July 30, 2016

1935-1939, 2670 SAINT MARTIN - The map of the island and the flags of Saint Martin (France) and of Sint Maartin (Netherlands)

1935 The map of Saint Martin Island (1)

Posted on 04.10.2015, 30.07.2016
Located in the northeast Caribbean, between Anguilla and Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin is the smallest inhabited sea island divided between two nations, respectively between France (60%) and the Kingdom of the Netherlands (40%). The southern Dutch part comprises Sint Maarten and is one of four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the northern French part comprises the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and is an overseas collectivity of France.

1936 The map of Saint Martin Island (2)

The main cities are Philipsburg (Dutch side) and Marigot (French side). The Dutch side is more heavily populated, and the largest settlement on the entire island is Lower Prince's Quarter. The highest hilltop is the Pic Paradis (424m) in the center of a hill chain on the French side, but both sides are hilly with large mountain peaks. This forms a valley where many houses are located. There are no rivers on the island, but many dry guts. It has a tropical monsoon climate with a dry season from January to April and a rainy season from August to December.

1937 The map of Saint Martin Island (3)

Ancient relics date the island's first settlers, probably Ciboney Indians (a subgroup of Arawaks), back to 3,500 years ago. Their lives were turned upside-down with the descent of the Carib Indians, a warrior nation which killed the Arawak men and enslaved the women. In 1493 Christopher Columbus glimpsed the island and named it Isla de San Martín after Saint Martin of Tours because it was November 11, St. Martin Day, but Spain made the settlement of the island a low priority.

2670 The map of Saint Martin Island (4)

Instead, the French and Dutch coveted the island. While the French wanted to colonize the islands between Trinidad and Bermuda, the Dutch found San Martín a convenient halfway point between their colonies in New Amsterdam (present day New York) and Brazil. The Dutch, French and British founded settlements on the island. In 1633 Spanish forces captured Saint Martin from the Dutch, but in 1648 they deserted the island. Preferring to avoid an war, the French and Dutch signed in the same year the Treaty of Concordia, which divided the island in two, as it is now.

1938 Saint Martin - The border monument which celebrates
the peaceful coexistence of the French and Dutch on St. Martin (1)

With the cultivation of cotton, tobacco, and sugar, mass numbers of slaves were imported to work on the plantations, until the slave population became larger than that of the land owners. After abolition of slavery, plantation culture declined and the island's economy suffered. In 1939, Saint Martin received a major boost when it was declared a duty-free port. The Dutch began focusing on tourism in the 1950s. The French needed another twenty years to start developing their tourism industry.

1938 Saint Martin - The border monument which celebrates
the peaceful coexistence of the French and Dutch on St. Martin (2)

Currently, tourism provides the backbone of the economy for both sides of the island. St. Martin's Dutch side is known for its festive nightlife, beaches, jewellery, drinks made with native rum-based guavaberry liquors, and casinos. The island's French side is known for its nude beaches, clothes, shopping (including outdoor markets), and French and Indian Caribbean cuisine. Because the island is located along the intertropical convergence zone, it is occasionally threatened by tropical storm activity in the late summer and early fall.

July 27, 2016

2669 VIETNAM (Southeast) - Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon

Following the French conquest of Cochinchina, the Roman Catholic Church established a community and religious services for French colonialists. Thus, in 1863, Admiral Bonard decided to build a wooden church on the bank of Charner canal (Kinh Lớn). The construction was completed two years later and was called Saigon Church. When the wooden church was damaged by termites, all church services were held in the guest-chamber of the French Governor's Palace.

July 26, 2016

2668 FRANCE - A farmer and his span of oxen

It seems that the cattle were first harnessed and put to work around 4000 BC, and the castration of bulls to turn them into oxen have happened at about the same time. A little later, the yoke was invented in Mesopotamia and two oxen could be bound firmly together to pull much heavier plows. Light work required just one pair of oxes, while for heavier work, further pairs were added as necessary. A team used for a heavy load over difficult ground might exceeded nine or ten pairs.

July 25, 2016

2667 SPAIN (Community of Madrid) - The monument to Cervantes in Madrid

As is well known, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616) is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the Spanish language and one of the world's pre-eminent novelists. He owes his fame to Don Quixote, considered to be the first modern novel, and one of the best works of fiction ever written. In Plaza de España (Spanish for Square of Spain), located in central Madrid, is a monument to Cervantes, designed by architects Rafael Martínez Zapatero and Pedro Muguruza and sculptor Lorenzo Coullaut Valera.

0652, 0653, 1120, 2666 ITALY (Tuscany) - Historic centre of Florence (UNESCO WHS)

0652 Images of Florence

Posted on 21.05.2013, 27.06.2014, 25.07.2016
Founded by Romans as a settlement for veteran soldiers and named Fluentia, because it was built between two rivers, then successively ruled by Ostrogoths, Byzantines, and Lombards, Florence was conquered by Charlemagne in 774, but it surpassed the status of minor settlement only around 1000 A.D., after Margrave Hugo chose it as residency. From the 14th century to the 16th century, it was, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica, one of the most important cities in Europe and the world, of political, economic and cultural point of view.

0653 Panorama of Florence (1)

Wealthy and brilliant, but with a turbulent history, furrowed by numerous religious and republican revolutions, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance. It was home for the famous Medici family and Savonarola, but also for Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Giotto, Boccaccio, Dante, Machiavelli, Galileo Galilei and many others. Because Historic Centre of Florence "attests in an exceptional manner, and by its unique coherence, to its power as a merchant-city of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance", in 1982 it became an UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the postcard 0652 can be seen:

2666 Panorama of Florence (2)

Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) - a Medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge over the Arno River, noted for still having shops built along it.
A general view of Historic Centre.
Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower), Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistry of St. John) and, in back, Campanile di Giotto (Giotto’s Campanile).
Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) - the principal Franciscan church in Florence, the burial place of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile and Rossini.

1120 The Baptistery of Saint John and Giotto’s Campanile

Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace) - the town hall of the city, built in the 13th century.
Basilica of Santa Maria Novella - the first great basilica in Florence, and the city's principal Dominican church. Especially famous are frescoes by masters of Gothic and early Renaissance.
San Miniato al Monte (St. Minias on the Mountain) and the Bishop's Palace - placed on one of the highest points in the city, it has been described as one of the finest Romanesque structures in Tuscany and one of the most beautiful churches in Italy.

2665 MONGOLIA - A lama boy

Buddhism in Mongolia derives much of its recent characteristics from Tibetan Buddhism (of the Gelug and Kagyu lineages), which combines elements of the Mahayana and the Tantric schools with traditional Tibetan rituals of curing and exorcism, sharing the common Buddhist goal of individual release from suffering and the cycles of rebirth. Westerners use for Tibetan Buddhism the term "lamaism" (literally, "doctrine of the lamas": lama jiao) to distinguish it from a then traditional Chinese form (fo jiao).

July 23, 2016

2663 UNITED KINGDOM (Anguilla) - Tucked-away Little Bay

Little Bay is one of Anguilla's most special and serene places, but you have to make an effort to reach its beach, surrounded by high cliffs. There are two ways to get to this most remote beach: climb down by rope, or boat over from Crocus Bay. Anyway, it worth the effort, because the scenery is fascinating. The sand on the beach a lighter contrast to the beautifully layered limestone with all shades of corals and grays, and then there is the glowing, brilliant blue of the sea.

July 22, 2016

1940, 2662 ROMANIA (Iaşi) - The Palace of Culture in Iaşi

1940 The Palace of Culture in Iaşi (1)

Posted on 05.10.2015, 22.07.2016
Recognized as an effigy of the city of Iaşi (the capital of the Principality of Moldavia from 1564 to 1859), the Palace of Culture hosts, since 1955, the Moldova National Museum Complex, consisting from four museums, as well as other cultural institutions, after previously served as Administrative Palace and then Palace of Justice. It was built between 1906 and 1925, partly on the old ruins of the mediaeval Royal Court of Moldavia (1434), and partly on top of the foundations of the former neoclassical style palace, dated to the time of Prince Alexandru Moruzi (1806), rebuilt by Prince Mihail Sturdza and dismantled in 1904.

2662 The Palace of Culture in Iaşi (2)

Designed in flamboyant neo-Gothic style by the Romanian architect Ion D. Berindey, the Palace has 298 large rooms, 92 windows in the front part of the building and another 36 inside the building. The wings of the building were withdrawn and decorated with statues of archers that stand sentry, and on the sides were built two entries in the form of vaulted towers. Entry into the palace is through a large dungeon tower, with battlements and alcoves dominated by an aquila with open wings.

2661 UNITED STATES (New York) - The map of Westchester County

Situated in the Hudson Valley, Westchester County was established in 1683, being named after the city of Chester, England. The county seat is the city of White Plains, located at 40km north of Midtown Manhattan. The county shares its southern boundary with New York City and its northern border with Putnam County. It is bordered on the west side by the Hudson River and on the east side by the Long Island Sound and Fairfield County, Connecticut.

2660 GERMANY (Hesse) - Frankfurt Airport

Located at 12km southwest of central Frankfurt, Frankfurt Airport is operated by Fraport and serves as the main hub for Lufthansa. It has a capacity of approximately 65 million passengers per year, being the busiest airport by passenger traffic in Germany as well as the 4th busiest in Europe. Frankfurt Airport has two large main passenger terminals (1 and 2) and a much smaller dedicated First Class Terminal which is operated and exclusively used by Lufthansa.

July 20, 2016

2659 DENMARK (Faroe Islands) - The Tórshavn Fire Brigade testing a new fire engine in 1962

The inhabitants of Tórshavn, the capital city of Faroe Islands, numbered 984 in 1880. Most of them were living in the "Reyn" quarter of the town where the houses were huddled together, prompting extreme caution when people were dealing with fire. There were no fire hydrants, water pipelines being non-existent. In case of fire a fire pump was hauled to wherever the fire had broken out. Water for the fire pump was retrieved from the sea or from rivers.

2658 DENMARK (Faroe Islands) - The Toftir Lighthouse

Eysturoy (Danish: Østerø) meaning "East Island" is the second-largest of the Faroe Islands, both in size and population, separated by a narrow sound from the main island of Streymoy. It is extremely rugged, with some 66 separate mountain peaks, including Slættaratindur, the highest peak in the archipelago. Toftir is a fishing port, part of a chain of villages stretching over a distance of 10km on the east side of Skálafjørður (fjord), near the southern end of the island.

2657 NORWAY (Oslo) - The Oseberg ship

Located at Bygdøy in Oslo, the Viking Ship Museum is part of the Museum of Cultural History of the University of Oslo, and houses archaeological finds from Tune, Gokstad (Sandefjord), Oseberg (Tønsberg) and the Borre mound cemetery. The main attractions at the Viking Ship Museum are the Oseberg ship, Gokstad ship and Tune ship. The Oseberg ship (Norwegian: Osebergskipet) was discovered in a large burial mound at the Oseberg farm near Tønsberg in Vestfold county.

2656 RUSSIA (Republic of Karelia / Arkhangelsk Oblast) - Vodlozersky National Park

Created in 1991 to protect coniferous forests (taiga) of the Northern Russia, Vodlozersky National Park has, since 2001, the status of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The park area includes Lake Vodlozero, the river basin of the Ileksa, the main inflow of the lake, and the upper course of the Vodla, the outflow. Swamps cover about 40% of the area of the park, but the northern part is hilly, with the hills up to 20m. Almost the whole area is covered by woods. Of these, 53.5% are spruce forests, 44.1% are pine forests, and about 2% are birch (Betula pubescens and Betula pendula) and aspen forests. 

July 19, 2016

2654 SOVEREIGN MILITARY ORDER OF MALTA - The coat of arms of the Order

2654 Coat of arms of the SMOM

The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta (Latin: Supremus Ordo Militaris Hospitalis Sancti Ioannis Hierosolymitani Rhodius et Melitensis), also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) or Order of Malta, is a Catholic religious order traditionally of military, chivalrous and noble nature. Founded as the Knights Hospitaller circa 1099 in Jerusalem by Gerard Thom, is the world's oldest surviving chivalric order, and probably the best known.

July 18, 2016

2653 UNITED STATES (California) - The Leap Frogs navy parachute team over Coronado

2653 The Leap Frogs navy parachute team freefalls from
12.000 feet and forms a star formation over the Coronado
Bay Bridge and the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.
The SEAL parachuting demonstration occurred on the Fourth of July.

The United States Navy Parachute Team, commonly known as the "Leap Frogs", consists of active-duty personnel drawn from parachute riggers, naval special warfare, including Navy SEALs, special warfare combatant-craft crewmen, and support personnel. The Leap Frogs are all volunteers. The team was officially commissioned as the U.S. Navy Parachute Team in 1974 by the Chief of Naval Operations and assigned the mission of demonstrating Navy excellence throughout the United States.