Thursday, 29 December 2011

COVER AND LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM AUSTRALIA

Australia issued on July 1, 2011 a beautiful set of five stamps depicting some local native baby animals. The animals featured on the stamps are a bilby, dingo, kangaroo, koala and sugar glider. The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native with fur ranging from grey to brown above, and is white below. It has large furry ears, a prominent black nose and no tail. It spends most of its time in trees and has long, sharp claws, adapted for climbing.
 Known for its treacherous reefs, rocks and weather, Cape Leeuwin is regarded by mariners as one of the most dangerous coastlines in the world. The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse was first lit on December 1, 1896 to safely guide ships travelling to Australia’s eastern ports. It is mainland Australia’s tallest lighthouse: the 39 m (128 ft) round limestone tower stands 56 meters (183 ft) above sea level and its light is visible for 26 nautical miles (or 48 km).
Originally unpainted, the tower had the natural stone color of Tamala limestone, but was painted white in 2004. The lighthouse was totally manually operated until 1982 when it was converted to electricity replacing the clockwork mechanism & kerosene burner, one of the last in the world. It was automated in September 1992. 
The lighthouse is located on the headland of Cape Leeuwin, the most south-westerly point on the mainland of the Australian Continent, near Augusta, in the state of Western Australia (34°22′27″S 115°08′09″E). It stands at the point where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet. Guided tours are conducted daily at the lighthouse: after climbing 186 steps and seven floors on a metal spiral staircase it is possible to observe rock parrots, dolphins, fur seals and in season, whales. A visitor centre, café and retail shop are contained within the light station. 

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

COVER AND LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM USA

 US Postal Service issued on October 13, 2011 its traditional Christmas stamp presenting “The Madonna of the Candelabra”, a Madonna painting by the Italian renaissance artist Raphael, dating to about 1513 which is in the collection of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. The self-adhesive Forever stamp ($0.44 First Class) shows the central portion of the painting with a detail of the Madonna and Child.
On the same day four self-adhesive stamps were released featuring four colorful baubles, typical ornaments used to decorate the Christmas tree.
Petit Manan Lighthouse is the second tallest light tower in Maine and is located on a small island off Petit Manan Point, near Milbridge (44°22′03″N 67°51′52″W). Locally known as 'tit Manan, the 119 ft (36 m) round granite tower was built in 1855 and its light has a range of 25 nautical miles.  The light station has a charming Victorian wood keeper's house, a brick fog signal house, an oil house, a boat house and an engine house.
Petit Manan Light was electrified in 1938 and automated in 1972. The light was out of service for two months in 2001 after a nor'easter damaged its submarine power cable; as a result it was converted to solar power later that year. The light station is part of the Petit Manan Wildlife Refuge, managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and is not open to the public.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM UKRAINE

Vladimir Grigoryevich Shukhov was a Russian engineer and architect renowned for his pioneering works on hyperboloid towers. The Adziogol Lighthouse is one of his remarkable structures designed on 1910 and first lit on June 14th, 1911. Also known as Stanislav Range Rear Light, the 64 m (210 ft) round skeletal steel tower is the tallest lighthouse in Ukraine. Its light can be seen for up to 17 nautical miles (31 km). It is located on a concrete pier on an islet off the mouth of the Dnepr River delta, about 30 kilometers (19 mi) from Kherson (46°29′32″N 32°13′57″E).
 The main structure is a light circular steel web, tapering through a curve to the small beacon housing. Slender vertical members wrap around the column in a hyperbolic paraboloid, forming an open helical mesh. At the center of the web is a steel stair tower, giving a sense of solidity to the otherwise delicate structure.
Repeating the previous lighthouse issue (from 2009) Ukraine released on October 8, 2010 a miniature sheet with six lighthouses: Sanzhiiskyi, Tendrivskyi, Pavlovskyi Front, Khersoneskyi, Tarkhankutskyi and Illichivskyi. 

Monday, 5 December 2011

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM RUSSIA

My Polish friend Gosia sent me this beautiful black-and-white Russian postcard of Tokarevsky Lighthouse.
 The Tokarevsky Lighthouse was built in 1910 to guide ships safely to the main Vladivostok harbor, in Russian Far East. The 12 m (39 ft.) white stone tower is located at the end of the mole at the southwestern tip of the Egersheld Peninsula.   It is one of Russia's best known lighthouses and USSR and Russia Post Offices issued stamps depicting Tokarevskii Mayak: USSR (Jun 1984) and Russia (Jul 2010).

The 3,75 zł stamp features the pot marigold  (Calendula officinalis),  a plant  native of southern Europe but flourishes in cool, temperate climates. These bright yellow and orange flowers are a familiar sight in cottage and country gardens.  Pot marigold petals have been used traditionally as both a culinary and medicinal herb. The stamp is part of the series “Flowers and Fruits” issued on August 5th, 2009.  

Saturday, 3 December 2011

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM NETHERLANDS

The Eierland Lighthouse is located on the northernmost tip of the Dutch island of Texel, near the village De Cocksdorp (53°10′55″N 4°51′19″E). Eierland was formerly a separate island, but it has been joined to Texel since 1630 by construction of sea dikes. The lighthouse construction began in July 1863 on a sand dune and it was first lit on November 1, 1864. The 35m (114 ft) round brick tower is painted red with the lantern and the watch room painted white. In the course of time the red color faded to pink, but in 2004 it was repainted in the original bright red. 
 Electrified in 1927, the tower suffered heavy damages in April 1945, after one of the last WW II battles in Europe. The event known as the Georgian Uprising of Texel occurred when Georgian prisoners of war rebelled against their German captors and a bloodshed and destruction spread throughout the island. The tower was extensively repaired in 1948-49 and a new brick wall surrounded the damaged original. In this process the lighthouse lost two of its original nine floors and was reopened on March 24, 1950. The Eierland Light is almost year-round daily open to visitors and after climbing the 153-steps staircase (seven floors), one has a magnificent view over the Wadden and North Sea, the nearby island of Vlieland and Texel.
Netherlands issued on October 14, 2011 a stamp sheetlet with ten stamps featuring Postcrossing.com, a website for postcard enthusiasts. The postcrossing project started in 2005 when Paulo Magalhães, an avid Portuguese postcard collector launched the website to foster postcard swapping among collectors from all over the world. The stamps bring images of real postcards depicting tourist attractions (such as Big Ben, the Taj Mahal and the Eiffel Tower), people in traditional costume, cute and amusing animals (like a chimpanzee dressed as a cowboy) and curious vintage photos (such as a Victorian romance).

Friday, 2 December 2011

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM USA

 On September 1, 1858 a 32 ft (10 m) round brick lighthouse was built on Mount Desert Island, Maine to mark the entrance to Bass Harbor and Blue Hill Harbor (44° 13’ 19”N  68° 20’ 14”W).  The cliffside Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse stands 56 ft (17 m) above sea level and its red light is visible for thirteen nautical miles. The 1-1/2 story wood keeper's house is used as a residence for Coast Guard personnel. Making part of the light station there are a boathouse, a pyramidal bell tower, a brick fog signal building, an oil house and a barn.  Electrified in 1949 and automated in 1974, the lighthouse is not open to the public.
 
On the postcard, the 98–cent definitive stamp issued on June 28, 2009, in the Scenic American Landscapes series, featuring a view of the Snake River at dawn in the Grand Teton National Park. Thank you, Fran!

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM FRANCE

For lighthouse enthusiasts like me, Brittany (Bretagne) is the paradise! The peninsula situated in the northwest of France, alongside the Atlantic Ocean has a rugged coastline, granite cliffs, dunes, white sandy beaches and numerous islands. All these natural landscapes are home of historic and wonderful lighthouses.
On the postcard four beautiful lighthouses of the Finistère Department: the black and white Phare du Créac'h at the northwestern tip of the Île d'Ouessant; the round stone Phare du Four located on a rock near Argenton; the red and white Phare des Pierres-Noires on an islet southeast of Île Molène; the square granite Phare de la Vieille on the rock of Gorlebella, in the strait Raz de Sein.
 On June 8, 2001 France issued a commemorative stamp (face value 3 FRF 0,46 €) paying homage to the remarkable Jean Vilar, theatre playwright and actor, thirty years after his death. Vilar created in 1947 the Avignon theatre festival, the famous annual festival known as one of the world's greatest art festivals. The portrait of Vilar is placed in front of the facade of the large medieval Gothic Palais des Papes in Avignon.
Since 1938, the French Federation of Philatelic Associations holds an annual philatelic event called Journée du timbre (Stamp Day) that takes place in many cities in a weekend in February or March. The event  was renamed Fête du Timbre (Stamp Festival) in 2000 and attracts stamp collectors searching the specific stamp issued on this occasion.
Cartoon characters and comics heroes were chosen as main subject from 1999 to 2009 to attract a young audience to stamp collecting. The 2001 stamp presents Gaston Lagaffe, the lazy office junior created in 1957 in the comic magazine Spirou. Gaston is very fond of animals and keeps several pets. On the 3 FRF stamp issued on January 26 Gaston appears accompanied by his hyperactive cat.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

2011 - STAMPS OF BRAZIL - 24

Brazilian Postal Administration released on October 21, 2011 Christmas issues: two self-adhesive stamps and a souvenir sheet.
                                                
The stamps bring two classic icons of Christmas: the ball and the candle. These are traditional Christmas tree decorations. The balls adorn the pine tree, and the colors of each ball represent the fruits of the tree: joy, good deeds, love, wisdom, fellowship, and others. There is also a stamp with the illustration of a candle and its burning light represents the enlightenment of the world. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the ultimate light of the world. Both stamps have the inscription "Boas Festas" (Happy Holidays) and the design of a colorful ribbon on a small garland.
 The souvenir sheet brings as background image the representation of the universe, presented as a symbol of God's creational power. Drawings of Christian symbols with specific meanings surround the souvenir sheet: the dove (symbol of the Holy Spirit), wheat and grape (the bread and wine representing the body and blood of Jesus), the lamb (symbolizing Christ, as mentioned in the Bible, Lamb of God), the cross (representing the Holy Trinity), and the fish, known as Ichthys, fish in Greek, and is also an acronym for the phrase Iesus Christus Theou Yicus Soter, which means Jesus Christ Son of God Saviour. The fish was a symbol used by early Christians in order to communicate and identify each other. The top stamp has the image of an open Bible and, at the background, the Planet Earth. The lower stamp presents a closed Bible on the light, representing the word of God.

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM CROATIA

 By the 19th century the Austro-Hungarian Empire had erected 48 lighthouses in the islands of the Adriatic Sea, locating them near strategic shipping lanes. Sveti Ivan na pučini (St. John out in the sea) Lighthouse is located on a rocky islet about 4 km (2.5 mi) southwest of Rovinj, on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula 45° 02" 39' N   13° 36" 47'  E. Built in 1853, the 15 m (49 ft) octagonal cylindrical stone tower is attached to a 2-story stone keeper's house. Making part of the light station there are a depot, an engine room, a wharf, a boat hoist and a boat shelter. The cream-colored stone tower was automated in 1983 and is supplied by 24 V DC solar modules or electric generator. Its white flash light has a range of 24 nautical miles. After its independence in 1991, Croatia refurbished several of the lighthouses and assigned them double-duty as inns. Today, 11 Croatian lighthouses, including Sveti Ivan, are available for vacation rental.
Croatia issued on March 15, 2010 a series of four stamps with motifs of folk costumes called “Croatian Ethnographic Heritage”. On the postcard, the 4,6 kn stamp represent textile embroideries from Posavina, region in the north of Croatia. The costumes from Posavina do not focus on too much elaborate designs and patterns, and instead consist of simple black and white blouses, trousers, and skirts. The men wear black vests and black hats while the women wear beautiful silk shawls, usually blue or red in color with flower motifs. These costumes are most often worn with connection to special events and celebrations, mostly at ethnic festivals, religious holidays, weddings, and by dancing groups.