July 31, 2015

1573, 1591, 1796 UNITED STATES (Hawaii) - USS Arizona Memorial

1573 Hawaii - USS Arizona Memorial

Posted on 11.05.2015, 18.05.2015, 31.07.2015
USS Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class battleship built for and by the United States Navy in the mid-1910s. Although commissioned in 1916, the ship remained stateside during WWI, and practically didn't participate in any battle, until she was bombed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. She exploded and sank, killing 1,177 officers and crewmen. Unlike many of the other ships sunk or damaged that day, Arizona could not be fully salvaged, though the Navy removed parts of the ship for reuse. The wreck still lies at the bottom of Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, dedicated on 30 May 1962 to all those who died during the attack, straddles the ship's hull, without touching it.

1591 Hawaii - USS Arizona Memorial (aerial view)

The national memorial was designed by Honolulu architect Alfred Preis who had been detained at Sand Island at the start of the war as an enemy of the country because of his Austrian birth. The United States Navy specified that the memorial be in the form of a bridge floating above the ship and accommodating 200 people. The 56m-long structure has two peaks at each end connected by a sag in the center of the structure. It represents the height of American pride before the war, the sudden depression of a nation after the attack and the rise of American power to new heights after the war.

1796 Hawaii - USS Arizona Memorial; USS Arizona after the atack;
Punchbowl National Cemetery; USS Arizona in 1920.

Accessible only by boat, the memorial has three main parts: the entry, the assembly room, and the shrine. The assembly room features seven large windows on either wall and ceiling, to commemorate the date of the attack. The memorial also contains an opening in the floor overlooking the sunken decks. It is from this opening that visitors come to pay their respects by tossing flowers. The shrine at the far end is a marble wall that bears the names of all those killed on the Arizona. To the left of the main wall is a small plaque which bears the names of thirty or so crew members who survived.

1795 UNITED STATES (New York) - Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow

Located on the east bank of the Hudson River, about 48km north of New York City, Sleepy Hollow is a village known as the setting of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a short story featuring the Headless Horseman by Washington Irving, who lived in neighboring Tarrytown and is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Originally incorporated as North Tarrytown in the late 19th century, in 1996 the village officially adopted the traditional name for the area. The village is home to the Old Dutch Church, a 17th-century stone church which is the second oldest extant church and the 15th oldest extant building in the state of New York.

July 28, 2015

1790-1792 ZAMBIA - Mosi-oa-Tunya / Victoria Falls (UNESCO WHS)

1790 Victoria Falls

Located in southern Africa, on the Zambezi River, at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls, or Mosi-oa-Tunya (Tokaleya Tonga: the Smoke that Thunders), are among the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. The Zambezi River, which is more than 2km wide at this point, plunges noisily down a series of basalt gorges and raises an iridescent mist that can be seen more than 20km away. While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, it is classified as the largest, based on its width of 1,708m and height of 108m, resulting in the world's largest sheet of falling water. In height and width it is rivalled only by Iguazu Falls.

1791 Aerial view of Victoria Falls

The Victoria Falls is significant worldwide for its exceptional geological and geomorphological features and active land formation processes with outstanding beauty. This transboundary property comprises 3779ha of the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park (Zambia), 2340ha of Victoria Falls National Park (Zimbabwe), and 741ha of the riverine strip of Zambezi National Park (Zimbabwe). Eight spectacular gorges of igneous origin and several islands in the core zone serve as breeding sites for four endangered and migratory bird species. The riverine 'rainforest' within the waterfall splash zone is a fragile ecosystem of discontinuous forest on sandy alluvium, dependent upon maintenance of abundant water and high humidity.

1792 Lunar Rainbow, Victoria Falls

Archaeological sites around the falls have yielded Homo habilis stone artifacts from 3 million years ago, Middle Stone Age tools and Late Stone Age weapons, adornments and tools. Khoisan hunter-gatherers displaced these people and in turn were displaced by Bantu tribes, who called the falls Shungu na mutitima. The Matabele, later arrivals, named them aManz' aThunqayo, and the Batswana and Makololo call them Mosi-o-Tunya. All these names mean essentially "the smoke that thunders". David Livingstone is believed to have been the first European to view Victoria Falls in 1855 from what is now known as Livingstone Island. He named his discovery in honour of Queen Victoria.

1789 UNITED STATES (New Mexico) - New Mexico map

Located between Oklahoma, Texas, Mexico (Chihuahua and Sonora), Arizona, and Colorado, New Mexico is usually considered one of the  Mountain States. As well, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah come together at the Four Corners in the northwestern corner of New Mexico. It is generally incorrectly believed that New Mexico taken its name from the nation of Mexico. Actually it was given its name in 1563, by Spanish explorers who believed the area contained indian cultures similar to those of the  Mexica (Aztec) Empire. Mexico, formerly a part of New Spain, adopted its name just in 1821, after winning independence from Spanish rule.

July 27, 2015

0420, 1788 ALBANIA (Berat / Gjirokastër) - Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastra (UNESCO WHS)

0420 Berat

Posted on 17.12.2012, 27.07.2015
Berat and Gjirokastra bear outstanding testimony to the diversity of urban societies in the Balkans, and to longstanding ways of life which have today almost vanished. On the other hand, the two towns preserved the various types of monument and vernacular urban housing during the Classical Ottoman period, in continuity with the various Medieval cultures which preceded it, and in a state of peaceful coexistence with a large Christian minority, particularly at Berat.

1788 Gjirokastra

Located in south-central Albania, the town of Berat has a history of more than 2500 years, being named by the ancient Greeks city of Antipater, by the Romans Antipatrea, by the Byzantines Pulcheriopolis, by the Venetians Belgrad di Romania, and by the Ottomans Belgrad-i Arnavud (Albanian Belgrade) to distinguish it from Belgrade. The origin of the current name is the Slavic Bel(i)grad, meaning "white city". It bears witness to the coexistence of various religious and cultural communities down the centuries. It features a castle (Kala), most of which was built in the 13th century, although its origins date back to the 4th century BC.

1787 UNITED STATES (Massachusetts) - Baseball at Fenway Park in Boston

Located at 4 Yawkey Way near Kenmore Square, Fenway Park is the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, being the home of the Boston Red Sox team even since it was opened in 1912. Nevertheless, or maybe because of that, is the fourth smallest among MLB ballparks by seating capacity, second smallest by total capacity, and one of eight that cannot accommodate at least 40,000 spectators. The park has been renovated or expanded many times, resulting in quirky features including The Triangle, Pesky's Pole, and the Green Monster in left field.

1786 GERMANY (Baden-Württemberg) - Women with Bollenhut

A Bollenhut is a formal headdress worn since about c.1750 by Protestant women as part of their local costume (Tracht) in three neighbouring villages of Gutach, Kirnbach and Hornberg-Reichenbach, in Black Forest (a great forested mountain range in the state of Baden-Württemberg, in southwestern Germany, bounded by the Rhine valley to the west and south). With its woollen pompoms, the picturesque-looking red Bollenhut has become a symbol of the Black Forest as a whole, despite its very local origins. The red pom-poms and white brim of the Bollenhut also is said to have inspired the top layer of the Black Forest Cake.

July 26, 2015

1785 PALAU - Sharks of Palau

On 25 September 2009, Palau, an island country which share maritime boundaries with Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Federated States of Micronesia, announced that it would create the world's first shark sanctuary. Palau banned all commercial shark fishing within the waters of its exclusive economic zone. The sanctuary protects about 600,000 square kilometres of ocean, a similar size to France. President Johnson Toribiong proposed a worldwide ban on fishing for sharks. In 2012, Palau received the Future Policy Award from World Future Council, because "Palau is a global leader in protecting marine ecosystems".

1784 ROMANIA (Iaşi) - A chaise of Negruzzi family in Vasile Pogor House

The Vasile Pogor House in Iaşi is the headquarters of the museum of the modern and contemporary Romanian literature, especially the period of the great classics, of the literary society Junimea. The house was built in 1850 by the high official Vasile Pogor together with his wife Zoe. The building has a rich long history connected to the Iaşi cultural life as it is a place where the intellectuality of the city used to meet, the headquarters of the literary society Junimea (1863) and of the review Convorbiri Literare (1867).

1780 UNITED STATES (New York) - Broadway, the intersection with Broome street, in Manhattan

Broadway is a road in New York, best known for the portion that runs through Manhattan, famous as the heart of the American theatre industry, but it actually runs 21km through Manhattan (roughly parallel to the North River) and 3.2km through the Bronx, exiting north from the city to run an additional 29km through some municipalities, and terminating north of Sleepy Hollow. It is the oldest north-south main thoroughfare in New York City, dating to the first New Amsterdam settlement. Its name is the English literal translation of the Dutch name, Breede weg. It once was a two-way street for its entire length, but now it runs one-way southbound south of Columbus Circle (59th Street).

July 25, 2015

1779 INDONESIA (Lesser Sunda) - Rejang Dance - part of Three genres of traditional dance in Bali (UNESCO ICH)

Rejang Dance is one of the rare dances in Bali, because is performed only in a temple anniversary in its inner courtyard, to delight and entertain the visiting god and spirit. Danced by women, it consist of a slow procession, the participants conducting themselves with extreme grace and delicacy. Dominant movements used is ngembat and ngelikas or left and right movements performed while moving forward slowly.  It is the most dream-like Balinese dance, surpassing all one can imagine of smooth, unending motion. It is accompanied by mysterious old melody (Gong Kebyar or Gong Gede), subtle, smooth as the dance and with the similar feeling of infinity.

1778 AUSTRALIA (Australian Antarctic Territory) - Mawson Station vicinity

1778 Australian Antarctic Territory - Mawson Station vicinity

Mawson Station is one of three permanent Australian bases in the Australian Antarctic Territory of East Antarctica, actually Australia's oldest Antarctic station and the oldest continuously inhabited Antarctic station south of the Antarctic Circle. Named after Antarctic explorer Sir Douglas Mawson, the base was established in 1954, and is managed by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). It houses approximately 20 personnel over winter and up to 60 in summer, being accessible by sea for only a short period each austral summer, between February and March.

1777 UNITED STATES (New Hampshire) - Ashuelot Covered Bridge

The Ashuelot Covered Bridge (also known in its time as the Village Bridge and the Village Station Bridge) is a historic wooden covered bridge over the Ashuelot River on Bolton Road, just south of its intersection with NH 119 in Ashuelot, New Hampshire, an unincorporated village of Winchester. It was covered, like all covered bridges, not as an architectural flourish, but to protect the wooden trusses from moisture. It is a Town lattice truss bridge, built in 1864-1865, consisting of two spans with a total length of 54m, and has a central roadway and sidewalks on each side.

1776 NAMIBIA - Namib Sand Sea (UNESCO WHS)

Sossusvlei: 1. Sesriem Canyon 2. Dead Vlei 3. Dune 45
4&5. Dead Vlei 6. Big Mama dune.

Namib Sand Sea is the only coastal desert in the world that includes extensive dune fields influenced by fog. It is composed of two dune systems, an ancient semi-consolidated one overlain by a younger active one. It features gravel plains, coastal flats, rocky hills, inselbergs within the sand sea, a coastal lagoon and ephemeral rivers, resulting in a landscape of exceptional beauty. Fog is the primary source of water, accounting for a unique environment in which  endemic invertebrates, reptiles and mammals adapt to an ever-changing variety of microhabitats and ecological niches.

July 24, 2015

1772 GUERNSEY - Lé Viaer Marchi

Lé Viaer Marchi (The Old Market) is an annual festival held in Guernsey of more than 30 years on the first Monday of July. Organised by the National Trust of Guernsey (an association which aims to preserve and enhance the heritage of the Bailiwick of Guernsey), it showcases local craftsmanship's history and displays the way in which men and women used to live in this islands. Around the stallholders’ hub radiate many activities including demonstrations of traditional skills such as butter making, weaving of crabpots, lace and rope making, with stall holders in traditional Guernsey costume to add to the authentic atmosphere.

1771 ROMANIA (Neamţ) - Eurasian Lynx

A lynx is any of the four species within the Lynx genus of medium-sized wild cats, which live in Europa and Asia (Eurasian lynx and Iberian lynx) and North America (Canada lynx and Bobcat). Lynx have a short tail, characteristic tufts of black hair on the tips of their ears, large, padded paws for walking on snow and long whiskers on the face. Under their neck, they have a ruff which has black bars resembling a bow tie although this is often not visible. Body colour varies from medium brown to goldish to beige-white, and is occasionally marked with dark brown spots, especially on the limbs.

1699, 1765-1770 UNITED KINGDOM (Turks and Caicos Islands) - The white-sand beaches

1699 - A pristine white-sand beach (1)

Posted on 29.06.2015, 24.07.2015
The eight main islands and more than 299 smaller islands which constitute Turks and Caicos Islands have a total land area of 616.3 square kilometres, consisting primarily of low, flat limestone with extensive marshes and mangrove swamps and 332 square kilometres of beach front. They feature a relatively dry and sunny marine tropical climate with relatively consistent temperatures throughout the course of the year. Summertime temperatures rarely exceed 33 °C and winter nighttime temperatures rarely fall below 18 °C. Hurricanes are not at all rare.

1765 -  A pristine white-sand beach (2)

Around the early 1980's, Turks and Caicos started to become a tourist destination, quickly becoming one the world's most premier beach destinations, due to their perfect white-sand beaches and calm turquoise waters. If in 1996 only about 87,000 tourists visited these islands, in 2010 a total of 245 cruise ships arrived at the Grand Turk Cruise Terminal, carrying a total of 617,863 visitors.The government is pursuing a two-pronged strategy to increase tourism. Upscale resorts are aimed at the wealthy, while a large new cruise ship port and recreation centre has been built for the masses visiting Grand Turk.

1766 - A pristine white-sand beach (3)

The defining characteristic of a beach is its sand. The Turks and Caicos beaches almost without exception have shell and coral origin sand. This type of sand is formed from the naturally broken down particles of sea shells and hard corals, and the result is breathtaking bright white sand with touches of pink and peach hues. Another factor is the lack of hard rock origin or dark colored sand and gravel. The Turks and Caicos Islands foundation is primarily soft and white limestone. Once this rock begins to break up into smaller pieces, it decomposes into sand and dust and remains a bright white throughout the process.

1767 - The Malcolm's Beach on Provo

Secluded Malcolm Beach is an oasis of calm and relaxation, but to get there is need of sense of adventure. The traditional way to get to Malcolm Beach (sometimes referred to as Malcolm Roads Beach) is by traversing the twisting, bumpy Malcolm roads in a rented 4x4. Unlike the other popular beaches on Providenciales, this beach has a few sections of low rocky cliffs, and large ocean-worn rocks have been piled up by waves in other areas.

1768 - Snorkeling

Malcolm Roads Beach,  part of the Northwest Point Marine National Park, along with Smith’s Reef offer the best snorkeling and diving from shore on the island, but due to ocean conditions and difficulty of access, it’s best to visit with someone familiar with the area. Although a bit too far off to access without a boat, many of the best Providenciales dive sites are also found off the coast here. On calm days, many dive boats can be seen off the coast.

1769 - Club Med on Grace Bay

Grace Bay Beach, part of the Princess Alexandra National Park, is one of Turks and Caicos' most well-known and beloved beaches. The stretch of fine sand starts in the island town of Leeward and runs 12 miles to Thompson Cove. Many hotels and resorts have cropped up here including the luxurious Grace Bay Club and the all-suite Alexandra Resort and Spa. The French vacation village company of Club Mediterannee (Club Med) has here an all-inclusive adult resort called Turkoise.

1770 - Hobie cats on Grace Bay Beach

Hobie Cats are small easy to sail unsinkable catamaran sailboats. Many resorts on Grace Bay offer complimentary Hobie Cat use for guests, and rentals are also available at a few different locations. The name Hobie Cat comes from the combination of catamaran (two hulled boat) and the name of the inventor of this small craft: Hobart Alter. Hobie Cats have two plastic sealed hulls with a trampoline style deck stretched between them. The usual mast height is about 20 feet, and the craft have a boomless main sail, which makes for safer sailing for novices.