30 Mar 2011

A set of 40 postcards from Faroe Islands II.

University of Michigan

The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (commonly referred to as Michigan, U-M, UMich, or U of M) is a public research university located in the state of Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan. U-M has two satellite campuses in Flint and Dearborn.

The university was founded in 1817 in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, about 20 years before the Michigan Territory officially became a state. What would become the university moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university has physically expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 31 million gross square feet (712 acres or 2.38 km²), and transformed its academic program from a strictly classical curriculum to one that includes science and research. During the 20th century and early 2000s, U-M was the site of much student activism. When presidential candidate John F. Kennedy visited the University on October 14, 1960, he gave an impromptu speech on the steps of the Michigan Union that led to a University of Michigan student movement which contributed to the establishment of the Peace Corps. The University was also a focal point in the controversy over affirmative action within higher education admissions. In the 2011 U.S. News & World Report "National University Rankings", the university was ranked 29th among national universities in the United States, In 1995, the National Research Council ranked Michigan third nationally for the quality of its graduate programs. Michigan has one of the world's largest living alumni groups at 460,000 in 2007. U-M owns the University of Michigan Health System and has one of the largest research expenditures of any American university, passing the $1.14 billion mark during the 2009-2010 academic year.

Its athletic teams, called the Wolverines, are members of the Big Ten Conference and the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. The athletic program is known for its success in ice hockey and football. The football team plays in Michigan Stadium, also known as "The Big House," the largest football stadium in the world.

29 Mar 2011

Cover from Mauritius

Many thanks to David for thid nice cover from Mauritius!

28 Mar 2011

Kilimanjaro & Zebras

Many thanks to Bhavin for this great card from Kenya!

27 Mar 2011

Taiwanese wooden card

Many thanks to Wen for this very special wooden card fro Taiwan! It's 5mm thick!

26 Mar 2011

Paccadilly Circus, London

Piccadilly Circus is a famous road junction and public space of London's West End in the City of Westminster, built in 1819 to connect Regent Street with the major shopping street of Piccadilly. In this context, a circus, from the Latin word meaning "circle", is a round open space at a street junction. This landmark should not be confused with the intersection of the Mount Franklin and Brindabella roads on the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales Border, also called Piccadilly Circus.

Piccadilly now links directly to the theatres on Shaftesbury Avenue, as well as the Haymarket, Coventry Street (onwards to Leicester Square), and Glasshouse Street. The Circus is close to major shopping and entertainment areas in the West End. Its status as a major traffic intersection has made Piccadilly Circus a busy meeting place and a tourist attraction in its own right. The Circus is particularly known for its video display and neon signs mounted on the corner building on the northern side, as well as the Shaftesbury memorial fountain and statue of an archer popularly known as Eros (sometimes called The Angel of Christian Charity, but intended to be Anteros). It is surrounded by several noted buildings, including the London Pavilion and Criterion Theatre. Directly underneath the plaza is Piccadilly Circus tube station, part of the London Underground rapid transit system.

24 Mar 2011

Quan Thanh Temple,Hanoi

Quan Thanh Temple is a Taoist temple in Hanoi, Vietnam. Dated to the 11th century, the temple was dedicated to Xuan Wu, or Trấn Vũ in Vietnamese, one of the principal deities in Taoism. As one of the Four Sacred Temples of the capital, Quan Thanh Temple is located near West Lake in a ward of same name, Quan Thanh Ward, and is one of the leading tourist attractions in Hanoi.

Legend has it that Quan Thanh Temple was established during the reign of Emperor Lý Thái Tổ (reigned 1010–1028) and was dedicated to Tran Vu, Deity of the North in Taoism, whose symbols of power are the serpent and turtle. It is one of the Four Sacred Temples that were built in four directions to protect the capital from malevolent spirits. In Hanoi, there is also a second Tran Vu Temple in Gia Lam district. Although smaller than Quan Thanh Temple, Tran Vu Temple is also dedicated to Tran Vu with a 9-tonne statue of the deity. Considered a masterpiece of Vietnamese bronze casting and sculpture, it is the second biggest bronze statue in Vietnam. Nowadays, after many geographical changes to the city layout, Quan Thanh Temple is located on the corner of Quan Thanh Street and Thanh Nien Street, facing West Lake. It is a short walk from Truc Bach Lake where pilot and future United States senator John McCain was shot down in October 1967.

22 Mar 2011

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) is one of the two major convention and exhibition venues in Hong Kong, along with AsiaWorld-Expo. It is located in Wan Chai North, Hong Kong Island. Built along the Victoria Harbour, it is linked by covered walkways to nearby hotels and commercial buildings. The venue was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, in association with Wong & Ouyang (HK) Ltd. Larry Oltmanns led the design, who is a former Design Partner with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP. The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre is not to be confused with the Hong Kong Exhibition Centre, which is another exhibition venue in Wan Chai North.

The original building was built on reclaimed land off Gloucester Road in 1988. The glass curtain was the world's largest at the time, overlooking the Victoria Harbour on three sides.

The second phase of the centre, located on an artificial island, was constructed from 1994 to 1997, and features a bird-like rooftop. The project took only 48 months from reclamation to completion. The main constructor of the extension was a joint venture named Hip Hing Construction Co Ltd Dragages et Travaux Publics. Originally, Phase Two was connected to Phase One with an atrium link (a sky bridge), and to Convention Road with two road bridges, but now the two phases are connected by an expanded exhibition hall. The complex's construction was financed by New World Development, with the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong and Harbour View Apartments on top of it. HKCEC made a second expansion during 2006-2009. Upon completion, the HK$1.4 billion expansion added 19,400 sqm to the HKCEC, bringing the total exhibition space to nearly 83,000 sqm and total rentable function space to over 92,000 sqm.

21 Mar 2011

FDC of China: Year of the Rabbit

I got two FDC's during the Chinese New Year, on which there were two different cancellations. Actually, there should be more than one hundred special postmarks on this theme on the first issue day.

20 Mar 2011

Dinamo Stadium, Minsk

Dinamo Stadium, also called Dynama Stadium, is a multi-purpose stadium in Minsk, Belarus. It is currently used mostly for football matches and is the home ground of Dynama Minsk. The stadium has a seating capacity for 41,040 people. Dynama Stadium was constructed in 1934, but was destroyed during World War II and rebuilt in 1954. The stadium was one of the venues of the football tournament at the 1980 Summer Olympics and was used as the home venue of FC BATE for the 2008–09 UEFA Champions League group stage.

18 Mar 2011

Poznań, Poland

Poznań is a city on the Warta river in west-central Poland, with a population of 556,022 in June 2009. It is among the oldest cities in Poland, and was one of the most important centres in the early Polish state, whose first rulers were buried at Poznań's cathedral. It is sometimes claimed to be the first capital of the kingdom of Poland.

Poznań is now Poland's fifth largest city. It is the historical capital of the Wielkopolska ("Greater Poland") region, and is currently the administrative capital of the province called Greater Poland Voivodeship. Poznań is an important centre of trade, industry, and education, and hosts regular international trade fairs. It was the host city for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2008, a key stage in the creation of a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. Poznań is a candidate city for European Capital of Culture in 2016.

17 Mar 2011

Registered parcel from Portugal

Many thanks to Luis for this parcel franked with nice stamps from Portugal!

15 Mar 2011

Dresden Frauenkirche

The Dresden Frauenkirche is a Lutheran church in Dresden, Germany.

Built in the 18th century, the church was destroyed in the firebombing of Dresden during World War II. It has been reconstructed as a landmark symbol of reconciliation between former warring enemies. The reconstruction of its exterior was completed in 2004, its interior in 2005 and, after 13 years of rebuilding, the church was reconsecrated on 30 October 2005 with festive services lasting through the Protestant observance of Reformation Day on 31 October. Once a month, an Anglican Evensong in English is held in the Church of Our Lady, with clergy sent from St. George's Anglican Chaplaincy in Berlin.

12 Mar 2011

FDC from Singapore: Year of the Rabbit

Many thanks to Terence for this nice FDC from Singapore!

11 Mar 2011

Wat Phra Keaw

The Wat Phra Kaew is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple (wat) in Thailand. It is a "potent religio-political symbol and the palladium of Thai society". It is located in the historic centre of Bangkok (district Phra Nakhon), within the precincts of the Grand Palace. The main building is the central ubosoth, which houses the statue of Emerald Buddha. The legendary history of this Buddha image is traced to India, five centuries after the Lord Buddha attained Nirvana, till it was finally enshrined in Bangkok at the Wat Phra Kaew temple in 1782 during Rama I's reign (1782–1809). This marked the beginning and raise of the Chakri Dynasty of the present Kingdom of Thailand (the present head of the dynasty is King Rama IX. The Emerald Buddha, a dark green statue, is in a standing form, about 66 centimetres (26 in) tall, carved from a single jade stone (Emerald in Thai means deep green colour and not the specific stone). It is carved in the meditating posture in the style of the Lanna school of the northern Thailand. Except for the Thai King, no other person is allowed to touch the statue. The King changes the cloak around the statue three times a year, corresponding to the summer, winter, and rainy seasons, an important ritual performed to usher good fortune to the country during each season.

While legend traces this statue to India, its rich historical records dates its finding in Cambodia in the 15th century, moved to Laos in the 16th century and then to Vientiane where it remained for 215 years, and finally to Thailand in the 18th century. Considering the long history and Nagasena's (a Brahmin who became a Buddhist sage and lived about 150 BC) prophesy that the Emerald Buddha would bring "prosperity and pre-eminence to each country in which it resides", the Emerald Buddha deified in the Wat Phra Kaew is deeply revered and venerated in Thailand as the protector of the country.

10 Mar 2011

A set of 40 postcards from Faroe Islands I.

I bought this set of 40 postcards of Faroe Islands from Posta in Tórshavn.

9 Mar 2011

Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second-highest in Africa, after Kilimanjaro.The highest peaks of the mountain are Batian (5,199 metres (17,057 ft)), Nelion (5,188 metres (17,021 ft)) and Point Lenana (4,985 metres (16,355 ft)). Mount Kenya is located in central Kenya, just south of the equator, around 150 kilometres (93 mi) north-northeast of the capital Nairobi. Mount Kenya is the source of the name of the Republic of Kenya.

Mount Kenya is a stratovolcano created approximately 3 million years after the opening of the East African rift. It was covered by an ice cap for thousands of years. This has resulted in very eroded slopes and numerous valleys radiating from the centre. There are currently 11 small glaciers. The forested slopes are an important source of water for much of Kenya. There are eight vegetation bands from the base to the summit. The lower slopes are covered by different types of forest. Many species are endemic to Mount Kenya such as the lobelias, the senecios and the rock hyrax. An area of 715 square kilometres (276 sq mi) around the centre of the mountain was designated a National Park and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The park receives over 15,000 visitors per year.

8 Mar 2011

FDC from Latvia: Pet--Rabbit

Many thanks to Juris for this nice FDC from Latvia!