Thursday, May 5, 2022

Bamileke people - Cameroon

Today there was a great surprise for me in my mailbox. My first, and real, written and stamped card from Cameroon. How cool and unique is this?? I don't often get African cards, much less, written and stamped from there. Thank you very much Eric. 

On the card there's a Bamileke dancer performing a funeral dance with  an elephant mask. 
The Bamileke are a Grassfields ethnic group. They make up one of the largest ethnic groups in Cameroon and are natives of the country's West. The Bamileke are subdivided into 106 groupings in the West region led by a King or fon.

Masquerades are an integral part of Bamileke culture and expression. Colorful, beaded masks are donned at special events such as funerals, important palace festivals and other royal ceremonies.
The power of a Bamileke king, called a Fon, is often represented by the elephant, buffalo and leopard. Oral traditions proclaim that the Fon may transform into either an elephant or leopard whenever he chooses. An elephant mask, called a mbap mteng has protruding circular ears, a human like face, and decorative panels on the front and back that hang down to the knees and are covered overall in beautiful geometric beadwork, including much triangular imagery.
Beadwork, shells, bronze and other precious embellishments on masks elevate the mask's status. . in:

Temple of Heaven - China

My 1st Temple of Heaven card was received in 2008. Since then I've received a few more cards from them, all depicting the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. The 1st card is an official, the 2nd it was sent by Zhuang and the last one was a surprise card sent by Ariana during her holidays in China in 2012.
As the largest of Beijing's imperial of religious building complexes, the Temple of Heaven is known for its rigorous symbolic layout, peculiar structure, and magnificent decoration. It is the most representative example of Chinese ritual architecture. Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties (from 1420 to 1900) worshiped the god of heaven and prayed for good harvests there. - in:

CN-3349388, sent by JinZhu. 
"The Temple of Heaven is a complex of Taoist buildings situated in southeastern urban Beijing, in Xuanwu District. The complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. It is regarded as a Taoist temple, although Chinese Heaven worship, especially by the reigning monarch of the day, pre-dates Taoism. The temple complex was constructed from 1406 to 1420 during the reign of the Yongle Emperor, who was also responsible for the construction of the Forbidden City in Beijing.

The Temple of Heaven was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998 and was described as "a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design which simply and graphically illustrates a cosmogony of great importance for the evolution of one of the world’s great civilizations..." as the "symbolic layout and design of the Temple of Heaven had a profound influence on architecture and planning in the Far East over many centuries. 

"The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is a magnificent triple-gabled circular building, 32 metres in diameter and 38 metres tall, built on three levels of marble stone base, where the Emperor prayed for good harvests. The building is completely wooden, with no nails." - in: wikipedia

Monday, May 2, 2022


These last weeks I've been receiving official cards from countries I usually don't receive cards from. New Zealand, Norway, Luxembourg and also Estonia. It's nice to get such a variety of ID's.

EE-291443, sent by Katrin.
Kambja Church of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church is the biggest country church in Southern Estonia.
The first wooden church of Kambja was built probably in the beginning of the 14th century. Churches were destroyed and rebuilt several times during centuries. The present Lutheran St. Martin’s Church was originally rebuilt in 1720, this time of stone and a transept was added to the old part in 1874. After World War II, the church, which is one of the biggest in Southern Estonia, was in ruins for many years until restoration began in 1989. - in:
Today, its good acoustics and almost 600 seats make it a great venue for concerts or wedding ceremonies. 

Porvoo - Finland

I've planned trips to Finland a few times and I've always included Porvoo in my itinenary. However, when I finally made it to Finland, I didn't get to visit the city!!

© Maria W Boström 2010
FI-2993413, sent by Isabel
Founded nearly 800 years ago, Porvoo is the second oldest city in Finland and evidence of its long history can still be seen and felt as you walk its charming streets. For centuries, the city has served as both a home and a source of inspiration for many Finnish artists.
Located about 50 kilometres east from Helsinki, it is possible to travel from the capital to Porvoo by steamboat in the summer. Even though Porvoo is not exactly a coastal town, it is connected to the Gulf of Finland via the Porvoo River. The river flows through the city, passing Porvoo’s most well-known landmarks: its red shore houses. Originally, the shore houses were painted red in honour of the arrival of Gustav III, the king of Sweden.
Historically, Porvoo has been an important centre of trade and the shore houses were once used to store goods and produce, such as exotic delicacies from distant lands. - in:
Photography: Niko Laurila
FI-4159433, sent by Nina.
Porvoo Cathedral is a gothic cathedral of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, built in the 15th century, although the oldest parts date from the 13th century.
Porvoo Cathedral was burnt down several times in the 16th century: In 1508 the church was destroyed by the Danes, in 1571 and 1590 it was burnt down by the Russians. In the 17th century, the church was restored, but in 1708, during the Great Northern War (1700-1721), it was burnt down again. At that time, the building was completely destroyed, except for the soot-covered walls, the shell vault and the vault of the northern ship. During the Continuation War in 1941, the church was hit by a bomb which fell through the roof and vaults without exploding. Finally, on May 29th 2006, the roof of the church burned completely due to arson. 
The Cathedral is known to have temporarily become the "Parliament of Porvoo", opened in the Cathedral in 1809. It was in this setting that the declaration of the sovereign Alexander I (1801-1825) took place, transferring the eight former provinces of Sweden that constitute Finland to the power of the Russian emperor. - in:

Saturday, April 30, 2022


Yesterday I came home after a few days on holidays on Madeira island and I was hoping to find a lot of mail in my mailbox but only found 3 cards. Only 3 but nice cards, including this official from Norway, my 5th official from this country and a new card to the FOTW collection.

© concept by 
NO-229166, sent by Marit.
Norway has an area of 385.178 km², a population of 5.214.900 and its capital is Oslo.
 * Longest european coastline - 53.199 km, according to the World Resources Institure;
 * Laerdal Tunnel - 24.5 km, the longest road tunnel in the world, on European route E16;
* Winter Olympic Kings - Norway has won the most medals with a total of 303 medals (107 gold medals);
* The most olympic medals - 451 medals, the higest number of Summer and Winter Olympics per capita;
* Formation - 872, Kingdom of Norway with Harald Fairhair as its first king (872 - 930);
* Ahrensburg culture - 11th to the 10th millennia BC, the first inhabitants of Norway. 

FOTW Northern Ireland

The FOTW collection is getting bigger and bigger. This one from Northern Ireland was sent by Monika.

© concept by 
Northern Ireland has an area of 14.130 km², a population of 1.868.700 and its capital is Belfast.
 * Samson and Goliath - Belfast's twin shipbuilding cranes are the biggest free-standing cranes in the world;
 * 46% under 30 years old - almost 46% of the total population of Northern Ireland is under 30 years old;
* The Pneumatic Tire - invented by John Wood Dunlop;
* The Giant's Causeway - area of about 400000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption;
* Government of Ireland Act 1920 - British Parliament partitioned Northern and Sourhern Ireland, creating Northern Ireland;
* The unfortunate ship Titanic - built and launched from Belfast in 1911.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Greenwich - England

Greenwich is a town in south-east London, England, located in the historic county of Kent and the ceremonial county of Greater London. It is situated 5.5 miles (8.9 km) east-southeast of Charing Cross.
Greenwich is notable for its maritime history and for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time.
In 1997 Maritime Greenwich was added to the list of World Heritage Sites, for the concentration and quality of buildings of historic and architectural interest. These can be divided into the group of buildings along the riverfront, Greenwich Park and the Georgian and Victorian town centre. - in: wikipedia
GB-1519362, sent by Sally.
Symmetrically arranged alongside the River Thames, the ensemble of the 17th century Queen’s House, part of the last Royal Palace at Greenwich, the palatial Baroque complex of the Royal Hospital for Seamen, and the Royal Observatory founded in 1675 and surrounded by the Royal Park laid out in the 1660s by André Le Nôtre, reflects two centuries of Royal patronage and represents a high point of the work of the architects Inigo Jones (1573-1652) and Christopher Wren (1632-1723), and more widely European architecture at an important stage in its evolution. It also symbolises English artistic and scientific endeavour in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Greenwich town, which grew up at the gates of the Royal Palace, provides, with its villas and formal stuccoed terraces set around St Alphege’s church rebuilt to Hawksmoor’s designs in 1712-14, a setting and approach for the main ensemble. 

 Inigo Jones’ Queen’s House was the first Palladian building in Britain, and also the direct inspiration for classical houses and villas all over the country in the two centuries after it was built.
The Royal Hospital, laid out to a master plan developed by Christopher Wren in the late 17th century and built over many decades by him and other leading architects, including Nicholas Hawksmoor, is among the most outstanding group of Baroque buildings in England.
The Royal Park is a masterpiece of the application of symmetrical landscape design to irregular terrain by André Le Nôtre. It is well loved and used by residents as well as visitors to the Observatory, Old Royal Naval College and the Maritime Museum.
The Royal Observatory’s astronomical work, particularly of the scientist Robert Hooke, and John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal, permitted the accurate measurement of the earth’s movement and also contributed to the development of global navigation. The Observatory is now the base-line for the world’s time zone system and for the measurement of longitude around the globe. - in: