30 Jul 2010

Guimarães, Portugal

Guimarães is a city in Guimarães Municipality, in the North of Portugal. In the 9th century, Vímara Peres was able to expel the Moors and founded a fortified town under his own name Vimaranis (of Vimar) which later became Guimaranis, present day Guimarães. The city is often referred to as the "birthplace of the Portuguese nationality" and also was the birthplace of Afonso I of Portugal, the first Portuguese king.

The seat of the municipality is Guimarães city, that is made of 16 parishes and, as of 2001, has a population of 52,181 inhabitants. The totality of the municipality has a population of 161,876 inhabitants in 241.3 km². Guimarães is ranked number 2 in the Portuguese most livable cities survey of living conditions published yearly by the Portuguese newspaper Expresso.

Cover from Italy

A cpver from Italy with a special local cancellation.

28 Jul 2010

Le Havre

Le Havre is a city in the Seine-Maritime department of the Haute-Normandie region in France. It is situated in north-western France, on the right bank of the mouth of the river Seine on the English Channel. Le Havre is the most populous commune in the Haute-Normandie region, although the total population of the greater Le Havre conurbation is smaller than that of Rouen's. It is also the second largest subprefecture in France (after Reims). Its port is the second busiest in France (after that of Marseille). Since 1974 it has been the see of the diocese of Le Havre.

Le Havre was originally named Franciscopolis after King Francis I, who founded the city in 1517. A chapel known as Notre-Dame-de-Grâce ("Our Lady of Grace") existed at the site before the city was established, and the denomination lent its name to the port, to be called Le Havre (or Le Hable) de Grâce ("the harbor of grace"). The shortened name Le Havre, as used in modern times, simply translates as "the port" or "the harbor". While under German occupation, the city was devastated in 1944 during the Battle of Normandy in World War II; 5,000 people were killed and 12,000 homes destroyed, mainly by Allied air attacks. After the war, the center was rebuilt in the modernist style by Auguste Perret. Le Havre was honored with the Legion of Honor award on 18 July 1949. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.

Amsterdam, Holland

Amsterdam is the capital and largest city of the Netherlands, located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country. The city, which had a population (including suburbs) of 1.36 million on 1 January 2008, comprises the northern part of the Randstad, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in Europe, with a population of around 6.7 million.

Its name is derived from Amstellerdam, indicative of the city's origin: a dam in the river Amstel. Settled as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age, a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading centre for finance and diamonds. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded, and many new neighbourhoods and suburbs were formed.

27 Jul 2010

Cover from Thailand

Beautiful cover with so many flower stamps! Many thanks to Manuel! He sent this letter with nice stamps from Bangkok, when he made a travel there.

Its name is Saimaa Lake?

I can't read Finnish on the back of the card, but the writer mentioned her hometown is near the Lake Saimaa. Is it just this in the picture?

Saimaa is a lake in southeastern Finland. At approximately 4,400 square kilometres (1,700 sq mi), it is the largest lake in Finland, and the fourth largest in Europe. It was formed by glacial melting at the end of the Ice Age. Major towns on the lakeshore include Lappeenranta, Imatra, Savonlinna, Mikkeli, Varkaus, and Joensuu. The Vuoksi River flows from Saimaa to Lake Ladoga. Most of the lake is spotted with islands, and narrow canals divide the lake in many parts, each having their own names (major basins include Suur-Saimaa, Orivesi, Puruvesi, Haukivesi, Yövesi, Pihlajavesi, and Pyhäselkä). In places in the Saimaa basin (an area larger than the lake), "there is more shoreline here per unit of area than anywhere else in the world, the total length being nearly 15,000 kilometres (9,300 mi). The number of islands in the region, 14,000, also shows what a maze of detail the system is."

26 Jul 2010

Kinabalu National Park

Kinabalu National Park or Taman Negara Kinabalu in Malay, established as one of the first national parks of Malaysia in 1964, is Malaysia's first World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO in December 2000 for its "outstanding universal values" and the role as one of the most important biological sites in the world. Located on the west coast of Sabah, east Malaysia on the island of Borneo; it covers an area of 754 square kilometers surrounding Mount Kinabalu, which at 4,095.2 metres, is the highest mountain on the island of Borneo. The park is one of the most popular tourist spot in Sabah as well as in Malaysia. In 2004, more than 415,360 visitors and 43,430 climbers visited the Park.

This botanical site contains a variety of flora and fauna that ranges over 4 climate zones; from rich lowland dipterocarp forest through the montane oak, rhododendron, to the coniferous forests, to the alpine meadow plants, and to the stunted bushes of summit zone. The mountain is also known for its many carnivorous plant and orchid species, most notably, the Nepenthes rajah. It is also home to a multitude of endemic animal species, including the Kinabalu Giant Red Leech and Kinabalu Giant Earthworm. The park also plays host to a variety of birds, insects, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. Mount Kinabalu is one of the youngest non-volcanic mountains in the world. It was formed within the last 10 to 35 million years. The mountain still grows at a rate of 5 millimetres a year.

25 Jul 2010

Cover from Faroe Islands

Many thanks to Igor for this cover from Faroe Islands! Super! Ich bedanke mich für Deine Hilfe! Es war wirklich eine Überraschung!!

24 Jul 2010

Fažana of Istra

Fažana is a village and a municipality in Istria, Croatia, a small port and fishermen's centre in the south-western part of the western Istrian coast in the Fažana Strait, 8 km northwest of Pula. It is located on a low part of the coast, well protected from the sea by Brijuni Islands. Today, Fažana is the transport hub for boat excursions to the Islands. Gentle hills in the interior are under orchards, vineyards and olive-groves; the landscape is dominated by pine forests. Chief occupations include fishing, fish-processing and building of smaller fishing boats. Glass-processing is also well-developed. The town is located on the regional road Vodnjan - Fažana - Veli Vrh - Pula.

In 1379, the fleets of Venice (under the command of Vettor Pisani) and Genoa (under the command of Luciano Doria) fought a battle in the Fažana Strait. Yugoslavia's Cold War President, Marshal Josip Broz Tito, is reputed to have loved Fažana and the Brijuni Islands, spending up to six months of his year there. Yugoslav President was reported to have joined local fisherman in their work during his stays in Fažana.

Sydney, Australia

23 Jul 2010

Cover from Indonesia

Many thanks to Irene Chen for this cover from Indonesia, which is the first one I got from this country. But it's still a pity that it isn't a real posted FDC, although there is a special cancellation for the first issue on the stamps. The other postmark shows that this cover was sent some days later after the first issue : (

22 Jul 2010

Hradec Králové

Hradec Králové) is a city of the Czech Republic, in the Hradec Králové Region of Bohemia. The city's economy is based on food-processing technology, photochemical, and electronics manufacture. Traditional industries include musical instrument manufacturing - the best known being PETROF pianos. There is the University of Hradec Králové and Charles University in Prague has a medical school and a pharmaceutical department in the city.

The city is situated in the centre of a very fertile region called the Golden Road on the confluence of Elbe and Orlice and contains many buildings of historical and architectural interest. The cathedral was founded in 1303 by Elizabeth, and the church of St. John, built in 1710, stands on the ruins of the old castle. During 1920s and 1930s the city grew rapidly and due to many buildings of modern architecture Hradec Králové became known as the Salon of the Republic. This was a nickname given to it by citizens who were spellbound by the unique architecture of Josef Gočár.

21 Jul 2010

Parthenon, Athens

The Parthenon is a temple in the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to of the Greek goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their protector. Its construction began in 447 BC and was completed in 438 BC, although decorations of the Parthenon continued until 431 BC. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered to be the culmination of the development of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece and of Athenian democracy and one of the world's greatest cultural monuments. The Greek Ministry of Culture is currently carrying out a programme of selective restoration and reconstruction to ensure the stability of the partially ruined structure.

The Parthenon itself replaced an older temple of Athena, which historians call the Pre-Parthenon or Older Parthenon, that was destroyed in the Persian invasion of 480 BC. Like most Greek temples, the Parthenon was used as a treasury. For a time, it served as the treasury of the Delian League, which later became the Athenian Empire. In the 6th century AD, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. After the Ottoman Turk conquest, it was turned into a mosque in the early 1460s, and it had a minaret built in it. On 26 September 1687, an Ottoman Turk ammunition dump inside the building was ignited by Venetian bombardment. The resulting explosion severely damaged the Parthenon and its sculptures. In 1806, Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin removed some of the surviving sculptures, with the Ottoman Turks' permission. These sculptures, now known as the Elgin Marbles or the Parthenon Marbles, were sold in 1816 to the British Museum in London, where they are now displayed. The Greek government is committed to the return of the sculptures to Greece, so far with no success.

20 Jul 2010

FDC's from India: Astrological Signs

Many countries and schools thought have their own set of symbols, signs and significant methods of assessing a person or predicting an event. The twelve zodiac signs are represented by figures and symbols and associated with constellations and planets and their old Greek, or Roman or Indian legends.

19 Jul 2010

Galaţi, Romania

Galaţi is a city in Moldavia, eastern Romania, the capital city of Galaţi County on the banks of the Danube, very close to Brăila. According to the last Romanian census, from 2002, there were 298,861 people living within the city of Galaţi, making it the seventh most populous city in Romania.

The name of the city appears to have derived from Cuman galat, which was borrowed from the Arabic qal'at (fortress). Also other etymologies were suggested, such as the Serbian galac; however the galat root appears in several nearby toponyms, some of which show clearly a Cuman origin, for example Gălăţui Lake, which has the typical Cuman -ui suffix for "water". A derivation from Galatia (Gaul), suggesting a Celtic origin, is possible, but unlikely. The other closest toponym in the region is the Galicia with the small city of Halych which is locally associated with a jackdaw (Kawka, Halka). Other similar places are Galich, Russia and Galatia in Turkey.

Many thanks to Valetin for this nice card from her hometown!

18 Jul 2010

Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River roughly 360 kilometers (224 mi) from the Baltic Sea and 300 kilometers (186 mi) from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population as of June 2009 was estimated at 1,711,466, and the Warsaw metropolitan area at approximately 2,785,000. The city area is 516.9 square kilometers (199.6 sq mi), with an agglomeration of 6,100.43 square kilometers (2,355.4 sq mi) (Warsaw Metro Area – Obszar Metropolitalny Warszawy). Warsaw is the 9th largest city in the European Union by population.

Warszawianka (1831) (French: La Varsovienne) is widely considered the unofficial anthem of Warsaw. On 9 November 1940 the City of Warsaw was awarded the highest military decoration for courage in the face of the enemy - Order Virtuti Militari for the heroic defence in 1939. Warsaw is also known as the "phoenix city", as it recovered from extensive damage during World War II, being rebuilt with the effort of Polish citizens. Warsaw has given its name to the Warsaw Confederation, Warsaw Pact, the Duchy of Warsaw, Warsaw Convention, Treaty of Warsaw and the Warsaw Uprising.

17 Jul 2010

Cover from Croatia

Bogdan always sends me nice Croatian stamps with registered letter. I have also shown another FDC from Croatia on the theme "Expo 2010 in Shanghai", which was sent by him. Thank you very much, Mr. Koric!

Guangzhou, China

Guangzhou, in English and other European languages also known as Canton (which was first romanized from the Cantonese pronunciation of Guangdong by the Portuguese) and also known as Kwangchow, is a sub-provincial city located in southern China in the middle of Guangdong Province north of the Pearl River, about 120 km (75 mi) northwest of Hong Kong. It is the third largest city in China and the capital of Guangdong Province, southern China's largest city and key transportation hub and trading port, located on the Pearl River which is navigable to the South China Sea. As of the 2000 census, the city has a population of 6 million, and an urban area population of roughly 11.85 million, making it the most populous city in the province and the third most populous metropolitan area in China.

16 Jul 2010

Pingsi Railway Line

This railway was founded about 90 years ago und at that time the trains on it carryed only coals, but now it mainly takes tourists to enjoy nice views along the line.

15 Jul 2010

Cover from France

Many thanks to Eric for this nice cover sent from Lyon, France, on which he affixed ten stamps. I always wonder what kind of stamps they are. There's no value, instead just a "20g". But they look really nice.

14 Jul 2010

Hiroshima: Remember the history

Hiroshima is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the largest city in the Chūgoku region of western Honshū, the largest island of Japan. It became the first city in history destroyed by a nuclear weapon when the United States of America dropped an atomic bomb on it at 8:15am on August 6, 1945, near the end of World War II. Hiroshima gained municipality status on April 1, 1889, and on April 1, 1980, became a designated city. The city's current mayor is Tadatoshi Akiba.

During World War II, the Second Army and Chugoku Regional Army were headquartered in Hiroshima, and the Army Marine Headquarters was located at Ujina port. The city also had large depots of military supplies, and was a key center for shipping. The bombing of Tokyo and other cities in Japan during World War II caused widespread destruction and hundreds of thousands of deaths, nearly all civilians. For example, Toyama, an urban area of 128,000, was nearly fully destroyed, and incendiary attacks on Tokyo are credited with claiming 90,000 lives. There were no such air raids in Hiroshima. However, the threat was certainly there and to protect against potential firebombings in Hiroshima, students (between 11–14 years) were mobilized to demolish houses and create firebreaks. On Monday, August 6, 1945, at 8:15 AM, the nuclear bomb 'Little Boy' was dropped on Hiroshma by an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, directly killing an estimated 80,000 people. By the end of the year, injury and radiation brought total casualties to 90,000-140,000. Approximately 69% of the city's buildings were completely destroyed, and about 7% severely damaged. Research about the effects of the attack was restricted during the occupation of Japan, and information censored until the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951, restoring control to the Japanese.

A small town in Holland

12 Jul 2010

Registered cover from Malta

This is my first cover from this small island country-Malta. My friend there sent two nice sheets of stamps in this letter und registered it.

11 Jul 2010

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is a tiny island on the coast of Biscay belonging to the municipality of Bermeo, in Basque Country (Spain). It is connected to the mainland by a man made bridge. On top of the island stands a hermitage, dedicated to San Juan, that dates from the 10th century, although certain discoveries indicate that the date might be the 9th century. Along with another small neighboring island, Aketze, they form a protected Biotope, that extends from the town of Bakio until cape Machichaco, on the Bay of Biscay.

To visit San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, there are various parking spaces on a small esplanade. On the initial climb, successive stops can be admired along what looks like a Via Crucis. From above the views of the cliffs and the coast are fascinating. The best seasons to visit are spring and autumn, in order to enjoy the peace of the setting. In the summer it can get crowded. Etymologically the word gaztelugatxe comes from the Basque gaztelu = "castle" and aitz = "rock" or "crag", forming "Crag of the castle". Another possible translation of gatxe is bad this would mean "Bad Castle.

9 Jul 2010

Poperechnoye Lake

The Poperechnoye Lake is a lake in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. I just hope to get more infomation about it.

8 Jul 2010

FDC from singapore: Butterflies

Many thanks to Terence for this nice cover! I really like Butterflies and I have a large stamp collection on this theme.

7 Jul 2010

Wat Saket, Bangkok

Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan, usually short Wat Saket, is a Buddhist temple (Wat) in Pom Prap Sattru Phai district, Bangkok, Thailand. The temple dates back to Ayutthaya era, when it was called Wat Sakae. King Rama I renovated the temple and renamed it to Wat Saket. Phu Khao Thong (Golden mountain, ภูเขา ทอง) is a steep hill inside the Wat Saket compound. It is not a natural outcrop, but an artificial hill.

During the reign of King Rama III (1787 – 1851) the decision was made to build a Chedi of huge dimensions to add to the Wat Saket temple. However, the large Chedi collapsed during the construction process because the soft soil beneath would not support it. The resulting mud-and-brick hillock was left alone for about half a century, taking the shape of a natural hill and becoming overgrown with weeds. Since then it looked like a natural small mountain it received its name of "Phu Khao" (ภูเขา) at that time. Finally under King Rama IV, a small Chedi was built on the hilltop. This smaller structure was finished under King Rama V (1853– 1910), when a Buddha relic from India was housed in the Chedi. In the 1940s the surrounding concrete walls were built to prevent the hill from eroding. There is an important festival at Wat Saket every November that includes a beautiful candlelight procession up Phu Khao Thong. Phu Khao Thong has become a popular tourist attraction in Bangkok, but the rest of the Wat Saket temple area is much less visited.

6 Jul 2010


Newfoundland and Labrador is a province of Canada on the country's Atlantic coast in northeastern North America. This easternmost Canadian province comprises two main parts: the island of Newfoundland off the country's eastern coast, and Labrador on the mainland to the northwest of the island. A former colony and dominion of the United Kingdom, it became the tenth province to enter the Canadian Confederation on 31 March 1949, named simply as Newfoundland. Since 1964, the province's government has referred to itself as the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and on 6 December 2001, an amendment was made to the Constitution of Canada to change the province's official name to Newfoundland and Labrador. In day-to-day conversation, however, Canadians generally still refer to the province itself as Newfoundland and to the region on the Canadian mainland as Labrador.

As of January 2010, the province's population is estimated to be 510,900 Approximately 94% of the province's population resides on the Island of Newfoundland (including its associated smaller islands), while approximately 50% live on the Avalon Peninsula. The Island of Newfoundland has its own dialects of the English, French, and Irish languages. The English dialect in Labrador shares much with that of Newfoundland. Labrador also has its own dialects of Innu-aimun and Inuktitut.

Cover from Pakistan

My friend Naeem always sends stamps in a registered letter affixed nice stamps.

5 Jul 2010

Torres Vedras

Torres Vedras is a city and a municipality in the district of Lisbon, Portugal, about 50 km north of Lisbon. It belongs to the Oeste subregion and the Centro region. The municipality covers an area of 405.89 km² distributed over 20 freguesias. It borders to Lourinhã to the north, Alenquer to the east, Sobral de Monte Agraço to the southeast, Mafra to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. To the south of the municipality run the Lines of Torres Vedras, constructed on the orders of the Duke of Wellington in 1809-10.