March 30, 2015

1507 BURUNDI - Batwa people and their pottery

The Great Lakes Twa (Batwa in English) are a pygmy people, generally considered to be the oldest population of the Great Lakes region, though currently they live as a Bantu caste. Current populations (approximately 80,000 people) are found in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and the eastern portion of the DR Congo. Traditionally, they have been a semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers of the mountain forests living in association with agricultural villages. When the Hutu arrived in the region, they subjugated the people that they called Abatwa, the ancestors of the Batwa. Around the 15th century, the Tutsi arrived and dominated both the Hutu and the Twa, creating a three-caste society with the Tutsi governing, the Hutu the bulk of the population, and the Twa at the bottom of the social scale.

March 29, 2015

1506 UNITED KINGDOM (England) - Barnsley Road, Stairfoot, circa 1900-1910

Barnsley Road, Stairfoot, circa 1900-1910

Now, Ardsley is a small village approximately 5km east from Barnsley and forms part of the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley of South Yorkshire. The earliest written evidence for the existence of Ardsley dates from the 12th century, and its name derives from the Saxon word leah (meaning a forest clearing or meadow), together with the personal name Eored, therefore means "Eored’s forest clearing". Stairfoot is also an urban village in the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley, surrounded by Kendray and Ardsley, which gets its name from a house called "the Stares Foot" which stood very close to the Black Bull. The original "stair" was probably a stepped causeway built for the packhorses on the salt route from Cheshire to Doncaster (now the main Doncaster Road, which lead into Barnsley town centre).

1505 UNITED STATES (Alaska) - Arctic Mariner returning to Dutch Harbor

The Bering Sea, located between Alaska, Bering Strait, Russia's Far East, Kamchatka Peninsula, Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands, is world renowned for its enormously productive and profitable fisheries. On the U.S. side, commercial fisheries catch approximately $1 billion worth of seafood annually. A top fishing port is Dutch Harbor, located on Amaknak Island in Unalaska. For 22 consecutive years, it is the number one fishing port in United States for seafood landings, and its docks are busy much of the year, landing more than 515 million pounds of fish and shellfish in 2010. Arctic Mariner is a fishing vessel by 390 tons, built in 1980 on Nichols Bros Boat Builders from Freeland (Washington). Its home port is Seattle.

March 28, 2015

1504 INDONESIA (Sumatra) - Bawomataluo Site (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

Nias is a rugged island, the largest of the 131 chain parallel to the Sumatran coast. The native ethnic group which lives on the island bear the same name. The Nias people are a community that still actively living within the norms and practices of the indigenous culture. Their customary law is generally referred to as fondrakö, which regulates all aspects of life from birth to death. The caste system is also recognized in their society, whereby the highest level out of the 12 levels in the Nias caste system is Balugu. Niassan society is highly stratified and chiefs, particularly in the south of island, had access to a wealth of material resources and human labor. It was with this wealth that the early 20th century saw the chiefs of the isolated island build themselves the grand omo sebua.

0922, 0923, 1503 POLAND (Subcarpathia) - Tarnobrzeg

0922 - Tarnobrzeg - Square Bartosz Glowacki
The Dominican Church and Convent of Assumption of Mary

Posted on 29.12.2013, 28.03.2015
Founded in 1593, during the golden age of Poland, in the Sandomierz Basin, on the east bank of the river Vistula, to become the residence of the Tarnowski family, Tarnobrzeg remained a small town until the post-WWII period, when it became center of an industrial area, based on rich sulfur deposits. In 1772 it was incorporated in the Austrian Empire and remained in the province of Galicia until November 1918, when was declared the short-lived Republic of Tarnobrzeg. In 1919, the town became part of Lwow Voivodeship of the Second Polish Republic. Between 1975 and 1998 was the capital of Tarnobrzeg Voivodeship, since 1999 is situated in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship, and directly borders the town of Sandomierz.

0923 - Tarnobrzeg - Square Bartosz Glowacki
Statue of Bartosz Glowacki

The heart of the town is the Square Bartosz Glowacki. Until the 19th century the all buildings were made of wood, but in 1888 a fire destroyed almost the entire city, the houses being rebuilt with bricks. The Dominican Church and Convent of Assumption of Mary was founded in 1677. A year later the holy icon of Our Lady of Dzików was transferred from Dzików Castle to the monastery and since then the church became the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Dzików. Destroyed in 1703, was rebuilt in 1706, in Baroque style. Sometimes it's considered as the Our Lady of Tarnobrzeg or Queen of Sulfur Fields. In the north-eastern of the square is a statue of Bartosz Glowacki by Wladyslaw Korpal, erected on the initiative of the residents in 1904. In this way, the peasant became national hero in anti-Russian and anti-Prussian Kościuszko Uprising in 1794, has reached a sort of symbol of Tarnobrzeg, although in reality there is nothing to do with him.

1503 - Tarnobrzeg - Dzików Castle

Dzików Castle, or Tarnowski Family Castle in Dzików is a 15th-century (or perhaps a 14th-century) castle with the park complex and gardens. It was the site of Dzików Confederation of 5 November 1734, organized in order to reinstate Stanisław I Leszczyński as king of Poland after the death of August II the Strong. Over the years, the Tarnowski family acquired an impressive art collection housed in the Castle, which were, unfortunately, sold, seized, removed or lost in the 20th century. From 2007, the palace was under renovation, and in 2011, the ollections of the Historical Museum of the City of Tarnobrzeg was moved to the castle.

1502 SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS - Rush hour!

Very different from socialite Barbados, or glitzy St Barts, 40 miles away, Nevis is a romantic island, dominated by a verdant, mist-shrouded volcano. A large number of donkeys are present on the island. They are used mainly for riding and transport, however, many are now wild. Wild donkeys roam the ruins of sugar estates, while vervet monkeys inhabit once-magnificent houses, abandoned by the British after the decline of the sugar industry in the 19th century.

1501 NEPAL - Sunrise over Mount Machhapuchhre, in the Annapurna Sanctuary

The Mount Machhapuchhre (literally "Fish Tail" in English) is located at the end of a long spur ridge, coming south out of the main backbone of the Annapurna Himal, that forms the eastern boundary of the Annapurna Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is a favorite trekking destination, and the site of the base camps for the South Face of Annapurna and for numerous smaller objectives. The peak (6,993m) is about 25 km north of Pokhara, the main town of the region. It is revered by the local population as particularly sacred to the god Shiva, and hence off limits to climbing. The only attempt was in 1957 by a British team, which stopped at 150m of the summit, because had promised not to set foot on it.

1500 CONGO-KINSHASA - Virunga National Park (UNESCO WHS)

Located in the centre of the Albertine Rift, of the Great Rift Valley, the Virunga National Park (formerly named Albert National Park) stretches from the Virunga Mountains in the South, to the Rwenzori Mountains in the North, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, bordering Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. It comprises an outstanding diversity of habitats, ranging from swamps and steppes to the snowfields of Rwenzori at an altitude of over 5,000 m, and from lava plains to the savannahs on the slopes of volcanoes. The wide diversity of habitats produces exceptional biodiversity, notably endemic species and rare and globally threatened species. Mountain gorillas are found in the park, some 20,000 hippopotamuses live in the rivers and birds from Siberia spend the winter there.

March 27, 2015

1498 UNITED STATES (Arizona) - Arizona map

Bordered by New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California, and Mexico, and having one point in common with the southwestern corner of Colorado, Arizona is the 48th state and last of the contiguous states to be admitted to the Union, achieving statehood in 1912. It was previously part of the territory of Alta California in New Spain before being passed down to independent Mexico and later annexed by United States after the  Mexican–American War. The name of the state appears to originate from an earlier Spanish name, Arizonac, derived from the O'odham name alĭ ṣonak, meaning “small spring”, which initially was applied only to an area near the Mexican silver mining camp of Planchas de Plata, Sonora.

March 26, 2015

1497 MALI (Mopti) - Cliff of Bandiagara, Land of the Dogons (UNESCO WHS)

The Cliff of Bandiagara is a vast cultural landscape, which includes 289 villages scattered between the three natural regions: sandstone plateau, escarpment, plains (more than two-thirds of the listed perimeter are covered by plateau and cliffs). The sandstone cliff rises about 500m above the lower sandy flats to the south, and has a length of approximately 150km. The geological, archaeological and ethnological interest, together with the landscape, make the Bandiagara plateau one of West Africa's most impressive sites. Human settlements in the region, since Palaeolithic times, have enabled the development and harmonious integration into the landscape of rich and dense tangible and intangible cultures, the best known of which are those of the Tellem, that are thought to live in the caves, and the Dogon.

1496 MOLDOVA (Chişinău) - National Museum of History of Moldova

Located in the historical center of Chişinău, the National Museum of History of Moldova owns 322,172 items, the diversity of which covers the history of Moldavia over the centuries, from prehistoric times to the present. From the very beginning, it was located in the historical building of the former Chişinău Boys’ Gymnasia No. 1, later the Boy’s Lyceum named after B.P. Hasdeu (in 1945-1963 in the premises there was housed the frontier detachment "Nistru", and in 1963-1977 - the Polytechnic Institute). The earthquake of 1977 caused serious damage, so that the old building was demolished and replaced by a new one, which retained only the exterior of the historical monument, built in eclectic style, and decorative elements of the gymnasia assembly hall, repeated in three domical rooms of the new building.

March 23, 2015

1495 SENEGAL - Flower-woman in front of Kermel Market in Dakar

As in most West African countries, Senegal has a wide variety of ethnic groups, so it's difficult (for me) to identify the one to which belongs the woman shown in the postcard. Anyway, she is a flower seller and stands in front of the Marché Kermel (Kermel Market) - the main entrance can be seen behind her. Located next to a brightly-coloured colonial-era building at the end of the Avénue Albert Sarraut, on the opposite side of the Place de l'Independance, Kermel Market is one of the Dakar's most important market. Before independence, it had been designated for use by Europeans. The original 1860 construction burnt down in 1994, but in 1997 it was reconstructed - closely modeled on the building's initial structure and decoration. Are sold there all kinds of merchandise, but it is most popular for foodstuffs.

March 22, 2015

1494 - ISLE OF MAN - Niarbyl

Niarbyl, which means "the tail" in Manx for the way it extends into the Irish Sea, is a settlement along the southwest coast of Isle of Man (a self-governing British Crown dependency located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland) between Port Erin and Peel. It borders the Irish Sea and is best known for its spectacular sea views which include Calf of Man and, on clear days, include the mountains of  Ireland. Niarbyl Bay and its surrounds are considered an asset of the Manx National Heritage which oversees the area's preservation as well as the Niarbyl Cafe & Visitor Centre. The Niarbyl Fault, a geologic fault marking what remains of the now-extinct Iapetus Ocean, is located just down the hill from the cafe.

1492 ROMANIA (Constanţa) - The Barque Mircea

Throughout history, the Romanians didn't have to much to do with the seas and oceans of the world, so they haven't developed special qualities of navigators and explorers as other peoples, such as the Greeks, the Spaniards, the Portuguese or the English. Romania has a stretch of coast of the Black Sea, but the Romanian Principalities, which formed Romania by their union, were landlocked for long periods, so the Romanian navigation history isn't so rich. Mircea is probably the best known Romanian ship and also the one with the longest history. In fact Mircea is the name of two ships in Romanian Navy, the first of them, a barque type ship built entirely of wood, operating from 1882 to 1944, and the second, made of metal, fitted with both sails and Diesel engine, was released in September 22, 1938 and is still in operation today as training ship.

March 15, 2015

1490 NORTH KOREA - Propaganda

North Korea it’s a dictatorship of the most extreme kind, a cult of personality beyond anything Stalin or Mao could have imagined, a country as closed off to the world and as secretive as they come, keeping both the outside world and its own people completely in the dark about one another. I'm Romanian and I grew up under the Ceauşescu regime, so I have a basis for comparison and a good understanding of the functioning of such systems. The cult of personality and the nationalist propaganda are present in all countries led by such regimes, with local nuances, because they are essential to maintain a permanent state of siege and justify the isolation. The countries which have different regimes are invariably considered enemies, and a way of thinking that don't comply the dogmas of the single-party can only be a treason, a collaboration with the enemy.

1489 TAJIKISTAN (Sughd Region) - Iskanderkul - part of Fann Mountains (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

Iskandar or Eskandar is the Persian version of the name Alexander, after Alexander the Great. It is used as a male first name in Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia, where are also toponyms with the same origin. One of this is Iskanderkul, a mountain lake of glacial origin in Tajikistan, which lies at an altitude of 2,195m on the northern slopes of the Gissar Range in the Fann Mountains. Triangular in shape and formed by the congestion of the Saratogh river, it has a surface area of 3.4 square kilometres and is up to 72m deep. A 300 square kilometres tract of land including the lake and surrounding mountains has been designated a nature reserve, and a half of the reserve has been identified as an Important Bird Area.

1012, 1062, 1488 UNITED STATES (Texas) - Texas map and flag

1012 - The map and the flag of State of Texas 

Posted on 23.02.2014, 22.04.2014, and 15.03.2015
Located in the Gulf of Mexico, at the border with Mexico, between New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana, Texas is the second most populous (after California) and the second-largest of the 50 states (after Alaska) of the United States. In Pre-Columbian period, in the area were developed three major indigenous cultures, which reached their developmental peak before the first European contact: the Pueblo, the Mississippian culture, and the civilizations of Mesoamerica. In 1528, after the arrival of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, "half the natives died from a disease of the bowels". During the next 150 years Europeans have ignored the area, then occupied by French (1684-1689), Spanish (1690-1821), and Mexican (1821-1836). Becoming republic after the Declarationof Independence in 1836, it was admitted to the Union as the 28th state in 1845, and during the Civil War joined the ConfederateStates.

1488 - The flag of State of Texas

Although Texas is popularly associated with the Southwestern deserts, less than 10 percent of its land area is desert. Almost twice as large as Germany, Texas has four major physical regions: GulfCoastal Plains (covered by thick piney woods), Interior Lowlands, Great Plains (dominated by prairie and steppe), and Basin and Range Province. Most of the population centers are located in areas of former prairies, grasslands, forests, and the coastline. Three of its borders are defined by rivers: Rio Grande (with Mexico), Red River (with Oklahoma and Arkansas), and Sabine River (with Louisiana). Its large size and its location at the intersection of multiple climate zones gives it highly variable weather. Some of the most destructive hurricanes in U.S. history have impacted Texas.

1062 - The flag and the symbols of State of Texas

Texas's large population, abundance of natural resources, thriving cities and leading centers of higher education have contributed to a large and diverse economy, even if since the discovery of the oil, the state's economy has reflected the state of the petroleum industry. In 2010, there were 346,000 millionaires in Texas, which has the second highest gross state product (GSP) in the U.S., comparable to the GDP of India or Canada. Its largest city is Houston, the fourth-largest in the U.S., but the state capital is Austin. The origin of the state name is from the word tejas, which means 'friends' in the Caddo language. It is nicknamed the Lone Star State, to signify it as a former independent republic and as a reminder of the state's struggle for independence from Mexico.

March 14, 2015

1487 ABKHAZIA - Pitsunda, the kingdom of the sea and pines

Located in South Caucasus, on the north shore of the Black Sea, on the western end of Georgia, Abkhazia has a varied topography, from the ranges from the lowlands around the sea to the high peaks of the Caucasus Mountains in the north, but however the region is mainly mountainous and settlement is largely confined to the coast and a number of deep, well-watered valleys. One of the mountains range is Gagra Range, which runs between the valleys of the Bzyb and Psou rivers to the south of the Caucasus Major. It approaches to the Black Sea close to the city of Gagra and plays an important role in moderating the climate of that resort by blocking cold, continental winds from the north and east.

1479, 1486 UNITED STATES (Virginia) - Virginia map

Posted on 07.03.2015 and 14.03.2015
Bordered by Maryland and Washington, D.C. to the north and east; by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, by North Carolina and  Tennessee to the south, Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" due to its status as a former dominion of the English Crown, and "Mother of Presidents" due to the many U.S. presidents having been born there. Its geography and climate are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. Many of Virginia's rivers flow into the Chesapeake Bay, including the Potomac, Rappahannock, York, and James, which create three peninsulas in the bay. The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province of the Appalachian Mountains with the highest points in the state, the tallest being Mount Rogers at 1,746 m.

Forests cover 65% of the state, primarily with deciduous, broad leaf trees. The largest areas of wilderness are along the Atlantic coast and in the western mountains. The Atlantic coast regions are host to flora commonly associated with the South Atlantic pine forests and lower Southeast Coastal Plain maritime flora. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; and Virginia Beach is the most populous city. Its economy has many sectors: agriculture in the Shenandoah Valley; federal agencies in Northern Virginia, including the headquarters of the Department of Defense and CIA; and military facilities in Hampton Roads. Virginia's economy changed from primarily agricultural to industrial during the 1960s and 1970s, and in 2002 computer chips became the state's leading export.

March 9, 2015

1484 CAPE VERDE - The coast at sunset

Tourism in Cape Verde, started in the 1970s on the island Sal and increased slowly in the 1980s and 1990s. The number of tourists increased from approximately 45,000 in 1997 to more than 552,144 in 2013. The vast majority of tourists visit the comparatively flat and scarcely populated islands of Boa Vista, Sal, and Maio with their white sandy beaches. The islands of Cape Verde have a pleasant climate during most of the year with 350 days of sunshine, and some of them offer an impressive mountain scenery as well. Some ecotourism is developing on the island of Fogo around the volcano Pico do Fogo. It should be noted that Cape Verde has won a positive reputation in promoting what is considered the most stable democracy in Africa, a standard of living higher than most African nations, and one of the most politically liberal nations on the continent, and in the world.