November 30, 2016

0210, 2888 POLAND (Pomerania) - Gdansk, Town of Memory and Freedom (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

2888 Gdansk - The Main Town Hall and St. Mary's Church.

Posted on 18.05.2012, 30.11.2016
Built on the site of an early settlements associated with the Wielbark culture, which was followed in 980 by a stronghold, Gdańsk received city rights by Swietopelk II, in 1235. With permanent valences of a free city, due to its location on the Baltic Sea coast, to the mouth of the river Motława, which gives it a opening both towards the sea as well as towards central Poland, and from there towards Eastern Europe, the city belonged, successively, to the Kingdom of Poland, the Teutonic Knights, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Prussia, German Empire, German Reich, and Poland, except for two brief periods, when it was a free city (1807-1814, 1920-1939).

0210 Gdansk - The crane Żuraw

The stronghold and town of Gdansk contained from its beginnings a series of individual urban components which later became distinct districts within which there are valuable examples of urban, sacral and defensive architecture. These include the Main Town (Glowne Miasto), Old Town (Stare Miasto), the Lower Town (Dolne Miasto), the Old Suburbs (Stare Prdedmiejscie), Granary Island (Wyspa Spichrzow), Olowianka, Long Gardens (Dlugie Ogrody), Bishpop's Hill (Biskupia Gorka) and Grodzisko.

November 28, 2016

2595, 2596, 2886 ROMANIA (Cluj) - Cluj-Napoca

2595 Cluj-Napoca: 1. Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral;
2 & 3. Saint Michael's Church; 5. The Central Park;
6. Lucian Blaga National Theatre. 

Posted on 05.06.2016, 28.11.2016
Located in the Someşul Mic River valley, Cluj-Napoca is is the second most populous city in Romania, and the unofficial capital to the historical province of Transylvania. Established by Romans after the conquer of Dacia in AD 106, Napoca gained the status of a colonia in 2nd century and became a provincial capital of Dacia Porolissensis. The colonia was evacuated in 274 by the Romans, and there are no references to urban settlement on the site for the better part of a millennium thereafter.

2596 Cluj-Napoca: 1. Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral;
2. The Central Park; 3. Iuliu Maniu Street; 3. Lucian Blaga National
Theatre; 4. Saint Michael's Church and the equestrian statue of
Matthias Corvinus; 5. Bánffy Palace.

At the beginning of the Middle Ages, two groups of buildings existed on the current site of the city: the wooden fortress at Cluj-Mănăştur and the civilian settlement developed around the current Museum Place. After the conquest of Transylvania by the Hungarians, the city became part of the Kingdom of Hungary. A castle and a village were built to the northwest of the ancient Napoca no later than the late 12th century, settled by large groups of Transylvanian Saxons.

2886 Postcrossing Cluj Meet-Up - November 24, 2016

In 1541, the citty, named then Klausenburg, became part of the independent Principality of Transylvania; a period of economic and cultural prosperity followed. For a year, in 1600-1601, Cluj became part of the personal union of Michael the Brave, and under the Treaty of Carlowitz in 1699, it became part of the  Habsburg Monarchy. In the 17th century, Cluj suffered from great calamities, suffering from epidemics of the plague and devastating fires.

November 27, 2016

2883-2885 MOLDOVA - Moldavian cuisine

Moldavians are Romanians, so of course that the Moldavian cuisine is part of the Romanian cuisine. It has been greatly influenced by Ottoman cuisine, but has also elements from other cuisines in the region. Probably the best known Moldavian dish is a well-known Romanian dish, mămăliga (a thick cornmeal mush). This is a staple food on the Moldovian table, served as an accompaniment to stews and meat dishes or garnished with cottage cheese or sour cream. Actually, it is often used as a substitute for bread.

There are quite a few different types of dishes, which are sometimes included under a generic term. For example, the category ciorbă includes a wide range of soups with a characteristic sour taste. These may be meat and vegetable soups, tripe (ciorbă de burtă) and calf foot soups, or fish soups, all of which are soured by borş (made from bran), zeamă de varză acră (sauerkraut juice), vinegar, or lemon juice. In Moldavia, the word borș means simply any sour soup. Chicken soup with meat, known as zeamă, is very popular.

A traditional holiday dish (especially for Christmas, and for wedding ceremonies) are sarmale, prepared from minced meat (usually pork, but also beef, mutton or poultry), mixed with rice and spiced, and rolled into leaves of cabbage or vine (fresh or pickled). The combination is then slow boiled, preferably in large clay pots. They are often served with sour cream, mămăligă, and hot pepper. Can be prepared also sarmale for fasting, replacing meat filler with rice, mushrooms or chopped vegetables.

I find extraordinary this set of postcards, and I can't abstain to reveal the link where you can find them all, so you can enjoy them.

November 26, 2016

2393, 2882 FRANCE (Hauts-de-France) - Nord department

2393 Nord department

Posted on 21.03.2016, 26.11.2016
Since 2016 part of the Hauts-de-France region, Nord department is situated in the north of the country along the western half of the Belgian frontier. The majority of the region was once part of the historical Netherlands, but gradually became part of France between 1477 and 1678. Within the department is located the part of France where the French Flemish dialect of Dutch is still spoken (along with French) as a native language. Unusually long and narrow, it is the country's most populous department.

2882 Nord coast

Its coast begins in south with Gravelines and ends to Bray-Dunes, on Belgian border, and is part of Côte d'Opale, which continues in south up to Picardy Coast. The North Sea resort of Les Dunes de Flandre, stretching from Dunkirk to Bray-Dunes, has a 15km long barrier beach of fine sand flanked by an impressive area of dunes. To note are the museums and belfry in Dunkirk, the Art Deco villas on the Malo-les-Bains seafront, the kite park with its three kite surfing schools, and land yachting and sailing in Bray-Dunes.

2881 LITHUANIA - The map of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania

Founded by the Lithuanians, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania existed from the 13th century until 1795, and expanded to include large portions of the former Kievan Rus' and other Slavic lands, including territory of present-day Belarus, parts of Ukraine, Poland and Russia, but also of Estonia and Latvia. At its greatest extent in the 15th century, it was the largest state in Europe, a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state with great diversity in languages, religion, and cultural heritage.

November 25, 2016

2880 FRANCE (Hauts-de-France) - Compiègne

2880 Hôtel de Ville Square in Compiègne

A former imperial city, today just a commune located at the confluence of the Aisne and Oise rivers, at about 90km North from Paris, Compiègne played a major role not only in French history, but also in European history. Of Roman origin, it was referred to in 557 as Compendium, a name derived from a word meaning "short cut" (between Beauvais and Soissons). The town flourished in the Middle Ages and was the site of assemblies and councils under the Merovingian kings.

November 24, 2016

2879 ETHIOPIA - Simien National Park (UNESCO WHS)

2879 Walia ibex in Simien National Park

Simien National Park covers the Simien Mountains and includes Ras Dashan, the highest point in Ethiopia. It is a spectacular landscape, where massive erosion over millions of years has created jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and sharp precipices dropping some 1,500 m. The park is of global significance for biodiversity conservation because it is home to globally threatened species, including the iconic Walia ibex, the Gelada baboon and the Ethiopian wolf.

November 23, 2016

2878 BELGIUM (Brussels) - Stoclet Palace (UNESCO WHS)

The Stoclet Palace is a mansion in the Woluwe-Saint-Pierre area of Brussels, built between 1905 and 1911. When banker and art collector Adolphe Stoclet commissioned this house from one of the leading architects of the Vienna Secession movement, Josef Hoffmann, he imposed neither aesthetic nor financial restrictions on the project. The result was Hoffman's masterpiece, one of the most refined and luxurious private houses of the 20th century, which austere geometry marked a turning point in Art Nouveau, foreshadowing Art Deco and the Modern Movement in architecture.

November 22, 2016

2877 SAINT LUCIA - Diamond Waterfall

Diamond Waterfall is the main attraction of the Diamond Botanical Gardens, the oldest botanical gardens on the island, located in the town of Soufrière. What made this waterfall stand out was that its waters were laced with minerals as its stream emanated from rainwater mixed with volcanism giving the falls a colorful appearance that seemed to change often. It has 17m in height, and the flow of water varies at different times of year but is always spectacular.

2876 FINLAND (Pirkanmaa) - Santa Claus over the Vapriikki Museum Centre

As it is well known, the home of Santa Claus is in Finland, in Korvatunturi, as also Santa Claus Village and  Santa Park, located about 10 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle, near Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland. No wonder therefore that Santa has passed over the Vapriikki in Tampere, where on November 12, 2016 was held the Christmas Party Meetup, organised by the Finnish postcrossers. In that day took place the Day of Christmas Postcard (which gathered together artists, associations and postcard sellers), and then a meetup and a Christmas Party for postcrossers.

November 21, 2016

2875 IRELAND - The 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising

With the Act of Union in 1800, Ireland (which had been under some form of English control since the 12th century) merged with Great Britain to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, being governed by a united parliament from London. During the 19th century, Irish nationalists opposed this arrangement in varying degrees. Some moderate nationalists advocated for home rule, under which Ireland would remain part of the United Kingdom but also have some form of self-government.

November 20, 2016

2874 BELGIUM (West Flanders) - The Belgian coast

Belgium has only 70 km of coast on the North Sea, on which are located 15 seaside resorts in 10 coastal towns, each with its own character and unique atmosphere. It is a diverse region with all kinds of nature, culture, beachlife and recreational opportunities. The sandy beaches are ideal for children. Sunbathers have found that they acquire a healthier tan here than in southern Europe, thanks to the iodine and salt in the air.

November 19, 2016

2873 ETHIOPIA - Holqa Sof Omar: Natural and Cultural Heritage (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

With a 16km length, Sof Omar Caves is one of the most spectacular and extensive underground caverns in the world. It is situated to the east of Robe, in the Bale Zone, through which the Weyib River (Gestro River) flows. Here the river vanishes into this giant underground world with its arched portals, high eroded ceilings, and deep, vaulted echoing chambers. The approach to the caves is made through the tiny village of Sof Omar, perched on the cliffs above the Weib River.

0107, 2872 AUSTRALIA - Indigenous Australians

2872 Australian Aboriginal men in Top End, taking part in a ceremony
which is accompanied by the haunting music of the didgeridoo

Posted on 26.01.2012, 19.11.2016
Human habitation of the Australia is estimated to have begun between 42,000 and 48,000 years ago, possibly with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia. These first inhabitants may have been ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. Australia's Aboriginal culture probably represents the oldest surviving culture in the world, with the use of stone tool technology and painting with red ochre pigment dating back over 60,000 years. Australians never developed an "iron age", "bronze age", or pottery.

0107 An elder Australian Aboriginal,
his grandson and a Goanna

There is great diversity among different Indigenous communities in Australia, each with its own mixture of cultures, customs and languages. At the time of initial European settlement, over 250 languages were spoken; it is currently estimated that 120 to 145 of these remain in use, but only 13 of these are not considered endangered. Although Aboriginal society was generally semi-nomadic, moving according to the changing food availability found across different areas as seasons changed, the mode of life and material cultures varied greatly from region to region.

2871 SAINT LUCIA - The map of the island

Located in Lesser Antilles, between Saint Vincent, Barbados and Martinique, Saint Lucia is a volcanic island, more mountainous than most Caribbean islands, with the highest point being Mount Gimie (950m). Two other mountains, the Pitons, form the island's most famous landmark. The capital city is Castries (population 60,263) where 32.4% of the population lives. Major towns include Gros Islet, Soufrière, and Vieux Fort. The local climate is tropical, moderated by northeast trade winds.

2870 FRANCE (Île-de-France) - Pringy, Seine-et-Marne

Pringy is a small town in the northern-center of France, located not far from Paris, between the forest of Fontainebleau and the Seine. The altitude of the town is approximately 60 meters. In the picture is a village shop from the mid-20th century, serving as grocery and haberdashery, but where also could be find coffee and tobacco.

November 18, 2016

2869 RUSSIA (Leningrad Oblast) - Palace and Park Ensemble of the Town of Gatchina and its Historical Centre - part of Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments (UNESCO WHS)

Gatchina is a town located 45km south of Saint Petersburg by the road leading to Pskov. It was first documented in 1499 as a village (Khotchino) in possession of Novgorod the Great. In the 17th century it passed to Livonia, then to Sweden, and was returned to Russia during the Great Northern War. In 1708, it was given by Peter the Great to his sister Natalya Alexeyevna, and after her death, Peter founded an Imperial Hospital and Apothecary here.

November 14, 2016

2866 FRANCE (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) - Parc des Oiseaux in Villars-les-Dombes

2866 Eurasian blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
in Parc des Oiseaux in Villars-les-Dombes

The Parc des Oiseaux (Park of Birds) is an ornithological park, one of the oldest in France, located in Villars-les-Dombes, a commune situated in the heart of the area known as the Dombes, notable for its hundreds of lakes. Opened in 1970, it brings together a collection of more than 3,000 birds of 300 species from around the world. Visitors can observe the birds in 20 environments that recreate different landscapes on the planet, and the aviaries have been specially designed to allow visitors to get closer to the birds than ever before.

November 13, 2016

2865 BELGIUM (Brussels) - René Magritte Museum

The Belgian René Magritte (René François Ghislain Magritte; 1898-1967) was one of the most important Surrealist artists, well known for his witty and thought-provoking images. Often depicting ordinary objects in an unusual context, his work is known for challenging observers' preconditioned perceptions of reality. His imagery has influenced pop, minimalist and conceptual art. Contemporary artists have been greatly influenced by René Magritte's stimulating examination of the fickleness of images.