September 30, 2017

3157 VIETNAM (South Central Coast) - A friendly smile from Hội An

In almost the entire 20th century, Vietnam was the scene of military conflicts, not seldom atrocious. The more precious is the gentle and warm smile of this old woman from Hội An, who bears on the head the traditional nón lá.

September 25, 2017

3156 PHILIPPINES (National Capital Region) - Feast of the Black Nazarene

The Black Nazarene is a life-sized image of a dark-skinned, kneeling Jesus Christ carrying the Cross enshrined in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in the Quiapo district of the City of Manila. It was carved by a unknown Mexican from a dark wood in the 16th century, and arrived in Manila via galleon from Acapulco, on May 31, 1606. It depicts Jesus en route to his crucifixion, and was housed in several churches near Manila in the early decades, arriving in Quiapo Church in 1787 where it has been enshrined ever since.

3155 ROMANIA (Bucharest) - The 5th Meetup of the group Postcrossing & Philately, Bucharest, 16 September 2017

The 5th meeting of this group of collectors passionate by postcrossing and philately alike had in teh program a visit to a less common place: the Bellu Cemetery in Bucharest. Officialy named Şerban Vodă cemetery (because it is located on the Şerban Vodă Avenue) is the largest and most famous cemetery in Bucharest, and an authentic cultural attractions, especially because of the many notable Romanian personalities in all fields who have found eternal rest here.

September 22, 2017

3154 MEXICO (Guanajuato) - San Miguel de Allende - part of Protective town of San Miguel and the Sanctuary of Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco (UNESCO WHS)

The city of San Miguel de Allende sits at a high elevation (1910m) on the Central Mexican Plateau, which is a large arid-to-semi-arid plateau that occupies much of northern and central Mexico. A series of low mountains, the Sierra Central, surround San Miguel and are part of the Sierra Madre Occidental. The entire city is located within the national Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. Before the arrival of the Spanish in the early 16th century, San Miguel was an indigenous Chichimeca village called Izcuinapan.

September 18, 2017

3153 POLAND (Podlaskie) / BELARUS (Grodno / Brest) - Białowieża Forest (UNESCO WHS)

The Białowieża Forest World Heritage site, on the border between Poland and Belarus, is one of the last and largest remaining parts of the immense primeval forest that once stretched across the European Plain. Situated on the watershed of the Baltic Sea and Black Sea, this transboundary property is exceptional for the opportunities it offers for biodiversity conservation. It is home to the largest population of the heaviest land animal of the continent, the European bison (Bison bonasus) (almost 25% of the total world's population).

September 17, 2017

3152 VIETNAM (Red River Delta) - Millennial Anniversary of Hanoi

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city by population (7.7 million people in 2015). In 1010, Lý Thái Tổ, the first ruler of the Lý Dynasty, moved the capital of Đại Việt (literally Great Viet) to the site of the Đại La Citadel. Claiming to have seen a dragon ascending the Red River, he renamed the site Thăng Long (Soaring Dragon) - a name still used poetically to this day. This is considered the birth date of Hanoi. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam.

September 16, 2017

3151 FRANCE (Saint Barthélemy) - Islets at sunset

Around the Saint Barthélemy island are several small satellite islets, generally rocky, uninhabited. Some of them are part of a marine nature reserve that covers 1.200 ha, and is divided into 5 zones all around the island to form a network of protected areas, established with the objective of conserving coral reefs, sea grass beds and marine life.

3150 MYANMAR (Mon State) - Kyaiktiyo Pagoda

Also known as Golden Rock, Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is a well-known Buddhist pilgrimage located in the northern part of the Tenasserim coast, at an elevation of 1,100 m above mean sea level, on top of the Kyaiktiyo hill, on the Paung-laung ridge of the Eastern Yoma mountains. It is a small pagoda (7.3m) built on the top of a granite boulder covered with gold leaves pasted on by its male devotees. Presently, women are not allowed into the inner sanctuary of the rocks vicinity, but are permitted in the outer balcony and the lower courtyard of the rock.

0433-0436, 1597, 3149 ITALY (Lombardy) - Milan

1597 Milan: 1. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II;
2.  Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral); 3. Teatro alla Scala; 4. Sforza Castle

Posted on 27.12.2012, 21.05.2015, 16.09.2017
Strategically placed at the gateway to the Italian peninsula, in the fertile Po Valley, Milan and the surrounding region of Lombardy have been the subject of constant disputes over the centuries. Celts, Romans, Goths, Lombards, Spaniards, French and Austrians have all ruled the city at some stage of its history and for the most part, the city has capitalised on its position and has emerged today as the undisputed industrial, commercial, financial and cultural powerhouse of Italy, and a leading global city, part of the so-called Blue Banana.

3149 Milan: 1.  Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral); 2. Teatro alla Scala;
3. Sforza Castle; 4. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II; 

The city is a major world fashion and design capital, and its museums, theatres and landmarks attracts over 6 million annual visitors. Because Milan has always been a rich city, it has been also a place full of famous artists and offers a particular assortment of buildings and monuments. There was a change of culture and art in the Renaissance with big a contribution in the period of the Neoclassicism.

0433 Milan - Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square)

The most important church is the Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral), dedicated to Saint Mary Nascent, the third largest church in the world. It occupies the most central site in Roman Mediolanum. Saint Ambrose's 'New Basilica' was built on this site at the beginning of the 5th century, with an adjoining basilica added in 836. The old baptistery, constructed in 335, still can be visited under the cathedral, being one of the oldest Christian buildings in Europe. When a fire damaged cathedral and basilica in 1075, they were later rebuilt as the Duomo.

0434 Milan - Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral)

In 1386, Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo began construction of the cathedral, following the newest trends in European architecture. A French chief engineer, Nicolas de Bonaventure, was appointed, adding to the church its Rayonnant Gothic, a French style not typical for Italy, and in 1399 another French architect, Jean Mignot, was called from Paris. Many others have contributed to the construction, because the cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete, the last gate being inaugurated in 1965. The plan consists of a nave with four side-aisles, crossed by a transept and then followed by choir and apse. The height of the nave is about 45m, the highest Gothic vaults of a complete church. The roof of the cathedral is renowned for the forest of openwork pinnacles and spires, set upon delicate flying buttresses.

0435 Milan - Aerial view of Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square)

The Duomo is located, of course, in Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square), the main piazza (square) of the city, created in the 14th century and gradually developed ever since. Its current plan is largely due to architect Giuseppe Mengoni, and dates back to the second half of the 19th century. The buildings that mark its sides, with the exception of the Duomo itself and the Royal Palace, were introduced by Mengoni's design, the most notable addition being the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II arcade. In the centre of the piazza was placed in 1896 the statue of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of the united Italy. The last major change to the piazza occurred during the Fascist era.

0436 Milan - Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is the oldest shopping mall in Italy, originally designed in 1861 and built by the same Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877. The structure is formed by two glass-vaulted arcades intersecting in an octagon covering the street connecting Piazza del Duomo to Piazza della Scala, more accurate The Duomo and the Teatro Alla Scala. The central octagonal space is topped with a glass dome. On the ground of the central octagonal, there are four mosaics portraying the coat of arms of the three Capitals of the Kingdom of Italy (Turin, Florence and Rome) plus the Milan's. The Galleria is often nicknamed il salotto di Milano (Milan's drawing room), due to its numerous shops and importance as a common Milanese meeting and dining place.

September 12, 2017

3148 MEXICO (Yucatán) - The Ribbon Dance in Chichen Itza

3148 The Ribbon Dance in Chichen Itza,
during the celebration of the March equinox

The Ribbon Dance (El Baile de las Cintas) is portrayed in every website, guidebook, or history book about Yucatán; the image of men and women in colorful dress, dancing in a circle around a pole, each participant holding on to a brightly colored ribbon, is iconic. The dance has its roots in Bavaria, where in the 14th century was named Maiphahl (maypole). Danced also in England and the Low Countries, it reached Spain during the reign of Charles V, as the Danza del Cordón (Rope Dance).

September 11, 2017

3147 ROMANIA (Harghita) - The virgin forest from Tinovul Luci Nature Reserve

Virgin forest is a natural woodland where tree and shrub species are present in various stages of their life cycle and as dead wood in various stages of decay, with a more or less complex vertical and horizontal structures. In virgin forests the dynamics inherent to living systems are connected to ecological properties of the dominant tree species, impact of other organisms and to the impact of abiotic factors related to the substrate, climate and to the complex of topography and water table.

September 10, 2017

3146 POLAND (Pomerania) - Hel Lighthouse

Situated at the eastern tip of the Hel peninsula, Hel Lighthouse guides ship traffic into Gdańsk Bay and the Bay of Puck. It has its origins in the 16th century when a fire was lit on the church tower at a height of 35m to guide ships. The structure burned down. In 1638 locals asked Gdańsk authorities to build a lighthouse on the peninsula. After deliberation, a wooden structure was erected circa 1640, with a range of about 6 miles. In 1667 it burned down, too. The construction of the first brick lighthouse (which was 41.7m high) started in 1806, but due to civil wars the effort dragged on until 1826.

September 7, 2017

3145 SINGAPORE (Central Region) - Van Kleef Aquarium


Van Kleef Aquarium was an oceanarium located in Fort Canning Park facing River Valley Road, opened in 1955 and demolished in 1998. It was named after Karl Willem Benjamin Van Kleef, a Dutch residend in Singapore in the 19th and early 20th century, who donated his fortune to the Singaporean government to build the aquarium after his death. When the aquarium opened it contained 6,500 marine creatures of 180 different species.

September 5, 2017

3143 GERMANY (Bavaria) - The chapel of Virgin Mary in Sankt Englmar

Built in 1979 with the help of some sponsors, but also of the volunteers, this tiny and secluded chapel, located in Maibrunn district of Sankt Englmar, was dedicated to the Mother of God. It serves both locals as well as guests, and forest trek path visitors, as a place of retreat.

September 3, 2017

3142 MALAYSIA (Johor) - Sultan Ismail Building in Johor Bahru

Located in Kota Iskandar, Iskandar Puteri, Johor Bahru District, in the Malayan state of Johor, Sultan Ismail Building is the meeting places for the Johor State Legislative Assembly. The architecture is a distinctive blend of Moorish-Andalusian and Johor-Malay design. There are two distinctive skylights: one shaped like a diamond and another like a pineapple, a symbol of Johor's economic prosperity. Integrated within the Hall are symbolisms of Johor's past and bright future, such as black pepper motifs. There are also many lush gardens, such as the Musk Lime Garden and Potpourri Garden.

September 2, 2017

3141 FINLAND (Uusimaa) - Kiasma

Kiasma is a contemporary art museum located on Mannerheimintie in Helsinki and opened to the public in 1998. The museum exhibits the contemporary art collection of the Finnish National Gallery founded in 1990, its central goal being to make contemporary art better known and strengthen its status. The building itself, a major architectural landmark of Helsinki, was designed by American architect Steven Holl. Kiasma is Finnish for chiasma, a term that describes the crossing of nerves or tendons or the intertwining of two chromatids, the thread-like strands of a chromosome.