Monday, 25 October 2010

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM RUSSIA

Vasilievsky Island is the largest island in the Neva River delta near the Gulf of Finland, in St. Petersburg, Russia.  One of the distinctive features of St.Petersburg skyline, the imposing 32 meters high (104ft) Rostral Columns were designed in 1810 by the French architect Thomas de Thomon and inaugurated as lighthouses one year later. The two beautiful ornate red columns were built in front of the Old Stock Exchange building, as the symbol of the naval supremacy of the Russian Empire and in honor of the Russian fleet victories. The columns are decorated according to the Roman tradition with protruding six ships’ prows (“rostra” in Latin) and images of anchors. In the 19th century the oil lamps in these gigantic lighthouses were replaced by gas torches and still lit on ceremonic occasions, for instance for Navy days and other water festivals.
Russia Post issued on June 18th, 2010 a souvenir sheet with three stamps celebrating the 300th anniversary of foundation of Tsarskoe Selo, the former Russian residence of the imperial family near St. Petersburg. The 15.00RUB stamp presents the Egyptian Gates, structures erected in 1827-32 and covered with hieroglyphics that leads to the imperial palace. The 2009 Europa stamp issued on May 5th, 2009 depicts the space and a telescope. Russia and the Soviet Union (USSR) conducted pioneering events in space exploration (the dog Laika, Yuri Gagarin, first space station...) and the Soviet and Russian space stamps are among my favourites. Thanks, Kate for the nice postcard and stamps.

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