Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
The keynote of Cistercian life was a return to literal observance of the Rule of St Benedict. Rejecting the developments the Benedictines had undergone, the monks tried to reproduce life exactly as it had been in Saint Benedict's time; indeed in various points they went beyond it in austerity. The most striking feature in the reform was the return to manual labour, especially fieldwork, a special characteristic of Cistercian life. Cistercian architecture is considered one of the most beautiful styles of medieval architecture. Additionally, in relation to fields such as agriculture, hydraulic engineering and metallurgy, the Cistercians became the main force of technological diffusion in medieval Europe. The Cistercians were badly affected in England by the Protestant Reformation, the Dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII, the French Revolution in continental Europe, and the revolutions of the 18th century, but some survived and the order recovered in the 19th century. In 1891 certain abbeys formed a new Order called Trappists (Ordo Cisterciensium Strictioris Observantiae - OCSO), which today exists as an order distinct from the Common Observance.
This pretty card was given to me by Inge-Lore.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Making these kites is a tedious job and requires a great amount of patience. First, bamboo is used to make the frames for the kites, which keeps the kites sturdy and lightweight. Next, motifs are carved out of coloured paper and shiny glazed paper. The intricacy of the carvings is what sets a good kite maker apart from the others. The carvings are then meticulously glued onto the frames. Finally the kite is decorated with bright paper tassels. The motifs on the kites are normally flowers with vines. The flowers represent the man while the vines represent the ladies. After the harvest period, these kites are commonly flown over the paddy fields. This is a break time for all the farmers who had worked hard through the rice-planting season. Ethen sent me this pretty card.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Vladivostok is Russia's largest port city on the Pacific Ocean and the administrative center of Primorsky Krai. It is situated at the head of the Golden Horn Bay, not far from Russia's border with China and North Korea. It is the home port of the Russian Pacific Fleet.
Stepan Osipovich Makarov (January 8 1849— April 13 1904) was a famous Russian vice-admiral, a highly accomplished and decorated commander of the Imperial Russian Navy, and a distinguished oceanographer, awarded by the Russian Academy of Sciences, and author of several books. According to his honour, "Shiritoru", where was a town in Sakhalin island, was renamed as Makarov in 1946. Makarov was highly decorated for his service as a captain of the Russian torpedo boat tender Velikiy Knyaz Konstantin in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. He was one of the first adopters of the idea of torpedo boats and he himself went to action in torpedo boats. On January 16, 1877 he was first in the world to launch torpedoes from a boat (which itself was launched from a tender) against a Turkish armed ship Intibah.
This is a monument in honour of that Great Russian Admiral . It overlooks the sea at the far Eastern Russian port of Vladivostok. I was fortunate to be a resident of this wonderful city for two winters. This pretty card was sent to me by my friend Elena.
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Friday, March 05, 2010
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Monday, March 01, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
|The dolphins and the Californian sea lions perform in the shows. Trainers of sea mammals train them. It is a rare profession, which requires thorough knowledge of animal physiology and psychology, and at last but not least, love. The basic aim of staging performances with dolphins and Californian sea lions is to educate the public, to acquaint the visitors and especially the young people in a most attractive way with these animals which are one of the most interesting sea animals, with peculiarities of their life and behavior, to foster love to the animals and sense of responsibility towards the living nature and the necessity to preserve it. Every summer, merry water festivals are held in the dolphinarium on weekend evenings in which a group of synchronized swimming, dancers and acrobats perform. These are really exotic shows. Dora sent this lovely card to me.|
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Once the residence of the Muslim rulers of Granada and their court, the site became a Christian palace. Within the Alhambra, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, erected the Palace of Charles V in 1527. After being allowed to fall into disrepair, the Alhambra was "rediscovered" in the 19th century. It is now one of Spain's major tourist attractions and exhibits the country's most famous Islamic architecture, together with Christian 16th-century and later interventions in buildings and gardens. This pretty picture postcard was sent to me by Anna of Torremolinos.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Gytheio is located in the north-east corner of Mani. It lies on the north-western end of the Laconian Gulf. Gytheio was built on a hill called Koumaro or Larysio in one of the most fertile areas in Mani, near the mouth of the Gythius River, which is usually dry and has been given the nickname of Xerodas, meaning 'dry'. Further north-east is the delta of the Evrotas River. Gytheio is built on hilly ground overlooking the Laconian Gulf. Offshore of Gytheio are several small islands, the most important of these being Cranae, which is connected to the mainland by a causeway. Gytheio is only 40 km southeast of Sparta. This lovely card was sent to me by Dear Friend Anna Maria of Athens.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Sunday, February 07, 2010
The airport opened for commercial operations in 1998, replacing Kai Tak, and is an important regional trans-shipment centre, passenger hub and gateway for destinations in Mainland China (with over 40 destinations) and the rest of Asia. Despite a relatively short history, Hong Kong International Airport has won seven Skytrax World Airport Awards for customer satisfaction in just ten years.
HKIA also operates one of the world's largest passenger terminal buildings and operates twenty-four hours a day. The airport is operated by the Airport Authority Hong Kong and is the primary hub for Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, Hong Kong Express Airways, Hong Kong Airlines, Air Hong Kong (cargo) and Asia Jet (private). It is a secondary hub for Air New Zealand, to a lesser extent Qantas and Virgin Atlantic, all of which use Hong Kong as a stopover point for flights on the Kangaroo Route between Australasia and Europe. United Airlines also uses Hong Kong as a stopover point for flights from the United States to Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City.
Flights are operated by roughly 90 airlines to over 150 cities across the globe, and in 2008 it was the 12th busiest airport worldwide in terms of passenger throughput, registering 47,857,746. HKIA is also an important contributor to the Hong Kong economy, with 60,000 people employed at the airport.
In 2008, it was the second busiest airport in the world in terms of cargo traffic, handling 3,660,901 tons of cargo.
Saturday, February 06, 2010
Friday, February 05, 2010
The Catholic University of Leuven, or Louvain, was the largest, oldest and most prominent university in Belgium. Pope Martin V founded the Old University in 1425. After the disruptions of the French Revolutionary Wars, it was re-founded in 1816 as the State university of Louvain and converted into the Catholic University of Leuven in 1835.
In 1968 the university split to form two institutions:
- Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Dutch-speaking, situated in Leuven; and
- Université catholique de Louvain, French-speaking, situated in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.
The new main library was built between 1921 and 1928 and designed by the American architect Whitney Warren in Low Countries neo-renaissance style. Its monumentality is a reflection of the Allied victory against Germany. It is one of the largest university buildings in the city. In 1940, during the second German invasion of Leuven, the building largely burnt down, including its (at that time) 900,000 manuscripts and books. Rebuilt after the war in accordance with Warren's design, it is now the Central Library of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. The paintwork decorations of the original design were completed only in 2000, and marked the 575th anniversary of the university's foundation. Thank you Thomas for sending me this card from Leuven.
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
The Forster family of Northumberland provided the Crown with twelve successive governors of the castle for some 400 years until the Crown granted ownership to Sir John Forster. The family retained ownership until Sir William Forster (d. 1700) was posthumously declared bankrupt, and his estates, including the castle, were sold to Lord Crew, Bishop of Durham (husband of his sister Dorothy) under an Act of Parliament to settle the debts.
The castle deteriorated but was restored by various owners during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Victorian industrialist William Armstrong, who completed the restoration, finally bought it. During the Second World War, the Royal Navy corvette HMS Bamborough Castle was named after it.
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
This botanical site contains a variety of flora and fauna that ranges over 4 climate zones; from rich lowland dipterocarp forest through the montane oak, rhododendron, to the coniferous forests, to the alpine meadow plants, and to the stunted bushes of summit zone. The mountain is also known for its many carnivorous plant and orchid species, most notably, the Nepenthes rajah. It is also home to a multitude of endemic animal species, including the Kinabalu Giant Red Leech and Kinabalu Giant Earthworm. The park also plays host to a variety of birds, insects, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. Mount Kinabalu is one of the youngest non-volcanic mountains in the world. It was formed within the last 10 to 35 million years. The mountain still grows at a rate of 5 millimetres a year.
Monday, February 01, 2010
The monument is both a shrine to the Lord Buddha and a place for Buddhist pilgrimage. The journey for pilgrims begins at the base of the monument and follows a path circumambulation the monument while ascending to the top through the three levels of Buddhist cosmology, namely Kāmadhātu (the world of desire), Rupadhatu (the world of forms) and Arupadhatu (the world of formlessness). During the journey the monument guides the pilgrims through a system of stairways and corridors with 1,460 narrative relief panels on the wall and the balustrades.
Evidence suggests Borobudur was abandoned following the fourteenth century decline of Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms in Java, and the Javanese conversion to Islam. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the then British ruler of Java, who was advised of its location by native Indonesians, sparked worldwide knowledge of its existence in 1814. Borobudur has since been preserved through several restorations. The largest restoration project was undertaken between 1975 and 1982 by the Indonesian government and UNESCO, following which the monument was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Borobudur is still used for pilgrimage. Once a year Buddhists in Indonesia celebrate Vesak at the monument, and Borobudur is Indonesia's single most visited tourist attraction.
The second largest city in Lombok, Cakranegara houses an important temple for Hindu follower in Lombok. This architecture beauty is a remnant of the Karangasem Kingdom of Bali, when it ruled Lombok in the past. This temple is the largest temple in Lombok. Meru temple was built in 1970 by Balinese prince Anak Agung Made Karang, as an attempt to unite all the small kingdoms on Lombok since this temple was built as a symbol of universe.
Meru Temple has three courtyards; the outer courtyard houses a kukul (wooden gong) tower. The middle courtyard houses two buildings for the worshipers to retreat and for the gamelan orchestra. The inner courtyard houses 33 small shrines, a large Padmasana, and three multi-roofed Meru shrines, which are dedicated to Hindu trinity, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
Prambanan is the ninth century Hindu temple compound in Central Java, Indonesia, dedicated to Trimurti, the expression of God as the Creator (Brahma), the Sustainer (Vishnu) and the Destroyer (Shiva). The temple compound located approximately 18 km east of Yogyakarta city on the boundary between Yogyakarta and Central Java province. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is currently the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia, and also one of the largest Hindu temples in Southeast Asia. It is characterised by its tall and pointed architecture, typical of Hindu temple architecture, and by the towering 47m high central building inside a large complex of individual temples.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
When Vietnam achieved independence in 1954, Ho Chi Minh refused to live in the grand structure for symbolic reasons, although he still received state guests there, and he eventually built a traditional Vietnamese stilt house and carp pond on the grounds. Today, Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum stands nearby and the Presidential Palace remains part of Hanoi's cultural core. The palace hosts government meetings. It is not open to the public, although one may walk around the grounds for a fee. This card is kind courtesy of Dao.
The name of Peyrepetuse derived from the ancient language called Occitan and means Pierced Rock. The castle was built on a strategic location along the French/Spanish border by the kings of Aragon (lower) in the 11th Century and by Louis IX. The two castles are linked together by a huge staircase. However, the castle lost importance as a strategic castle when the border of the two countries was moved in 1659, causing the castle to be abandoned.
During the Albigensian Crusade it served as a Cathar haven and stronghold, but was handed over to French forces without a battle in 1240. Known as one of the "five sons of Carcassonne" — several castles along the border between France and Spain — the French fortified the castle in 1242 to protect the border.
Since 1908, the site has been listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture. This nice card was sent to me by Nancy.
Friday, January 29, 2010
It is no secret that Heidelberg is a jewel among German travel destinations. Heidelberg is located in the Neckar river valley right where the dark Odenwald (Forest of Odes) opens up towards the plains of the Rhine Valley. Heidelberg is home to the oldest university in Germany (est. 1386). With 28,000 students, the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität (or Ruperto Carola, as the university is called in Latin) is one of Germany's larger academic institutions and boasts the full spectrum of an ancient academy, from Egyptian Studies to Computer Linguistics. The faculties for Medicine, Law and Natural Sciences are considered to be among the best in Germany. The university fostered the settlement of several other world class research institutions such as the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the European Molecular Biological Laboratory (EMBL), Center for Molecular Biology (ZMBH), Max-Planck-Institutes for Medicine, Astronomy, Nuclear Physics and others. In a nutshell, Heidelberg is an academic city with a rich history and shows many similarities to cities like Cambridge or Oxford (Heidelberg and Cambridge, UK are twinned).
During WWII, the city was almost completely spared by allied bombings which destroyed most of Germany's larger inner cities. As a result, Heidelberg has retained its baroque charm of narrow streets, picturesque houses and of course the world-famous Schloss (castle). After the war, the United States Armed Forces built large barracks on the southern end of the city. Therefore, Heidelberg's 130,000 inhabitants include not only the 28,000 students of the university, but also nearly 30,000 American citizens, almost all soldiers and their families. Together with the hundreds of thousands of annual visitors, Heidelberg is truly an internationally and culturally diverse destination, despite its small size.
This nice card was sent to me by Ursula.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Note: The region of Moldova (often referred to in the Western press as Moldavia) is not to be confused with the Republic of Moldova, its eastern neighbor. Area 27,062 sq miles Population Approximately 4.5 million Main cities Bacau, Botosani, Galati, Iasi, Piatra Neamt, Radauti, Suceava Climate Temperate continental with hot summers and cold, snowy winters
- The monasteries and churches with painted exterior frescos of Bucovina: Voronet (‘the Sistine Chapel of the East’), Moldovita, Sucevita, Humor, Probota, Arbore, Rasca
- The old monasteries and convents of: Putna, Dragomirna, Bogdana-Radauti, Neamt, Agapia (one of the largest nun monasteries in the Orthodox world) and Varatec
- Trei Ierarahi Church in Iasi - built in 1635, its walls, real stone embroidery
- The Neamt Fortress (Cetatea Neamtului) in Targu Neamt
- The natural scenery of the Bicaz Gorges – one of the most spectacular road
passes in Romania
- The Ceahlau, Romania’s Olympus – sacred mountain of Dacians, the forefathers
of the Romanian people, where Zamolxes, their supreme god, had his temple.
- Take a wine tasting tour and try some of Romania’s finest sweet wines at
Cotnari Vineyards, established in1448
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter officially known in Italian as the Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano and commonly known as St. Peter's Basilica, is located within the Vatican City. St. Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world, holding 60,000 people. It is the symbolic "Mother church" of the Catholic Church and is regarded as one of the holiest Christian sites. It has been described as "holding a unique position in the Christian world" and as "the greatest of all churches of Christendom". In Catholic tradition, it is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, who was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, according to tradition, first Bishop of Rome and therefore first in the line of the papal succession. Tradition and some historical evidence hold that Saint Peter's tomb is directly below the altar of the basilica. For this reason, many Popes have been interred at St Peter's since the Early Christian period. There has been a church on this site since the 4th century. Construction of the present basilica, over the old Constantinian basilica, began on April 18, 1506 and was completed on November 18, 1626. St. Peter's is famous as a place of pilgrimage, for its liturgical functions and for its historical associations. It is associated with the papacy, with the Counter-reformation and with numerous artists, most significantly Michelangelo. As a work of architecture, it is regarded as the greatest building of its age. Contrary to popular misconception, Saint Peter's is not a cathedral, as it is not the seat of a bishop. It is properly termed a papal basilica.
This nice card was sent to me by Stanislav of Odessa in Ukraine.