June 30, 2015

1702 UNITED STATES (Massachusetts) - House of the Seven Gables in Salem

The House of the Seven Gables is a colonial mansion in  Salem, now a non-profit museum, became famous due to Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1851 novel with the same name. The earliest section of the house was built in 1667 for Captain John Turner,  the son of a former indentured servant from England who became a successful hat and shoe merchant. A few years later, Turner expanded the building, which remained in his family for three generations. When he died in 1680, he was one of the wealthiest men in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, with six homes, 200 acres of land and several ships working in Salem’s thriving maritime trade.

1701 BOTSWANA - Makgadikgadi Pan, Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, and Tuli Block (UNESCO WHS and Tentative List)

Botswana is topographically flat, with up to 70% of its territory being the Kalahari Desert, but nevertheless has diverse areas of wildlife habitat. Lying southeast of the Okavango Delta and surrounded by the Kalahari Desert, the Makgadikgadi Pan is all that remained of a lake which dried up several thousand years ago, now being one of the largest salt flats in the world. Seasonally covered with water and grass, is a refuge for birds and animals. The fringes of the pan are salt marshes and further out these are circled by grassland and then shrubby savanna. Kubu Island is an igneous rock "island" located in the southwestern quadrant of Sua Pan, and contains a number of baobab trees (in the picture). These trees function as local landmarks, and one of them, named after James Chapman, served as an unofficial post office for 19th-century explorers. It was submitted in 2010 on the Tentative List of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

June 29, 2015

1209, 1700 SPAIN (Andalusia) - A bullfight in Plaza de Toros in Ronda

1209 - A poster of a corrida
in Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Posted on 27.08.2014, 29.06.2015
Bullfighting (Spanish: corrida de toros), also known as tauromachia or tauromachy, is a traditional spectacle of Spain, Portugal, southern France and some Hispanic American countries, in which bulls are fought in a bullring. Some followers of the spectacle prefer to consider it a fine art, and not a sport, because doesn't imply elements of competition. Today, the bullfight involves professional toreros (the most senior is called matador) who execute moves which differ according to the bullfighter's style or school. Such maneuvers are performed at close range, after the bull has been weakened by lances and short spears with barbs. The bullfight usually concludes with the killing of the bull by a single sword thrust (estocada).

1700 - SPAIN (Andalusia) - Ronda: 1. Puente Nuevo (New Bridge);
2. Plaza de Toros de Ronda.

Supporters of bullfighting argue that it is a culturally important tradition and a fully developed art form, whereas critics hold that it is a bloody sport, that causes suffering of bulls and horses. The Spanish introduced the practice of fighting bulls on foot around 1726.  Francisco Romero from Ronda is generally regarded as having been the first to do this. The modern style of Spanish bullfighting is credited to Juan Belmonte, generally considered the greatest matador of all time. In the traditional corrida, three matadores fight each with two bulls between four and six years old, with a weighs no less than 460kg. Each matador has six assistants: two picadores (lancers on horseback), three  banderilleros, and a mozo de espadas (sword page), which together form a cuadrilla (entourage).

June 27, 2015

1698 ROMANIA (Hunedoara) - Magna Curia in Deva

Magna Curia (Latin for The Great Court) or The Bethlen Castle is a palace located in Deva (the capital of Hunedoara County), toward the southeast, near the city park. In 1582, the captain Ferenc Geszty, in charge with the Deva Castle's garrison, erected a house at the foot of the citadel hill. In the following decades, the house became the residence of  Sigismund Báthory, general Giorgio Basta, Stephen Bocskay, and Gabriel Báthory. The current look of the building is due to Gabriel Bethlen, commander of the princely army, who received the domain from Gabriel Báthory in 1608, as a reward for services made during his election.

1697 TURKEY - Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938)

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was a Turkish army officer, revolutionary, and the first President of Turkey, credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey. His surname, Atatürk (Father of the Turks), was granted to him in 1934 and forbidden to any other person by the Turkish parliament. Atatürk statues have been erected in all Turkish cities, and his face and name are seen and heard everywhere in Turkey; his portrait can be seen in all public buildings, in all schools and classrooms, on all school books, on all Turkish lira banknotes, and in the homes of many Turkish families.

June 26, 2015

1696 FRANCE (Île-de-France) - Les Deux Magots in Paris

If ever there were a cafe that summed up Saint-Germain-des-Prés’ early-20th-century literary scene, this is Les Deux Magots, this former hangout of anyone who was anyone. It once had a reputation as the rendezvous of the literary and intellectual élite of the city, its historical reputation being derived from the patronage of Surrealist artists. The name originally belonged to a fabric and novelty shop at nearby 23 Rue de Buci, which sold silk lingerie and took its name from a popular play of the moment (1800s), Les Deux Magots de la Chine. Two statues representing mandarins gazed serenely over the room. "Magot" literally means "stocky figurine from the Far East." In 1873 the business transferred to its current location. In 1884 the business changed to a café and liquoriste, keeping the name. Auguste Boulay bought it in 1914, and the present manager, Catherine Mathivat, is his great-great-granddaughter.

1694, 1695 UNITED STATES (New York) - Flatiron Building in New York City

1694 New York - Flatiron Building (1)

The Flatiron Building, originally the Fuller Building, located at 175 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, is considered to be one of the first skyscraper ever built. Upon completion in 1902, it was one of the tallest buildings in New York City at 21 floors high. The building sits on a triangular island-block formed by Fifth Avenue, Broadway and East 22nd Street, with 23rd Street grazing the triangle's northern (uptown) peak. As with numerous other wedge-shaped buildings, the name "Flatiron" derives from its resemblance to a cast-iron clothes iron. The neighborhood around it is called the Flatiron District after its signature building, which has become an icon of New York City.

1695 New York - Flatiron Building (2)

The site where is the skyscraper was bought in 1901 by Cumberland Realty Company, an investment partnership created by Harry S. Black, CEO of the Fuller Company. The Fuller Company was the first true general contractor that dealt with all aspects of building construction except design, and they specialized in skyscrapers. At the time, efforts were being made to create a new business district in New York, north of the current hub of Wall Street. So Black engaged the Chicago architect Daniel Burnham to design a new headquarters building on the site. It was to be named the Fuller Building after George A. Fuller, founder of the Fuller Company and "father of the skyscraper", but locals persisted on calling it The Flatiron.

1693 VANUATU (Mele Island) - The Underwater Post Office

"Vanuatu Post has created an official Post Office with a difference. It is the world’s only Underwater Post Office.. Situated within the Hideaway Island marine sanctuary, the Post Office sits in around three metres of water and both divers and snorkellers are able to post special 'waterproof postcards'. If snorkellers cannot duck-dive down that far, Hideaway Island staff will be on the spot to help out. During opening hours the cards will be cancelled/embossed by the postal staff in the Underwater Post Office. Instead of being stamped with ink to show that the card has been sent, the Post office has developed a new embossed cancellation device."

1692 FRANCE (Hauts-de-France) - Tour du Guet in Calais in 1906

Calais overlooks the Strait of Dover, the narrowest point in the English Channel, which is only 34km wide here, and is the closest French town to England. Due to its position, Calais since the Middle Ages has been a major port and a very important centre for transport and trading with England. It was a territorial possession of England between 1347 and 1558. The old part of the town, Calais proper (known as Calais-Nord), is situated on an artificial island surrounded by canals and harbours. In its centre is the Place d'Armes, in which stands the Tour du Guet, or watch-tower, a structure built in 1214, when Philip I, Count of Boulogne built fortifications in the town.

June 25, 2015

1691 CHINA (Guizhou / Guangxi / Yunnan / Sichuan) - A Gelao women

The Gelao people (also spelled Gelo) are an ethnic group of China and northern Vietnam. They form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by China. However, many Gelao are also variously classified as Yi, Miao, and Zhuang by the Chinese government. They number approximately 500,000 and are mainly located in the western part of Guizhou, being often considered the aboriginal inhabitants of this province. Some live in western Guangxi, southeastern Yunnan, and southern Sichuan. The main religion practiced is  Taoism with a small but significant Buddhist minority. The Gelao language is a dialect cluster of  Kra languages in the Tai-Kadai language family. Today, only a small minority of the Gelao still speak this language.

June 24, 2015

1689 UNITED STATES (Nevada) - Nevada map

Located between California, Arizona, Utah, Idaho and Oregon, Nevada is officially known as the "Silver State" due to the importance of silver to its history and economy. It is almost entirely within the Basin and Range Province, and is broken up by many north-south mountain ranges. Most of these ranges have endorheic valleys between them, which belies the image portrayed by the term Great Basin. Therefore, it is largely desert and semiarid. Areas south of the Great Basin are located within the  Mojave Desert, while Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada lie on the western edge. The Humboldt River crosses the state from east to west across the northern part of the state.

June 21, 2015

1687 FRANCE (Mayotte) - Aerial view of Mamoudzou and the Point Mahabou

Mayotte is an overseas department and region of France, which consists of an archipelago located in the northern Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Southeast Africa. The capital, and also the biggest city and prefecture, is Mamoudzou (known as Momoju in the local Shimaore language), located on Grande-Terre (or Mahoré), the main island of archipelago. The former capital was Dzaoudzi, but Mamoudzou was chosen as the capital in 1977. In the 1985 census, 12,026 people were recorded in the main town. Most of Mayotte’s shops, restaurants and businesses are concentrated in Mamoudzou, and the neighbouring industrial zone of Kaweni.

1673, 1686 UNITED STATES (Florida) - Space Shuttle Endeavour at Kennedy Space Center

1673 UNITED STATES (Florida) - Kennedy Space Center
Space Shuttle Endeavour approaches Launch Pad 39A

Posted on 16.06.2015, 21.06.2015
Space Shuttle Endeavour (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-105) is a retired orbiter from NASA's Space Shuttle program and the fifth and final operational shuttle built. The United States Congress authorized the construction of Endeavour in 1987 to replace Challenger, which was lost in 1986 when it broke up 73 seconds after launch. It was named after the British HMS Endeavour, the ship which took Captain James Cook on his first voyage of discovery (1768–1771). It embarked on its first mission, STS-49, in May 1992 and its 25th and final mission, STS-134, in May 2011. Since 2012 it is housed in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion of California Science Center in Los Angeles, California.

1686 UNITED STATES (Florida) - Kennedy Space Center
Space Shuttle Endeavour roars into space
on mission STS-99

As it was constructed later, Endeavour was built with new hardware designed to improve and expand orbiter capabilities. Most of this equipment was later incorporated into the other three orbiters during out-of-service major inspection and modification programs. The first African-American woman astronaut, Mae Jemison, was brought into space on the mission STS-47 on September 12, 1992. Over the course of its 19-year spaceflight career, Endeavour logged nearly 123 million miles (198 million kilometers) and zipped around the Earth more than 4,600 times.

June 20, 2015

1685 UNITED STATES (Maine) - West Quoddy Head Light

West Quoddy Head in Lubec is the easternmost point of the contiguous United States and the closest point to Europe from a point in the fifty States. Since 1808 there has been a lighthouse there to guide ships through the waterway, but the current one was built in 1858. The tower is painted with narrow horizontal red and white stripes (a pattern unique in the U.S.), the lantern is black, and the roof is red. The original 1-1/2 story Victorian wood keeper's house was renovated in 2001-2002 as a visitor center and museum. The complex contains also a brick fog signal building (1887) and an oil house (1892).

1684 LEBANON - Aerial view of Jounieh

Jounieh is a coastal city about 16km north of Beirut, known for its seaside resorts and bustling nightlife, as well as its old stone souk, ferry port, and gondola lift, which takes passengers up the mountain to the shrine of  Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa. Above Jounieh, and on the way to Harissa, a small hill named Bkerké, overlooking the Jounieh bay, is the seat of the Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church. Residents of Jounieh and the surrounding towns are overwhelmingly Maronite Christians. In 1932 it had only 1,286 inhabitants, but from 1980 to 1990, it witnessed a massive migration as a large number of the Beirut traders moved to its markets, so that today close to 100,000 people reside in Jounieh. By the middle of the century, it is predicted that Jounieh will become a suburb of Beirut.

1634, 1682 NETHERLANDS (Aruba) - The caves in Arikok National Park

1634 Aruba - The Fontein Cave in Arikok National Park

Of the several caves of Aruba, three Aruban caves are well known, seen in deep crevices on the windward face of the island. All three of the caves (Guadirikiri Cave, Fontein Cave and Huliba Cave) are located in the Arikok National Park. Nocturnal bats nestle in all these caves. Located near Boca Prins, on the northern part of the island, the Fontein Cave is well known for its native Arawak drawings on the wall. The cave is accessible from an "escarpment of a terrace of coral limestone" and has a width of 3m and a height of 2metres. The entrance hall, which is open for visitors, is 4m in height and extends to a depth of 50m.

1682 Aruba - The Guadirikiri Cave in Arikok National Park

The Guadirikiri Cave (also known as Quadiriki Caves) has 150m in length and is notable for its two large dome-shaped chambers which are illuminated with sunlight through holes in the ceiling. In order to preserve the natural habitat of the cave for the bats to breed, the three one of the caves is barred for visitors. A folk tale relates to a daughter of an Indian chief who fell in love and was imprisoned in the cave as her paramour was not acceptable to her father. Her beloved one was imprisoned nearby, in Huliba Cave (Tunnel of Love), but both lovers managed to meet underground. Both reportedly died in the cave and their spirit vanished into heaven through the holes in the roof of the cave.

June 19, 2015

1670, 1680 UNITED STATES (Tennessee) - Tennessee map and flag

1670 The map and the flag of State of Tennessee (1)

Posted on 16.06.2015, 19.06.2015
Located in the Southeastern United States and bordered by Kentucky and Virginia to the north, North Carolina to the east, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to the south, and Arkansas and Missouri to the west, Tennessee was initially part of North Carolina, and later part of the Southwest Territory. The  Appalachian Mountains dominate the eastern part of the state, and the Mississippi River forms the state's western border. It is geographically, culturally, economically, and legally divided into three Grand Divisions: East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and West Tennessee. The highest point in the state is  Clingmans Dome at 2,025m, and the lowest is the Mississippi River at the Mississippi state line (59m).

1680 The map and the flag of State of Tennessee (2)

The area now known as Tennessee was inhabited by Paleo-Indians nearly 12,000 years ago. The names of the cultural groups that inhabited the area between first settlement and the time of European contact are unknown. The first recorded European excursions were three expeditions led by Hernando de Soto (1540), Tristan de Luna (1559), and Juan Pardo (1567). Pardo recorded the name "Tanasqui" from a local Indian village, which evolved to the state's current name. At that time, Tennessee was inhabited by tribes of  Muscogee and Yuchi people, and later the Cherokee moved south from the area now called Virginia. As colonists spread into the area, the Indian populations were forcibly displaced to the south and west.

1679 SWEDEN (Stockholm) - High above the Old Town of Stockholm


Stockholm isn't only the capital and largest city of Sweden, but also the most populous city in the  Nordic region, with almost one milion inhabitants. Spread across 14 islands on the coast in the southeast of Sweden, at the mouth of Lake Mälaren, it was founded as a city by Birger Jarl in 1252, to protect Sweden from a sea invasion. The first part of the name (stock) means log in Swedish, although it may also be connected to an old German word (Stock) meaning fortification. The second part of the name (holm) means islet, and is thought to refer to the islet Helgeandsholmen in central Stockholm. The core of the present Old Town (Gamla Stan) was built on the central island next to Helgeandsholmen from the mid-13th century onward.

June 18, 2015

1678 FRANCE (New Caledonia) - Totems at Saint Maurice Bay, in Isle of Pines

Saint Maurice Bay is named after the statue of Saint Maurice, which has been erected right here to commemorate the first Catholic service ever to take place on the Isle of Pines, on the 15th of August 1848, three days after two missionaries set foot onto the island. The statue is surrounded by tribal carvings, totems that depict wild animals and birds. Each one of them is a gift from the different tribes and families around the island, the wood sculpture representing the spirit of Kanak culture. They surround the statue of the saint like a palisade, protecting it from the outside world. More totems can be found closer to the water, forming a fence or a barricade which acts both as a backdrop and a protective border. The wood is weathered and pale, creating a lovely contrast to the bright colours of the rainforest and the deep blue sky.


Located on the Mbali River, at about 100km northwest of the national capital, Bangui, the town of Boali is noted for its waterfalls and for the nearby hydroelectric works. The Falls of Boali are 250m wide and 50m high, and are a popular tourist destination. The hydroelectric works are located below the falls, supply power to the capital and 13 other towns. It spurred several other industrial developments in the town, including the country's first textile mill, which began operating in 1954.