Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Postcard from the United States of America

Exotic wildlife
Jaguar (Panthera onca)
A solitary animal the Jaguar pairs with the female to the brief courtship and mating season. Gestation lasts about 95 days, after which two to four young are born. They nurse for three to for months and remain with the mother for about two years.
Photographer: Barbara Von Hoffmann

Postcard from Finland

Lappi Lapland
Lapland is one of the Regions of Finland. It is considered the traditional home of Father Christmas (Joulupukki). Lapland is the home of about 3.6% of Finland's population.

In this postcard we see the Reindeer, which is a deer from the Arctic and Subarctic, including both resident and migratory populations. The reindeer varies considerably in colour and size, and both genders grow antlers, though these are larger in the males and there are a few populations where females lack them completely.
In the Santa Claus myth, Santa Claus's sleigh is pulled by flying reindeer. These were first named in the 1823 poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas", where they are called Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder, and Blixem. Some consider Rudolph as part of the group as well, though he was not part of the original named work referenced previously. Rudolph was added by Robert L. May in 1939 as "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer".

Monday, July 12, 2010

Postcard from the Netherlands

Amsterdam, the capital of Holland, is situated 2 meters above sea level. The surrounding land is flat as it is formed of large polders. To the southwest of the city lies a man-made forest called het Amsterdamse Bos. Amsterdam is connected to the North Sea through the long North Sea Canal.

Amsterdam has been called the "Venice of the North" for its more than one hundred kilometres of canals, about 90 islands and 1,500 bridges. The three main canals, Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht, dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age, form concentric belts around the city, known as the grachtengordel. Alongside the main canals are 1550 monumental buildings.

Postcard from Bulgaria

A Bulgarian town situated in the fertile sub-Balkan mountain valley of Karlovo (which is the western part of the famous Rose Valley), immediately below the steep southern slopes of the Troyan Balkan Mountain (Central Stara Planina). Sopot is part of Plovdiv Province and is the administrative centre of a municipality.

Ivan Minchov Vazov (June 27, 1850 - September 22, 1921) a Bulgarian poet, novelist and playwright was born in Sopot

Postcard from Bulgaria

Iskar river and Cherepish Monastery, Western Bulgaria

Postcard from Bulgaria

The ancient Thracian city of Perperikon is located in the Eastern Rhodopes, 15 km northeast of the present-day town of Kardzhali, Bulgaria, on a 470 m high rocky hill, which is thought to have been a sacred place. The village of Gorna Krepost ("Upper Fortress") is located at the foot of the hill and the gold-bearing Perpereshka River flows near it. Perperikon is the largest megalith ensemble in the Balkans.

It is thought that the famous sanctuary and oracular shrine dedicated to Sabazios (similar to Greek Dionysus) of the Bessi was situated there.

Postcard from Bulgaria

Eastern Rhodopes Mountain
Mountain range in Southeastern Europe, with over 83% of its area in southern Bulgaria and the remainder in Greece. Its highest peak, Golyam Perelik (2,191 m), is the seventh highest Bulgarian mountain. The region is particularly notable for the Karst areas with their deep river gorges, large caves and specific sculptured forms, such as the Trigrad Gorge.
The Eastern Rhodopes are spread over a territory of about 34% of the mountains' area in Bulgaria, constituting a much lower part.
The large artificial dams Kardzhali and Studen Kladenets are located in this part of the mountains. The region is rich in thermal mineral springs. The waters around Dzhebel have national reputation for healing various diseases. Belite Brezi is an important healing centre for respiratory and other ailments.
Almost every species of the European birds of prey nestle in rocks and forests of the Eastern Rhodopes including the extremely rare Black vulture, Egyptian vulture and others.

In this postcard:
1. The Devil's bridge - XIV c.,near Ardino village
2. Rock phenomenon ''the stone wedding'' near Zimzelen village
3. Rock phenomenon ''the Mushrooms'' near Beli plast village
4. The stone Sanctuary ''Eagle rock'' near Ardino village

Postcard from Germany

Orietal Garden in the Marzahn Leisure Park

Marzahn is a locality within the borough of Marzahn-Hellersdorf in Berlin.

The historic village of Marzahn was first mentioned as Morczane in a 1300 deed by Margrave Albert III of Brandenburg-Salzwedel, when he granted the estates to the Friedland Cistercian abbey.

A part of East Berlin from 1949, Marzahn remained a rural site until from 1977 vast housing estates were built on its fields by order of the East German authorities.

Postcard from Turkey

Cappadocia, region in central Turkey

Interior of one of the many churches of Cappadocia, a UNESCO WHS. These churches were carved in volcanic rocks during the crusades.

The name was traditionally used in Christian sources throughout history and is still widely used as an international tourism concept to define a region of exceptional natural wonders, in particular characterized by fairy chimneys and a unique historical and cultural heritage. The term, as used in tourism, roughly corresponds to present-day Nev┼čehir Province.

Postcard from Qatar

A sample of local architecture.
In 1825, the city of Doha was founded under the name Al-Bida. The name "Doha" came from the Arabic ad-dawha, "the sticky tree." The reference is to the fact that they smoked a lot of sticky tree in the original fishing village, on the eastern coast of the Qatar peninsula. It might have been derived from "dohat" — Arabic for bay or gulf — referring to the doha bay area surrounding corniche.
In 1882, al Rayyan built the Al Wajbah fortress, in southwestern Doha. The following year, Sheikh Qassim led a Qatari army to victory against the Ottomans.
The city was made capital of the British protectorate of Qatar in 1916, and when the nation gained independence in 1971.

Postcard from Russia

The Moscow Kremlin
A historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River (to the south), Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square (to the east) and the Alexander Garden (to the west).
It is the best known of Kremlins (Russian citadels) and includes four palaces, four cathedrals and the enclosing Kremlin Wall with Kremlin towers. The complex serves as the official residence of the President of Russia.

Postcard from Syria

Damascus: Hanania church carved in the rock.

The ancient house of Saint Ananias, in the old Christian quarter of Damascus, Syria. It is believed to be the house where Ananias baptized Saul (who became Paul the Apostle).
It is located near Bab Sharqi (Eastern Gate), at the very end of the Street Called Straight. Five meters below ground level, the church is supposedly the cellar of the House of Ananias, but more likely it is built at the level of the Roman street.
The church, which has been restored many times, is the only early Christian house of worship from the first century to survive in the city. A simple structure consisting of two small rooms with bare stone walls, it houses only an altar, some icons and a few pews. The icons tell the story of the conversion of Paul. It represents the simplicity of the initial Christians and is one of the earliest churches still standing where services continue to be held to this day.

Postcard from Syria

Damascus Countryside, Country house.

Damascus lies about 80 km (50 mi) inland from the Mediterranean Sea, sheltered by the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. It lies on a plateau 680 metres (2,230 ft) above sea-level.
The old city of Damascus, enclosed by the city walls, lies on the south bank of the river Barada which is almost dry (3 cm left). To the south-east, north and north-east it is surrounded by suburban areas whose history stretches back to the Middle Ages: Midan in the south-west, Sarouja and Imara in the north and north-west.
These districts originally arose on roads leading out of the city, near the tombs of religious figures.
In the nineteenth century outlying villages developed on the slopes of Jabal Qasioun, overlooking the city, already the site of the al-Salihiyah district centred around the important shrine of Sheikh Muhi al-Din ibn Arabi.

Postcard from China

The gate of the Zhongshan university in the former institute of Tribute on Wenming Road in early 1930's. The school motto on the wall says ''Learning to tell the good from the bad, and to be unswervingly true to promise''.
The large collection of books in teh university, which was as many as 242 600 copies, ranked the second in all the state-run and private universities and colleges in the whole country.