February 29, 2016

2337 ROMANIA (Harghita) - Lake Sfânta Ana

Lake Sfânta Ana (Hungarian: Szent Anna-tó, meaning "Saint Anne Lake" in both languages) is the only crater lake in Romania, located in the crater of an extinct volcano, named Ciomatu Mare, in Eastern Carpathians, at an altitude of 946m. With an almost circular shape, similar to a painter's palette, has a length of 620m and a maximum width of 460m, an area of 19.50ha and a maximum depth of 6.4m. It is a complex reserve (natural, geological, floristic and faunistic), linked with Băile Tuşnad by trails.

February 28, 2016

2336 FRANCE (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) - Laragne Montéglin

Located at southeastern France, halfway between Grenoble and Marseille, in the perimeter of the Parc Naturel Régional des Baronnies, the commune Laragne Montéglin was born in 1949 from the merger of Laragne and Montéglin. You can discover the old quarters of Cairo and Bourg Reynaud, during a walk starting from the Fountain Square in the heart of the city, close to the door of the Castle and the Church of St. Martin then down to the Mill Quarter, recently renovated.

2335 FRANCE - Trust can save the future

In 1866, the French priest Abbé Roussel took in care several orphans, who wandered on the streets of Paris. He wanted each child to be welcomed, cared for, taught to read and write, receive a Christian education and have a job, whatever their background or belief. Ten years after, 200 children were educated every year. Since it was difficult to place the youth in education facilities, in July 1871 the priest decided to open his own workshops to teach them a profession. The orphans of Apprentis d’Auteuil was born.

2334 UNITED STATES (Maryland) - The United States Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis

The United States Naval Academy was established in 1845 in Annapolis, but the current chapel, designed by Ernest Flagg, was built much later, between 1904 and1908. In 1940, the Chapel underwent remodeling which doubled the seating capacity to 2,500. From 1853 to 1972, chapel attendance was compulsory. In 1913, the remains of John Paul Jones, considered the Father of the American Navy (even if he later served in the Imperial Russian Navy), were interred in the crypt beneath the Chapel.

February 27, 2016

2330-2333 ROMANIA (Caraș-Severin) - Reşiţa and its steam locomotives

Located in western Romania, in the Banat region, along the Bârzava river, which meets the Doman river in the centre of town, Reşiţa has been attested since the 15th century under the name of Rechyoka and Rechycha. In the Conscription act of 1717, it has been referenced under the name of Retziza, comprising 62 households imposed by the Austrian domination recently instituted at the time (in 1716, Prince Eugene of Savoy took the Banat region from the Ottomans).

On the 8th August 1768, the first foundries were founded under the reign of Austria-Hungary Empress Maria Theresa. Several months later the Imperial Court approved the proposal and on 1st November 1769, the construction of plants was started. On the 3rd July 1771, two blast furnaces were put into operation, and Reşiţa became the cradle of what will impose itself as one of the oldest and most important European metal-manufacturing centres.

Initially there have been 2 villages fairly close to one another - Reşiţa Română (Reschiza Kamerala or Olah Resitza) and Reşiţa Montană (Eisenwerk Reschitza, Nemet Reschitza or Resiczbanya). Reşiţa Montană, where the plants had been settled, was at first inhabited by Romanian coal men. Later in 1776, 70 German families originating from Styria, Carinthia and Upper Austria have been colonized and between 1782-1787 German families coming from the Rhine region.


At first, metalworking was the focus of activity, but machinery manufacturing gradually gained prominence. In 1855, with the empire facing financial crisis, the works were bought by an international consortium, St.E.G. In 1872, the factory manufactured the first steam locomotive, called Resicza, and having the running number 2. It had as model the locomotive Szekul (number 1), designed by John Haswell, manager of the railway engine factory St.E.G. from Vienna.

February 25, 2016

2329 NETHERLANDS (Sint Maarten) - The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa

Westin Hotels & Resorts is an upscale hotel chain owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, which in 2013 operated over 192 hotels. Among them is the one situated on Dawn Beach, along St. Maarten's eastern coast. Located just south of the Dutch/French border, Dawn Beach is famous for two things: the amazing sunrises that earned the shoreline its name, and the clear water that's perfect for snorkeling.

2328 CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE - A Punu mask

The Punu, or Bapunu (Bapounou), are a Bantu group of Central Africa and one of the four major peoples of Gabon, inhabiting interior mountain and grassland areas in the southwest of the country, around the upper N'Gounié and Nyanga Rivers. Bapunu also live in the Divenie, Kibangou, and Mossendjo districts of the Republic of the Congo. They live in independent villages divided into clans and families, and social cohesion is ensured by a society known as moukouji, whose role is the subjugation of the harmful forest spirits.

February 24, 2016

2327 FRANCE (Occitania) - Grottes de Trabuc

The Grottes de Trabuc (Caves of Trabuc), located not far from the hamlet of Mas Soubeyran, constitute of the largest coherent network of underground cavities in the Cevennes. To date, these system cavities and underground galleries have been researched to a length of more than 7km. As a special attraction are the "Hundred Thousand Soldiers." These are tiny stalactites, standing side by side so close that they look like an army of soldier figurines.

2326 UNITED STATES (New York) - United States Military Academy at West Point

The United States Military Academy at West Point (USMA), also known as West Point, Army, The Academy or simply The Point, is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in West Point, a federal military reservation established by Thomas Jefferson in 1802, at 80km north of New York City. The academy bases a cadet's leadership experience as a development of all three pillars of performance: academics, physical, and military.

2325 UNITED STATES (New Hampshire) - New Hampshire map

Located in the New England region of the northeastern United States, New Hampshire is bordered by Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, the Canadian province of Quebec, and the Atlantic Ocean. Known for its natural beauty, it features rugged mountains, clear blue lakes, and sandy lake and ocean beaches. Contained within the Appalachian Highlands, the three primary geological features and landforms of New Hampshire are the Coastal Lowlands, the Eastern New England Upland, and the White Mountains Region.

February 23, 2016

2324 BELGIUM (Limburg) - Bocholt

Located 25 km north-west of Maaseik, on the border with the Netherlands, the municipality of Bocholt is best known for Martens brewery, the second highest production capacity in Belgium at 360 million liters per year, established in 1758. The settlement was mentioned for the first time in 1162, and its name was probably derived from Bucolt, which means "beech forest". The lords of Bocholt lived in the Damburg, a fortified manor located in the center of the village.

2323 RUSSIA (Moscow Oblast) - Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad (UNESCO WHS)

Situated in the town of Sergiyev Posad, about 70 km to the north-east from Moscow by the road leading to Yaroslavl, the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

2322 UNITED KINGDOM (Bermuda) - Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute

Opened in 1997, Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI) has the purpose "to advance the understanding, appreciation and knowledge of the ocean and to encourage the protection and preservation of the marine environment", but also to know and learn about the historic shipwrecks of Bermuda. This is done through a series of eye-popping artifacts and exhibits, many of them interactive. The exhibits are showcased in two different floors.

2321 JAPAN (Kantō) - Minato Mirai 21 in Yokohama

2321 Minato Mirai 21 in Yokohama, with Landmark Tower
in center and Mount Fuji in background

When Japan emerged from centuries of isolation in the mid-19th century, Yokohama was a tiny fishing village, home to only 100 people or so. But as the tide of internationalization rose, a port was established and Yokohama began to grow as a gateway to Japan. Yokohama is now a leading international trading port, the second largest city in Japan after Tokyo. Situated just a short distance along the coast from the Japanese capital, Yokohama is now a magnet for tourists.

February 22, 2016

2320 UNITED STATES (Rhode Island) - Rhode Island map

Rhode Island, officially the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, is located in New England region, and is bordered by Connecticut, Massachusetts, and the Atlantic Ocean. It is the smallest in area, the eighth least populous, and the second most densely populated (behind New Jersey) of the 50 U.S. states. It is only 60km wide and 77km long, yet has a tidal shoreline on Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic Ocean of 618km, reason why it is nicknamed the Ocean State. 

February 21, 2016

2319 UNITED STATES (Illinois) - Buckingham Fountain in Chicago

Built in a Rococo wedding cake style and inspired by the Latona Fountain at the Palace of Versailles, Buckingham Fountain in the center of Grant Park in Chicago is one of the largest fountains in the world. It represents Lake Michigan, with four sea horses symbolizing the four states (Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana) that border the lake, and was designed by beaux arts architect  Edward H. Bennett. The statues were created by the French sculptor Marcel F. Loyau.

0295, 2318 NEW ZEALAND - Māori people

0295 A Māori man

Posted on 01.08.2012, 21.02.2016
In 1642, at about 350 years after Māori colonized New Zealand coming from the mythical home Hawaiki in their canoes (waka), Abel Tasman arrived with two ships near to the South Island's shore. Couldn't be said that it was love at first sight. Behold a fragment from the Dutch explorer diary: "Upon this the other natives, with short thick clubs which we at first mistook for heavy blunt parangs [large knives], and with their paddles, fell upon the men in the cock-boat and overcame them by main force, in which fray three of our men were killed and a fourth got mortally wounded through the heavy blows. The quartermaster and two sailors swam to our ship, whence we had sent our pinnace to pick them up, which they got into alive. After this outrageous and detestable crime the murderers sent the cock-boat adrift, having taken one of the dead bodies into their prow and thrown another into the sea."

2318 Māori performing Haka at Whakarewarewa, Rotorua

Europeans didn't revisit Nova Zeelandia until 1769, when James Cook mapped almost its entire coastline, anglicised also the name to New Zealand. The route was created, so that the islands have become a stopping and supply point for whaling and trading ships, the sailors developing over time some trade relations with the locals. Besides potato, Māori received diseases unknown for them and muskets, who helped them to be fewer and fewer, the population decreasing to around 40% at the mid of 19th century. Further, Captain William Hobson brought them in 1840 the British sovereignty. Also the Christianity. Although tensions have continued, some Māori have contributed actively to the life of British Empire, even putting his fighting spirit in the crown service in WWI and WWII.

2317 CZECH REPUBLIC (South Bohemia) - Červená Lhota Castle

Located at the middle of a lake, on a rocky island, in south Bohemia, Červená Lhota (Red Lhota) is a castle that gracefully maintains the balance between a representative aristocratic residence and a simple Renaissance fortress. The four-winged two-storey château, with a small courtyard in the center, occupies the whole rock and juts into the fishpond. A stone bridge, built in 1622, links the castle with the banks of the pond. On the northern side is a park where the Renaissance Chapel of the Holy Trinity is situated.

2316 UNITED STATES (Hawaii) - Keiki Aloha

In the Hawaiian language, aloha means affection, peace, compassion, and mercy. It derives from the Proto-Polynesian root *qarofa, and ultimately from Proto-Polynesian, and it has cognates in other Polynesian languages, such as Samoan alofa and Māori aroha, also meaning "love." Since the middle of the 19th century, it also has come to be used as an English greeting to say goodbye and hello. Today, aloha kakahiaka is the phrase for "good morning." Keiki is Hawaiian for "baby" or "child", literally "the little one".

February 20, 2016

2315 UNITED KINGDOM (Turks and Caicos Islands) - The Queen Conch

Conch is a common name to a different medium to large-sized sea snails or their shells. The term generally applies to large snails whose shell has a high spire and a noticeable siphonal canal. The group of conchs that are sometimes referred to as "true conchs" are the ones from the family Strombidae, specifically in the genus Strombus, popular throughout the Caribbean and especially in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). It is an important symbol of the TCI, being one of three symbols on the flag.

2129, 2314 UNITED STATES (Illinois) - Illinois map

Posted on 17.12.2015, 20.02.2016
Located between Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan, Illinois is often noted as a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base and is a major transportation hub. The Port of Chicago connects the state to other global ports from the Great Lakes, to the Atlantic Ocean, and to the Mississippi River.

Though Illinois lies entirely in the Interior Plains, it does have some minor variation in its elevation. It has three major geographical divisions: Northern Illinois, dominated by ChicagolandCentral Illinois, mostly prairie, characterized by small towns and medium-small cities; Southern Illinois, the site of the ancient city of  Cahokia, as well as the site of the first state capital at  Kaskaskia. The capital city of the state is Springfield, and the largest city is Chicago, the third most populous city in the US.