November 30, 2015

2089 TAIWAN - Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei

The National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall was erected in memory of Chiang Kai-shek,  leader of the Republic of China between 1928 and 1975. The monument, surrounded by a park, stands at the east end of Memorial Hall Square, being framed on the north and south by the National Theater and National Concert Hall. It is white, with four sides, and the roof is blue and octagonal (eight is a number traditionally associated in Asia with abundance and good fortune).

2088 FINLAND (Lapland) - Map of Lapland

Sápmi (English: Lapland) is the cultural region traditionally inhabited by the Sami people (English: Lapps), located in Northern Europe and stretching over four countries:  Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. On the north it is bounded by the Barents Sea, on the west by the Norwegian Sea and on the east by the White Sea. Its part from Finland is named also Lapland, and it is the largest and northernmost region of the country. In  continuation it will be just about this Finnish region.

2087 UNITED STATES (California) - Bakersfield

Located near the southern "horseshoe" end of the San Joaquin Valley, with the southern tip of the Sierra Nevada just to the east, Bakersfield, the county seat for Kern County, is one of the fastest growing cities in California, between 1970 and 2010 growing 400% (from 70,000 to 347,483). Its historic and primary industries have related to Kern County’s two main industries, oil and agriculture. Kern County is the most oil productive county in America, and ranks in the top five most productive agricultural counties.

November 29, 2015

2085 CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE - Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza's Mausoleum in Brazzaville

 In February 2005, presidents of Congo, Gabon and France gathered in Brazzaville to lay the foundation stone for a memorial to Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza (1852-1905). In 2006, Brazza's remains were exhumed from Algiers along with those of his wife and four children, and were reinterred in the new mausoleum of Italian marble. He was considered at that time the liberator of the slaves, and an apostle of peace  and civilization.

2080-2083 ROMANIA (Braşov) - Sânpetru and its fortified church

2080 Sânpetru - Aerial view (1994)

In 12th and 13th centuries, kings of Hungary colonized Transylvania with Germans, to defend the new southeastern border of the kingdom but also to develope the area. After 1211, they built in Burzenland, along a strategic road leading to the Buţii Pass, 14 settlements, including Sânpetru (Petersberg). Also at that time, King Andrew II of Hungary invited the Teutonic Knights to settle and defend the Burzenland. Even if in 1225 the king expelled the Order from the area, alarmed by their rapidly expanding power, the colonists remained, and the settlement lasted until the present.

2081 Sânpetru - The interior of
the evangelical church

The colonists were named Transylvanian Saxons, but actually they came primarily from the Rhine Valley. The mainly three arguments are the language (a Franconian dialect), the names of the settlements (for instance are two Petersberg near to Trier), and the plan of the settlement. It is noteworthy that the settlers founded the village along the road above mentioned, with two almost parallel streets (the main street - Vordergasse, and the cemetery street - Hintergasse) between 1211-1225, the feature that lasts until today.

2082 Sânpetru - A frescoe from the chapel of the fortified church

In the center of the commune is a fortified church, used by locals as a refuge in case of danger. The tradition relates the beginning of the construction of the basilica to the presence of the Teutonic Knights and the ending with to the Cistercian monks who took over the construction site after the knights were banished; most probably the church was built at the beginning of the 14th century. After the devastating Turkish invasion in 1432, the community built an 8m high defensive wall fortified with 5 towers and a water trench.

2083 An anatolian carpet that belonged to the Lutheran Church,
now in the Black Church in Brasov

The Romanesque basilica was dismantled in 1794, after the belfry had collapsed over the church. The three nave hall church built later in a neoclassic style has the choir orientated towards the west. The ceiling of the church is supported by four pairs of octagonal pillars and the aisles were provided with lofts. The belfry placed on the east was built in 1817. To the curtain wall was annexed a 13th century long and narrow building with successive rooms which functioned as cells for the Cistercian monks. Some of them preserved traces of paintings.

2079 UNITED STATES (New York) - The Bethesda Fountain in New York's Central Park

Located in middle-upper Manhattan, Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States as well as one of the most filmed locations in the world. Opened in 1857, it was expanded and improved after the plans of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux until 1873, when it reached its current size. One of the main features of the park is The Lake. Bethesda Terrace overlook The Lake, and in the center of the terrace is Bethesda Fountain, constructed in 1859-1864.

November 28, 2015

2078 JAPAN (Kyūshū) - Sakurajima Volcano

Sakurajima (lit. "Cherry Island") is an active stratovolcano and a former island, which was connected with the Osumi Peninsula through the lava flows of the 1914 eruption. The volcanic activity still continues, dropping large amounts of volcanic ash on the surroundings. As of September 2015, the volcano is under a Level 3 (orange) alert by the Japan Meteorological Agency. The summit of Sakurajima has three peaks, Kita-dake (northern peak, the highest - 1,117m), Naka-dake (central peak) and Minami-dake (southern peak) which is active now.

1840, 2076 ROMANIA (Braşov) - Râşnov Citadel

1840 Râşnov Citadel (1)

Posted on 21.08.2015, 28.11.2015
Located at the foot of Postăvarul Massif, at the northern end of the Rucăr-Bran Pass, which link Wallachia and Burzenland (Transylvania), Râşnov (German: Rosenau) is known for its medieval citadel, considered to be built between 1211 and 1225, during the rule of Teutonic Knights in Burzenland. In 1335, during a Tatar incursion that ravaged Burzenland, Râşnov Citadel and Braşovia were the only citadels remaining unconquered. Actually the citadel was conquered only once, in 1612, and only because the besiegers found the secret spring which supplied the citadel with water (therefore, between 1623 and 1642 a 146m deep well was dug in interior of the citadel, in the rocky soil).

1840 Râşnov Citadel (2)

The oldest preserved structures date from the 14th century. Until the move of the customs from Rucăr to Bran, and the building of the Bran Castle in the 14th century to protect the royal customs, Râşnov Citadel was the first fortification on the road of Bran, after the entry in Transylvania. In 1427 Emperor Sigismund of Luxemburg ceded the administration of the citadel to the local community, to which he granted the right to organize  trade fairs. Locals of Râşnov have maintained and repaired the fortifications, because here take refuge in case of danger and as a result the citadel is considered a peasant fortress.

November 27, 2015

2075 FRANCE (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) - Pines on Cape Martin

Cape Martin (French: Cap Martin) is a headland situated in the commune of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, on the Mediterranean Sea coast between Monaco and Menton. Cap-Martin, an affluent residential area of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, was named after the headland, which today is home to luxury villas. The postcard was edited by Les Editions d’Art Yvon, probably in the interwar period.

2074 THAILAND (Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya) - Wat Phra Si Sanphet - part of Historic City of Ayutthaya (UNESCO WHS)

Founded in 1350  in the valley of the Chao Phraya River by King Uthong and proclaimed the capital of the Ayutthaya kingdom or Siam, Ayutthaya reached around 1700 CE a population of 1,000,000, making it one of the world's largest cities at that time. Unfortunately in 1767 was destroyed by the Burmese army, resulting in the collapse of the kingdom. The ruins of the old city, characterised by the prang (reliquary towers) and gigantic monasteries, give an idea of the city's past splendour, and are preserved in the Ayutthaya historical park.

November 26, 2015

2073 FRANCE (French Guiana) - Kourou

Kourou: 1. ? 2. The Dreyfus Tower on
the Pointe des Roches; 3. Ariane 5.

Located at 60km northwest of Cayenne, at the mouth of the river with the same name and ringed by four hills, Kourou has three lakes within its limits, the riverbank and all points inland consisting mostly of mangrove and dense tropical rainforest. It was formerly the home of the Kourou Prison, which was one of the main prisons in French Guiana, and which was also a part of the notorious Devil's Island Prison System.

November 25, 2015

2071 UNITED STATES (South Dakota) - South Dakota map

Located in the Midwestern region of the United States and bordered by North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana, South Dakota was named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American tribes. Pierre is the state capital and Sioux Falls, with a population of about 165,000, is the largest city. South Dakota experiences a temperate continental climate, with four distinct seasons and precipitation ranging from moderate in the east to semi-arid in the west.

November 24, 2015

2070 CROATIA (Primorje-Gorski Kotar) - Rijeka Carnival

About a century ago, Rijeka (by then in Austro-Hungarian Empire) lived its carnival life more intensively than any other town in this part of Yanis country. Carnival parades were organized as well as carnival balls with the presence of Austrian and Hungarian aristocrats, Russian princesses, German barons, earls and countesses from all over Europe. The rebirth of the Rijeka Carnival started in 1982.

2069 FRANCE (Île-de-France) - Millet at Barbizon

2069 Millet at Barbizon: 1. The field and the village of Chailly-en-Bière
which served as decor for "The Gleaners" and "The Angelus";
2. "The Angelus"; 3. Millet; 4. "The Gleaners"; 5. The dining
room of Millet; 6. Millet's home.

The Barbizon school was part of an art movement towards Realism in painting, which arose in the context of the dominant Romantic Movement of the time, on the middle of the 19th century, roughly from 1830 through 1870. It takes its name from the village of Barbizon, near the Forest of Fontainebleau, where many of the artists gathered. Some of the most prominent features of this school are its tonal qualities, color, loose brushwork, and softness of form.

0340, 2068 PORTUGAL (Leiria) - Monastery of Batalha (UNESCO WHS)

0340 Monastery of Batalha - facade and main entrance

Posted on 23.09.2012, 24.11.2015
Founded by King João I to celebrate his victory in the Battle of Aljubarrota (August 14, 1385), that put an end to the attempt of John I of Castile to annex Portugal, Batalha is now a town with 7,500 inhabitants, located 118km north of Lisbon. Mosteiro Santa Maria da Vitória (known as the Monastery of Batalha - Monastery of the Battle) is a Dominican convent also founded by João I, but which was completed on circa 1517, its construction spanning on the reign of seven kings and combining the efforts of fifteen architects (of whom only eight actually worked). 

2068 Monastery of Batalha - The portal
of Capelas Imperfeitas

It is one of the best and original examples of Late Gothic architecture in Portugal, with strong elements of English Perpendicular, intermingled with the Manueline style. The ornate convent has been put up in limestone from Porto de Mós, that has turned yellow ochre in the course of time. As with all Dominican churches, this church has no bell tower. It is vast and narrow, and its interior gives a sober and bare impression by its complete lack of ornaments and statues in the nave. The western façade, facing the square with the equestrian statue of general Nuno Álvares Pereira, is divided in three by buttressess and pilasters.

November 23, 2015

2067 UNITED STATES (California) - The Painted Ladies from San Francisco

Painted ladies is a term in American architecture used for Victorian and Edwardian buildings painted in more colors that enhance their architectural details. The term was first used for San Francisco Victorian houses by writers Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen in their 1978 book Painted Ladies - San Francisco's Resplendent Victorians. Since then the term has also been used to describe groups of colorful Victorian houses in other American cities.

1356, 2066 RUSSIA (Pskov Oblast) - Great Pskov (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

2066 Pskov Kremlin

Posted on 13.12.2014, 23.11.2015
Located on the Velikaya River, about 20km east from the Estonian border, Pskov is one of the oldest cities in Russia, its earliest mention coming from 903, when  Igor of Kiev married a local lady, St. Olga. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the town adhered politically to the Novgorod Republic. In 1241 it was taken by the Teutonic Knights, but Alexander Nevsky recaptured it several months later. In order to secure their independence from the knights, in 1266 the Pskovians elected a Lithuanian prince, Daumantas (known in Russia as Dovmont), as military leader and prince. Having fortified the town (the core of the citadel, erected by him, still bears his name), Daumantas routed the Teutonic Knights at Rakvere and overran much of Estonia.

1356 Pskov Kremlin and Trinity Cathedral

By the 14th century, the town functioned as the capital of a de facto sovereign republic, mainly due to the merchants who brought it into the Hanseatic League. For Russia, it was a bridge towards Europe; and for Europe a western outpost of Russia. Importance of the city made it a subject of numerous sieges throughout its history (26 in the 15th century alone). A local school of icon-painting flourished, and local masons were considered the best in Russia. Many peculiar features of Russian architecture were first introduced in Pskov. In 1510 the city fell to Muscovite forces. As the second largest city of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, Pskov still attracted enemy armies. Peter the Great's conquest of Estonia and Latvia during the Great Northern War in the early 18th century spelled the end of Pskov's traditional role as a vital border fortress and a key to Russia's interior.

2065 PHILIPPINES (Western Visayas) - Dinagyang Festival

The Dinagyang is a religious and cultural festival in Iloilo City, on Panay island, which takes place on the fourth Sunday of January, or right after the Sinulog in Cebu and the Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo. It is held both to honor the Santo Niño and to celebrate the arrival on Panay of Malay settlers and the selling of the island to them. It isn't as ancient as the one in Kalibo, but is definitely impressive in choreography and striking in terms of the attires worn by participating tribes.

2064 FRANCE (Corsica) - The fishermen port of Centuri

Situated in the north of Corsica, on the west part of Cap Corse, the municipality of Centuri is made up of 7 villages and hamlets (225 inhabitants), all of which are perched on the mountainside. Its coastline is very jagged and rocky, and there is a bird reserve on the island of Capense. Centuri has no airport and no port, just a small fishermen port, which it seems that date back to the 6th century BC. It was known under the name of «Centurinum Civitas», and was connected to Macinaggio by a Roman road.