Friday, October 8, 2010

FINLAND - Huittinen city



FINLAND stamp



Location of HUITTINEN in FINLAND




COAT OF ARMS of HUITTINEN

Huittinen (Swedish : Vittis) is a town and municipality of Finland, located in the South-Western province of Satakunta.

The town has a population of about 10 000.
The town is unilingually Finnish.

Risto Ryti, the president of Finland from 1940-44, was born in Huittinen in 1889.


Huittinen has been a meeting place for travel routes and rivers for 7000 years, as shown by the elk’s head carving that made its way here thousands of years ago, to be unearthed a hundred years ago. Because of its location, Huittinen is a busy junction for coach traffic, making us easy to reach from any direction, including the airports.

Five beautiful rivers run through Huittinen. The wide Kokemäki River, with its large islands, offers an excellent setting for boating and fishing. On the banks of the river lies the Puurijärvi-Isonsuo national park, where one can find one of southern Finland’s finest bird lakes. The vantage point at Ripovuori offers spectacular views over the Kokemäki River and Satakunta, and nature lovers will love to stroll along the nature trail through the protected woods of Vanhakoski.

Saint Catharine’s Church, built in the 1300s, is the jewel of Huittinen town centre. In a stone warehouse building opposite the church, built in the early 20th century, is the Huittinen museum of local cultural history. The ground and first floors of the museum hold exhibits of the local peasant culture. The first floor also houses an exhibition on the life of former President Risto Ryti. Over a hundred examples of the work of sculptor Professor Lauri Leppänen are on display on the second floor.


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Postcard sent by Hessu, as "Hessu666"
Postcrossing - Reference FI-917997

Terveiset Huittisista
"Greetings from HUITTINEN !"
Loimijoki : river
Huittisten kirkko : church
Keskusta : town's center
Kaupungintalo : city building

kiitos

Thursday, October 7, 2010

GERMANY - Moritzburg castle




Location of MORITZBURG in GERMANY :



Schloss Moritzburg is a Baroque castle in the municipality of Moritzburg in the German state of Saxony, about 13 km northwest of the Saxon capital Dresden.

The original castle was built from 1542–1546 as a hunting lodge for Moritz of Wettin, then Duke of Saxony. Elector John George II of Saxony had it extended and between 1661 and 1671 the chapel was added after designs by his architect Wolf Caspar von Klengels, a fine example of the early Baroque style. After in 1697 John George's grandson Elector Frederick Augustus I had converted to Catholicism in order to secure his election as King of Poland, the chapel was consecrated in the Catholic rite. Between 1723 and 1733, Augustus had the castle largely remodelled as a pleasure seat by the architects Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann and Zacharias Longuelune, including a formal park, several ponds and a game preserve. The last resident from the House of Wettin was Prince Ernst Heinrich of Saxony, dispossessed in 1945 by the Soviet Military Administration in Germany.

The displays of many areas within the castle are dedicated to the courtly art of formal hunting. The collection of red deer antlers is considered to be the largest in the world. In the Monströsensaal ("Monstrosity Room") are 39 morbidly contorted antlers, one of them the famous 66-point antler. The Elector's apartments contain excellent examples of lacquer and splendid parade furniture, the silver furniture made in Augsburg in emulation of Louis XIV's silver furniture at Versailles, and Chinese, Japanese and Meissen porcelain as well as fine engraved and inlaid hunting weapons. In the Stone Hall one can visit the antlers collection, in the Billiardsaal (billiards hall) a painting of Louis de Silvestre, and in the entrance hall a collection of gala carriages. The castle is also famous for its sandstone decorations and stuccos.

The shell-pink Fasanenschlösslein ("Little Pheasant Castle") in the park stands at the end of a cross axis to the main axial entrance route leading to the main castle on its formal island in the lake. It stands high and cubical, five bays wide on each face, under a high roof with an ogee profile that is capped by an open cupola that has a pair of Chinese figures under a parasol for a finial. On its garden side, paired staircases descend to a sunken parterre, now planted with turf. The Rococo design was commissioned from Johann Daniel Schade (1730-1798) who had been the architect in charge of the royal building projects, and was completed about 1776, then a summer residence of Elector Frederick Augustus III of Saxony. An old pavilion by Johann Christoph Knöffel was completely rebuilt on its foundations. Its outbuildings, concealed behind plantings to give the pavilion an isolated air, were bird breeding pens, where pheasants were raised to be shot at. Closed for some time for renovation, the Fasanenschloss was expected to reopen in 2007 as a museum showing court life.

In 1972 Schloss Moritzburg was one of the locations of the Czechoslovak-German film Tři oříšky pro Popelku ("Three Nuts for Cinderella").

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Postcard sent by Winona , as "mspaddington"
Postcrossing - Reference DE-713701

MORITZBURG
Barockes Jagdschloss Augusts des Starken

danke

Thursday, September 2, 2010

RUSSIA - St Petersburg : Kriuokov Canal & St Nicholas Naval Cathedral



RUSSIA stamp :



Location of ST PETERSBURG in RUSSIA :



KRYUKOV CANAL

KRYUKOV CANAL runs from the Admiralty Canal by Truda Square to the Fontanka River. 1015 meters long, it was dug from the Neva River to the Moika River in 1719-20 and was named after the contractor Semen Kyukov in 1738 (the section from the Neva to the Admiralty Canal was filled up in 1842). In 1830, it received the common name with the former Nikolsky Canal dug from the Moika River to the Fontanka River in 1782-87 (before 1800, the Poperechny Canal). Granite embankments were constructed in 1801-07 (engineer Ivan Gerard, maker Samson Sukhanov). Six bridges span the canal : Smezhny (the Fontanka Embankment), Staro-Nikolsky (Sadovaya Street), Kashin (Rimsky-Korsakov Avenue), Torgovy (Soyuza Pechatnikov Street), Dekabristov (Dekabristov Street), and Matveevsky (the Moika River). The New Holland complex is located on the right bank of the canal. The composer Eduard Napravnik lived and died in No 6 ; Igor Stravinsky spent time here his younger years. The Mariinsky Theatre is located on the left bank between Dekabristov Street and Souyuza Pechatnikov Street. The poet Vasily Zhukovsky lived here in No 11/43 in 1818 and Modest Mussorgsky in 1865-68. The Documentary Film Studio is located in No 12 (1887, architect Maximilian Messmacher). Number 14 was constructed in Neoclassic style in 1912-14 (architect Sergey Ovsyannikov). The belfry of St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral overlooks the Kryukov Canal. Alexander Suvorov died in No 23 owned by the poet and statesman Duke Dmitry Khvostov on May 6, 1800.
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ST
. NICHOLAS' NAVAL CATHEDRAL

ST. NICHOLAS' NAVAL CATHEDRAL, St. Nicholas Cathedral of Epiphany, located at 1-3 Nikolskaya Square. An architectural monument in the Baroque style. Built in 1753-62 by architect S. I. Chevakinsky on the naval regimental grounds on the site where a wooden church had once stood, the church holds 5,000 people. A separately standing four-tier belfry crowned with a high spire was built in 1755-58. The cross-shaped building of St. Nicholas' Naval Cathedral is decorated with Corinthian columns with clustered tops, moulded window-frames and a wide entablature. The Cathedral is crowned with five gilded cupolas. Balconies with tracery wrought railings add to the dynamic decor of the facade. The St. Nicholas Church with three side-altars is located on the ground floor, and the single-altar Epiphany Church is on the upper level. The 18th century iconostases, carved by I. F. Kanaev and S. Nikulin, have been preserved. The brothers Kolokolnikov painted the icons : Fedot Kolokolnikov in the Upper church, and Mina Kolokolnikov in the Lower church. During consecration, the cathedral was named Naval ; the victories of the Russian Navy were celebrated here. The most revered church treasure was the icon of St. Nicholas, dating to the 17th century, with some of his relics. In 1870, the cathedral established a charitable society with a school, a hospital, an orphanage and a women’s hospice. After October 1917, St. Nicholas' Naval Cathedral continued to be in service and in 1941-99 functioned as the main metropolitan cathedral. It gave its name to Nikolskaya Square, Nikolsky Lane, Nikolsky Market and Nikolsky Bridge. A chapel in the lower tier of the belfry was consecrated in 2000.

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Postcard sent by Yulia, as "PrincessYulianna"
Postcrossing - Reference RU004

ST PETERSBURG
The Krioukov Canal
The St Nicholas Naval Cathedral of the Epiphany

спасибо

RUSSIA - St Petersburg : The Alexander Nevsky Lavra




RUSSIA stamp :



Location of ST PETERSBURG in RUSSIA :




Alexander Nevsky Lavra or Alexander Nevsky Monastery was founded by Peter the Great in 1710 at the eastern end of the Nevsky Prospekt in St Petersburg to house the relics of Alexander Nevsky, patron saint of the newly-founded Russian capital. In 1797, it was raised to the rank of lavra, previously bestowed only upon Kiev Monastery of the Caves and the Trinity Monastery of St Sergius.

The monastery premises contain two baroque churches, designed by father and son Trezzini and built in 1717–22 and 1742–50, respectively; a majestic Neoclassical cathedral, built in 1778–90 to a design by Ivan Starov and consecrated to the Holy Trinity; and numerous structures of lesser importance. It also contains the Lazarev and Tikhvin Cemeteries, where ornate tombs of Leonhard Euler, Mikhail Lomonosov, Alexander Suvorov, Nikolay Karamzin, Modest Mussorgsky, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Karl Ivanovic Rossi, Prince Garsevan Chavchavadze, a Georgian aristocrat, Sergei Witte and other famous Russians are preserved.

Today Alexander Nevsky Lavra sits on Alexander Nevsky Square where shoppers can buy bread baked by the monks. Visitors may also visit the cathedral and cemeteries for a small admission fee. While many of the grave sites are situated behind large concrete walls, especially those of famous Russians, many can be seen by passers-by while strolling down Obukovskoy Oburoni Street.

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Postcard sent by Yulia, as "PrincessYulianna"
Postcrossing - Reference RU003

ST PETERSBURG
The Alexander Nevsky Lavra

спасибо

RUSSIA - Ulyanovsk : Monument of I.N. Ulyanov, father of Lenin



Location of ULYANOVSK OBLAST in RUSSIA :



Location of ULYANOVSK in the OBLAST :




ULYANOVSK

Ulyanovsk (Russian : Улья́новск, formerly Simbirsk : Симби́рск), is a city on the Volga River in Russia, 893 km east from Moscow. It is the administrative center of Ulyanovsk Oblast, and is the birthplace of Vladimir Lenin (originally named Ulyanov), for whom it is named.

Simbirsk was founded in 1648 by the boyar Bogdan Khitrovo. The fort of "Simbirsk" (alternatively "Sinbirsk") was strategically placed on a hill on the Western shore of the Volga River. The fort was meant to protect the eastern frontier of the Russian Empire from the nomadic tribes and to establish a permanent Imperial presence in the area.

In 1668 Simbirsk withstood a month-long siege by a 20,000-strong army led by rebel Cossack commander Stenka Razin. Also in Simbirsk another country rebel - Yemelyan Pugachev was imprisoned before execution. At the time Simbirsk possessed a wooden kremlin which was destroyed by a fire during the 18th century.

As the eastern border of the Russian Empire was rapidly pushed into Siberia, Simbirsk rapidly lost its strategic importance, but nonetheless began to develop into an important regional center. Simbirsk was designated a city in 1796.

In the summer of 1864 Simbirsk was severely damaged by fire, however the city was quickly rebuilt and continued to grow. The Holy Trinity Cathedral was constructed in a restrained Neoclassical style between 1827–1841. The population of Simbirsk reached 26,000 by 1856 and 43,000 by 1897.

In 1924, the city was renamed Ulyanovsk in honor of Vladimir Ulyanov, better known as Lenin, who was born in Simbirsk in 1870. Another Russian political leader, Alexander Kerensky was also born in Simbirsk.

The construction of the Kuybyshev hydroelectric plant (completed in 1957) 200 km downstream of Ulyanovsk resulted in the flooding of significant tracts of land both north and south of Ulyanovsk and increasing the width of the Volga by up to 35 km in some places. To this day, some populated neighborhoods of Ulyanovsk remain well below the level of the reservoir, protected from flooding by a dam: it is estimated that its catastrophic failure would submerge parts of the city comprising around 5% of its total population with as much as 10 m of water.

During the Soviet period Ulyanovsk was an important tourist center, drawing visitors from around the USSR because of its revolutionary importance.

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Ilya Nikolayevich ULYANOV

Ilya Nikolayevich Ulyanov (Илья Николаевич Ульянов in Russian) (1831— 1886, Simbirsk) was a Russian public figure in the field of public education and a teacher. He was the father of Aleksandr Ulyanov and Vladimir Lenin who became the Bolshevik revolutionary leader and founder of the Soviet Union.

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Vladimir Ilyich LENIN

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (22 April 1870 – 21 January 1924) was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years (1917–1924), as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a socialist economic system.

As a politician, Vladimir Lenin was a persuasive orator, as a political scientist his extensive theoretic and philosophical developments of Marxism produced Marxism–Leninism, the pragmatic Russian application of Marxism.

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Postcard sent by Yulia, as "PrincessYulianna"
Postcrossing - Reference RU002

ULYANOVSK
Monument of Ilya Nikolayevich ULYANOV
Sculptor : M. MANIZER, architect : I. ROZHIN

спасибо

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

GERMANY - Hamburg : Rathaus (City Hall)




GERMANY stamps :






Location of HAMBURG in GERMANY :




The Hamburg Rathaus is the Rathaus—the city hall or town hall—of Hamburg, Germany, it is the seat of the government of Hamburg, located in the Altstadt quarter in the city centre, near the lake Binnenalster and the central station. Constructed from 1886 to 1897, the city hall still houses its original governmental functions with the office of the First Mayor of Hamburg and the meeting rooms for Hamburg's parliament and senate (the city's executive).

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After the old city hall was destroyed in the great fire of 1842, it took almost 44 years to build a new one. The present building was designed by a group of seven architects, led by Martin Haller. Construction started in 1886 and the new city hall was inaugurated in 1897. Its cost was 11 million German gold marks, about €80 million. On October 26, 1897 at the official opening ceremony the First Mayor Dr. Johannes Versmann received the key of the city hall.

The city hall took center stage at many historical moments for Hamburg. On May 3, 1945 the Nazi commander in chief General Woltz surrendered Hamburg to the British Army. Heads of state visited Hamburg and its city hall, among them were Emperor Haile Selassie I, the Shahanshah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in 1955, and in 1965 Queen Elizabeth II. An emotionally moving service of remembrance was held on the market-square for the victims of the North Sea flood of 1962. Happier moments were the celebrations of the German football champions Hamburger SV.

In 1971 a room in the tower was only discovered accidentally during a search for a document fallen behind a filing cabinet. So there is a probability that there are even more rooms than the currently counted 647 rooms.

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On the outside the architectural style is neo-renaissance, which is abandoned inside for several historical elements. It is one of the few completely preserved buildings of historicism in Hamburg. Built in a period of wealth and prosperity, in which the Kingdom of Prussia and its confederates defeated France in the Franco-German War and the German Empire was formed, the look of the new Hamburg Rathaus should express this wealth and also the independence of the State of Hamburg and Hamburg's republican traditions. The city hall has a total area of 17,000 m2, not including the restaurant Ratsweinkeller of 2 900 m2. The tower is 112 metres high with 436 steps. The city hall of Hamburg has 647 rooms, six rooms more than Buckingham Palace, on a building area of 5 400 m2.

The balcony is surmounted by a mosaic of Hamburg's patron goddess Hammonia, an inscription of the city's Latin motto "Libertatem quam peperere maiores digne studeat servare posteritas" (English : May posterity strive to preserve the freedom won by our elders) and the city's coat of arms.

The courtyard is decorated with a Hygieia fountain. Hygieia as the goddess of health in Greek mythology and its surrounding figures represents the power and pureness of the water. It was built in remembrance of the cholera epidemic in 1892, the former technical purpose was air cooling in the city hall.

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Postcard sent by Julia , as "Kriechbumms"
Postcrossing - Reference DE-677566

Das Hamburger Rathaus

danke

GERMANY - Country profile

As Europe's largest economy
and second most populous nation (after Russia),
Germany is a key member of the continent's economic, political,
and defense organizations.
European power struggles immersed Germany
in two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century
and left the country occupied by the victorious Allied powers
of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945.
With the advent of the Cold War, two German states were formed in 1949 :
the western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG)
and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR).
The democratic FRG embedded itself in key Western economic
and security organizations, the EC, which became the EU, and NATO,
while the Communist GDR was on the front line of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact.
The decline of the USSR and the end of the Cold War
allowed for German unification in 1990.
Since then, Germany has expended considerable funds
to bring Eastern productivity and wages up to Western standards.
In January 1999, Germany and 10 other EU countries
introduced a common European exchange currency, the euro.


Flag of GERMANY :



The flag of Germany is a tricolour consisting of three equal horizontal bands displaying the national colours of Germany : black, red and gold.

The black-red-gold tricolour first appeared in the early 19th century and achieved prominence during the 1848 revolution. The short-lived Frankfurt Parliament of 1848–1850 proposed the tricolour as a flag for a united and democratic German state. With the formation of the Weimar Republic after World War I, the tricolour was adopted as the national flag of Germany. Following World War II, the tricolour was designated as the flag of both West and East Germany. The two flags were identical until 1959, when the East German flag was defaced with the coat of arms of East Germany. Since reunification on 3 October 1990, the black-red-gold tricolour has remained the flag of Germany.

The flag of Germany has not always used black, red and gold as its colours. After the Austro–Prussian War in 1866, the Prussian-dominated North German Confederation adopted a tricolour of black-white-red as its flag. This flag later became the flag of the German Empire, formed following the unification of Germany in 1871, and was used until 1918. Black, white and red were reintroduced as the German national colours with the establishment of Nazi Germany in 1933.

The colour schemes of black-red-gold and black-white-red have played an important role in the history of Germany and have had various meanings. The colours of the modern flag are associated with the republican democracy formed after World War II, and represent German unity and freedom : not only the freedom of Germany, but also the personal freedom of the German people.


National Anthem of GERMANY :


video


"Lied der Deutschen" (Song of the Germans)
"Deutschlandlied" (Song of Germany)

Words by : August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben
Music by : Joseph Haydn
Adopted : 1922, abolished 1945, restored 1990

Das Deutschlandlied ("The Song of Germany", also known as "Das Lied der Deutschen" or "The Song of the Germans"), has been used wholly or partially as the national anthem of Germany since 1922. The music was written by Joseph Haydn in 1797 as an anthem for the birthday of the Austrian Emperor Francis II of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1841, the German linguist and poet August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben wrote the lyrics of "Das Lied der Deutschen" to Haydn's melody, lyrics that were considered revolutionary at the time.

The song is as well-known by the opening words and refrain of the first stanza, "Deutschland über alles" (Germany above all), but this has never been its title. The line "Germany, Germany above all" meant that the most important goal of the Vormärz revolutionaries should be a unified Germany overcoming the perceived anti-liberal Kleinstaaterei. Alongside the Flag of Germany it was one of the symbols of the March Revolution of 1848.

In order to endorse its republican and liberal tradition, the song was chosen for national anthem of Germany in 1922, during the Weimar Republic. Out of similar reasons in 1952, West Germany adopted the Deutschlandlied as its official national anthem, with only the third stanza sung on official occasions. Upon German reunification in 1990, the third stanza only was confirmed as the national anthem.

Lyrics

The following provides the lyrics of the "Lied der Deutschen" as written by Hoffmann von Fallersleben. Only the third verse is currently the Federal Republic of Germany's national anthem.

Deutschlandlied
German lyrics Approximate translation
First stanza

Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
Über alles in der Welt,
Wenn es stets zu Schutz und Trutze
Brüderlich zusammenhält.
Von der Maas bis an die Memel,
Von der Etsch bis an den Belt,
|: Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
Über alles in der Welt! :|

Germany, Germany above all,
Above all in the world,
When, for protection and defence, it always
takes a brotherly stand together.
From the Meuse to the Memel,
From the Adige to the Belt,
|: Germany, Germany above everything,
Above everything in the world. :|

Second stanza

Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue,
Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang
Sollen in der Welt behalten
Ihren alten schönen Klang,
Und zu edler Tat begeistern
Unser ganzes Leben lang.
|: Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue,
Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang! :|

German women, German loyalty,
German wine and German song
Shall retain in the world
Their old beautiful chime
And inspire us to noble deeds
During all of our life.
|: German women, German loyalty,
German wine and German song! :|

Third stanza
(Germany's National Anthem)

Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
Für das deutsche Vaterland!
Danach lasst uns alle streben
Brüderlich mit Herz und Hand!
Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
Sind des Glückes Unterpfand;
|: Blüh' im Glanze dieses Glückes,
Blühe, deutsches Vaterland. :|

Unity and justice and freedom
For the German fatherland!
For these let us all strive
Brotherly with heart and hand!
Unity and justice and freedom
Are the pledge of fortune;
|: Bloom in this fortune's blessing,
Bloom, German fatherland. :|







Location :

Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark.





Maps :






Area :

Total : 357 022 sq km
Land : 348 672
sq km
Water : 8 350 sq km


Coastline :

2 389 km

Elevation extremes :

Lowest point : Neuendorf bei Wilster -3.54 m
Highest point : Zugspitze 2 963 m


Terrain :

Lowlands in north, uplands in center, Bavarian Alps in south.

Natural resources :

Coal, lignite, natural gas, iron ore, copper, nickel, uranium, potash, salt, construction materials, timber, arable land.

Climate :

Temperate and marine ; cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers ; occasional warm mountain (foehn) wind.





Population :

82 329 758 (2010 estimation)

Nationality :

Demonym : German

Ethnic groups :

German 91.5%, Turkish 2.4%, other 6.1% (made up largely of Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish).

Religions :
Protestant 34%, Roman Catholic 34%, Muslim 3.7%, unaffiliated or other 28.3%.

Languages :

German.






Country name :

Conventional long form : Federal Republic of Germany
Conventional short form : Germany
Local long form : Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Local short form : Deutschland
Former : German Empire, German Republic, German Reich

ISO country code :

de

Government type :

Federal Republic.

Capital :

Berlin (population of city : 3 439 100 -2009- Largest city of Germany)
Former (transitional) Capital City: Bonn


Other major cities :

Bremen, Dortmund, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover , Köln, München, Stuttgart.


Administrative divisions :

16 states (Laender, singular - Land) ; Baden-Wurttemberg, Bayern (Bavaria), Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia), Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate), Saarland, Sachsen (Saxony), Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt), Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringen (Thuringia); note - Bayern, Sachsen, and Thuringen refer to themselves as free states (Freistaaten, singular - Freistaat).




Independance :

18 January 1871 (German Empire unification) ; divided into four zones of occupation (UK, US, USSR, and later, France) in 1945 following World War II ; Federal Republic of Germany (FRG or West Germany) proclaimed 23 May 1949 and included the former UK, US, and French zones ; German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany) proclaimed 7 October 1949 and included the former USSR zone ; West Germany and East Germany unified 3 October 1990 ; all four powers formally relinquished rights 15 March 1991.

National holiday :

Unity Day, 3 October (1990).

Constitution :
23 May 1949, known as Basic Law ; became constitution of the united Germany 3 October 1990.

Executive branch :

Chief of state : President Christian WULFF (since 30 June 2010).




Head of government : Chancellor Angela MERKEL (since 22 November 2005).



Cabinet : Cabinet or Bundesminister (Federal Ministers) appointed by the president on the recommendation of the chancellor.

Elections : president elected for a five-year term (eligible for a second term) by a Federal Convention, including all members of the Federal Assembly and an equal number of delegates elected by the state parliaments ; election last held on 30 June 2010 (next to be held by June 2015) ; chancellor elected by an absolute majority of the Federal Assembly for a four-year term ; Bundestag vote for Chancellor last held after 27 September 2009 (next to follow the legislative election to be held no later than 2013).

Election results : Christian WULFF elected president ; received 625 votes of the Federal Convention against 494 for GAUCK and 121 abstentions ; Angela MERKEL reelected chancellor ; vote by Federal Assembly 323 to 285 with four abstentions .

Legislative branch :

Bicameral legislature consists of the Federal Council or Bundesrat (69 votes ; state governments sit in the Council ; each has three to six votes in proportion to population and are required to vote as a block) and the Federal Assembly or Bundestag (622 seats ; members elected by popular vote for a four-year term under a system of personalized proportional representation ; a party must win 5% of the national vote or three direct mandates to gain proportional representation and caucus recognition).

Judicial branch :


Federal Constitutional Court or Bundesverfassungsgericht (half the judges are elected by the Bundestag and half by the Bundesrat).





Currency :

Euro (EUR) -





Agriculture products :


Potatoes, wheat, barley, sugar beets, fruit, cabbages, cattle, pigs, poultry.

Industries :

Among the world's largest and most technologically advanced producers of iron, steel, coal, cement, chemicals, machinery, vehicles, machine tools, electronics, food and beverages, shipbuilding, textiles.

Exports partners :
France 10.2%, US 6.7%, Netherlands 6.7%, UK 6.6%, Italy 6.3%, Austria 6%, China 4.5%, Switzerland 4.4% (2009).

Imports partners :

Netherlands 12.71%, France 8.3%, Belgium 7.19%, China 6.89%, Italy 5.88%, UK 4.76%, Austria 4.55%, US 4.25%, Switzerland 4.07% (2009).



Tuesday, August 31, 2010

POLAND - UNESCO sites

Properties inscribed on the World Heritage List

Cultural

  • Auschwitz Birkenau
    German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945) (1979)
  • Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork (1997)
  • Centennial Hall in Wrocław (2006)
  • Churches of Peace in Jawor and Świdnica (2001)
  • Cracow's Historic Centre (1978)
  • Historic Centre of Warsaw (1980)
  • Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: the Mannerist Architectural and Park Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park (1999)
  • Medieval Town of Toruń (1997)
  • Muskauer Park / Park Mużakowski (2004)
  • Old City of Zamość (1992)
  • Wieliczka Salt Mine (1978)
  • Wooden Churches of Southern Little Poland (2003)

Natural

  • Belovezhskaya Pushcha / Białowieża Forest (1979)

Properties submitted on the Tentative List

  • Gdansk - Town of Memory and Freedom (2005)
  • Bialowieza National Park - extension, modification (2006)
  • The Augustów Canal (Kanal Augustowski) (2006)
  • The Dunajec River Gorge in the Pieniny Mountains (2006)
  • Royal Salt Mines in Wieliczka and Bochnia (extension to the Wieliczka Salt Mine) (2010)
  • Wooden Tserkvas of Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine (2010)



Postcard sent by Boguslaw, as "Bodexs"
Private swap - Reference PL002

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Poland :
Malbork Castle, Torun Old town, Krakow Old Town, Warsaw Old Town
Zamosc Old Town, Park Muzakowsk, Wieliczka Salt Mine,
Auschwitz Birkenau Nazi Camp, Zalwaria Zebrzydowska Pilgimmage Complex,
Wooden Churches of Little Poland Debno, Bialowieza Forest,
Churches of Peace Jawor and Swidnica, Wroclaw Centennial Hall

dziękuję



Monday, August 30, 2010

MAURITIUS - Le Morne




Le Morne Brabant is a peninsula at the extreme south-western tip of Mauritius and the most windward side of the island. It is highlighted by an eponymous single standing basaltic rock with a summit of 556 metres above sea level which belongs to the most imposing sight on Mauritius. The summit covers an area of more than 12 hectares. There are many overhanging caves at the steep slopes. It is surrounded by a lagoon and is a famous tourist attraction. It is also one of the last three refuges of one of the rarest plants in the world, the Mandrinette. Another rare plant which grows only on the sides of the mountain is Trochetia boutoniana.

This hill became well-known in the 19th century when runaway slaves used Le Morne Brabant as a hideaway. After the abolishment of slavery on Mauritius, a police expedition traveled to the rock on 1 February 1835 to tell the slaves that they are free people. However, the slaves misunderstood the expedition and jumped to death. Since then, this day is celebrated by Mauritian creoles as Annual Commemoration of the Abolition of Slavery.

The peninsula of Le Morne benefits from a micro-climate.

Le Morne Brabant Mountain was submitted to the candidate list of the World Heritage sites in 2003. In 2008, the nomination process concluded when UNESCO inscribed the site on the World Heritage List.




UNESCO World Heritage Site :

LE MORNE CULTURAL LANDSCAPE

Date of inscription : 2008

UNESCO brief description :

Le Morne Cultural Landscape, a rugged mountain that juts into the Indian Ocean in the southwest of Mauritius was used as a shelter by runaway slaves, maroons, through the 18th and early years of the 19th centuries. Protected by the mountain’s isolated, wooded and almost inaccessible cliffs, the escaped slaves formed small settlements in the caves and on the summit of Le Morne. The oral traditions associated with the maroons, have made Le Morne a symbol of the slaves’ fight for freedom, their suffering, and their sacrifice, all of which have relevance to the countries from which the slaves came - the African mainland, Madagascar, India, and South-east Asia. Indeed, Mauritius, an important stopover in the eastern slave trade, also came to be known as the “Maroon republic” because of the large number of escaped slaves who lived on Le Morne Mountain.


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Postcard sent by Gisela from Italy, as "proteainRome"
Private swap - Reference PU001

Ile Maurice - "Le Morne"

Grazie / Thanks

MAURITIUS - UNESCO sites

Properties inscribed on the World Heritage List

Cultural

  • Aapravasi Ghat (2006)
  • Le Morne Cultural Landscape (2008)

Properties submitted on Tentative List

  • Le Morne Brabant Mountain (2003)
  • Black River Georges National Park (2006)

MAURITIUS - Country profile

Although known to Arab and Malay sailors as early as the 10th century,
Mauritius was first explored by the Portuguese in the 16th century
and subsequently settled by the Dutch
- who named it in honor of Prince Maurits van NASSAU -
in the 17th century. The French assumed control in 1715,
developing the island into an important naval base
overseeing Indian Ocean trade,
and establishing a plantation economy of sugar cane.
The British captured the island in 1810, during the Napoleonic Wars.
Mauritius remained a strategically important British naval base,
and later an air station, playing an important role during World War II
for anti-submarine and convoy operations,
as well as the collection of signals intelligence.
Independence from the UK was attained in 1968.
A stable democracy with regular free elections
and a positive human rights record,
the country has attracted considerable foreign investment
and has earned one of Africa's highest per capita incomes.
Recent poor weather, declining sugar prices, and declining textile
and apparel production, have slowed economic growth,
leading to some protests over standards of living in the Creole community.



Flag of MAURITIUS
:



The flag of Mauritius was adopted upon independence, March 12, 1968. It consists of four horizontal stripes of equal width, colored (from top to bottom) red, blue, yellow, and green :

  • Red : for the blood shed in the struggle for independence
  • Blue : the Indian Ocean, in the middle of which Mauritius is situated
  • Yellow : the new light of independence shining over the island and the golden sunshine
  • Green : the lush vegetation of the island.

The flag was recorded at the College of Arms in London on 9 January 1968.



National Anthem of MAURITIUS
:

video

"Motherland"

Words by : Jean Georges Prosper
Music by : Philippe Gentil
Adopted : 1968

The music for "Motherland" was composed by Philippe Gentil, a member of the Mauritius Police Force's band. However, upon publication in a national newspaper, the band master, Philippe Oh San was erroneously credited as being the composer.

The lyrics were written by Jean Georges Prosper.

The anthem is short and briefly describes the lucious landscape of Mauritius. It also mentions the qualities of its people : peace, justice, and liberty.

English lyrics :

Glory to thee, Motherland,
O motherland of mine.
Sweet is thy beauty,
Sweet is thy fragrance,
Around thee we gather
As one people,
As one nation,
In peace, justice and liberty.
Beloved country, may God bless thee
For ever and ever.





Location :

Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.





Maps :






Area :

Total : 2 040 sq km
Land : 2 030
sq km
Water : 10 sq km
Note : includes Agalega Islands, Cargados Carajos Shoals (Saint Brandon), and Rodrigues.


Coastline :

177 km

Elevation extremes :

Lowest point : Indian Ocean 0 m
Highest point : Mont Piton 828 m


Terrain :

Small coastal plain rising to discontinuous mountains encircling central plateau.

Natural resources :

Arable land, fish.

Climate :

Current weather : tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; warm, dry winter (May to November) ; hot, wet, humid summer (November to May).





Population :

1 284 264 (2010 estimation)

Nationality :

Demonym : Mauritian

Ethnic groups :

Indo-Mauritian 68%, Creole 27%, Sino-Mauritian 3%, Franco-Mauritian 2%.

Religions :

Hindu 48%, Roman Catholic 23.6%, Muslim 16.6%, other Christian 8.6%, other 2.5%, unspecified 0.3%, none 0.4% (2000 census).

Languages :

Creole 80.5%, Bhojpuri 12.1%, French 3.4%, English (official ; spoken by less than 1% of the population), other 3.7%, unspecified 0.3% (2000 census).






Country name :

Conventional long form : Republic of Mauritius
Conventional short form : Mauritius
Local long form : Republic of Mauritius
Local short form : Mauritius

ISO country code :

mu

Government type :

Parliamentary democracy.

Capital :

Port Louis (population of city : 147 688 -2003- Largest city in Mauritius)


Other major cities :
Beau Bassin and Rose Hill, Vacoas-Phoenix, Curepipe, Quatre Bornes.


Administrative divisions :

The island of Mauritius itself is divided into nine districts :

  1. Black River (Capital : Bambous)
  2. Flacq (Capital : Centre de Flacq)
  3. Grand Port (Capital : Mahébourg)
  4. Moka (Capital : Quartier Militaire)
  5. Pamplemousses (Capital : Triolet)
  6. Plaines Wilhems (Capital : Beau Bassin and Rose Hill, Phoenix)
  7. Port Louis (Capital of Mauritius)
  8. Rivière du Rempart (Capital : Mapou)
  9. Savanne (Capital : Souillac)




Dependencies
  • Rodrigues, an island 560 kilometres (350 mi) north-east of Mauritius, which attained limited autonomy in October 2002. It had the status of the 10th administrative district of Mauritius before autonomy was attained.
  • Agalega, two small islands about 933 kilometres north of Mauritius, famous for supplying chickens.
  • Cargados Carajos, also known as the Saint Brandon islands, about 402 kilometres north of Mauritius.

Independance :
12 March 1968 (from the UK).

National holiday :

Independence Day, 12 March
.

Constitution :

12 March 1968 ; amended 12 March 1992.

Executive branch :

Chief of state : President Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH (since 7 October 2003) ; Vice President Angidi Veeriah CHETTIAR (since 24 August 2007).



Head of government : Prime Minister Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM (since 5 July 2005).

Cabinet : Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister.

Elections : president and vice president elected by the National Assembly for five-year terms (eligible for a second term) ; elections last held on 19 September 2008 (next to be held in 2013) ; prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president, responsible to the National Assembly.

Election results : Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH reelected president by unanimous vote ; percent of vote by the National Assembly - NA%.

Legislative branch :

Unicameral National Assembly (70 seats; 62 members elected by popular vote, 8 appointed by the election commission to give representation to various ethnic minorities ; members to serve five-year terms).

Judicial branch :


Supreme Court.





Currency :

Currency Mauritian rupee (MUR)





Agriculture products :


Sugarcane, tea, corn, potatoes, bananas, pulses, cattle, goats, fish.

Industries :

Food processing (largely sugar milling), textiles, clothing, mining, chemicals, metal products, transport equipment, nonelectrical machinery, tourism.

Exports partners :

UK 25.55%, France 16.89%, US 9.51%, Italy 5.68%, UAE 5.47%, Belgium 4.93%, Madagascar 4.11% (2009).

Imports partners :


India 24.5%, France 14.02%, South Africa 8.55%, China 8.17% (2009).