Wednesday, March 30, 2011

#616 Bulgaria...Thanks Lilia!

#615 USA...Thanks Michael!

#614 Vietnam...Thanks Hoang!

#613 Australia...Thanks Juris!

#612 Lithuania...Thanks Vytis!

#611 Netherlands...Thanks Bartels!

#610 Korea...Thanks Youngmoo!

#609 Russia...Thanks Yuri!

#608 Spain...Thanks Pedro!

#607 Taiwan...Thanks Alan!

#606 Kazakhstan...Thanks Serge!

#605 Denmark...Thanks Thomas!

#604 USA...Thanks Sue!

#603 Algeria...Thanks Omar!

#602 Belgium...Thanks Alex!

#601 Mauritius...Thanks David!

#600 France

#599 Slovenia...Thanks Rok!

#598 Netherlands...Thanks Vic!

#597 Ecuador...Thanks Efren!

#596 Czech Republic...Thanks Josef!

#595 Slovakia...Thanks Robert!

#594 Slovakia...Thanks Robert!

#593 Czech Republic

#592 Czech Republic...Thanks Robert!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

#591 Pakistan...Thanks Syed!

#590 Russia...Thanks Vladimir!

The 15p stamp was issued in 2010 featuring World Cultural Heritage in Russia - Curonian Spit - Dunes and Forest view.

The Curonian Spit is an outstanding example of a landscape of sand dunes that is under constant threat from natural forces (wind and tide). After disastrous human interventions that menaced its survival, the Spit was reclaimed by massive protection and stabilization works begun in the 19th century and still continuing to the present day.

The Spit is a peninsula that separates the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Lagoon in a slightly concave arc for 98 km from the Kaliningrad Peninsula to the town of Klaipeda. The largest settlements in the Lithuanian part are Smiltyne, Pervalka, Juodkrante, Preila and Nida. Dune valleys divide the ridge into separate dune massifs, and capes are generally formed in front of these valleys.

Formation of the Spit began some 5,000 years ago. Mesolithic people whose main source of food was from the sea settled there, working bone and stone brought from the mainland. In the 1st millennium CE West Baltic tribes (Curonians and Prussians) established seasonal settlements there, to collect fish, and perhaps also for ritual purposes. The centre of Kaup is the last unexcavated large proto-urban settlement of the Viking period. The invasion of Prussia by Teutonic Knights in the 13th century was gradually driven out, but armed conflict continued in the region until the 15th century. The Spit had great strategic importance, and in consequence the knights built castles at Memel (1252), Noihauz (1283) and Rossitten (1372). They also settled German farmers around the castles, building roads and clearing woodland for agriculture.
Baltic peoples set up settlements on the Spit and the population increased, however, as their main activities were fishing and beekeeping. In the 16th century a new process of dune formation began and settlements became buried in sand. The works took the form of the construction of a protective bank of sand to prevent further ingress of dunes (a process that took most of the century) and the stabilization of dunes by means of brushwood hurdles, accompanied by reforestation.

The most significant element of the Spit's cultural heritage is represented by the old fishing settlements. The earliest of these were buried in sand when the woodland cover was removed. Those that have survived are all along the coast of the lagoon. At the end of the 19th century more elaborate buildings - lighthouses, churches, schools and villas - began to be erected alongside the simpler vernacular houses. This was partly due to the fact that the Spit became a recreational centre: Juodkrante became famous as a health resort as early as 1840 and Nida, Preila and Pervalka were given official recognition in this category in 1933. In the centre, Nida, the largest settlement on the Spit, has a linear plan based on a single main street that runs parallel to the lagoon and which developed spontaneously in the 19th century.

The most northerly part of the Spit, Smiltyne, was not settled until the mid-19th century, when a health resort was created. It is the point where ferries from Klaipeda on the mainland arrive on the Spit. The surviving buildings of cultural significance are the houses of fishermen built during the 19th century. In their original form they were built from wood and thatched with reeds. A homestead consisted of two or three buildings: a dwelling house, a cattle shed, and a smokehouse for curing fish. These were located to one side of the long narrow plot, leaving space for a kitchen garden and for drying nets. The houses were constructed at right angles to the street. In the 20th century the fishermen's houses were enlarged and new ones built with their long sides to the street. As a result, the appearance of the settlements was radically altered.

Other buildings are the sturdy lighthouse at Pervalka and the neo-Gothic Evangelical Lutheran churches at Juodkrante and Nida, both built in the 1880s. The cemeteries of Nida, Preila, Pervalka and Juodkrante are of interest.

The 8p stamp is from 2007 Native Horse Breeds issue showing Don Breed.

The Russian Don is a breed of horse developed in and named after the steppes region of Russia where the Don River flows. Utilized originally as cavalry horses for the Cossacks, they are currently used for under-saddle work and driving.

#589 France...Thanks Robert!

The 0.58€ stamp is Frech 2011 Heart stamp created by Maurizio Galante, a famous Paris fashion designer. The stamp is titled "Paint me",giving you the freedom to colorize it at your will. Thus, everyone can manifest creativity and become author of his own stamp.

The 3fr stamp was issued in 1996 celebrating Centenary of Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière in Lyon.

The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière is a minor basilica in Lyon. It was built with private funds between 1872 and 1896 in a dominating position in the city, as a mark of the triumph of Christian values over the socialists of the Lyon commune of 1870, like the similarly-inspired Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, Paris. Its design, by Pierre Bossan, draws from both Romanesque and Byzantine architecture, two non-Gothic models that were unusual choices at the time. It features fine mosaics, superb stained glass,and a crypt of Saint Joseph. The basilica, which offers guided tours and contains a Museum of Sacred Art, receives 1.5 million visitors annually.

The site it occupies was once the Roman forum of Trajan, the forum vetus, thus its name. Perched on top of the Fourvière hill, the basilica looms impressively over the city of Lyon, where it can be seen from many vantage points; not unintentionally, the basilica of Fourvière has become a symbol of the city of Lyon. The basilica has four main towers, and a belltower. It is topped with a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary. At certain times, members of the public may access the basilica's north tower for a spectacular 180-degree view of Lyon and its suburbs.

Notre-Dame de Fourvière was included when the whole historic center of Lyon was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.

#588 Pakistan...Thanks Shamshad!

#587 Indonesia...Thanks Juris!

#586 United Kingdom...Thanks Jackie!

#585 Russia...Thanks Darbinian!

The 20R stamp was issued in 2008 celebrating 190 years of Goznak,which is a Unitary enterprise in Russia, responsible for the production of coins and bank notes.

In 1815, after the currency crisis caused by the French invasion of Russia (1812), the government established the so-called Department of State Currency Production (Экспедиция заготовления государственных бумаг) under the authority of the Ministry of Finance; Dmitry Guriev, Minister of Finance, assigned engineer Agustín de Betancourt to design and build the modern, steam-powered currency printshop which was completed in 1818.

#584 Russia...Thanks Olya!

The 1000r stamp is from 1995 Early Russian Dukes issue depicting Alexander Nevski (1220-63),Duke of Novgorod,Grand Duke of Vladimir,during some of the most trying times in the city's history.

Commonly regarded as the key figure of medieval Rus, Alexander was the grandson of Vsevolod the Big Nest and rose to legendary status on account of his military victories over the German and Swedish invaders while employing collaborationist policies towards the powerful Golden Horde.

#583 Portugal...Thanks Andre!

These 2 stamps were issued in 2010 commemorating 200 years of the Peninsular War.

The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807 and then in 1808 turned on its ally, Spain. The war lasted until the Sixth Coalition defeated Napoleon in 1814.

Spain's liberation struggle marked one of the first national wars and the emergence of large-scale guerrillas (Guerrilha, in Portuguese), from which the English language borrowed the word. The French occupation destroyed the Spanish administration, which fragmented into quarrelling provincial juntas. In 1810, a reconstituted national government fortified itself in Cádiz and proved unable to recruit, train, or equip effective armies due to being under siege. British and Portuguese forces secured Portugal, using it as a secure position from which to launch campaigns against the French army while Spanish guerrilleros bled the occupiers. Combined, the regular and irregular allied forces prevented Napoleon's marshals from subduing the rebellious Spanish provinces.

The many years of fighting in Spain gradually wore down Napoleon's famous French Army. While the French armies were often victorious in battle, their communications and supplies were severely tested and their units frequently cut off, harassed, or overwhelmed by partisans. The Spanish army, though beaten and driven to the peripheries, could not be stamped out and continued to hound the French relentlessly.

The constant threatening presence of a British force under Arthur Wellesley, which became the most experienced and steady force in the British army, guarded Portugal and campaigned against the French in Spain alongside the reformed Portuguese army. Allied to the British, the demoralised Portuguese army underwent extensive reorganising, retraining and refitting under the command of British General William Carr Beresford, appointed commander-in-chief of the Portuguese forces by the exiled Portuguese Royal family, and fought as part of a combined Anglo-Portuguese army under Wellington.

In 1812, as Napoleon embarked upon an invasion of Russia which ended in disaster, a combined allied army under Arthur Wellesley pushed into Spain and liberated Madrid. Marshal Soult led the exhausted and demoralized French forces in a fighting withdrawal across the Pyrenees and into France over the winter of 1813-14.

War and revolution against Napoleon's occupation led to the Spanish Constitution of 1812, later a cornerstone of European liberalism. The burden of war destroyed the social and economic fabric of Portugal and Spain and ushered in an era of social turbulence, political instability, and economic stagnation. Devastating civil wars between liberal and absolutist factions, led by officers trained in the Peninsular War, persisted in Iberia until 1850. The cumulative crises and disruptions of invasion, revolution, and restoration led to the independence of many of Spain's American colonies and the independence of Brazil from Portugal.

#582 France...Thanks Bernard!

#581 Portugal...Thanks Samuel!

The 0.47€ and 0.32€ stamps were issued in 2010 celebrating Centenary of the Republic of Portugal.

The revolution of 1910 was a republican coup d'état that occurred in Portugal on 5 October 1910, which deposed King Manuel II and established the Portuguese First Republic.

Prior to the coup, Prime Minister João Franco stepped down and went into exile. New elections were held, but factionalism prevented the formation of a stable government. On 1 October 1910, a visit by president Hermes da Fonseca of Brazil provided a pretext for extensive republican demonstrations. On 3 October the Army refused to put down a mutiny on Portuguese warships anchored in the estuary of the Tagus River, and instead took up positions around Lisbon. On 4 October, two of the warships began to shell the royal palace, causing Manuel II and the royal family to flee to Britain. On 5 October, a provisional republican government was organized with the writer Teófilo Braga as President.

The revolution and the republic which it spawned were anticlerical and had a "hostile" approach to the issue of church and state separation, like that of the French Revolution, the Spanish Constitution of 1931 and the Mexican Constitution of 1917. As part of the anticlerical revolution, the bishops were driven from their dioceses, the property of clerics was seized by the state, wearing of the cassock was banned, all minor seminaries were closed and all but five major seminaries. A law of 22 February 1918 permitted only two seminaries in the country, but they had not been given their property back. Religious orders were expelled from the country, including 31 orders comprising members in 164 houses (in 1917 some orders were permitted to form again). Religious education was prohibited in both primary and secondary school.

The involvement of mutinous warships in the revolution prefigured a similar involvement in both the October Revolution in 1917 Russia and the fall of the German Monarchy in 1918.

#580 Brazil...Thanks Antonio!

#579 Netherlands...Thanks Veggel!

#578 France...Thanks Roger!

#577 Hong Kong...Thanks Johnson!

#576 Greece...Thanks Anthony!

#575 Australia...Thanks Juris!

#574 Belgium...Thanks Freddy!

#573 Turkey...Thanks Levent!

Friday, February 11, 2011

#572 Hungary...Thanks Tamas!

The 400ft stamp was issued in 2008 celebrating 650th Anniversary of the Hungarian Illuminated Chronicle,which is a medieval illustrated chronicle from the Kingdom of Hungary from the fourteenth century. It represents the international artistic style of the royal courts in the court of Louis I of Hungary.

The 147 pictures of the chronicle are great source of information on medieval Hungarian cultural history, costume, and court life in the 14th century. Many miniatures seen inside this chronicle are painted with gold. The artistic value of the miniatures are quite high, if we compare similar miniatures from Western Europe from the same time. The characters are drawn with detail and with knowledge of anatomy. Even the eyeballs are painted, which can only be checked through microscope. It is a fact that all miniatures showing Attila, the Hun are disrupted or even rubbed out (especially the last, showing Attila's death); this cannot be due to the time as all other miniatures and text are preserved well. The miniatures are using a lot of symbolism, i.e. "primus ingressus" ('first incoming') is with a camel, while the "secundus ingressus" ('second incoming') is with a white horse, probably meaning that entering the Carpathian Basin the first time was not a successful or was a culturally diverted act (as the camel is a "diverted" horse and white horse is the "pure quality"). The text of Latin is without error and is representing a high quality.
For unknown reasons, the chronicle was stored in Vienna, Austria, where it was found in the 19th century; this is why it is also referred as "Vienna Illuminated Chronicle". The manuscript is presently kept in the National Széchényi Library in Budapest (Országos Széchényi Könyvtár, Budapest).

The miniature sheet is from 2008 Our Living Heritage IV illustrating Water buffalo.

#571 Japan...Thanks Maria!

#570 Mexico...Thanks Jaime!

#569 France...Thanks Carboni!

The four 0.50€ stamps are from 2003 European Capitals series showing attractions in Luxembourg: Citadelle Saint-Esprit,Notre Dame Cathedral,Adolphe Bridge and Grand Duke's Palace.

#568 Kazakhstan...Thanks Viktor!

#567 Greece...Thanks George!

The 0.05€ stamp is from 2010 New Acropolis Museum issue showing Peplos Kore,circa 530BC.

The Acropolis Museum is an archaeological museum focused on the findings of the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens. The museum was built to house every artifact found on the rock and on its feet, from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece. It also lies on the archaeological site of Makrygianni and the ruins of a part of Roman and early Byzantine Athens.
The museum was founded in 2003, while the Organisation of the Museum was established in 2008. It opened to the public on June 21, 2009. Nearly 4,000 objects are exhibited over an area of 14,000 square metres.The Organisation for the Construction of the new museum is chaired by Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Professor Emeritus of Archaeology, Dimitrios Pandermalis.
Kore (Greek - Κόρη - maiden; plural korai) is the name given to a type of ancient Greek sculpture of the Archaic period.

The 0.01€ stamp is from 2010 Greek Art issue showing a painting by Giannis Gaitis.