswick, on the trade route from the Rhine to the Elbe, Wolfenbüttel was first mentioned in 1118 (as Wulferisbutle), became the residence of the dukes of Brunswick in 1432, and over the following three centuries it grew to be a centre of the arts. The castle located in the town was destroyed several times, so its appearance changed in time, now  being a real bric-a-brac of different styles. It is not only the second largest of its kind, but it also houses the only ducal apartments in  Lower Saxony dating back to the High Baroque. The still existing magnificent façade and the prestigious apartments built between 1690 and 1740 are a proof of the riches of the ducal court. It had earlier several towers, of which foundations are still partly present today. The highest (Hausmannsturm) was built in 1613 by the royal architect Paul Francke in Renaissance style, and is still standing today.  

February 8, 2015

1448 UNITED KINGDOM (Bermuda) - Tobacco Bay

Located in the far north of Bermuda, Tobacco Bay lies close to the town of St. George's and to the historic  Fort St. Catherine. Survivors of Sir George Somers’ ship, the Sea Venture, gave this bay its name after they discovered tobacco growing here. Now, snorkelling is a popular activity, because the bay has impressive underwater coral reefs. It has also an interesting history and was intimately connected with Bermuda's Gunpowder Plot. On August 14, 1775, a group of Bermudians sympathetic to the independentist cause of the American Continental Congress stole gunpowder from the British Magazine in St. George's, rolled it across the island to Tobacco Bay and shipped it to America.