December 30, 2016

2922 UGANDA - Matooke

Matooke, also known as ebitookye in south western Uganda, and ibitoke in Rwanda, is the fruit of a variety of starchy banana, commonly referred to as cooking/green bananas. The fruit is harvested green, carefully peeled and then cooked and often mashed or pounded into a meal. In Uganda and Rwanda, the fruit is steam-cooked, and the mashed meal is considered a national dish in both countries. Bananas/plantains were a common staple crop around the Lake Victoria area of Uganda, and in the West and Kilimanjaro regions of Tanzania.

December 28, 2016

2587, 2588, 2921 CANADA - First Nations

2587 First Nations (1)

Posted on 01.06.2016, 28.12.2016
The First Nations are the various Aboriginal Canadians who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently 634 recognized First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. Although not without conflict or slavery, Euro-Canadians' early interactions with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations were less combative compared to the often violent battles between colonists and native peoples in the United States. In 2011, there were more than 1.3 million people in Canada who identified as being of First Nations heritage.

2588 First Nations (2)

First Nations can be grouped into cultural areas based on their ancestors' primary lifeway, or occupation, at the time of European contact. These culture areas correspond closely with the six main physical and ecological regions of Canada. Within each of these six areas, First Nations had very similar cultures, largely shaped by a common environment.  Even if today Aboriginal people live outside their ancestral homes, the traditional cultures of their ancestors still exert a strong influence on their culture, from spirituality to political attitudes.

2921 First Nations (3)

The six groups were: Woodland First Nations (in dense forest in the East); Iroquoian First Nations (in the southernmost area, a fertile land suitable for planting corn, beans and squash); Plains First Nations (on the grasslands of the Prairies); Plateau First Nations (from semi-desert conditions in the south to high mountains in the north); Pacific Coast First Nations (who had access to abundant salmon and shellfish); and the First Nations of the Mackenzie and Yukon River Basins (whose harsh environment consisted of dark forests, barren lands and the swampy terrain.

December 27, 2016

2920 UNITED STATES (Oklahoma) - Dixon Palmer and his daughter

2920 Dixon Palmer showing his daughter, Linda,
a Buffalo hide.

The Kiowas are a tribe of Native Americans, which migrated from western Montana southward into the Rocky Mountains in Colorado in the 17th and 18th centuries, and finally into the Southern Plains by the early 19th century. In 1867, the Kiowa were moved to a reservation in southwestern Oklahoma. Today they are federally recognized as Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma with headquarters in Carnegie, Oklahoma. The Kiowa language (Cáuijògà) is still spoken today and is part of the Tanoan language family. As of 2011, there are 12,000 members.

2919 MALAYSIA (Kedah) - A craftsman making a rattan chair

Rattan is the name for roughly 600 species of climbing palms belonging to subfamily Calamoideae, also known as manila, or malacca, named after the ports of shipment Manila and Malacca City, and as manau (from the Malay rotan manau, the trade name for Calamus manan canes in Southeast Asia). The climbing habit is associated with the characteristics of its woody stem, soft and flexible comparing to true wood derived from a typical secondary growth. They are not trees but are vine-like lianas, scrambling through and over other vegetation.

December 25, 2016

2918 NORWAY - The clothing and the arms of the Vikings

Between 790s and 1066, during the period commonly known today as the Viking Age, the mere sight of Norsemen's longships aroused fear among the inhabitants of the European coastal areas and along inland rivers through what is now Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, up to Constantinople. Remaining in collective memory of Europeans primarily as fierce and ruthless warriors, the Vikings also opened trade routes, explored new territories, founded settlements and states, and even fought as mercenaries.

December 23, 2016

2917 GERMANY (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) - Rostock

Crossed by the Warnow and located nearly centrally on Mecklenburg-Vorpommern's Baltic Sea coast, Rostock is the largest Baltic port of Germany. In 1251, the city became a member of the Hanseatic League, so that in the 14th century it was a powerful seaport town. In 1419, one of the earliest universities in Europe, the University of Rostock, was founded. Beginning with the end of the 15th century, the city largely lost its economic importance, which regained it in the first half of the 19th century, due at first to the wheat trade, then, from the 1850s, to industry, especially to its shipyards.

December 22, 2016

0805, 1659, 1660, 2169, 2258, 2916 UNITED STATES (Arizona / Utah / New Mexico) - The Navajo

2169 Navajo indians on reservation

Posted on 31.08.2013, 12.06.2015, 30.12.2015, 01.02.2016, 22.12.2016
The Navajo are the largest federally recognized tribe of the United States, with more then 300,000 members, and the Navajo Nation constitutes an independent governmental body, which manages the Navajo Indian reservation (in the Four Corners area), which extends into the states of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Diné Bikéyah, or Navajoland, one of the most arid and barren portions of the Great American Desert, is larger than 10 of the 50 states in America. 

1659 Navajo Indian (Saltwater clan)
Medicine Man (1)

Regarding the name, the Spaniards used the term Apachu de Nabajo for the first time in the 1620s to refer to the people in the Chama Valley region, and since 1640s began to use the term "Navajo" to refer to the Diné (meaning "The People"), as prefer they to call themselves. The Navajo are speakers of a Na-Dené Southern Athabaskan languages known as Diné bizaad. The importance of their contribution, as code talkers, at the Japanese defeat in the Pacific in WWII is well known.

1660 Navajo Indian (Saltwater clan)
Medicine Man (2)

It seems that the Athabaskan ancestors of the Navajo and Apache entered the Southwest around 1400 CE, and the oral history indicates a long relationship between Navajo and Pueblo people. Initially, the Navajo were hunters and gatherers, but subsequent they adopted crop farming techniques from the Pueblo, and sheep and goats breeding from Spaniards. In addition, the practice of spinning and weaving wool into blankets and clothing became common and developed into a form of highly valued artistic expression.

0805 An old Navajo woman and his granddaughter

For a long period prior to the acquisition from Mexico of the territory now forming the northern portion of Arizona and New Mexico, the Navajo undertook raids on the New Mexican Indian pueblos and the white settlements along the Rio Grande, for the capture of livestock, although both Indians and Mexicans also were enslaved. The Mexicans lost no opportunity to retaliate. In 1846 the Navajo came into official contact with the United States, which shortly established forts on their territory. Relations have been strained from the beginning, raids reaching a peak in 1860-1861 (period known as Naahondzood, "the fearing time").

2258 A Navajo baby named
Be-Nah Na-Zuhn (Pretty Eyes)

In 1864, after a series of skirmishes and battles, about 8.500 Navajo were forced away from their homelands to the Bosque Redondo, an experimental reservation about 480km away on the plains of eastern New Mexico. This project was a failure, so a new treaty was made in 1868, one of its provisions being the purchase of 15.000 sheep to replenish the exterminated flocks. Thousands of people died along the way, during the four years spent at the reservation, and during the walk home. In July, 7304 Navaho arrived at Fort Wingate, to their old home, where lived in peace since then, even if the abuses upon them continued.

2916 A Navajo woman with a baby

Historically, the structure of the Navajo society is largely a matrilineal system, in which women owned livestock and land. Once married, a man would move to live with his bride in her dwelling and among her mother's people and clan. Daughters (or, if necessary, other female relatives) were traditionally the ones who received the generational property inheritance. The children are "born to" and belong to the mother's clan, and are "born for" the father's clan. As adults, men represent their mother's clan in tribal politics. People must date and marry partners outside their own clans.

2915 ROMANIA (Mehedinţi) - Saint Ana Monastery

Located on the Danube Defile, in Orşova, on the crest of Moşului Hill, a place that offers an unique landscape, Saint Ana Monastery was founded by Pamfil Şeicaru, the greatest Romanian journalist between the two world wars, who fought here as a lieutenant in the WWI. He wanted to express his gratitude to God, because he survived after it had been buried here by a bomb explosion. For the facts of his courage, Pamfil Şeicaru was granted the title Knight of the Order of  Mihai Viteazul.

December 21, 2016

2914 GERMANY (Baden-Württemberg) - Church of Our Lady in Karlsruhe

Located in southwest Germany, near the border with France, Karlsruhe owes its existence to the Karlsruhe Palace, built in 1715. The city was planned with the palace tower at the center and 32 streets radiating out from it like the spokes of a wheel, or the ribs of a folding fan, so that one nickname for Karlsruhe in German is the "fan city" (Fächerstadt). As a result, the more you move away from the city's center, in any direction, the buildings are newer.

0570, 0571, 2913 RUSSIA (Saint Petersburg) - Saint Isaac's Square - part of Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments (UNESCO WHS)

0570 Saint Isaac's Cathedral in Saint Petersburg

Posted on 23.03.2013, 21.12.2016
The Saint Isaac's Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Isaac of Dalmatia, a patron saint of Peter the Great, who had been born on the feast day of that saint, is the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral in Saint Petersburg. Ordered by Tsar Alexander I and build between 1818 and 1858, it's the fourth consecutive church standing at this place. Although the project of French-born architect Auguste de Montferrand was criticised for the dry and allegedly boring rhythm, the emperor, who favoured the ponderous Empire style of architecture, insisted to be elected.

0570 Saint Isaac's Cathedral in Saint Petersburg by night
seen from the roof of the Winter Palace

The neoclassical exterior, plated with gray and pink stone, expresses the traditional Russian-Byzantine formula of a Greek-cross ground plan with a large central dome and four subsidiary domes. It features a total of 112 red granite columns with Corinthian capitals. The rotunda is encircled by a walkway accessible to tourists. 24 statues stand on the roof, and another 24 on top of the rotunda. The cathedral's main dome is plated with pure gold, and is decorated with twelve statues of angels by Josef Hermann.

2913 Saint Isaac's Cathedral in Saint Petersburg
at the beginning of the 20th century

In 1931, the building was turned into the Antireligious Museum, and in 1937 became the museum of the Cathedral. With the fall of communism, regular worship activity has resumed in the cathedral. The Cathedral separates Saint Isaac's Square and Senate Square. The photo from the postcard 0570 was taken from Saint Isaac's Square. On the left can be seen the Monument to Nicholas I, unveiled in 1859 (the first equestrian statue in Europe with only two support points), and on the right the Hotel Astoria (the red brick building), designed by Fyodor Lidval (one of the most luxurious hotels in the Russian Empire).

Saint Isaac's Square is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments, about which I wrote here.  

December 20, 2016

2912 CHRISTMAS (Finland) - Joulutonttu

Long time ago, in pagan times, tonttu lived in the houses and barns of the farmsteads, and secretly acted as their guardian. If were treated well, they protected the family and animals from evil and misfortune, and even were helping to the chores and farm work. They were no taller than 90cm, had a long white beard, and were dressed in the traditional farmer garb, consisting of a pull-over woolen tunic belted at the waist and knee breeches with stockings. On the head, they wore a conical or knit cap in red or some other bright color.

1639, 2911 ESTONIA (Pärnu) - Kihnu cultural space (UNESCO ICH)


Posted on 08.06.2015, 20.12.2016
Lying off Estonia's Baltic coast, the small islands of Kihnu and Manija are home to a community of 600 people whose cultural expressions and agricultural traditions have been kept alive over the centuries largely through the island's female population. Their geographic isolation, their strong sense of community spirit and their steadfast attachment to the customs of their ancestors have enabled the Kihnu people to preserve their crafts and customs. Today, Kihnu culture is threatened by economic hardship, uncontrolled housing development and the intrusion of tourists insensitive to the islands' traditions and natural environment.


Singing is an integral part of collective handicraft activities and of religious celebrations. Particularly noteworthy among the musical repertory of the islanders is an oral tradition of pre-Christian origin, known as runic or Kalevala-metre songs. But the most visible emblem of Kihnu culture remains the woolen handicrafts worn by the women. Working using traditional looms and local wool, the women weave and knit mittens, stockings, skirts and blouses, which often feature bright colours, vivid stripes and intricate embroidery. Many of the symbolic forms and colours adorning these garments are rooted in ancient legends.

2910 UNITED STATES - Grandfather Earth

"Native Americans have always believed that the earth beneath their feet was sacred. Every river, canyon and forest was evidence to them that He, Creator was near. The ideas that they were stewards of creation was etched in their bones. To take and never give back to the earth as to show distain for the Great Spirit. The lives lived by the first nations people was done so by a code of honor. This was portrayed by the way a tribe would revere their elders and chieftains. The consummation of the experiences, wisdom and insight of the old ones was a deep well in which to draw from.

December 19, 2016

2909 MALAYSIA - KTM Komuter Class 92 EMU

KTM Komuter is a commuter rail service brand operated by Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM), the main rail operator in Peninsular Malaysia. It was introduced in 1995 to provide local rail services in Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding Klang Valley suburban areas, and in 2015 in the states of Kedah, Perak and Pulau Pinang, but also between Seremban and Gemas in Negeri Sembilan. The trains used are air-conditioned electric multiple units. The original Komuter rolling stock consists of three versions of three-car EMUs added over the course of three years, beginning in 1994.

December 18, 2016

2154, 2908 SPAIN (Balearic Islands) - The Cathedral of Santa María of Palma de Mallorca

2154 The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma (1)

Posted om 26.12.2015, 18.12.2016
The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, known as La Seu (a title also used by many other churches), is a Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral located in Palma, Majorca. Built on the site of a Moorish-era mosque, it is 121m long, 55m wide and its nave is 44m tall (with only 4m lower than the one of Saint-Pierre de Beauvais, the highest of all Gothic cathedrals). Designed in the Catalan Gothic style but with Northern European influences, it was begun by King James I of Aragon in 1229 (to honour a vow he made to the Virgin Mary after surviving a terrible storm), but only finished in 1601.

2908 The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma (2)

It sits within the old city of Palma atop the former citadel of the Roman city, between the Royal Palace of La Almudaina and the episcopal palace. It houses the majestic Royal Chapel, and the tombs of James II of Majorca (1243-1311) and James III of Majorca (1315-1349), the last ruler of independent Majorca. The main façade, that fell off during the earthquake in 1851, was completely reconstructed in Neo-Gothic style by Joan Bautista Peyronnet.  In 1901, fifty years after a restoration of the cathedral had started, Antoni Gaudí was invited to take over the project, but he abandoned his work in 1914 after an argument with the contractor.