Sunday, June 2, 2019

Olympic Games in Tokyo, Czechoslovakia

Might be a too obvious O, but not much else came to my mind... and I do like this set of stamps issued by the back then Czechoslovakia, on 26 October 1963, commemorating the Summer Olympic Games that took place in Tokyo the following year from 10-26th October - strange to have summer Olympics in October, regardless in which hemisphere of the world they are held.

The 1964 Summer Games were the first Olympics held in Asia, and the first time South Africa was barred from taking part due to its apartheid system in sports.(South Africa was, however, allowed to compete at the 1964 Summer Paralympics, also held in Tokyo, where it made its Paralympic Games debut.) These games were also the first to be telecast internationally without the need for tapes to be flown overseas, as they had been for the 1960 Olympics four years earlier.

A number of the sport disciplines are represented, starting from cannoeing, volleyball, wrestling, basketball, boxing, and my favorite out of these - gymnastics.

The top three nations who have left home with medals are USA (90 medals in total, out of which 36 gold), then USSR - six more than USA on the overall but also 6 less gold medals, and Japan, with a total of 29 medals, out of which 16 were gold. That is quite a striking difference in numbers between the first two, and then Japan being third.

Check out the other O's at today's Sunday Stamps edition.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Manul, Tajikistan

Another Sunday is about to come and go, and before it does, it is time for another Sunday Stamps episode - this one right on time :)

It is time for the letter M, and one lovely chubby creature called Manul .featured on this amazing stamp sheet from Tajikistan, issued on 28th June 1996.

The manul, also known as the Pallas's cat, is a small wild cat with a broad but fragmented distribution in the grasslands and montane steppes of Central Asia. It is negatively affected by habitat degradation, prey base decline and hunting, and has therefore been classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List since 2002.

It cat was first described in 1776 by the German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas, hence the name.

Also the Pallas' glass lizard, Pallas' viper, Pallas's long-tongued bat, Pallas's tube-nosed bat, Pallas's squirrel, Pallas's leaf warbler, Pallas's cormorant, Pallas's fish-eagle, Pallas's gull, Pallas's sandgrouse, Pallas's rosefinch, and Pallas's grasshopper warbler were first described by him, as can be seen in their names.

I don't think the manul is meowing as regular cats. but for another m-related to this, the Macedonian word for a cat is machka (мачка), so there we go :)

Check out the rest of the M's here

Meow!! .

Monday, May 13, 2019

Lighthouses, Portugal

Well, I will do a bit of cheating on this week's Sunday Stamps and post on a Monday but I was away on a trip yesterday and in most cases would just miss the show, but being that L is for one of my favourite topics, I just had to show of part of my L-related collection. It is not very hard to guess it is lighthouses we are talking about, right?
Not the most creative word, but it is lighthouses we are talking about, already magnificent on their own!

A set of amazing 10 stamps (ignore the last two for the time being), showcasing Portuguese lighthouses, issued on 19th June 2008. I have some of these featured on postcards, but still a long way to go to get them all.
I haven't been to Portugal yet, and I am seriously having my eyes set on it for the near future, so I might just as well do a lighthouse tour while there :D

So in, not all their glory, here you can see:

- the Leça Lighthouse, located in Leça da Palmeira. It is in the shape of a white conical tower, with reinforced concrete, with narrow black strips and attached buildings. 46 metres high.

- Penedo de Saudade - located São Pedro de Moel, Leiria district. It is a quadrangular tower of stonework, with an annexed building covered in reddish-brown colored tiles and red lanterns. It is 32 meters high.

- Montedor - located in Viana de Castello - It is the northernmost lighthouse in the country and began operation on March 20, 1910. 28 metres high.

- the Esposende Lighthouse - set in front of the Forte de São João Baptista de Esposende. The 15 metre tall lighthouse dates back to 1922 and what is unusual about it is that it is made of metal.

- Santa Maria - situated to the south of the centre of Cascais, Lisbon District, Portugal. It is a quadrangular masonry tower covered with white tiles, with blue horizontal stripes and a red lantern. 20 metres high.

- Cabo Espichel - situated on the western coast of the civil parish of Castelo, in the Setúbal district of Portugal. The lighthouse was built in 1790 and is 32 metres high.

- Cabo Sardão -  Proposed in 1883, and of difficult access, only came into operation for the first time in 1915. The lighthouse is located at Ponta do Cavaleiro in Cabo Sardão. It has a white square tower 17 meters high in masonry. It has an annex building and a red cylindrical flashlight with light that reaches 43 kilometres.

- Bugio Lighthouse - situated on an island in the estuary of the River Tagus on the Fort of São Lourenço do Bugio, about ten kilometres west of Lisbon. It emits a green flash of one second every 5 seconds and marks the entrance to the port of Lisbon.

- Cabo de Roca - located 165 metres above the Atlantic Ocean, on Portugal's (and continental Europe's) most westerly extent (Cabo da Roca).  It is a third-order lighthouse, which originally began operating in 1772. It was the first new purpose-built lighthouse to be constructed in the country: the older lighthouses in existence at that time, were constructed on existing platforms or from pre-existing beacons. 22 metres high.

- Cabo de São Vicente - 28 metres high, located along the coastal peninsula of Sagres Point.
The traditional land's end of Europe, the extreme southwesternmost point on the continent, it was an essential landfall for sailors returning from Africa and the Americas. One of the most powerful lighthouses in Europe with its two 1,000 W lamps  - can be seen as far as 60 km away.

And back to the lighthouses I initially asked you to ignore since the one on the left was issued by the Azores, and the right one by the Madeira postal entity. And funny, they are double the face value than the rest.

- The Arnel lighthouse -   located at the tip of the Arnel, in the extreme northeast of the island of São Miguel, started operating on November 26, 1876, and was the first lighthouse located in the Autonomous Region of the Azores.

- Ponta de Pargo - an active lighthouse located in Ponta do Pargo, Madeira, Portugal. The lighthouse was built in 1922 on top of Ponta Vigia, a rocky cliff escarpment and has a focal height of 312 metres. 14 metres high.

So that would be a small part of the world of Portuguese lighthouses. I know it was a longish read and wont blame you if you hadn't read it all, but I would like to keep it for my future reference!

And unless you haven't done your task already, click here to head over to Sunday Stamps for some more L's!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Environmental Protection, Germany

After some absence, again, here I am back for one not so common letter, but I realized this FDC is something I've been wanting to post for a long while, and it is a very dear one to me, so here is the perfect occasion.

Issued on April 10th, 2008 by Deutsche Post, commemorating the International Polar Year, and raising the awareness for the environmental issues, it was Knut, the polar bear who was featured on this stamp.
I dont know how many of you are familiar with Knut, but I found out about him thanks to Postcrossing and fell in love with this creature right-away. Firstly, cos I simply adore animals, esp. fluffy ones. Second, the story about Knut was something that had touched the hearts of many... and unfortunately his death, even more.

Knut was an orphaned polar bear born in captivity at the Berlin Zoological Garden. Rejected by his mother at birth, he was raised by zookeepers. He was the first polar bear cub to survive past infancy at the Berlin Zoo in more than 30 years. At one time the subject of international controversy, he became a tourist attraction and commercial success.

After the German tabloid newspaper Bild ran a quote from an animal rights activist that decried keeping the cub in captivity, fans worldwide rallied in support of his being hand-raised by humans. Children protested outside the zoo, and e-mails and letters expressing sympathy for the cub's life were sent from around the world.
 Knut became the center of a mass media phenomenon dubbed "Knutmania" that spanned the globe and spawned toys, media specials, DVDs, and books. Because of this, the cub was largely responsible for a significant increase in revenue, estimated at about €5 million, at the Berlin Zoo in 2007.

Attendance figures for the year increased by an estimated 30 percent, making it the most profitable year in its 163-year history.
On 19 March 2011, Knut unexpectedly died at the age of four. His death was caused by drowning after he collapsed into his enclosure's pool while suffering from Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis.

Now, I am in general against keeping animals in captivity and at ZOOs esp. in poor ZOO conditions like the one here in Skopje. And on one hand I feel sorry Knut had to be kept in captivity, but with all this recognition he had received, I believe he got the utmost care.

I remember the day he died, it was all over the media, and it was really sad. Strange how people can get attached to animals they dont know but which have become famous for one reason or another (currently I actually have two cats dear to my heart, which have received international acclaim, one is Bob, the other is Nala). While Bob has been around for quite a while, Nala appeared not so long ago, but I loved her instantly. There is just something special about the way these two felines had entered these two guys' lives. Funny, it is always guys in the stories. And probably a reason more why these stories become so popular... you know, guys showing their soft side, taking care of stray cats.

So that would be my letter K for today. Hopefully, I avoided scolding too since I fulfilled my duty :D

Check out more K's here 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Appearance of the Halley's Comet, Mexico

After having missed the previous two entries, here we are back with the letter H. And the main reason for my absence is actually lack of inspiration. Has it ever happened to you? Flipping through your stamps albums, like trying to find something related to the corresponding letter, but you realize that it is like staring into blank space, cos you just go through all those pages, but you actually see nothing, your brain is like totally disconnected from what you are doing...

Well, today almost ended up the same, but then somehow m brain registered this stamp in my album, and voilà!
It is just a single stamp, not something typical for my posts, but it is surely better than nothing, plus this makes it a first Mexican related post ever on this blog :)

Issued on 25th April 1986, to celebrate the appearance of the Halley's Comet that year. I still remember the euphoria this event had caused back then. And for a kid like me, it was also something unheard of. I mean, something appearing every 75 years, and like being so punctual every single time... how is that even possible!! These kind of phenomena still amaze me to this very day.
In the background of the stamp,you can see an image of Edmond Halley, after whom it is now named since in 1705 he first determined the comet's periodicity .

It is said that its next appearance would be in mid-2061, with some precise date of 28th of July. Now if I get to live until then, this would be like the most unique birthday present :D

If someone is more interested about Halley, take a look at this video. I believe that a video is sometimes better than some dry facts and figures.

For more of today's H-entries, check out today's Sunday Stamps edition.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Different kind of a post!

Hi folks,

This time I have something little bit different.

Few days ago, on April 6th we celebrated day of the city here in Sarajevo. This date is also related to quite few important historical moments, on April 6th 1941, Germany attacked Kingdom of Yugoslavia (part of which during that time was Bosnia and Herzegovina). On same date 1945, resistance of remaining German and collaborationist troops in Sarajevo was broken and Sarajevo was liberated from Nazi grip. Finally on April 6th 1992 Bosnia and Herzegovina became recognized by many countries of European Union as independent country.

As you can imagine on such important date many manifestations took place all around city. In Sarajevo we have Society of postage stamps and coins collectors of which I'm also a member of and just a little bit before this date we decided it would be nice to organize small joint exhibition. We acted promptly and got some support from City government and also from Gazi Husref bey library which offered us their premises for exhibition. Total of 20 people exhibited some parts of their collection and all I can say it was pretty neat little exhibition!  Below are some photos of event and exhibits, hope you enjoy it :)

As you can see media representatives were there too!

It was not crowded but can't say there was no interest for it :)

Chairman of our little society had to give speech!

Topic of exhibits were  quite colorful as you can imagine.

This is a exhibit on first president of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito

     I liked this one (made by before mentioned chairman :) ) Postcards of old part of city by the end of 19th century

They say modesty is one of my many virtues :D so I have to show off my exhibit, Money on stamps

This is one very serious exhibit, Bosnia and Herzegovina issue from 1906, considered one of the most beautiful issues in general philately. This exhibit shows  basic set as well as many trial prints perforations etc.

 And for the end Chess on stamps!

I hope you enjoyed this virtual exhibition!  

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The 50th Anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's Space Flight and the Launch of the First Spececraft to Venus, Bulgaria

I came across a post on FB today which reminded me what day it was (one of the times when FB is actually useful for something).

Quoting that post:  On this day, 51 years ago, it was said that Yuri Gagarin, was killed in a mysterious plane crash, just seven years after his historic flight. Gagarin and his instructor were killed. The circumstances were unclear and the accident was hushed up for days. Documents declassified 50 years later say the most likely cause was a sharp manoeuvre to avoid a weather balloon. Many many questions remain, nonetheless.

Well I guess we will never really know the truth, and even if we do, that can never bring back someone to the living. Gagarin lived for a very short while unfortunately, but he will always be remembered and cherished!

Just this past weekend I did a short trip to Sofia, Bulgaria's capital and paid a visit to the philately store :D And among else, got myself this issue from 12th April 2011, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Yuri's flight into space.

It also features the launch of the first spacecraft to Venus (Venera 1), which was launched by the Soviet Union on February 12, 1961 and flew past Venus  (some 100.000 km from it), but I guess that is considered a success too for those times, esp. since unlike the previous attempt, when its sister ship even failed to leave the orbit of Earth.