I got this Palestinian postcard from Zuhair. I am sure that every christian in the world knows this place as the place where our Lord and Saviour was born. So, as we all know, this city has a great deal of history to it. It has been ruled by the Apiru, Rome, Judah, Israel, the Ottomans, annexed by Great Britain, Egypt, Jordan and has since 1995 been governed by the Palestinian authority. Though the city has a muslim majority, it is home to the largest christian minority in Palestine. The church of nativity, seen in the middle of this postcard, attracts thousands of christian pilgrims to the town each year. Certainly a great postcard to add to my collection, thank you Zuhair!
From Laimute in Vilnius, Lithuania I received this awesome postcard. I was especially pleased to receive this postcard, as it had been a Postcrossing favourite of mine. It is my 2nd Postcrossing favourite to be sent to me by a user on the site, along with the London Eye that I received last week. Laimute tells me that this postcard was part of a Lithuanian postcrossers project in 2012 but I don’t exactly know or understand what the project was about. If there is someone that knows about the project and that can shed some light on it, please feel free to leave me a comment.
Arthur from Stockholm, Sweden sent me this postcard of an island off the coast of Sweden. Most of us don’t think of Sweden as an island nation but most of us would clearly be wrong. According to a survey done in 2001, Sweden has a total of 221 800 islands! The size of these islands collectively, do however, take away from the grand impression the sheer number gives you. They are collectively 60500km2. According to EU classification, most of these islands would be considered no more than rocks in the sea. The EU requires that an island be at least 1km2 in size, must be more than 1km from the coast of the mainland, must not be permanently connected to the mainland, must be home to at least 50 people and must not house the capital of an EU nation. Of these great many islands, buildings were found on 7032, which were mostly holiday homes and only 1143 were inhabited islands. Furthermore, only 593 were larger than 1km2. It was after much debate was had about the number of islands that the Swedish National Rural Development Agency came up with their own set of criteria and found that only 576 of the 221 800 islands can actually be considered islands. Interesting hey? You’re welcome!
This awesome postcard showing a Dutch map of the island of Formosa and the islands of Pescadores (now Penghu County) came to me all the way from Paoli in Taipei. The map is presumably of the Dutch period of ruling Formosa between 1624 & 1662. I cannot say that before I received this postcard I had ever heard of Formosa but let’s just say that the Republic of China, Chinese Taipei or more commonly, Taiwan, now has yet another name in my mind. It truly is amazing how much one can learn about the world through postcards! Thank you Paoli!
Karin from Bad Kreuznach, Germany sent me this postcard of the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria. With a wonderland of stunning gardens, Schönbrunn Palace has been one of the biggest tourist attractions in Austria since the 1960’s. This palace with a staggering 1441 rooms was once the summer home of the Habsburg dynasty. On 8 October 2003, a commemorative 10 Euro silver coin was minted with the palace’s center on it. I have the postcard, now all I need is the coin! Thanks Karin!
Jomanne, who sent me my first postcard from the Philippines also sent me this one of a carabao plow. It reminds me of an episode of The Amazing Race where the Americans on the show had to plow a field with a carabao. All I can say is that when they did it, it looked much harder than this show-off on the postcard makes it look. Jomanne tells me that as a youngster he would watch farmers on his grandfather’s farm do their work and even ride the carabaos, which seems rather fun. Thanks once more for a great postcard and a lot of fun facts, written in the neatest and certainly tiniest of handwritings, Jomanne.
At long last a postcard from Kazakhstan arrived! Oxana from Almaty and I arranged the swap in February already but the South African postal service had a different timeline in store for this postcard’s arrival. Kazakhstan is a Central-Asian country, which is also kind of the big brother of all it’s smaller and lesser-known neighbours. It of course gained infamy in much of the world as a result of Sacha Baron Cohen’s famous character, Borat. But it shocks me that people believe that the character gives any sort of indication of what Kazakhstan is like. It’s economy is a booming one with economic growth rate of between 8.9% and 13.5% between 2000 and 2007, with a slight slump in 2008 & 2009 and a serious comeback afterwards. It is modernising in many ways and has a high Human Development Index score. What do I have to say to people who only have its so-called “backwardness” as depicted by a fictional character in mind… Wake up! Rant over. Thank you Oxana for the lovely postcard!
From a Belarusian lady who calls herself “Mrs. Brownstone” on Postcrossing, I received this stunning postcard. This pretty building in the Belarus’s capital of Minsk has been home to Belarusian opera and ballet since 1933. Not only that but it has the longest official name of any building that I have ever seen. It’s called the “National Academic BIG Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus.” I can only imagine a man coming home from work and asking his wife if she would like to go to the National Academic Big Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republ… “Nevermind, it’s bedtime now.” But those Belarusians are a smart lot, in order to save precious time, they just call it Opierny Teatr. See, a lot of time saved! The building does look inviting and with the many times I have been told to visit Belarus and being told which places I should see, I think an itinerary is certainly coming together!
Anna in the tiny country of Slovenia sent me this postcard of the city of Ptuj. I would sooner call Ptuj a town, since it only has 23 000 residents. I always like aerial shots of Slovenia, as it always seems like such a magical little country. It was first settled during the stone age and then later, during the iron age, the celts settled in this region. By the first century BC, it was part of ancient Rome. With a long and turbulent history, Ptuj has seen Celts come and go, Romans, the Huns, the Eurasion Avars, Slavic tribes, the Franks, the Styrians, the Austria, the Turks and the Germans at one stage or another called this area home or tried to kill those who did call it home. It does seem like a place with an incredible history. Thanks Anna!
From a country that I have loved since I can remember comes this postcard of Heidelberg. Incidentally, the town in which I was born is also called Heidelberg, the only differences are that the one on the postcard are about 8000 km apart, a population difference of about 120 000 people is also apparent and then of course, there is no Rhine in this Heidelberg. So, basically they are 2 totally different towns that have only their names in common. At any rate, this postcard comes from Julia who tells me that Heidelberg has 150 000 inhabitants and that she loves it for its international flair. She also calls it a small town but I’m not totally sure that I could agree with that. Unless by German or European standards this is a small town, I’d like to invite Julia to come see what a small town looks like, in South Africa’s version of Heidelberg! Anyway, thank you Julia!