Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bayon Temple, Angkor Thom - CAMBODIA - UNESCO #668

Another postcard from Cambodia! This is incredible, last month I only could dream of having a Angkor card, now I have nine, all different and two of them sent from location! This one was sent by Du's friend (the one he went visit a couple of months ago) after he asked her, knowing my preference for cards sent from location. She didn't sign the card, so I don't know her name but I want to express my gratitude to both of you, it was a amazing surprise and a wonderful complement to this entry on my collection - I loved the fact that you picked a stamp with a Khmer temple. This postcard took 23 days to arrive!
  
UNESCO #668 - Bayon Temple,Angkor - CAMBODIA
 
Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Stretching over some 400 km2, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. They include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations. UNESCO has set up a wide-ranging programme to safeguard this symbolic site and its surroundings.
   
     
    

Wayang Puppet Theatre - INDONESIA - UNESCO ICH #63

The Wayang Kulit performances are very popular in Indonesia, mainly on the island of Java. According to Shinta, the sender of this beautiful card, the stories are usually drawn from Hindu epics Ramayana and the Mahabharata and the whole performance is done by only one storyteller that narrates the events and move the puppets while a orchestra plays the Gamelan (traditional Java instruments). Thank you very much Shinta, for the card and of course for the awesome 4 stamps with dolls and puppets - this is my 3rd entry on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. This postcard took 15 days to arrive!
 
Wayang Puppet Theatre - INDONESIA - UNESCO ICH #63
 
Renowned for its elaborate puppets and complex musical styles, this ancient form of storytelling originated on the Indonesian island of Java. For ten centuries wayang flourished at the royal courts of Java and Bali as well as in rural areas. Wayang has spread to other islands (Lombok, Madura, Sumatra and Borneo) where various local performance styles and musical accompaniments have developed. 
  
  
  

Three Pagodas in Dali, Yunnan - CHINA - UNESCO TENTATIVE

Another postcard with a beautiful water reflection photography (one of my favorite type of landscapes) showing another site submitted to UNESCO as a tentative WHS, this time from China. The Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple in Dali are a ensemble of three towers (9th century AD) arranged on the corners of an equilateral triangle that face the west shore of the Erhai Lake. Thank you very much Chen, judging by this picture it's easy for me to believe that you find it beautiful when you visited the site last year. This postcard took 15 days to arrive!

Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple - CHINA
 
The Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake are located in the western Yunnan province within the Cangshan Mountain and Erhai lake scenic spot of 960 square kilometers. In the scenic spot there are an ancient town and pretty and lofty Cangshan Mountain and Erhai lake which is as bright and beautiful as a mirror. There are also more than 100 scenic spot in the are such as Chongshengsi Three Pagodas in Dali, Dehua Tablet of the Nanzhao Kingdom or Shibaoshan Grottoes of the Nanzhao Kingdom. 
   
  
   

Taal Volcano, Batangas - PHILIPPINES - UNESCO TENTATIVE

Now that I have all the current UNESCO World Heritage Site from Philippines, I'm starting to swap cards showing the sites that are trying to enter the main list. It's the case of the Taal Volcano, still active but covered with beautiful green vegetation and, acording to the sender there's a big lake inside the crater (but I wonder... if the volcano is active, it must be boiling hot, no?). Thank you very much Raine for sending me another amazing card. This postcard took 28 days to arrive!

Taal Volcano Protected Landscape, Batangas - PHILIPPINES
  
Taal Volcano is an active volcano on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. It consists of an island in Lake Taal, which is situated within a caldera formed by an earlier very large eruption.  The volcano has an elevation of 600 meters above sea level, the main rock type of which is Olivine Basalt. It is located about 50 km from the country capital, Manila.
  
  
 

"Cupid and Psyche" (1798), F. Gérard

This beautiful postcard shows the first kiss between Cupid (the son of Venus) and the mortal Psyche (the most beautiful princess of all... sorry Snow White!); the butterfly flying above their heads is a symbol of the pure love and soul (I recommend you to search and read the story of Cupid and Psyche, it's wonderful). The original painting is in Paris (Louvre) but sometimes it travels the world on temporary exhibits. Thank you very much for sending me this postcard (she bought it in Milan during one of those exhibitions) and for the gorgeous Sochi 2014 stamp from Croatia. This postcard took 13 days to arrive!

"Cupid and Psyche" (1798) by François Gérard
 
François Pascal Simon, Baron Gérard (4 Mау 1770 – 11 January 1837) was a French painter born in Rome, where his father occupied a post in the house of the French ambassador. His mother was Italian. Gérard is best remembered for his portraits; the color of his paintings has suffered, but his drawings show in uninjured delicacy the purity of his line; and those of women are specially remarkable for a virginal simplicity and frankness of expression. As a baron of the Empire he is sometimes referred to as Baron Gérard.
  
  
 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Town of Luang Prabang - LAOS - UNESCO #479

The last card of the day was a great surprise - My first postcard from Laos! On his "epic family vacation in Asia", Patrick went to Laos after visiting Cambodia (from where he sent me a card I've received 3 weeks ago) and when he went to the Town of Luang Prabang he gently took the time to send me from location this amazing card (with two wonderful stamps), one I wasn't expecting at all - Thank you so much PJ, I really hope you had the time of your life in your family adventure through Asia - you can't imagine my thrill when I picked this one from my mailbox today. With this epic card I cross a "hard to get" site from the list and see my collection grow to 364 sites, only 617 to finish. This postcard took 28 days to arrive!
 
UNESCO #479 - Wat Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang - LAOS
   
Luang Prabang is an outstanding example of the fusion of traditional architecture and Lao urban structures with those built by the European colonial authorities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Its unique, remarkably well-preserved townscape illustrates a key stage in the blending of these two distinct cultural traditions.
     
   
   

BULGARIA Map

This two beautiful maps of Bulgaria were sent by my friend from Sofia, Tsvetana. On the first we have pictures of the most famous touristic spots and in the second several of the treasures of one of the countries with the richest history in Europe and a place I really want to visit soon. Thank you very much Tsveti for this wonderful cards that made my will to travel to your country grow a lot (maybe when some low cost air routes to Sofia open from Portugal or Spain). This postcard took 18 days to arrive!

Country Map with the main touristic sites - BULGARIA

Country Map with the main archeological treasures - BULGARIA
  
Bulgaria, officially the Republic of Bulgaria is a country located in south-eastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. With a territory of 110,994 square kilometres, Bulgaria is Europe's 14th-largest country.
  

Stralsund - GERMANY - UNESCO #1067

The second card I've got from Manuela is my last German UNESCO World Heritage Site! Even knowing that I still need postcards from some sites (that include several locations), I can now say that Germany is complete, because I finally have cards from the 38 list entries. Thank you so much Manuela, I must confess that I never heard anything about Stralsund, but I think I'll never forget this name (and Weimar as well) and I will laugh really loud if I visit it one day, remembering this card. Well now, I reach 363 sites in my collection, only 618 missing and, I don't know if I told you already, but I've completed Germany (it took me more than one year, my first UNESCO from Germany was sent on May 7th 2013)! This postcard took 4 days to arrive!
 
UNESCO #1067 - Historic Center of Stralsund - GERMANY
 
The medieval towns of Wismar and Stralsund, on the Baltic coast of northern Germany, were major trading centres of the Hanseatic League in the 14th and 15th centuries. In the 17th and 18th centuries they became Swedish administrative and defensive centres for the German territories. They contributed to the development of the characteristic building types and techniques of Brick Gothic in the Baltic region, as exemplified in several important brick cathedrals, the Town Hall of Stralsund, and the series of houses for residential, commercial and crafts use, representing its evolution over several centuries.
  
  
 

Weimar - GERMANY - UNESCO #846

Today I received five postcards and all of them made me extremely happy. The first two came from Germany and are the last missing UNESCO sites from that country! This one shows Schiller's house in Weimar, built in 1777 and where the famous poet worked during the last years of his life (died here in 1805). Thank you very much Manuela, I don't know if I'll be able to collect all the 11 buildings on Weimar classified on this World Heritage Site, but for now, this one is enough to strike another entry from the list - 362 down, 619 to go! This postcard took 4 days to arrive!
  
UNESCO #846 - Classic Weimar - GERMANY
  
In the late 18th and early 19th century the small Thuringian town of Weimar witnessed a remarkable cultural flowering, attracting many writers and scholars, notably Goethe (1749-1832) and Schiller (1759-1805). This development is reflected in the high quality of many buildings and parks in the surrounding area. The World Heritage site comprises eleven separate buildings or ensembles.
 
    
  

Monday, April 28, 2014

EUROPE Map

More than one week later I finally receive a official Postcrossing postcard (it's incredible the slow pace of the official cards, sent and receive, they always seem to take so much time), this time sent by Ruta from Vilnius, Lithuania. She picked  the map of our amazing continent, Europe (even with this recent economical crisis and some political turmoil it's still the best continent to live in the world). I do love Europe and fortunately I already had the chance to visit the majority of its countries... my favorite? Need to ask? Portugal of course! Thank you so much Ruma, Happy Postcrossing! This postcard took 27 days to arrive!

I Love Europe (Map-Card) - LITHUANIA
 
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally divided from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting the Black and Aegean Seas. Europe is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and the Black Sea and connected waterways to the southeast. Yet the borders of Europe—a concept dating back to classical antiquity—are somewhat arbitrary, as the primarily physiography term "continent" can incorporate cultural and political elements.
  
  
 

Paphos - CYPRUS - UNESCO #79

This postcard came directly from the place where Aphrodite (Venus for the Romans) was born, Paphos in Cyprus. The importance of the cult of Aphrodite was such that during several centuries, Paphos was the capital city of this island, the third largest in the Mediterranean Sea. Thank you very much Nasia,  you live in a beautiful place that I really wish to visit one day. With this postcard my UNESCO collection reaches 361 WHS, 620 to finish (and only one from Cyprus missing!). This postcard took 19 days to arrive!
 
UNESCO #79 - Old Castle and Harbour, Paphos Island - CYPRUS
  
Paphos has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. It was a centre of the cult of Aphrodite and of pre-Hellenic fertility deities. Aphrodite's legendary birthplace was on this island, where her temple was erected by the Myceneans in the 12th century B.C. The remains of villas, palaces, theatres, fortresses and tombs mean that the site is of exceptional architectural and historic value. The mosaics of Nea Paphos are among the most beautiful in the world.
 
    
    

Soviet Sport Vintage Posters - CCCP

Two amazing posters with reproductions of vintage Soviet Propaganda were waiting in my mailbox today. Soviet Union (and another communist regimes) always tried to promote their supremacy in sports as a statment of demonstration of the virtues of their political system - mainly in the 40s and the 50s, lots of artists and illustrators painted several propaganda masterpieces that always impressed me. Thank you very much Yulia for the beautiful cards and the awesome stamps you used. This postcard took 18 days to arrive!
 
Let's Conquer World Records! (1956) - CCCP

All World Records must be Ours! (1948) - CCCP
 
Sports was hugely important throughout the whole period of the Soviet Union existence. It was meant to demonstrate the advantages of socialist way of life, the victory of Soviet “amateurishness” over bourgeois “professionalism”. While economic achievements sounded like statistics, achievements in sports were a strong symbol of the Cold War.
   
  
  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge - GA - USA - UNESCO TENTATIVE

The third postcard sent by Judy swows another tentative site (this on I get it and totally agree), the Okefenokee Swamp (what a wonderful name - try to say it several times really fast!) is located in southeastern Florida and it's vital for the local ecology and its amphibian populations are bio-indicators of global health. Thank you very much Judy for this amazing triple swap, a wonderful contribution to my collection. This postcard took 20 days to arrive!
 
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge - GEORGIA - USA
  
This National Wildlife Refuge consists of more than 162,000 hectares (about 400,000 acres) embracing 92% of the Okefenokee Swamp, a large hydrologically intact swamp that is the source of two rivers, one that flows into the Atlantic and the other into the Gulf of Mexico.  The Refuge also has extensive and essentially undisturbed peat deposits. 
  
   
  

Dayton Aviation Sites - OH - USA - UNESCO TENTATIVE

Along with the Alaska card, Judy sent me two more postcards, both from sites that are trying to enter the UNESCO WHS list. The Dayton Aviation Sites is example of a tentative site that to be honest I don't understand - of course the Wright Brothers were very important to the development of the plane and the possibility  of human flight (along with other aviation pioneers, like the Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont), but should some old cow pastures become World Heritage Sites because 11o years ago a homemade plane was able to leap 50m? Of course the work of those brave men must be preserved and remembered, but I wonder, is the local really that important? Well, the important thing is that it is another site that I do add to my collection - Thank you Judy! This postcard took 20 days to arrive!

Dayton Aviation Sites - OHIO - USA - UNESCO TENTATIVE
  
This proposed serial nomination includes the four above-named sites associated with the Wright Brothers' pioneering efforts in human flight, in and around the city of Dayton.  The first three components are part of Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, a unit of the National Park System, although Huffman Prairie is owned by the U.S. Air Force and Wright Hall by Dayton History.  Hawthorn Hill is owned by the Wright Family Foundation; there are plans to add the property to the park. 
  
  
 

Glacier Bay - AK - USA - UNESCO #72

Glacier Bay is part of the transboundary site (USA - Canada) that also includes Kluane, Wrangell-St. Elias and Tatshenshini-Alsek. This is the largest UNESCO protected biosphere in the world. On the card we can see Margerie Glacier at the head of Tarr Inlet in the West Arm of this National Park. Thank you very much Judy for this beautiful card - let's hope that global warming won't destroy this frozen landscapes (because of its beauty and most of all for its importance in Earth's equilibrium). Because it is a UNESCO WHS (my 15th from USA) my collection grows to 360 sites, only 621 to finish. This postcard took 20 days to arrive!
 
UNESCO #72 - Glacier Bay National Park - ALASKA - USA
  
These parks comprise an impressive complex of glaciers and high peaks on both sides of the border between Canada (Yukon Territory and British Columbia) and the United States (Alaska). The spectacular natural landscapes are home to many grizzly bears, caribou and Dall's sheep. The site contains the largest non-polar icefield in the world.
  

No title, Elliott Erwitt

This ironic photography was taken in 1983 in East Hampton, New York by the great French photographer Elliott Erwitt, famous for his ironic creations (also known as Phototoons). Thank you very much Katerina, your card really made me laugh the first time I saw it. This postcard took 5 days to arrive!
 
Photography by Elliott Erwitt (New York, 1983)
  
Elliott Erwitt (born 26 July 1928 in Paris, France) is an advertising and documentary photographer known for his black and white candid shots of ironic and absurd situations within everyday settings— a master of Henri Cartier-Bresson's "decisive moment". Erwitt was awarded The Royal Photographic Society's Centenary Medal and Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) in 2002 in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography and the International Center for Photography's Infinity Award, Lifetime Achievement category, in 2011.
  
  
   

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Kryžių Kalnas, Šiauliai - LITHUANIA

The last postcard Anton sent me shows one of the most peculiar places in Lithuania. Nobody knows why or when people started to leave crucifixes on this hill, but these days (specially since the Pope John Paul II visited and blessed the place) the Hill of Crosses has been growing fast. I saw a TV special about this place on National Geographic some time ago and it is quite impressive - they estimate that more than 200.000 crosses are on this hill. Thank you so much Anton for this big swap. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!
  
Kryžių Kalnas (The Hill of Crosses) - LITHUANIA
  
Kryžių Kalnas (The Hill of Crosses) is a site of pilgrimage about 12 km north of the city of Šiauliai, in northern Lithuania. The precise origin of the practice of leaving crosses on the hill is uncertain, but it is believed that the first crosses were placed on the former Jurgaičiai or Domantai hill fort after the 1831 Uprising. Over the centuries, not only crosses, but giant crucifixes, carvings of Lithuanian patriots, statues of the Virgin Mary and thousands of tiny effigies and rosaries have been brought here by Catholic pilgrims.
  
 
  

Kuršių Nerija, Curonian Spit - LITHUANIA - UNESCO #994

When I first look at this postcard I thought there was a mistake and somehow Anton had switched one Lithuanian for a African postcard! In fact this amazing photo was made in Grabstas Cape, at Kuršių Nerija National Park, part of Curonian Spit, the 98 km long, thin, curved sand-dune near the Baltic Sea and a UNESCO WHS (transboundary: Lithuania and Russia). Thank you very much for this awesome card Anton and for your message - it's not hard to believe when you wrote that you've found Kuršių Nerija beautiful when you visited it... I'll try to put it on my route to! This postcard took 6 days to arrive!
 
UNESCO #994 - Curonian Spit (Kuršių Nerija ) - LITHUANIA
 
UNESCO #994 - Curonian Spit (Lighthouse of Horses) - LITHUANIA 
The Curonian Spit is an outstanding example of a landscape of sand dunes that is under constant threat from natural forces (wind and tide). After disastrous human interventions that menaced its survival, the Spit was reclaimed by massive protection and stabilization works begun in the 19th century and still continuing to the present day. Human habitation of this elongated sand dune peninsula, 98 km long and 0.4-4 km wide, dates back to prehistoric times.
   
  
  

Vilnius - LITHUANIA - UNESCO #541

Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, its largest city and where Anton lives - in this card we can see the Saint Johnes Church and the Belfry, a place he knows hell because near this church stands Vilnius University (one of the oldest in Europe) where he studied. Thanks Anton, this is my second card from Vilnius (the other is a nightview) and I really like it. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!
 
UNESCO #541 - Saint Jones, Vilnius - LITHUANIA
 
Political centre of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the 13th to the end of the 18th century, Vilnius has had a profound influence on the cultural and architectural development of much of eastern Europe. Despite invasions and partial destruction, it has preserved an impressive complex of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and classical buildings as well as its medieval layout and natural setting.
  
 
 

Trakai Historical National Park - LITHUANIA - UNESCO TENTATIVE

The second card I got from Anton is also on the UNESCO list, not as a World Heritage Site, but still as a tentative to become one (curiously the only tentative site in Lithuania). It's the first time I read anything about Trakai, but I must say it really looks beautiful (I recommend everyone to check some photos on the web). Thank you very much Anton, I'll definitely include this park on my route when I finally get the chance to visit your country. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!
 
Trakai Park - LITHUANIA - UNESCO TENTATIVE
    
Trakai Park lies in the eastern part of the Lithuanian Republic, 25 km to the west of the capital city, Vilnius. Trakai Park stands in the Dzukija Upland area of the Baltic uplands at a height of 102-228 m above sea level. It covers an area of wooded lake land in eastern Dzukija, which is centred on the historical town of Trakai. The landscape of Trakai Park exudes particular beauty; in part this is natural and in part it is manmade. It covers an area of 8,200 ha which includes more than 32 lakes.

 
 
 

Kernavė Mounds - LITHUANIA - UNESCO #1137

Today I received 5 amazing postcards from Lithuania sent by Anton. The first one shows the famous Kernavé Mounds - at a first glance they may seem like natural hills, but in fact are man made defensive structures that can be found a little all over Lithuania, but specially in this region. Thanks Anton, this is my 359th UNESCO site, so only 622 to finish my collection. This postcard took 6 days to arrive!
 
UNESCO #1137 - Kernavė Archaeological Site - LITHUANIA
 
The Kernavė Archaeological site, about 35 km north-west of Vilnius in eastern Lithuania, represents an exceptional testimony to some 10 millennia of human settlements in this region. Situated in the valley of the River Neris, the site is a complex ensemble of archaeological properties, encompassing the town of Kernavė, forts, some unfortified settlements, burial sites and other archaeological, historical and cultural monuments from the late Palaeolithic Period to the Middle Ages. The site of 194,4 ha has preserved the traces of ancient land-use, as well as remains of five impressive hill forts, part of an exceptionally large defence system. Kernavė was an important feudal town in the Middle Ages.
 
 
 

Sumatra Rainforest - INDONESIA - UNESCO #1167

This Sumatra Tropical Rainforest postcard is the 8th Indonesian classified site I receive and, at least until the next UNESCO committee reunion, it's finally complete - let's start working on the tentative sites, now! Thank you very much Dewimartha for this beautiful card and the amazing stamps you used - ok now, 358 down, 623 to go and another country complete on my UNESCO WHS collection! This postcard took 20 days to arrive!

UNESCO #1167 - Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra - INDONESIA
 
The 2.5 million hectare Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra site comprises three national parks: Gunung Leuser National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. The site holds the greatest potential for long-term conservation of the distinctive and diverse biota of Sumatra, including many endangered species. The protected area is home to an estimated 10,000 plant species, including 17 endemic genera; more than 200 mammal species; and some 580 bird species of which 465 are resident and 21 are endemic. 
  
  
 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

OREGON Map

This funny cartoon map of the Oregon State, is another great addition to my US State map cards collection (11 at the moment). It was sent by Ai, that lives in Oregon and whose favorite place in the Beaver State is the Crater Lake National Park. Thank you very much Ai, you live in a wonderful place that I must confess I only discoverer lots of things today in the Wikipedia entry (for example I thought Portland was the Capital of Oregon!). This postcard took 11 days to arrive!

OREGON Map and Symbols - USA
 
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. It is bordered on its west by the Pacific Ocean, north by Washington, south California, east Idaho, and southeast Nevada. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary, the Snake River largely its eastern. Oregon's area was inhabited by many indigenous tribes before traders, explorers, and settlers arrived. An autonomous government was formed in Oregon Country in 1843, Oregon Territory was created in 1848, and Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14, 1859. Its capital is Salem, third most populous of its cities.
  
  
   

Iguaçu Falls - BRAZIL - UNESCO #355

All the way across the Atlantic, deep in the heart of South America, on the border between Argentina and Brazil, the Iguaçu (or Iguazu) Falls are one of the biggest waterfalls in the world and now I finally have a postcard from there. It's curious though, after searching the UNESCO webpage I found that this is not a transboundary site, but two different sites, one in Argentina (since 1984) and one in Brazil (added in 1986), both including the falls but each one giving importance to the surrounding fauna and flora only in the respective country... to be honest I don't follow, even knowing the rivalry between this two countries. Oh well, so I still need a card from Argentina! Thank you very much Silvia, my collection grows to 357, only 624 to the end. This postcard took 31 days to arrive!

UNESCO #355 - Iguaçu Falls - BRAZIL
 
The park shares with Iguazu National Park in Argentina one of the world's largest and most impressive waterfalls. It is home to many rare and endangered species of flora and fauna, among them the giant otter and the giant anteater. The clouds of spray produced by the waterfall maintain a lush growth of vegetation. The Iguaçu Falls span the border between Argentina and Brazil. Some 80 m high and 3 km wide, the falls are made up of many cascades and rapids that generate vast sprays of water and produce one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world.
 
  
 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Revolution of Dignity - UKRAINE

This beautiful (and full of meaning) postcard is dedicated to the events that started last winter in Ukraine - a situation that unfortunately still hits the front pages every day and has half the world holding its breath afraid of a War in Europe - and it shows that besides most radical extremists, the majority of the protesters are ordinary educated people that are fighting for a better future for them and the next generations. To prove that, a spontaneous movement started (called 'Revolution of Dignity') and people started to read poetry, sing and play musical instruments to the police barriers. Thank you very much Tania, this is a very special card to me - I'll not express here any kind of political opinions or take any position about who's right and who's wrong (when people starts to die, I believe that everything and everyone is wrong!), my only wish is that your country may reach a solution that stops the hate and violence. All the luck in the world for you and your beloved ones, please stay safe... This postcard took 8 days to arrive!
 
'Revolution of Dignity' (Illustration: стронґовський) - UKRAINE
 
Peace is an occurrence of harmony characterized by the lack of violence, conflict behaviors and the freedom from fear of violence. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility and retribution, peace also suggests sincere attempts at reconciliation, the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the establishment of equality, and a working political order that serves the true interests of all.
  
 
  

Shennongjia Nature Reserve - CHINA - UNESCO TENTATIVE

The second card with a UNESCO Tentative site I got from China today shows a beautiful scenery from Hubei in the Shen Nong Jia forest region. According to the sender, it's rumored that there are wild men in this reserve (like from a lost missing link - the Chinese version of the Big Foot myth), many people claims they saw some. Thanks again Heng for this great double swap, hopefully at least one of this sites will be a WHS soon. This postcard took 17 days to arrive! 

Shennongjia Nature Reserve - CHINA - UNESCO TENTATIVE
 
Shennongjia Nature Reserve in the western part of Hubei Province lies between Daba and Wudang Mountains. Lying between the transitional zone of south-western high mountain and low hilly land of Central China, the Reserve has a total land area of 90,000 ha. The Shennong Crest that has been known to be the first peak of Central China, locates in the middle part of the Reserve with the elevation of 3,105 m.
  
  
 

Yangtze Gorges Scenic Spot - CHINA - UNESCO TENTATIVE

Three Gorges of the Yangtze River is located in Sichuan Province and home of the largest hydroelectric dam in the world (a amazing engineering work that took almost 15 years constructing). Beyond the dam, that legendary river (the longest in Asia) hides some of the most beautiful scenic spots in China, a site that UNESCO is considering to be a World Heritage Site. Thank you very much Heng. This postcard took 17 days to arrive!

Three Gorges (Yangtze River), Sichuan - CHINA - UNESCO TENTATIVE
 
The Yangtze Gorges is one of the first key national scenic spots in China. They start at Baidicheng in Fengjie County, Chongqing and end at Nanjin Pass in Yichang, Hubei Province. The gorges themselves are 193km long and cover an area of 1208km2, including Wuxia gorge, Qutang gorge, Xiling gorge and some wide valleys between these gorges. The history of the scenic spots and historical sites in the Three Gorges area can go back to ancient times and it recorded many stirring historical deeds. The mountains and water in Three Gorges are in various postures and are a mysterious natural gallery.
  
  
 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Avalanche - SWITZERLAND

The last postcard in the pile I found on my mailbox is this amazing "pin-up gorgeous" sent by Óscar - after the sexy postcard from Italy he wrote me a few weeks I asked for more sensual girls and, according to his message, this was the best he could find in Switzerland. Thanks a lot Óscar, your card really made me laugh loud when I saw it, but you're being unfair - there are lot's of beautiful Swiss girls, I remember camping in Lausanne and having some nice neighbors (unless they were foreigners of course, now that I think of it I didn't ask!)

Alpine Avalanche - SWITZERLAND
 
Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have a negative effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems. People are considered obese when their body mass index (BMI), exceeds 30. Obesity is most commonly caused by a combination of excessive food energy intake, lack of physical activity, and genetic susceptibility, although a few cases are caused primarily by genes, endocrine disorders, medications or psychiatric illness.
  
  
 

Kilimanjaro National Park - TANZANIA - UNESCO #403

The second card from Tanzania finally arrived! I'm really happy for getting this one, first because it's one of those places I would love to go (almost had the chance when I went to Dar-El-Salaam and Zanzibar, but didn't happened), second because I read that all the whole Canadian group made it to the top (I'm not sure if I would be able to do the 9 days hike in constant climbing, though). Thank you very much Jason, you really deserve that lager my friend (did you tried 'Tusker'? It's from Kenya I believe, but I remember loving it). This amazing postcard is a straight-to-favorites entry on my UNESCO collection that reaches 356 different sites, only 625 to finish (easy peasy!).
 
UNESCO #403 - Kilimanjaro Park - TANZANIA
  
At 5,895 m, Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa. This volcanic massif stands in splendid isolation above the surrounding plains, with its snowy peak looming over the savannah. The mountain is encircled by mountain forest. Numerous mammals, many of them endangered species, live in the park. 
   
   
 

Cuculus Canorus - BELARUS

This amazing Maxi-Card was recently released by Belarus Postal Services; apparently they issue a bird stamp every year and the Cuckoo was the one they've chosen in 2014. My good friend Elena send me one celebrating the arrival of Spring. Thank you very much my dear Lena! Don't know about you, but this is my favorite time of the year, with the rising of the temperatures and the flower blossom on the fields - I constantly feel happy and with a will to sing and shout, like in the old English poem "Spring has arrived, /Loudly sing, cuckoo! /Sing merrily, cuckoo! /Cuckoo, cuckoo, /You sing well, cuckoo, /Never stop now!"
   
Cuculus Canorus (Maxi-Card) - BELARUS
    
The Cuculus Canorus (Common Cuckoo, formerly European Cuckoo) is a member of the cuckoo order of birds, the Cuculiformes, which also includes the roadrunners, the anis and the coucals. The species' binomial name is derived from the Latin cuculus (the cuckoo) and canorus (melodious; from canere, meaning to sing). The cuckoo family gets its common name and genus name by onomatopoeia for the call of the male Common Cuckoo.
   
  
   

Schokland and Surroundings - NETHERLANDS - UNESCO #739

The Shokland area is another of those places that testify the incessant struggle between the Dutch and the Sea - a peninsula that became a island and after some serious draining part of northern mainland of the Netherlands. According to the sender that lives in that region it is a beautiful place, although a bit boring. Thank you very much Ilona (I wish you a great time on your coming travel to Georgia). With this postcard I've completed another country - I currently own cards from all the 9 WHS in the Netherlands! Globally 355 down, 626 to go.

Schokland, Noordoostpolder - NETHERLANDS - UNESCO #739
 
Schokland was a peninsula that by the 15th century had become an island. Occupied and then abandoned as the sea encroached, it had to be evacuated in 1859. But following the draining of the Zuider Zee, it has, since the 1940s, formed part of the land reclaimed from the sea. Schokland has vestiges of human habitation going back to prehistoric times. It symbolizes the heroic, age-old struggle of the people of the Netherlands against the encroachment of the waters.
  
  
 

Tana Toraja Settlement - INDONESIA - UNESCO TENTATIVE

The last card that I got from Shinta shows this peculiar construction know as tongkonan hoses, part of the Tana Toraja Traditional Settlements, 10 different sites in the Province of South Sulawesi, Indonesia that some say will became a World Heritage Site after 2015 UNESCO meeting. I spent some time looking at this card wondering why did they built those weird rooftops shaped like boats? Thank you so much Shinta for this awesome triple swap, I really love this cards. 
  
Tongkonan Houses, Tana Toraja - INDONESIA - UNESCO TENTATIVE

Tana Toraja Traditional Settlement is a series of 10 traditional settlements or constituents of them, such as burial or ceremonial grounds. Tana Toraja Traditional Settlement and culture still retain the characteristics of early Austronesian culture. These can be demonstrated by Toraja cosmology, ceremonies, settlement arrangement, houses, decorations, and the role of water buffalo. Elements of Tana Toraja Traditional Settlement, such as tongkonan house, arrangement of settlement, and decorative art, demonstrate an outstanding design, technique, functional concept, and workmanship. 
  
  
 

Trowulan - INDONESIA - UNESCO TENTATIVE

Trowulan in the Indonesian province of East Java, is the site of the former capital city of the Majapahit Kingdom - on the postcard we can see Bajang Ratu, the elegant Paduraksa style gate to the ancient town. All the archaeological site (covering approximately 100 square kilometres) is a tentative to enter the UNESCO list. Thanks again Shinta for this beautiful postcard and for the amazing stamps you used.
  
Bajang Ratu, Trowulan - INDONESIA - UNESCO TENTATIVE
   
The Trowulan site is the only city site of the Hindu-Budha classical age in Indonesia that can still be found. The site of the former capital city of the Majapahit Kingdom was built on flat terrains at the foot of three mountains, namely the Penanggungan, Welirang, and Anjasmara Mountain.
  

Lorentz National Park - INDONESIA - UNESCO #955

Part of a triple swap I've arranged some time ago, this beautiful multiview postcard shows Lorentz National Park in the Province of Papua,Indonesia. According to the UNESCO webpage this region has been inhabited for over 24,000 years and has evolved some of the most distinctive and long isolated cultures in the world. Thank you very much Shinta, with this card my collection grows to 354 World Heritage Sites, 627 to complete it (and only one missing from Indonesia that should arrive soon!).
 
UNESCO #955 - Lorentz National Park - INDONESIA
 
Lorentz National Park is the largest protected area in South-East Asia. It is the only protected area in the world to incorporate a continuous, intact transect from snowcap to tropical marine environment, including extensive lowland wetlands. Located at the meeting-point of two colliding continental plates, the area has a complex geology with ongoing mountain formation as well as major sculpting by glaciation. The area also contains fossil sites which provide evidence of the evolution of life on New Guinea, a high level of endemism and the highest level of biodiversity in the region.
  
  
 

Hoi An Ancient Town - VIETNAM - UNESCO #948

My good friend Du from Singapore has a friend working in Vietnam and knowing my preference for postcards sent from country of origin he asked his friend to send me this wonderful postcard showing the Historic City of Hoi An, a small ancient town right in the middle of that country. According to the sender, it's a beautiful place that really deserves a visit. Thank you very much Du (unfortunately your friend didn't signed the letter so I can't thank him by name) - my collection owns a lot to your amazing contributions. This is my 2nd UNESCO from Vietnam and with it I reach 353 WHS, 628 to finish.

UNESCO #948 - Hoi An Ancient Town - VIETNAM
 
Hoi An, an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Asian trading port, is an outstanding material manifestation of the fusion of cultures over time in an international maritime commercial centre. It is the only town in Viet Nam that has survived intact in this way. Most of the buildings are in the traditional architectural style of the 19th and 20th centuries. They are aligned along narrow lanes of traditional type. They include many religious buildings, such as pagodas, temples, meeting houses, etc., which relate to the development of a port community. The traditional lifestyle, religion, customs and cooking have been preserved and many festivals still take place annually.
  
  
 

Historic Monuments of Dengfeng - CHINA - UNESCO #1305

This beautiful picture makes me remind the old kung-fu movies that normally start on a remote Shaolin Temple and then follow the life of one of those monks in his adventures on the Occident. This amazing photo was taken on Henan in the middle of a region known as "The Centre of Heaven and Earth". Thank you very much Kolly, I really like your card - as for my UNESCO collection, 352 down, 629 to go.

UNESCO #1305 - Historic Monuments of Dengfeng - CHINA
 
Mount Songshang is considered to be the central sacred mountain of China. At the foot of this 1500 metre high mountain, close to the city of Dengfeng in Henan province and spread over a 40 square-kilometre circle, stand eight clusters of buildings and sites. Constructed over the course of nine dynasties, these buildings are reflections of different ways of perceiving the centre of heaven and earth and the power of the mountain as a centre for religious devotion. The historical monuments of Dengfeng include some of the best examples of ancient Chinese buildings devoted to ritual, science, technology and education.