Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ukraine - Kyiv

This postcard comes from one of my favorite cities - Kyiv, which is the capital of Ukraine :) I guess this city is better known as Kiev, but I think Kyiv is more correct. Why? Because "Kyiv" represents the Ukrainian name of this city ("Київ"), while "Kiev" is closer to Russian "Киев". Kyiv is a very old city - it celebrated its 1500th anniversary in 1982.

I've been to Kyiv only twice, because it's quite far away (about 1000km) from me. There's a train from Wrocław (my city) to Kyiv, but it takes about 24 hours to get there. I went there for the first time in 2007 and I spent 2 days in Kyiv. That was really interesting experience, because I had been only to Western Ukraine before and I could easily see some differences. I love the architecture of Kyiv, old churches, Dnipro river, Khreshchatyk street and the Independence Square ;)

Just because Kyiv is a very special city for me, I went there for one day this year :) I was visiting my friend in Ternopil', about 500km away from Kyiv. We decided to go to Kyiv by a night train, to spend a whole day there and to come back to Ternopil' during the next night. That was quite a crazy idea, but I think we should do some crazy things sometimes to have great memories when we're already old ;)

This postcard shows a panoramic view upon the monument to Bogdan Khmel'nitsky and St. Michael's Golden-Domed monastery.

United Arab Emirates - Dubai

That's my first card from the United Arab Emirates, received in the World Languages RR :) It shows Dubai :) I was especially surprised to see the snow on this card, because, as far as I know the geography, it's quite hot there ;) I've already found some information about it, but I still find it hard to imagine... Skiing in such a hot country!

Dubai (in Arabic: دبيّ‎, transliteration: Dubaīy) is one of the seven emirates and most populous city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is located along the southern coast of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula. The city of Dubai is sometimes called "Dubai city" to distinguish it from the emirate.
Written accounts document the existence of the city f
or at least 150 years prior to the formation of the UAE. Dubai shares legal, political, military and economic functions with the other emirates within a federal framework, although each emirate has jurisdiction over some functions such as civic law enforcement and provision and upkeep of local facilities. Dubai has the largest population and is the second largest emirate by area, after Abu Dhabi.

Ski Dubai
is claimed to be one of the largest indoor ski resorts in the world, with 22,500-square metres of indoor ski area. It is a part of the Mall of the Emirates, which is one of the largest shopping malls in the world.

An extremely efficient insulation system is the key to maintain the temperature of -1 degrees Celsius during the day and -6 degrees during the night when the snow is produced.
Ski Dubai is part of the Majid Al Futtaim Group of Companies, a leader for shopping malls in the region. Ski Dubai has 5 runs of varying difficulties, the longest being 400m.

Germany - Berlin (DE-229602)

I often think "Berlin is so close to the Polish border that I can always go there". And because of this way of thinking, I haven't been to Berlin yet. But this postcard makes me think that Berlin is a really beautiful city and that I should finally go there :)

The Gendarmenmarkt is a square in Berlin, and the site of the Konzerthaus and the French and German Cathedrals. The centre of the Gendarmenmarkt is crowned by a statue of Germany's poet Friedrich Schiller. The square was created by Johann Arnold Nering at the end of the seventeenth century as the Linden-Markt and reconstructed by Georg Christian Ungerin 1773. The Gendarmenmarkt is named after the cuirassier regiment Gens d'Armes, which was deployed at this square until 1773.

During World War II most of the buildings were badly damaged or destroyed. Today all the buildings are restored to their former state.


Finland (FI-393156)

I think I've already written on this blog that I love the Finnish landscapes and that I'd like to visit Finland someday to see a sunset over the lakes :) There's quite a long text written in Finnish on the back side of this postcard, but most of words seem to be too hard for the google translator ;)
Could you help me, please? :))

Iltaruskon aikaan järvimaisema tyyntyy ja näkymää hallistevat vastarannan ja rantakivien tummat silhuetit.


The Netherlands - Den Helder (NL-110899)

This postcard shows the water tower in Den Helder, The Netherlands. It reminds me the water tower in my city, which isn't used anymore, but there's a restaurant with a wonderful view :) I wonder, if this one is still in use?

Den Helder is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. Den Helder occupies the northernmost point of the North Holland peninsula. It is home to the country's main naval base.

Huisduinen was the original older part of the city, whereas Helder itself was a nearby smaller hamlet. Due to its strategic location at the tip of the North Holland peninsula, multiple fortifications were built in the area. The area began to be called Helledore ("Gate to hell", later on Den Helsdeur), because of the "hellish" fortifications that prevented enemy ships from sailing into the Zuyderzee. The name Helder may also have come from Helle/Helde, which means hill or hilly grounds, or from Helre, which means a sandy ridge.

Den Helder has played an important part in Dutch shipping. During the Dutch Golden Age, ships would be assembled near Den Helder and sail from there the world's oceans. In the 1820s, the North Holland Canal was dug from Amsterdam to Den Helder. The lighthouse Lange Jaap was built in 1877 and is the tallest cast-iron lighthouse in Europe, at 63.45 meters (208.2 ft).


Monday, October 27, 2008

Russia - Moscow (RU-25728)

This beautiful postcard shows the Arch or Triumph and Poklonny Hill in Moscow. I've been to Moscow once (and that was my only trip to Russia), but when I first saw this card, I wasn't sure, which city (and country) it is :) Of course, now I remind myself much more, although I'm not sure, if I was in that place. I remember it was very cold (about -20 Celcius degrees, which was extremely freezing for me), but I enjoyed my stay in Russia anyway, because it used to be one of my biggest dreams several years ago. I'd love to go to Russia at least once more, because I haven't been to Saint-Petersburg yet and my best friend lives there :) We've already met in Moscow, Poland, Ukraine, but not yet it her city, so I think I definitely should try to improve it :)


USA - Cape Cod (US-271911)

If you read my blog sometimes, you probably know that I absolutely love the map cards :) This one shows the Cape Cod in Massachusetts, which is a great tourist attraction according to the sender.

Cape Cod (or simply the Cape to most New Englanders) is a peninsula nearly coextensive with Barnstable County, Massachusetts and forming the easternmost portion of the state of Massachusetts, in the Northeastern United States. The Cape's small town character and beachfront brings heavy tourism during the summer months.

Although the Cape was originally connected to the mainland, the Cape Cod Canal, which opened in 19
14, technically transformed Cape Cod into a large island (though it is not normally referred to as such). Three bridges span the canal from the Massachuetts mainland to the Cape. Vehicles can cross onto the Cape via the Sagamore Bridge and the Bourne Bridge; the other is the Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge.


UK - Scotland (GB-50947)

I received this card as an official and it was a really wonderful surprise, because I love it, when people try to fit my wishlist, even though they don't know me at all.
This card shows the flag of Scotland and the Royal Standard of Scotland (to be honest, I knew only the flag before) :)

The Flag of Scotland is a white saltire, a crux decussate (X-shaped cross) representing the cross of the Christian martyr Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, on a blue field. It is named the Saltire or the Saint Andrew's Cross. In heraldic language, it may be blazoned Azure, a saltire argent.
According to legend, in 832 A.D. King Óengus (II) (or King Angus) led the Picts and Scots in battle against the Angles under a king named Athelstan near modern-day Athelstaneford in East Lothian. King Angus and his men were surrounded and he prayed for deliverance. During the night Saint Andrew, who was martyred on a saltire cross, appeared to Angus and assured him of victory. On the following morning a white saltire against the background of a blue sky appeared to both sides. The Picts and Scots wer
e heartened by this, but the Angles lost confidence and were defeated. This saltire design has been the Scottish flag ever since.

The Royal Standard of Scotland
, also known as the Royal Standard of the King of Scots or more commonly the Lion Rampant, is the Scottish Royal banner, and its correct use is restricted to only a few Great Officers who officially represent The Sovereign. The banner of the Royal coat of arms of the Kingdom of Scotland, it was used historically by the King of Scots until the Union of the Crowns in 1603.


China - a teapot

This postcard shows a traditional Chinese teapot, which makes me want to have some tea (although I don't have such a nice teapot). I also like the Chinese text on the front side of postcard, although I can't read it :) I just like "strange" (for me) signs and wondering, what could be their meaning :) I remember I had the same attitude to Cyrillic alphabet until I learnt it myself at age of 11 :)

Yixing clay teapots (simplified Chinese: 宜兴; traditional Chinese: 宜興; pinyin: Yíxīng; Wade-Giles: I-Hsing) (also called Purple Sand (simplified Chinese: 紫砂; pinyin: zǐshā; Wade-Giles: tsu sha ) are a traditional pots made from Yixing clay and commonly used to brew tea. They originated in China, dating back to the 15th century, and are made from clay produced in the region of the town of Yixing, in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu.

Germany - Augustusburg

Here's another example of a card, which is older than me (being older than me still doesn't mean being very old) ;) It was printed in the German Democratic Republic. I received it in the World Languages RR, written in Russian :)

Augustusburg is a town in the district of Mittelsachsen, in the Free State of Saxony, Germany. It is situated 12 km east of Chemnitz. Augustusburg is known for the Jagdschloss (hunting castle) Augustusburg.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kazakhstan - Lake Balkhash

I was really excited to receive my 1st card from Kazakhstan :) Jo, who sent me this card, writes that Kazakhstan is a big country with low population, empty steppe and not many postcards :) But if all the Kazakh postcards are just as beautiful as this one - it's much better than having 1000 types of boring cards :)
I've met some Polish people, whose grandparents were forced to move to Kazakhstan by the Russians and now they come back to Poland. Polish government gives them flat and some money so that they can start a new life here. But I don't know much about Kazakhstan, Kazakh culture and the life there. But I can tell you one thing for sure: Borat isn't really from Kazakhstan (maybe you've heard of the movie "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan"). By the way, this movie had a controversy with the Kazakh government, which was afraid that it could have a negative influence on Kazakhstan's image :)

This postcard shows a sunset over the Balkhash lake.

Germany - a mailbox :)

This wonderful postcard, sent by Sabrina, inspired me to add mailboxes to my postcard wishlist :) I just didn't realize that such postards exist! This one is actually in the shape of mailbox and shows a typical German mailbox (I know it, because I've been to Germany for many, many times) ;)
I love taking photos of post offices and mailboxes everytime I travel somewhere abroad :) So having more postcards like this one would make me very happy... If you have any - maybe we could trade? :)

Turkey - Ankara

I received this postcard in the World Languages RR (I already have 4 postcards from Leslie and I'm waiting for the 5th one, because we both participate in every Russian group) :D
This postcard shows Ankara, the capital of Turkey. According to Leslie, "Kalbimdesin" means "You're in my heart" :) I can't speak Turkish, but I trust her :)

Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city after İstanbul. The city has a mean elevation of 850 m (2800 ft), and as of 2007 the city had a population of 3,901,201, which includes eight districts under the city's administration. Ankara also serves as the capital of the Province of Ankara.

As with many ancient cities, Ankara has gone by several names over the ages: The Hittites gave it the name Ankuwash before 1200 BC. The Galatians and Romans called it Ancyra. In the classical, Hellenistic, and Byzantine periods it
was known as Ἄγκυρα Ánkyra. It was also known as Angora after it fell to the Seljuks in 1073, and was so known up until 1930.

Centrally located in Anatolia, Ankara is an important commercial and industrial city. It is the center of the Turkish Government, and houses all foreign embassies. It is an important crossroads of trade, strategically located at the center of Turkey's highway and railway networks, and serves as the marketing center for the surrounding agricultural area. The city was famous for its long-haired Angora goat and its prized wool (mohair), a unique breed of cat (Angora cat), white rabbits and their prized wool (Angora wool), pears, honey, and the region's muscat grapes.

Finland - a drawing by Mauri Kunnas (FI-391948)

This sweet dog was drawn by Mauri Kunnas :) I haven't heard of him before, but Postcrossing is very helpful, when it comes to learning about other countries and their culture. Especially about Finland ;)

Mauri Tapio Kunnas (born February 11, 1950 in Vammala) is a Finnish cartoonist and children's author.
Kunnas matriculated in 1969 and graduated from the Finnish Academy of Arts as a graphic designer in 1975. He has worked as a political cartoonist in many Finnish newspapers. He is currently living in Espoo with his wife Tarja, children Jenna (1983) and Noora (1987) and their cat.
Kunnas is most famous for his numerous children's books, featuring anthropomorphic animals. His most famous children's book series is called Koiramäki (Dog Hill), set in historical Finland, featuring anthropomorphic dogs. His other works include Riku, Roope ja Ringo (Ricky, Rocky and Ringo), some "horror" books and books about Joulupukki.


Italy - Abruzzo (IT-25856)

This card is actually older than I am :) I know it, because there's date 1988 printed on the back side (and I was born in 1991) :) Maybe I prefer receiving new postcards, but having some older ones is interesting as well, because it gives me some idea about the changes in postcard art.
This one shows the folk costumes from Abruzzo region in Italy.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

China - Mogao Grottoes (CN-27258)

This one was my 100th official postcard received through Postcrossing! :) I'm glad that the 100th is so beautiful and I'll remember it for sure :) It shows the frescoes in the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang.

The Mogao Caves, or Mogao Grottoes (Chinese: 莫高窟; pinyin: mò gāo kū) (also known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas and Dunhuang Caves) form a system of 492 temples 25km (15.5 miles) southeast of the center of Dunhuang, an oasis strategically located at a religious and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road, in Gansu province, China. The caves contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist art spanning a period of 1,000 years. Construction of the Buddhist cave shrines began in 366 CE as places to store scriptures and art. The Mogao Caves are the best known of the Chinese Buddhist grottoes and, along with Longmen Grottoes and Yungang Grottoes, are one of the three famous ancient sculptural sites of China.


Switzerland - library in Aarau (CH-19300)

This card shows the city library in Aarau (if I understand German well) :) I wish we had libraries like this one here, in Poland. It's bright, you can drink tea there (it's impossible in the old-fashioned libraries), which creates a very nice atmosphere to read something or look for information in books. That's a bit unusual card, but I like it :)


Finland - skiing (FI-389470)

I like receiving cards showing something typical for the country and its culture. There are not so many cards like that in Poland, but I'm glad to receive them from other countries :)
Thanks to the sender of this card I know something new about Finland :) There are several big cross-country skiing competitions in Finland and some of them are skied on ice on lakes. I've associated the Finnish lakes with beautiful landscapes (especially during the sunset), but now I know that they can also be a good place for skiing :)


Brazil - Rio de Janeiro (BR-44982)

This beautiful postcard shows the aerial view of Arpoador and Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, which is the most beautiful city in Brazil, according to the sender :)

Arpoador (literally, the harpoon thrower) is an affluent neighborhood located on the southern zone of the city Rio de Janeiro, in a small peninsula between Ipanema and Copacabana.
Arpoador is mostly know for being one of the best metropolitan surf spots Rio de Janeiro has. The rock outcropping creates stable left breakers up to 7 - 10 feet high (wave fa
ce measure, as Brazilians do).

is a borough located in the southern zone of the city Rio de Janeiro, famous for its 4 km beach. The district was originally called Sacopenapã until the mid-18th century. It was renamed after the construction of a chapel holding a replica of the Virgin of Copacabana, the patron saint of Bolivia. It was incorporated into the city on July 6, 1892. According to Riotur, the Tourism Secretariat of Rio de Janeiro, there are 63 hotels and 10 hostels in Copacabana.


Germany - Düsseldorf

I received this postcard in the Netherlands & Rest of the world RR :) I've already received one card from Düsseldorf before, so I won't repeat the information about the city here. I like this postcard, because it has 16 pictures and shows the modern buildings as well as the historic ones... Still, I've been only at the airport in Düsseldorf, but as I'm there quite often (everytime I travel to Belgium), maybe I'll be able to visit the city someday :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ukraine - national costumes

First of all, I have to say that I hate it, when cards have some postmarks on the front side :( I have no idea, how to remove them. But well, it happens sometimes and still prefer receiving stamped postcards, because it makes me feel that they really travelled many kms to reach my mailbox :)
And of course, I love this postcard not only because it's Ukrainian (I think everyone already knows that I'm a bit - or a bit more than just a bit - crazy about the Ukraine) ;), but also because it shows something less typical than a city view or landscape. These are the national Ukrainian costumes from different regions. From the left side: Київщина (Kyivshchyna - Kyiv region), Східне Полісся (Skhidne Polissya - Eastern Polesia), Закарпаття (Zakarpattya - Transcarpathia), Покуття Городенківське (Pokuttya Horodenkivs'ke - Horodenkiv Pokuttya).

Portugal - Silves (PT-60643)

Believe it or not, that's my first card from Portugal :) That's really strange that among 102 official cards that I've received through the Postcrossing system, there's only one from Portugal. But that's also what I like about the official Postcrossing - you can't predict how many cards from which countries you're going to receive :)

I find this card very beautiful, because I like this kind of architecture and it seems to me that I can feel that atmosphere. I've never been to Portugal, so probably I can't imagine it well... But I hope to receive more postcards like this one :)


USA - Boldt Castle

To be honest, when I found this postcard in my mailbox, I thought it must be somewhere in Europe :) But no, it's really in the United States!
I like it when cards have some description (it doesn't mean that I don't like using Wikipedia... I like it, but I think cards should have some description for these people, who don't use other sources, but would like to have some idea about the cards they receive) :) So, this time, I'll just copy what is written on the back side of this card:

Boldt Castle, 1000 Islands
Located on Heart Island in the St. Lawrence River, this magnificent structure was built by George Boldt for his wife at cost of over 2 million dollars in the early 1900's. It was never completed due to her death.

Finland (FI-381244)

This card is very nice (I like villages, fields, natural flowers...) but doesn't have any description, so I guess it shows a typical Finnish cottage? Am I wrong? Anyway, I like it :)
And thanks, Nina, for your compliment about my blog :)


UK - Hull (GB-49406)

That's already my 4th card from the UK :) I've been only to London and just once, so I don't remember much. There are many Polish people working in the UK since Poland has joined the EU, but I don't think I'd like to work anywhere in Western Europe. Still, I think UK is an interesting country, although I'd rather visit Scotland than England, because of the nature.
The sender didn't write anything about this card or about the city, so the only thing I can do is to use Wikipedia ;)

Kingston upon Hull , almost invariably referred to as Hull, is a city and unitary authority area in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It is located 25 miles (40 km) from the North Sea on the River Hull at its junction with the Humber estuary. Hull has a resident population of 257,000 (2007 est.). Renamed Kings town upon Hull by King Edward I in 1299, the town and city of Hull has served as market town, military supply port, trading hub, fishing and whaling centre, and industrial metropolis. Hull was an early theatre of battle in the English Civil Wars, and was the backdrop to events leading to the abolition of the slave trade in Britain.

The city was unique in the United Kingdom in having a municipally owned telephone system from 1902, sporting cream, not red, telephone boxes. After suffering heavy damage during the Second World War, Hull weathered a period of post-industrial decline, during which the city gained unfavourable results on measures of social deprivatio
n, education and policing. However, the city has embarked on a programme of regeneration and renewal and a range of sporting and cultural activities is available.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Canada - Nova Scotia (CA-38796)

I love map card and I love flag cards and I love it especially, when people, who send me official cards, care to choose something that would make me happy :) And it's my only official card from Canada so far!
Actually, I don't know what language is that: "Ciad mille failte"? First I thought there might be some local language of Nova Scotia, but I've checked it and most of people speak English and French there. Then, some languages of national minorities. So what language is that? I can't speak French, but it doesn't seem to be French :)

Nova Scotia (Latin for New Scotland; Scottish Gaelic: Alba Nuadh; French: Nouvelle-Écosse) is a Canadian province located on Canada's southeastern coast. It is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. Its capital, Halifax, is a major economic centre of the region. Nova Scotia is the second smallest province in Canada with an area of 55,284 km². Its population of 935,962 makes it the fourth least populous province of the country, though second most densely populated.

The flag of Nova Scotia, created in 1858, is a banner of the provincial arms. The flag is based on provincial coat of arms which was granted to the Governor of the Province in 1625. The flag of the Canadian province, a blue saltire on a white field, is a simple figure-ground reversal of the flag of Scotland (a white saltire, Saint Andrew's cross, on a blue field), charged with an inescutcheon bearing the royal arms of Scotland, a gold shield with a red lion rampant surrounded by a royal double tressure (a double border decorated with fleurs de lis).


Germany - Frankfurt am Main

That's already my 3rd card showing Frankfurt am Main, but each of them is different and each makes me want to visit this city :) As I've written in my previous post, I love multiview cards with really many pictures :)) So this one fits my wishes very well :)
I've already put some information about Frankfurt on this blog before (and I don't think Wikipedia has changed since that time) ;)

Thanks, Sabrina, for this beautiful card!

Brazil - São Paulo

I love multiview cards with MANY (oabout 15 or more) pictures :) This one has 16 pictures, so that's exactly what I mean :) It shows the most important points of São Paulo, the biggest city of Brazil.

São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, with its metropolitan area ranking among the largest urban areas in the world. The city is the capital of the State of São Paulo, the most populous Brazilian state. It is also the richest city of Brazil. The name means Saint Paul in Portuguese. São Paulo exerts global influence in commerce and finance as well as arts and entertainment.

With an estimated population of 10,990,249 residents within an area of 1,523 square kilometres (588 sq mi), São Paulo is the most populous in Brazil, in So
uth America and in the Southern hemisphere.

The Netherlands - Efteling

I received this lovely postcard in the Netherlands and Rest of the world RR :) It shows the entrance of Efteling, an amusement park in the Netherlands.
I've been to some amusement parks in the USA, but I was only 13 years old then... Now I'm a bit older (just a bit, I'm 17), but I'd love to have such fun again :)

Efteling is the largest and most popular theme park in The Netherlands, and one of the leading theme parks in Europe. It is also one of the oldest theme parks in the world. Efteling is located in the town of Kaatsheuvel, in the municipality of Loon op Zand. Efteling was opened in 1952.

Originally the park catered towards children with a fairy tale theme. Nowadays Efteling appeals to both young and old with its cultural, romantic and nostalgic themes and its variety of amusement rides. In over fifty years the park has evolved from a nature park with playground and a Fairy Tale Forest, into a full-size theme park along the lines of Disneyland (it is actually twice as large as the original Disneyland park and predates it by three years). In 1992 Efteling received the IAAPA Applause Award for Best Amusement Park in the World.

Finland (FI-373337)

This card is nice, because I think it shows some Finnish caricature or something like that, but I don't have much information about it.

The online translator translates "Kyllä raha rintaa nostaa" as "Yes, money raised breasts" and Satakunta is a historical region of Finland.
There's also a short text on the back side of this card, saying: "Värilliset sananparsikuvat 5/15". According to the online translator, "värilliset" means "colored", but the 2nd word is unknown.

Dear Finnish people (or Finnish speakers), if you're reading it, please help me to understand a bit better, what is this card about :) Thanks in advance.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ukraine - Lviv

That was really a great surprise to receive a card from my favorite city Lviv in the World Languages RR! :) I received it exactly on the day, when I came back from... Lviv, which makes it even more fun! ;)
Shall I copy some information from Wikipedia, as I usually do? I won't do it this time :) I think everyone can read Wikipedia, but I don't want to miss the chance to write something about Lviv and Ukraine myself :) Maybe this info won't be as professional as Wikipedia, but it will be mine :)

Lviv (Львів in Ukrainian) is the largest city of Western Ukraine and one of the biggest (7th, if I remember well) cities in whole Ukraine. It has about 735 000 inhabitants, but there are also many students from other regions and countries studying in Lviv, so actually there are about 1 000 000 people. The city was founded by the king Danylo Halytskiy and was first mentioned in 1256. In 2006, Lviv celebrated the 750th anniversary, that was really great (I was there!) :)

Lviv is very interesting not only because it's old (there are many old - and even much older than Lviv - cities in this part of Europe), but also because it's always been multicultural. It used to belong to Poland for many centuries and many Polish people still feel some sentiment for this city (which is called Lwów in Polish). Fortunately, nowadays there are very few radicals that claim that Ukraine should give Lviv back to Poland. I totally disagree with them and they're not worth writing about them here :) But, even when Lviv belonged to Poland, there were also Ruthenians (That's the old name of Ukrainians), Jews, Armenians and many other nations. Each had their own quarter of city. There's still the Armenian street with Armenian cathedral, which really differs from other Christian (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant) churches that you can see in Europe. There's also the Jewish quarter, but, unfortunately, the synagogues were destroyed during the war. You can also easily see the Austrian infuluence on Lviv's architecture, because the city developed very well in the 19th century, when it used to belong to the Austrian empire.

Now nearly 90% of people living in Lviv are Ukrainian, with significant Russian and Polish minorities. Only about 1% declaire to be Polish, but actually most of people can speak or at least understand Polish, because they have some Polish ancestors... Or just because there are really lots of Polish turists in Lviv. They're welcomed much more than Russians :) There are thousands of jokes and humoristic stories about the people from Lviv, who hate Russians and kill anyone, who speaks Russian in their city :) Of course, these are just jokes (as I've written above, there are quite many Russians living in Lviv, they speak Russian and are still alive) ;), but the truth is that Lviv is the centre of Ukrainian patriotism and nationalism. It's absolutely different than the Eastern Ukrainian cities, where people are mostly Russian-speaking. The difference is not only in the language, but also in mentality, traditions, religion, politics... But, actually, I hate stereotypes and I believe Ukraine will unite with all the differences making this country even more beautiful.

Lviv is also called "the city of 100 churches". I don't know, if there are really exactly 100 churches in my favorite city, I haven't tried to count them yet :) But even in the centre, there are many old churches, built in different styles. Now most of them belong to the Orthodox and Greek-Catholic (Uniate) churches, but many of them were built as Roman-Catholic. There are beautiful examples of gothic, renaissance, baroque, classicism and other (I'm not so good at all these styles ;) ) architecture close to each other.

I think the main problem of Lviv is the lack of water. Well, maybe now it's a bit better, but I remember that even 3 years ago water was available only about 5 hours a day :) Why? Because Lviv is located on the main European watershed! What does it mean? Simply, when it's raining in Lviv, some raindrops will fall to rivers, flowing to the Baltic Sea, while others will fall to rivers, flowing to the Black Sea. I even know exactly that the watershed is very close to the St. Elisabeth church and the railway station in Lviv.

But, why do I like Lviv so much? First of all, because it's in Ukraine :) And because that was the first city that I visited, when I went to Ukraine for the first time in my life in 2005. I can say that I fell in love with Lviv from the first sight :) I can't compare it to any other city. The narrow streets, hills with breathtaking views, hundreds of cafe's, thousands of cats, fascinating history... and very nice people :) That's why I want to study there. At least, I want to try :)

Switzerland - Abbey library of St. Gallen

I received this postcard through the UNESCO RR (which is closed now) :( It shows the Abbey library of St. Gallen. According to the sender, the library holds some 150 000 book from as early as the 8th century to the eraly and late medieval times. The building itself is one of the most beautiful construction works of the baroque era in Europe. The whole site "Convent of St. Gallen" consists of the baroque cathedral, the remains of the old roman church, the library and its archives :)

Australia - the map of Tasmania (AU-27652)

That's my 1st card from Australia :) And I think that's the best Australian card I could receive, because I love map cards and because it shows quite "rare" (as it seems to me) part of Australia - Tasmania. The only thing I would improve about this card is the size of map - it's really small and I have some problems with reading it (or maybe I just spend too much time in front of computer and that's the first sign that I should start worrying about my eyes?) ;)

Tasmania is an Australian island and state of the same name. It is located 240 kilometres (150 mi) south of the eastern side of the continent, being separated from it by Bass Strait. The state of Tasmania includes the island of Tasmania and other surrounding islands. Tasmania has an estimated population of 494,520 (March 2008) and an area of 68,401 square kilometres (26,410 sq mi).

Tasmania is promoted as the Natural State and the "Island of Inspiration" owing to its large and relatively unspoiled natural environment. Formally, almost 37% of Tasmania is in reserves, National Parks and World Heritage Sites. The island is 364 kilometres (226 mi) long from the northernmost point to the southernmost point and 306 kilometres (190 mi) from west to east.

The state capital and largest city is Hobart, which encompasses the local government areas of City of Hobart, City of Glenorchy and City of Clarence. Other major population centres include Launceston in the north and Devonport and Burnie in the

The subantarctic Macquarie Island is also under the administration of the state, as part of the Huon Valley Council local government area.


German card from Finland :)

This card was sent from Finland, but is actually German :)

My knowledge of German language... well... let's say that it could be better ;) So after trying to translate the text on the backside of this card, I decided to use also the online translator. Fortunately, there was no difference in the result :) Am I as good as the online translator? I'm sure I also make thousands or ridiculous mistakes, especially in German and English :)

So, according to the google translator and to orange_dreamer, this card shows:
"The coast" - fabulous view by the artist Karin Blume.
At least I hope so.

Brazil - Pelotas (BR-44482)

This postcards shows the paving in Pelotas, Brazil. I like it, because it shows details that are beautiful, when we look carefully :) Sometimes I realize, that I just don't notice nice details, because I'm in hurry or because I just don't pay attention to places that I already know. Although Brazil is so far away from Poland, this postcard inspirates me to observe even the smallest details around me :)


Friday, October 10, 2008

Belarus - Minsk

Here's another card from Belarus (a country that I've never been to, but I'm learning the language and I hope to go there someday) :) It shows the City Hall and Svaboda (Freedom) Square in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. I've received this card from my penpal :)

Spain - La Rioja (ES-29587)

Hurray! :)) A map card! :)) And a very nice one :)
It's a map of La Rioja region, which is very famous for the good wine, mdae in the regional capital Logroño.

The harvesting of wine in the Rioja has an ancient lineage with origins dating back to the Phoenicians and the Celtiberians. The earliest written evidence of the existence of the grape in Rioja dates to 873, in the form of a document from the Public Notary of San Millán dealing with a donation to the San Andrés de Trepeana (Treviana) Monastery. As was the case in many Mediterranean lands in mediaeval times, monks were the main practitioners of winemaking in the Rioja and great advocates of its virtues. In the thirteenth century, Gonzalo de Berceo, clergyman of the Suso Monastery in San Millán de la Cogolla (Rioja) and Spain's earliest known poet, mentions the wine in some of his works.


The Netherlands - Aalsmeer (NL-104047)

This card shows the church and water-tower in Aalsmeer, which seems to be a typical, nice Dutch town. Well, almost typical :) Because not every Dutch town is called the flower capital of the world ;)

Aalsmeer is a municipality and a town in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. Its name is derived from the Dutch for eel (aal) and lake (meer). Aalsmeer is bordered by the Westeinderplassen lake - the largest open water of the Randstad - and the Ringvaart Canal. The town is located 13 kilometers (8 miles) southwest of Amsterdam.

Because the largest flower auction in the world is based in Aalsmeer, along with numerous nurseries and an experimental station for floriculture, the town is sometimes referred to as the flower capital of the world.


Finland - Sápmi (FI-381269)

This card was actually sent from Southern Finland, but shows Lapland, which is probably the most famous region of Finland ;) Of course, my first association with Lapland is the Santa Claus, but thanks to Postcrossing, I can see what it's really like :)

Sápmi is the name of the cultural region traditionally inhabited by the Sámi people. Sápmi is located in Northern Europe and includes the northern parts of Fennoscandia. The region stretches over four countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. Sápmi is the name in North Sámi , while the Julev Sámi name is Sábme and the South Sámi name is Saemie. In Norwegian and Swedish the term Sameland is often used. It is frequently mistaken for being synonymous with Lapland.

With the fall of the Soviet Union and increasing internationalization, cross-border co-operation is becoming more important, and existing state borders less important both for the Sámi indigenous population and non-Sámi inhabitants--the latter constituting the majority population of the region. Russians and Norwegians are the most numerous groups, and the Sámi make up only a small minority of about 5%. No political organization advocates secession, though several groups desire more territorial autonomy and/or more self-determination for the region's indigenous population.

The region has its own football team, the Sámi Spábbáčiekčanlihttu, that plays in the NF-Board, won the 2006 Viva World Cup and will host the 2008 event.


Germany - Meppen (DE-218504)

I think it's time for some European cards today :)
This one is an official card from Germany and shows the interior of St. Vitus Catholic church in Meppen. This time I won't have to use Wikipedia, because the sender gave some information about this card :) No that I find it hard to google some info... But I really appreciate it, when people care to write something more about the card that they've chosen.
Meppen has about 35000 inhabitants and is close to the Dutch border and the North Sea coast. St. Vitus church was built in the 15th century.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Russia - Lake Baikal (RU-24559)

As you've probably noticed, I'm uploading Asian cards today :) (I still have many other cards to upload, as I was away for some time). So, I decided to finish with a card from the Asian part of Russia that I've received today :)

Lake Baikal is in Southern Siberia in Russia, located between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast, near the city of Irkutsk. It is also known as the "Blue Eye of Siberia". It contains more water than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

At 1,637 meters (5,371 ft), Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world, and the largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, holding approximately twenty percent of the world's total fresh water.However, Lake Baikal contains less than one third the amount of water as the Caspian Sea which is the largest lake in the world. Like Lake Tanganyika, Lake Baikal was formed in an ancient rift valley and therefore is long and crescent-shaped with a surface area (31,500 km²) slightly less than that of Lake Superior or Lake Victoria. Baikal is home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, two thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the worldand was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. At more than 25 million years old, it is the oldest lake in the world.


China - Old Town of Lijiang

I received this postcard in UNESCO RR (the temptation to count all of my UNESCO cards and to start collecting them seriously is already quite strong). This card has a very special atmosphere... probably I just like sepia :)

The Old Town of Lijiang is a famous UNESCO Heritage Site located in Lijiang City,Yunnan,China.

The town has a history going back more than 800 years and was once a confluence for trade along the old tea horse road. The Lijiang old town is famous for its
orderly system of waterways and bridges. The old town of Lijiang differs from other ancient Chinese cities in architecture, history and the culture of its traditional residents the Nakhi people, therefore people there are called 胖金哥 and 胖金妹 (male and female respectively).

Lijiang old town (including Dayan, Baisha and Shuhe) was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List in December 4, 1997. Since then, the local government has taken more responsibility for the development and protection of the old city. Lijiang's tourism also boomed, and travellers from around the world flooded in; although many locals fear that due to much of the development, the old town of Lijiang will lose its appeal.

China - a painting

I received this beautiful card in the World Languages RR. It was written in Ukrainian! :)
Unfortunately, the information about this card is in Chinese, with only one sentence in English: "Appreciation of Famous Chinese Paintings. Wang Hui". And I guess it was painted in 1685, because I can see this date in the Chinese text ;)

China - Yingying - Mascot of the Olympics in Beijing (CN-25673)

Yingying is one of the 5 mascots of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. I don't know, if the sender decided to choose a postcard exactly with this one intentionally, but that's my favorite one... Why? Yes, because it's orange! ;)

Cultural inspiration: Tibetan antelope, Tibetan and Xinjiang ethnic costumes.
Olympic Ring: Yellow/Orange
Represented Element: Earth
Actual Fengshui Element: Earth
Personality: lively, independent
Represented sport: track and field
Notes: The Tibetan antelope is an endangered species native to the Tibetan Plateau, known for its swiftness. Yingying's headgear incorporates elements of Tibetan and Xinjiang ethnic costumes.


Malaysia - Penang

Here's another card from Penang. It shows the Aerial view of Georgetown (the capital of Penang state), Batu Ferringhi coastline, foodstalls and Kapitan Kling mosque.

Penang is a state in Malaysia, located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. Penang is the second smallest state in Malaysia after Perlis, and the eighth most populous. A resident of Penang is colloquially known as a Penangite.
The name "Penang" comes from the modern Malay name Pulau Pinang, which means island of the areca nut tree (Areca catechu, family Palmae). The name Penang can refer either to the island of Penang or the state of Penang. The capital of Penang state is George Town. More specifically, George Town is also called Tanjung in Malay. Penang Island is simply Pulau Pinang and Penang state is Negeri Pulau Pinang in Malay.

Penang is also known colloquially as "The Pearl of the Orient" and because of this Penang is also known as "Pulau Pinang Pulau Mutiara" (Penang Island of Pearls).

On July 7, 2008, George Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Malaysia - Penang

I was very surprised to receive a huge envelope full of Malaysian maps, tourist guides and leaflets as a "thank you" for my official card. That really made my day :) I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to go to Malaysia, but I can learn much more about this country now.
I've also received 2 Malaysian postcards (the only ones in my collection so far) in that envelope :)

This one shows the waterfront, Penang Bridge, an old mansion and Telok Bahang Fishing village in Penang state, Malaysia.

Japan - Hirosaki castle (JP-43655)

That's my 4th offcial card from Japan :) I've noticed that Japanese cards are mostly single views and often without any writting on the front side. But I don't have many cards from Japan, so I may be wrong :)
This card shows the Hirosaki castle during the spring. I find it very beautiful, especially because of the architecture, which is unusual for someone, who hasn't been to Asia (like me). We've got a "Japanese garden" in our city with some Japanese plants, but it's quite small and I'm sure it doesn't show the beauty of Japan. Anyway, I've seen many Japanese tourists there :)

Hirosaki Castle (弘前城, Hirosaki-jō) is a 17th century Japanese castle located in Hirosaki city, Aomori prefecture, Japan. It was constructed in 1611 by the local Tsugaru clan. A three-storied castle tower, fortified moats, castle gates and some corner turrets (yagura) survive or have been reconstructed.

The surrounding Hirosaki Park is one of Japan's most famous cherry blossom spots. Over a million people enjoy the park's 2600 trees during the sakura matsuri (cherry blossom festival) when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, usually during the Japanese Golden Week holidays in the end of April and beginning of May.