29 Oct 2010

Two covers from Germany


Many thanks to Igor for these two nice covers from Germany!

28 Oct 2010

Zürich, Switzerland


Zürich, which likes to call itself "Downtown Switzerland" is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zürich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zürich. While the municipality itself has approximately 380,500 inhabitants, the Zürich metropolitan area is an urbanised area of international importance constituted by a population of nearly 2 million inhabitants.Zürich is a mixed hub for railways, roads, and air traffic. Both Zürich Airport and railway station are the largest and busiest in the country. Permanently settled for around 7,000 years, the history of Zürich goes back to its founding by the Romans, who, in 15 BC, called it Turicum. During the Middle Ages Zürich gained the independent and privileged status of imperial immediacy and, in 1519, was the place of origin and centre of the Protestant Reformation in German-speaking Switzerland, led by Ulrich Zwingli.

Zürich is a leading global city and among the world's largest financial centres. The city is home to a large number of financial institutions and banking giants. Also, most of the research and development centres are concentrated in Zürich and the low rate of tax attracts overseas companies to set up their headquarters there. According to several surveys from 2006 to 2008, Zürich was named the city with the best quality of life in the world as well as the wealthiest city in Europe. An impressive number of museums and art galleries can be found in the city, among which the Swiss National Museum and the Kunsthaus. Zürich also hosts one of the most important theatres in the German-speaking world.

27 Oct 2010

Cover from France

Many thanks to Eric for this nice cover from Lyon!

26 Oct 2010

Atlanta, Georgia


Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of 2009[update] Atlanta had an estimated population of about 540,922 people. Its metropolitan area is the ninth largest in the country, inhabited by more than 5.4 million people. The Atlanta Combined Statistical Area has a population approaching six million, making it the most populous metropolis in the Southeastern United States. Like many areas in the Sun Belt, the Atlanta region has seen explosive growth since about 1976, and it added about 1.1 million residents between 2000 and 2008.

Atlanta is considered to be a top business city and is a primary transportation hub of the Southeastern United States - via highway, railroad, and air. Atlanta contains the world headquarters of such large corporations as The Coca-Cola Company, Georgia-Pacific, AT&T Mobility, the Cable News Network, Delta Air Lines, and Turner Broadcasting. Atlanta has the country's fourth-largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies and more than 75 percent of Fortune 1000 companies have business operations in the metropolitan area, helping Atlanta realize a gross metropolitan product of US$270 billion, accounting for more than 2/3 of the Georgian economy. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been the world's busiest airport since 1998 (measured by number of passengers). Atlanta is the county seat of Fulton County and the location of the seat of government of the State of Georgia. A small portion of the City of Atlanta corporate limits extends eastwards into DeKalb County. Residents of Atlanta and its surroundings are known as "Atlantans".

25 Oct 2010

Cover from Faroe Islands

This cover was sent from Tórshavn, the capital city of Faroa Islands.

19 Oct 2010

FDC from Austria: 50 years diocese in Eisenstadt

Eisenstadt is a city in Austria, the state capital of Burgenland. It has a population of about 12,000 (2006). In the Habsburg monarchy, Kismarton (Eisenstadt) was the seat of the Eszterházy Hungarian noble family. The composer Joseph Haydn lived there as Hofkapellmeister under Esterházy patronage. Until the end of World War I, it was the seat of Kismarton district in Sopron county in the Kingdom of Hungary. Without plebiscite, the city and the entire Hungarian territory of Burgenland (with the exception of the city of Sopron where the only plebiscite was held) was transferred to Austria by the Saint-Germain and Treaties of Trianon in 1921. Since 30 April 1925, Eisenstadt is seat of the Burgenland state government and thus the state capital. During World War II, Eisenstadt was heavily bombarded. In 1945, it was occupied by the Red Army, and the city remained until 1955 under Soviet occupation. In 1960, Eisenstadt became the see of its own Roman Catholic diocese.

18 Oct 2010

Lighthouse of Norderney


Norderney is one of the seven populated East Frisian Islands off the North Sea coast of Germany. It is also a municipality in the district of Aurich in Lower Saxony. The island is 14 km long and about 2.5 km wide, having a total area of about 26.3 square kilometres (10.2 sq mi) and is therefore Germany's tenth largest island. Norderney's population amounts to about 6,200 people. In 1946 Norderney gained municipal status and belongs to the Aurich "Kreis" (county). On the northern side of the island lies a 14 km long sandy beach.

The neighbouring island to the east is Baltrum, which lies about 800m (half a mile) away. To the west is the island of Juist, about 3 km away. The entire eastern half of Norderney belongs to the Wattenmeer National Park of Lower Saxony. Access to the park is restricted, as it is subdivided in zones of different accessibility for the protection of the wildlife. The status as a National Park also affects all kinds of traffic on the island, while especially car traffic is subject to strict regulations.

17 Oct 2010

Cover from Croatia

Many thanks to Josip for this nice cover!

Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière


The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière is a minor basilica in Lyon. It was built with private funds between 1872 and 1896 in a dominating position in the city, as a mark of the triumph of Christian values over the socialists of the Lyon commune of 1870, like the similarly-inspired Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, Paris. Its design, by Pierre Bossan, draws from both Romanesque and Byzantine architecture, two non-Gothic models that were unusual choices at the time. It features fine mosaics, superb stained glass, and a crypt of Saint Joseph. The basilica, which offers guided tours and contains a Museum of Sacred Art, receives 1.5 million visitors annually

Bossan's first sketches for the basilica seem to date from 1846, following the bi-centennial in 1843 of the plague event. At the time he was in Palermo. The site it occupies was once the Roman forum of Trajan, the forum vetus, thus its name. Perched on top of the Fourvière hill, the basilica looms impressively over the city of Lyon, where it can be seen from many vantage points; not unintentionally, the basilica of Fourvière has become a symbol of the city of Lyon. The basilica has four main towers, and a belltower. It is topped with a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary. At certain times, members of the public may access the basilica's north tower for a spectacular 180-degree view of Lyon and its suburbs.

Fourvière actually contains two churches, one on top of the other. The upper sanctuary is very ornate, while the lower is a much simpler design. Fourvière is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who is said to have saved the city of Lyon from the plague in 1643. A small church was erected in gratitude, to which the gilded statue of the Virgin was added in the mid-nineteenth century, to mark its bicentennial. Each year in early December, Lyon thanks the Virgin for saving the city by lighting candles throughout the city, in what is called the Fête des Lumières. During the Franco-Prussian War, Prussian forces, having taken Paris, were progressing south towards Lyon. Their halt and retreat were attributed by the Church to the intercession of the Virgin Mary once more. Work on the triumphant basilica was begun in 1872 and finished in 1884. Finishing touches in the interior were not completed until 1964.

Since 1982 the antennas of Radio Fourvière, the predecessor of Radios chrétiennes francophones, have been located in the tower. Notre-Dame de Fourvière was included when the whole historic center of Lyon was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.

14 Oct 2010

Las Vegas


Las Vegas is the most populous city in Nevada, the seat of Clark County, and an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping and fine dining. Las Vegas, which bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, is famous for the number of casino resorts and associated entertainment. A growing retirement and family city, it is the 28th most populous city in the United States with an estimated population by the U.S. Census Bureau of 567,641 as of 2009. The 2008 population estimate of the Las Vegas metropolitan area was 1,865,746.

Established in 1905, Las Vegas officially became a city in 1911. With the growth that followed, at the close of the century Las Vegas was the most populous American city founded in the 20th century (a distinction held by Chicago in the 19th century). The city's tolerance for various forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of Sin City, and this image has made Las Vegas a popular setting for films and television programs. On the other hand, Las Vegas also has the highest number of churches per capita of any major U.S. city[citation needed]. There are numerous outdoor lighting displays on Fremont Street, as well as elsewhere in the city. The name Las Vegas is often applied to unincorporated areas that surround the city, especially the resort areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip. The 4.2 mi (6.8 km) stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard known as the Strip is mainly in the unincorporated communities of Paradise and Winchester, while a small portion overlaps into Las Vegas and the unincorporated community of Enterprise.

13 Oct 2010

Cover from Canada

Many thanks to Pamela for this nice cover!

12 Oct 2010

Jasna Góra Monastery


The Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa, Poland is the most famous shrine to the Virgin Mary in Poland and the country's greatest place of pilgrimage - for many its spiritual capital. The image of Black Madonna of Częstochowa, to which miraculous powers are attributed, is Jasna Góra's most precious treasure. Founded in 1382 by Pauline monks who came from Hungary at the invitation of Władysław, Duke of Opole. The monastery has been a pilgrimage destination for hundreds of years, and it contains the most important icon of the Virgin Mary in this part of Europe. The icon, depicting the Mother of God with the Christ Child, is known as the Black Madonna of Częstochowa or Our Lady of Częstochowa, which is widely venerated and credited with many miracles. Among these, it is credited with miraculously saving the Jasna Góra monastery during a siege that took place at the time of The Deluge, a 17th century Swedish invasion. Although this event was of little military importance, the event stimulated the Polish resistance. The Poles could not immediately change the course of the war but after an alliance with the Crimean Khanate they repulsed the Swedes. Shortly thereafter, in the cathedral of Lwów, on April 1, 1656, Jan Kazimierz, the King of Poland, solemnly pronounced his vow to consecrate the country to the protection of the Mother of God and proclaimed Her the Patron and Queen of the lands in his kingdom.

11 Oct 2010

Noord-Holland


North Holland, Dutch: Noord-Holland, West Frisian: Noard-Holland) is a province situated on the North Sea in the northwest part of the Netherlands. The provincial capital is Haarlem and its largest city is Amsterdam.North Holland is a broad peninsula between the North Sea and the IJsselmeer. More than half of the province consists of reclaimed polder land situated below sea level.North Holland's major cities and towns are Amsterdam, Haarlem, Hilversum, Den Helder, Alkmaar, Zaandam and Hoorn. The island of Texel is also part of North Holland. North Holland has also invited Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius in the Netherland Antilles to become part of their state. No decision has been reached as of yet.

10 Oct 2010

9 Oct 2010

Taihu Lake, Suzhou


Taihu Lake is a large lake in the Yangtze Delta plain, on the border of the Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces in the People's Republic of China. The waters of the lake belong to the former in its entirety with part of its southern shore forming the boundary between the two provinces. With an area of 2,250 km² and an average depth of 2 metres, it is the third largest freshwater lake in China, after the Poyang and Dongting Lakes. The lake houses about 90 islands, ranging in size from a few square meters to several square miles.

Taihu Lake is linked to the renowned Grand Canal. The lake is also the origin for a number of rivers, including Suzhou Creek. In recent years, Taihu Lake has been plagued by pollution as a result of rapid economic growth in the surrounding region.

7 Oct 2010

Lumbini, Nepal


My first card from Nepal!

Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district of Nepal, near the Indian border. It is the place where Queen Mayadevi is said to have given birth to Siddhartha Gautama, who as the Buddha Gautama founded the Buddhist tradition. The Buddha lived between roughly 563 and 483 BCE. Lumbini is one of four magnets for pilgrimage that sprang up in places pivotal to the life of the Buddha, the others being at Kushinagar, Bodh Gaya, and Sarnath. Lumbini is in the foothills of the Himalaya, 25 km east of the municipality of Kapilavastu, where the Buddha is said to have lived till the age of 29. Kapilvastu is the name of the place in question as well as of the neighbouring district. Lumbini has a number of temples, including the Mayadevi temple, and others under construction. Also here is the Puskarini or Holy Pond - where the Buddha's mother took the ritual dip prior to his birth and where he, too, had his first bath - as well as the remains of Kapilvastu palace. At other sites near Lumbini, earlier Buddhas were, according to tradition, born, achieved ultimate awakening and finally relinquished earthly form.

6 Oct 2010

Cover from Philippines

Victoria Memorial, Kolkata


The Victoria Memorial also Known as "White Palace" is a memorial building dedicated to Victoria Queen of the United Kingdom and Empress of India located in Kolkata, India - the capital of West Bengal and a former capital of British India. It currently serves as a museum and a tourist attraction. It is an autonomous organization within the Government of India's Ministry of Culture.

The memorial was designed by Sir William Emerson in an architectural style similar to Belfast City Hall. Earlier asked to design the building in the Italian Renaissance style, Emerson was against the exclusive use of European styles and used Indo-Saracenic style, incorporating Mughal elements in the structure. Vincent Esch was the superintending architect while Lord Redesdale and Sir David Prain designed the gardens. The work of construction was entrusted to Messrs Martin & Co. of Calcutta. The foundation stone of the memorial was laid down in the year 1906, by Edward, the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII). Apart from being a memorial, the monument was intended to serve as a tribute to the success of the British Empire in India. Lord Curzon was the one who envisaged the main idea of the erection of the Victoria Memorial Hall, which was to serve as the architectural culmination of the Kolkata city.

Even the classical style of the monument was specified by Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy. However, it was Sir William Emerson, a renowned architect, who laid down by the actual plan of the memorial. The design of the structure represents an amazing fusion of British and Mughal architecture. White Makrana marbles were used in the construction of Victoria Memorial Hall and the building was inaugurated in the year 1921. The massive hall is 338 by 228 feet and rises to a height of 184 feet.
Facade of the Victoria Memorial. British government money was not used in its construction at all. Rather, the British Indian states, along with the individuals who wanted some favours from the British government, were the main contributors towards the cost of building the Victoria Memorial Hall.

5 Oct 2010

Cover from France

Many thanks to Yves for this colourful cover from Nice!

4 Oct 2010

Lighthouse of Galle


Galle is a city situated on the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka, 119 km from Colombo. Galle is the capital city of Southern Province of Sri Lanka and it lies in Galle District. Galle was known as Gimhathiththa (although Ibn Batuta in the 14th century refers to it as Qali) before the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century, when it was the main port on the island. Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, during the Dutch colonial period. The major river is Gin River (Gin Ganga) which starts from Gongala Kanda and passing villages such as Neluwa, Nagoda, Baddegama, Thelikada, Wakwella and kisses the sea at Ginthota. In Wakwella over the river there is Wakwella Bridge, which is the longest bridge in Sri Lanka.

Galle is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in south and southeast Asia, showing the interaction between European architectural styles and south Asian traditions. The Galle fort is a world heritage site and the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers. Other prominent landmarks in Galle include the natural harbor, the National Maritime Museum, St. Mary's Cathedral founded by Jesuit priests, one of the main Shiva temples on the island, and Amangalla the historic luxury hotel. Galle is the main city in the most southerly part of the island, with a population of around 100 000, and is connected by rail to Colombo and Matara. On 26 December 2004 the city was devastated by the massive Boxing Day Tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake that occurred a thousand miles away, off the coast of Indonesia. Thousands were killed in the city alone. Galle is home to a cricket ground, the Galle International Stadium, rebuilt after the tsunami. Test matches resumed there on December 18, 2007. Galle offers a unique opportunity to create a visible demonstration of the conservation of its inheritance. Galle is also an exciting, internationally famous visitor destination.