Wednesday, March 31, 2010

China - Donglin Temple


From: Gao - Postcrossing - RR#4 Cards with thematic stamps
Subject: This is a very lovely card. :) The back of the card says in Spanish... "Tempo Donglin (Bosque del Este) de la Montana Lushan construido en el siglo IV... so translated is "Donglin Temple (Forest East) of the Lushan Mountain was built in the fourth century.  I think. *smirk*

Donglin Temple (Chinese: 东林寺; pinyin: Dōnglínsì; literally "East Wood Temple") is a Buddhist monastery approximately 20km away from Jiujiang, Jiangxi, People's Republic of China. It was built in 386 at the foot of Lushan by Hui-yuan, founder of the Pure Land Sect of Buddhism. It is a very famous building for how long it has stood up and not collapse. The monastery reached its peak of influence during the Tang Dynasty, but was severely damaged during the Taiping Rebellion and all but destroyed during the Republican period. It currently houses a small community of monks supported by a small farming village in its immediate vicinity.

Stamps:  Lunar - Year of the Tiger.  I love the Tiger with an "attitude" paws on his hips. :)  I also love the very colorful child looking stamps too!  I will look into what they mean. Thanks Gao! :)

Canada - Canadian Rockies


From: Jamie (canbcpost) - Postcrossing - RR#4 Cards with thematic stamps
Subject: The Canadian Rockies comprise the Canadian segment of the North American Rocky Mountains range. They are the eastern part of the Canadian Cordillera, extending from the Interior Plains of Alberta to the Rocky Mountain Trench of British Columbia. The southern end borders Idaho and Montana of the USA. The northern end is at the Liard River in northern British Columbia. The Canadian Rockies have numerous high peaks and ranges, such as Mount Robson (3,954 metres (12,972 ft)) and Mount Columbia (3,747 metres (12,293 ft)). The Canadian Rockies are composed of shale and limestone (unlike their American cousins). Much of the range is protected by parks and a World Heritage Site.

Stamps:  Lunar - Year of the Tiger.  I love the "top section" you put on the side!  Thanks Jamie! :)

Indonesia - Java Island


From: Shinta - Postcrossing - RR#4 Cards with thematic stamps
Subject: Java (Indonesian: Jawa) is an island of Indonesia and the site of its capital city, Jakarta. Once the center of powerful Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms, Islamic sultanates, and the core of the colonial Dutch East Indies, Java now plays a dominant role in the economic and political life of Indonesia. Home to a population of 130 million in 2006[1], it is the most populous island in the world, ahead of Honshū, the main island of Japan. Java is also one of the most densely populated regions on Earth. Formed mostly as the result of volcanic events, Java is the 13th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in Indonesia. A chain of volcanic mountains forms an east-west spine along the island. It has three main languages, though Javanese is dominant and is the native language of 60 million people in Indonesia, most of whom live on Java. Most residents are bilingual, with Indonesian as their second language. While the majority of Javanese are Muslim, Java has a diverse mixture of religious beliefs and cultures.

There are two amazing UNESCO - World Heritage Sites on the island.  Borobudur & Prambanan.

Stamps:  Lunar - Year of the Tiger.  Even two different styles.  Thanks Shinta! :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

France - Le Monêtier-les-Bains


From: Robert :)
Subject:  Le Monêtier-les-Bain is the highest village of the French ski resort of Serre Chevalier at 1,500m. Le Monêtier-Les-Bains has two hot-water springs, one at 34°C and one at 38°C, and the village has been a thermal spa since Roman times. The village is on the periphery of the Ecrins National Park.  What a peaceful looking village :)  

Germany - Porta Nigra - Trier


From: Willi - Postcrossing - Forum - USA to any other country
Where: Porta Nigra - Trier
Subject:  The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is a large Roman city gate in Trier, Germany. It is today the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened color of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. 

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle River. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

Read more about it by clicking here... The Porta Nigra

Stamps:  Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940) was a Swedish author. She was the first female writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, and most widely known for her children's book Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige (The Wonderful Adventures of Nils).  I will have to find some of her books!  I LOVE children's books!  Thanks for the stamp and PC Willi!

Russia - Kolomenskoye


From: Tatiana - Postcrossing - RU-122063
Where: Church of St John the Baptist, located in Kolomenskoye,  South-East Moscow.
Subject: Church of St John the Baptist is a five-tented church located across the ravine from Kolomenskoye, tentatively dated to 1547. Actually, the church's origin is enshrouded in mystery. Some say the masters were Italians, others assign it to Postnik Yakovlev, reputedly the author of Saint Basil's Cathedral on the Red Square. 

Some 2.500 years ago a settlement appeared on the site of the village of Dyakovo, making it one of the oldest inhabited places in the Moscow region.  There are no existing records regarding the date of construction of the Church of the Beheading of St.John the Baptist, but researchers believe that the church may have been built in connection with the coronation of Ivan the Terrible in 1547, or for the expected birth of his son in 1554.  It is a tower-like church without internal supports, designed as a central octagon, flanked by four smaller octagonal chapels. The central tower, measured without its cross, is 34.5 metres high.

The Cathedral of St. Basil on Moscow’s Red Square, which was constructed in 1555-1561, comes closest architecturally to the Church of St.John. The similarity of structural, compositional and decorative elements suggests that both buildings may have been constructed by the same architects, known as Barma and Postnik.

To read more about this church and others buildings of Kolomenskoye check this site out.. Kolomenskoye.

Stamps:  I will look into it :)  Unless someone knows, then please comment :) 

France - Les Hautes Alpes


From: Robert :)
Where: Les Hautes - Alpes 
Subject:  Serre-Chavalier is one  the major French ski resorts. Located in the southern part of the Alps, close to the Parc National des Ecrins, in the Hautes-Alpes department of the French Alps, it enjoys a large skiing area (250 km of slopes) and very sunny weather, boasting 300 days of sunshine a year.  Serre Chevalier consists of the town of Briançon, with the villages of Chantemerle, Villeneuve, and Le Monêtier-les-Bains. I will as Robert the name of the top left church image.

Stamps:  Vancouver Olympics 2010)   

England - Brighton Pier


From: Starlivia - Postcrossing - GB-124206
Subject:  The Brighton Marine Palace and Pier is a pleasure pier in Brighton, England. It is generally known as the Palace Pier for short, but has been informally renamed Brighton Pier in 2000 by its owners, the Noble Organisation in an attempt to suggest that it is Brighton's only pier. The West Pier was its rival but was closed in 1975 and has been damaged by fires. Work began on the Palace Pier in 1891 and it opened in May 1899 after costing a record £137,000 to build.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chile - Rapa Nui - Easter Island


From: Hernán (Santiago, Chile) - Just because :)  (See Side Note below!)
Subject:  Easter Island (Rapa Nui: Rapa Nui, Spanish: Isla de Pascua) is a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeastern most point of the Polynesian triangle. A special territory of Chile annexed in 1888, Easter Island is widely famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai (pronounced /ˈmoʊ.аɪ/), created by the early Rapanui people. It is a World Heritage Site (as determined by UNESCO) with much of the island protected within the  Rapa Nui National Park.  What an amazing place.  The island is located about 2,180 miles west of Santiago's coast. In comparison, Hawaii is about 2,000 miles west of the US mainland.   Click on the image below the postcard to read all the interesting facts that Hernán wrote on the card! And check out more facts on Wiki. Rapa Nui - Easter Island

Stamps:   I will ask Hernán for more details on the stamps :)   

Side note:  2010 Chile Earthquake.  Hernán mailed this postcard before the 8.8 magnitude hit Chile on February 27, 2010.  The card arrived March 4th.  I have received two e-mails from him stating that he and his family are well and that the Chilean government and people are getting organized and ready for reconstruction and help for the displaced.  Unfortunately, there are still large aftershocks effecting the area.  Just today, March 5th, there were two, the first one 6.3 and the second one a 6.6.  I was in a 6.9 one in 1989. (1989 Loma Prieta earthquake)  and a 6.2 in 1984 (1984 Morgan Hill Earthquake). I can't imagine an 8.8 with 6.6 aftershocks. The tsunamis have caused extra damage and deaths. 279 is the latest estimate for those who have lost their lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Chile. 

Germany - Gottorf Castle, water stairs


From: R4 Family - Postcrossing - DE-538617
Built: The castle: (1697-1703)  Not sure about the water fountain.
Subject:  Gottorf Castle (German: Schloss Gottorf, Low German and Danish: Gottorp) is a castle (Schloss) and estate in the city of SchleswigGermany . It is the ancestral home of the Holstein-Gottorp branch of the House of Oldenburg. It is situated on an island in the Schlei, about 40 km from the Baltic Sea. Right now.. 2010 it is owned by a foundation of the State of Schleswig-Holstein and houses the State Art and Cultural History Museum and the State Archeological Museum. 
Stamps:  I am not sure.  I will look into it :)