Sunday, May 29, 2016

Lighthouses, Ukraine

Wohoo! Today's Sunday Stamps edition is related to one of my all-time favourite subjects and that is lighthouses!! I'm in love with lighthouses! There is something so special about them, something so mystical and magical. And they hide so many stories at the rough seas...
So I can say that I surely have a lot of lighthouse-related stamps which kinda made it a bit difficult to make my choice today, but I think you won't be disappointed with these two amazing sheets of stamps coming from Ukraine.

The first one was issued in 2009 and contains 6 different Ukrainian lighthouses, from left to right you can see:
- the Kyz-Aulskyi lighthouse - located on the point of the Cape, South-East of Yakovenkove and helps guide ship(s) to the entrance of the Kerch Strait. The Lighthouse is in the diamond shaped peninsula of Crimea and is one of the Black Sea Lighthouse(s) in Ukraine. It is 28 metres tall and has a white, red, or green colour scheme (depending on the direction) with a flash of every 6 seconds.

- the Luparevskiy Lighthouse - located on the East coast, the south side of Luparevo. This Lighthouse is the second range for vessels bound upstream (North) in the estuary. The Lighthouse is in the Mykolaiv Area of Ukraine. It is 10 metres tall and has a white red colour scheme of continuous flash.

- the Yaltinskiy Lighthouse - located at the end of the Yalta breakwater, which extends South-Westward parallel to the shoreline. The Lighthouse is one of the best-known Lighthouse(s) in Crimea. The Lighthouse is in the diamond shaped peninsula of Crimea and is one of the Yalta Lighthouse(s) in Ukraine. It is 12 metres tall and has a red light colour scheme of 3 seconds on/4.5 seconds off.

- the Vorontsov Lighthouse is a famous red-and-white, 27.2 metre landmark (with a scheme of 3 flashes every 12 seconds) in the Black Sea port of Odessa, Ukraine. It is named after Prince Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov, one of the governors-general of the Odessa region. The Lighthouse is accessible only by boat.

- the Sarych Lighthouse - located at the Southernmost point of the Crimean peninsula as well as Ukraine and South-East of Sevastopol. It is 15 metres tall and has a white light colour scheme of 3 seconds on/3 seconds off.

- the Berdyansk Nizhniy Lighthouse - located at the end of a long, hook-shaped spit South of Berdyansk. The Ukrainian coast features four long sand spits projecting to the South. The Lighthouse is in the area of Sea of Azov, connected to the rest of the Black Sea by a very narrow Kerch Strait. The Lighthouse is accessible by boat. It is 22 metres tall and has a white colour scheme of 4.5 seconds on/3 seconds off.

Each of the stamps from this issue has a face value of 1.50 UAH.

The second sheet was issued in 2010 and again consists of 6 stamps (with a slight face value difference - there are 3 stamps of 1.50 UAH and 3 stamps of 2 UAH). And another difference is that I couldn't find nearly as much information as for the previous one.
Anyways, the lighthouses featured are as follows:

- the Sanzhyisky lighthouse - located North-East of the mouth of the Dnister and South-West of Odessa. The Sanzhiiskyi is one of the South Coast Lighthouse in Ukraine. Its height is 19 metres with a green colour scheme of two flashes every 15 seconds.

- the Tendrivskiy lighthouse

- the Tarkhankut lighthouse - located in Crimea at the Tarkhankut Cape 5 km southwest of the resort village of Olenivka. Its height is about 40 metres. The construction of the Tarkhankut lighthouse and its twin tower on the Khersones peninsula started in 1816 to ensure safe sailing in the area.

- the Pavlovskiy Front lighthouse, located in Crimea, station established 1863. Active; focal plane 65 m; continuous red light. 17 m octagonal stone tower, painted white with a red vertical stripe on the range line. This light replaced the original lighthouse, which had a focal plane of 22 m. Located about 500 m from the waterfront in Arsyncevo, about 6 km south of Kerch city.

- the Illichivskyi lighthouse -located in a small town called formerly Illichivsk, nowadays Chornomorsk, located south of Odessa on the Black Sea.

- the Khersoneskyi lighthouse - station established 1816. Active; focal plane 34 m; white light, 3 s on, 3 s off, 3 s on, 3 s off, 3 s on, 6 s off, 3 s on, 3 s off, 6 s on, 3 s off, 6 s on, 18 s off. 36 m round stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. This historic lighthouse stands on the southwest corner of the Crimean peninsula. The original lighthouse was a conical stone tower. It was replaced in 1929 by a lighthouse built from the same plans as the Tarkhankut Light. Almost completely destroyed during World War II, it was replaced by a wood tripod tower until a copy of the 1929 lighthouse could be built. The tower is greatly endangered by rising sea level, and a stone berm and semicircular sea wall have been built to protect it. The unusual flash pattern, the Morse code "SW" for Sevastopol', is a traditional welcome-home for Russian sailors. Located at the tip of the peninsula about 15 km west of Sevastopol'.

So that would be my contribution for today. Can hardly wait (and be jealous of!) other people's collections of lighthouse stamps :) You can see them at today's Sunday Stamps episode.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cats, Croatia

You know I adore cats (well, animals in general, but cats have a pretty special place in my heart). Some of you know i used to have two of them, but unfortunately, both of them died within a year and a half, and today it's been one year since the second one broke my I dedicate this post to my adorable fur-balls that unfortunately are no longer with me.

The Croatian post for several years has been issuing stamps under the title Children's world, with different animals being the subject each year, and in 2012 it was cats, so here I have the FDC and the sheetlet from this issue.

I find this issue super-cute, along with the dogs and the rabbits one (I'm not gonna comment the latest one with the fish though :D)
There are four stamps in this set, each one representing a different type of cat (I must point out that I prefer stray cats to those special breeds' ones, though in the end I do love all of them - however, I'd never pay for a cat or a dog but would always rescue one from the shelter or the street  - both of my cats were rescued that way).

Anyways, I better stick to the stamps - as I said, there are four different cats shown, in particular, starting from the left, first comes the domestic cat and from all cat breeds domestic cat is the most wide-spread population in the world. Mostly, they are very resourceful, very quick and limber and extraordinary devoted to their owners and the space they inhabit. (ok, not as devoted as dogs I must say - they would sell their soul to someone else for food :D)

It is presumed that there are between 600 and 700 million domestic cats on our planet and they are also among the most favoured pets. From the historic point of view, domestic cat (Felis silvestris, forma catus) has lived close to people for more than 3500 years, and has developed by domesticating the African wild cat. Domestic cat can have diverse coloured eyes and fur, as well as diverse tail and hair lengths. Its head is most often in harmony with the size of its body which is balanced and muscled, while it varies in size. Through numerous mutations from domestic cats there developed long-haired, no-haired or no-tail cats that further developed into different today known cat breeds. It is well known that many peoples throughout history celebrated cat as sacred animal, especially Egyptians, Chinese and some Muslim peoples. However, if we observe cats through different historic and geographic periods, we can notice that they have not always had the fortune to be celebrated and glorified as special beings connected to Gods. Thus, in Middle Ages cats were massively killed in Europe because they were brought in connection with Satan and considered the incarnation of evil. Still, those times are behind us and the cat has regained its position next to man as a pet and useful domestic animal.

The next stamp shows a Ragdoll cat - it derives its name from the fact that it fully relaxes - like a rag doll - when it is taken in hands. The cat’s gentle temperament and nature also contribute to the name. This species was bred in the 1960-ties in USA, by combining the non-purebred white Persian cat and the holly Birman cat. It was recognised for the first time in 1965 in USA, where it became very favoured. It was imported into Great Britain in 1969 from the breeding house Baker. In 1975 Mr. Dayton founded an international association of fanciers of ragdoll cats, and already in 1985 that cat could be found also in Germany and France. Since then the interest for that peculiar cat breed has been constantly rising so that in 1992 it was also recognised by FIFé. The breed Ragdoll inherited from the Persian cat its strongly built body and calm character as well as an excellent accommodation to living in flats. From the holy Birman it inherited the “pointed” marks on its head, legs and tail.

The third stamp shows the Persian cat - they originate from the province of Khorasan in Persia and the most beautiful feature is its long hair, equally greyish on the whole body with the exception of darker hair on the back and head.
The colour is somewhat lighter on the chest and belly. The hair is shiny, soft and silky and on some places curly while the tail is very long and covered in hair 12 to 15 cm long. Persian cats are exceptionally tame and thus the Portuguese transported them from Persia into India.
It is believed that such cats had been transported from the East to the West by the Vikings, crusaders, tradesmen and seafarers. It is also known that cats were kept also on ships that sailed towards America in order to catch mice and rats; some of those cats were also long-haired. Later, from those cats new and different long-hair breeds.
To have a long-haired cat became the matter of prestige at the majority of courts and among the nobility in whole Europe. Apart from being imported, the long-hair cats also started to be bred and sold.

The fourth and the last stamp shows a Siamese cat - the first records and drawings of the Siamese cat date from about 1350 and serve as proof that it is one of the oldest cat breeds. The cat got its name after the country from which it originates - at that time Siam, i.e. today’s Thailand. The cat was respected in the temples of Buddhist priests as well as at the court of the King of Siam. Nature scientist Palles at the beginning of the 19th century, returning from his journeys from central Asia brought a cat with dark legs, tail and nose, while the rest of its body was covered with white hair. He gave it as a present to king’s family. First bred pair of cats, Piu and Miu was given as a gift to the English consul Sir Owengould by the Siamese king. Also the French got as a gift from the Siamese king a pair of cats while the third donated cat pair was transported to the USA in 1890.
More serious breeding of Siamese cats started in 1920, when they had become very popular. The Siamese cat from that time is pretty different from today’s standard. At that time the Siamese cats were sturdier, had squint, narrow eyes and a gene for kinky tail. Today’s standard implies a slim, long and sinewy cat with a very long and slim tail. The legs of a Siamese cat are in harmony with the body: very long and slim, while the paws are small and oval. The tail is long, slim and spindle and the ears are pointed, big, wide at the base, and positioned so that they continue the line of the wedge. The hair fully clings to the body; it is silky, shiny and very short. When we talk about its colour, especially distinctive are the areas of darker hair: the “mask“ on the face and the “marks“ on its ears, legs and tail. The hair of the body is unvaried and lighter in colour and must be in full contrast to the colour of marks. Today “marks“ of different colours are recognised: black, blue, choco, cream, red, violet, cinnamon etc. The most fascinating on these cats are their eyes - they are not too big, they are almond shaped, slightly slanted toward the nose and intensively blue. Their deep, pure and clear blue colour give this interesting cat yet another trait of extreme interest and secrecy.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The 35th Anniversary of the First Space Shuttle Launch, Spain

You probably know that one of the topics I lose my mind for, is space and here comes a whole sheet of this year's Correos commemorative issue for the 35th Anniversary of the launching of Columbia.

On 12 April 1981 the first space shuttle, Columbia, was launched. It orbited the Earth 36 times and returned home two days later. There were two crew members, the astronauts John W. Young as ship commander and Robert L. Crippen as pilot.

This launch marked various milestones in the history of space exploration. Apart from being the first shuttle launch, it was the first flight of its kind to be launched without any prior test flights.

The mission's main objectives were to check that the shuttle was working properly, to climb to the orbital altitude with no problems, to return to Earth and land without having any setbacks. All of these objectives were successfully achieved.

But Columbia's story ended in tragedy on 1 February 2003. After 15 days in orbit, the shuttle was coming back to Earth. During take off, it had been hit by a heavy object that caused serious damage, although this was not apparent at the time. When the ship was re-entering the Earth's atmosphere, the port wing broke off, causing the ship to lose control and break up in the air. The ship's seven crew members lost their lives and all future space missions were immediately cancelled in order to investigate the causes of the accident.

The stamp issued to commemorate the 35th anniversary of its maiden flight is in the shape of the shuttle. It shows the ship against the background of the Earth seen from space, together with the moon. The text reads "35th anniversary of Columbia, the first space shuttle's launch" alongside the NASA logo. It has the appearance of a space orbit and can be read both horizontally and vertically.

Thanks to Herbert for this gift!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Butterflies, Spain

My initial thought of 'i have so many butterflies' stamps' in the end proved terribly wrong but luckily I did find a few things for today's edition of Sunday's Post and eventually the choice fell on this Spanish FDC issued on 1st of April 2010.

I love butterflies! They are just so delicate and beautiful and sometimes with such vibrant and amazing colours....and it when I was a child it was such a challenge to be able to catch one for a few seconds and let it crawl over your hands while you admire its beauty

On this Spanish FDC you can see two different kinds of butterflies, namely the Euphydryas aurinia /The marsh fritillary which is widespread in the Palaearctic region from Ireland in the West to Yakutia in the East, and to North-west China and Mongolia in the South.(the top one on the big image on the FDC and the one on the right stamp), and the Zerynthia rumina / the Spanish Festoon which is a widespread species in Spain and frequents most habitats. (the one at the bottom on the big image and the one on the left stamp).

Btw, I love the Spanish word 'mariposa' compared to the German one for example, 'Schmetterling' - there is just nothing gentle about it :D.

Wanna see more beauties like this? Well just check out today's episode of Sunday Stamps :)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The 125th Anniversary of Atatürk's Birthday, Turkey

Well today it would be the 135th anniversary actually, but this are the only stamps I have related to this is like the first ever Turkish related post here, so inaugurating a new country on the blog too :)

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was a Turkish army officer, revolutionary, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey. His surname, Atatürk (meaning "Father of the Turks"), was granted to him in 1934 and forbidden to any other person by the Turkish parliament.

He is like one of the most, if not the most, glorified person in Turkey, and probably with a right and with his death Turkey lost something like Yugoslavia probably lost with the death of Tito.
He died young unfortunately at the age of 57 due to illness, but even after his death, he continued doing good things since in his will Atatürk donated all of his possessions to the Republican People's Party, providing that the yearly interest of his funds would be used to look after his sister Makbule and his adopted children, and fund the higher education of the children of İsmet İnönü. The remainder of this yearly interest was willed to the Turkish Language Association and the Turkish Historical Society.

This issue from the 19th May 2006 consists of 10 stamps, while here on the FDC you can see 5 of them, with Atatürk in different situations.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Flora, Macedonia

If there is something I don't lack when it comes to stamps, that is definitely flowers. But then another dilemma came up and that was, which ones to actually choose for today's Sunday Stamps edition.
In the end I decided to go with this set of Macedonian maxi-cards, mainly cos I knew I wouldn't be overlapping with someone else's post ;-)

Actually maxi-cards are not so commonly issued by the Macedonian post and I can consider myself lucky to even have these in the first place. (I don't think these are even available any longer)
This set of flora stamps was issued on 25 September 2003 and consists of four stamps, where you can see two of them above and two below.
The above stamps show the 'Cochicum macedonicum Kosanin' (on the left),  and the 'Viola allchariensis' (g. Beck) on the right

The other two stamps show 'Tulipa mariannae Lindther' (left), and Thymus oehmianus Ronniger & Soska (right).

I am terrible when it comes to plants and flowers and all, so the most I can do is just show the stamps, but I am far from being up to any discussions or analysis when it comes to them.

For more floral beauties, check out today's episode of Sunday Stamps.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Weather Wonders, Canada

Last week a fantastic cover landed in my mailbox, featuring the Canadian set of Weather Wonders stamps, issued in 2015.

Each of these stamps illustrates a unique weather phenomenon, where each the credits for each image go to a  different photographer.
As the Canadian Post website had put it, you can revel in the beauty of a double rainbow over Quebec, tremble at the power of a lightning storm in the skies above Manitoba, and gaze through a gorgeous pink-hued fog at Newfoundland's Cape Spear lighthouse, Canada's easternmost point. Shake off the chill of a wintry hoar frost on a snowy Alberta plain, and shiver at the sight of sun dogs shining over Iqaluit in the Canadian Arctic.

Really spectacular set of stamps that come with a 'special' feature, and that is the cancellation :D
Obviously the postal-clerk felt like travelling back in time, so instead of cancelling the cover with the 2016 date, (s)he did it with the 2015 one (hence I was a bit confused at the beginning, wondering if this has indeed travelled for a year or if it was the human factor...). It was the human factor indeed and funny thing is that at this particular date, these stamps weren't even issued until 18 June, that is almost two months later :D :D :D

The big-big-big thank you goes to Bryon for this one :)

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The 100th Anniversary of the Discovery of the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago, Russia

Ok Sunday Stampers, I may be cheating a bit on this one since the map ain't actually ON the stamp itself but on the envelope...but I just couldn't resist posting this one....

You know that in general I find Russian stamps exquisite, and these are no exception.
This set of stamps was issued in 2013, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Discovery of the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago (or in English, the Northern Land Archipelago).
It is fascinating that in the 20th century there were still things on this planet of ours that hadn't been discovered. I cannot even imagine that out of nowhere some scientists come today with the announcement that they have found a new piece of land on our planet; with all the technology available and ISS making its rounds over and over again, that is simply - unimaginable!
But it is facinating to read about things like this, esp. when they relate to the Arctic Circle for example =)
Severnaya Zemlya was first noted in 1913 and first charted in 1930–32, making it the last archipelago on Earth to be discovered. It comprises four major islands – October Revolution, Bolshevik, Komsomolets, and Pioneer – and around 70 smaller islands, covering a total area of about 37,000 km2 in the Russian High Arctic. These are uninhabited by humans, with the exception of the Arctic Base.

Regarding the stamps here, the middle one shows Boris Andreyevich Vilkitsky who led the expedition on the ships "Taimyr" and "Vaigach" shown on the other two stamps respectively.

Well, for more maps that are REALLY on stamps, visit today's edition of Sunday Stamps :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Goce Delchev

Another person whose death is commemorated today is the Macedonian revolutioner and national hero, Goce Delchev, portrayed on this FDC issued by the Yugoslavian post in 1992, commemorating the 120th Anniversary of his birth. (born on 4 Februry 1872).

He was one of the leaders of what is known today as Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO), a paramilitary organization active in Ottoman territories on the Balkans, at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.

He is often quoted with his most famous saying,
"I understand the world as a field for cultural competition between the nations."

Had he been alive today, I'm sure he would have felt abhorrent seeing what his country has turned into....

On May 4, 1903, he was killed in the village Banica  - he was only 31 years old.

May he rest in peace....

EUROPA Stamps - Personalities

Today's date is of kinda great significance for this part of the world, cos May 4th is the day when two important people had died, 77 years apart. One of them is shown on this EUROPA FDC, that is Josip Broz Tito, the man who had created a country many people nowadays feel nostalgic as well, even though i was just a child back then, but Yugoslavia was considered like one of the most powerful countries out there, and ever since its break-up things went downhill...for Macedonia at least...the death of Tito signaled the beginning of the end...his funeral was the funeral of Yugoslavia itself....
The FDC was issued just a week before his death...

And May 4th 1980 was the day when in a hospital in Slovenia, his life came to an end. I remember, years afterwards (until the break-up of Yugoslavia), every 4th of May at 15:05, the sirens would resound and everybody would stop doing what they were doing, and stand still for a minute in silence, paying respects.
His funeral was held on 8th May and is considered as one of the biggest funerals ever. People cried as if they were aware that the lives and freedom they had had, would now slowly come to an end...and unfortunately they were right.

May he rest in peace!