Sunday, August 26, 2018

The 10th Anniversary of the "Baltic Chain", Estonia

The days between Sunday Stamps seem to pass really quickly, so here we are at the second episode of the third season of the A-Z game.

I seem to have quite a lot of B-related stamps, so it was a tough choice, but the final decision fell on this joint issue among Estonia-Lithuanua-Latvia, from 1999, commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Baltic Chain.  On the cover her is the Estonian mini-sheet.

The Baltic Chain (or the Baltic Way) was an uninterrupted 675.5 kilometre human chain uniting the Baltic capitals of Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius, in which two million indigenous people of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, then still occupied by the Soviet Union, joined hands to demand freedom and independence.
It was organised by the joint efforts of the three Baltic countries’ Popular Fronts on the 50th anniversary of the Nazi-Soviet pact of 23 August 1939, which served as a basis for the Soviet Union to occupy the Baltic countries in 1940. The aim of the Baltic Chain was to draw the world’s attention to continuing Soviet occupation of the Baltic countries and emphasised the non-violent nature of the Baltic nations’ struggle for freedom.

675.5 kilmetres... that is so hard to grasp, leaves me in awe at the thought of it and how it had looked in reality.

For more B-related posts, simply click here.

Monday, August 20, 2018

The 100th Anniversary of Alfa Romeo, Italy

Well it would be my first time to do a Sunday Stamps on a Monday, and I almost kinda skipped it since this time I didn't even manage to do a scheduled post but, being that this is the beginning of another A-Z round, I just didn't want to miss the first post, so here I am with my A for this third round....

... and this time A stands for this set of Alfa Romeo stamps, issued by the Italian post on 20th March 2010, commemorating the 100 years since the foundation of the company. I'm pretty sure you all are familiar with this car, while for the details, I'm totally ignorant myself. And this goes with just any car brand, where unless I see the name of the car, I cannot really tell if something is a Honda or a Hyndai or a Ford... I'm just totally helpless!

Anyways, speaking of Alfa-Romeo here, founded by Frenchman Alexandre Darracq on 24 June 1910, in Milan. The brand is known for sporty vehicles and has been involved in car racing since 1911.

The stamp on the left shows the ALFA 24 HP, 4.1-litre four-cylinder passenger car, introduced in 1910, the year ALFA was founded, and produced until 1914 in ALFA's Portello factory near Milan. The model's name comes from its tax horsepower rating, then frequently used as vehicle designation.

The stamp on the right shows the Giulietta is a five-door, small family car officially revealed at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show.  It is current top Alfa sales with about 40,000 cars per year. (I don't think this was the case back in 2010 when this stamp was issued though).

Alfa Romeo's logo (seen on the vignette) incorporates two heraldic devices traditionally associated with its birthplace, the city of Milan: a red cross, from the emblem of Milan, and the biscione, a crowned viper swallowing a Moor—emblem of the House of Visconti, rulers of the city in the 14th century.

So, cheers to another A-Z round and feel free to check out the rest of the great A's :)

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The 100th Anniversary of Moscow Zoo, USSR

Another Z day and another ZOO post. Just as last time, so I really need to dig in a bit better for the next round of Z and find something different.
I do really like though this set of USSR stamps issued on 18th June 1964, commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Moscow ZOO, which had an area of 10 hectares when it first opened, with 286 animals while nowadays it has over 6500 animals representing about 1000 species and covers an area of about 21.5 hectares.

Unlike the Animal Cubs from the Budapest Zoo featured in the previous entry, these animals don't come with names. However, the animals shown on these stamps are:

- The Asian elephant, the only living species of the genus Elephas, distributed in Southeast Asia, from India and Nepal in the west to Borneo in the south, enlisted as endangered since 1986.

- The giant panda, the adorable bear native to south central China. It is easily recognized by the large, distinctive black patches around its eyes, over the ears, and across its round body.

-  The Polar Bear, whose native range lies largely within the Arctic Circle, encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. (The total number of Polar Bears left in the world is 20,000 to 25,000)

- The moose (North America) or elk (Eurasia), which is a member of the New World deer subfamily and is the largest and heaviest extant species in the Deer family. Moose are distinguished by the broad, palmate (open-hand shaped) antlers of the males, and they usually inhabit boreal forests and temperate broadleaf and mixed forests of the Northern Hemisphere in temperate to subarctic climates. Unfortunately, here we have another case where hunting and other human activities have caused a reduction in the size of the moose's range over time.

-  The great white pelican, which breeds from southeastern Europe through Asia and Africa, in swamps and shallow lakes. It has been rated as a species of least concern on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Specie.

- The Bengal tiger, which is the most numerous tiger subspecies in Asia, and was estimated at fewer than 2,500 individuals by 2011. Since 2008, it is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List and is threatened by poaching, loss and fragmentation of habitat. None of the Tiger Conservation Landscapes within its range is considered large enough to support an effective population of more than 250 adult individual.

- The bearded vulture, the only member of the genus Gypaetus. and the only known animal whose diet consists almost exclusively (70 to 90 percent) of bone. It lives and breeds on crags in high mountains in southern Europe, the Caucasus, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and Tibet, laying one or two eggs in mid-winter that hatch at the beginning of spring.
Populations are resident but unfortunately continue to decline. Until July 2014, it was classified by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as being of Least Concern; it has, however, since been reassessed as Near Threatened.

I think I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I am not fond of zoos, even though I may be really fascinated at how some of them are structured and maintained and all. However, I strongly believe animals should live in their natural habitats and not be confined to living in ZOOs for the sake of people's entertainment (and education).

So that would wrap up another round of the ABC edition of Sunday Stamps. For more Z-entries, check out today's episode of Sunday Stamps.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Animal Cubs, Hungary

For the previous Y, I went with stamps from Yugoslavia and that one is more or less like a very safe bet for me, having an abundant amount of stamps from there.
And in order not to be repetitive and kinda predictable, I won't be exploiting the easiest solution, but will show this very cute FDC instead.

Issued by Magyar Posta on 4th March 2014, this FDC contains twelve animal cubs, residents of the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden - animal cubs, or for the purpose of this post, Young animals :)

The cutest thing is that all these young residents have come on the stamps with their own names, so here you have the chance to meet:
- Sempala the giraffe,
- Sid the two-toed sloth,
- Jakab the Barbary sheep,
- Moira the orang-utan,
- Bangita the blackbuck,
- Maszat the prairie dog,
- Mazsola the ground cuscus,
- Rozi the meerkat,
- Gizmó the ring-tailed lemur,
- Skipper the African penguin,
- Kiran the Asiatic lion and
-Willo the common wombat.

In the upper and lower margin of the stamps the gender, name, species name and date of birth of each of the cubs are indicated, and their original habitat is written and shown in the map in the rand part of the sheet.

I had the chance to visit the Budapest zoo years ago, and it is definitely one of the most beautiful zoos I've been to (though in general I cannot say I've been to many, but still).

Ok, these youngsters are not so young nowadays since 4 years had passed since the stamps have been issued, but they are still young for my Y contribution today :)

For more Ys, hop over to the Sunday Stamps blog and its latest edition.