April 30, 2015

1555 SAUDI ARABIA - Al-Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina


Established and originally built by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and for this reason named the Prophet's Mosque, Al-Masjid an-Nabaw is the second mosque built in the history of Islam and is now one of the largest in the world. It is the second-holiest site in Islam, after al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. The site was originally adjacent to Muhammad's house; he settled there after his Hijra to Medina in 622 CE, and shared in the heavy work of construction. The mosque also served as a community center, a court, and a religious school. There was a raised platform for the people who taught the Quran. Subsequent Islamic rulers greatly expanded and decorated it. In 1909, it became the first place in the Arabian Peninsula to be provided with electrical lights.

1554 UNITED STATES (Tennessee) - Graceland


Graceland is a mansion in Memphis (located at 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard in the vast Whitehaven community, at about 15 km from Downtown and less than 6km north of the Mississippi border), that was home to Elvis Presley, "the King". It was opened to the public in 1982, and meantime has become one of the most-visited private homes in America, with over 600,000 visitors a year, behind the White House. Elvis Presley died at the estate on August 16, 1977. Presley, his parents Gladys and Vernon Presley, and his grandmother, are buried there in what is called the Meditation Garden. A memorial gravestone for Presley's stillborn twin brother, Jesse Garon, is also at the site.

1553 CHAD - On the road through the dead heart of Africa


Chad is a landlocked country in Central Africa, located at south to Libya and composed of a desert zone in the north, an arid Sahelian belt in the centre and a more fertile Sudanese savanna zone in the south. Because of the long distance from the sea and the country's largely desert climate, it is sometimes referred to as the "Dead Heart of Africa". As a result is the seventh poorest country in the world, with 80% of the population living below the poverty line. Also over 80% of the population relies on subsistence farming and livestock raising for its livelihoo. The Sahel is ideal pastureland for large herds of commercial cattle and for goats, sheep, donkeys and horses. More than half of Chadians are muslims, largely concentrated in northern and eastern of the country.

April 29, 2015

1552 GERMANY (Bavaria) - Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Mittenwald

Mittenwald - The spire of the Church of Saints Peter and Paul,
with Viererspitze in background

Mittenwald is located in the Valley of the River Isar, by the northern foothills of the Alps, on the route between the old banking and commercial centre of Augsburg, to the north, and Innsbruck to the south-east, beyond which is the Brenner Pass and the route to Lombardy, therefore it was for a long time an important transit centre on a relatively low transalpine route. It is also famous for the manufacture of violins, violas and cellos which began in the mid-17th century by the Klotz family of violin makers, and has been a popular stop with tourists since the boom in motorized tourism began in the 1930s.

1551 TAIWAN - Puyuma Express


The Puyuma Express is an express train service of the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) which began commercial operations on 6 February 2013 during the Chinese New Year. As the mountains of Taiwan are a barrier to coast-to-coast transportation, vehicular travel is vulnerable to traffic and crowding. The high speed (max 150km/h) and capacity of this express, belonging to the Tzu-Chiang Limited Express class, helps to alleviate this problem. Imported in 2012, since 2013 they have been running between Hualien and Taipei, on the curvy Yilan Line at the existing narrow gauge tracks. It uses the tilting electrical multiple unit series TEMU2000 built by Nippon Sharyo. The TRA purchased a total of 136 Puyuma cars. In the postcard is a delivery of a Puyuma Express train, in 2012 or 2013.

1550 SERBIA - Belgrade

1. Belgrade Fortress - Zindan Gate 2. The Church of Saint Sava
3. The Pobednik 4. The House of the National Assembly

Belgrade (White City), the capital and largest city of Serbia, located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans, has a long history, which started in the 6th millennium BC, with Vinča culture, one of the most important prehistoric cultures of Europe. In antiquity, Thraco-Dacians inhabited the region, the city being conquered by Celts, and then by the Romans. It was settled by the Slavs in the 520s, and changed hands several times between the Byzantine Empire, Frankish Empire, Bulgarian Empire and Kingdom of Hungary before it became the capital of Serbian king Stephen Dragutin (1282-1316).

April 28, 2015

1549 UNITED KINGDOM (Cayman Islands) - Best wishes from Hell


Hell is a group of short, black, limestone formations located in Grand Cayman, the largest of the three Cayman Islands. Located in West Bay, it is roughly the size of half a soccer field. Visitors aren't permitted to walk on the limestone formations but viewing platforms are provided. There are numerous versions of how Hell received its name, but they are generally variations on "a ministration exclaimed, 'This is what Hell must look like.'" Regardless of how it first came to be called Hell, the name stuck and the area has become a tourist attraction, featuring a fire-engine red hell-themed post office from which you can send "postcards from hell", and a gift shop with 'Satan' Ivan Farrington passing out souvenirs while greeting people with phrases like 'How the hell are you?' and 'Where the hell are you from?' In the postcard is the former Post Office, which is not in use any more.

1548 SRI LANKA - Buduruvagala

Buduruvagala - Stone carvings of Maitreya, Vajrapani
and an unidentified Bodhisattva
 

Buduruwagala is an ancient buddhist temple, which consists of seven statues carved on the eastern side of an impressive cliff, belonging to the Mahayana school. Its name is derived from the words for Buddha (Budu), images (ruva) and stone (gala). The statues date back to the 10th century, but nothing is known about their history or why someone would choose to make such huge images in such a remote place. The largest of them, a Buddha with the right hand in the gesture of fearlessness, has 16m from head to toe, being the largest standing Buddha statue of the island.

1547 TUNISIA - Archaeological Site of Carthage (UNESCO WHS)


The city of Carthage, founded in the 9th century B.C. on the Gulf of Tunis, on a promontory with sea inlets to the north and the south, developed from a Phoenician colony into the capital of an empire, because all ships crossing the Mediterranean Sea had to pass between Sicily and the coast of Tunisia, where the city was built. The area was before inhabited by Berber people who also became the bulk of Carthage's population and constituted a significant part of its army, economy and administration. Native Berbers and settling Phoenicians in Carthage mixed in different ways including religion and language, creating the Punic language and culture.

1546 PORTUGAL (Santarém) - A young mower in Ribatejo


The Ribatejo is the most central of the traditional provinces of Portugal, crossed by the Tagus River (Ribatejo translates to "shores of Tagus"), with no coastline or border with Spain. The region contains some of the nation's richest agricultural land, and it produces most of the animals used in the Portuguese style of bullfighting. In 1976 the province was dissolved, and most of the area was incorporated into the Santarém District. The traditional clothes of Portuguese women varies from a region to other, but they have in common bright and vivid colors, and the kerchief, an obligatory part of the national costume.

April 27, 2015

1545 GUYANA - Stabroek Market in Georgetown


Georgetown, the capital of Guyana, was established under the name Longchamps in 1782, during a brief occupation by the French of the Dutch colony of Demerara. The original name of the town was changed to Stabroek in 1784, after Nicholaas Geelvinck (1732-1787), Lord of Stabroek, the then President of the  Dutch West India Company. The city's name changed again in 1812 when, under British rule, it became Georgetown. A ward of the city retains the name Stabroek, and also its main market, which has existed on or near its present location since the 18th century.

1544 SWEDEN (Stockholm) - Waldemarsudde


Now a museum located on Djurgården in central Stockholm, Waldemarsudde (Cape of Waldemar) is the scenic former home of the Prince Eugen (1865-1947), Duke of Närke, the fourth and youngest son of Oscar II, King of Sweden (1872-1907) and of Norway (1872-1905). The prince showed early artistic promise which later on would result in a life-long commitment to arts. As a young student in Paris he took his first steps as an art collector, and by the turn of the century, he bought the property at Waldemarsudde where he found the space needed for his own works and the art he collected. He bequeathed his home and his collections to the Swedish state and since 1948 it has been open to the public as a museum.

April 26, 2015

1543 UNITED STATES (New York) - Yankee Stadium in New York City

 

Yankee Stadium is located in the Bronx, northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City, and is the home ballpark for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the home stadium for New York City FC of Major League Soccer (MLS). With a capacity of 52335, it replaced the original stadium, and is placed one block north of the original, on the former site of Macombs Dam Park. Its construction began in August 2006, spanned many years and faced many controversies, including the high public cost and the loss of public parkland. The new stadium, opened on April 2, 2009, is meant to evoke elements of the original Yankee Stadium, both in its original 1923 state and its post-renovation state in 1976.

1542 UNITED STATES (Colorado) - Mesa Verde National Park (UNESCO WHS)


Among the American Indian civilizations, that of the Anasazi Indians and of their distant descendants, the Pueblos of New Mexico and Arizona are indeed quite original, owing in part to the substantial rigours of their natural environment: the south-western part of Colorado with its mesas cut by deep canyons. On the high limestone and sandstone plateau, which in one place reaches an altitude of 2,620m above sea level, the climate is semi-arid. The first signs of regular human occupation go back to the 6th century of the current era. They are principally located on the plateau where partially buried villages, consisting of silos and low dwellings, have existed since this period.

April 25, 2015

1539 TAIWAN - Tainan Confucian Temple


The Tainan Confucius Temple, also called the Scholarly Temple, was built in 1665, when the warlord Cheng Ching, son of Koxinga, approved of the proposal by Chief of General Staff Chen Yung-hua to construct the Temple on the right side and the National Academy. On the east side stood Ming-Lun Hall, built as a place for instructors to offer lectures and cultivate intellectuals. On the west side was the sanctuary called Ta-Cheng Hall (Hall of Great Achievement), housing the mortuary tablet of Confucius, as well as those of his distinguished disciples.

1432, 1538 SPAIN (Extremadura) - Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida (UNESCO WHS)

1432 Mérida (Emerita Augusta) - Roman amphitheatre and theatre

Posted on 31.01.2015, 25.04.2015
The Roman colony of Emerita Augusta (present day Mérida) was founded in 25 BC by Augustus, to resettle emeritus soldiers discharged from the Roman army from two veteran legions of the Cantabrian Wars: Legio V Alaudae and Legio X Gemina. Three years later it became the capital of the new Roman province of Lusitania, which included approximately all of modern Portugal south of the Douro river and part of modern Spain (Extremadura and a small part of Salamanca, in Castile and León). The well-preserved remains of the old city include, in particular, a large bridge over the Guadiana, an amphitheatre, a theatre, a vast circus and an exceptional water-supply system. It is an excellent example of a provincial Roman capital during the empire and in the years afterwards.

1538 Mérida (Emerita Augusta) - Mithraeum House

The Roman Theatre was built from 16 to 15 BC and dedicated by the consul  Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. It was renovated in the late 1st or early 2nd century AD, possibly by the emperor Trajan, and again between 330 and 340 during Constantine's reign. With the advent of Christianity as Rome's sole state religion, theatrical performances were officially declared immoral: the theatre was abandoned and most of its fabric was covered with earth, leaving only its upper tiers of seats (summa cavea). In Spanish tradition, these were known as "The Seven Chairs" in which it is popularly thought that several Moorish kings held court to decide the fate of the city.

April 24, 2015

1537 NAMIBIA - Ju/'hoansi bushmen in Eastern Bushmanland


Khoisan is a unifying name for two groups of peoples of Southern Africa, who share physical and putative linguistic characteristics distinct from the Bantu majority of the region. Culturally, they are divided into the foraging San (or Bushmen), and the pastoral Khoi, previously known as Hottentots. The San include the indigenous inhabitants of the region before the southward Bantu migrations from Central and East Africa. Over time, some Khoi abandoned pastoralism and adopted the hunter-gatherer economy of the San, and are now considered San. Similarly, the Bantu Damara people who migrated south abandoned agriculture and adopted the Khoi economy. Large Khoisan populations remained in some arid areas, notably in the Kalahari Desert.

April 23, 2015

1536 POLAND (Subcarpathia) - Dubiecko Castle


Dubiecko is a village located at 36km southeast of Rzeszów, in which is situated the castle with the same name, in nowadays became hotel. The building was the birthplace of Stanislaw Stadnicki (1551-1610), a nobleman known as troublemaker, called The Devil of Łańcut for his violent behaviour. Enemy of  Jan Zamoyski, Grand Chancellor of the Crown, in 1606 he became one of the leaders of the rokosz of Zebrzydowski. After his death, his family continued the "tradition", with his wife earning the nickname of The Łańcut Devil-woman and his sons, The Łancut Devil-children. He is one of the characters on the painting by Jan Matejko: Kazanie Skargi (The Sermon of Piotr Skarga).

0373, 0448, 0454, 0818, 1535 HUNGARY (Budapest) - Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue (UNESCO WHS)

0373 Budapest - Hungarian Parliament Building 1

The history of what will became Budapest began with Aquincum, originally a Celtic settlement that became, in the beginning of the Christian era, the capital of the Roman province Pannonia Inferior. The Huns, Lombards, Avars and Slavs passed through there, and in 829 Pannonia was annexed by the First Bulgarian Empire, which built two military frontier fortresses, Buda and Pest, situated on the two banks of Danube. At the end of the 9th century, the Magyar clan of Árpád arrived in the territory. Their first settlement was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241-1242. The re-established town became one of the centres of Renaissance humanist culture in the 15th century. Following the Battle of Mohács (1526) and nearly 150 years of Ottoman rule, the region entered a new age of prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries, the city becaming a global one after the 1873 unification of Buda, Pest and Óbuda. It also became the second capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, dissolved in 1918, after the WWI.

1535 Budapest - Hungarian Parliament Building by night

Because Budapest offers one of the world's outstanding urban landscapes, and it kept the remains of monuments such as the Roman city of Aquincum and the Gothic castle of Buda (which have had a considerable influence on the architecture of various periods), but also because in the19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century was a centre which absorbed, integrated and disseminated outstanding and progressive European influences of urbanism and of architecture as well as modern technological developments, Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue was designated by UNESCO a World Heritage Site in 1987 (with an extension in 2002).

Hungarian Parliament Building (Országház) - posted on 09.01.2013, 23.04.2015

0818 Budapest - Hungarian Parliament Building 2

It has 268 m length, 123 m wide, and 96 m height, being one of the two tallest buildings in Budapest, along with Saint Stephen's Basilica. The number 96 refers to the 1000th anniversary of the country in 1896, when it was inaugurated (even if was completed only in 1904). Its interior includes 10 courtyards, 13 passenger and freight elevators, 27 gates, 29 staircases and 691 rooms. Its architect, Imre Steindl, went blind before its completion.

It's about Országház (which literally means "House of the Country"), the Hungarian Parliament Building (in the first two postcards), located on Lajos Kossuth Square, on the bank of the Danube. Similar to the Palace of Westminster, it was built in the Gothic Revival style, and it has a symmetrical facade (where are displayed statues of Hungarian rulers, Transylvanian leaders and military commanders) and a central dome. In interior are other statues, including those of Árpád, Stephen I and John Hunyadi. The Holy Crown of Hungary, which is also depicted in the coat of arms of Hungary, is also displayed in the central hall since 2000.

The Fishermen's Bastion (Halászbástya) - posted on 06.01.2013

0448 Budapest - The Fishermen's Bastion

Located in Budapest, on the Castle hill, behind the sanctuary of the Matthias Church, on the Buda bank of the Danube, the Fishermen's Bastion (Halászbástya) is a terrace in neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style which offers a splendid view of the Danube and Pest. It was named after the guild of fishermen, which lived nearby in Watertown (Vízívaros), at the foot of the hill, and was responsible for defending this stretch of the city walls in the Middle Ages. An old fish market also sat at this location during medieval times.

Designed by architect Frigyes Schulek and built between 1899 and 1905, the white-stoned Fisherman's Bastion is a combination of neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque architecture and consists of turrets, projections, parapets, and climbing stairways. The bastion is made up of seven towers - each one symbolizing one of the seven Magyar tribes that, in 896, settled in the area now known as Hungary. A monumental double stairway, decorated with reliefs of coats-of-arms and various motifs, connects the bastion with the streets below. Between 1947-1948, the son of Frigyes Schulek, János Schulek, conducted the restoration project after its destruction during WWII.

Heroes' Square (Hősök tere)  - posted on 30.09.2013

0454 Budapest - Heroes' Square

Located at the end of Andrássy Avenue, next to City Park, Heroes' Square is one of the major squares of Budapest, rich with historic and political connotations. The central site of the square is the Millennium Memorial, with statues of the leaders of the seven tribes that founded Hungary in the 9th century (Árpád, Előd, Ond, Kond, Tas, Huba, and Töhötöm) and other outstanding figures of Hungarian history (on the left colonnade - Stephen I, Ladislaus I, Coloman, Andrew II, Béla IV, Charles I, Louis I; on the right colonnade - John Hunyadi, Matthias Corvinus, István Bocskay, Gabriel Bethlen, Imre Thököly, Francis II Rákóczi, Lajos Kossuth). At the front of the monument is a large stone cenotaph surrounded by an ornamental iron chain, and directly behind it is a column topped by a statue of the archangel Gabriel.

Its construction was started when the one thousandth anniversary was celebrated (in 1896), but it was finished only in 1900 and the square got its name then. Because when the monument was constructed Hungary was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the last five spaces for statues on the left of the colonnade were reserved for members of the ruling Habsburg dynasty, but the monument was damaged in WWII and when it was rebuilt the Habsburgs were replaced by the current figures.

1534 UNITED KINGDOM (British Indian Ocean Territory) - Little green heron


The biodiversity of the BIOT is very rich, particularly in the marine environment which contains some of the world's healthiest coral reefs, the world's largest coral atoll (the Great Chagos Bank) and an exceptional diversity of deep water habitats. On land, BIOT is recognised as globally important due to the large numbers of congregating and nesting seabirds. The birds of the BIOT fall into three groups: the resident landbirds, the migrants and vagrants, and the seabirds. Only three resident landbirds are believed to have arrived as natural colonists: Common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), White-breasted waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus), and Green-backed Heron (Butorides striata).