October 21, 2016

2835 FRANCE - Flora of the Alps

The Alps are one of the great mountain range systems of Europe stretching approximately 1,200km across eight countries from Austria and Slovenia in the east, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, France to the west and Italy and Monaco to the south. As it is known, in the mountains the vegetation gradually changes with altitude, sun exposure, and location on the mountain. In Alps there are five successive life zones, each with distinct landscapes and vegetation characteristics: premontane, montane, subalpine, alpine, and alvar.

2834 CANADA (Quebec) - Architecture of Montreal

Historically the commercial capital of Canada, Montreal was surpassed in population and economic strength by Toronto only in the 1970s, and this is reflected in buildings inherited, that today provides an invaluable insight into the city's history, especially in the downtown area and the Old Port area. Therefore Montreal is an old, but a very modern city, and the modern buildings are situated right next to some of the oldest and most fascinating structures.

October 20, 2016

2833 ITALY (Friuli-Venezia Giulia) - Aurelio Baruzzi, the hero of Gorizia

Born in 1897 at Lugo, at 30 km from Ravenna, Aurelio Baruzzi voluntarily enrolled in the Royal Italian Army in 1915, at the age of only 18 years, as infantry officer cadet. He participated in the WWI with the rank of second lieutenant, in the 28th Regiment "Pavia", which fought in the Karst region. He distinguished himself in the fighting on the front line in the Third Battle of the Isonzo, receiving a bronze medal. Since August 6, 1916 he took part at the Sixth Battle of the Isonzo, also known as the Battle of Gorizia.

2832 AUSTRIA - "542 Garten Im Regentropfen - Theater - Maul - Cappana 140" by Friedensreich Hundertwasser

Although Friedensreich Hundertwasser (about which I wrote a little here) is more widely known for his architectural works, he first achieved notoriety for his paintings. He used bright colours and organic forms, rejecting the straight lines. Painted in Venice, Lido - Giudecca - Anguillara, in summer-autumn 1962, 542 Garten Im Regentropfen - Theater - Maul - Cappana 140 (Garden in the Raindrop - Theatre - Mouth - Cabin 140) is a watercolour on wrapping paper, primed with chalk and PV (390 mm x 550 mm).

October 19, 2016

0008, 1433, 2655, 2793, 2831 THAILAND (Bangkok) - The Grand Palace in Bangkok

0008 The Grand Palace in Bangkok

Posted on 12.10.2011, 01.02.2015, 19.07.2016, 03.10.2016, 19.10.2016
Undoubtedly, Bangkok's history is intimately linked to the Chakri dynasty, which leads Siam (named from 1939, with a brief interruption, Thailand) for more than two centuries. Founder of the dynasty, Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (Rama I), was the one who moved the capital from Thonburi to Bangkok. Of course, the king had to have a palace and so appeared The Grand Palace (Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang), whose construction began in 1782, after a plan that closely followed that of the old palace in Ayutthaya.

2655 Phra Thinang Chakri Maha Prasat

The king, his court and his royal government were based on the palace until 1925. The present monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), currently resides at Chitralada Palace, but the Grand Palace is still used for official events. Situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, at the heart of the Rattanakosin Island, the palace complex (made up of numerous buildings, halls, pavilions set around open lawns, and gardens) is roughly rectangular. Its asymmetry and eclectic styles are due to its organic development, with additions being made by successive kings.

2831 The Temple of the Emerald Buddha

It is divided into several quarters: the Temple of the Emerald Buddha; the Outer Court; the Middle Court, including the Phra Maha Monthien Buildings, the Phra Maha Prasat Buildings and the Chakri Maha Prasat Buildings; the Inner Court and the Siwalai Gardens quarter. The Phra Thinang Chakri Maha Prasat buildings are composed of nine major and minor halls, structured in a similar scheme to the Maha Monthien Halls from north to south. The whole of the Chakri Maha Prasat group was the work of King Rama V and foreign architects in the 19th century.

1433 A Kinnari in front of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha

The first phase of construction began in 1868, then again in 1876, and the final phase between 1882 and 1887. The throne hall forms the front or the façade of the entire building group. The throne hall is constructed in an eclectic style, a blend of Thai and European (more specifically Renaissance or Italianate) styles. The lower part of the structure is European, while the upper part is in Thai-styled green and orange tiled roofs and gilded spires or prasats.

2793 Temple of the Emerald Buddha

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) is actually a royal chapel, built in 1783. It is surrounded on four sides by a series of walled cloisters, with seven gates. Like the royal temples of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya, the complex is separated from the living quarters of the kings. Within these walls are buildings and structures for diverse purposes and of different styles, but most of them adheres strictly to classical Thai architecture.

October 16, 2016


0507 Saint Peter's Square in Vatican City (1)

Posted on 11.02.2013, 16.10.2016
Everybody knows that Vatican City is the smallest independent state in the world by both area and population (0.44 km2, and 836 inhabitants). But few know that this walled enclave within the city of Rome was established as an independent state only in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty (signed on behalf of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy by... Prime Minister Benito Mussolini), which spoke of it as a new creation, not as a vestige of the Papal States (756-1870). Even fewer know that Vatican City is distinct from the Holy See, the two entities having distinct passports.

2830 Saint Peter's Square in Vatican City (2)

I think that one of the reasons for the existence of these two entities is diplomatic, because in this way the Pope can address to the Catholic prelates as the leader of the Catholic Church, and to the heads of state (regardless of faith) as a head of a state. The name "Vatican" predates Christianity and comes from the Latin Mons Vaticanus (Vatican Mount). Separated from the city, on the west bank of the Tiber river, Vatican comprise St. Peter's Basilica (in the foreground of the postcard), the Apostolic Palace, the Sistine Chapel, museums, and various other buildings.

2829 Bathed in Moonlight

Obviously, this postcard has no relation to Antarctica. I applied that tag only because it was sent from there. I don't know who is the author of the photography or other details about the postcard. I know only that it was used by Arte Nova Classics label as cover for a CD containing Piano Works of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy.

2828 SENEGAL - The happy people of Cap-Vert

Cap-Vert is a peninsula in Senegal, and the westernmost point of the continent of Africa and of the Old World mainland. Originally called Cabo Verde or "Green Cape" by Portuguese explorers, it is not to be confused with the Cape Verde islands. The indigenous inhabitants of the peninsula, the Lebou, lived as fishermen and farmers. Since about 1444, when the Portuguese first sighted the cape, it has been an entrepôt for African-European trade. The French later established the city of Dakar on the cape in 1857.

2827 ROMANIA - TR-85M1 "Bizonul" (The Bison)

The TR-85 is a main battle tank designed for the armed forces of Romania. Based on the TR-77-580 (Romanian-built version of the Soviet T-55 tank), the TR-85 tank was developed from 1978 to 1985 and produced from 1986 until 1990. A modernization program was initiated in March 1994 in order to upgrade the TR-85 tanks to NATO standards. The result was the TR-85M1 "Bizonul" (The Bison) main battle tank, currently the most modern tank in service with the Romanian Land Forces.

October 15, 2016

2040, 2041, 2084, 2214, 2664, 2742, 2826 FRANCE (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) - Grenoble

2040 The map of Isère department and The Bastille in Grenoble

Posted on 16.11.2015, 29.11.2015, 14.01.2016, 23.07.2016, 06.09.2016, 15.10.2016
Located at the foot of the French Alps, where the river Drac joins the Isère, Grenoble is the capital city of the Isère department. The proximity of the mountains, as well as its size, has led to the city being known as the "Capital of the Alps". Its history goes back more than 2,000 years, at a time when it was a small Gallic village. While it gained in stature by becoming the capital of the Dauphiné in the 11th century, it remained for most of its history a modest parliamentary and garrison city on the borders of the Kingdom of France.

2742 Aerial view of Grenoble

The Bastille, an ancient series of fortifications at the south end of the Chartreuse mountain range, overlooking the city of Grenoble, was begun in the Middle Ages, but later years saw extensive additions, including a semi-underground defense network, credited as the most extensive example of early 18th-century fortifications in France, and then held an important strategic point on the Alpine frontier with the Kingdom of Savoy. A small garrison was maintained in the fort until 1940.

2826 The Palace of the Parliament of Dauphiné

The Palace of the Parliament of Dauphiné was constructed in Place Saint André around 1500 and extended in 1539. It was the location of the Parlement of Dauphiné until the French Revolution. It then became a courthouse until 2002. The left wing of the palace was extended in 1897. The front of the former seat of the nearby Dauphiné Parlement combines elements from a gothic chapel and a Renaissance façade. The building now belongs to the Isère Council (Conseil Général de l'Isère).

2041 Grenoble - The Isère's quai, the Bubbles,
the Marius Gontard Bridge, and Vercors Massif.

The Marius Gontard Bridge is historically the second Isère crossing site in Grenoble. The first stone bridge was built between 1621 and 1671. After much destruction and reconstruction, it was rebuilt in stone in 1839 and called the bridge of the Hospital. It carries since 1924 the same name as the street that continues, that of a General Counsel of Grenoble (1856-1923). With a total length of 73m, it has three spans, the central span, the longest, with a range of 27m.

2084 Grenoble - The Isère's quai on wintertime, and the Bubbles.

.The first cable transport system was installed on the Bastille in 1875. Since 1934, the Bastille has been the destination of the Grenoble-Bastille Cable Car, known to locals as Les Bulles (the bubbles). It is one of the oldest urban cable cars in the world and runs all year round. The route takes the cars across the Isère and over the roofs of the old Saint Laurent quarter before passing over a bastion of the curtain wall of the fort and then over the Rabot and various successive fortifications before arriving at the upper station.

2214 Grésivaudan Valley - Funiculaire de Saint-Hilaire du Touvet,
villages with Belledone in background, Dent de Crolles, and the Bubbles.

Except for a few dozen houses on the slopes of the Bastille hill, Grenoble is exclusively built on the alluvial plain of the Isère and Drac rivers at an altitude of 214 metres. As a result, the city itself is extremely flat. Mountain sports are an important tourist attraction in summer and winter. Twenty large and small ski resorts surround the city, the nearest being Le Sappey-en-Chartreuse, which is about 15 minutes' drive away. Historically, both Grenoble and the surrounding areas were sites of heavy industry and mining.

2664 Grenoble