Postcard Friendship Friday 076: Riga, The Gem of the Baltics

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My entry for this week is from Latvia. It shows the capital city of Riga:

Riga, the gem of the Baltics.
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 650,468 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia’s population (Wikipedia).

Riga has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the collection of art nouveau buildings that is one of the largest in the world, as well as a city in whose architecture the entire history from 1201 to the present day is reflected (Official Latvian Tourism Portal).

This is my second postcard from Latvia. The first one is a artcard, a reproduction of Villinson’s artwork by Baddog, and one of the most interesting cards in my collection.  Baddog is an advertising company known for reproducing local artists works into postcards that have social messages, ranging from teenage issues to that of messages seen on labor law posters.

Postcard Perfect 014: The gothic churches of Lithuania

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Lietuva (Lithuania) is located in Northern Europe and the southernmost of the three Baltic states. Lithuania is the first Soviet republic to declare its independence in March 1990.

 

The St. Anne Cathedral (Šv. Onos bažnyčia, left) and the St. Bernadine Churches (right).

 

One of the national prides of Lithuania is the St. Anne Cathedral – the masterpiece of Lithuanian gothic. According to Wikipedia, it is a prime example of flamboyant gothic and brick gothic architectural styles. This iconic landmark is located in the Old Town centre in Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital,  and is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

 

It is thought that this church was built during 1495-1500 by the Franciscans and has remained almost unchanged over the centuries.  It has been said that this church was built using 33 kinds of bricks in a colour that lends its natural look.  The elaborate details on the main facade  is the most favourite area for visitors to have their photos taken making it the most photographed area of the church.

 

Legend has it that the Frenchman, Napoleon Bonaparte, was so enthralled by St. Anne’s Church’s beauty and magnificence that he desired to take the church back with him to Paris “in the palm of his hand”.  Okay this piece of information caught my attention, and had me chuckling for awhile. Knowing that Bonaparte  was not exactly a “big man” by European standards – I guess the Lithuanians were lucky his palm was not big enough, and the church of St. Anne was safe where it stood!

The older and much higher (or taller, in terms of the church’s height), St. Bernadine Church is directly behind St. Anne’s and also built by the Franciscans. Its renaissance and baroque details added to its original gothic style in the 16th century contrasts with the purely gothic style of  St. Anne’s. Old photographs show that St. Bernadine had a fantastic interior but during the Soviet times, the Soviet took control of the church and was made into a warehouse. Soon after the Independence, the church was returned to the Franciscans and has been undergoing a massive, massive renovation up to this day.

 

Affixed in the postcard are the following stamps:

 

Above, right, is a commemorative stamp on the 400 years anniversary (1608-2008) of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s apparition in Šiluva, a small town with about 1,000 inhabitants in the region of Samogitia in Lithuania.  On the left, is one of the two stamps in a set issued as definitive in Nov 2007 under the theme Holy-days and Celebrations.

 

I’d like to share how the sender creatively wrote her message at the back of the postcard, I love it! It showed a bit of her personality 🙂

 

Sunday Stamps 017: Folk arts from all over the world

 

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This week was very hectic that my post for this week was somewhat in limbo. I was leisurely surfing the net,  toggling one window with news about the developments of the volcano eruption in Iceland to another window with eyelastin reviews for awhile, when I suddenly realised that my Sunday Stamps draft needs publishing. I was about to hit the publish button earlier today when the power went out, thus, the delay…

I have several stamps that fall under the specified categories for this week’s theme begging to be featured. As much as I’d like to, I’m not going to get carried away this time so I’m limiting my choices to only a few.

I’d like to begin with … FOOD!

The above stamp is a part of the seven-set and souvenir sheet issued by the Portuguese Postal Office in a series called “Sabores da Lusofonia”, meaning, flavors of Lusophony. Lusophony is a collective word referring to Portuguese-speaking countries, so the series features some of the most interesting influences of Portuguese gastronomy  on countries who share the Portuguese language. The above dish is from Africa’s Cape Verde called Do-cozido à cachupa (a stew, basically, of pork, chicken, carrots, potatoes, garbanzos, and many others). I have also another stamp from the same series featuring no caloeira tempura which I featured in the previous Sunday Stamps.

Next… traditional costumes. So many to choose from but here’s what I randomly picked out from the lot:

A part of the 5-set definitive stamps issued in 1994, showing the traditional costumes of Cyprus. This one is affixed in a postcard that was sent to my husband’s Grandma, from a cousin who went to Cyprus for a holiday some twenty years ago. This postcard is now in my possession, having inherited my husband’s grandma’s postcard collection three years ago.

 

And last,  but definitely not the least… the textiles of Croatia.

 

In 2008, the Croatian Post launched a five-set postage stamps each representing regional motifs of folk costumes. Sunja, magical flowers that survived from the Baroque altar cloth on the aprons from Posavina and still exude scents; Bistra, corals that have come from the Pannonian Sea and in clinking, dark red rows enrich the blouses from Prigorje; Bizovac, the dialectics of the Slavonian full-empty gold-embroidery; and the thick weave of dark earthen colour – the “interior combustion” of Ravni Kotari. I love these folk arts/handicrafts from Croatia and really commend those who still do this up to now, thus preserving traditional arts and culture.

What we refer to as folk art is the outcome of longer, slowed-down time. History has always been created by individuals, and this also applies to art. However, art has only slowly been deposited in the awareness, resting rolled up for a lot longer than the passage of events, in mutually unconnected mounts and vales, across seven rivers and seventy seven mountains. What used to be enduring and persevering – dialects, fashion, surnames, customs, meals, tools, jobs and days… – all of these were local, unique, different and individual; all of these have nowadays become assimilated into a universal mass in the communication cauldron. —  Croatian Post Inc.

Postcard Perfect 010: Enticing Estonia

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Today’s postcard is from…

 

… Estonia.

It was once a part of the Soviet Union, today, it is a member of the European Union and is officially known as the Republic of Estonia. It is the least populous member of the EU as well. Located on the Baltic region of Northern Europe, it is surrounded by its neigbouring countries of Finland, Sweden, Russia, and Latvia.

Its capital Talinn, is also its largest city. It is one of the few remaining walled cities of Europe and attracts visitors every year.

Its official language is Estonian which are quite similar to the Finns as Estonians are closely related to the Finns.

The country side and the islands, as you can see in the postcard, have breath-taking views and offers unique ethnic characteristics.

The stamps used were fantastic!

The one on the right is a definitive stamp issued in 1993 depicting friendship and love – oh, I am swooning! How cute is that to have stamps devoted to love and friendship? This particular issue was identical to the design simultaneously issued by the Finnish Postal Service. The Finns and the Estonians descend from the same forebears, and they have a close linquistic affinity.With just the narrow Gulf of Finland separating Estonia and Finland, there have always been lively contacts between the two nations.

The second stamp used, on the right, is a joint-issue with Chile. Incidentally, I love joint-issues and flag-on-stamps so this stamp is a double-whammer for me! Estonia and Chile, countries situated in different parts of the world, both have connections with Antarctica, a continent lying at a great distance from Estonia but relatively close to Chile. According to Eesti Postal Service:

In 1819-21 Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, a Russian seafarer born in Estonia, became the first seafarer to circumnavigate the southern continent, coming to within 20 miles of its land mass. Since 1957 until quite recently Estonian scientists and logistic personnel have taken part in international research of Antractica. In 1995 the Estonian research vessel Livonia visited the southern continent. One of the two stamps features the emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri). Standing 90 – 120 cm high and with a mass of 20 kilograms, it is the biggest of the 17 species of penguins known to science. The emperor penguin nests in the coldest period of the Antarctic winter in colds of -60ºC. The male bird hatches the only egg for 62-64 days.

So there you go…
P.S. I love the new Postcard Perfect badge. It’s a product of MommyWilla’s creative mind and skills. You’re awesome!