February 19, 2017

2956 ROMANIA (Braşov) - Bran

Bran (Törzburg in German) is a commune composed of five villages (Bran, Poarta, Predeluţ, Şimon and Sohodol), located between Bucegi and Piatra Craiului mountains, in Rucăr-Bran Pass. The medieval Bran Castle, which was once besieged by Vlad the Impaler, is a popular tourist destination, partly because it resembles the home of Dracula in Bram Stoker's famous novel.The legends mention an old man named Bran, master over these lands, who bequeathed them to his 14 sons. In this way were founded the 14 villages which make up the Bran area, grouped today in three communes: Bran, Moeciu and Fundata.

2955 GERMANY (Hamburg) - Reeperbahn in Hamburg

The Reeperbahn (which means ropewalk) is a street and entertainment district in Hamburg's St. Pauli district, one of the two centres of Hamburg's nightlife (with Schanze) and also the city's major red-light district. In German it is also called die sündigste Meile (the most sinful mile) and nicknamed Kiez. The street is lined with restaurants, night clubs, discotheques and bars, but also strip clubs, sex shops, brothels, a sex museum and similar businesses, including the Operettenhaus. Because of the problems with prostitution and the high crime rate, in 2007 the Senate of Hamburg enacted a ban on weapons in the Reeperbahn area.

February 18, 2017

2954 ALGERIA - National Carpet Festival in Ghardaïa

Located in the Sahara Desert, Ghardaïa is part of a pentapolis, a hilltop city amongst four others, built almost a thousand years ago in the M'zab Valley (Wadi Mzab) by the Mozabites (At Mzab), a branch of a large Berber tribe, the Iznaten, which lived in large areas of middle southern Algeria. After the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb, the Mozabites became Muslims of the Mu'tazili school. After the fall of the Rostemid state, the Rostemid royal family with some of their citizens chose the M'zab Valley as their refuge. Besides, the valley was inscribed under the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1982.

February 17, 2017

2953 FRANCE (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) - Tamié Abbey

Situated in the Savoie region, on the eastern slopes of the Bauges mountain massif, at an altitude of 900 meters, the Cistercian abbey of Notre-Dame de Tamié is witness to a long history. Tamié Abbey was founded in 1132 by Saint Peter of Tarentaise, a monk from Bonnevaux Abbey, who was later to become the archbishop of Moûtiers. After a successful start in the golden age of the 12th Century, the abbey was adversely affected by prosperity, which led the monks away from the austere lifestyle on which the order was based.

February 15, 2017

2952 ROMANIA (Braşov) - Moieciu

Situated between Bucegi and Piatra Craiului mountains, in Rucăr-Bran Pass, at an altitude between 800 and 1200 m, Moieciu is one of the three commune that make up the Bran area. The Rucăr-Bran Pass is one of the oldest communication routes on Romanian territory, known even before the occupation of Dacia by the Romans in 106 AD. In the Middle Ages was the main link road between Wallachia and Transylvania, through the Carpathian Mountains.

February 14, 2017

0686, 2951 MYANMAR (Mandalay Region) - Bagan Archaeological Area and Monuments (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

0686 Bagan Archaeological Area and Monuments

Posted on 19.06.2013, 14.02.2017
Capital of the Kingdom of Pagan (the first kingdom which unified the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar) from the 9th to 13th centuries, Bagan is considered by many as equal in attraction to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. During the kingdom's height, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed here, of which the remains of over 2500 still survive to the present day. Several of these monuments are still higly venerated by the population, and attract numerous pilgrims and devotees from all over the country, particularly at festival times, but also many tourists.

2951 Ananda Temple in Bagan

The Bagan temples falls into one of two broad categories: the stupa-style solid temples and the gu-style hollow temples. The original Indic design of the stupas (zeidi or zedi in Burmese) was gradually modified first in Pyu city states, and then in Bagan, where they developed a longer, cylindrical form, become the prototypes for later Burmese stupas in terms of symbolism, form and design, building techniques and even materials. In contrast to the stupas, the hollow gu-style temple is a structure used for meditation, devotional worship of the Buddha and other Buddhist rituals.

February 13, 2017

2839, 2950 ROMANIA (Maramureş) - Moroşeni in tradiţional clothes

2839 Moroşeni from Şugatag village
in traditional clothes

Posted on 25.10.2016, 13.02.2017
Maramureş is a geographical, historical and ethno-cultural region situated along the upper Tisza River, and partitioned between Romania and Sub-Carpathian Ukraine after the WWII. With its picturesque countryside of small villages, rolling hills, pastures, and meadows full of wildflowers, Maramureş epitomizes all that the rural lifestyle encompasses. It is a small and unique location in the geographical heartland of Europe that has carefully and distinctively preserved the culture, traditions and lifestyle of a mediaeval (or even older) peasant past.

2950 Little girl from Maramureş

Little has changed in the centuries gone by. Families remain in the same villages as their ancestors. Traditional skills and crafts are passed down from generation to generation. Traditional hand-woven clothing continues to be practical. The church continues to be the soul of the village. Neighbours know one another and continue to lend a helping hand. The mystery of rural traditions unfolds before the visitor as a living museum that is at once within reach yet simultaneously beyond the grasp of the traveller.

February 12, 2017

2949 FRANCE (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) - Yvoire

Since ancient times, the upper valley of the Rhône and Lake Geneva (Lake Leman, in french) have formed a route through the Alps between Italy and France; the lake itself, with its varying winds, facilitates the transport of goods which are carried on lateen-rigged boats. Located at the tip of the Leman peninsula, Yvoire delimits the two main parts of the lake, the "petit lac" and the "grand lac". Its strategic position, didn't escape the notice of Count Amédée V the Great, who under took important fortifications from 1306, during the war between the Dauphiné and Savoy.

2948 GERMANY (North Rhine-Westphalia) - Dortmund

Dortmund is an independent city in North Rhine-Westphalia, located in the middle part of the state, and is considered to be the administrative, commercial and cultural centre of the eastern Ruhr Area. Nearly half the municipal territory consists of waterways, woodland, agriculture and green spaces with spacious parks. This stands in a stark contrast with nearly a hundred years of extensive coal mining and steel milling within the city limits. The near-complete destruction of Dortmund's city centre during World War II (98%) has resulted in a varied architectural landscape.

February 11, 2017

2947 RUSSIA (Moscow) - The Palace of Kuskovo

Kuskovo was the summer country house and estate of the Sheremetev family, one of the wealthiest and most influential noble families of Russia. Built in the mid-18th century, it was originally situated several miles to the east of Moscow but now is part of the East District of the city. It was one of the first great summer country estates of the Russian nobility, and one of the few near Moscow still preserved. Today the estate is the home of the Russian State Museum of Ceramics, and the park is a favourite place of recreation for Muscovites.

2946 GERMANY (Baden-Württemberg) - Heidelberg Castle

A former residence of the Electorate of the Palatinate, and home to one of the most reputable universities in Europe, Heidelberg is also a popular tourist destination due to its romantic cityscape, including Heidelberg Castle, the Philosophers' Walk, and the baroque style Old Town. Even if the Heidelberg Castle has only been partially rebuilt since its demolition in the 17th and 18th centuries, its ruins are among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. It is located 80m up the northern part of the Königstuhl hillside, and thereby dominates the view of the old downtown.

1111, 1901, 2063, 2945 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
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.

1019, 1135, 2944 UNITED STATES (New York) - New York map and flag

1019 New York map (1)

Posted on 02.03.2014, 09.07.2014, 10.02.2017
Bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south and by Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont to the east, New York State has a maritime border with Rhode Island, as well as an international border with Canada. It is a center for finance and culture, and also the largest gateway for immigration to the United States. Over 100 million Americans can trace their ancestry to the immigrants who first arrived in America through Castle Clinton and Ellis Island. New York City, with a population of over 8.3 million in 2012, is the most populous city in the U.S.A., making up over 40% of the population of the state.

1135 New York map (2)

Both the state and city were named for the 17th century Duke of York, future King James II of England. Its capital city is Albany, officially chartered as a city in 1686 and located on the west bank of the Hudson River, about 16km south of its confluence with the Mohawk River. New York was inhabited by various tribes of Algonquian and Iroquoian at the time when Dutch settlers moved into the region in the early 17th century. In 1609, the region was first claimed by Henry Hudson for the Dutch, and Fort Nassau was built near the site of the present-day capital of Albany in 1614.

2944 New York flag

The Dutch soon also settled New Amsterdam and parts of the Hudson River Valley, establishing the colony of New Netherland. The English captured the colony during the Second Anglo-Dutch War and governed it as the Province of New York, of which borders were similar to those of the present-day state. About one third of all the battles of the Revolutionary War took place in New York, which became the 11th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. In contrast with New York City's urban atmosphere, the vast majority of the state's geographic area is dominated by farms, forests, rivers, mountains, and lakes.

February 10, 2017

2943 FRANCE (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) - A tower mill in Provence

A tower mill is a type of vertical windmill consisting of a brick or stone tower, on which sits a wooden "cap" or roof, which can rotate to bring the sails into the wind. This rotating cap on a firm masonry base gave tower mills great advantages over earlier post mills, as they could stand much higher, bear larger sails, and thus afford greater reach into the wind. The advantage of the tower mill over the earlier post mill is that it is not necessary to turn the whole mill with all its machinery into the wind; this allows more space for the machinery as well as for storage.

2942 UNITED STATES (Alaska) - "Try Again" wreck boat in Homer

Located on the shore of Kachemak Bay on the southwest side of the Kenai Peninsula, and long known as The "Halibut Fishing Capital of the World", Homer is a little city with 2,235 households, where live 1,296 families (2010). In the picture is the wreck of the boat "Try Again", surprised in 1980's.

February 4, 2017

2941 NETHERLANDS (Netherlands / Gelderland) - Martinus Nijhoffbrug Bridge

Located in the heart of the Netherlands, in Zaltbommel, Martinus Nijhoffbrug Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge with semi-fan system which crosses Waal River, the main distributary branch of river Rhine flowing through the country. Built between 1993 and 1996 next to Dr. W. Hupkes Bridge (1869), this road bridge has a total length of 1 000m, and its main span has 256m. It was named after Martinus Nijhoff (1894-1953), a Dutch poet and essayist. One of his best-known works is the sonnet De Moeder de Vrouw (The Mother the Woman/Wife), commemorating the opening of the now demolished bridge, the predecessor of the today one.

2940 JAPAN (Kantō) - Mitsutouge Mountain

The group of Kaiun Mountain (1785m), Osutaka Mountain (1775m), and Kenashi Mountain (1732m) is called Mitsutouge Mountain as a whole. It is known for large-flowered Cypripedium's spontaneous growth, and it is the wild plant's treasure house. Many photo enthusiasts come here every year, to see Mount Fuji which shows various faces according to the time and season. Byobu-rock ledge is the popular rock-climbing spot attracts many climbers from all over the country.

January 29, 2017

0008, 1433, 2655, 2793, 2831, 2939 THAILAND (Bangkok) - The Grand Palace in Bangkok

0008 The Grand Palace in Bangkok

Posted on 12.10.2011, 01.02.2015, 19.07.2016, 03.10.2016, 19.10.2016, 29.01.2017
Undoubtedly, Bangkok's history is intimately linked to the Chakri dynasty, which leads Siam (named from 1939, with a brief interruption, Thailand) for more than two centuries. Founder of the dynasty, Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (Rama I), was the one who moved the capital from Thonburi to Bangkok. Of course, the king had to have a palace and so appeared The Grand Palace (Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang), whose construction began in 1782, after a plan that closely followed that of the old palace in Ayutthaya.

2655 Phra Thinang Chakri Maha Prasat (1)

The king, his court and his royal government were based on the palace until 1925. The present monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), currently resides at Chitralada Palace, but the Grand Palace is still used for official events. Situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, at the heart of the Rattanakosin Island, the palace complex (made up of numerous buildings, halls, pavilions set around open lawns, and gardens) is roughly rectangular. Its asymmetry and eclectic styles are due to its organic development, with additions being made by successive kings.

2939 Phra Thinang Chakri Maha Prasat (2)

It is divided into several quarters: the Temple of the Emerald Buddha; the Outer Court; the Middle Court, including the Phra Maha Monthien Buildings, the Phra Maha Prasat Buildings and the Chakri Maha Prasat Buildings; the Inner Court and the Siwalai Gardens quarter. The Phra Thinang Chakri Maha Prasat buildings are composed of nine major and minor halls, structured in a similar scheme to the Maha Monthien Halls from north to south. The whole of the Chakri Maha Prasat group was the work of King Rama V and foreign architects in the 19th century.

2831 The Temple of the Emerald Buddha

The first phase of construction began in 1868, then again in 1876, and the final phase between 1882 and 1887. The throne hall forms the front or the façade of the entire building group. The throne hall is constructed in an eclectic style, a blend of Thai and European (more specifically Renaissance or Italianate) styles. The lower part of the structure is European, while the upper part is in Thai-styled green and orange tiled roofs and gilded spires or prasats.

1433 A Kinnari in front of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) is actually a royal chapel, built in 1783. It is surrounded on four sides by a series of walled cloisters, with seven gates. Like the royal temples of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya, the complex is separated from the living quarters of the kings. Within these walls are buildings and structures for diverse purposes and of different styles, but most of them adheres strictly to classical Thai architecture.

2793 Temple of the Emerald Buddha

The main building is the central phra ubosot, which houses the statue of the Emerald Buddha. In the postcard 1433 is a golden statue of a Kinnari, a half-bird, half-woman creatures at Southeast Asian Buddhist mythology, one of the many creatures that inhabit the mythical Himavanta. Kinnaris have the head, torso, and arms of a woman and the wings, tail and feet of a swan. She is renowned for her dance, song and poetry, and is a traditional symbol of feminine beauty, grace and accomplishment.