Wednesday, March 31, 2010

#168 Kenya...Thanks Aliya!

This FDC was issued in 1998 to celebrate 20th Anniversary of H.E.Daniel Toroitich arap Moi's leadership of Kenya.

His Excellency Daniel Toroitich arap Moi,has been the President of the Republicof Kenya since 1978.On Jan.5,1998 he took his oath of ofice for the fifth term as president.The colourful swearing ceremony was held at Uhuru Park in Nairobi.

On Dec.12,1963 Kenya attained independence and a year later became a Republic.Mzee Kenyatta led the country as President from independence until the time he died on 1978.H.E.President Moi,the then Vice President constitutionally succeeded the President as the second President of the Republic of Kenya.It was a rare smooth transfer of power in an otherwise turbulent Africa.

The 25c stamp on the left top shows Kit Mikaye,located off Kisumu Bondo Road towards Bondo in western Kenya.

Kit Mikaye is said to be the rock where Mikaye (which means, literally, "the first wife"), the mother of the Luo tribe, sheltered herself after a long journey down the Nile.

There are many spectacular rock formations which abound with myths and mythologies in western tourist circuit. The massive columns of Kit Mikaye in Seme are towers of boulders piled together into gravity defying columns. The stones have been a source of solace for the Luo people for a long time.

According to legend, this was once the homestead of a powerful man who used to abuse and mistreat his first wife. The woman returned to haunt him after her death, eventually turning him and his property into stones. It is said the woman went up the rock where she has been weeping ever since.

Local people believe that if any man with a problem visits the stones, his problems will be solved and his wishes answered, so long as elders sacrifice a goat at the site. In the past, only men were allowed near the rocks, but visitors are these days welcome. The site is managed by the Kit Mikaye Rock Development Group which plans to construct a banda where visitors can get refreshments and accommodation. Religious groups visit the rocks hoping that their prayers will be answered.

The second 25c stamp shows a Maasai woman.

The Maasai are an indigenous African ethnic group of semi-nomadic people located in Kenya and northern Tanzania. Due to their distinctive customs and dress and residence near the many game parks of East Africa, they are among the most well known of African ethnic groups.They speak Maa,a member of the Nilo-Saharan language family that is related to Dinka and Nuer, and are also educated in the official languages of Kenya and Tanzania: Swahili and English. Estimates of the respective Maasai populations in both countries are complicated by the remote locations of many villages, and their semi-nomadic nature.

Maasai society is strongly patriarchal in nature with elder men, sometimes joined by retired elders, deciding most major matters for each Maasai group. A full body of oral law covers many aspects of behaviour. Formal execution is unknown, and normally payment in cattle will settle matters. The Maasai are monotheistic, and they call God Enkai or Engai. Engai is a single deity with a dual nature: Engai Narok (Black God) is benevolent, and Engai Nanyokie (Red God) is vengeful. The "Mountain of God", Ol Doinyo Lengai, is located in northernmost Tanzania. Many Maasai have become Christian, and to a lesser extent, Muslim. The Maasai are known for their intricate jewelry.

A high infant mortality rate among the Maasai has led to babies not truly being recognized until they reach an age of 3 moons. For Maasai living a traditional life, the end of life is virtually without ceremony, and the dead are left out for scavengers. A corpse rejected by scavengers,mainly spotted hyenas, is seen as having something wrong with it, and liable to cause social disgrace, therefore it is not uncommon for bodies to be covered in fat and blood from a slaughtered ox.Burial has in the past been reserved for great chiefs, since it is believed to be harmful to the soil.

Traditional Maasai lifestyle centers around their cattle which constitute their primary source of food. The measure of a man's wealth is in terms of cattle and children. A herd of 50 cattle is respectable, and the more children the better. A man who has plenty of one but not the other is considered to be poor.[18] A Maasai myth relates that God gave them all the cattle on earth, leading to the belief that rustling cattle from other tribes is a matter of taking back what is rightfully theirs, a practice that has become much less common.

The 25c stamp at the left bottom is from Kenya's 2008 Olympics issue.

The 25c stamp at the right bottom shows Turkana hut.

Turkana people inhabit the Turkana District in northwest Kenya, a dry and hot region bordering Lake Turkana in the east.They are mainly nomadic pastoralists and are noted for raising camels and weaving baskets. They are believed to be of a Hamito-Semitic origin. They are believed to have originated from North Africa and across the Red Sea. They are a conservative ethnic group with strict cultural lifestyle. Their huts are constructed over a wooden framework of domed saplings on which grass is thatched and lashed on.The house is large enough to house a family of six.Usually during the wet season they are elongated and covered with cow dung.

#167 Singapore...Thanks Emily!

The 65c stamp is from 2009 Local Delights issue showing Laksa,which is a popular spicy noodle soup in Malaysia and Singapore, and to a lesser extent Indonesia.

It is a merger of Chinese and Malay elements.The term "laksa" is used generally to describe two different basic types of noodle soup dishes: curry laksa and asam laksa. Curry laksa is a coconut curry soup with noodles, while asam laksa is a sour fish soup with noodles. Usually, thick rice noodles also known as laksa noodles are preferred, although thin rice vermicelli (bee hoon or mee hoon) is also common and some variants use other types.

#166 Macau...Thanks Rohaps!

This odd-shaped minisheet was issued in 2009 commemorating 10th anniversary of PLA (People's Liberation Army)'s parking in Macau.

#165 Sweden...Thanks Anette!

The left stamp is from 2009 Summer Nature issue showing an European tree frog in Stenshuvud National Park.

Stenshuvud is a hill in the southeastern corner of Sweden, in the province of Scania. Since 1986, it is one of the National parks of Sweden. The park covers an area of about 3.9 km².

The hill is 97 metres high and faces the Baltic Sea. Since the surrounding landscape is relatively flat, it can be seen from a great distance and has traditionally been used as a landmark for seafarers. Many visitors trek up the hill to enjoy the view which is very good in clear weather.
Most of the area is covered with broadleaf forest, especially European hornbeam. The park also contains heaths, meadows and swamps. Because of the mild climate and varied habitats, many different animal and plant species can be encountered in the park. Among animal species unusual to Sweden one can mention hazel dormouse, golden oriole, European tree frog and agile frog. There are about 600 vascular plant species, including several types of orchids and the very rare barren strawberry.

Below the hill there is a popular swimming beach. Close to the top one can find the remains of a ruin of a 5th or 6th century fortress.

According to local folklore, the hill got its name (Sten's head) from a giant living in the cave Giddastuan.

The right stamp is from 2009 Herbs issue showing Chili Pepper.

Chili pepper is the fruit of the plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae.

Although botanically speaking, the fruit of capsicums are berries, the peppers are considered as vegetables or spices for culinary purposes. Depending on flavor intensity and fleshiness, their culinary use varies from use as a vegetable (e.g., bell pepper) to use as a spice (e.g., cayenne pepper).

Chili peppers originated in the Americas. Their cultivars are now grown around the world, because they are widely used as food and as medicine.

#164 Brazil...Thanks Paulo!

These three stamps are from 2009 Exuberant Birds issue showing from left to right Red Crested Cardinal (Thraupidae),Guianan Cock-of-the-rock (Cotingidae) and Blue-naped Chlorophonia (Fringilidae).

#163 Brazil...Thanks Pedro!

The stamp on the left is Brazil's 2009 Upaep issue of Tradition Game: Marble.

The arrangements of the game are varying from city to city, from street to street, according to the creativity of children. However, a more popularized game consists of a circle drawn on the ground, where players must, with a push of the thumb, play the ball. Subsequent players must hit the ball, and if they can remove it from the circle, they become yours.

#162 Brasil...Thanks Iane!

The 74c stamp,issued in 2003,shows a painting "Boy from Brodowski" by Candido Portinari.

Candido Portinari (Brodowski, 1903 - Rio de Janeiro,1962) was one of the most important Brazilian painters and also a prominent and influential practitioner of the neo-realism style in painting.

Born of Italian immigrants in a coffee plantation near Brodowski, in São Paulo, Portinari studied at the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes (ENBA) in Rio de Janeiro. In 1928 he won a gold medal at the ENBA and a trip to Paris where he stayed until 1930, when he returned to Brazil.
He joined the Brazilian Communist Party and stood for senator in 1947 but had to flee Brazil for Uruguay due to the persecution of Communists. He returned to Brazil in 1951 but suffered ill health during the last decade of his life and died in 1962 due to lead poisoning from his paints.

Portinari's works can be found in galleries and settings in Brazil and abroad, ranging from the family chapel in his childhood home in Brodowski to his panels Guerra e Paz (War and Peace) in the United Nations building in New York. The range and sweep of his output is quite remarkable. It includes images of childhood, paintings depicting rural and urban labour, refugees fleeing the hardships of Brazil's rural north-east, treatments of the key events in the history of Brazil since the arrival of the Portuguese in 1500, portraits of members of his family and leading Brazilian intellectuals, illustrations for books, tiles decorating the Church of São Francisco at Pampulha, Belo Horizonte. There were a number of commemorative events in the centenary of his birth in 2003, including an exhibition of his work in London.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

#161 Belgium...Thanks Laure!

The four stamps are from Birds definitive series depicting Nutcracker (0.15c, Corvidae);Dunnock (0.10c Prunellidae) and Long-eared Owl (0.40c,Strigidae).

#160 Belgium...Thanks Jennifer!

This FDC was issued in 2007 with the theme "Mourning".

The stamp on the left is from 2009 World Heritage issue showing Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons).

The Neolithic flint mines at Spiennes, covering more than 100 ha, are the largest and earliest concentration of ancient mines in Europe. They are also remarkable for the diversity of technological solutions used for extraction and for the fact that they are directly linked to a settlement of the same period.

#159 Spain...Thanks Juan!

The two A stamps on the right are from 2010 Autonomy issue with the upper one showing the Congress and the lower one showing the Senate.

#158 Netherlands...Thanks AE!

The left 44c stamp is from 2009 Sports issue and the right 44c stamp is from 2009 Braille issue.

Monday, March 29, 2010

#157 Croatia...Thanks Unknown

The 0.50 HRK stamp is from 2008 Textile Folk Art issue.

The 2.50 HRK stamp is from 2002 Modern Art series showing The Girl in the Boat,by Milivoj Uzelac.

Milivoj Uzelac (1897-1977), a Croatian painter, attended high school in Banja Luka, where he met Vilko Gecan, another classic of Croatian modern art. There he began to paint until in 1912 his family moved to Zagreb where he occasionally attends the Academy under the leadership of Tomislav Krizman and later Otto Ivekovića. After the outbreak of World War I he escaped from the mobilization in Prague where he worked with the Czech painter Jan Preislerom. There with three other artists (Vilko Gecan, Marijan Trepše and Vladimir Varlaj - formed the Group of Four, and comes in contact with the art of Expressionism whose style will make the most of their group). In 1919.he returned to Zagreb where the other members of the company regularly exhibits his works in the Spring Salon. In this period his most famous masterpieces were created. In 1923 he moved to Paris where he acquired a high reputation until his death.
In 1971 his first retrospective exhibition was held in the Modern Gallery in Zagreb.

#156 Malaysia...Thanks Nurul!

The 50sen stamp is from 2008 Royal Hats issue showing a royal head-dress.

For centuries Malay Rulers have worn head-dresses as part of their regalia. They have been wearing head-dresses made of embroidered silk folded in different styles since the days of the Malay Sultanate. The style of folding is called solek. The colour of the head-dress varies from one state to another. The royal head-dress worn by His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong during his installation is made of black fabric embroidered with gold thread. It is folded in the style called Dendam Tak Sudah which originated from Negeri Sembilan. Pinned at the front of the head-dress is a crescent and a star. In the centre of the star is the colorful crest of the Government of Malaysia.

The 30sen stamp is from Malaysian Dances set issued in 2005. It depicts Bharata Natyam and Kathak.

Bharata Natyam is one of the 8 forms of Indian classical dance form originating in Tamil. One of the oldest of the classical dance forms in India, it is also known as the fifth Veda. Bharatanatyam is usually accompanied by the classical music. It has its inspirations from the sculptures of the ancient temple of Chidambaram. Bharatanatyam, as the name depicts is the combination of:
BHA- Bhava (Expression), RA- Raga (Music) and TA- Tala (Rhythm) Bharatanatyam is a traditional dance-form known for its grace, purity, tenderness, and sculpturesque poses. Today, it is one of the most popular and widely performed dance styles and is practiced by many dancers all over the world.

Kathak is also one of the 8 forms of Indian classical dances, originated from northern India. This dance form traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathaks, or storytellers. These bards, performing in village squares and temple courtyards, mostly specialized in recounting mythological and moral tales from the scriptures, and embellished their recitals with hand gestures and facial expressions. It was quintessential theatre, using instrumental and vocal music along with stylized gestures, to enliven the stories. Its form today contains traces of temple and ritual dances, and the influence of the bhakti movement. From the 16th century onwards it absorbed certain features of Persian dance and Central Asian dance which were imported by the royal courts of the Mughal era.

The 20c stamp is from 1995 Fungi issue depicting Bracket Fungus (Microporus xanthopus),which are mainly found on trees, and resemble mushrooms. Some form annual fruiting bodies while others are perennial and grow larger year after year. Bracket fungi are typically tough and sturdy and produce their spores, called basidiospores, within the pores that typically make up the undersurface.

The term classically was reserved for polypores, however molecular studies have revealed some odd relationships. The beefsteak fungus, a well known bracket fungus, is actually a member of the agarics. Other examples of bracket fungi include the sulphur shelf, birch bracket, dryad's saddle, artist's conk, and turkey tail. Some species of bracket fungi are cultivated for human consumption or medicinal use. The name Polypores is often used for a group that includes many of the hard or leathery fungi, which often lack a stem, growing straight out of wood.

Their hardness means they are very resilient and can live for quite a long time, with many species even developing beautiful multi-coloured circles of colour that are actually annual growth rings.

The group includes many different shapes and forms that are common in the tropical forests, including the hard 'cup fungi' and the 'shell', 'plate' and 'bracket' fungus commonly found growing off logs and still standing dead trees.

#155 Philippines...Thanks Myron!

#154 Finland...Thanks Terttu!

The 1st class stamp on the right is Finnish 2010 Easter stamp illustrating twin Easter bunnies disguised as the Easter eggs.

#153 USA...Thanks Ira!

The 44c stamp in the middle is from Abstract Expressionists issued in Mar.2010 featuring Willem de Kooning's work "Asheville".

Abstract expressionists believed that art no longer depicted experience but became the experience itself. They emphasized spontaneous, free expression and allowed personal intuition and the unconscious to guide their choice of imagery. Other shared traits include the use of large canvases and an emphasis on paint texture and distinctive brushstrokes.

Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) transformed the traditions of European art to create his own energetic and unconstrained style. While much of his work was entirely abstract, de Kooning’s best-known paintings blend abstraction and figural representation. Skittering black lines, shifting shapes, fragmented body parts, and flashes of color fill the surface of his 1948 work Asheville.

#152 Panama...Thanks Freddy!

The two 0.10 PAB stamps were issued in 2003 celebrating the centenary of Republic of Panama,showing the first national flag.

Panama is the southernmost country of both Central America and, in turn, North America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital is Panama City.

In the first eighty years following independence from Spain, Panama was a department of Colombia. When the Senate of Colombia rejected the Hay-Herran Treaty, the United States decided to support the Panamanian independence movement. In November 1903, Panama proclaimed its independence and concluded the Hay/Bunau-Varilla Treaty with the United States. The treaty granted rights to the United States "as if it were sovereign" in a zone roughly 10 miles wide and 50 miles long. In that zone, the U.S. would build a canal, then administer, fortify, and defend it "in perpetuity." In 1914, the United States completed the existing 83-kilometer (52-mile) canal.

The 0.03 PAB stamp is from 2007 Tourism issue.

The 0.40 PAB stamp on the right corner was issued in 2000 celebrating the reversion of Panama Canal to Panama since Dec.31,1999.

One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, the canal had an enormous impact on shipping between the two oceans, replacing the long and treacherous route via the Drake Passage and Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America.

The concept of a canal near Panama dates to the early 16th century. The first attempt to construct a canal began in 1880 under French leadership, but was abandoned after 21,900 workers died, largely from disease and landslides. The United States launched a second effort, incurring a further 5,600 deaths but succeeding in opening the canal in 1914. The US controlled the canal and the Canal Zone surrounding it until the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties provided for the transition of control to Panama. From 1979 to 1999 the canal was under joint US-Panamanian administration, and from 31 December 1999 command of the waterway was assumed by the Panama Canal Authority, an agency of the Panamanian government.

#151 Romania...Thanks Daniela!

This prepaid envelope depicts a Romania's famous folk music singer:Grigore Lese (born in 1954), who is a bard of the country. He graduated from the Music Academy "Gheorghe Dima" from Cluj-Napoca, Faculty of Interpretation (bassoon), today is Doctor of Music and Associate Professor of the Faculty of Letters, Bucharest University and the University of Music Bucharest.

His repertoire consists of old songs, from the authentic folklore of the area and marking important events in human life. Grigore lese sings with various musical instruments.

The 2.5 Lei stamp in the middle was issued in 2007 showing Common Buzzard.

The Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) is a medium to large bird of prey, whose range covers most of Europe and extends into Asia. It is typically between 51–57 cm in length with a 110 to 130 cm (48–60 inch) wingspan, making it a medium-sized raptor. There are around 40,000 breeding pairs in Britain. It is usually resident all year except in the coldest parts of its range, and in the case of one subspecies.

It breeds in woodland, usually on the fringes, but favours hunting over open land. It eats mainly small mammals, and will come to carrion. A great opportunist, it adapts well to a varied diet of pheasant, rabbit, other small mammals, snakes and lizards and can often be seen walking over recently ploughed fields looking for worms and insects.

Buzzards do not normally form flocks, but several may be seen together on migration or in good habitat. Though a rare occurrence as many as 20 buzzards can been spotted in one field area, approx 30 meters apart, so cannot be classed as a flock in the general term, consisting of those males (and females) without a mate or territory. They are fiercely territorial, and, though rare, fights do break out if one strays on another pair's territory, but dominant displays of aggression will normally see off the interloper. Pairs mate for life. To attract a mate (or impress his existing mate) the male performs a ritual aerial display before the beginning of Spring. This spectacular display is known as 'the roller coaster'. He will rise high up in the sky, to turn and plummet downward, in a spiral, twisting and turning as he comes down. To then rise immediately upward to repeat the exercise.

This broad-winged raptor has a wide variety of plumages, and in Europe can be confused with the similar Rough-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus) and the only distantly related Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus), which mimics the Common Buzzard's plumage for a degree of protection from Northern Goshawks. The plumage can vary from almost pure white to black, but is usually shades of brown, with a pale 'necklace' of feathers.

#150 USA...Thanks Karl!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

#149 Ukraine...Thanks Valentin!

The 70k stamp in the middle is from 2006 Locomotives issue.

The two 70k stamps on the right are from 2006 Regional Costume series showing costumes from Zaporizhzha Oblast,which is in southern Ukraine.

#148 India...Thanks Sameer!

Monday, March 22, 2010

#147 Estonia...Thanks Pirjo!

This FDC was issued on Mar.11,2010 to commemorate the upcoming 2010 World EXPO featuring Estonian pavilion in Shanghai.

The first world fair, The Great Exhibition of 1851, was held in Hyde Park London under the auspices of Prince Albert. The Crystal Palace, in which the whole world displayed its achievements, was built for the fair. At later world fairs participating countries have built their own pavilions. Since 1928 Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), headquartered in Paris, coordinates holding of the fairs. By today 156 countries have acceded to BIE. Numerous technological novelties of the period, such as the sewing machine (London 1862), the telephone (Philadelphia, 1876) the refrigerator (Paris, 1878) and the postage stamp dispenser (Seattle, 1909), to name a few, have become linked with earlier world fairs. Of buildings the Eiffel Tower erected for the Paris World Fair of 1887-89 is certainly known the best and despite initial criticism has become the symbol of Paris in the course of time. This year’s EXPO will take place from May 1 to October 31 in Shanghai in the People’s Republic of China. Estonia has so far taken part in ten world fairs.

#146 Slovenia...Thanks Adam!

This is Slovenian 2010 Year of Tiger FDC.

#145 Greece...Thanks Sofia!

The 0.01 euro stamp on the top is from 2009 Lighthouse issue showing lighthouse in Didimi Islet, Gaidouronisi Syros.

The next two stamps are from 2008 Fairy Tales issue.

The 0.10 euro stamp illustrates The Mermaid and Alexander the Great.

In a popular Greek legend, Alexander the Great's sister, Thessalonike, was turned into a mermaid after she died. She lived, it was said, in the Aegean and when she encountered a ship, she asked its sailors only one question: "Is King Alexander alive?" , to which the correct answer was: "He lives and reigns and conquers the world" . This answer pleased her so she calmed the waters and wish the ship farewell. Any other answer would spur her into a rage. She would raise a terrible storm, with certain doom for the ship and every sailor on board.

The 0.57 euro stamp shows Little Red Riding Hood.

It is about a girl called Little Red Riding Hood, after the red hooded cape or cloak she wears. The girl walks through the woods to deliver food to her sick grandmother.

A wolf wants to eat the girl but is afraid to do so in public. He approaches the girl, and she naïvely tells him where she is going. He suggests the girl pick some flowers, which she does. In the meantime, he goes to the grandmother's house and gains entry by pretending to be the girl. He swallows the grandmother whole, and waits for the girl, disguised as the grandmother.

When the girl arrives, she notices he looks very strange to be her grandma. In most retellings, this eventually culminates with Little Red Riding Hood saying, "My, what big teeth you have!"
To which the wolf replies, "The better to eat you with," and swallows her whole, too.

A hunter, however, comes to the rescue and cuts the wolf open. Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother emerge unharmed. They fill the wolf's body with heavy stones, which drown him when he falls into a well. Other versions of the story have had the grandmother shut in the closet instead of eaten, and some have Little Red Riding Hood saved by the hunter as the wolf advances on her rather than after she is eaten.

The tale makes the clearest contrast between the safe world of the village and the dangers of the forest, conventional antitheses that are essentially medieval, though no written versions are as old as that.

#144 Poland...Thanks Ada!

This artistic FDC was issued on Feb.22,2010 celebrating 200 birthday of Frederic Chopin (1810-1849), who was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist.He is considered one of the great masters of Romantic music.

Chopin was born in the village of Żelazowa Wola, in the Duchy of Warsaw, to a French-expatriate father and Polish mother. He was considered a child-prodigy pianist. At the age of 20, on 2 November 1830, he left Warsaw for Austria, intending to go on to Italy. The outbreak of the Polish November Uprising 27 days later, and its subsequent suppression by the Russian Empire, led to his becoming one of many expatriates of the Polish Great Emigration.

In Paris, Chopin made a comfortable living as a composer and piano teacher, while giving few public performances. Though an ardent Polish patriot,in France he used the French versions of his given names, and traveled on a French passport, possibly to avoid having to rely on Imperial Russian documents. After ill-fated romantic involvements with Polish women, from 1837 to 1847 he had a turbulent relationship with the French novelist Aurore Dupin, better known by her pseudonym, George Sand. For the greater part of his life Chopin suffered from poor health; he died in Paris in 1849, aged thirty-nine, of pulmonary tuberculosis.

The great majority of Chopin's compositions were written for the piano as solo instrument. Though technically demanding,they emphasize nuance and expressive depth rather than sheer virtuosity. Chopin invented musical forms such as the instrumental ballade and was responsible for major innovations in the piano sonata, mazurka, waltz, nocturne, polonaise, étude,impromptu and prélude.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

#143 Serbia...Thanks Dejan!

This FDC was issued in 2008 featuring Grapes and Vineyards of Serbia.

On the territory of nowadays Serbia,grapevine was cultivated several thousand years ago,which is proved with the fossil remains found on the Red hill by the Danube shore near grocka.Excavations in Vinca,neighborhood of Belgrade,also prove that winemaking was already known here since prehistoric time.During their settling in the Balkans,the Slavs found the grapevine,adopted it,and spread its cultivation.There are 6 vineyard regions in Serbia.

The 20c stamp shows Sauvignon blanc which is among three most popular white grape variety in the world.This grapevine traces its origins to France.It is grown in all vineyard countries with moderate climate,but mostly in France,where it produces,with Semillon and Muscadel varieties,famous dessert Sauternais wines.The vine of Sauvignon blanc is very vigorous.Its bunch is small,in the form of a roller.Berries are middle size,spheric,greenish - yellow with black spots.Their skin is thick,sweet,with very characteristic piquant - spicy flavor,that reminds to the grass and elder flower.It has relatively small fruitage.The French call it the "king of wines and wine of kings".In 1920 and later on,by the order of King Aleksandar I Karadordevic,cuttings of Sauvignon blac were bought in France for the needs of Court vineyards in Topola.

The 46c stamp illustrates Frankovka, one of the leading red grape variety in some regions of Austria,Hungary,Slovakia,Slovenia,Croatia and Serbia.Its origin is unknown.Some suppose that it comes from Austria,though there are also some who claim that its homeland is the Franken province of Germany.Some of our authors consider it as an indigenous variety of Serbia.Frankovka is tolerant of the type of soil,but prefers southern,well protected,and warm regions of the moderate or northern climate.It reaches ample fruitage quite reguarly.If it ripens well,the wine is racy,dark red,with balanced acidity and almond flavor.Frankovka can be light red to deep ruby with violet reflex.

#142 Finland...Thanks Pertti!

The left 1 lk stamp shows the flowers of apple tree (Malus domestica),which is from the rose family Rosaceae and is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits.

The tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor is still found today. There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples resulting in a range of desired characteristics. Cultivars vary in their yield and the ultimate size of the tree, even when grown on the same rootstock.

At least 55 million tons of apples were grown worldwide in 2005, with a value of about $10 billion. China produced about 35% of this total. The United States is the second leading producer, with more than 7.5% of world production. Iran is third, followed by Turkey, Russia, Italy and India.

The middle 0.30 euro stamp shows Twinflower (Linnaea borealis),which has a circumpolar distribution in moist subarctic to cool temperate forests, extending further south at high altitudes in mountains, in Europe south to the Alps, in Asia south to northern Japan, and North America south to northern California and Arizona in the west, and Tennessee in the Appalachian Mountains in the east.

Its common name is from the paired flowers. It is one of the few species to be named after Carolus Linnaeus. It was Linnaeus' favourite plant and he took this flower as his own personal symbol when he was raised to the Swedish nobility in 1757. Of it, Linnaeus said "Linnaea was named by the celebrated Gronovius and is a plant of Lapland, lowly, insignificant, disregarded, flowering but for a brief time—from Linnaeus, who resembles it".

The flower is the provincial emblem of Småland in Sweden, Linnaeus' home province. The twinflower has given its name to the popular Swedish female given name Linnéa or Linnea.

The 0.60 euro stamp is Finnish 2009 Christmas stamp.

#141 Taiwan...Thanks Alan!

This FDC is the 3rd issue of Bridges of Taiwan series,featuring bridges of southern Taiwan:

Jinde Bridge,Donggang
Qigu River Bridge,Tainan
Anyi Bridge,Tainan
Wangyue Bridge,Tainan.

#140 India...Thanks Sauj!

This minisheet on the cover was issued in 2009 showing Rampur Raza Library,which is one of the biggest library of Asia.

The Rampur Raza Library,located in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, India is a repository of Indo-Islamic cultural heritage and a treasure-house of knowledge established in last decades 18th century, and built up by successive Nawabs of Rampur.

It contains very rare and valuable collection of manuscripts, historical documents, specimens of Islamic calligraphy, miniature paintings, astronomical instruments and rare illustrated works in Arabic and Persian. Rampur's Raza Library also contains printed works in Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu, Pashto, Tamil and Turkish, and approximately 30,000 printed books (including periodicals) in various other languages.

Friday, March 19, 2010

#139 New Zealand...Thanks Alejandro!

The 20c stamp was issued on Jul.29, 1981 celebrating Prince Charles & Lady Diana's Royal Wedding,showing St.Paul's Cathedral in London.

The 30c stamp was 1982 Health issue depicting English Cocker Spaniel which is an active, good-natured, sporting gun dog.

On the back of this cover is 2001 Lord of Rings:The Fellowship of the Rings FDC.

The Lord of the Rings is a set of three motion pictures that form Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings . Jackson filmed The Lord of the Rings film trilogy in New Zealand.

#138 New Zealand...Thanks Alejandro!

The four 50c stamps are from 2009 A Tiki Tour of New Zealand issue depicting Invercargill,Dunedin,Stewart Island and Chatham Islands respectively.

Invercargill is the southernmost and westernmost city in New Zealand, and one of the southernmost cities in the world. It is the commercial centre of the Southland region. It lies in the heart of the wide expanse of the Southland Plains on the Oreti or New River some 18 km north of Bluff, which is the southernmost town in the South Island.

Dunedin is the second-largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the principal city of the Otago Region. The city has a population of 123,700 (June 2009 estimate) and is the sixth-largest urban area in New Zealand. For historic, cultural, and geographic reasons, Dunedin is considered to be one of New Zealand's four major urban centres.

Stewart Island is the third-largest island of New Zealand. It lies 30 km south of the South Island, across Foveaux Strait. Its permanent population is slightly over 400 people, most of whom live in the settlement of Oban. Captain Cook was the first European to sight the island in 1770, but he thought it was part of the South Island so named it South Cape.

The archipelago of the Chatham Islands is a New Zealand territory in the Pacific Ocean consisting of about ten islands within a 40 kilometres (25 mi) radius, the largest of which are Chatham Island and Pitt Island. These remote islands, over 800 kilometres (500 mi) east of southern New Zealand, have officially been part of New Zealand since 1842.

The 1$ stamp on the right corner is from 1999 Native Flowers & Trees issue depicting Kowhai (Sophora tetratera),which are small, woody legume trees native to New Zealand. Kowhai trees grow throughout the country and are a common feature in New Zealand gardens.

#137 Trinidad & Tobago...Thanks Matthew!

The 2.5$ stamp was issued in 2009 to commemorate the 21th CHOGM held in Port of Spain during 27-29 November,2009 depicting steel pans.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, abbreviated to CHOGM, is a biennial summit meeting of the heads of government from all Commonwealth nations. Every two years the meeting is held in a different member state, and is chaired by that nation's respective Prime Minister or President, who becomes the Commonwealth Chairperson-in-Office. Recently, meetings have been attended by Queen Elizabeth II, who is the Head of the Commonwealth, although the Queen's formal appearance only began in 1997.

Steel pans is a musical instrument and a form of music originating from Trinidad and Tobago.

With the mass exodus from Haiti, Martinique and Guadeloupe to Trinidad, the steelpan evolved from a communication device to the musical instrument it is used as today. Drumming was used as a form of communication among the enslaved Africans and was subsequently outlawed by the British colonial government in 1783. African slaves also performed during Mardi Gras celebrations, joining the French that had brought the tradition to the island. The two most important influences were the drumming traditions of both Africa and India. The instrument's invention was therefore a specific cultural response to the conditions present on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.Steel pan musicians are called pannists.

The 1$ stamp was from 2005 Coastal Dreamscape issue depicting Hawksbill Turtle with diver.

The hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is a critically endangered sea turtle belonging to the family Cheloniidae. It is the only species in its genus. The species has a worldwide distribution, with Atlantic and Pacific subspecies.

The 50c stamp was issued in 1990 illustrating Copper-rumped Hummingbird,which is a small bird that breeds in Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, and has occurred as a vagrant on Grenada.

The 25c stamp is from 2005 Local Herbal Medicine issue showing Rachet.

The last 1$ stamp is from 2007 Historical Building issue showing Roomor,which was constructed in 1904 as a family residence. It was designed by a French architect and the original pattern-book is still available at the Ambard's House Library. Most of the materials used in construction were imported, the marble from Italy, the tiles from France and the cast iron elements from Scotland.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

#136 Denmark...Thanks Dorthe!

The 9.50kr stamp was from 2010 Nature issue depicting a butterfly named Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas),which is a common and widespread little butterfly easily identifiable across Europe,Asia and North America.

In bright sun it is a very active little butterfly with the males setting up small territories which they will defend vigorously against rival males or indeed any unlucky passing insect. Even the shadow of a large bird passing overhead is enough to get him going. Females are pursued mercilessly and mating usually occurs low down in vegetation.

#135 USA...Thanks Wayne!

The left 44c stamp was issued on Sept.10,2009 featuring iconic actor Gary Cooper,as the 15th inductee into the Legends of Hollywood series.

Gary Cooper (1901-1961) was renowned for his quiet, understated acting style and his stoic, individualistic, emotionally restrained, but at times intense screen persona, which was particularly well suited to the many Westerns he made. His career spanned from 1925 until shortly before his death, and comprised more than one hundred films.

During his lifetime, Cooper received five Academy Award nominations for Best Actor, winning twice for Sergeant York and High Noon. He also received an Honorary Award in 1961 from the Academy.

Decades later, the American Film Institute named Cooper among the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars, ranking 11th among males from the Classical Hollywood cinema period. In 2003, his performances as Will Kane in High Noon, Lou Gehrig in The Pride of the Yankees, and Alvin York in Sergeant York made the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains list, all of them as heroes.

The middle 44c stamp was also issued in 2009 commemorating American comedian and actor Bob Hope.

Bob Hope (1903– 2003) appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in radio, television and movies. He was also noted for his work with the US Armed Forces and his numerous USO (United Service Organizations) tours entertaining American military personnel. Throughout his career, he was honored for his humanitarian work. In 1996, the U.S. Congress honored Bob Hope by declaring him the "first and only honorary veteran of the U.S. armed forces." Bob Hope appeared in or hosted 199 known USO shows.

#134 Vietnam...Thanks Hoang!

The left 4 stamps were issued in 1991 depicting Vietnamese women wearing traditional costumes.

The right 3 stamps were issued in 1995 also showing traditional women's attire.

#133 Algeria...Thanks Ouari!

#132 Poland...Thanks Kazimierz!

These 2 cute cat stamps were issued on Feb.17,2010 depicting a Maine Coon (1.95 PLN) and a Bristish Shorthair (1.50 PLN) respectively.

The Maine Coon is a breed of domestic cat with a distinctive physical appearance. It is one of the oldest natural breeds in North America, specifically native to the state of Maine, where it is the official State Cat.

The breed was popular in cat shows in the late 1800s, but its existence became threatened when long-haired breeds from overseas were introduced in the early 20th century. The Maine Coon made a comeback and is one of the most popular cat breeds in the world.

The Maine Coon is noted for its large bone structure, its rectangular body shape, and a long, flowing coat. The breed can be seen in a variety of colors and are known for their intelligence and gentle personalities. Health problems, such as feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and hip dysplasia, are seen in the breed, but screening methods can help to reduce the frequency of these problems, including ultrasounds and genetic testing for heart problems and x-raying to look for hip abnormalities.

The British Shorthair is the descendant of cats brought to Britain by the Romans and then interbred with wild native cats.They were later crossbred with Persian cats to improve the thickness of their coat. The breed was defined in the 19th century and British Shorthairs were shown at the 1871 Crystal Palace cat show. The popularity of the breed declined by the 1940s, but since the end of World War II, breeding programs have intensified and the breed's popularity is high once again.Indeed, it has been the most popular breed of cat since 2001, when it overtook the Persian breed.

#131 Israel...Thanks Ori!

The 4.60 ILS stamp is from 2009 Israel-Romania joint issue depicting The Yiddish Theatre,the world's first professional Yiddish-language theater, in Iasi,Romania in 1876.

Yiddish theatre consists of plays written and performed primarily by Jews in Yiddish, the language of the Central European Ashkenazi Jewish community. The range of Yiddish theatre is broad: operetta, musical comedy, and satiric or nostalgic revues; melodrama; naturalist drama; expressionist and modernist plays. At its height, its geographical scope was comparably broad: from the late 19th century until just before World War II, professional Yiddish theatre could be found throughout the heavily Jewish areas of Eastern and East Central Europe, but also in Berlin, London, Paris, and, perhaps above all, New York City.

Yiddish theatre's roots include the often satiric plays traditionally performed during religious holiday of Purim (known as Purimspiels); other masquerades such as the Dance of Death; the singing of cantors in the synagogues; Jewish secular song and dramatic improvisation; exposure to the theater traditions of various European countries, and the Jewish literary culture that had grown in the wake of the Jewish enlightenment.

On the tab is shown Abraham Goldfaden (1840-1908),who was an Ukrainian-born Jewish poet, playwright. stage director and actor in the languages Yiddish and Hebrew, author of some 40 plays. Goldfaden is considered the father of the Jewish modern theatre.

In 1876 he founded in Romania what is generally credited as the world's first professional Yiddish-language theater troupe. He was also responsible for the first Hebrew-language play performed in the United States.

The stamp on the right corner is 2007 My Own Stamp issue.

The 1.60 ILS stamp at the bottom was issued in 2010 depicting Aravah, a leafy branch of the willow tree. It is one of the Four Species used in a special waving ceremony during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. The other species are the lulav (palm frond), hadass (myrtle), and etrog (citron).

The aravah is also used for a separate ceremony on Hoshanah Rabbah, the last day of Sukkot, when five branches are beaten against the ground to the accompaniment of special verses.

The aravah tree typically grows by the side of a river, although in Israel it grows wild in many people's backyards. The branches grow long and are lined with long, narrow leaves. Since this tree requires much water to grow, the picked branches dry out within two or three days. In order to keep them fresh as long as possible for the mitzvah of the Four Species, they are kept in the refrigerator until use, or wrapped in a moist towel.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

#130 Japan...Thanks Asuka!

What a kawa-i handmade cover ^_^

The left stamp on the top was issued in 1975 commemorating the first time visit of Japanese head of State Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako to the United States.

The two stamps at right was issued in 1974 celebrating 50th anniversary of the wedding of Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako.

The 20 yen stamp on the 2nd row was issued in 1972 featuring Mt.Kurikoma and Kijiyama Kokeshi Doll in the Kurikoma Quasi National Park.

Kokeshi dolls originate from the Tohoku region of Northern Japan, an area well-known for its onsen (hot spring) resorts. These handmade wooden dolls are thought to date back to the early 19th century when kijiya (woodworkers), accustomed to making bowls and trays, began using their woodworking skills and lathes to make simple dolls to sell as toys and souvenirs to the onsen visitors. The dolls may originally have had a spiritual significance with the kokeshi representing a wish for a healthy child. It has also been suggested that kokeshi, with their round heads and limbless bodies probably made in an unpainted form originally, were used as massage tools by spa bathers. The name 'kokeshi' itself is thought to derive from a combination of names given to the wooden dolls in the various areas of their manufacture.

Using wood that has been seasoned for several months, typically from the dark cherry or the lighter mizuki tree, the kokeshi craftsman turns and cuts the doll on a lathe and polishes it to a fine finish. The head and body are generally turned separately then attached together by way of a plug. The kokeshi craftsman then finally hand paints on the face and the kimono pattern. An interesting video about how kokeshi are made today can be seen on

Kokeshi are generally bought by Japanese as mementos. In addition to being ornamental, they are also seen as charms to prevent fires or even ward off evil. Mizuki, the wood often used to make the kokeshi doll's face, literally translates as "water tree". It is a very moist wood and some Japanese believe that having a kokeshi in their home helps prevent fire.

Kokeshi, celebrated today as one of Japan's folk arts, are of two types, traditional and creative.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

#129 Hong Kong...Thanks Mary!

The left stamp is from 60 years of P.R.China issued in 2009 and the right stamp is from Year of Tiger issued in 2010.

#128 Italy...Thanks Nadia!

The minisheet on the cover was issued in 2009 featuring Italian famous pop singer Mina's song "Tintarella di Luna"

Mina Anna Mazzini, born in 1940, is an Italian pop singer with Swiss citizenship. For the great extension and agility of her soprano voice and her image as an emancipated lady, she was a staple of the Italian television variety shows and a dominant figure on the Italian charts in the 1960s and 1970s. During the performances, Mina combined several modern styles with the traditional Italian melody and swing music making her the most versatile pop singer in Italian music. Mina dominated the Italian charts for fifteen years and reached an unsurpassed level of popularity in Italy. She has scored 98 albums and 70 singles in Italian charts. She gave up public appearances in 1978, but continued to release popular albums on a yearly basis to date.

The o.60 euro stamp was from 2008 Regions issue showing Valle D'Aosta.

Valle D'Aosta is a mountainous autonomous region in north-western Italy. It is bordered by France to the west, Switzerland to the north and the region of Piedmont to the south and east.

With an area of 3,263 km2 (1,260 sq mi) and a population of about 120,000, it is the smallest, least populous, and least densely populated region of Italy. It is the only Italian region which has no provinces (the province of Aosta was dissolved in 1945). Provincial administrative functions are provided by the regional government. The region is divided into 74 comuni (communes).

#127 Brasil...Thanks Pedro!

The stamp on the left is Brazil's 2009 Upaep issue of Tradition Game: Fresobol.

Frescobol first began in Brazil on the beaches of Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro just after the Second World War. Mr. Lian Pontes de Carvalho was said to be the inventor. He invented the first racquet made of wood in 1946. But just like surf boards, skis and tennis racquets, fiberglass is now used in the manufacturing of the Frescobol racquet. Fiber is extremely durable and increases the level of performance and therefore the material of choice for many sports today. Thanks to the migration of Brazilians, frescobol is one of the most practiced sports on beaches throughout Latin American, parts of Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The sport is now rapidly becoming popular in the United States especially in California and Florida.

Frescobol is normally played on the beach but can be played anywhere you have some open space. Standing approximately 15 feet apart, you tap the ball to your partner. A normal racquet-ball ball may be used. Continue hitting the ball back and forth slowly at first trying to get a rally going while establishing a rhythm. After some practice, you may begin hitting the ball with much more pace. The key, just like other racquet sports is to concentrate on the ball watching it all the way until it meets your racquet. Soon you will have fast pace rallies of 20 or more strokes! It's fantastic exercise. Of course, always know your immediate surroundings so not to hit someone accidentally with the ball or racquet.

The 2 stamps on the right are from 2009 Brazil-Hong Kong joint issue depicting the different playing styles of Hong Kong and Brazilian footballers.

Football is one of the world's most loved sports. Brazilian players are known for their footwork and are stars to Hong Kong football lovers.

#126 Ukraine...Thanks Valetin!

The first 1 UHR stamp was from 2008 Diesel Locomotive issue. The next 1 UHR stamp was from 2008 Clocks issue and the 1.5 UHR stamp is Ukrainian 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics issue.

The small 5k and 50k stamp are definitives showing various Handicrafts.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

#125 Germany...Thanks Gerd!

The 45c stamp was issued in 2010 to celebrate 200 years of Natural History Museum in Berlin.

This is the largest museum of natural history in Germany, and was established in 1810. Its collections contain objects from three major fields, paleontology, mineralogy, and zoology. It is most famous for two spectacular exhibits: the largest mounted dinosaur in the world, and the most exquisitely preserved specimen of the earliest known bird, Archaeopteryx.

The 170c stamp was issued in 2009 commemorating 175th birthday of Gottlieb Daimler.

Gottlieb Daimler (1834 – 1900) was an engineer, industrial designer and industrialist, born in Schorndorf , Württemberg. He was a pioneer of internal-combustion engines and automobile development. He invented the first high-speed petrol engine and the first four-wheel automobile.

Daimler and his lifelong business partner Wilhelm Maybach were two inventors whose dream was to create small, high speed engines to be mounted in any kind of locomotion device. They designed in 1885 a precursor of the modern petrol engine which they subsequently fitted to a two-wheeler, considered the first motorcycle and, in the next year, to a stagecoach, and a boat. They are renowned as the designers of this Grandfather Clock engine.

Later, in 1890, they founded Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG). They sold their first automobile in 1892. Daimler fell ill taking a break from the company and upon his return experienced difficulty with the other stock holders that led to his resignation in 1893 that was reversed in 1894. Soon Maybach resigned also and he returned at the same time as Daimler. In 1900 Daimler died and Wilhelm Maybach quit DMG in 1907. In 1924, the DMG management signed a long term co-operation agreement with Karl Benz's Benz & Cie., and in 1926 the two companies merged to become Daimler-Benz AG, which is now part of Daimler AG.

#124 Malaysia...Thanks Eddie!

This FDC was issued on Feb 23,2010 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Malaysia-Korea diplomatic relations. The stamps show Malayan Tiger and Korean Tiger.

The Malayan tiger (Panthera tigres jacksoni) is found only in Peninsular Malaysia.

The Malayan tiger,along with the Sumatran tiger,is perhaps the smallest extant subspecies of tiger.Its stripe pattern is similar to the Indochinese tiger but its size is closer to the Sumatran tigers,with an average weight of 120 kg for adult males and 100kg for females.Male Malayan tigers measure around 237 cm in length from head to tail and femal Malayan tigers around 200 cm in length.

The Malayan tiger is much found in the lower areas of the rainforest.It preys on sambar deer,barking deer,wild boar and livestock.The population of the Malayan Tiger is decresasing rapidly due to the main threat;that is humans.

The Malayan tiger is a national icon and thus is depicted in the coat of arms of Malaysia,symbolising the government and also appears in various trademarks and logo of various Malaysian institutions as it symbolizes bravery and strength to Malaysians.

Korean Tiger (Panthera tigres altaica) is also known as the Siberian,Amur,Manchurian and North China tiger.It is the biggest of the eight recent tiger subspecies and the largest living felid.Recent research in 2009 revealed that the current Siberian tiger population is almost identical to the Caspian tiger,which is now extinct.

The Korean tiger may be 4m long,including the tail,and weigh 290 kg,much larger than any other tigers.The coat of the Korean tiger is moderately thick,coarse and sparse compared to that of others.The summer coat is coarse,while the winter coat is denser,longer,softer and silkier.

The Korean tigers feed on wild boars and deers.It will also take smaller prey like rabbits and fish.The Korean tiger is mostly confined to low mountains.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

#123 Latvia...Thanks Oleg!

The 55c stamp is from 2009 Christmas issue depicting House of Blackheads in Riga.

House of Blackheads is an important centre for public life and one of the main sights in Riga.It was first mentioned by sources in 1334 as the New House of the Large Guild and it is located near the Town Hall Square (Rātslaukums). The building was erected by the city itself, and originally it was rented to the merchants of the Large Guild and the unmarried merchants, the Brotherhood of Blackheads, who later, in 1713, purchased the building and became its proprietors.

The Blackheads was characteristically a common union of young, unmarried merchants and ship captains in the Hansa cities, which chose St. Maurice to be their patron. St. Mauritius was an imaginary African black moor (from this the name of the brotherhood “the Blackheads” comes). Due to their exceptional status the Blackheads played an important role in the society life and traditions; many VIPs of that time (including Russian tsars) took part in events organized by the Blackheads. As a German merchant club the Brotherhood of Blackheads existed in Riga until 1939.

ps: I sent a cover to you today,Oleg :)

#122 Panama...Thanks Freddy!

These beautiful stamps were issued in 2002 depicting Corals.

#121 Algeria...Thanks Omar!

This FDC was titled Forts in Algeria issued on Feb.15,2010 showing Fort of the Emperor and Fort of Gouraya.

Fort of the Emperor (Bordj Moulay Hassan - Algiers)

Most of those who visited Algiers and wrote about this city will talk about this fort because of its important role in defending the southern side of the city and harbor. It carried several designations including Bordj Moulay Hassan, in memory of its founder, Hassan Pasha, who erected in 1545. Having been attacked, he learned later fortifications and it becomes strong in the sense of the term to the year 1580.

The height of the Emperor rises to 230 m above sea level and it protected behind the south side of Algiers. The defense posture was completed thereafter.

This fort was located in the middle of a vast area visible from the road along the beach and all the east side of Algiers.It comes in the form of a rectangle of 150m long and 100m wide. Its walls with embrasures rise to a height of 10m.

Fort Gouraya (Bejaia)

Located on the highest peak of the mountain at 672m above the sea, a position which gives considerable importance, the fort dominates the entire region excellently.

Bejaia, a Mediterranean port in Algeria, was called "Gouraya" in ancient language meaning "Gor" city "Aya" mountain .

Built on the foundation probably by Hammadites in ancient time, Spanish occupied it from 1509 and it was transformed into a fort, then refurbished by the French as monitoring point and watch.

Popular legend attributes to this site a mystical character that here lived the holy person called "Yemma Gouraya. There is a mausoleum that is still visited by people nearby and receives thousands of people every year.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

#120 USA...Thanks John!

The 20c stamp was from Manned flight bicentenary issued in 1983 showing Intrepid,which was a hydrogen gas balloon or aerostat built for use by the Union Army Balloon Corps for aerial reconnaissance purposes during the American Civil War. It was one of seven balloons constructed for the Balloon Corps and was one of the four larger balloons designed to make ascensions to higher elevations with a larger lift capacity for telegraph equipment and an operator. It was the balloon of choice for Chief Aeronaut Thaddeus Lowe overlooking the Battle of Fair Oaks.

The other two 39c stamps was from 2006 Super Hero issue depicting Hawkman and Batman respectively.

Hawkman is a fictional superhero that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Dennis Neville, the original Hawkman first appeared in Flash Comics #1, published by All-American Publications in 1940.

Several incarnations of Hawkman have appeared in DC Comics, all of them characterized by the use of archaic weaponry and by large, artificial wings, attached to a harness made from the special Nth metal that allows flight. Most incarnations of Hawkman work closely with a partner/romantic interest named Hawkgirl or Hawkwoman.

The Golden Age Hawkman was Carter Hall, an archeologist who was the reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian prince, Khufu. He and Hawkgirl used the same tools displayed in his museum to fight crime.

Like most Golden Age heroes, Hawkman disappeared from print after World War II. In the Silver Age, DC introduced new versions of several characters. The new Hawkman and Hawkgirl were police officers from the planet Thanagar who stayed on Earth to help human police forces, and the Justice League, deal with supervillains.

Since DC’s continuity was rewritten in the 1985 series Crisis on Infinite Earths, Hawkman’s history has become muddled with several new versions of the character appearing throughout the years, some associated with ancient Egypt and some with Thanagar. These versions of the character have starred in several series of various durations.

Batman is a fictional character, a comic book superhero co-created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger , appearing in publications by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939.

In the original version of the story and the vast majority of subsequent retellings, Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne (named for the historical figures Robert the Bruce and "Mad" Anthony Wayne), a playboy, industrialist, and philanthropist. Having witnessed the murder of his parents as a child, he swore revenge on crime, an oath tempered with the greater ideal of justice. Bruce trains himself both physically and intellectually and dons a bat-themed costume in order to fight crime. Batman operates in the fictional American Gotham City, assisted by various supporting characters including his main sidekick Robin, his butler Alfred Pennyworth, the police commissioner Jim Gordon, and occasional assistance from the heroine Batgirl. He fights an assortment of villains influenced by the characters' roots in film and pulp magazines. Unlike most superheroes, he does not possess any superpowers; he makes use of intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, and intimidation in his war on crime. In 2009, following Wayne's apparent death, the role of Batman has been taken up by his former ward and the first Robin, Dick Grayson.

Batman became a popular character soon after his introduction and gained his own comic book title, Batman, in 1940. As the decades wore on, differing interpretations of the character emerged. The late 1960s Batman television series used a camp aesthetic which continued to be associated with the character for years after the show ended. Various creators worked to return the character to his dark roots, culminating in the 1986 miniseries Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, by writer-artist Frank Miller, while the success of film director Tim Burton's 1989 film Batman helped to reignite popular interest in the character. A cultural icon, Batman has been licensed and adapted into a variety of media, from radio to television and film, and appears on a variety of merchandise sold all over the world.