Sunday, 20 November 2011

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM RUSSIA

Ludmila sent me a special postcard featuring stamps and lighthouses, my two passions.
Russia Postal Administration issued on July 4, 2005 a set of three lighthouse stamps and this beautiful postcard shows two light stamps located at the White Sea and their precise location on the map. The 5.00 stamp depicts the Mud'yugskiy Lighthouse built in 1838 on an island just off the main entrance to the Dvina delta in Arkhangel'sk. The 40m (131 ft) round stone tower is the oldest lighthouse of the Russian North.
The 6.00 stamp shows the Solovetsky Lighthouse located atop Sekirnaya Hill in the northwestern part of the Solovetsky Island. In 1863, Orthodox monks built the Church of Ascension and mounted a lantern atop its onion-shaped dome. The lantern is at 123 meters  (403 ft) above the sea level and its light is seen around nearly 22 miles.
Russia issued on June 08, 2010 a souvenir sheet depicting Valaam archipelago, in the north-western part of Lake Ladoga and considered a unique historical and natural landscape area. The archipelago consists of the island of Valaam and more than 50 small islands. A dissected coastline, a lot of bays, inlets, sheer granite cliffs feature the landscape. The stamp shows the church of St. Nicolas, part of the preserved monastic constructions that includes the Wonder Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery, the barbican church of Peter and Paul and the church of the Assumption. 

Saturday, 19 November 2011

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM POLAND

Świnoujście is a city and seaport on the Baltic Sea located in the extreme north-west of Poland, close to the German border.  Stawa Młyny is one of the symbols of Swinoujscie, as part of the official logo of the city. The 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical brick tower is a navigation beacon in the shape of a windmill. Built in 1873, it is located at the end of the west breakwater at the mouth of the Świna River.  The front (seaward) side of the white tower has four large white windmill vanes, but they do not turn in the wind. LAT: 53° 56.0' N  LON: 014° 17.0' E
 Dwór refers to a manor house used or owned by Polish nobility and built in the countryside. The “Polish Mansion Houses” stamp series presents mansion houses whose interiors were transformed in museums. The face value 50GR issued on April 30, 1997 depicts Dwór Lopusznej, the house manor in Lopuszna, a village in southern Poland near the border with Slovakia. The house was built in 1790 by Romuald Lisicki in Polish traditional way - rectangular shape, decorated wooden porch in front and the roof divided in 2:3 ratio covered by shingle (very characteristic to Polish manors). Moreover, all living rooms and bedrooms are located on the ground floor and the kitchen is in separate building.
Polish Postal Administration issued on April 18, 2011 a set of six stamps called “Smile of the world” featuring people of different countries in smiling expression. It is a beautiful and artistic work of the Polish explorer and photographer Elżbieta Dzikowska. The 3 zł stamp shows a smiling young woman resident of the Bolivian Andes.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

2011 - STAMPS OF BRAZIL - 23

The Italian Embassy and consulates in Brazil, in partnership with the Italian Institute of Culture in Brazil conceived a project called Momento Itália-Brasil celebrating the good relationship existing between Brazil and Italy and valorizing the influence of the Italian immigrants within the Brazilian society. During nine months (from October 2011 up to June 2012), Italians and Brazilians will join in hundred of events all over the country. The Program will embrace various categories: architecture and design; art and culture; science and technology; the cinema; corporations and the economy; gastronomy; sports; parties and fairs; fashion; music; theater; dance and the Italians in Brazil.
The stamp issued on October 12, 2011 is part of the Diplomatic Relations Series and depicts the logo of the Program Momento Itália-Brasil: it assembles in an artistically manner two images portraying The Coliseum in Rome and the Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro - both of which are counted among the Seven Wonders of the World. The color green is used for the background and can be found in the flags of both countries. The colors red, yellow and white, composing the image of the stamp, also allude to the flags.

Monday, 14 November 2011

COVER AN LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM GERMANY

The German Post issued on April 7th, 2011 a set of four stamps dedicated to the popular sports in the country and highlight important sport events taking place in Germany this year. The 55ct +25ct stamp illustrates a striker from the women’s soccer, sport which has developed rapidly in Germany in recent years. The third Women's Soccer World Cup was held in Germany from 26.06.2011 to 17.07.2011 and Japan won the final against the United States and became the first Asian team to win a FIFA World Cup.
 The traditional definitive Flower series, issued annually since 2005, makes people aware of beauty and diversity of flowers in gardens and open countryside of Germany.  The 35¢ stamp issued on January 2, 2006 depicts the dahlia, a flower native to Mexico, diverse in form and color and common as a garden plant. There are at least 36 species of dahlia, but thousands of hybrid varieties. The dahlias prefer a sunny location and the flowering period in Europe extends from June until October.
The Isle of Fehmarn lies in the Baltic Sea, off the eastern coast of Schleswig-Holstein, between Germany and Denmark, separating the Kiel Bay and the Mecklenburg Bay.  The Fehmarn-Belt-Waterway had been one of the most important shipping routes in the Baltic Sea in the last few centuries and still has great importance in our days for the passage from the Baltic Sea to the North Sea. Fehmarn, which belonged to the Danish Kingdom in the 19th century, has an area of nearly 180 square miles and the Danish, and later the German built lighthouses at all corners of the island.
Three lighthouses face the German mainland: the tallest Flügge Light (54°26.456'N/11°01.060'E) lies at the southwestern tip of the island; the “little white” Strukkamphuk Light (54°24.562'N/11°05.736'E) stands near the Fehmarnsund Bridge and the Staberhuk Light (54°24.155'/ 11°18.651'E) is located on the southeastern point of Fehmarn.
The Westermarkelsdorf Light (54°31.641'N/11°03.484'E) shines in the northwest of the isle marking the western entrance to the Fehmarn Belt. The old and the new Marienleuchte Lights (54°29.698'N/ 11°14.293'E) stand at the island’s northeastern corner near the ferry terminal at Puttgarden, where ferries link Fehmarn to Denmark.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM BELGIUM

 Nieuwpoort is a Belgium city located by the sea close to the Dutch border, in the province of West Flanders. In Nieuwpoort, the Yser River flows into the North Sea. The first light station in Nieuwpoort dates back to 1863, but this tower was destroyed in World War I. A second lighthouse was commissioned in 1926 and had the same fate being destroyed on September 7, 1944 during World War II. The current 29 m (95 ft) conical concrete tower with red and white bands was first lit on March 21, 1949. A 2-story keeper's house is attached to the tower and both stands at the eastern side of the mouth of the Yser (51°09.300' N 2°43.900' E). The double gallery tower was automated in 1986 and its red flash light has a range of 16 nautical miles.
On September 20, 2010 Belgium Post Office issued a set of three stamps called "New life in the brewery “presenting former breweries converted into other activities. The stamp on the postcard shows the support center Telematics (CST) at Marche-en-Famenne. Carmelite monks settled in Marche-en-Famenne in 1473 and started producing a famous beer. The former monastery/brewery is one of the most beautiful buildings of the city and today houses a digital public space which offers computer training and free access to IT.

2011 - STAMPS OF BRAZIL - 22

Mailbox is the 2011 common theme for the annual America UPAEP stamp series and Brazil issued a 4-stamp sheet on October 9, 2011. Each stamp depicts one mailbox related to the period when it was utilized. The first three mailboxes to be commissioned in Brazil were inaugurated in Rio de Janeiro City, on August 5, 1845 during the Imperial time. They were made from cast iron, painted dark brown and the front artwork showing the imperial coat of arms painted in polychrome. The Republic mailboxes at the end of the 19th century were also made from iron, with two meters in height, weighing around half a ton and made in Holland. 
At the start of the second decade of the 20th century, the mailboxes started to be manufactured in Brazil. The first DCT boxes had a simple design and were square, heavy, green column types  and were used throughout Brazil until 1969. They were replaced by current small lightweight boxes, in the form of a truncated pyramid, painted yellow and suspended on painted blue steel rods.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

COVER AND LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM IRELAND

The Royal Mail issued on September 15, 2011 the fifth Kings and Queens stamp series featuring  the Hanoverian dynasty that reigned over the British Isles from the death of Queen Anne in 1714 to the death of Queen Victoria in 1901. The 76p stamp presents King George IV who ascended the throne on 29 January 1820 and died on 26 June 1830.
 Old Head is one of the major lighthouses on the South Irish coast and also serves as a guide to the entrance of Kinsale Harbor. It is located at the end of a narrow, rocky peninsula about 20 km (12 mi) south of Kinsale (51°36.287' N  08°32.018' W). The 31 m (100 ft) round masonry tower was first lit on October 1, 1853 and painted white with two red bands. The color scheme was changed to black with two white bands during the summer of 1930. The light source was a multi-concentric wick oil lamp at the focus of a first order dioptric lens with a range of 21 miles (33km). The light station had 2-story keeper's houses and other buildings enclosed by a stone wall.
The light was converted from vapourised paraffin to electric on April 25, 1972 and the intensity of the light was increased giving a range of 25 nautical miles.  On April 1, 1987 the Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse was converted to unwatched automatic operation and the keepers were withdrawn.
In the 1990s a golf club, the Old Head Golf Links, was built on the Old Head; the light station now stands behind the green of the fourth hole, which is called the Razor's Edge.  Since the golf course opened, access to the Old Head of Kinsale has been restricted to golfers and guests only, and there has been a long-running campaign for the restoration of public access. The Old Head's lighthouse/golf matter has been controversial, but the Irish Supreme Court has confirmed the golf club's right to close access through its property.

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM FINLAND

 Remmarholmen Lighthouse is located on Reimarisaari, a small island off the southwestern tip of the larger island of Vallisaari, about 3.5 km (2 mi) southeast of Helsinki (60° 7'52" N  24°59'38" E). The 5 m (17 ft) round concrete tower lies beside the main ship route into the harbor of the Finnish capital.
Finland issued on March 2, 2005 two sets of coil stamps on Hvitträsk, a group of buildings in the National Romantic style located at Kirkkonummi, 30 kilometers (19 mi) west of Helsinki. The architectural masterpiece, designed by famous architects Herman Gesellius, Eliel Saarinen and Armas Lindgren as studio facilities and dwellings for their own use, is featured on six stamps.
Hvitträsk is a unique piece of National Romantic (Nordic Art nouveau) architecture, a true must-see with beautiful gardens and a lake. The house was named after Lake Vitträsk, on which it was built between 1901–1903. Hvitträsk literally means White Lake.

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM GERMANY

Pellworm is one of the North Frisian Islands on the North Sea coast of Germany. The landscape of the south side of the island is dominated by the 41 m (135 ft) round cast iron tower, painted red with one white horizontal band. Built in 1907, the lighthouse was assembled from 600 individual steel components and held together by 16,000 bolts. This tower is practically identical to two other lighthouses in North Friesland: the Hörnum on Sylt and Westheversand, on the Eiderstedt peninsula). Since it was first commissioned in 1907, Pellworm lighthouse has been electrically powered and was automated in 1977. In August 2002, the original Fresnel lens has been replaced by a modern light cannon with a six-time-changer, whose halogen bulbs burn for 2000 hours. The 2-story keeper's house is used as a registrar's office; this lighthouse, like Westheversand, is popular for weddings. During the summer season, the lighthouse is open for guided tours when you can ascend the 140 steps to the double gallery (54° 29' 46'' N 008° 39' 57'' E).
 The traditional definitive Flower series, issued annually since 2005, makes people aware of beauty and diversity of flowers in gardens and open countryside of Germany. The genus Tagetes includes about 50 species of marigolds and countless varieties in sulfur-yellow, orange or golden brown colors decorating gardens, parks and traffic islands. The 20¢ flower stamp (issued in 2007) depicts the French marigold (Tagetes patula), a species in the daisy family (Asteraceae).
The stamp series "German Paintings" presents significant art works by German artists. The stamp issued on January 3, 2011 depicts the oil painting “Wanderer above the mist” composed in 1818 by Caspar David Friedrich. Friedrich was a German Romantic landscape painter (1774-1840), best known for his allegorical landscapes which typically feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees or Gothic ruins. The painting shows a young lonely man standing upon a rocky precipice observing the vastness and infinity of the landscape. Thanks a lot, Michaela.

Friday, 11 November 2011

2011 - STAMPS OF BRAZIL - 21

Brazil issued on October 3, 2011 a set of four stamps called “Brazilian trees – natural treasures” encouraging the awareness and preservation of this natural heritage. As a common feature, all four stamps have the same tree-trunk, but each in a different stage of growth, with the word preservation written several times underneath the trunk, depicting a grassy soil. The trunk is formed by the repetition of the word VIDA (Life), highlighting its function in developing and sustaining vegetation species. The adult tree stamp depicts on its canopy the names of various Brazilian species of trees, such as Cabreúva (Owl Tree), Mogno (Mahogany), Jatobá (Hymenaea courbaril), Cedro (Cedar), Imbuia (Phoebe porosa), Andiroba (Carapa guianensis)… With the exception of the adult tree stamp, the other three stamps bring various texts stressing the importance of preserving trees.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

VISITING LIGHTHOUSES IN SOUTH AFRICA - PART 2

After visiting Slangkop, we drove south about forty five minutes towards Cape Point, a rocky promontory at the end of the Cape Peninsula. The National Park is wonderful with a large variety of animals (baboons, ostriches, antelopes, birds...), flowers and breathtaking landscapes.  
 There are two lighthouses in Cape Point: this 8 m (27 ft) cylindrical cast iron tower was first lit on May 1, 1860 but was wrongly positioned. The lighthouse was built at  249 m (816 ft) above the sea level and was shrouded by fog much of the time.
 After the Portuguese ship "Lusitania" was wrecked in 1911 on Cape Point, a new lighthouse was built on the lower cliffs (87 meters above sea level) and was comissioned on March 11, 1919.
 The 9 m (30 ft) square cylindrical stone tower is located atop a steep pinnacle above Cape Point and is the most powerful lighthouse on the South African coast, with a range of 63 km (39 mi).

It is difficult to reach the lighthouse mainly because of the steep and jagged pathway and stiff winds on the cliff. After a thirty minutes walk by a narrow pathway, this is the closest I could get to the lighthouse. But our effort was worthwhile: a fabulous sunset over the cliff with few whales and dolphins swimming quietly in the dreaded Cape of Storms.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

VISITING LIGHTHOUSES IN SOUTH AFRICA - PART 1

My family and I spent nine days on vacation in South Africa last October: Cape Town and some places in the Western Cape province. We loved the country, a friendly and cheerful people, fantastic landscapes and of course, beautiful lighthouses. We started visiting the tallest cast-iron tower on the South African coast: Slangkop Lighthouse in Kommetjie, a small and pleasant 3,000 people village on the west coast of the Cape Peninsula.
Slangkop (means Snake Head) is a 33m (108 ft) round cast iron tower and was first lit on March 4, 1919. The tower has a total of 139 steps and five floors. Luciano and Thiago loved the spiralling staircases and the 20 windows during the climbing to the lantern house.
Ludmilla, an amateur photographer and newly passionate about lighthouses enjoyed the amazing views from the lantern room and took dozens of pictures.
 We are inside of the rotating lens system at 41 meters above sea level. It is equipped with a 400 watt metal halide lamp and the light ranges 30 nautical miles.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

2011 - STAMPS OF BRAZIL - 20

The city of Sao Paulo celebrates the centennial of its Municipal Theater and a commemorative stamp was released on September 12, 2011. The Municipal Theater began to be built in 1903 through the planning and hands of the architect Ramos de Azevedo and Italians Claudio Rossi and Domiziano Rossi. The theater was officially opened on September 12, 1911, with a crowd of 20,000 people jostling at its doors. São Paulo had finally been integrated into the international circuit of big cultural-artistic events. The architecture of the Municipal Theater was influenced by the Paris Opera, with a combination of 17th century Renaissance and Baroque features. Inside, it boasts an array of works of art: busts, bronzes, medallions, decorated walls, crystals, neoclassical columns, stained glass, mosaics and marble are a feast for the eyes of more attentive viewers.


The image on the stamp brings the theater’s facade shown from a frontal view and presents the revitalized theater to the public in all its grandeur. On the sides, the two main statues on the facade stand out, conveying the essence of its artistic mission: Music and Drama.

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM FRANCE

The Island of Batz is an island located about 2 km (1.2 mi) northwest off Roscoff in Brittany, north-western France and is separated from the mainland by a 10 minute ferry crossing. The island is 3.5km long and 1.5km wide fringed by a 14km coastline with many fine sandy beaches.
The Batz Island Lighthouse is located is located towards the western tip of the island (48° 44' 46" N  04° 01' 39" W) and was built between 1832 and 1836. The 43 m (141 ft) round stone tower rises from the center of a 1-story stone keeper's house and was inaugurated on October 10, 1836. Electrified in 1939 and automated in 1995, the lighthouse offers an extraordinary panoramic view after climbing up its 198 steps to the balcony. Its lantern is located at 67 meters (219 ft) above sea level and has a range of 42km (23 mi).
The French Post issued on April 27, 2009 a miniature sheet with ten self-adhesive stamps depicting beautiful landscapes of Brittany (Bretagne). The stamp on the card shows the main beach (Plage des Grands Sables) in the Groix Island (Île de Groix) and its sands of different colors. It also brings the traditional Marianne stamp (face value 0.10), one of the most proeminent symbols of the French Republic. Thanks a lot, Jean Pierre.