Sunday Stamps 057: Georgia, the Land of the Golden Fleece


გამარჯობა! Gamarjobat!

This is how the people of Georgia, a country in the Eurasia’s Caucasus region, say hello. Wonder why I used this? You are right, my entry this week came all the way from Georgia.

Georgia is a small country with 69,700 sq. kms. slightly smaller than the US state of South Carolina.  Strategically located on the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Georgia takes pride in its unique and ancient cultural heritage, an enduring tradition of hospitality and cuisine and a distinct language – one of the oldest living languages – and alphabet entirely on its own.
Just to give a bit of background, here’s a snippet of Georgia’s history which I culled from an online site called
The history of Georgia can be traced back to the ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia, and it was one of the first countries to adopt Christianity, in the 4th century. Georgia reached the peak of its political and economic strength during the reign of King David and Queen Tamar in 11th and 12th century. At the beginning of the 19th century, Georgia was annexed by the Russian Empire. After a brief period of independence following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia was annexed by Russian red army in 1921 and in 1922 Georgia was incorporated into the Soviet Union.
The independence of Georgia was restored in 1991. Like many post-communist countries, Georgia suffered from the economic crisis and civil unrest during the 1990s. After the Rose Revolution, the new political leadership introduced democratic reforms…

Now, on to the stamp above.

It is a very special stamp for it commemorates Georgia’s entry to the United Nations (31.07.1992). Due to the political instability and economic climate at that time, the first set of (post independence) Georgian postage stamps were printed only in 1993, on its first year anniversary as UNO member.  By printing postage stamps, Georgia asserted sovereignty and independence of the state. According to the Georgian Post website, it was only in 2001 when the “Georgian Stamp” was established (perhaps as part of the Georgian Postal Service) to issue Georgian Postage Stamps.

The official flag of Georgia.

Also on the stamp is the earlier flag of Georgia used in 1918-1921 during its brief existence as the independent Democratic Republic of Georgia. The tri-coloured flag (wine-red, represents the good times of the past and the future; black, symbolizes the Russian rule; and, white represents hope fo peace) was abolished in 1921 during its integration into the Soviet Union. It was in 1990 when it was revived by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia until 2004 when the  Five-cross flag was restored to official use after 500 years of hiatus. It was previously the flag of the medieval Georgian kingdom and had been used as the official symbol of the United National Movement political party.

Georgia is of great interest to me because of its history and it is very rare to find someone to arrange swaps with. Which is why I treasure very dearly the first cover and postcards that I received when the opportunity came to me.
გმადლობთ, Khatuna, for your kindness. I am truly grateful 🙂
In my next post sometime next week, Georgia’s Land of the Golden Fleece.

Postcard Friendship Friday 055: Azerbaijan, the Land of Fire

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From the beautiful, historic city of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, comes this postcard sent by a good friend and fellow ex-pat Myron. He is currently residing in Baku for several months now as part of an international exchange program there. 
The impressive building shown in the postcard is the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after M.F. Akhundov (Mirza Fatali Akhundov), a great academic and a celebrated author, playwright, and philosopher.
The building, built in 1911, was designed along the lines of Renaissance style of architecture. Today it stands as one of the most beautiful and majestic symbols of cultural life in Azerbaijan. No wonder my friend is in love with this building which is just a block away from where he lives. I wonder how many performances  has he seen there, if ever he has.
Azerbaijan, located on the western edge of the Caspian Sea, sits at the crossroad between East and West (Asia and Europe) and is considered to be one of the oldest sites of humankind.

Azerbaijan is a geographical name. On the one hand this name is linked with the population, which lived in this region for thousand of years before our era, and who were mostly fire-worshippers. Local population considered that fire was their God and so they worshipped the fire. “Azer” means fire. The Turkic name “Azer” was used for this territory for a long time. The word “Azer” consists of two parts – “az” and “er”. In Turkic languages, “az” means a good intention and a fate of success. Thus, the word “Azer” means “a brave man”, “a brave boy”, “the fire keeper”. The word “Azerbaijan” originates from the name of an ancient Turkish tribe, who resided in those territories. (Source)

Many thanks, Myron. This is my first postcard from Azerbaijan and I hope this won’t be the last one.