August 17, 2017

3125, 3126 MOLDOVA - The First Moldova-Romania Postcrossing Meetup, Chişinău, 29 July 2017


Right in the day in which Moldova celebrated the Constitution Day (adopted on 29 July 1994), a group of enthusiastic postcrossers from Moldova and Romania met for the first time in the flesh (online they have known each other for long time and have swaped, of course, many postcards). The meetup was held in Central Post Office of Moldova in Chişinău, where was also organized a collaborative exhibition of postcards from around the world.


"Being from neighbouring countries with many traditions and a language in common (not to mention a hobby!), it just made sense for them to cross the border and meet… and also to try to make Postcrossing more popular in Moldova", somebody wrote on Postcrossing Blog. On this occasion was edited four special postcards.

August 15, 2017

3124 THAILAND - Traditional Thai puppets

The Thai puppetry dates back at least 300 years, the earliest recorded account of it being in 1685. Shows were often performed for the monarchy and were extremely popular during King Taksin's reign in the late 1700s. Around 1895 was first mentioned a new form of puppetry, Hun Krabok (hun means puppet, while krabok describes a type of wood which is hollow, such as the bamboo), which became shortly a popular forms of entertainmen.

August 14, 2017

3123 POLAND (Pomerania) - Lighthouse in Gdansk New Port

Built in 1894, and operated continuously for more than 100 years, Lighthouse in Gdansk New Port is one of the most beautiful lighthouses on the Baltic Sea. It made history when, on 1st September 1939; shots fired from its windows were a signal for the battleship Schleswig-Holstein to commence the bombardment of the Polish Westerplatte, which signalled the start of World War II.

3122 INDONESIA (Sumatra) - Bull race in Padang

The bull racing festival (Pacu Jawi in the local language, which means "push-ahead bull") was created more than 400 years ago as a way to celebrate the end of rice harvesting season by the Minangkabau people in West Sumatra, more exactly in Padang. While the race has become part of Indonesian culture, its main purpose is for sellers to exhibit the strength of their bulls to potential buyers. A good race performance can lead to generating a higher price for those farmers that plan to sell breeding stock.

August 13, 2017

3121 ROMANIA (Prahova / Braşov / Dâmboviţa) - Bucegi Mountains

3121 Panoramic view of Bucegi Mountains
in the village of Poiana Mărului, Braşov County

The Bucegi Mountains are located at the eastern extremity of the Southern Carpathians, extending between the Prahova Valley to the east and the Rucăr-Bran Corridor and the Ialomiţa Valley to the west, and are delimited to the North by the Bârsa Depression and to the South by the Sub Carpathians of Curvature. Being of a great structural and morphological complexity, the massif appears as a natural fortress, with an enclosure suspended from 1600-2500 m, supported by strong abrupts. The highest point of the massif is the Omu Peak (2514m).

August 12, 2017

3120 MALAYSIA (Malacca / Penang) - Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca (UNESCO WHS)

3120 Saint Paul's Church in Melaka

Melaka and George Town have developed over 500 years of trading and cultural exchanges between East and West in the Straits of Malacca. The influences of Asia and Europe have endowed the towns with a specific multicultural heritage that is both tangible and intangible. Both towns bear testimony to a living multi-cultural heritage and tradition of Asia, where the many religions and cultures met and coexisted, creating a unique architecture, culture and townscape.

1106, 1126, 3119 CROATIA (Split-Dalmatia) - Historic City of Trogir (UNESCO WHS)

1106 City of Trogir

Posted on 19.06.2014, 05.07.2014, 12.08.2017
Located on a small island between the Croatian mainland and the island of Čiovo, on the Adriatic coast, at 27km west of the city of Split, the historic city of Trogir is an excellent example of a medieval town built on and conforming with the layout of a Hellenistic and Roman city that has conserved its urban fabric to an exceptional degree. The ancient town of Tragurion (island of goats) was founded by Greek colonists from the island of Vis in the 3rd century BC. The Hellenistic town was enclosed by megalithic walls and its streets were laid out on a Hippodamian grid plan: the line of the ancient cardo maximus is that of the modern main street.

1126 Aerial view of the city of Trogir

The town flourished in the Roman period as an oppidum civium romanorum; during the late Roman period it was extended and refortified. It was also endowed with two large aisled basilicas, sited where the latter-day Cathedral and Benedictine Church of St John the Baptist now stand. During the migration of Slavs, the citizens of the destroyed Salona escaped to Trogir. In the second half of the 9th century Trogir became part of the Byzantine Theme of Dalmatia, with its capital at Zadar, and it was occupied by Venice at the end of the 10th century.

3119 City of Trogir - Kamerlengo Castle

Early medieval Trogir expanded to the south and new fortifications were constructed. At the beginning of the 12th century Trogir accepted Hungarian rule when the Theme of Dalmatia was overrun. There was a short period of Venetian rule in the early 14th century, but it was not until 1420 that the town became part of the Venetian empire. Between the 13th and 15th centuries much new building took place, this period seeing the construction of the Cathedral and the Camerlengo fortress, a radical remodelling of the main square, and two campaigns of reconstruction and strengthening of the fortifications.

August 9, 2017

3118 LUXEMBOURG - International Postcrossing Meetup, July 1, 2017

This meeting, organized by Anne Hippe, brought together postcrossers from Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland. They met at 10:30 at Place d'Armes, from where they went to the post office, and then explored the postcard shops and the city centre. For lunch, but also to write and sign postcards, they stopped to the Brasserie Chiggeri, located in the old town, close to the Theatre Square. I'm sure it was a memorable meetup.

August 5, 2017

0379, 1129, 3117 CROATIA (Dubrovnik-Neretva) - Old City of Dubrovnik (UNESCO WHS)

0379 View of the Dubrovnik walls from the South

Posted on 09.11.2012, 07.07.2014, 05.08.2017
Located in the southern Dalmatian coast, Dubrovnik, named official Ragusa until 1918,  and known as Pearl of the Adriatic or even Thesaurum mundi,  "is a remarkably well-preserved example of a late-medieval walled city, with a regular street layout", reason for which it was designated by UNESCO a World Heritage Site in 1979 (with an extension in 1994), under the name Old City of Dubrovnik. Until recently, it was believed that the city was founded about 614 AD by a group of refugees from Epidaurum (today's Cavtat), who fled of the Slavs and Avars and established a settlement to an island, and named it Laus (lausa means rock in latin), which will become Ragusa or Rausa.

1129 Stradun, the main street of Dubrovnik 

Opposite that location, at the foot of Srđ Mountain, the Slavs developed their own settlement, under the name of Dubrovnik (from dubrava, which means oak woods). In the 12th century the channel that separated these two settlements was filled (in present is Placa or Stradun, the main street of the city) and they were united. But recent archaeological discoveries have pushed the city's history before the Common Era, there being evidence that Dubrovnik was established by Greek sailors.

3117 The Church of Saint Blaise and the statue of the saint,
the patron saint of the city

Being first under the protection of the Byzantine Empire, Ragusa came, after the infamous Fourth Crusade, under the sovereignty of Venice (1205-1358), then became part of the Hungarian-Croatian Kingdom, and since 1458 paid a tribute to the Ottoman Empire, but was effectively a free state between 1358 and 1808, named Respublica Ragusina (Ragusan Republic). Its motto, Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro (Latin for "Liberty is not well sold for all the gold"), says everything about its principles, as also the fact that the republic abolished the slave trade early in the 15th century, and its official language was Latin until 1472, and thereafter the Ragusan dialect of the Romance Dalmatian language.

August 4, 2017

3116 POLAND (Mazovia) - Warsaw between 1767 and 1779 in the paintings of Canaletto

In 1569 was established the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (a bi-confederation of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch, who was both the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania), which became one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th- and 17th-century Europe. Due to its central location between the Commonwealth's capitals of Kraków and Vilnius, Warsaw became practically the capital of the Commonwealth in 1596, when King Sigismund III Vasa moved his court from Kraków to Warsaw (also the permanent seat of the General Sejm from the same year), although the modern concept of a single capital city was to some extent inapplicable in the feudal and decentralized Commonwealth.

July 29, 2017

1935-1939, 2670, 3115 SAINT MARTIN - The map of the island and the flags of Saint Martin (France) and of Sint Maartin (Netherlands)

1935 The map of Saint Martin Island (1)

Posted on 04.10.2015, 30.07.2016, 29.07.2017
Located in the northeast Caribbean, between Anguilla and Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin is the smallest inhabited sea island divided between two nations, respectively between France (60%) and the Kingdom of the Netherlands (40%). The southern Dutch part comprises Sint Maarten and is one of four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the northern French part comprises the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and is an overseas collectivity of France.

1936 The map of Saint Martin Island (2)

The main cities are Philipsburg (Dutch side) and Marigot (French side). The Dutch side is more heavily populated, and the largest settlement on the entire island is Lower Prince's Quarter. The highest hilltop is the Pic Paradis (424m) in the center of a hill chain on the French side, but both sides are hilly with large mountain peaks. This forms a valley where many houses are located. There are no rivers on the island, but many dry guts. It has a tropical monsoon climate with a dry season from January to April and a rainy season from August to December.

1937 The map of Saint Martin Island (3)

Ancient relics date the island's first settlers, probably Ciboney Indians (a subgroup of Arawaks), back to 3,500 years ago. Their lives were turned upside-down with the descent of the Carib Indians, a warrior nation which killed the Arawak men and enslaved the women. In 1493 Christopher Columbus glimpsed the island and named it Isla de San Martín after Saint Martin of Tours because it was November 11, St. Martin Day, but Spain made the settlement of the island a low priority.

2670 The map of Saint Martin Island (4)

Instead, the French and Dutch coveted the island. While the French wanted to colonize the islands between Trinidad and Bermuda, the Dutch found San Martín a convenient halfway point between their colonies in New Amsterdam (present day New York) and Brazil. The Dutch, French and British founded settlements on the island. In 1633 Spanish forces captured Saint Martin from the Dutch, but in 1648 they deserted the island. Preferring to avoid an war, the French and Dutch signed in the same year the Treaty of Concordia, which divided the island in two, as it is now.

3115 The map of Saint Martin Island (5)

With the cultivation of cotton, tobacco, and sugar, mass numbers of slaves were imported to work on the plantations, until the slave population became larger than that of the land owners. After abolition of slavery in the first half of the 19th century, plantation culture declined and the island's economy suffered. In 1939, Saint Martin received a major boost when it was declared a duty-free port. The Dutch began focusing on tourism in the 1950s. The French needed another twenty years to start developing their tourism industry.

1938 Saint Martin - The border monument which celebrates
the peaceful coexistence of the French and Dutch on St. Martin (1)

Currently, tourism provides the backbone of the economy for both sides of the island. St. Martin's Dutch side is known for its festive nightlife, beaches, jewellery, drinks made with native rum-based guavaberry liquors, and casinos. The island's French side is known for its nude beaches, clothes, shopping (including outdoor markets), and French and Indian Caribbean cuisine. Because the island is located along the intertropical convergence zone, it is occasionally threatened by tropical storm activity in the late summer and early fall.

1938 Saint Martin - The border monument which celebrates
the peaceful coexistence of the French and Dutch on St. Martin (2)

The culture of Saint Martin is a blend of its African, French, British, and Dutch heritage. Although each side's culture is influenced by their respective administering countries, they share enough similar heritage and traditions that it can be difficult to tell where Saint-Martin ends and Sint Maarten begins. Nowadays, the number of Creoles has been surpassed by the number of immigrants, and the island's population is truly a melting pot of people from 70 or more different countries.

July 28, 2017

1485, 3114 THAILAND (Bangkok) - The Royal Barge Chanting Ceremony

1485 The Royal Barge Narai Song Suban Ratchakan Thi Kao

Posted on 14.03.2015, 28.07.2017
The Royal Barge Procession is a ceremony of both religious and royal significance which has been taking place for nearly 700 years. It takes place rarely, typically coinciding with only the most significant cultural and religious events. For example, during the reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, spanning over 60 years, the Procession has only occurred 16 times. It most likely began during the Ayutthaya period in the 14th century.

3114 The Royal Barge Suphannahong

Western visitors witnessed and wrote about the "immense procession with 200 boats" upon their arrival in Thailand in the 18th century. During the processions, the oarsmen were kept in rhythm by the beating of drums, with accompanying music. This traditional boat song was written by Prince Dhamma Dibes of the late Ayutthaya period. In 1767, Burma invaded Thailand, and captured the capital, Ayuttaya. Amid the destruction, hundreds of the barges were burned. General Taksin rallied the Thais and established the new capital at Thonburi.

2577, 3113 ROMANIA (Braşov) - The Făgăraş Citadel

2577 Aerial view of the Făgăraş Citadel

Posted on 28.06.2016, 28.07.2017
Făgăraş, together with Amlaş, constituted during the Middle Ages a traditional Romanian local-autonomy region in Transylvania, on the Olt River. The castle in Făgăraş, whose construction began in 1310 and continued through successive additions until the middle of the 18th century, was preceded by a wooden fort, surrounded by a moat and wave of land, attested to 12th century. This fort, evidence of local feudal political organization as a voivodat, was destroyed in the middle of the 13th century.

3113 The Făgăraş Citadel

In 15th century the fortress had a quadrilateral enclosure with four towers and bastions at the corners and a barricade type tower outpost on the east side. After the splitting of the Hungarian Feudal Kingdom in 1541, following the defeat of Mohács, Transylvania became an autonomous principality under Ottoman suzerainty. In this framework, the domain and the Făgăraş fortress became the property of hereditary princes of Transylvania.