Monday, April 16, 2018

JP-1081573

When I first saw this card I couldn't figure out what was on it. Then I read on the back that these iluminated things are kamakuras, which didn't help much, because I've never heard about kamakuras. Google helped on this. Kamakuras are snow huts. Each winter, the small onsen town of Yunishigawa, helds the Kamakura Festival and it transforms into a winter wonderland with hundreds of kamakura on display. 

Photo: Tateho Kitayama
JP-1081573, sent by Ren. 
Kamakuras range from the larger snow houses, which can be entered, to miniature illuminated versions on display at various locations around Yunishigawa Onsen.
The main event takes place at Heike no Sato (平家の里), an open-air museum in the style of a traditional village, with snow-covered thatched houses providing the perfect backdrop to the dozens of illuminated kamakura lining the paths. The larger kamakura can be entered, with many available for reservation to enjoy a special barbecue experience.
The second main location is held at a bridge vantage point down the road to the west, where visitors can admire hundreds of illuminated mini kamakura lining the Zawaguchi river bed. It's a mesmerising view and not to be missed – this site is illuminated everyday except Thursdays. - in: https://pt.japantravel.com/tochigi/yunishigawa-kamakura-festival/35366

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Scenic India

Sachin and Aparna are two Indian girls with whom I change postcards, well, I've only started to swap with Sachin a few weeks ago.
I've got these card from them last month. 

Photo by Sachin
Last month Sachin sent me an official postcard and said that after reading my profile, she felt we had a lot in common. Hiking and photography, for example. We then decided to start swapping postcards and letters. After the official card, she sent me this postcard with a photo taken by her during a hike to the Harishchandragad Fort in the state where she lives, Maharashtra.
Tomorrow I'll send her a postcard.

Photograph © Nicholas Eakins
In March Aparna went on holidays to the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India, where this postcard is from. 
On the back of the card: Seen here from Batal close to where Spiti region begins and with the Bara Shigri Range as backdrop, the milky blue waters of the Chandra river form by glacier, melt from the nearby Baralacha Range, head off throught the main valley of Lahoul district. 

Miri-Arab Madrasah - Uzbekistan

Located in the center of Bukhara, Miri-Arab madrasah is considered one of the most interesting monuments in the city, and is still an acting institution, where future imams and religious mentors receive their education.

Photo: Temur Khaitov
Construction of the Miri-Arab madrasah dates back to the 16th century and is related to the sheikh Abdallah Yamani (from Yemen), the spiritual pir (guide) of sheybanids. 
The décor of the Miri-Arab madrassah has dominance of different stone mosaics of exquisite work with geometric, vegetative and calligraphic writings and patterns. 
Miri-Arab madrasah was the only spiritual educational establishment in the USSR that had begun to function after the WWII. All leading imams of those times had graduated from this religious center.
Décor and architecture of the building are done in exquisite oriental taste. The monuments had gone through many destructions, but restorers managed to reconstruct the large part of the building, returning its initial look. - in: https://www.advantour.com/uzbekistan/bukhara/miri-arab.htm

Saturday, April 14, 2018

RU-6291728

This card is not that big but there's still a lot of space on the back to write at least "hello". There's not a single word from the sender, only the ID, my address and 3 stamps!! 

RU-6291728, sent by ??
The Kreuzkirche is a church in the former city district of Lomse in Königsberg, Germany, now Kaliningrad, Russia. The church was designed by architect Arthur Kickton and built between 1930 and 1933 for the evangelical community of Königsberg. 
The church was only lightly damaged in World War II and became a garage and a factory for fishing equipment thereafter. After a fire it was decided in 1988 to use the building as a church again, now for the Kaliningrad Orthodox community. - in: wikipedia

Friday, April 13, 2018

RU-6349308

Polar bears can be found in the Artic, the U.S. (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Denmark (Greenland), and Norway (Svalbard).  Each of these countries either banned hunting or established rules for how many polar bears could be hunted within its own boundaries. These rules help keep polar bear populations stable. Today, 25,000 to 40,000 polar bears roam the Arctic.

Photo by Andrey Gudkov
RU-6349308, sent by Daniel.
Some facts about polar bears:
* Because they spend most of their lives on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean depending on the ocean for their food and habitat, polar bears are the only bear species to be considered marine mammals;
* Polar bear fur is translucent, and only appears white because it reflects visible light. Beneath all that thick fur, their skin is jet black;
* Although about half of a polar bear’s life is spent hunting for food, their hunts are rarely successful. Polar bears main prey consists of ringed seals and bearded seals, though they will also scavenge carcasses or settle for small mammals, birds, eggs and vegetation;
* While climate change remains the greatest threat to the polar bear’s survival, that is not all that the predator is up against. The oil and gas industry is turning its eyes to the arctic, and with it comes the potential risks of habitat destruction from oil exploration work. Contact with oil spills can reduce the insulating effect of a bear’s fur requiring them to use more energy to get warm, and can poison them if ingested. Polar bears can also be exposed to toxic chemicals such as pesticides through their prey, which can affect a bear's biological functioning and ability to reproduce.
Melting sea ice from climate change has increased human-polar bear conflicts when hungry polar bears go searching for food in the summer. Fortunately, people are learning to adapt to the polar bear's presence and take preventative measures to reduce the risk of conflict;
* Male polar bears can weigh up to 800kg, and are twice the size of females. This, in addition to the fact that they can measure up to 3 metres long, makes polar bears the largest land carnivore in the world;
* Polar bears have a very strong sense of smell, which they use to find seal breathing holes in the ice. Once it has found the hole, the bear will wait patiently until the seal comes up for air to attack. They can even detect a seal in the water beneath a metre of compacted snow. - in: https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/11-facts-you-didnt-know-about-polar-bears

Lipari - Italy

With the many Portuguese postcards and some Spanish, among others, that Paulo sent me, came also a solitary Italian postcard, the first of these Lipari's cards. Lipari is one of 8 Aeolian Islands, an archipelago in northern Sicily. These islands are classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. These islands provide an outstanding record of volcanic island-building and destruction, and ongoing volcanic phenomena.
The 2nd card was sent by Luca in 2010.

Photo: Johanna Huber
Lipari is the largest and most populated of the Aeolian Islands (...). The island has the biggest town of the archipelago, also called Lipari; a lively busy place with picturesque streets, an attractive harbour and a historic castle-citadel. - in: http://www.italyheaven.co.uk/sicily/aeolian-islands/lipari.html

Castello – This is how they refer to the citadel, a structure constructed on a Greek acropolis before being surrounded by walls in the 13th century. In the 16th century Charles V had it reinforced after the town was sacked by Barbarossa. - in: http://www.isole-sicilia.it/english/lipari.htm

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Derwent Water - England

Over the years I've received a few double cards and some cards that I don't like. It doesn't make sense to me to keep those cards, especially the ones I don't like. I organized them in an album and every now and then I tag in the used cards tag. The last time I tagged for this card. Derwent Water is one of the principal bodies of water in the Lake District National Park in north west England. I got rid off some unwanted used cards and got an UNESCO missing site. 
The card was sent by Dorothy. 

Located in northwest England, the English Lake District is a mountainous area, whose valleys have been modelled by glaciers in the Ice Age and subsequently shaped by an agro-pastoral land-use system characterized by fields enclosed by walls. The combined work of nature and human activity has produced a harmonious landscape in which the mountains are mirrored in the lakes. - in: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/422

Photo: George Allsop
On the back of the card: Typical of everything that is beautiful in the Lake District, this broad laki is ringed by mountain peaks and dotted with mysterious little tree-clad islands. It measures three miles long by one and a half miles wide at its widest point.