December 30, 2017

3229 ROMANIA - George I Rákóczi (1593-1648)

George I Rákóczi (8 June 1593, Szerencs - 11 October 1648) was Prince of Transylvania from 1630 until his death in 1648. He was the eldest son of Baron Sigismund Rákóczi and his second wife, Anna Gerendi. Sigismund, who was a successful military commander in Royal Hungary, was the first member of the Rákóczi family to rise to prominence. During the reign of George I Rákóczi, as during the reign of the princes Gabriel Bethlen or George II Rákóczi, the Principality of Transylvania, under Ottoman suzerainty, experienced an epoch of economic blossoming and political and cultural affirmation, reinforcing the central power.

0711, 3228 FRANCE (Grand Est) - Strasbourg, Grande-Île and Neustadt (UNESCO WHS)

0711 Strasbourg - Little France; The covered bridges; Boating on the Ill 

Posted on 30.06.2013, 30.12.2017
Located on the Ill River, close to the border with Germany, actually historically German-speaking, as the entire Alsace, Strasbourg was built on the site of an ancient Celtic settlement (Argentorate), where Romans established a military outpost (Argentoratum). The town was occupied successively by Alemanni, Huns and Franks, and in the 9th century it was already known as Strazburg (the town at the crossing of roads). As major commercial centre, it came under control of the Holy Roman Empire in 923, in 1262 became an Imperial Free City, in 1681 was annexed by France, in 1871 by the German Empire, and after WWI reverted back of France.

3228 Strasbourg - Little France

Strasbourg's historic city centre, the Grande Île (Grand Island), surrounded by two arms of the River Ill, was designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988, the first time such an honour was placed on an entire city centre. The cathedral, the four ancient churches and the Palais Rohan - former residence of the prince-bishops - form a district that is characteristic of a medieval town and illustrates town's evolution between 15th and 18th centuries, being simultaneously the eastward vector of the Gothic art movement.

3227 MOLDOVA (Chişinău) - National Theater "Mihai Eminescu" in Chişinău


The National Theater in Chişinău, the first stable theater of Romanian expression in Bessarabia, began its history on October 10, 1920, on the initiative of a group of leaders of local public life. Oficial inaugurated on October 6, 1921, with the play Răsvan şi Vidra by Bogdan-Petriceicu Hasdeu, it suspended its activity in 1935, "for financial reasons." Although it didn't enjoy a long life, its existence was of enormous importance for culture of Bessarabia.

December 29, 2017

1111, 1901, 2063, 2945, 3216, 3226 ROMANIA - The map and the flag of the country

1111 The map and flag of Romania

Posted on 23.06.2014, 18.09.2015, 22.11.2015, 11.02.2017, 12.11.2017, 29.12.2017
Located on the Lower Danube, at the north of the Balkan Peninsula (in which it is often framed, because of the historical and cultural similarities), on the western shore of the Black Sea, between Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia and Ukraine, and having a border (which wouldn't have to exist) with Moldova, Romania forms a complex geographic unit centred on the Transylvanian Basin, around which the peaks of the Carpathian Mountains form a crescents. Beyond this zone, the plains of the south and east of the country, their potential increased by the Danube River and its tributaries, form a fertile outer crescent extending to the frontiers.

2063 The flag of Romania

Romania comprises a number of geographic regions, corresponding, completely or partially, to the historic regions whose names they share: Wallachia (consisting of Muntenia and Oltenia), Moldavia (only western Moldavia - the Hertza region is today in Ukraine, and eastern Moldavia, or Bessarabia, is divided between Moldova and Ukraine), Bukovina (only southern Bucovina - the north is today in Ukraine), Dobruja (only the north - the south of Dobruja, or Cadrilater, is today in Bulgaria), Transylvania, Banat (shared with Serbia and Hungary), Crişana (shared with Hungary), and Maramureş (only the south - the northern part is currently in Ukraine).

1901 Greetings from Romania (unofficial)

In Romania were discovered the Europe's oldest known remains they may have been among the first modern humans to have entered the continent (42,000-year-old, in the Cave With Bones). The Neolithic-Age Cucuteni area was the western region of the earliest European civilization, known as the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture. The earliest written evidence of people living in the territory of present-day Romania, the Getae, comes from Herodotus (c. 440 BC). Territories located north of the Danube were inhabited by Dacians, considered to have belonged to the Getae tribes, a branch of Thracians.

2945 Coat of arms of all county seats in Romania

After two devastating wars (101-102 and 105-106 AD), the Emperor Trajan annexed the southwestern parts of Dacia to the Roman Empire. During the 3rd century AD, with the invasions of migratory populations, the Roman Empire was forced to pull out of Dacia around 271 AD, the territory being invaded successively by Goths, Huns, Slavs, Gepids, Avars, Bulgars, Pechenegs, and Cumans. In the Middle Ages, Romanians, mostly known as Vlachs, lived in three distinct principalities: Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania. By the 11th century, Transylvania had become an autonomous part of the Kingdom of Hungary, and from the 16th century until 1711 was independent.

3226 The flag of the Kingdom of Romania,
with the greater coat of arms (1922-1947)

In 16th century, after the Balkan peninsula and Hungary had become Ottoman provinces, Moldavia, Wallachia, and Transylvania entered under Ottoman suzerainty, preserving partial or full internal autonomy. In 1699, Transylvania became a territory of the Habsburgs' Austrian empire, and in 1775 the Habsburgs include in their empire the northwestern part of Moldavia, later called Bukovina. The eastern half of the Moldavia (Bessarabia) was occupied in 1812 by Russia. In 1859 Moldavia and Wallachia united under the name United Principalities.

3216 The greater coat of arms of the
Kingdom of Romania (1922-1947)

In 1866 Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen became Prince of the Romanian Principate, and in 1881 he was crowned as King Carol I. Independence from the Ottoman Empire was declared in 1877. At the end of WWI, Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia united with the Kingdom of Romania, but in 1940 it lost most of the territory gained, only some of which being later recovered. Occupied by Red Army at the end of 1944, Romania forcibly became a People's Republic (1947-1965), then Socialist Republic of Romania (1965-1989). The dictatorship of Nicolae Ceauşescu was toppled in December 1989, and Romania joined NATO in 2004, and the European Union in 2007.

December 24, 2017

0059, 3225 UNITED KINGDOM (Scotland) - Edinburgh Castle - part of Old and New Towns of Edinburgh (UNESCO WHS)

0059 Edinburgh Castle during the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Posted on 03.12.2017, 24.12.2017
Edinburgh Castle, which dominates the skyline of the city from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock, is a recognisable symbol of Edinburgh and of Scotland. There has been a royal castle here since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until the Union of the Crowns in 1603. It was involved in many historical conflicts, from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century, up to the Jacobite Rising of 1745.

3225 View of the Edinburgh Castle
from West Princes Street,
with Princes Street Gardens and
Ross Fountain in foreground

During the Lang Siege (1571–1573) the medieval fortifications were largely destroyed by artillery bombardment. The last monarch who sleeping in the castle was Charles I, on the night before his coronation as King of Scotland (1633). In nowaday the castle houses the Scottish National War Memorial and the National War Museum of Scotland and it's the backdrop to the annual Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, performed by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International military bands.

3224 BELGIUM - Belgian Royal Family

From the left to the right: Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte  of Luxembourg; Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg; Queen Fabiola  of Belgium; King Baudouin of Belgium; Princess Paola and  Prince Albert dancing polonaise (cca 1984)
3224 From the left to the right: Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte
of Luxembourg; Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg; Queen Fabiola
of Belgium; King Baudouin of Belgium; Princess Paola and
Prince Albert dancing polonaise (cca 1984)

When Belgium became independent in 1830 the National Congress chose a constitutional monarchy as the form of government, and on 21 July 1831 Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was designated as King of the Belgians under the name Leopold I (r. 1831-1865). Next followed Leopold II (r. 1865-1909), Albert I (r. 1909-1934), Leopold III (r. 1934-1951), Baudouin I (r. 1951-1993), and Albert II (r. 1993-2013),  since 2013 being king Philippe I. Now (2017), the heir apparent to the Belgian throne is Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant (born 25 October 2001), the eldest child of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde.

December 22, 2017

3223 HUNGARY (Budapest) - Buda Castle - part of Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue (UNESCO WHS)

Located on the south tip of Castle Hill, Buda Castle is the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings. It was first completed in 1265, during the reign of King Béla IV of Hungary, but the massive Baroque palace today occupying most of the site was built between 1749 and 1769. The oldest part of the present-day palace was built in the 14th century by Stephen, Duke of Slavonia, who was the younger brother of King Louis I of Hungary. King Sigismund significantly enlarged the palace and strengthened its fortifications.

3222 MALAYSIA (Kuala Lumpur) - Planetarium Negara

Planetarium Negara is the National Planetarium of Malaysia, a blue-domed structure situated on top of a hill in the Lake Gardens at Jalan Perdana, Kuala Lumpur. The construction of the complex began in 1990 and was officially opened in 1994. Today, this planetarium is managed by the Malaysian National Space Agency (ANGKASA). One of the major attractions of this planetarium includes a space theatre which screens space shows and large format film. In the main hall are permanent exhibits related to space science. A 14-inch (360 mm) telescope is located in the observatory.


As a sign of deep respect for the last King of Romania, Romfilatelia put into circulation the postage stamp In memoriam, King Michael I (1921-2017), on December 13, 2017, with a face value of 8 lei, illustrating the King's portrait and monogram. On the cover is not only the stamp, designed by Mihail Vămăşescu, but also the first day postmark. Michael I (25 October 1921 - 5 December 2017) reigned from 20 July 1927 to 8 June 1930 and again from 6 September 1940 until his forced abdication on 30 December 1947.

 Between 1947 and 1989 King Michael I was a powerful voice of the Romanian exile, and he never ceased to encourage his people, keeping alive the hope that one day Romania would be free from communism. A tragic figure of Romanian history, he was a king loved and profoundly respected by his people, an example and a standard of morality and dignity, and also a symbol of hope. Michael I was buried on 16 December 2017 with full state honours at Curtea de Argeş, beside his wife Queen Anne who died in 2016.

In memoriam, King Michael I (1921-2017) - first day postmark

In memoriam H.M. King Michael of Romania (25 October 1921 - 5 December 2017), Pious Homage  - postmark made by Post Office 63 Bucharest, postal code 014880, 16 December 2017 (the day of the king's burial). On the postmark is the royal cypher of King Michael I. This postmark can be seen on the postcard 3226.

December 21, 2017

3221 UNITED STATES (New York) - Wall Street

3221 New York City - Wall Street - New York Stock Exchange
and the statue of George Washington

Anchored by Wall Street, New York City has been called both the most economically powerful city and the leading financial center of the world, being home to the world's two largest stock exchanges by total market capitalization, the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. Wall Street, originally named by the Dutch founders de Waalstraat, is an eight-block-long street running roughly northwest to southeast from Broadway to South Street, at the East River, in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan.

December 20, 2017

3220 CHRISTMAS (United Kingdom) - Christmas tree

Royal Mail issued Christmas stamps for the first time in 1966, when it ran a competition on BBC's Blue Peter to select the design. Since then, the british postal service do so every year, and in 2016 were used traditional festive images including a snowman, a robin, a lantern, a Christmas tree, a pudding and a stocking. The six stamps issued on November 8, 2016, were crafted by Manchester-based artist Helen Musselwhite, using paper cut-outs, which were then photographed by Jonathan Beer. On this occasion, Royal Mail also issued postcards depicting this stamps.

December 19, 2017

0614, 2308, 2357, 3219 AUSTRIA (Salzburg) - Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg (UNESCO WHS)

Salzburg - View to the Old Town from Mönchsberg (507m)
3219 Salzburg - View to the Old Town from Mönchsberg (507m)

As many other cities from Central Europe, Salzburg (Salt Fortress), located on the banks of the Salzach River, at the northern boundary of the Alps, was founded as a Celtic settlement, later developed by the Romans, under the name Juvavum. By the late 7th century it had become a "near ruin", but it began to rebirth in the 8th-century primarily due to trade on the river. Independence from Bavaria was secured in the late 14th century and lasted five centuries, till in the 19th century, when the city was annexed by the Austrian Empire (later Austria-Hungary).

Salzburg - The Old Town with the fortress
2308 Salzburg - The Old Town with the fortress

Anyway, Salzburg has emerged intact from history, a Baroque town which owes much of its appearance to the architects Vincenzo Scamozzi and Santino Solari. Being considered the point where the Italian and German cultures met, influencing each other,  the Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg become an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Salzburg’s most famous son was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose name is closely associated with the city. The Salzburg Festival is a prominent festival of music and drama established in 1920, which takes place each summer.

0614 Salzburg: 1. Friedhof zu St. Peter (St. Peter's Cemetery);  2. Hofstallgasse (Hofstall Alley); 3. Mozartplatz (Mozart Square);  4. Residenzbrunnen; 5. Pferdeschwemme (Horse Well);  6. Getreidegasse (Grain Lane); 7. Mozarts Geburtshaus  (Mozart's Birthplace); 8. Makartsteg (Makart Bridge);  9. Mirabellgarten (Mirabel Gardens); 10. Dom (Cathedral).
0614 Salzburg: 1. Friedhof zu St. Peter (St. Peter's Cemetery);
2. Hofstallgasse (Hofstall Alley); 3. Mozartplatz (Mozart Square);
4. Residenzbrunnen; 5. Pferdeschwemme (Horse Well);
6. Getreidegasse (Grain Lane); 7. Mozarts Geburtshaus
(Mozart's Birthplace); 8. Makartsteg (Makart Bridge);
9. Mirabellgarten (Mirabel Gardens); 10. Dom (Cathedral).

Friedhof zu St. Peter (St. Peter's Cemetery) - the oldest cemetery in the city. Its origins date back to about 700, when was established St. Peter's Abbey, and was closed down in 1878. Into the rock of the Festungsberg were carved catacombs, that may date from the Early Christian days. Hofstallgasse (Hofstall Alley) - a street in Old Town, in the festival area, which connects the Max Reinhardt Square with the Herbert von Karajan Platz. Since the Mozart year 2006, it has a "golden" pavement. Mozartplatz (Mozart Square) - a square placed in the heart of the Old Town, known for the Mozart memorial by Ludwig Schwanthaler, opened in 1842.

2357 Salzburg - Mozart's birthplace

Residenzbrunnen - a grand baroque fountain, placed in the midle of the Residenzplatz (Residenz Square) and executed by Tomasso di Garona between 1656 to 1661. It's made of marble, and it's considered the largest baroque fountain of Middle Europe. Pferdeschwemme (Horse Well) - a well designed and built in 1693 by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach in the course of building the facade for the royal stables. The "Horse Tamer" by Michael Bernhard Mandl once stood in an oval basin axial to the portal of the royal stables. Getreidegasse (Grain Lane) - a busy shopping street in Old Town. The house at no. 9 is the place where Mozart was born and where he lived until the age of 17.

December 17, 2017

3218 INDONESIA (New Guinea) - Morning Star flag

In 1949, the Netherlands recognised Indonesian sovereignty over the Dutch East Indies with the exception of Dutch New Guinea, because Western New Guinea is geographically very different to Indonesia and the people also very ethnically different. A national parliament was elected in 1961 and the Morning Star flag raised on 1 December, with independence planned in 9 years time. In 1962, the Dutch handed over the territory to the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority, until 1963, when Indonesia took control.

December 14, 2017

1406, 3217 ROMANIA (Maramureş) - Vaser Valley Mocăniţa

1406 CFF Vişeu de Sus - Locomotive 764.421 Elveţia (Switzerland),
in Valea Scradei, on July 15, 2008.

Posted on 11.01.2015, 14.12.2017
A mocăniţă is a narrow gauge railway in Romania (most notably in mountainous areas in  Maramureş, Transylvania, and Bukovina), and the locomotives operating on them. The word is a term of endearment, derived from mocan (meaning shepherd or one who lives in the mountains), and suffixed as feminine and diminutive. Many of these forestry railways were built in the era of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, especially in the Carpathians. They followed the rivers, often necessitating tight curves, and the tracks were constructed so as to enable small locomotives to pull empty logging wagons up into the mountains and to let heavily loaded trains roll down under gravity to the saw mills.

3217 CFF Vişeu de Sus - Locomotive 764.435 Bavaria

The most well-known mocăniţă runs in the Vaser Valley in Maramureş County, in the far north of Romania, close to the border with Ukraine. CFF Vişeu de Sus (CFF is the abbreviation for Căile Ferate Forestiere, meaning Forestry Railway) is the last remaining forestry railway in Europe. The industrial use of timber in the Vaser Valley began in the 18th century, during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. German-speaking settlers explored the forest, harvested the timber, and transported it in log rafts down the river to the saw mills of Vişeu de Sus.