August 27, 2016

2710 ETHIOPIA - Ge'ez script

In terms of writing systems, Ethiopia's principal orthography is the Ge'ez script, also known as Ethiopic, considered one of the oldest alphabets still in use in the world. Employed as an abugida (syllable alphabet) for several languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea languages, it first came into usage in the 6th and 5th centuries BC as an abjad to transcribe the Semitic Ge'ez language. Ge'ez now serves as the liturgical language of the Ethiopian and the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

August 25, 2016

2708 FRANCE - The Stamp Feast 2001

It was 1935 when the FIP proposed at its Congress in Brussels the creation of a stamp day in each of its member countries. The project was approved by the Congress of the FFAP in Paris in 1937, and the first day of the stamp took place in 1938. Since 1944 La Poste issued stamps devoted to the stamp day. From 1944 to 2002, a surcharge in favor of the French Red Cross was levied on the sale of these stamps. In 2000 the event was renamed The Stamp Feast.

2707 CHINA (Inner Mongolia) - Hādá

A Hādá (khata, dhar, khadag or hatag) is a traditional ceremonial scarf in tengrism and Tibetan Buddhism, so is common in cultures where Tibetan Buddhism is practiced. It symbolizes purity and compassion and are worn or presented at many ceremonial occasions, including births, weddings, funerals, graduations and the arrival or departure of guests. Tibetan khatas are usually white, symbolising the pure heart of the giver, though it is quite common to find yellow-gold khata as well.

August 24, 2016

2706 ROMANIA (Vâlcea) - Turnu Monastery

Secluded on the left bank of the Olt River, sheltered by Cozia Mountain and located nearly 2 km away from Cozia Monastery, Turnu Monastery was, for centuries, a very remote and unreachable place. Its name comes from a massive tower, located on a rock called "Teofil`s Peak", which was built by the Roman legions of the Arutela Roman Camp, in the 2nd century. The monastery was first called "the convent behind the tower", then "Turnu Convent" and finally "Turnu Monastery".

2189, 2705 FRANCE (Saint Barthélemy) - The map of Saint Barthélemy

2189 The map of Saint Barthélemy (1)

Posted on 05.01.2016, 24.08.2016
Saint-Barthélemy, officially the Territorial collectivity of Saint-Barthélemy, is an  overseas collectivity of France, located about 35km southeast of Saint Martin and north of St. Kitts. Often abbreviated to Saint-Barth in French, or St. Barths in English, the indigenous people called the island Ouanalao. It was for many years a French commune forming part of Guadeloupe, but in 2003 the island voted in favour of secession from Guadeloupe.

2705 The map of Saint Barthélemy (2)

Columbus was the first European to encounter the island in 1493, and named it after his brother. By 1648, it was settled from St. Christopher (Saint Kitts), but the settlement was destroyed by Caribs six years later. In 1674 it became part of the French Kingdom. There was a very brief takeover by the British in 1758, and in 1784 it was given to Sweden in exchange for trade rights in Gothenburg. This change of control saw progress and prosperity as the Swedes declared Gustavia a free port.

August 21, 2016

2702-2704 UNITED STATES (New York) - Manhattan

2702 Manhattan (1)

Manhattan is the most densely populated borough of New York City, its economic and administrative center, and the city's historical birthplace. It consists mostly of Manhattan Island, bounded by the East, Hudson, and Harlem Rivers, and also includes several small adjacent islands and Marble Hill, a small neighborhood on the U.S. mainland. It is often described as the cultural and financial capital of the world and hosts the United Nations Headquarters.

2703 Manhattan (2)

Anchored by Wall Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, New York City has been called both the most economically powerful city and the leading financial center of the world. Historically documented to have been purchased by Dutch colonists from Native Americans in 1626, for 60 guilders (1050 USD today). Manhattan real estate has since become among the most expensive in the world, with the value of Manhattan Island, including real estate, estimated to exceed 3 trillion USD in 2013.

2704 Manhattan (3)

Many districts and landmarks in Manhattan have become well known, as New York City received a record of nearly 60 million tourists in 2015, and Manhattan hosts three of the world's 10 most-visited tourist attractions in 2013: Times Square, Central Park, and Grand Central Terminal. The borough hosts many world-renowned bridges and skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building. The City of New York was founded at the southern tip of Manhattan, and the borough houses New York City Hall, the seat of the City's Government. 

0990-0995, 1009, 1422-1423, 1540, 2575, 2701 UNITED STATES (New York) - The bridges in New York City

0990 Brooklyn Bridge & Downtown Manhattan

Posted on 26.01.2014, 21.02.2014, 28.01.2015, 25.04.2015, 25.05.2016, 21.08.2016
New York City is home to over 2,000 bridges and tunnels, some of which were premieres or set records. For example the Holland Tunnel was the world's first vehicular tunnel when it opened in 1927, and the Brooklyn, Williamsburg, George Washington, and Verrazano-Narrows bridges were the world's longest suspension bridges when were opened in 1883, 1903, 1931, and 1964 respectively. The first bridge in New York, King's Bridge, was constructed in 1693, over Spuyten Duyvil Creek between Manhattan and the Bronx.

0991 Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan

Now the oldest crossing still standing is High Bridge, which connects Manhattan to the Bronx over the Harlem River. On the other hand, the George Washington, High Bridge, Hell Gate, Queensboro, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Macombs Dam, Carroll Street, University Heights and Washington bridges have all received landmark status. New York features bridges of all lengths and types, carrying everything from cars, trucks and subway trains to pedestrians and bicycles.

1009 Brooklyn Bridge - View from the pedestrian walkway

The George Washington Bridge, spanning the Hudson River between New York City and Fort Lee (New Jersey), is the world's busiest bridge in terms of vehicular traffic, but also, togheter with Verrazano Narrows Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge, is considered among the most beautiful in the world. Others are more well known for their functional importance such as the Williamsburg Bridge, which has two heavy rail transit tracks, eight traffic lanes and a pedestrian sidewalk.

0992 Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan

The Brooklyn Bridge stretches 1.825m over the East River, connecting  Lower Manhattan at Canal Street with Downtown Brooklyn at the Flatbush Avenue Extension, is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States, and also the first steel-wire suspension bridge constructed. Designed by German immigrant John Augustus Roebling, it was completed in 1883, and has become in a short time an icon of New York City. The architectural style is Neo-Gothic, with characteristic pointed arches above the passageways through the towers, built of limestone, granite blocks (quarried and shaped on Vinalhaven Island, Maine), and Rosendale cement.

1422 Brooklyn Bridge silhouetted
by a glittering downtown New York skyline at dusk

Roebling designed a bridge and truss system that was six times as strong as he thought it needed to be. Because of this, the Brooklyn Bridge is still standing when many of the bridges built around the same time have vanished into history and been replaced. At the time it opened, and for several years, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. Its paint scheme is "Brooklyn Bridge Tan" and "Silver", although it has been argued that the original paint was "Rawlins Red". Since the 1980s, it has been floodlit at night to highlight its architectural features. The bridge originally carried horse-drawn and rail traffic, with a separate elevated walkway along the centerline for pedestrians and bicycles. Since 1950, the main roadway has carried six lanes of automobile traffic.

2701 Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan in 2013

A bronze plaque is attached to one of the bridge's anchorages, which was constructed on a piece of property occupied by a mansion, the Osgood House, at 1 Cherry Street in Manhattan. It served as the first Presidential Mansion, housing George Washington, his family, and household staff from April 23, 1789 to February 23, 1790, during the two-year period when New York City was the national capital. The centennial celebrations on May 24, 1983, saw a cavalcade of cars crossing the bridge, led by President Ronald Reagan. In 2006, a Cold War-era bunker was found by city workers in the Manhattan tower. The bunker, hidden within the masonry anchorage, still contained the emergency supplies that were being stored for a potential nuclear attack by the Soviet Union.

1540 Manhattan Bridge in black and white

The Manhattan Bridge is the last of the three suspension bridges built across the lower East River (following the Brooklyn and the Williamsburg bridges), connecting Lower Manhattan (at Canal Street) with with Downtown Brooklyn (at the Flatbush Avenue Extension). The main span is 448 m long, with the suspension cables being 983 m long (its total length is 2,089 m). Nearly 80,000 vehicles and more than 320,000 people use it (via public transportation) each day. 

0993 Manhattan Bridge at twilight

First bridge to be built based on deflection theory, a radical engineering theory at the time, and also the first suspension bridge to utilize a Warren truss in its design, it is considered to be the forerunner of modern suspension bridges and this design served as the model for many of the long-span suspension bridges built in the first half of the 20th century. It has four vehicle lanes on the upper level, split between two roadways. Four subway tracks are located on the lower deck of the bridge. The original pedestrian walkway on the south side of the bridge was reopened after forty years in June 2001.

1423 Manhattan Bridge, looking up
 Berenice Abbott / gelatine silver print
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Designed by Leon Moisseiff (1872-1943), who later designed the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (that collapsed in 1940), it was opened on December 31, 1909, and is noted for its innovative design. A year later, Carrère and Hastings drew up preliminary plans for an elaborate grand entry to the bridge on the Manhattan side (in Chinatown), as part of the "City Beautiful" movement. The arch and colonnade were completed in 1915, and the decoration includes pylons sculpted by Carl A. Heber and a frieze called "Buffalo Hunt" by Charles Rumsey. On the Brooklyn side, the bridge ends in the popular neighborhood DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). After many years of neglect and several attempts by traffic engineers to remove the structure, the arch and colonnade were repaired and restored in 2000.

0994 Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is a double-decked suspension bridge that connects the boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn, marking the gateway to New York Harbor. It is named for both the Florentine explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano (the first European to enter New York Harbor and the Hudson River), and for the body of water it spans: the Narrows. It has a central span of 1,298m, and was the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time of its completion in 1964. Its massive towers can be seen throughout a good part of the New York metropolitan area, and all cruise ships and most container ships arriving at the Port of New York and New Jersey must pass underneath it.

0995 Queensboro Bridge & Midtown Manhattan
(aerial view from the south)

The Queensboro Bridge (also known as the 59th Street Bridge) is a double cantilever bridge over the East River, which connects the neighborhood of Long Island City in the borough of Queens with the Upper East Side of Manhattan, passing over Roosevelt Island. The plans were finished in 1903 and construction soon began, but lasted until 1909 to be completed, due to delays from the collapse of an incomplete span during a windstorm and from labor unrest (including an attempt to dynamite one span).

2575 Queensboro Bridge & Midtown Manhattan
(aerial view from the north)


The bridge doesn't have suspended spans, so the cantilever arm from each side reaches to the midpoint of the span. Until it was surpassed by the Quebec Bridge in 1917, the span between Manhattan and Roosevelt Island was the longest cantilever span in North America. In December 2010, the bridge was renamed Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge in honor of the former mayor Ed Koch, a decision unpopular among Queens residents and business leaders.

2413, 2700 NETHERLANDS (Netherlands / South Holland) - A hollow post mill in Kaag

2413 A hollow post mill in Kaag

Posted on 27.03.2016, 21.08.2016
The post mill is probably the earliest type of European windmill, and it was invented because in Europe the wind has no prevailing direction. The defining feature is that the whole body of the mill that houses the machinery is mounted on a single vertical post, around which it can be turned to bring the sails into the wind. The design and usage of these windmills peaked in the 18th and 19th centuries and then declined after the introduction of high-speed steam-driven milling machinery.

2700 A hollow post mill

Among the many variants of post mills are the hollow post mills. In these mills the main post is bored to take a driveshaft, similar to an Upright Shaft in a smock or tower mill. This enables the mill to drive machinery in the base or roundhouse. In the Netherlands, they are called wipmolen and were mostly used for drainage (poldermolen). This type of windmill was used mainly in the polder areas of central and western Netherlands.

2699 UNITED KINGDOM - Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II addresses politicians and
members of the House of Lords during the
State Opening of Parliament in Westminster.

Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is, and has been since her accession in 1952, Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and Head of the Commonwealth. She is also Queen of 12 countries that have become independent since her accession: Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.

2698 BARBADOS - Oistins Fish Fry

Oistins is an active fishing town on the south coast of Barbados and is a hub of activity on weekend nights. On Friday night particularly, the big thing to do is go to the fish fry at Oistins Bay Gardens. The food is the main draw - excellent fish, (tuna, swordfish, marlin, mahi-mahi, flying fish), lobster, chicken etc served in an extremely informal setting. It's all cooked on the spot in front of you. Of course, Calypso music is not missing.