Thursday, March 6, 2014
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Multiviews of Assen.
Sent by Joke from Assen, Netherlands.
Assen (Dutch: [ˈɑ.sə(n)] is a municipality and a city in the northeastern Netherlands, and is the capital of the province of Drenthe. It received city rights in 1809. Assen's main claim to fame is the TT Circuit Assen the motorcycle racing circuit, where on the last Saturday in June the Dutch TT is run. (read further)
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Colonial City of Santo Domingo.
Sent by Idrialis from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
After the arrival of Christopher Columbus on the island of Hispaniola in 1492, Santo Domingo became the site of the first cathedral, hospital, customs house and university in the Americas. This colonial town was laid out on the grid pattern that became the model for almost all town planners in the New World.
The first impression of the Spanish colonizers was favourable: the nature was luxuriant; the aborigines were friendly, and it seemed that the ground was rich in gold. Using what was left of the Santa María, Columbus built the fort of the Nativity (Navidad) on the northern coast of the island not far away from a peak that he called Christi Mount, leaving 39 men there under the protection of the village head. When Columbus returned to Hispaniola a year later, the fort had been destroyed, his men were dead, and the aborigines had become mistrustful. He founded a new colony further to the east, which he called Isabella, and left it under the control of Bartholomew. However, the first revolts were very soon to begin.
In 1496, Bartholomew abandoned Isabella in order to move on the southern coast of the island, where he established the settlement of Nueva Isabella, now Santo Domingo, on the left bank of the Ozama River. Because of the insurrections that continued to upset the island, Columbus was replaced as Viceroy and Governor of the colony by Nicolás de Ovando. In 1502 a typhoon destroyed the city and the fleet that was preparing to return to Castile. Ovando decided that the city should be completely rebuilt on its present site on the Ozama.
This colonial town was laid out on the grid pattern that became the model for almost all town planners in the New World. The city was to be embellished with a cathedral, a hospital, convents, a fortress and a university. At that time it was not appropriate to describe these buildings as having been built in the colonial architectural style because they were all based on plans that faithfully followed models imported from Spain. Earthquakes and pirate attacks were in due course to ravage the main buildings of the city, such as the convents of the Dominican, Franciscan and Las Mercedes, the three religious orders that pioneered the evangelization of the New World, and the Hospital of Nicolás de Ovando.
Among the most outstanding buildings, the cathedral was constructed between 1514 and 1542; it is the oldest in America, and is one of the architectural wonders of the Colonial City. The main entrance stands next to the Columbus Plaza, where stands a giant statue of the great navigator himself. The fine stained glass is by the famed Dominican artist José Rinçon Mora.
The Ozama Fortress and Tower of Homage were built in 1503: this stone group is said to be the oldest formal military outpost still standing in America. The Tower of Homage still stands in the centre of the grounds, an impressive architectural structure that is medieval in style and design. (Source)
South Coast Cliffs at Icart.
Sent by Monica from Saint Peter Port in Guernsey.
Guernsey (/ˈgɜ:nzi/, // gurn-zee), officially the Bailiwick of Guernsey (French: Bailliage de Guernesey, IPA: [bajaʒ də ɡɛʁnəzɛ]), is a British Crown dependency in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. As a bailiwick, Guernsey embraces not only all ten parishes on the Island of Guernsey, but also the islands of Alderney and Sark – each with its own parliament – and the smaller islands of Herm, Jethou and Lihou. Although its defence is the responsibility of the United Kingdom, the Bailiwick is not part of the United Kingdom but rather a possession of the British Crown. It lies within the Common Travel Area of the British Isles and is not a member of the European Union, but has a special relationship with it, being treated as part of the European Community for the purposes of free trade in goods. Together, the Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey form the geographical grouping known as the Channel Islands. (read further)
The stamp must have been peeled off during the journey:)
Sent by Giordano from Trieste, Italy.
Trieste (//; Italian pronunciation: [triˈɛste]; Triestine Venetian: Trièst; Slovene, Serbo-Croatian: Trst, Трст; German: Triest) is a city and seaport in northeastern Italy. It is situated towards the end of a narrow strip of Italian territory lying between the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia, which lies almost immediately south and east of the city. Trieste is located at the head of the Gulf of Trieste and throughout history it has been influenced by its location at the crossroads of Latin,Slavic, and Germanic cultures. In 2009, it had a population of about 205,000 and it is the capital of the autonomous region Friuli Venezia Giulia and Trieste province.
Trieste was one of the oldest parts of the Habsburg Monarchy. In the 19th century, it was the most important port of one of the Great Powers of Europe. As a prosperous seaport in the Mediterranean region, Trieste became the fourth largest city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (after Vienna, Budapest, and Prague). In the fin-de-siecle period, it emerged as an important hub for literature and music. It underwent an economic revival during the 1930s, and Trieste was an important spot in the struggle between the Eastern and Western blocs after the Second World War. Today, the city is in one of the richest regions of Italy, and has been a great centre for shipping, through its port (Port of Trieste), shipbuilding and financial services.
In 2012 Lonely Planet.com listed the city of Trieste as the world's most underrated travel destination. (read further)
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Multiviews of Wiesbaden.
Sent by Stephanie from Wiesbaden, Germany.
Wiesbaden (German pronunciation: [ˈviːsˌbaːdn̩]) is a city in southwest Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 273,000 inhabitants, plus approximately 19,000 United States citizens (mostly associated with the United States Army). Wiesbaden, together with the cities of Frankfurt am Main, Darmstadt and Mainz, is part of the Frankfurt Rhine Main Region, a metropolitan area with a combined population of about 5.8 million people.
Wiesbaden is one of the oldest spa towns in Europe. Its name translates to "meadow baths," making reference to the hot springs. At one time, Wiesbaden boasted 26 hot springs. Fourteen of the springs are still flowing today. (read further)
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Adamstown from Palva Valley Ridge with Ship Landing Point prominent in the far centre.
Sent and arranged by my friend in Auckland, New Zealand.
Adamstown is the only settlement on, and as such, the capital of, the Pitcairn Islands.
Adamstown has a population of 48, which is the entire population of the Pitcairn Islands: all the other islands in the group are uninhabited. Adamstown is where most residents eat and sleep, while they grow food in other areas of the island.
The hamlet currently holds the record for being the smallest capital in the world. It has access to television, satellite internet, and a telephone. The main means of communication is still the ham radio. According to Google maps, the only named road in the capital is called "The Hill of Difficulty". (Source)
Sent and arranged by my friend in Auckland, New Zealand.
The Pitcairn Islands (//; Pitkern: Pitkern Ailen), officially named the Pitcairn Group of Islands, are a group of four volcanic islands in the southern Pacific Ocean that form the last British Overseas Territory in the Pacific. The four islands – Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno – are spread over several hundred miles of ocean and have a total land area of about 47 square kilometres (18 sq mi). Only Pitcairn, the second largest island measuring about 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi) from east to west, is inhabited.
The islands are inhabited by the descendants of the Bounty mutineers and the Tahitians (or Polynesians) who accompanied them, an event retold in numerous books and films. This history is still apparent in the surnames of many of the islanders. With only about 56 inhabitants, originating from four main families, Pitcairn is the least populous national jurisdiction in the world. The United Nations Committee on Decolonization includes the Pitcairn Islands on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. (read further)
Monday, February 24, 2014
The landscape of today's cities and towns vary widely. Excavations in Afghanistan have revealed signs of human settlement dating back 7,000 years.
Sent by Leo of U.S.A. from Afghanistan.
Afghanistan // (Persian/Pashto: افغانستان, Afġānistān), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in Central Asia, South Asia, and is a part of the Greater Middle East,. It has a population of around 30 million inhabiting an area of approximately 652,000 km2 (252,000 sq mi), making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world. It is bordered by Pakistan in the south and the east, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far northeast.
Afghanistan has been an ancient focal point of the Silk Road and human migration. Archaeologists have found evidence of human habitation from as far back as the Middle Paleolithic. Urban civilization may have begun in the area as early as 3,000 to 2,000 BC. Sitting at an important geostrategic location that connects the Middle East culture with Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, the land has been home to various peoples through the ages and witnessed many military campaigns, notably by Alexander the Great, Arab Muslims, Genghis Khan, and in modern-era Western forces. The land also served as a source from which the Kushans, Hephthalites, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghorids, Mughals, Durranis and others have risen to form major empires. (read further)
Zip Code 09836 DPO AE Armed Forces
Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois offers visitors miles of scenic hiking trails, breathtaking waterfalls, wildfowers walks, wildlife viewing and picnic sites. Starved Rock Lodge is open year round with unique rooms, cabins an indoor pool, lounge, gift shop and conference facilities.
Sent by Tiffany from Illinois, USA.
Starved Rock State Park is a state park in the U.S. state of Illinois, characterized by the many canyons within its 2,630 acres (1,064 ha). Located just southeast of the village of Utica, in Deer Park Township, LaSalle County, Illinois, along the south bank of the Illinois River, the park hosts over two million visitors annually. (read further)
Friday, February 21, 2014
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque
Sent by Majid from Esfahan, Iran.
Built by Shah Abbas I the Great at the beginning of the 17th century, and bordered on all sides by monumental buildings linked by a series of two-storeyed arcades, the site is known for the Royal Mosque, the Mosque of Sheykh Lotfollah, the magnificent Portico of Qaysariyyeh and the 15th-century Timurid palace. They are an impressive testimony to the level of social and cultural life in Persia during the Safavid era. (read further)
Views of the city of Tiraspol
Sent by Scripchenco from Tiraspol, Moldova.
Tiraspol (IPA: [tɪˈraspəl]; Russian and Ukrainian: Тирасполь) is internationally recognised as the second largest city in Moldova, but is effectively the capital and administrative centre of the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (Transnistria). The city is located on the eastern bank of the Dniester River. Tiraspol is a regional hub of light industry, such as furniture and electrical goods production.
The modern city of Tiraspol was founded by the Russian generalissimo Alexander Suvorov in 1792, although the area had been inhabited for thousands of years by varying ethnic groups. The city celebrates its anniversary every year on October 14. (read further)
Stamp of Transnistria
Sent by Scripchenco from Tiraspol, Moldova.
Chișinău (// Romanian pronunciation: [kiʃiˈnəw]; historically also known as Kishinev, from Russian: Кишинёв) is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Moldova. It is Moldova's main industrial and commercial centre, and is located in the middle of the country, on the river Bîc. According to January 2013 official estimates, Chișinău proper has a population of 671,800 and the municipality of Chișinău is home to 800,600 residents.
Chișinău is the most economically prosperous locality in Moldova and its largest transportation hub. As the most economically and socially important municipality in Moldova, the city has a broad range of educational facilities. (read further)
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Monday, February 17, 2014
Fort St. Jago, Forecourt of Elimina Castle, and Elimina Castle.
Sent by Kwame from Cape Coast, Ghana.
The remains of fortified trading-posts established between 1482 and 1786 can still be seen along the coast of Ghana between Keta and Beyin. They were links in the trade routes established by the Portuguese in many areas of the world during their era of great maritime exploration.
Accra was first settled at the end of the 16th century when the Ga people migrated there. The site allowed them to engage in trade with the Europeans who had built forts nearby, the most important of these being James Fort and Ussher Fort. These early inhabitants also engaged in farming and lagoon fishing, with sea fishing taken up during the middle of the 18th century. During the slave trade Accra took on greater importance owing to the nearby forts, many of which were owned and controlled by the Dutch, a prominence that lasted until the abolition of the slave trade in 1807.
In Accra, competition between the different European states was strong and having a fort at Accra was of great strategic value, as it lay at the end of an important inland trade route. The forts and castles were built and occupied at different times by European traders and adventurers from Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Germany and Britain to safeguard trading posts. The castles defended the European merchants and their local allies and trading partners against competition; they were used as entrepôts for slaves and trade-goods, and they were the centres of European administration on the Gold Coast. (read further)
Sent by Cristine from Florence, Italy.
Starting in the 15th century, Florence exerted a powerful influence on the development of architecture and the monumental arts, first in Italy, and then throughout Europe. The historic centre attests in an exceptional manner, and by its unique coherence, to its power as a merchant-city of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Between the 14th and 17th centuries it was covered with prestigious buildings which illustrated the munificence of the bankers and princes.
Founded in 59 BC as a Roman colony known as Florentia, only in the 11th century did the free commune of Florence begin to succeed - both politically and economically - where other cities of Tuscany had failed, with the slow but unrestrainable process culminating in the annexation of Siena in 1557. In the 15th century, the city reached the apex of its splendour, thanks partly to the presence in Florence of such geniuses as the architects Filippo Brunelleschi and Leon Battista Alberti, the painters Masaccio, Paolo Uccello and Sandro Botticelli, and the sculptors Donatello, Lorenzo Ghiberti and Luca della Robbia, as well as the unforgettable Michelangelo Buonarotti and Leonardo da Vinci.
As early as the 15th century, the republican government was abolished and the Medici dynasty took over. Despite repeated attempts (all unsuccessful) to restore the republic, the Medicis ruled the Grand Duchy of Tuscany until it died out in 1737. Rule then passed to the Lorraine family, which remained in power until 1859 when Florence was annexed by the Kingdom of Italy. It was the political capital of Italy between 1865 and 1870, in addition to being the cultural capital.
Built over the Roman city, the historic centre of Florence may best be described as a treasure chest of works of art and architecture. Defined by the 14th-century walls, and built up thanks to the enormous business and economic power which Florence achieved, the two succeeding centuries were Florence's golden age. The spiritual focus of the city is the Cathedral Piazza of Santa Maria del Fiore, with Giotto's campanile on one side and the Baptistry of St John in front, with the Gates of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti. Going north from here, one comes across the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi by Michelozzo and St Lawrence's Basilica by Brunelleschi with the sacristies inside designed by Donatello and Michelangelo. Further on are the Museum of St Mark's, with Fra Angelico's masterpieces, the Galleria dell'Accademia with Michelangelo'sDavid (1501-4) and the Santissima Annunziata Piazza with the Lodge of the Holy Innocents by Brunelleschi. On the south side of the cathedral is the political/cultural centre of Florence, with the Palazzo Vecchio and the Galleria degli Uffizi nearby. Close to these are the Museo del Bargello and the Basilica of the Holy Cross. Across the Ponte Vecchio is the Oltrarno quarter, with the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. Still in the Oltrarno, mention must be made of the Holy Ghost Basilica by Filippo Brunelleschi and the Carmelite Church, with its frescoes by Masolino, Masaccio and Filippino Lippi. To the west of the cathedral are the imposing Strozzi Palace and the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, its facade designed by Leon Battista Alberti.
The historic centre may be admirably viewed in its entirety from the surrounding hills, especially Piazzale Michelangelo (just under the Romanesque Basilica of San Miniato), or Fiesole, both of which offer some of the most spectacular views in the Arno valley. (Source)
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Sent by Damjan of Slovenia from the village of Aousserd (Moroccan-controlled region) in Western Sahara. Thank you very much.
Chris (Damjan's colleague) who is operating a traveller's adventure company in Western Sahara wrote in an e-mail, "Officially there is no country called Western Sahara, even though many maps still show a border. Most of Western Sahara is occupied by Morocco since the late 1970s, so a postcard will only have a normal Moroccan stamp. The inland part of the country is called the Polisario Free Zone and there is a big sand wall ('berm') separating the two. A regular traveller cannot visit the PFZ so easily and I think the Polisario use the postal service of Algeria or Mauritania to send letters".
Thanks to Chris too for your help.
Western Sahara (US / /, UK / /, Arabic: الصحراء الغربية Aṣ-Ṣaḥrā’ al-Gharbīyah, Spanish: Sahara Occidental, Berber: Taneẓroft Tutrimt) is a disputed territory in the Maghreb region of North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the extreme northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its surface area amounts to 266,000 square kilometres (103,000 sq mi). It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly consisting of desert flatlands. The population is estimated at just over 500,000, of whom nearly 40% live in El Aaiún (also spelled Laâyoune), the largest city in Western Sahara.
Occupied by Spain since the late 19th century, the Western Sahara has been on the United Nations list of non-self-governing territories since 1963 after a Moroccan demand. It is the most populous territory on that list, and by far the largest in area. In 1965, the UN General Assembly adopted its first resolution on Western Sahara, asking Spain to decolonise the territory. One year later, a new resolution was passed by the General Assembly requesting that a referendum be held by Spain on self-determination. (read further)