31 Jan 2011

FDC from France: City of Paris

Many thanks to Eric for this "FDC of the Year" from Paris, France! So great!!!!

30 Jan 2011

Linz, Austria

Linz is the third-largest city of Austria and capital of the state of Upper Austria (German: Oberösterreich). It is located in the north centre of Austria, approximately 30 km south of the Czech border, on both sides of the river Danube. The population of the city is 189,284 (2009), and that of the Greater Linz conurbation is 271,000.

The city is now home to a vibrant music and arts scene that is well-funded by the city and the state of Upper Austria. Between the Lentos Art Museum and the "Brucknerhaus", is the "Donaulände", which is also referred to as "Kulturmeile" ("culture mile"). This is a park alongside the river, which is used mainly by young people to relax and meet in summer. It is also used for the Ars Electronica Festival and the "Linz Fest". Linz has other culture institutions, such as the Posthof, which is near the harbour, and the Stadtwerkstatt, which is by the Danube river. The Pflasterspektakel, an international street art festival, takes place each year in July in and around the Landstraße and the main square. Linz was the European Capital of Culture in 2009, along with Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.

29 Jan 2011

Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra is a city in the municipality of Coimbra in Portugal. Although it served as the nation's capital during the High Middle Ages, it is better-known for its university, the University of Coimbra, which, established in 1290, is one of the oldest in Europe and the oldest academic institution in the Portuguese-speaking world.

According 2001 Census, provided by the Portuguese Instituto Nacional de Estatística (English: National Institute of Statistics), the city proper had a population of 101,069 and the municipality had a population of 148,443 in a 319.4 km² land area. Over 430,000 people live in the Greater Metropolitan Area of Coimbra, comprising 16 municipalities and extending into an area 3,372 km². Coimbra is one of the most important urban centres in Portugal (after the much larger Lisbon Metropolitan Area and Porto Metropolitan Area), playing an central role in the interior of the country. It is the principal centre in the Centro region, and seat of the District of Coimbra and the Baixo Mondego subregion.

There are many archaeological structures which date to the Roman era, when Coimbra was the settlement of Aeminium, such as its well-preserved aqueduct and cryptoporticus. Similarly, buildings from the period when Coimbra served as the capital of Portugal (from 1139 to about 1260) still remain. During the Late Middle-Ages, with its decline as the political centre of the Kingdom of Portugal, Coimbra began to evolve into a major cultural centre, with the foundation of the University of Coimbra in 1290. The university, one of the oldest in Europe, apart from attracting many European and international students, is visited by tourists for its monuments and history.

28 Jan 2011

Cover from Croatia

Many thanks to Bogdan for this nice cover from Croatia!

27 Jan 2011

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople (see Names of Istanbul for further information) is the largest city in Turkey and 5th largest city proper in the world with a population of 12.8 million, also making it the largest metropolitan city proper in Europe and the second largest metropolitan area in Europe by population. Istanbul is also a megacity, as well as the cultural, economic, and financial centre of Turkey. The city covers 39 districts of the Istanbul province. It is located on the Bosphorus Strait and encompasses the natural harbour known as the Golden Horn, in the northwest of the country. It extends both on the European (Thrace) and on the Asian (Anatolia) sides of the Bosphorus, and is thereby the only metropolis in the world that is situated on two continents. Istanbul is a designated alpha world city.

During its long history, Istanbul had previously served as the capital of the Roman Empire (330–c.395), Byzantine Empire (c.395–1204 & 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). Thereafter, the new Republic of Turkey, moved their capital to Ankara during the Turkish War of Independence. Istanbul was chosen as a European Capital of Culture for 2010 and European Capital of Sports for 2012. The historic areas of the city were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.

26 Jan 2011


Wulingyuan is a scenic and historic interest area in Hunan Province, China, famous for its approximately 3,100 tall quartzite sandstone pillars, some over 800 meters in height, which are a kind of karst formation. It is part of Zhangjiajie city, about 270km from the capital of Hunan Province, Changsha. It lies between the coordinates of 29°16′0″N 110°22′0″E / 29.266667°N 110.366667°E / 29.266667; 110.366667Coordinates: 29°16′0″N 110°22′0″E / 29.266667°N 110.366667°E / 29.266667; 110.366667 and 29°24′0″N 110°41′0″E / 29.4°N 110.683333°E / 29.4; 110.683333. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. Wulingyuan forms part of the Wuling Range.

25 Jan 2011

FDC from Indonesia: 200 Years of Bandung

Bandung is the capital of West Java province in Indonesia, and the country's third largest city, and 2nd largest metropolitan area in Indonesia, with 7.4 million in 2007. Located 768 m (2,520 ft) above sea level, Bandung has cooler temperatures year-around than most other Indonesian cities. The city lies in a river basin surrounded by volcanic mountains. This topography provides a good natural defense system, which was the primary reason for the Dutch East Indies government's plan to move the colony capital from Batavia to Bandung.

The Dutch colonials first opened tea plantations around the mountains in the eighteenth century, followed by a road construction connecting the plantation area to the capital (180 km or 112 miles to the northwest). The European inhabitants of the city demanded the establishment of a municipality (gemeente), which was granted in 1906 and Bandung gradually developed itself into a resort city for the plantation owners. Luxurious hotels, restaurants, cafes and European boutiques were opened of which the city was dubbed as Parijs van Java (Dutch: "The Paris of Java"). After Indonesian independence on 1945 onwards, the city experienced a rapid development and urbanization that has transformed Bandung from idyllic town into a dense 16500 people/km² metropolitan area, a living space for over 2 million people. Natural resources have been exploited excessively, particularly in the conversions of protected upland area into highland villa and real estates. Although the city has encountered many problems (ranging from waste disposal, floods to chaotic traffic system, etc.), Bandung however still has its charm to attract people flocking into the city, either as weekend travellers or living in.

22 Jan 2011

Snow & Daisen

Daisen is a volcanic mountain located in Tottori Prefecture, Japan. It has an elevation of 1,729 metres. This mountain is the highest in the Chūgoku region, and the most important volcano on the Daisen volcanic belt. The Daisen volcanic belt is a part of Southwest Honshū volcanic arc, where the Philippine Sea Plate is subducting under the Amurian Plate. Daisen is a complex volcano, made by repeated volcanic activity over thousands of years. Eruptions in this area started 1.8 million years ago and resulted in Old Daisen some 500,000 years ago. The Daisen of today, New Daisen, resulted from a second group of eruptions which started 50,000 years ago and ended 10,000 years ago in the caldera of Old Daisen. 50,000 years ago, this mountain had a plinian eruption from which volcanic ash can be found as far away as the Tohoku Region of Japan. This mountain is one of the 100 famous mountains in Japan, and also one of the Chūgoku 100 mountains.

20 Jan 2011

Walt Disney World Resort

The Walt Disney World Resort, sometimes shortened to Walt Disney World or Disney World, is the world's largest and most visited recreational resort. Located approximately 21 miles (34 km) southwest of Orlando, Florida, USA, the resort covers an area of 30,080-acre (47.00 sq mi; 121.7 km2) and includes four theme parks, two water parks, 23 on-site themed resort hotels (excluding 8 that are on-site, but not owned by the Walt Disney Company), including a campground, two health spas and physical fitness centers, and other recreational venues and entertainment. It opened on October 1, 1971 with only the Magic Kingdom theme park and has since added Epcot (October 1, 1982), Disney's Hollywood Studios (May 1, 1989) and Disney's Animal Kingdom (April 22, 1998).

This world famous resort was inspired by the dreams of Walt Disney and his creation of Disneyland in California. Its original theme park, Magic Kingdom, is designed similarly to Disneyland. Walt Disney created "Disney World" in order to have a vacation resort that was much different from Disneyland's one-day visit; this includes a much wider variety of sports, recreation, uniquely-themed resort hotels and entertainment.

Many thanks to Mr. Huang Zhenbang for this nice card with beautiful stamps!

19 Jan 2011

Riga, Latvia

Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia, a major industrial, commercial, cultural and financial centre of the Baltics, and an important seaport, situated on the mouth of the Daugava. With 706,413 inhabitants (2010) it is the largest city of the Baltic states and third-largest in the Baltic region, behind Saint Petersburg and Stockholm (counting residents within the city limits). Riga's territory covers 307.17 km2 (118.60 sq mi) and lies between 1 and 10 metres (3.3 and 33 ft) above sea level,on a flat and sandy plain.

Riga's historical centre has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the city is particularly notable for its extensive Jugendstil (German Art Nouveau) architecture, which UNESCO considers to be unparalleled anywhere in the world.

18 Jan 2011

Cover from Canada

Many thanks to Pamela for this cover with Canadian stamps!

16 Jan 2011

Revision of Shanghai 2010 Expo

Many thanks to Terence for this nice card with a special cancellation!

15 Jan 2011

Cover from France

Many thanks to Yves for this nice cover!

14 Jan 2011

Thames Town Post Office

This post office is located in the Thames Town, West Shanghai.

11 Jan 2011

Panicale, Italy

Panicale is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Perugia in the Italian region Umbria, located about 25 km southwest of Perugia. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 5,623 and an area of 78.8 km². The municipality of Panicale contains the frazioni (subdivisions, mainly villages and hamlets) Tavernelle, Colle San Paolo, Missiano, Casalini, Colle Calzolaro, Macereto, Mongiovino, Montale, Colgiordano, Gioveto, and Migliaiolo. Panicale borders the following municipalities: Castiglione del Lago, Magione, Paciano, Perugia, Piegaro.

10 Jan 2011

Lake District

The Lake District, also known as The Lakes or Lakeland, is a mountainous region in North West England. A popular holiday destination, it is famous for its lakes and its mountains (or fells), and its associations with the early 19th century poetry and writings of William Wordsworth and the Lake Poets.

The central, and most visited, part of the area is contained in the Lake District National Park which was designated as a National Park in 1951. It is the largest of thirteen National Parks in England and Wales, and second largest in the UK (after the Cairngorms). It lies entirely within the modern county of Cumbria, shared historically by the counties of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire. All the land in England higher than three thousand feet above sea level lies within the National Park, including Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. It also contains the deepest and longest lakes in England. Despite the name, only one of the lakes in the Lake District actually contains the word "lake" in its name, Bassenthwaite Lake, the rest being either "meres", "waters", "tarns" or "reservoirs".

7 Jan 2011

Mapuche Culture

The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended between the Aconcagua River and Chiloé Archipelago and later eastward to the Argentine pampa. The Mapuche make up about 4% of the Chilean population, and are particularly concentrated in the Araucanía Region. The term Mapuche can refer to the whole group of Picunches (people of the north), Huilliches and Moluche or Nguluche from Araucanía, or exclusively to the Moluche or Nguluche from Araucanía. The Mapuche traditional economy is based on agriculture; their traditional social organisation consists of extended families, under the direction of a "lonko" or chief, although in times of war they would unite in larger groupings and elect a toqui (from Mapudungun toki "axe, axe-bearer") to lead them.

The Mapuche inhabited the valleys between the Itata and Toltén rivers, as did the Huilliche (people of the South), the Cuncos. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Mapuche groups migrated eastward into the Andes and pampas, fusing and establishing relationships with the Poyas and Pehuenche. At about the same time, ethnic groups of the pampa regions, the Puelche, Ranqueles and northern Aonikenk, whom Ferdinand Magellan called Patagons,but who are known now as Tehuelche, made contact with Mapuche groups. The Tehuelche adopted the Mapuche language and some of their culture in what came to be called the Araucanization. Historically Mapuches were known as Araucanians (araucanos) by the Spanish colonizers of South America. However, this term is now mostly considered pejorative by some people. The Quechua word awqa "rebel, enemy", is probably not the root of araucano: the latter is more likely derived from the placename rag ko (Spanish Arauco) "clayey water".

4 Jan 2011

FDC from France: Les Ptimitifs Flamands

Many thanks to Eric for this nice FDC on Flemish paintings!