Thursday, April 29, 2010

#230 Qatar...Thanks Shijaz!

It is shown on the left stamp Orry,a Qatari Oryx, the official mascot of the 15th Asian Games Doha 2006.

The right stamp is from 2007 issue of Rulers of Qatar.

#229 Canada...Thanks Rita!

The 36c stamp was issued in 1987 celebrating 75th Grey Cup in Vancouver.

The Grey Cup is both the name of the championship of the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the name of the trophy awarded to the victorious team. It is Canada's largest annual sports and television event, regularly drawing a Canadian viewing audience of about 3 to 4 million individuals.

Like the Stanley Cup used in the National Hockey League, the Grey Cup is reused every year. This varies from other professional sports leagues, which make a new (but identical) trophy every season for the new champion. Similarly, the Grey Cup also has the name of the winning players, coaches, and management staff (President & General Manager) engraved on its chalice.

The Grey Cup was donated by the then Governor General of Canada, the Earl Grey, to recognize the top amateur rugby football team in Canada in 1909.

The 37c stamp was issued in 1988 commemorating Bluenose and Capt.Walters.

Bluenose was a Canadian fishing and racing schooner from Nova Scotia built in 1921. She was later commemorated by a replica Bluenose II built in 1963. A celebrated racing ship and hard-working fishing vessel, Bluenose became a provincial icon for Nova Scotia as well as important Canadian symbol in the 1930s. The name "bluenose" originated as a nick-name for Nova Scotians from as early as the late eighteenth century.

Bluenose and her captain, Angus J. Walters of Lunenburg, were inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1955, making her the first and only non-human CSHF inductee until 1960.

The next 37c stamp was also issued in 1988 commemorating Les Forges Du St.Maurice (1738-1883),Canada's 1st industrial complex.

Forges du Saint-Maurice ("St. Maurice Ironworks"), just outside of Trois-Rivières, Quebec, is one of Canada's national historic sites, and birthplace of the country's iron industry.

The forge started working in 1738 and remained in virtually continuous operation until closing. It employed about 100 craftsmen (most originally from Burgundy) and 300-400 labourers in production of forged and molded iron products, including pots, pans, and stoves. Director F. E. Cugnet went bankrupt in 1742, leading to a state takeover and handover to Britain after the Treaty of Paris.

From 1738 into the mid-1830s, the Forges were "the most technologically advanced ironworks in America", but had become the oldest operating blast furnace in North America, and far out of date,by the time it shut down for good in March 1883.

In 1973, Forges du Saint-Maurice became a national historic park. Archaeological research there continues.

The 57c stamp shows a Gold Medal of Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

#228 Italy...Thanks Veronica!

The left €0.60 stamp was issued in 2008 Folklore series dedicated to Sulmona’s feast of ‘La Madonna che scappa in piazza’ (the Madonna that races through the square),featuring a scene from the holy feast which is held in Sulmona on Easter Sunday and two doves soaring into flight at the top left; a Loreto brother wearing a green mozzetta and white tunic is shown at the top right.

Sulmona is a city and comune of the province of L'Aquila in the Abruzzo, Italy.

The right €0.60 stamp was one of the three stamps celebrating the “Italia 2009” International Philately Festival: Sports Day,showing the cyclist Gino Bartali during a race, with the crowd watching attentively;

Gino Bartali (born Ponte a Ema, Florence, Italy, 1914-2000) was the most renowned Italian cyclist before the Second World War, having won the Giro d'Italia twice (in 1936 and 1937) and the Tour de France in 1938. His second and last Tour de France victory in 1948 gave him the largest gap between victories in the race.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

#227 Uruguay...Thanks Nico!

The two $7 stamp on the top is from 2007 issue of Old Time Professions showing El Afilador (The Sharpener).

The $8 stamp is from 2009 issue of Old Time Professions showing El Verdulero (The Greengrocer).

The $50 triangular stamp is from 2009 Flowers issue depicting Water Hyacinth,which is native to the Amazon basin,but also is an invasive species of plant in Africa,introduced by Belgian colonists to Rwanda to beautify their holdings and then advanced by natural means to Lake Victoria where it was first sighted in 1988.There, without any natural enemies, it has become an ecological plague, suffocating the lake, diminishing the fish reservoir, and hurting the local economies.

The $25 stamp is from 2009 issue of Fruits of Exportation and the $22 stamp is 2000 Christmas issue.

#226 China...Thanks Xue!

The 2.80 Yuan stamp in the middle-top of the cover is from 2001 issue of Six Steeds in Zhao Mausoleum showing Steed Baitiwu.

Six Steeds of Zhao Mausoleum (Chinese: 昭陵六骏; Pinyin: Zhāolíng Liùjùn) are six Tang (618-907) Chinese stone reliefs of horses (1.7m x 2.0m each) which were located in the Zhao Mausoleum, Shaanxi, China.

Zhao Mausoleum is the mausoleum of Emperor Taizong of Tang (r. 626-649). The steeds were six precious war horses of Taizong.

Their names are: Quanmaogua (拳毛騧), Shifachi (什伐赤), Baitiwu (白蹄乌), Telebiao (特勒骠), Qingzhui (青骓) and Saluzi (飒露紫).

The sculptures are regarded as ancient Chinese art treasures. They were broken by smugglers in 1914 and two of them were shipped out. The stonework is exhibited in the Stele Forest museum of Xi'an (Shifachi, Baitiwu, Telebiao and Qingzhui) and museum of the University of Pennsylvania, USA (Quanmaogua and Saluzi) separately.

#225 Nicaragua...Thanks Jean-Michel!

These three stamps are from 1994 Sacred Art issue showing Statue of St.James,Processional Cross and Crucifixion.

#224 Phillipines...Thanks Myron!

These four stamps with special postmark were just issued on Apr.14,2010 commemorating 50 years of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

IRRI is an autonomous, non-profit, agricultural research and training organization with offices in more than ten nations, established in 1960 by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations in cooperation with the Government of the Philippines.

Its research activities began in 1962 and are now estimated to have touched the lives of almost half the world’s population. The IRRI played a major role in sparking the Green revolution on the field of rice when it developed a new breed in the 1960s.

The Institute’s research headquarters includes laboratories and training facilities on a 252-hectare experimental farm on the lower campus of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna, about 60 kilometers south of the Philippine capital, Manila. In addition to rice research, IRRI is also very active in local communities providing educational scholarships; organizing income-generating training activities and arranging other community projects that will help improve living conditions in the poor communities that neighbor the Institute.

IRRI was established to help poor rice farmers in developing countries grow more rice on less land using less water, less labor, and fewer chemical inputs. By helping to greatly boost production and ease the use of farm chemicals during its first 40 years, IRRI clearly showed the importance of rice and agricultural research in helping poor nations develop. The Institute’s importance has been further reinforced by the private sector’s traditional lack of interest in rice research.

The Institute has received many prizes and awards, including the UNESCO Science Prize.

#223 Philippines...Thanks Mark!

The 2009 Philippine Marine Biodiversity souvenir sheet on the cover depict six kinds of sea slugs.

Slug is a common name that is normally applied to any gastropod mollusc that lacks a shell, has a very reduced shell, or has a small internal shell. This is in contrast to the common name snail, which is applied to gastropods that have coiled shells that are big enough to retract into.
All slugs are descended from snails that gradually lost or reduced their shells over time.However, the shell-less condition has arisen many times independently during the evolutionary past, and thus the category "slug" is emphatically a polyphyletic one. The various groups of slugs are not closely related, despite a superficial similarity in the overall body form.
There are marine and terrestrial slugs, but the common name "slug" is most frequently applied to air-breathing land species, while the marine forms are known as sea slugs. Land gastropods with a shell that is not quite vestigial, but is too small to retract into (like many in the family Urocyclidae), are known as semislugs.

The other four 7P stamps are 2007 Wild Ducks issue showing Northern Pintail,Greater Scaup,Common Shelduck and Northern Shoveler.

Northern Pintail(Anas acuta) is a widely occurring duck which breeds in the northern areas of Europe, Asia and North America. It is strongly migratory and winters south of its breeding range to the equator. This is a fairly large duck, with a long pointed tail that gives rise to the species' English and scientific names. The male has a very distinctive brown, grey and white appearance, whereas the female has mainly light brown plumage and a shorter tail. The male's call is a mellow whistle, whereas the female quacks like a Mallard.

The Greater Scaup (Aythya marila), just Scaup in Europe, or colloquially known as "Bluebill", is a small diving duck. It breeds on the ground by lakes and bogs on the tundra and at the northern limits of the boreal forest across Arctic and subarctic regions of northern North America, Europe and Asia.

The gooselike Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) is a striking bird with its red bill, white and chestnut body, dark green head and neck. Sexes are similar, but the female is duller. The male has a swollen red bill knob in the breeding season.

Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) is unmistakable in the northern hemisphere due to its large spatulate bill.

Monday, April 26, 2010

#222 Nepal...Thanks Shakya!

The two R10 stamps on the right are from 2009 World Heritage Site issue showing Birthplace of Buddha in Lumbini.

Siddhartha Gautama, the Lord Buddha, was born in 623 B.C. in the famous gardens of Lumbini, which soon became a place of pilgrimage. Among the pilgrims was the Indian emperor Ashoka, who erected one of his commemorative pillars there. The site is now being developed as a Buddhist pilgrimage centre, where the archaeological remains associated with the birth of the Lord Buddha form a central feature.

Lumbini is in the foothills of the Himalaya,near the Indian border,where the Buddha is said to have lived till the age of 29.

In 1896, Nepalese archaeologists discovered a great stone pillar at the site, attributed to Emperor Ashoka.

The holy site of Lumbini is bordered by a large monastic zone, in which only monasteries can be built, no shops or hotels or restaurants. It is separated into an eastern and western monastic zone, the eastern having the Theravadin monasteries, the western having Mahayana and Vajrayana monasteries.

The holy site of Lumbini has ruins of ancient monasteries, a sacred Bodhi tree, an ancient bathing pond, the Asokan pillar and the Mayadevi temple, where the precise place of birth of Buddha is located. From early morning to early evening, pilgrims from various countries perform chanting and meditation at the site.

The R5 stamp in the middle was issued in 1984 celebrating 20th anniv. of Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union,which is a non-profit, professional association of broadcasting organisations. It currently has 200 members in 57 countries and regions, reaching a potential audience of about 3 billion people.

The R5 stamp on the right,issued in 2002,shows a Traditional Painting by Nepalese artist.

#221 Egypt...Thanks Nagwa!

The 2 EGP stamp shows Mask of Tutankhamun's mummy, the popular icon for ancient Egypt at The Egyptian Museum. It is said, by professionals, to be worth nearly as much as the Crown jewels.

Tutankhamun,who was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty (ruled c.1333 BC – 1323 BC in the conventional chronology), during the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom.

His original name, Tutankhaten, means "Living Image of Aten", while Tutankhamun means "Living Image of Amun." In hieroglyphs the name Tutankhamun was typically written Amen-tut-ankh, because of a scribal custom that placed a divine name at the beginning of a phrase to show appropriate reverence. He is possibly also the Nibhurrereya of the Amarna letters. He was likely the 18th dynasty king 'Rathotis' who, according to Manetho, an ancient historian, had reigned for nine years — a figure which conforms with Flavius Josephus's version of Manetho's Epitome.

The 1922 discovery by Howard Carter of Tutankhamun's intact tomb received worldwide press coverage. It sparked a renewed public interest in ancient Egypt, for which Tutankhamun's burial mask remains the popular symbol. Exhibits of artifacts from his tomb have toured the world. In February 2010, the results of DNA tests confirmed that Tutankhamun was the son of Akhenaten (mummy KV55) and his sister/wife (mummy KV35YL), whose name is unknown but whose remains are positively identified as "The Younger Lady" mummy found in KV35.

#220 Libya...Thanks Omran!

This stamp was issued in 2010 celebrating 33rd Anniversary of people's authority declaration.

The new political order of Libya took shape in March 1977 when the GPC (General People's Congress), at Qadhafi's behest, adopted the "Declaration of the Establishment of the People's Authority" and proclaimed the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. The term jamahiriya is difficult to translate, but American scholar Lisa Anderson has suggested "peopledom" or "state of the masses" as a reasonable approximation of Qadhafi's concept that the people should govern themselves free of any constraints, especially those of the modern bureaucratic state. The GPC also adopted resolutions designating Qadhafi as its general secretary and creating the General Secretariat of the GPC. It also appointed the General People's Committee, which replaced the Council of Ministers, its members now called secretaries rather than ministers.

#219 Libya...Thanks Omran!

This stamp was issued in 2008 celebrating Tripoli International Fair,which is an annual commercial exhibition event of much importance in Libya and Northern Africa taking place in Tripoli, The Libyan Capital and is organized by The General Board of Fairs.

Founded in 1927,it is considered to be the oldest Fair in Africa. The 2008 session of TIF took place between 2 and 12 April 2008.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

#218 Argentina...Thanks German!

The four $1 stamps are 2008 Stories and Songs issue illustrating Mail's Song,Big Brother,Scarecrow and Letters to Santa Claus.

The 50c stamp is from 2009 Unidad Postal series showing views of Iruya,which is a small town in northwestern Argentina. It is located in the Salta Province of northwestern Argentina, and is the capital of the Iruya Department. Located in the altiplano region along the Iruya river, Iruya sits nestled against the mountainside at an elevation of 2,780 meters . It is very remote, located over 300 kilometers from the province capital of Salta, and a 50-km portion of the route to Iruya is unpaved.Nonetheless, the town is popular with tourists for its scenic location and townscape and friendly locals.

#217 Belarus...Thanks Siarhei!

The 1000 BYR stamp is from Belarus 2008 Europa issue with theme Writing Letter.

#216 Indonesia...Thanks Penny!

This FDC was issued in 2008 in memory of 100 years of the death of Indonesia's National Heroine Cut Nyak Dhien (1848-1908) who struggled against Dutch ruler and died as prisoner in her exile at Sumedang,West Java.

#215 Indonesia...Thanks Penny!

This " Small Outermost Islands" FDC was issued in 2008 featuring 4 islands,namely Damar ,Sebatik,Batubawaikang and Bras.

The Republic of Indonesia is an archipelagic state consisting of not less than 17,508 big and small islands spread 5,110 km long and 1,888 km wide. Geographically,Indonesia is located at strategic position between Asia and Australia Continents as well as Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Indonesia has 92 small outermost islands bordering on 10 neighbor states.

#214 USA...Thanks Helen!

A really fantastic hand-made cover!

#213 Pakistan...Thanks Furrukh!

The two trangular stamps are from 2009 National Year of Environment issue depicting Chukar,which is national bird of Pakistan.

This partridge has its native range in Eurasia, from the Kashmir region,Baluchistan Pakistan, Afghanistan and northern India in the east to southeastern Europe in the west.

The RS5 stamps on the right were issued in 2009 celebrating 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Philippines.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

#212 Argentina...Thanks Horacio!

These stamps are from Archaeological Artifacts definitives issued in 2000.

The 50c stamp shows Andean verticle loom from Mapuche culture.

The Mapuche are one of the indigenous inhabitants of Central and Southern Chile and Southern Argentina.Mapuche make up about 4% of the Chilean population,who are particularly concentrated in the Araucania Region.

Many Mapuche descendants now live across southern Chile and Argentina; some maintain their traditions and continue living from agriculture, but a growing majority have migrated to cities in search of better economic opportunities.

The 25c stamp shows a musical pipes called Siku.

Siku is a traditional Andean panpipe. This instrument is the main instrument used in a musical genre known as the Sikuri. It is traditionally found all across the Andes but is more typically associated with music from the regions around Lake Titicaca. Historically because of the complicated mountain geography of the region, and due to other factors, in some regions each community would develop its own type of siku, with its own special tuning, shape and size. Additionally each community developed its own style of playing. Today the siku has been standardized to fit in with modern western forms of music and has been transported from its traditional roots.

The $2 stamp shows a Mapuche Tambor drum.

The $5 stamp shows a Funerary Urn from Belén culture.

The $10 stamp shows a Vessel from Yocavil culture,which is a tribe of Diaguita people,who developed between the 8th and 16th centuries in what are now the provinces of Salta, Catamarca, La Rioja and Tucumán in northwestern Argentina, and in the Atacama and Coquimbo regions of northern Chile.

#211 Taiwan...Thanks Alan!

To create understanding and awareness about coastal wildlife and to call for the public to pay more attention to marine ecology conservation, Chunghwa Post issued a third set of four stamps on Taiwan’s crabs, featuring Cardisoma carnifex, Scandarma lintou, Sesarmops intermedius, and Gecarcoidea lalandii.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

#210 USA...Thanks Welch!

This FDC of Abstract Expressionists feature works by Hans Hoffmann,Arshile Gorky and Jackson Pollock.

One of the most influential art teachers of the 20th century, Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) pioneered a method of improvisational painting that helped shape the development of abstract art after World War II. The Golden Wall (1961) features his trademark “push and pull” technique: geometric shapes that animate the canvas by seeming to shift and overlap.

Influencing much of the American abstract art that followed, Arshile Gorky (1904-1948) developed an original style that combined cubism and surrealism with his own disguised imagery. The Liver Is the Cock’s Comb (1944) — one of his largest and greatest pictures — uses abstract forms to camouflage a deeply personal portrait of his family at home.

Best known for his poured paintings, Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) created spontaneously painted works that marked a break with artistic tradition. For Convergence (1952), he laid blue and white clouds and loops of red and yellow atop a black-and-white base. The expressive color and drawing are so fresh that the paint still looks wet.

Monday, April 19, 2010

#209 Serbia...Thanks Dejan!

#208 Finland...Thanks Keijo!

#208 India...Thanks Sauj!

The four stamps on the top were issued in 2009 featuring Traditional Textiles of India.

#207 Austria...Thanks Ingrid!

The 10c stamp is from 2007 definitive series of Flowers.

The middle 65c stamp was issued in 2010 showing Schloss Belvedere,which is a baroque palace complex built by Prince Eugene of Savoy in the 3rd district of Vienna, south-east of the city centre. It houses the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere museum.

After buying the plot of land in 1697, Prince Eugene had a large park created. The Belvedere palace began as a suburban entertainment villa: in 1714 work began to erect what is now called the Lower Belvedere, not as a palace but as a garden villa, with an orangerie and paintings gallery, with suitable living quarters. The architect was Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt, one of the most important architects of the Austrian Baroque, who produced in the complex of buildings his masterwork. He was assisted by the Venetian sculptor Giovanni Stanetti, who had been brought to Vienna by Prince Eugene, with his atelier of assistants; now he also provided properly Italianate sculptural details, such as the figures along the balustrade and garden sculptures. The Lower Belvedere was finished in 1716. The ceiling of its central Marmorsaal ("Marble Hall"), painted by Martino Altomonte, celebrates Prince Eugene as a new Apollo, leader of the Muses. The room also contains an Apotheosis of Prince Eugene sculpted by Balthasar Permoser.

In 1720-1723, the Upper Belvedere was built, originally intended simply to provide a suitable end to the main garden axis. The architect was again Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt. Once again there is a central Marmorsaal—the site of the signing of the Austrian State Treaty, that formed modern Austria, May 15, 1955—but the Schloss was soon enlarged to provide the main summer residence of Prince Eugene. Its painted ceilings are by Carlo Innocenzo Carlone, with an altarpiece in the chapel by Francesco Solimena.

The complex was sold in 1752 to Empress Maria Theresa of Austria by the prince's heiress. Maria Theresa first named the building "Belvedere". Under the Habsburgs it was further extended. Since 1775, the Belvedere has housed the imperial picture gallery on behalf of Joseph II, and in 1806 the collection of Ambras Palace was moved to the Lower Belvedere as well. Both were transferred to the Museum of Art History in 1890. The last to reside here was Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Since World War I, the Austrian Gallery museum resides in the Belvedere.

The building suffered heavy damage during World War II. The Gold Cabinet burnt out and had to be reconstructed.

The right 65c stamp was issued in 2010 commemorating Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736),who was one of the most prominent and successful military commanders in modern European history.

Born in Paris to aristocratic Savoyard parents, Eugene grew up around the French court of King Louis XIV. He was initially prepared for a career in the church, but by the age of 19 he had determined on a military career. Rejected by Louis XIV for service in the French army, Eugene moved to Austria, and transferred his loyalty to the Habsburg Monarchy.

Spanning six decades, Eugene served three Habsburg emperors – Leopold I, Joseph I, and Charles VI. Eugene first saw action against the Ottoman Turks at the Siege of Vienna in 1683 and the subsequent War of the Holy League, before serving in the Nine Years' War alongside his cousin, the Duke of Savoy. However, the Prince's fame was secured with his crushing victory against the Ottomans at the Battle of Zenta in 1697. Eugene enhanced his standing during the War of the Spanish Succession where his partnership with the Duke of Marlborough secured victories against the French on the fields of Blenheim, Oudenarde and Malplaquet; he gained further success as Imperial commander in northern Italy, most notably at Turin in 1706. Renewed hostilities against the Ottomans in the Austro-Turkish War of (1716–18) consolidated his reputation with victories at the battles of Petrovaradin, and Belgrade.

Throughout the late 1720s Eugene's influence and skilful diplomacy managed to secure the Emperor powerful allies in his dynastic struggles with the Bourbon powers; but physically and mentally fragile in his later years, Eugene enjoyed less success as commander-in-chief of the army during his final conflict, the War of the Polish Succession. Nevertheless, in Austria, Eugene's reputation remains unrivalled. Although opinions differ as to his character, there is no dispute over his great achievements: Eugene helped to save the Habsburg Empire from French conquest; he broke the westward thrust of the Ottomans, liberating central Europe after a century and a half of Turkish occupation; and he was one of the greatest patrons of the arts, whose building legacy can still be seen in Vienna today. Eugene died in his sleep at his home on 21 April 1736 aged 72.

#207 Russia...Thanks Alexander!

#206 India...Thanks Anubhav!

#205 India...Thanks Kasinath!

The left stamp was issued in 2009 honoring Major General Dewan Misri Chand,who was an aviation pioneer of India.

The souvenir sheet is 2009 Greetings issue.

#204 Australia...Thanks John!

The 55c stamp is from 1981 Fungi issue showing Armillaria luteobubalina,known as the Australian honey fungus, which is a species of mushroom in the Physalacriaceae family. Found predominantly in southern Australia, the fungus is responsible for a disease known as Armillaria root rot, a primary cause of Eucalyptus tree death and forest dieback.

The $1.45 stamp was issued in 2003 commemorating 100 years of Australia High Court.

The High Court of Australia is the highest court in the Australian court hierarchy and the final court of appeal in Australia. It has both original and appellate jurisdiction, has the power of judicial review over laws passed by the Parliament of Australia and the parliaments of the States, and interprets the Constitution of Australia. The High Court is mandated by section 71 of the Constitution, which vests in it the judicial power of the Commonwealth of Australia. The High Court was constituted by the Judiciary Act 1903. The High Court of Australia is located in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.

The 25c stamp was issued in 2006 showing Short-Beaked Echidna.

The Short-beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus), also known as the Spiny Anteater because of its diet of ants and termites, is one of four living species of echidna and the only member of the genus Tachyglossus. The Short-beaked Echidna is covered in fur and spines and has a distinctive snout and a specialized tongue, which it uses to catch its prey at a great speed. Like the other extant monotremes, the Short-beaked Echidna lays eggs; the monotremes are the only group of mammals to do so.

The species is found throughout Australia, where it is the most widespread native mammal, and in coastal and highland regions of southwestern New Guinea. It is not threatened with extinction, but human activities, such as hunting, habitat destruction, and the introduction of foreign predatory species and parasites, have reduced the distribution of the Short-beaked Echidna in Australia.

The 45c stamp is from 1995 Centenary of Cinema issue showing the poster of Strictly Ballroom,which was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival, winning the "Award of the Youth" prize in the foreign film category.

#203 India...Thanks Kevin!

The stamp on the left was issued in 2007 showing Snows Basilica which is located at Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the Catholic pilgrimage centres in India dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

The church was built during 16th century, and dedicated to St. Peter. Later Jesuits consecrated it to Our Lady of Snows. In 1542 St. Francis Xavier visited the shrine to catechize the paravars, the indigenous people of the Pearl Fishery Coast, and to strengthen them in Christian faith. The history of the shrine is closely connected with the mass conversion of the paravar community, numbering about 30,000.

In 1982, when the Church of Our Lady of Snows celebrated its 400th anniversary, Pope John Paul II raised it to the status of Basilica through his apostolic letter Pervenute illa Dei Beatissimae Genitricis Effigies.

The two butterflies stamps on the right were issued in 2008 depicting The Andaman Clubtail (Pachliopia rhodifer),which is a rare and beautiful member of the Swallowtail (Papilionidae) family,endemic and restricted to the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal.

Monday, April 12, 2010

#202 Myanmar...Thanks Thitar!

This set of Musical Instruments was issued during 1998-2000 depicting Myanmar Xylophone,Mon Brass Gongs,Rakhine Auspicous Drum,Myanmar Harp,Shan Pot Drum and Kachin Brass Gong.

The music of Burma (or Myanmar) has similarities with and is related to many other musical traditions in the region, including Chinese music, Indian music and Thai music.

These instruments are played in a musical scale consisting of seven tones, each associated with an animal that is said to be the producer of the tone. Each tone can be played raised, lowered or natural (corresponding to sharp, flat or natural), resulting a possible twenty-one combinations.

The Burmese harp is of special significance. It dates back to the 9th century, though it has changed quite a bit since then, expanding, for example, from three strings to sixteen.

#201 Indonesia...Thanks Irene!

#200 Finland...Thanks Unknown.

The 0.80c stamp was issued in 1977 celebrating 60th anniv. of Finland's declaration of independence,showing national flag of Finland.

The Finnish declaration of independence was adopted by the Parliament of Finland on 6 December 1917. It declared Finland an independent and sovereign nation-state rather than an autonomous Russian Grand Duchy.

The February Revolution of 1917, and even more so the October Revolution, had ignited hopes also in the Grand Duchy of Finland. After abdication of Grand Duke Nicholas II on 15 March 1917, the personal union between Russia and Finland lost its legal base – at least according to the view in Helsinki.

On 5 November, the Parliament had consequently declared itself to be "the possessor of supreme State power" in Finland, based on Finland's Constitution, and more precisely on the old Instrument of Government of 1772, which had been enacted by the Estates after Gustav III's bloodless coup.

On 6 December the Parliament adopted the Declaration. That day is the national holiday Finland Independence Day.

On 18 December the Soviet government issued a Decree, recognizing Finland's independence, and on December 22 it was approved by the highest Soviet executive body - VTsIK.

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania also declared their independence from Russia during the same period.

The semi-postal stamp in the middle was issued in 1977 sponsoring World Ski Championship held in Lahti,Finland,1978.

The 3m stamp on the right was from 1998 Finnish Design issue showing Carelia cutlery set,by Bertel Gardberg,who is one of the major forces in Finnish design, and was inspired by the Finnish archipelago. Carelia cutlery range is as modern and pleasing today as it was at the beginning of the 1960s, when it was first introduced. Carelia is the largest cutlery range that Hackman produces.

#199 Germany...Thanks Gerd!

The two stamps on the left were issued to celebrate the Winter Olympics Games and Winter Paralympics in 2010.

The 55c stamp on the right were issued in 2010 depicting a German board game (but not a German-style board game)Mensch ärgere dich nicht,by Joseph Friedrich Schmidt (1907/1908).

The game was issued in 1914 and sold about 60 million copies. It is a Cross and Circle game with the circle is collapsed onto the cross, similar to the Indian game Pachisi, the American game Parcheesi, and the English game Ludo. There is a computer adaptation.

The name of the game means "Do not get angry" (literally Do not get angry, man or Do not get angry, buddy). The name derives from the fact that a peg is sent back to the B field when another peg lands on it, similarly to the game Sorry!

You could learn the rules here.

#198 Hungary...Thanks Dora!

The first 75ft stamp is from 2009 Christmas issue.

The second 75ft stamp is from 2009 Locomotives issue.

The last 100ft stamp was issued in 2009 commmemorting 800 years of Franciscan.

Franciscan refers to any member of a Christian religious order founded in the early 13th century by St. Francis of Assisi. The members of the order strive to cultivate the ideals of the order's founder. The Franciscans actually consist of three orders. The First Order comprises priests and lay brothers who have sworn to lead a life of prayer, preaching, and penance. This First Order is divided into three independent branches: the Friars Minor (O.F.M.), the Friars Minor Conventual (O.F.M. Conv.), and the Friars Minor Capuchin (O.F.M. Cap.). The Second Order consists of cloistered nuns who belong to the Order of St. Clare (O.S.C.) and are known as Poor Clares (P.C.). The Third Order consists of religious and lay men and women who try to emulate Saint Francis' spirit by performing works of teaching, charity, and social service. Strictly speaking, the latter order consists of the Third Order Secular, whose lay members live in the world without vows; and the Third Order Regular, whose members live in religious communities under vow. Congregations of these religious men and women are numerous all over the Roman Catholic world. The Franciscans are the largest religious order in the Roman Catholic church. They have contributed a total of 98 saints and six popes to the church.

It was probably in 1207 that Francis felt the call to a life of preaching, penance, and total poverty. He was soon joined by his first followers, to whom he gave a short and simple rule of life. In 1209 he and 11 of his followers journeyed to Rome, where Francis received approval of his rule from Pope Innocent III. Under this rule, Franciscan friars could own no possessions of any kind, either individually or communally (i.e., as the property of the order as a whole). The friars wandered and preached among the people, helping the poor and the sick. They supported themselves by working and by begging food, but they were forbidden to accept money either as payment for work or as alms. The Franciscans worked at first in Umbria and then in the rest of Italy and abroad. The impact of these street preachers and especially of their founder was immense, so that within 10 years they numbered 5,000. Affiliated with them were the Franciscan nuns, whose order was founded at Assisi in 1212, by St. Clare, who was under the guidance of St. Francis. Clare and her followers were lodged by Francis in the Church of San Damiano, where they lived a severe life of total poverty. They later became known as the Poor Clares or the Order of St. Clare.

During the first years of the Franciscans, the example of Francis provided their real rule of life, but, as the order grew, it became clear that a revised rule was necessary. After preparing a rule in 1221 that was found too strict, Francis, with the help of several legal scholars, unwillingly composed the more restrained final rule in 1223. This rule was approved by Pope Honorius III.

Even before the death of Francis in 1226, conflicts had developed within the order over the observance of the vow of complete poverty. The rapid expansion of the order's membership had created a need for settled monastic houses, but it was impossible to justify these if Francis' rule of complete poverty was followed strictly. Three parties gradually appeared: the Zealots, who insisted on a literal observance of the primitive rule of poverty affecting communal as well as personal poverty; the Laxists, who favoured many mitigations; and the Moderates, or the Community, who wanted a legal structure that would permit some form of communal possessions. Something of an equilibrium was reached between these different schools of thought while St. Bonaventure was minister general (1257–74). Sometimes called the second founder of the order, he provided a wise, moderate interpretation of the rule. During this period the friars spread throughout Europe, while missionaries penetrated Syria and Africa. Simultaneously, the friars' houses in university towns such as Paris and Oxford were transformed into schools of theology that rapidly became among the most celebrated in Europe.

With the death of Bonaventure, the internal dissensions of the order flared up anew. The Zealots, who now became known as the Spirituals, demanded absolute poverty. Opposed to them were the Community, or the Conventuals, who stood for a more moderate community life adapted to the needs of study and preaching. Papal decisions favoured the Conventuals, and the Spirituals ceased to be a faction of importance in the order after 1325.

The latter part of the 14th century saw a great decline in the religious life of the friars. But throughout that century a series of reformers initiated groups of friars, known as Observants, living an austere life apart from the main body of Conventuals. Under the leadership of St. Bernardino of Siena and St. John of Capistrano, the Observants spread across Europe. Though several attempts were made to reconcile them with the Conventuals, the outcome was in fact a complete separation in 1517, when all the reform communities were united in one order with the name Friars Minor of the Observance, and this order was granted a completely independent and autonomous existence. It is estimated that in 1517 the Observants numbered about 30,000, the Conventuals about 25,000.

The union of the Observants was short-lived as several stricter groups arose. One of these reform groups, the Capuchins (q.v.), founded in 1525, was separated as the third branch of the Franciscan Order in 1619. The other groups were finally reunited to the Observants by Pope Leo XIII in 1897 with new constitutions and the official title Order of Friars Minor. All three branches of the Franciscans suffered in the French Revolution, but they revived during the 19th century.

The Franciscans have popularized several devotional practices in the Roman Catholic church. Among the best known are the Christmas crib, the Stations of the Cross, and the Angelus. Besides their traditional role of preaching, Franciscans have been active in the work of foreign missions and have made many contributions to the field of education and scholarship.

#197 France...Thanks Julien!

The 0.85€ stamp was issued in 2009 featuring Albi Cathedral (French: Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile d'Albi),which is the most important religious building in Albi, southern France. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Albi.

The Gothic cathedral which we see today was constructed in brick between 1282 to 1480 in the wake of the Albigensian heresy and the brutal crusade which suppressed it, with great loss of life. In the aftermath of the bloodshed, the cathedral's dominant presence and fortress-like exterior were intended to convey the power and authority of the Christian faith.

The cathedral is built in the Southern Gothic Style. Notable architectural features include the bell-tower (added in 1492), which stands 78 meters tall, and the doorway by Dominique de Florence (added circa 1392).

The elaborate interior stands in stark contrast to the cathedral's military exterior. The central chœur, reserved for members of the religious order, is surrounded by a roodscreen with detailed filigree stone work and a group of polychrome statues. Below the organ, a fresco of the Last Judgement, attributed to unknown Flemish painters, originally covered nearly 200 m² (the central area was later removed). The frescoes on the enormous vaulted ceiling comprise the largest and oldest ensemble of Italian Renaissance painting in France.

#196 Belgium...Thanks Jennifer!

This FDC was issued in 2009 for the Belgian Red Cross with the theme Water.

The stamp on the left is from 2009 World Heritage issue showing Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai.

The Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Tournai was built in the first half of the 12th century. It is especially distinguished by a Romanesque nave of extraordinary dimensions, a wealth of sculpture on its capitals and a transept topped by five towers, all precursors of the Gothic style. The choir, rebuilt in the 13th century, is in the pure Gothic style.

#195 Poland...Thanks Kazimierz!

These two stamps are 2010 Easter issue of Poland.

Easter is the central religious feast in the Christian liturgical year.According to Christian scripture, Jesus was resurrected from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. The chronology of his death and resurrection is variously interpreted to be between AD 26 and AD 36. Easter also refers to the season of the church year called Eastertide or the Easter Season. Traditionally the Easter Season lasted for the forty days from Easter Day until Ascension Day but now officially lasts for the fifty days until Pentecost. The first week of the Easter Season is known as Easter Week or the Octave of Easter. Easter also marks the end of Lent, a season of fasting, prayer, and penance.

Easter is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon The date of Easter therefore varies between March 22 and April 25. Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian Calendar whose March 21 corresponds, during the twenty-first century, to April 3 in the Gregorian Calendar, in which calendar their celebration of Easter therefore varies between April 4 and May 8.

Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In most European languages the feast called Easter in English is termed by the words for passover in those languages and in the older English versions of the Bible the term Easter was the term used to translate passover.

Relatively newer elements such as the Easter Bunny and Easter egg hunts have become part of the holiday's modern celebrations, and those aspects are often celebrated by many Christians and non-Christians alike. There are also some Christian denominations who do not celebrate Easter.

Friday, April 9, 2010

#194 Sri Lanka...Thanks Ravindra!

These five stamps were issued in 2008 depicting Late Anuradhapura era.

Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Lankan civilization.

The city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, founded in the 4th century BC, was the capital of the Anuradhapura Kingdom until the beginning of the 11th century AD. During this period it remained one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia.

5.00: Ancient Sophisticated Technology and Technique: Middle age Gold Coin, its mould and gold ingot used for manufacturing gold coin.

10.00: Architecture: Medirigiriya, Vatadageya and its conjectural drawing

15.00: Sanitation, Living standard and Conservation of Environment: Urinal stone at Western Monasteries in Anuradhapura and cross section of Sanitary system.

20.00: Jewellery: Bangle, Necklace with a Pendent, Anklet and Teerracotta beads Necklace

30.00: Art & Sculpture: Bodhisatva Vajrapani and Avalokithesvara at Buduruwagala and

Thursday, April 8, 2010

#193 France...Thanks Eleonore!

The 0.55c stamp with tab was issued in 2008 celebrating French Federation of Philatelic Associations Congress showing Grand Palais of Paris.

The Grand Palais ("Big Palace") is a large glass exhibition hall that was built for the Paris Exhibition of 1900. It is located in the 8e arrondissement of Paris, France.

Built at the same time as the Petit Palais and the Pont Alexandre III, four architects were involved: the main facade was the work of Henri Deglane, the opposite side the work of Albert-Félix-Théophile Thomas, the interior and the other two ends given to Albert Louvet, with the entire job supervised by Charles Girault. (All four had been winners of the Prix de Rome for architecture.) The building facade is a prototypical example of Beaux-Arts architecture, and the main roof is an expanse of steel and glass.

All of the exterior of this massive palace combines an imposing Classical stone façade with a riot of Art Nouveau ironwork, and a number of allegorical statue groups including work by sculptors Paul Gasq and Alfred Boucher. Two monumental bronze quadrigas by Georges Récipon terminate each wing of the main facade.

The building was closed for 12 years for extensive restoration work after one of the glass ceiling panels fell in 1993. It reopened on Saturday 24 September 2005.

A little known fact is that the Grand Palais has a major police station in the basement which helps protect the exhibits on show. The building's west wing also contains a science museum, the Palais de la Découverte.

The couture fashion house Chanel annually hosts many of its fashion shows here, setting up elaborate and expensive surroundings for its models and hosts.

The right comic stamp is from 2007 Happy birthday issue showing Sylvain & Sylvette.

Sylvain et Sylvette is a french comics series created in 1941 by Maurice Cuvillier. The most popular and successful series relating the adventures of Sylvain and Sylvette were drawn by Jean-Louis Pesch and are currently published by Dargaud. This is the only series still unfinished and published.

Sylvain et Sylvette, are the main characters of the comics series. Orphans, they live alone and autonomously in a house that they call their "cottage", in the middle of the forest. They live with several animals referred in the series as their "friends" and have a very simple way of life, wearing clogs and eating with picking and fishing. Sometimes they pass to Laville (literally "Thetown" in french), a small village near their house, when they need a doctor or a veterinary for example. However, four starving animals, the "comperes", who live in a cavern not far from the cottage, seek to catch their animals or to steal their food. The atmosphere of the series is largely humoristic and the so-called villains' attempt to catch animals always fails. In some albums, Sylvain and Sylvette live more adventurous situations than the usual fight against the Comperes, particularly when Tartalo, a scientist, intervenes in the story.

Sylvain is a boy who is rather optimistic and resourceful to avoid the Comperes' traps and attacks and Sylvette is a courageous and pessimistic girl who takes care of cooking, washing and cleaning.

#192 Ukraine...Thanks Sulyma!

This FDC is from Nov.2009 Songs issue illustrating "Humorous Songs"

The triangular stamp is from 2009 Minerals of Ukraine issue showing Sulfur.

Sulfur is the chemical element that has the atomic number 16. It is denoted with the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Sulfur, in its native form, is a bright yellow crystalline solid. In nature, it can be found as the pure element and as sulfide and sulfate minerals. It is an essential element for life and is found in two amino acids: cysteine and methionine. Its commercial uses are primarily in fertilizers, but it is also widely used in black gunpowder, matches, insecticides and fungicides. Elemental sulfur crystals are commonly sought after by mineral collectors for their brightly colored polyhedron shapes. In nonscientific contexts, it can also be referred to as brimstone.

The 3.75 UAH stamp is from 2009 Europa-Astronomy issue showing Meridian Circle.

The meridian circle, or transit circle, is an instrument for observing the time of stars passing the meridian, at the same time measuring its angular distance from the zenith. The idea of having an instrument (quadrant) fixed in the plane of the meridian occurred even to the ancient astronomers and is mentioned by Ptolemy, but it was not carried into practice until Tycho Brahe constructed a large meridian quadrant.

The combination of the telescope and meridian circle resulted in the transit telescope, which have since developed further and diverged.

#191 USA...Thanks Yvonne!

Another Abstract Expressionist stamp features Barnett Newman's Achilles.

Barnett Newman (1905-1970) created deceptively simple works often characterized by large, even expanses of a single color punctuated by one or more vertical lines, which he called “zips.” One of several works based on ancient Greek mythology, Achilles (1952) does not feature a zip but rather a swath of red paint that moves down the canvas to end in a ragged edge.

The other Abstract Expressionist stamps are here and here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

#190 Sweden...Thanks Kjell!

The 75o stamp was issued in 1972 showing Historic Plane:Douglas DC-3.

The Douglas DC-3 is an American fixed-wing, propeller-driven aircraft whose speed and range revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s. Because of its lasting impact on the airline industry and World War II it is generally regarded as one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made. Many DC-3s are still used to this day in all parts of the world.

The 90o stamp is from 1978 Swedish Painters issue featuring "homecoming" by Carl Kylberg (1878-1952).

In southern Sweden, Carl Kylberg was taught by painter Edwin Oller. Thanks to him, he came to make his debut with the team in February Liljevalch. He had two and twelve still lifes landscapes. He was well received and was described as "intimism."

First solo exhibition in 1926 Gummeson Konsthall, Stockholm. He was then 48 years. The 43 oil paintings had a richer color was more expressive. Gotthard Johansson critic wrote: "one of the most remarkable, that in a long time been".

Kylberg solo exhibition in Göteborg Konsthall with 13 paintings were a success. Huge attention in 1936 when he came back and sold 35 paintings.

His exhibition in 1946 Liljevalch covered the entire 238 paintings!

Total Kylberg painted about 329 paintings, of which only 56 before the 1921st

Carl Kylberg sign was a kontempelativ of nature, a free, personalized coloring and lyrical densified color. He also showed an interest in the Indian mystic and read, inter alia, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Schopenhauer.

Kylberg often regarded as romantic, mystic and visionary. But his central themes was traveling, hiking, and road. The whole is more important than the details and you get a sense of timelessness. The ships are vehicles of hope and peace at sea. Other common symbols are trees, planting, and river source.

Among other artists he particularly Matisse. He did not appreciate Edvard Munch's color choice. He also saw a strong link between music and painting: "Colors are noise - the color is music".

The block of four stamps on the right were issued in 1991 commemorating 100th anniv. of Skansen Park,Stockholm,which is the first open air museum and zoo in Sweden and is located on the island Djurgården in Stockholm, Sweden. It was founded in 1891 by Artur Hazelius (1833-1901) to show the way of life in the different parts of Sweden before the industrial era.

The 19th century was a period of great change throughout Europe and Sweden was no exception. Its rural way of life was rapidly giving way to an industrialized society and many feared that the country's many traditional customs and occupations may be lost to history. Artur Hazelius, who had previously founded the Nordic Museum on the island of Djurgården near the centre of Stockholm, was inspired by the open-air museum founded by King Oscar II in Kristiania in 1881 when he created his open-air museum on the hill that dominates the island. Skansen became the model for other early open-air museums in Scandinavia and later ones elsewhere. The name "Skansen" has also been used as a noun to refer to other open-air museums and collections of historic structures, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, but also in the United States, e.g. Old World Wisconsin and Fairplay, Colorado.

Skansen was originally a part of the Nordic Museum, but became an independent organization in 1963. The objects in the Skansen buildings are still the property of the Nordic Museum.
After extensive travelling, Hazelius bought around 150 houses from all over the country (as well as one structure from Telemark in Norway) and had them shipped piece by piece to the museum, where they were rebuilt to provide a unique picture of traditional Sweden. Only three of the buildings in the museum are not original, and were painstakingly copied from examples he had found. All of the buildings are open to visitors and show the full range of Swedish life from the Skogaholm Manor house built in 1680, to the 16th century Älvros farmhouses.

Skansen attracts more than 1.3 million visitors each year. The many exhibits over the 75 acre (300,000 m²) site include a full replica of an average 19th-century town, in which craftsmen in traditional dress such as tanners, shoemakers, silversmiths, bakers and glass-blowers demonstrate their skills in period surroundings. There is even a small patch growing tobacco used for the making of cigarettes. There is also an open-air zoo containing a wide range of Scandinavian animals including the bison, brown bear, moose, grey seal, lynx, otter, red fox, reindeer, wolf, and wolverine (as well as some non-Scandinavian animals due to their popularity). There are also farmsteads where rare breeds of farm animals can be seen.
In early December the site's central Bollnäs square is host to a popular Christmas market that has been held since 1903, attracting around 25,000 visitors each weekend. In the summer there are displays of folk dancing and concerts.

#189 Philippines...Thanks Myron!

These 4 stamps are from 2009 Lobsters issue showing Northwest Reef Lobster,Two Spot Locust Lobster,Locust Lobster and Blind Lobster.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

#188 Monaco...Thanks David!

The two triangular stamps were issued in 1953 featuring early and modern postal transports with the upper stamp showing Comet airliner and the lower stamp showing old monoplane.

The de Havilland Comet was the world's first commercial jet airliner to reach production.Developed and manufactured by de Havilland, it first flew in 1949 and was considered a landmark in British aeronautical design. After introduction into commercial service, early Comet models suffered from catastrophic metal fatigue, causing a string of well-publicised accidents.

The Comet had to be withdrawn and was redesigned. The Comet 4 series subsequently enjoyed a long and productive career of over 30 years, although sales never fully recovered. The Hawker Siddeley Nimrod, the military derivative of the Comet airliner, is still in service. The original decades-old airframes are being rebuilt with new wings and engines to produce the Nimrod MRA 4, expected to serve with Britain's Royal Air Force until the 2020s, over 70 years after the Comet's first flight.

A monoplane is an aircraft with one main set of wing surfaces, in contrast to a biplane or triplane. Since the late 1930s it has been the most common form for a fixed wing aircraft.

The 0.85 euro stamp is from 2008 Poster Art issue showing Monte Carlo Beach.

#187 USA...Thanks Skip!

The upper 20c stamp was issued in 1983 for Voluntarism.

The lower 20c stamp was issued in 1982 showing Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress and is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and holds the largest number of books (with the British Library being second at about 14 million books).The head of the Library is the Librarian of Congress, currently James H. Billington.

The Library of Congress was established by Congress in 1800, and was housed in the United States Capitol for most of the 19th century. After much of the original collection had been destroyed during the War of 1812, Thomas Jefferson sold 6487 books to the library, his entire personal library, in 1815.After a period of decline during the mid-19th century the Library of Congress began to grow rapidly in both size and importance after the American Civil War, culminating in the construction of a separate library building and the transference of all copyright deposit holdings to the Library. During the rapid expansion of the 20th century the Library of Congress assumed a preeminent public role, becoming a "library of last resort" and expanding its mission for the benefit of scholars and the American people.

The Library's primary mission is researching inquiries made by members of Congress through the Congressional Research Service; although it is open to the public, only legislators, Supreme Court justices and other high-ranking government officials may check out books. Through the United States Copyright Office, the Library of Congress also receives copies of every book, pamphlet, map, print, and piece of music registered in the United States. As the de facto national library, the Library of Congress promotes literacy and American literature through projects such as the American Folklife Center, American Memory, Center for the Book and Poet Laureate.

The 20c stamp in the middle was issued in 1982 commemorating 250 birth of George Washington.

George Washington (1732 - 1799) served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797 and as the commander of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783. Because of his significant role in the revolution and in the formation of the United States, he is often revered by Americans as the "Father of Our Country".

The Continental Congress appointed Washington commander-in-chief of the American revolutionary forces in 1775. The following year, he forced the British out of Boston, lost New York City, and crossed the Delaware River in New Jersey, defeating the surprised enemy units later that year. Because of his strategy, Revolutionary forces captured the two main British combat armies at Saratoga and Yorktown. Negotiating with Congress, the colonial states, and French allies, he held together a tenuous army and a fragile nation amid the threats of disintegration and failure. Following the end of the war in 1783, King George III asked what Washington would do next and was told of rumors that he'd return to his farm; this prompted the king to state, "If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world." Washington did return to private life and retired to his plantation at Mount Vernon.

He presided over the Philadelphia Convention that drafted the United States Constitution in 1787 because of general dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation. Washington became President of the United States in 1789 and established many of the customs and usages of the new government's executive department. He sought to create a nation capable of surviving in a world torn asunder by war between Britain and France. His unilateral Proclamation of Neutrality of 1793 provided a basis for avoiding any involvement in foreign conflicts. He supported plans to build a strong central government by funding the national debt, implementing an effective tax system, and creating a national bank. Washington avoided the temptation of war and a decade of peace with Britain began with the Jay Treaty in 1795; he used his prestige to get it ratified over intense opposition from the Jeffersonians. Although never officially joining the Federalist Party, he supported its programs and was its inspirational leader. Washington's farewell address was a primer on republican virtue and a stern warning against partisanship, sectionalism, and involvement in foreign wars. He was awarded the first Congressional Gold Medal with the Thanks of Congress in 1776.

Washington died in 1799. Henry Lee, delivering the funeral oration, declared Washington "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen".Historical scholars consistently rank him as one of the greatest United States presidents.

#186 Czech Republic...Thanks Miroslav!

The 17kc stamp was issued in 2004 for Brno 2005 Philatelic Exhibition showing Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary,Brno.

In 1240 a convent was established by Oldřich Niger, a Brno townsman. This became redundant in 1578 and its premises were taken over by the Jesuits. The medieval convent was replaced by an extensive and architecturally simple collection of residential buildings, but following the dissolution of the order in 1773, a long-term use for the site could not be found and it was demolished in 1904. Only the portal remains, and this is preserved on Mozart Street between the church and the so-called Býlí dům, a modern building by Arnošt Weisner dating from 1923. The juxtaposition of the artistically valuable portal dated 1690 and the functionalist building is considered to be highly successful. The mannerist chapel was built from 1598 to 1602 on the site of the gothic church. In the mid 18th century the vaulting was decorated and the original furnishings were added to and the altars were replaced. At the end of the Second World War the church was severely damaged, and was restored from 1945-1952. In 1989 it was returned to the Jesuit order.

#185 United Kindom...Thanks Jacqueline!

The 44p stamp is from 2000 Millennium issue showing Torrs Walkway & New Mills.

New Mills is a town in Derbyshire, England. It is sited at the confluence of the rivers Goyt and Sett, on the border of Cheshire. The town stands above the Torrs, a 70 feet (21 m) deep gorge, cut through Woodhead Hill Sandstone of the Carboniferous era. It is situated at the north western edge of the Peak District, England's first national park.

New Mills was first noted for coal mining, and then for cotton spinning and then bleaching and calico printing. New Mills was served by the Peak Forest Canal, three railway lines and the A6 trunk road. Redundant mills were bought up in the mid twentieth century by a children's sweet manufacturer. New Mills was a stronghold of Methodism.

The 50p stamp is from 2008 Cathedrals issue showing Gloucester Cathedral.

Gloucester Cathedral originated in 678 or 679 with the foundation of an abbey dedicated to Saint Peter(dissolved by King Henry VIII).

The foundations of the present church were laid by Abbot Serlo (1072–1104), later to become the first Dean of Exeter. Walter Gloucester (d. 1412) the abbey's historian, became its first mitred abbot in 1381. Until 1541, Gloucester lay in the see of Worcester, but the separate see was then constituted, with John Wakeman, last abbot of Tewkesbury, as its first bishop. The diocese covers the greater part of Gloucestershire, with small parts of Herefordshire and Wiltshire. The cathedral has a stained glass window containing the earliest images of golf. This dates from 1350, over 300 years earlier than the earliest image of golf from Scotland. There is also a carved image of people playing a ball game, believed by some to be one of the earliest images of medieval football.

The cathedral, built as the abbey church, consists of a Norman nucleus (Walter de Lacy is buried there), with additions in every style of Gothic architecture. It is 420 feet (130 m) long, and 144 feet (44 m) wide, with a fine central tower of the 15th century rising to the height of 225 ft (69 m) and topped by four delicate pinnacles, a famous landmark. The nave is massive Norman with an Early English roof; the crypt, under the choir, aisles and chapels, is Norman, as is the chapter house. The crypt is one of the four apsidal cathedral crypts in England, the others being at Worcester, Winchester and Canterbury.

#184 Tunisia...Thanks Haithem!

#183 Italy...Thanks Alfredo!

The 0.62c stamp was issued in 2006 celebrating 50 years of Quattroruote(Four Wheels),which is a popular Italian automobile magazine established by the Marchigian entrepreneur Gianni Mazzocchi in February 1956, for the "average driver". In the last years has extended its diffusion contracting several other international heading in nations like Russia, China, Romania and England in 2007, launching the partnership with Top Gear. Among its regular features it includes information on used car prices.