Friday, December 31, 2010

#529 Slovakia...Thanks Robert!

These two stamps are Slovak 2010 Art series showing Gothic Mural Painting and Gothic Madonna from Ľubica.

Gothic Mural Painting
The history of Cathedral church of St. Martin bishop in Spišská Kapitula (Spiš Canonry) dates back to the 13th century. Its contemporary appearance is the result of several reconstructions. The original Roman period is represented by the space in the western part – pillars with berry head capitals under gallery, two preserved portals and the lion statue from the original Western portal. Radical reconstructions in the second third of the 15th century turned the church into a hall three-nave basilica with high spaces with star and tracery vaults. Building up a mortuary chapel of the Zápolya family to the southern side of the church nave completed the reconstruction.
The wall painting of Karl Robert Coronation represents the remains of the decoration dating back to the period before the Gothic reconstruction in the 15th century. The motif of the painting under the northern portal is a ceremonial scene which is dominated by the Mother of God with Jesus on her knees. Her throne, Jesus’ white robe and the ornaments of the whole painting relate to the Byzantine art mediated by Italian paintings at the turn of the 13th and 14th century. By blessing gestures, Mary and Jesus are turning to the king wearing a crown on his head. Behind the king, separated by the shield with red and white beams and with Anjou family lilies, a Spiš castellan Frantisek Thomas Semsay is kneeling.
To the right of the Mary Enthroned, two church dignitaries are depicted – an Esztergom archbishop Thomas with another crown in his hands and a Spiš provost Henrik who is behind him. The scene represents hierarchical vision of the reign derived from the Christ and guaranteed by the local authorities. Considering thoroughly highlighted details of the clothes and insignia it can be assumed that the painter comes from courtly environment.
The last complex reconstruction (Ladislav Szekély 2005) proved secondary of the historical signs and also the dating on one of them. Considering the iconography, the painting could have been created shortly after Karl Robert from Anjou was coronated the Hungarian king by the Esztergom archbishop for the last time in 1310.

Gothic Madonna from Ľubica
The Parish church of Assumption of Virgin Mary in Ľubica is the largest church from the group of so-called double-nave Spiš churches and its architecture integrates several reconstructions. After the second half of the 14th century the nave of the older church was vaulted with a cross vault on three slender columns. From the era of the older, still gothic period, two portals but especially one of few preserved round windows of Slovak Gothic – rosette are worth mentioning. The church interior underwent fundamental alterations in the 17th and 18th century. After 1764, the walls and the vault were decorated with rococo ornaments. Baldachin altar in sanctuary (1680) is older and was created by baroque sculptor Olaf Engelholm from Levoča. A niche of the older still gothic altar with the statue of the Virgin Mary from the beginning of the 16th century is also integrated in this monumental work.
Madonna, wearing bright gold cloak, accompanied with little statues of four saints on the sides represents the type of so-called Apocalyptic Mary standing on the half moon with two angels by her feet. The moon represents the devil that was humiliated by the Mother God. Both angels raising her cloak serve the purpose of sending the message face to face to the spectators. The method of the coat shaping but mainly the facial features of the Virgin Mary and the angels reveal the origin of the statue as well as the whole original gothic altar in the workshop of Master Paul of Levoča.
The preservation of the older statue, even the whole cabinet of the gothic retable in the new baroque altar in Ľubica is not such a big exception. In the 17th century similar phenomenon is observed in the baroque altar of the Minorities church in Levoča that is also the work of Olaf Engelholm. Gothic Madonna could be found in the baroque altar of the Parish church in Podolínec. In 1696, the whole gothic cabinet with eight original statues was integrated into the altar in the Parish church in Prešov. Such a historicism surely relates to the former recatholization atmosphere and its effort to emphasize religious and cultural tradition continuity of the period before the reformation. Artistic monuments became significant argumentative means in religion disputes in the 17th century.

#528 Slovakia...Thanks Robert!

The 0.70€ stamp was issued on 03.12.2010 for the Postage Stamp Day honoring Karol Ondreička.

Karol Ondreička (1944 – 2003) a painter, a graphic, an illustrator, a postage stamp creator, a significant artist and a teacher, professor at Academy of Fine Arts and Design and at Faculty of Education of Comenius University in Bratislava. In 1989 – 1990 he was the Chancellor of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design. As the first pupil and member of the artistically strong Brunovský’s graphic school, in his artistic creation, Ondreička continued with the activity of Professor Albin Brunovský. His works are specific for rich imagination, marked drawing skills, redrawing of the details and using classical graphic techniques.

The 0.40€ stamp in the middle is the 2010 Christmas issue showing the Initial with the Birth of Christ from Bratislava Mass-book.

Liturgical manuscript of the Bratislava missal I from the beginning of the 14th century is preserved in several fragments. It can be found in the Bratislava Archive, in the Town Museum in Bratislava and in the St. Adalbert Association in Trnava. Originally having 366 sheets, nowadays there are 303 altogether. There are painted figural illuminations mainly as initials with biblical motifs on some of these parchment sheets of the Codex. One of these paintings, on the parchments sheets in the Town Museum, is the Nativity initial. The scene is placed in the shape of letter P.

The 0.40€ stamp:Fight Against HIV on the right was issued on 01.12.2010.

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that causes AIDS disease. It completely disrupts and destroys the human immunity. It is not a commonly contagious virus. We do not get infected by touch or by common social contact. Infection may occur by transfer of bodily fluids, blood or during sexual intercourse; moreover, by using the same needle among drug addicts. To find out whether a person is infected can be recognized by medical examination after three months, sometimes after six months. The period during which a person is a virus carrier and by the time the symptoms appear could last for years. During this period the afflicted person can unconsciously spread the virus. How to prevent spreading the virus? It is important to inform people how we can become HIV positive and how important it is to have safe sex with a stranger and not to switch partners. Drugs are addictive substances. Drug addiction frequently blocks our sober consideration of risks of the infection. One of the very sensitive routes of the infection is the transmission of the virus from mother to her baby during pregnancy or breast feeding. In the past, blood transfusion was also considered one of the feared contagious routes; however, nowadays there are sufficient medical examinations to prevent the infection.

What should one do when meeting a person infected by HIV virus either by his own fault or by other´s fault? When we realize what he realizes at any time he could get seriously ill, he must be careful and not to take unnecessary risks, his health is weakened.what is important for such a person? The important thing is to have somebody by his side and not to have people turn against him for him not to have to fight against scorn. A lot of people just then realize the value of life, the value of attitudes of people around them and their own value.

We can fight against HIV virus, we can resist it. Yet, it is not possible to cure it. Therefore, it is very important to talk about it in families, to inform about it in media and to speak about it mainly with young people.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

#527 Indonesia...Thanks Nella!

These two stamps are from 200 Years of the Great Post Road issued in 2008.

The Great Post Road is the road stretched from west to east at northern part of Java from Anyer to Panarukan along 1,000km. Initiated by Governor-General Herman Willem Daendels, this road is passing through Serang, Tangerang, Jakarta, Bogor, Sukabumi, Cianjur, Bandung, Sumedang, Cirebon, Brebes, Tegal Pemalang, Pekalongan, Kendal, Semarang, Demak, Kudus, Rembang, Tuban, Gresik, Surabaya, Sidoarjo, Pasuruan, Probolinggo dan Situbondo.

Daendels was a marshal appointed as governor general of East Indies by Lodewijk Napoleon who ruling Holland at that time. The ultimate aim was handling military preparation in anticipating British Navy attack that had blockaded Java Island. Daendels landed in Anyer in 1808 after routing a long trip from Cadiz in southern Spain, Canary Islands and then departing from New York using American vessel.

Daendels's most important military project in defending Java from British attack was constructing a highway connecting west and east corner of this island. The road was built by means of obliging indigenous rulers to mobilize people along the route to work it by force. This road had sacrificed thousands life in nearly a year of its building process. Later, the road was renowned as the Great Post Road (De Groote Postweg) since Daendels also set off post and telegraph services at the moment of the making.

Since its operation in 1809, the road formerly intended for military purpose had become a main transportation infrastructure in Java Island. This highway had witnessed traffice of commodities conveyed over it since colonial era till now. The road has played an important role as one of crucial veins of Indonesian economy today.

#526 Latvia...Thanks Oleg!

#525 Ukraine...Thanks Sulyma!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

#524 Argentina...Thanks Tomas!

The two $1 stamps are from 2009 Buildings Endowed With Historical Value issue showing facade and the Golden Hall of French Embassy:Ortiz Basualdo Palace built in 1918.

Designed in 1912 by French architect Paul Pater, who is also behind the Tigre Club building, the construction of the palace was extended by several years. In 1925, during the presidency of Marcelo T. Alvear, where both the district and the country were in their heyday, served as official residence of the Prince of Wales, who allegedly showed his admiration for the refined comfort and grandeur of the building. But France, who eventually would take final possession of the palace in 1939 to transform their embassy in Buenos Aires.

#523 Latvia...Thanks Juris!

#522 Norway...Thanks Sverre!

The 2.70k stamp on the left is from 1987 Europa:Modern Architecture showing wood house of Norway.

The 3k stamp was issued in 1982 celebrating 25th anniv. of Reign of King Olav V depicting Consecration Ceremony in Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim.

Olav V (1903–1991) was the king of Norway from 1957 until his death.

A member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, Olav was born in the United Kingdom as the son of Prince Carl of Denmark and Princess Maud of the United Kingdom and given the names Alexander Edward Christian Frederik. He became Crown Prince and only heir to the throne of Norway when his father was elected king in 1905. He was the first heir to the Norwegian throne to be brought up in Norway since Olav IV, and his parents made sure he was given as Norwegian an upbringing as possible. In preparation for his royal duties, he attended both civilian and military schools. In 1929, he married his first and second cousin Princess Märtha of Sweden. During World War II his leadership was much appreciated and he was appointed Norwegian Chief of Defence in 1944. Succeeding to the throne in 1957, he enjoyed a very high level of popularity and respect throughout his reign, in which he was able to balance regality and approachability. Upon his death in 1991, the Norwegian public displayed a great demonstration of mourning. At his death, he was the last surviving grandchild of Edward VII of the United Kingdom and Alexandra of Denmark.

#521 Spain...Thanks Ricardo!

#520 India...Thanks Yogesh

This special cover is a tribute to a great astronomer Raja Sawai Jai Singh,the founder of city of Jaipur & creator of world renowned heritage of "Jantar Mantar-Jaipur".

The Jantar Mantar, in Jaipur, is an astronomical observation site built in the early 18th century. It includes a set of some 20 main fixed instruments. They are monumental examples in masonry of known instruments but which in many cases have specific characteristics of their own. Designed for the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye, they embody several architectural and instrumental innovations. This is the most significant, most comprehensive, and the best preserved of India's historic observatories. It is an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period.

The 5 INR stamp on the right corner was issued in 2009 showing St.Anne Church,that is a religious monument located in Santana, Goa, India. It is an example of baroque architecture and it is by far the most exquisite and the largest surviving monument of its kind in all of Asia.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

#519 India...Thanks Kasinath!

#518 Sweden...Thanks Karl!

The 1Kr stamp was issued in 2008 showing foliage and berries of Common Juniper.

Juniperus communis, the Common Juniper, is a species in the genus Juniperus, in the family Cupressaceae. It has the largest range of any woody plant, throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere from the Arctic south in mountains to around 30°N latitude in North America, Europe and Asia.

Juniperus communis is a shrub or small tree, very variable and often a low spreading shrub, but occasionally reaching 10 m tall. Common Juniper has needle-like leaves in whorls of three; the leaves are green, with a single white stomatal band on the inner surface. It is dioecious, with male and female cones on separate plants, which are wind pollinated.

The 2KR stamp is from 2003 Regional Houses issue showing house from Närke which is a traditional Swedish province in middle Sweden.

The pair of cat stamps was issued in 1994 showing European shorthair and Abyssinian cat.

The European shorthair is a breed of short-haired cat originating in Ancient Rome.It's a recently recognised breed established to resemble the look of naturally occurring cats that have lived in European villages and cities for ages first bred in Rome to control rodents and spread through Europe. Many people incorrectly refer to any stray cat as a European Shorthair.

The Abyssinian is a breed of domesticated cat with a distinctive ticked coat. There are many stories about its origins, often revolving around Egypt, but the actual origins are uncertain. The Abyssinian has become one of the most popular breeds of shorthair cat in the USA.

#517 Algeria...Thanks Omar!

This beautiful Craft of Algeria FDC was issued on 28.11.2010.

15 DA stamp:Candle holder

It is a pottery candle holder from the region of Kabylia, made from clay. The form is largely inspired by a former candle Berbers with the introduction of modern touches, the decoration is made of sober reason faithful to the Berbers specificity of the region.This candle holder with three candles and two eggs holder, is particularly used in some villages by new kalyles married during the wedding night.

20 DA:Quanoun (a musical instrument)

The quanoun is a musical instrument made of wood-based and includes sculptures and decoration.
The traditional Maghrebi quanoun includes 17 maqamat for 51 cordes.Utilised also in the Middle East, it occupies an important place among the instruments to the traditional Arabic art music.
During the play, the player places the quanoun horizontally in front of him or on his bent knees, or on a solo table.On appreciates quanoun when accompanying the singer prelude.

30 DA:Tuareg Leather Box

Tuareg cabinet is covered with natural leather carved with geometric patterns that reflect the artof Tuareg who are a Berber nomadic pastoralist people.The sides are reinforced with brass rings and chopped red.The box is also decorated with Tuareg silver motifs, coral and ebony wood. It is a reflection of work done by craftsmen possessing finesse and dexterity.It is generally used by the Tuareg girl to keep precious items for her trousseau.

#516 Sri Lanka...Thanks Ravi!

This full set of stamps was issued in 2009 featuring Polonnaruwa Era of Ancient Sri Lanka.The stamps show:
5 LKR:Language,Trade & Money
10 LKR:Ethnic & Religious Unity
15 LKR:Irrigation Civilization
25 LKR:Architecture - Palace of King Parakramabahu
30 LKR:Health Care - Ancient Hospital
40 LKR:Hindu Sculpture - Siva & Uma

Polonnaruwa Era existed between AC 1065- 1120. The governing period of this time was about 186 years and 19 rulers had sat on the throne in that period. During the final period in the Anuradhapura era, the cholas shifted the political power to Polonnaruwa, which was situated in the eastern side of the dry zone. The main reason was security, as it was regarded as a strategic location to guard against an invasion from Ruhuna, the refuge of the Sinhalese liberation force.

Still the Cholas were unsuccessful in defending themselves against Vijayabahu's offensive riot against Polonnaruwa. They Surrendered in 1070 and left the island.

Polonnaruwa had its own fabulous Buddhist architecture and irrigational network that had been built over the centauries by earlier sinhala rulers. (Ex- Minneria Tanks)
The First Sinhalese king to rule in this period was King Wijayabahu who ruled for 55 years after he defeated the cholas.(AC 1065-1120). He restoered Buddhism to its former glory and was also responsible for economic regeneration.

The Next famous King to take over from Vijayabahu is King Parakramabahu (AC 1164-1197) He unified the country under one rule and built a remarkable series of irrigation work including the massive Parakrama Samudraya.

Nissanka Malla was also a king to take notice of, because he also stabilized Sri Lanka during his period. But his death brought instability & a pirate named Magha, who came from south India conquered Polonnaruwa & executed many years of ruthless control over the island.

#515 USA...Thanks Sue!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

#514 Ukraine...Thanks Inga!

This stamp was issued on 2 June 2010 dedicating to Mykola Ivanovych PYROHOV (1810-1881),who was a scientist, surgeon, pedagogue and public figure. His innovative scientific works have become the base for the applied anatomy and operative surgery, while his contribution to the development of medicine was marked with a clever combination of the science and practice. Whole life of the great scientist was selfless service to people.

#513 Czech Republic...Thanks Josef!

This FDC was issued in 2003 featuring Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) which is a popular species of freshwater aquarium fish.

The additional two Letter A stamps were issued in the 2010 Čtyřlístek Comics series showing Fifinka the Missy Dog and Myšpulín the Cat.

Fifinka the Missy Dog is the only 'girl' of the four characters of the cult comics series Čtyřlístek (Four-Leaf Clover in English) designed and created by illustrator Jaroslav Němeček. The good housewife Fifinka is reading a cookbook, with a cup of white coffee and a cake on the table before her. The Čtyřlístek stories have been published for an unbelievable more than 40 years. The adventures of the four true friends have attracted already a fourth generation of readers. Fifinka is the first character to appear on a stamp. Stamps with the three 'boys' (Bobík the Pig, Myšpulín the Cat and Pinďa the Rabbit) are to follow.

As a true scientist, Myšpulín, the second of the four Čtyřlístek comics characters featured on a stamp, creates a chemical reaction setting off a firework of flowers coming out of the heated flask. Stamps with Bobík the Pig and Piňda the Rabbit, the other two 'boys' of the four Čtyřlístek characters, are to follow.

#512 Slovenia...Thanks Adam!

This set of 3 stamps and 1 miniature sheet was issued 24.9.2010 featuring Snakes found in Slovenia.

Stamp A: The asp viper (Vipera aspis) is distinguished from our other venomous snakes by its dorsal markings, consisting of two rows of alternating dark transverse stripes. It is smaller than the horned viper and larger than the common European adder. The tip of the snout is slightly upturned. In Slovenia it only lives to the west of the Soča. Until 2001 it was considered extinct in Slovenia but has since been observed several times in the area of Breginjski Kot, on Kobariški Stol and in the area around Sabotin and Korada, at a height above sea level of between 230 and 1,000 metres. It lives in sunny, extensive karst grassland with relatively sparse vegetation, usually by piles of rock, where it finds hiding places. It preys on small mammals (mice, voles) and, more rarely, lizards and birds. It bears live young. For human beings, the bite of an asp viper has painful and unpleasant consequences, but it is not usually fatal. In Slovenia it is considered an endangered species (IUCN: E) and is protected.

Stamp B:The smooth snake (Coronella austriaca) is a relatively small non-venomous snake that can grow to a length of up to 75 centimetres. Its appearance is somewhat reminiscent of the common European adder. It is of a similar size and colour and has a dark pattern on its back. Females, like the females of the common European adder, retain the eggs within their bodies and in late August or early September give birth to live young. As a result, in summer they can be very fat. The behaviour of the smooth snake is also similar to that of the common European adder. They move relatively slowly and hiss loudly when disturbed. People often mistakenly identify them as venomous and kill them mercilessly. Not only that, but the smooth snake is often found in the vicinity of human habitations, while in Slovenia the common European adder is almost exclusively found in the mountains and hills. The smooth snake can be found all over Slovenia at a height above sea level of between 140 and 1,100 metres, except on the coast. It preys above all on lizards (including slowworms) and occasionally on small mammals. In Slovenia it is considered a vulnerable species (IUCN: V) and is protected.

Stamp C:The grass snake (Natrix natrix) is known in Slovene as belouška ('white-eared snake'), a name deriving from the two light patches on its head. It can vary greatly in terms of colour and entirely black specimens are common. It is one of the commonest snakes and is found throughout Slovenia, from the coast to a height of approximately 1,500 metres above sea level. It can grow to up to two metres in length, although specimens this size are rare. The females are larger than the males. It is not dangerous to human beings although its saliva is slightly venomous. It preys mainly on amphibians and their larvae. The grass snake's venom helps it paralyse its prey while it is consuming it. Even so, it is sometimes possible to hear a frog croaking from inside the belly of a grass snake. Grass snakes are quick to flee from human beings. When they are unable to flee, they defend themselves aggressively by raising the front part of the body, flattening the head, hissing and puffing themselves up. But they never bite. Reproduction is oviparous. In Slovenia the species is not considered to be in danger of extinction (IUCN: O1) but is protected.

Miniature sheet:The horned viper (Vipera ammodytes) is the largest venomous snake found in Slovenia. It can be recognised by the little horn on the tip of its snout and by its distinct and usually contrasting dorsal markings consisting of dark, connected diamond-shaped patches. The underside of the tail is frequently red. Males are usually grey while females are brownish or brownish-red, but different specimens can vary greatly in colour. The horned viper can be found throughout Slovenia except in Prekmurje; it is also very rare on the coast. In the mountains it can be found up to a height of roughly 1,700 metres above sea level. Horned vipers like warm, rocky areas with sparse vegetation. They prey mainly on small mammals (mice, voles) and, more rarely, on lizards, birds and birds' eggs. They are good climbers and like to climb through bushes and shrubs. The female horned viper bears live young. It is mainly active at twilight, basking in the sun during the day. It has a powerful venom which is, however, not usually fatal to human beings. In Slovenia it is considered a vulnerable species (IUCN: V) and is protected.

#511 Brazil...Thanks Murilo!

This Rs2.60 stamp was issued in 2007 showing Football Stadium in Maracana.

The Estádio do Maracanã is an open-air stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Owned by the Rio de Janeiro State Government, it is named after the Maracanã neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro. It was opened in 1950 to host the FIFA World Cup, and in the final game Brazil was beaten 2-1 by Uruguay. Since then, it has mainly been used for football matches between the major football clubs in Rio de Janeiro, including Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama. It has also hosted a number of concerts and other sporting events. Although the paid attendance at the final game of the 1950 FIFA World Cup was 199,854, the stadium currently seats 82,238 spectators. It was the main venue of the 2007 Pan American Games, hosting the football final, and the opening and closing ceremonies.

Over time, however, the stadium also has become a multi-character space to receive other events such as shows and games from other sports, such as volleyball. After several works of modernization, the current capacity of the stadium is 82,238 spectators, making it the largest stadium in Brazil and South America.

In 2010 the Maracanã will be closed for renovations and upgrades, to reach a total capacity of around 85,000 spectators in preparations for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

#510 India...Thanks Kuldipkumar!

This FDC was issued on 2nd August 2010 honoring Syed Mohammed Ali Shihab Thangal(1936-2009),who a great religious scholar and social worker. He worked for the uplift of the downtrodden and in providing them with quality and value based education.He was also involved in politics as the president of the Kerala Muslim League.

#509 Brazil...Thanks Celso!

The RS 1.10 stamp on the top was issued in June,2010 for the Religious Architecture & Celebrations series showing Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and Saint Benedict - Cuiaba/State of Mato Grosso.

The stamp depicts, at the center, the facade of the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and St. Benedict, one of the historical landmarks of Cuiabá, capital of the State of Mato Grosso. Built originally in mud in the mid-eighteenth century, it is characterized by the simplicity of its architectural lines. On the left, the image of Our Lady of the Rosary, and on the right, Saint Benedict, a Saint of great devotion among the people of Mato Grosso. Above the image of the Church, pilgrims and flags represent the Feast of St. Benedict, one of the most popular feasts of the Brazilian Mid-West region, against a background in the colors of the state's flag. Vector drawing and computer graphics techniques were used.

The RS 1.45 stamp below was issued in March,2010 for the Mercosur - Culture of Peace Decade paying tribute to Zilda Arns Neumann.

At the forefront, on the right-hand side, the stamp shows a picture of Dr. Zilda Arns, a pediatrics and public health physician, Children's Pastoral mentor, with the unmistakable smile that always characterized her. The drawing of a heart in the background represents the love, dedication and care that would become a trademark of her social work and ensure her the admiration of all Brazilians. Overlapping that picture are the logos of the Children's Pastoral and Mercosur. On the bottom left-hand corner one can see the silhouettes of ordinary people paying tribute to the late physician.

#508 Malaysia...Thanks Ronny!

This cover features a special postmark promoting organ donation.

Organ donation is the removal of the tissues of the human body from a person who has recently died, or from a living donor, for the purpose of transplanting. Organs and tissues are removed in a surgical procedure. People of all ages may be organ and tissue donors. At the time of death the organ, tissue, or eye recovery agency will make a determination, based on the person's medical and social history, of which organs/tissues are suitable for transplantation.

Organ donation typically takes place after brain death, the irreversible loss of all brain functions, including the brain stem. Tissue donation can take place after brain death or cardiac death (the irreversible loss of cardiovascular function). The laws of different countries allow potential donors to permit or refuse donation, or give this choice to relatives. The popularity of donations varies substantially among countries.

#507 Finland...Thanks Anu!

This stamp is from 2010 Nordic Coastlines miniature sheet showing the Finnish Wooden Boat Center situated in the harbour of Kotka,which is a major Finnish sea port that serves both the foreign trade of Finland and Russia.

#506 Argentina...Thanks Vivian!

The left 75c stamp was issued in 2006 celebrating Centenary of Esquel,which is a town in the northwest of the province of Chubut, in the Argentine Patagonia. It is located in the Futaleufú Department, of which it is the government's site. The town's name derives from a Mapuche term meaning "thorn", which refers to the characteristics of the local flora, including several spiny bushes, most famously the Calafate (Berberis buxifolia).

The founding of the town dates back to the arrival of Welsh immigrants in Chubut in 1865. The settlement was created on 25 February 1906, as an extension of the Colonia 16 de Octubre, now known as Trevelin.

The middle 75c stamp is from 2003 Christmas issue showing Purmamarca clay creche figures.

The right 75c stamp is from 2003 20th Century Architecture issue depicting Barolo Palace in Buenos Aires.

During the 1910s. two people dreamed of bringing poet Dante Alighieri´s ashes to Buenos Aires: the industrialist Luis Barolo (1869-1922) and the architect Mario Palanti (1885-1979). For this purpose they built a sanctuary on 1300 Av. De Mayo.

The Barolo Palace was the highest city building before the Kavanagh was built in 1935. It has a height of 100 metres ending on the lantern which used to have 300.000 bulbs. On September 14 1923 it transmitted with its lights the result of the boxing bout between Firpo and Dempsey.

Built in an architectural style combining references to Venetian gothic and religious Indian architecture, the Barolo Palace surprised people from the very beginning. The Argentine historian Carlos Hilger asserts that this is the major example of “esoteric” architecture from the beginning the 20th. Century.

The building has plenty of references to Dante. The bulbs in the cupola represent the nine angelical choirs and the mystical rose. In the cupola we find the Southern Cross which can be seen aligned with the axis of the Barolo Palace during the first days of June at 19.45 hs.

The general division of the building and the poem is done in three parts: Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. The ground floor is Hell, the first 14 floors are Purgatory, and following floors are Paradise and the cupola represents God.

The number of Hell hierarchies is nine, and nine are the arches of access to the building which represent initiation steps. Each arch has Latin phrases taken from nine different works from the Bible to Virgil. The cupola resembles that of the Budanishar Hindu temple dedicated to Tantra “representing the union between Dante and Beatrice.

The songs from Dante´s work are a hundred just as the height of the building is a 100 mts. The majority of songs in the poem have eleven or twenty two stanzas; the building has eleven modules per front, and twenty two modules per block. The height is twenty two floors. This set of numbers represents the circle which was, to Dante the perfect figure.

The Barolo Palace has been Historical National Monument since 1997.

#505 Ethiopia...Thanks Ronald!

These 2 stamps were issued in 2005 showing Black Rhinoceros which is Critically Endangered.

The Black Rhinoceros is a species of rhinoceros, native to the eastern and central areas of Africa including Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Angola. Although the Rhino is referred to as black, it is actually more of a grey/brown/white color in appearance.
The name of the species was chosen to distinguish it from the White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum). This is misleading, as those two species are not really distinguishable by color. The word white in the name "White Rhinoceros" is a mistranslation of the Dutch word wijd for wide,referring to its square upper lip, as opposed to the pointed or hooked lip of the Black Rhinoceros. They are now often referred to as the Square-lipped (for White) or Hook-lipped (for Black) Rhinoceros.

For most of the 20th century the continental black rhino was the most numerous of all rhino species. Around 1900 there were probably several hundred thousand living in Africa. During the later half of the 20th century their numbers were severely reduced from an estimated 70,000 in the late 1960s to only 10,000 to 15,000 in 1981. In the early 1990s the number dipped below 2,500, and in 2004 it was reported that only 2,410 black rhinos remained. According to the International Rhino Foundation, the total African population has since then slightly recovered to 3,610 by 2003. According to a July 2006 report by the World Conservation Union, a recent survey of the West African Black Rhino, which once ranged across the savanna of western Africa but had dropped to just 10, concluded the subspecies to be extinct. The northern white is soon to join the western black rhino on the extinction list as its last noted numbers were as few as 4. The only rhino that has recovered somewhat from the brink of extinction is the southern white whose numbers now are estimated around 14,500, up from fewer than 50 in the first decade of the 20th Century. The Black Rhinoceros has been pushed to the brink of extinction by illegal poaching for their horn and by loss of habitat. The horn is used in traditional Chinese medicine, and is said by herbalists to be able to revive comatose patients, cure fevers, and aid male sexual stamina and fertility.The purported effectiveness of the use of rhino horn in treating any illness has not been confirmed by medical science. In June 2007, the first-ever documented case of the medicinal sale of black rhino horn in the United States (confirmed by genetic testing of the confiscated horn) occurred at a traditional Chinese medicine supply store in Portland, Oregon's Chinatown.It is used in the Middle East to make ornately carved handles for ceremonial daggers called jambiyas. Demand for these exploded in the 1970s causing the Black Rhinoceros population to decline 96% between 1970 and 1992.