30 Jun 2010

Two covers from Algeria

Many thanks to Omar for these two covers from Algeria, but it was a pity that they are not real posted FDC, because the dates on the cancellations and postmarks are not the same.

27 Jun 2010

Matthias Church

Matthias Church is a church located in Budapest, Hungary, at the heart of Buda's Castle District. According to church tradition, it was originally built in Romanesque style in 1015. The current building was constructed in the florid late Gothic style in the second half of the 14th century and was extensively restored in the late 19th century. It was the second largest church of medieval Buda and the sixth largest church of medieval Hungarian Kingdom. Officially named as the Church of Our Lady, it has been popularly named after king Matthias, who ordered the transformation of its original southern tower. In many respects, the 700 year history of the church serves as a symbol of the city's rich, yet often tragic history. Not only was the church the scene of several coronations, including that of Charles IV in 1916, it was also the site for King Matthias' two weddings.

During the century and a half of Turkish occupation, the vast majority of its ecclesiastical treasures were shipped to Pressburg (present day Bratislava) and following the capture of Buda in 1541 the church became the city's main mosque. Ornate frescoes that previously adorned the walls of the building were whitewashed and interior furnishings stripped out. Not only was the church restored to its original 13th century plan but a number of early original Gothic elements were uncovered. By also adding new motifs of his own Schulek ensured that the work, when finished, would be highly controversial. Today however, Schulek's restoration provides visitors with one of the most prominent and characteristic features of Budapest's cityscape.

26 Jun 2010

Łazienki Palace

The Łazienki Palace also called the Palace on the Water and the Palace on the Isle, is a Neoclassical palace in Warsaw's Royal Baths Park.

The building began as a bathhouse for Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski, owner of adjacent Ujazdów Castle. After 1678 the Lubomirski palace complex in Ujazdów, was enriched with four park pavilions: Arcadia, Hermitage, Frascati and the largest of them the Bathhouse. The marble building was constructed before 1683 according to design by Tylman Gamerski. Finished in 1689, it was intended to serve as a bathhouse, habitable pavilion and a garden grotto. Interiors of the newly built structure were embellished with profuse stucco decorations, also designed by Gamerski. Among the decorations were water deities (like Nereus), surrounding the main decorational feature of the pavilion - the fountain. Other chambers had richly decorated plafonds and supraportes, while the walls were covered with Delft tiles. The façades and interiors were decorated with sculptures, reliefs, Latin inscriptions (Musa Dryas, Nymphaeque boves et Pastor Apollo / Hic maneant, fugiat diva Minerva domus - Muse, dryad and nymphs, bullocks and Apollo the shepherd let stay here, the divine Minerva let disdain this house on the portal of the southern façade) and Lubomirski coat of arms - Szreniawa.

Stanisław August Poniatowski decided to convert it into private quarters, and it was remodeled by Domenico Merlini between 1764 to 1795. The palace was nearly destroyed by the Germans in World War II. Afterwards the palace served as a barracks. The palace is built on an artificial island that divides the lake into two parts, a smaller northern lake and a larger southern one. The palace is connected to the surrounding park by two Ionic colonnaded bridges. The façades are unified by an entablature carried by giant Corinthian pilasters that link its two floors and are crowned by a balustrade that bears statues of mythologic figures. The north façade is relieved by a central pedimented portico. On the south front, a deep central recess lies behind a screen of Corinthian columns.

Two covers from France

Many thanks to my two French friends for these two beautiful covers!

23 Jun 2010

Skopun, Faroe Islands

Many thanks to Igor for this surprise from Faroe Islands! It's the first card/cover from the islands.

Skopun is a town in the Faroe Islands situated on the northern coast of Sandoy, Sand Island. Skopun is the second largest town on the island.Although the area has been inhabited since the Middle Ages, Skopun was not founded until 1833. The people of Skopun did not possess any land. They subsisted on fishing so the houses are close to the water. In 1897, Skopun's church was constructed out of timber taken from the old church of Vestmanna. The Faroe Islands' first road was built on Sandoy in 1918, connecting Skopun with Sandur, the island's main town, to the south. Skopun's harbor was built in 1926 and later extended. In 1982, the harbor was furnished with a gate which protects the dock from the sea. A 1988 hurricane destroyed the town's small forest. A car ferry used to connect Skopun with the capital, Tórshavn. Today, the ferry goes to the newly constructed port of Gamlarætt, located on the south coast of Streymoy.

22 Jun 2010


Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. In the book, "Shangri-La" is a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise but particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia — a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world. In the novel Lost Horizon, the people who live at Shangri-La are almost immortal, living years beyond the normal lifespan and only very slowly aging in appearance. The word also evokes the imagery of exoticism of the Orient. In the ancient Tibetan scriptures, existence of 7 such places are mentioned as Nghe-Beyul Khimpalung. One of such places is mentioned to be situated somewhere in the Makalu-Barun region.

In China, Tao Qian of the Jin Dynasty described a Shangri-La in his work Story of the Peach Blossom Valley. In modern China, the Zhongdian county was renamed to 香格里拉 (Shangri-La in Chinese) in 2001, to attract tourists. The legendary Kun Lun Mountains in Tibet offer other possible Shangri-La valleys. A popularly believed inspiration for Hilton's Shangri-La is the Hunza Valley in northern Pakistan, close to the Tibetan border, which Hilton visited a few years before Lost Horizon was published. Being an isolated green valley surrounded by mountains, enclosed on the western end of the Himalayas, it closely matches the description in the novel. A Shangri-La resort in the nearby Skardu valley is a popular tourist attraction. Today, various places claim the title, such as parts of southern Kham in southwestern Yunnan province, including the tourist destinations of Lijiang and Zhongdian. Places like Sichuan and Tibet also claim the real Shangri-La was in its territory.

21 Jun 2010

FDC from Hong Kong: Expo 2010

Many thanks to Hiu Fan for this FDC on the theme of Expo 2010 held in Shanghai!

20 Jun 2010

Perth, Western Australia

Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia. With a population of 1,659,000 (2009), Perth ranks fourth amongst the nation's cities, with a growth rate consistently above the national average. Perth was founded on 12 June 1829 by Captain James Stirling as the political centre of the free-settler Swan River Colony. It has continued to serve as the seat of government for Western Australia to the present day. Its port, Fremantle, is a city in its own right and slightly older than Perth.

The metropolitan area is located in the south-west of the continent between the Indian Ocean and a low coastal escarpment known as the Darling Range. The central business district and suburbs of Perth are situated on the Swan River. Perth is tied for ninth place in The Economist's 2010 list of the World's Most Livable Cities. Perth became known worldwide as the "City of Lights" as city residents lit their house lights and streetlights as American astronaut John Glenn passed overhead while orbiting the earth on Friendship 7 in 1962. The city repeated its feat as Glenn passed overhead on the Space Shuttle in 1998.

Ravensberg Spinning Mill, Bielefeld

This Spinning Mill was Constructed between 1855 and 1857, the imposing castellated factory buildings of the Ravensberg Spinning Mill became one of the largest flax spinning mills in Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries, housing up to 20,000 whirring spindles at a time. Now the site includes a park, an attractive cultural and events venue with two museums, a cinema, an adult education centre and a restaurant in the old carding works.

19 Jun 2010

Negombo, Sri Lanka

My first postcard from Sri Lanka and many thanks to Ravindra!

Negombo is a town of about 65,000, approximately 37 km north of Colombo, in Sri Lanka. It is located at the mouth of the Negombo lagoon, about 7 km from the Bandaranaike International Airport. Negombo has a small port, and its economy is mainly based on tourism and its centuries-old fishing industry, though it also produces cinnamon, ceramics, and brass ware. The name "Negombo" was first used by the Portuguese, a corruption of the Sinhala name Mīgamuva". The town is situated by the shores of a lagoon of the same name, and was a trading port during the periods of Portuguese and Dutch colonization.

Negombo offers some of the better beaches on the west coast of Sri Lanka, and draws tourists who stop over for a day on their way to or from the airport. Some quiet stretches of the beach are maintained by the tourist hotels, while others are always busy with fisherman and their equipment. Water-sports and diving are also extremely popular among visitors, with a few well preserved coral reefs and a 50 year old shipwreck (Kudapaduwa) that serves as an artificial reef for many varieties of fish. Since the beginning of European Colonization, the township of Negombo has a majority of Roman Catholics along with Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims. Negombo has been given the name "Little Rome" due to the highly ornate Portuguese-era Roman Catholic churches found within the township. The Katuwapitiya Church and the Grand Street Church are two biggest parishes in Negombo. "Agurukaramulla Pansala" is a famous Buddhist temple bringing Buddhists from all over Sri Lanka to Negombo every year.

18 Jun 2010

FDC from India: Kanwar Ram Sahib

Kanwar Ram Sahib was born in April 1885 in a small village Jarwar of Sukkur District in Sindh(now in Pakistan) to devout and pious parents. His name Kanwar Ram, in Sindhi denotes "LOTUS". Kanwar Ram Sahib went on to become a luminary of Sindhi people. He advocated peace, nonviolence and communal harmony. He was endowed with a divine voice which he effectively adopted for "Bhagat", a folk-art form of storytelling, with a fusion of song, dance and drama. He radicalized devotional singing and gave a new thrust to Sindhi Soofi lyrical fork music. He divine message of love, unity and peace touched the souls of countless people irrespective of caste, color, creed and religions.

17 Jun 2010

Beach of Boscombe

Boscombe is a suburb of the much larger Bournemouth. Boscombe is by the sea and it has its own pier, which was built in 1888, with a unique aircraft-wings design added in the 1950s at the entrance which is a listed building.

The area upon which Boscombe is situated, between the somewhat older village of Pokesdown and Bournemouth Square was part of the great heathland which covered much of western Hampshire, and extended well into eastern Dorset. It has a long sandy beach and Boscombe Cliff Gardens offers views of the bay that stretches around from Hengistbury Head to Bournemouth and to Alum Chine and the entrance to Poole Harbour. Boscombe was originally an independent settlement, separated from Bournemouth by dense wood and moorland. Boscombe was incorporated into the boundaries of Bournemouth in 1876 (against the wishes of Boscombe residents).

Florence, Tuscany

Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 367,569 inhabitants (1,500,000 in the metropolitan area).

The city lies on the River Arno and is known for its history and its importance in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance, especially for its art and architecture. A centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the richest and wealthiest cities of the time, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance; in fact, it has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages. It was long under the de facto rule of the Medici family. From 1865 to 1870 the city was also the capital of the Kingdom of Italy.

The historic centre of Florence attracts millions of tourists each year and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. Florence is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and its artistic, historic and cultural heritage and impact in the world remains vast up to this day. The city has also a major European impact in music, architecture, education, cuisine, fashion, philosophy, science and religion. The historic centre of Florence contains numerous elegant squares (piazzas), Renaissance palaces (palazzi), academies, parks, gardens, churches, monasteries, museums, art galleries and ateliers. The city has also been nominated, according to a 2007 study, as the most desirable destination for tourists in the world.

13 Jun 2010

Cover from Argentina

This is my first philatelic item from Argentine and many thanks to Viviana!


Anping District is a district of Tainan City. The history of Anping dates back to the 17th century, when Dutch East India Company occupied Taiwan. In the period of the Japanese occupation, the history of trade between China and Japan unfolded at Anping. Anping was originally a small island separated from the mainland of Tainan until the 19th century. Due to the ocean current, the small lagoon between Anping island and Tainan was silted up and gradually disappeared, and Anping became a part of Tainan.

11 Jun 2010

Bochnia, Poland

Bochnia is a town of 30,000 inhabitants on the river Raba in southern Poland. The town lies approximately in halfway [38 kilometres (24 mi)] between Tarnów (east) and the regional capital Kraków (west). Bochnia is most noted for its salt mine, the oldest functioning in Europe, built circa 1248. Since Poland's administrative reorganization in 1999, Bochnia has been the administrative capital of Bochnia County in Lesser Poland Voivodeship. Before reorganization it was part of Tarnów Voivodeship.

Bochnia is one of the oldest cities of Lesser Poland. The first known source mentioning the city is a letter of 1198, wherein Aymar the Monk, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, confirmed a donation by local magnate Mikora Gryfit to the monastery of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Miechów. The discovery of a major vein of rock salt at the site of the present mine in 1248 led to the granting of city privileges (Magdeburg rights) on 27 February 1253 by Bolesław V the Chaste.

10 Jun 2010

Semperoper, Dresden

The Semperoper is the opera house of the Saxon State Opera Dresden and the concert hall of the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden in Dresden, Germany. It was first built in 1841, by architect Gottfried Semper.

The building is considered to be a prime example of "Dresden-Baroque" architecture. It is situated on the Theater Square in central Dresden on the bank of the Elbe River. On top of the portal there is a Panther quadriga with a statue of Dionysos. The interior was created by such famous architects of the time as Johannes Schilling. Monuments on the portal depict famous artists such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, William Shakespeare, Sophocles, Molière and Euripides. The building also features work by Ernst Rietschel and Ernst Julius Hähnel. In the pre-war years, the building premiered many of the works of Richard Strauss. During the last weeks of World War II in 1945 the building was destroyed again - this time by Allied bombing and the subsequent fire storms. Exactly 40 years later, on February 13, 1985 the opera was rebuilt almost the same as it was before the war.

9 Jun 2010

FDC from Croatia: Expo 2010

On April 29th Post Croatia issued a block on the theme Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Many thanks to Koric for this nice FDC from his hometown. On the left you may see the Croatia Pavillion.
Last month I visited the Croatia Pavillion and here are two photos of it. The first one shows the gate of the pavillion.
The second one is just the same as it is printed on the cover.

8 Jun 2010

Sartų Regional Park

I did not find too much information about "sala Sartų ežere", but I'm sure that it's a regional park with lakes and many small islands. It's located in the north-eastern part of Lithuania.

7 Jun 2010

Oslo Opera House

After a long time I got another card from Norway and it shows the Oslo Opera House.

The Oslo Opera House is the seat of The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, and the national opera theatre in Norway. The building lies in Bjørvika, in the center of Oslo, at the head of the Oslofjord. Its builder was Statsbygg, a government-run property owner. The architects were the Norwegian firm Snøhetta who were also the architects of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (the Library of Alexandria) in Egypt. The theatre designers were Theatre Projects Consultants based in London, the acoustic designers were BrekkeStrandArup, a joint venture between local consultant Brekke Strand Akustikk and international acousticians Arup Acoustics. Norwegian construction company Veidekke was awarded one of the largest building contracts of the project. The structure provides a total area of 38,500 m² and includes 1,100 rooms, one of which has 1,350 seats and another has up to 400 seats. Total expenditures for the building project were planned at 4.4 billion NOK, but finished ahead of schedule, and 300 million NOK under budget. At the 1-years jubilee of the opera 1,3 million people had visited the building.

6 Jun 2010

FDC from USA: Year of the Tiger

Many thanks to Mr. Huang Zhenbang for this nice FDC from USA. This year I received totally nine FDC's on the theme of Year of the Tiger and this is the last one I post here. US Post issues zodiac series in defferent cities each year, this year in Los Angeles.

Just welcome the 10 000th visitor of my blog and thanks for your support!

Countryside of Guilin

Guilin is a prefecture-level city in China, situated in the northeast of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on the west bank of the Li River. Its name means "forest of Sweet Osmanthus", owing to the large number of fragrant Sweet Osmanthus trees located in the city. The city has long been renowned for its unique scenery.

In 1981, this ancient city was listed by the State Council as one of the four cities (the other three being Beijing, Hangzhou and Suzhou) where the protection of historical and cultural heritage, as well as natural scenery, should be treated as a priority project