FI-1231769 273 - ая открытка

Country: Finland

Distance: 658 km

Travel time:  11 days

On postcard: We two belong together!



NL-838686 272 - ая открытка

Country: Netherlands

Distance: 1,100 km

Travel time:  6 days

On postcard: Scherpenzeel

Scherpenzeel is a municipality and a town in the Dutch province of Gelderland. As of June 2008, it has a population of 8945, with approximately 6000 possessing suffrage. The community of Scherpenzeel also contains a part of the hamlet Moorst.

Centuries ago, what is now the Netherlands was still a collection of small states, ruled by bishops, earls, dukes, and lords. These rulers were constantly at war over territory, causing fortifications and defenses to be built in border areas. This was the case in the Veluwe hills, which lay along the border of what is now Utrecht and Gelderland, where many castles and fortresses were constructed as safe havens. Hence, the name "Scherpenzeel", formerly known as "Scarpenzele", allows us to infer that there was a settlement built around a house ("zele") with sharpened poles ("scarpen"), the prototype of an old castle.

The possession of Scherpenzeel was at various times claimed by either Gelderland or Utrecht, but it has now been a part of Gelderland since 1830.



BE-120965 271 - ая открытка

Country: Belgium

Distance: 1,241 km

Travel time:  3 days

On postcard: Brussels Town Hall

The Town Hall (French: Hôtel de Ville, Dutch: Stadhuis) of the City of Brussels is a Gothic building from the Middle Ages. It is located on the famous Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium.

The oldest part of the present Town Hall is its east wing (to the left, when facing the front). This wing, together with a small belfry, was built from 1402 to 1420 under direction of Jacob van Thienen, and future additions were not originally foreseen. However, the admission of the craft guilds into the traditionally patrician city government probably spurred interest in expanding the building. A second, shorter wing was completed within five years of Charles the Bold laying its first stone in 1444. The right wing was built by Guillaume (Willem) de Voghel who in 1452 also built the Magna Aula.

The 96 metre (310 ft) high tower in Brabantine Gothic style emerged from the plans of Jan van Ruysbroek, the court architect of Philip the Good. By 1455 this tower had replaced the older belfry. Above the roof of the Town Hall, the square tower body narrows to a lavishly pinnacled octagonal openwork. Atop the spire stands a 5 metre-high gilt metal statue of the archangel Michael, patron saint of Brussels, slaying a dragon or devil. The tower, its front archway and the main building facade are conspicuously off-centre relative to one another. According to legend, the architect upon discovering this "error" leapt to his death from the tower. More likely, the asymmetry of the Town Hall was an accepted consequence of the scattered construction history and space constraints.

The facade is decorated with numerous statues representing nobles, saints, and allegorical figures. The present sculptures are reproductions; the older ones are in the city museum in the "King's House" across the Grand Place.

After the bombardment of Brussels in 1695 by a French army under the Duke of Villeroi, the resulting fire completely gutted the Town Hall, destroying the archives and the art collections. The interior was soon rebuilt, and the addition of two rear wings transformed the L-shaped building into its present configuration: a quadrilateral with an inner courtyard completed by Corneille Van Nerven in 1712. The Gothic interior was revised by Victor Jamar in 1868 in the style of his mentor Viollet-le-Duc. The halls have been replenished with tapestries, paintings, and sculptures, largely representing subjects of importance in local and regional history.

The Town Hall accommodated not only the municipal authorities of the city, but until 1795 also the States of Brabant. From 1830, a provisional government assembled here during the Belgian Revolution.



HK-40621 270 - ая открытка

Country: Hong Kong

Distance: 8,176 km

Travel time:  15 days

On postcard: Legislative Council of Hong Kong

The Legislative Council Building (Chinese: 立法會大樓, former 立法局大樓) of Hong Kong, also called the Former Supreme Court Building (前最高法院大樓), was the home of the former Supreme Court until 1985, when it was renamed and became home to the Legislative Council of Hong Kong. Members of the Council and the President have offices in this building. It is located in Central Hong Kong, along the eastern side of Statue Square, directly west of Chater Garden.

The Exterior of the Old Supreme Court is one of the declared monuments of Hong Kong.

The building was designed by Sir Aston Webb and Ingress Bell, the British architect responsible for the eastern façade of Buckingham Palace and the Cromwell Road frontage of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

It was built on reclaimed land, and opened on 15 January 1912. The two-storey granite building is neo-classical in style supported by Ionic columns. It is surmounted by a blind-folded statue of Justice, represented by the Themis, the Greek Goddess of Justice and Law. This statue is a replica of the one erected on the Old Bailey of London.

In 1978, this building was severely affected by the construction of MTR; therefore, it had to undergo some restoration afterwards.

For a time in the 1980s, the Supreme Court was moved to the Former French Mission Building, which was then used by the Victoria District Court.

The Supreme Court of Hong Kong was moved to the Supreme Court Building, Hong Kong after 1985 and remained there until 1997. It is now renamed the High Court Building.

Following the move to the Tamar site in 2011, the current building will revert to the home to the Court of Final Appeal.



TH-85411 269 - ая открытка

Country: Thailand

Distance: 8,091 km

Travel time:  26 days

On postcard: Auto rickshaw

The auto rickshaw, called tuk-tuk (Thai: ตุ๊กตุ๊ก) in Thailand, is a widely used form of urban transport in Bangkok and other Thai cities, as well as other major Southeast Asian and South Asian cities. It is particularly popular where traffic congestion is a major problem, such as in Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima.

Bangkok and other cities in Thailand have many tuk-tuks which are a more open variation on the India auto-rickshaw. There are no meters, and trip costs are negotiated in advance. Bangkok fares have risen to nearly equal normal taxis due to uninformed foreigners willing to pay the asking price, but leaves passengers more exposed to environmental pollution than taxis. The solid roof is so low that the tuk-tuk is a difficult touring vehicle. Today few locals take one unless they are burdened with packages.

The Thai tuk tuk is starting to change from the old smoke-spewing vehicle of yesteryear. Many Thai Tuk Tuk companies now produce Low Emission vehicles, and even old ones are having new Engines fitted along with LPG conversions. In an early morning of Bangkok, these same passenger vehicles can be seen busily transporting fresh produce around the city. The new tuk tuks also have wet weather sides to keep passengers and drivers dry.

The Thai auto-rikshaw manufacturers are, Monika Motors Ltd., TukTuk (Thailand) Co., Ltd., TukTuk Forwerder Co., Ltd.Bangkok and MMW Tuk-Tuks Co.,Ltd. in Hua Hin. Smaller manufacturers are the Chinnaraje Co., Ltd. in Chiang Mai and the Expertise Co., Ltd. in Chonburi which is manufacturing its models in Komaki, Japan, also.



NL-814381 268 - ая открытка

Country: Netherlands

Distance: 1,246 km

Travel time:  16 days



Дом-музей И.И.Левитана, Плёс, Россия

Дом-музей великого русского художника-пейзажиста Исаака Ильича Левитана один из наиболее популярных музеев на Волге, открылся 25 августа 1972 г. в доме, принадлежавшем до революции купцу Солодовникову.
В этом доме художник жил и работал летом 1888 - 1889 гг. вместе со своими друзьями-художниками Алексеем Степановичем Степановым и Софьей Петровной Кувшинниковой.

Путешествуя по Волге в поисках сильных художественных впечатлений, Левитан неожиданно для себя открыл красоты маленького, тихого городка, который вдохновил художника на создание таких шедевров русской пейзажной живописи, как "Тихая обитель", "После дождя. Плес", "Вечер. Золотой плес", "Березовая роща", "Свежий ветер. Волга", "Над вечным покоем"...

Прославленный кистью Левитана Плес привлекал и многих других художников. Здесь жил и работал известный баталист В.В. Верещагин, работали А.М. Корин, В.М. Бакшеев, С.А. Виноградов, А.В. Маковский, проездом был И.Е. Репин. Музей И.И. Левитана имеет два экспозиционных зала. Материалы первого знакомят с творческой биографией художника, во втором размещены подлинные работы И.И. Левитана, А.С. Степанова, С.П. Кувшинниковой. Наверху, в мезонине, мемориальная комната, где жили И.И. Левитан, А.С. Степанов, С.П. Кувшинникова.



RU-583017 267 - ая открытка

Country: Russia

Distance: 3,025 km

Travel time:  21 days

On postcard: Таёжный ковёр



ES-134812 266 - ая открытка

Country: Spain

Distance: 2,271 km

Travel time:  7 days



RU-589838 265 - ая открытка

Country: Russia

Distance: 3,827 km

Travel time:  13 days

On postcard: Народная бесплатная библиотека

Народная бесплатная библиотека открыта в 1884 году по инициативе основанного П. И. Макушиным Общества попечения о начальном образовании. Это была первая в России городская бесплатная библиотека. Средства для нее добровольно вносили не только томичи, но и сибиряки, проживающие в других городах. В 1887 году на углу улицы Духовской (К. Маркса) и Хомяковского (1905 года) переулка специально для библиотеки построено двухэтажное кирпичное здание. Финансировал строительство купец С. С. Валгусов - хаит или селькуп по национальности. Кроме библиотеки в здании размещались музей прикладных знаний (открыт в 1892 году), рисовальные классы, субсидируемые Академией художеств, две начальные школы на 120 учеников, рукодельная школа для окончивших городские приходские училища. Кроме того, был образован кружок любителей драматического искусства, пропагандирующий русскую классику. Ежегодно в школьных аудиториях проводились народные чтения, которые пользовались большой популярностью у томичей. В послевоенные годы здание библиотеки передано под кинотеатр имени И. Черных. Рядом виден двухэтажный дом (слева от библиотеки), построенный в 1898 году для раз- растающейся коллекции музея прикладных знаний. В 1908 году там начало действовать Общество изучения Сибири при активном участии Г. Н. Потанина, В. А. Обручева и М. Б. Шатилова (впоследствии первого директора Томского краеведческого музея). В двадцатые годы этнографические и художественные собрания музея прикладных' знаний были вывезены .в Новосибирск.



BY-261062 264 - ая открытка

Country: Belarus

Distance: 458 km

Travel time:  5 days

On postcard: Sculptures in Minsk

Повозка губернатора Захария Корнеева («Экипаж») Автор памятника – белорусский скульптор Владимир Иванович Жбанов. Эта скульптурная композиция находится на площади Свободы перед зданием Ратуши и представляет собой бронзовую повозку, запряжённую лошадьми. В такой повозке (многие думают, что это карета) ездил в своё время минский градоначальник Захарий Яковлевич Корнеев (1748 – 1828). Захарий Корнеев был первым гражданским губернатором Минской губернии и Минска, сенатором, тайным советником, действительным статским советником, попечителем Харьковского университета, писателем. Почему памятника удостоился не сам Захарий Яковлевич, а его кони, – остаётся загадкой.

Девочка с зонтом — скульптурная композиция в Минске, в Михайловском парке около Привокзальной площади. Автор —Владимир Иванович Жбанов.



EE-117032 263 - ая открытка

Country: Estonia

Distance: 389 km

Travel time:  11 days



DE-1079044 262 - ая открытка

Country: Germany

Distance: 1,066 km

Travel time:  9 days

On postcard: Munich

Munich (German: MünchenAustro-Bavarian: Minga) is the capital city of Bavaria, Germany. It is located on the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps. Munich is the third largest city in Germany, behind Berlin and Hamburg. About 1.35 million people live within the city limits. Munich hosted the 1972 Summer Olympics.

The city's motto is "München mag Dich" (Munich likes you). Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" (Cosmopolitan city with a heart). Its native name, München, is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat of arms. Black and gold—the colours of the Holy Roman Empire—have been the city's official colours since the time of Ludwig the Bavarian.

Munich is not the only location within Bavaria known as "München". Three such locations exist: one that is known as "Munich", another that is located northeast of the city of Nuremberg, and a third, Hutthurm, that is located north of Passau.

Modern Munich is a financial and publishing hub, and a frequently top-ranked destination for migration and expatriate location in livability rankings. Munich achieved 7th place in frequently quoted Mercer livability rankings in 2010. For economic and social innovation, the city was ranked 15th globally out of 289 cities in 2010, and 5th in Germany by the 2thinknow Innovation Cities Index based on analysis of 162 indicators. In 2010, Monocle ranked Munich as the world's most livable city.


Origin and Middle Ages own

The year 1164 is assumed to be the foundation date, which is only the earliest date the city is mentioned in a document. The document was signed in Augsburg. By that time the Guelph Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, had built a bridge over the river Isar next to a settlement of Benedictine monks—this was on the Salt Route and a toll bridge.

Almost two decades later in 1175 Munich was officially granted city status and received fortification. In 1180, with the trial of Henry the Lion,Otto I Wittelsbach became Duke of Bavaria and Munich was handed over to the Bishop of Freising. Wittelsbach's heirs, the Wittelsbach dynasty, would rule Bavaria until 1918. In 1240, Munich was transferred to Otto II Wittelsbach and in 1255, when the Duchy of Bavaria was split in two, Munich became the ducal residence of Upper Bavaria.

Duke Louis IV was elected German king in 1314 and crowned as Holy Roman Emperor in 1328. He strengthened the city's position by granting it the salt monopoly, thus assuring it of additional income. In the late 15th century Munich underwent a revival of gothic arts—the Old Town Hall was enlarged, and a Munich's largest gothic church, now a cathedral—the Frauenkirche—constructed in only twenty years, starting in 1468.

Capital of reunited Bavaria

When Bavaria was reunited in 1506, Munich became its capital. The arts and politics became increasingly influenced by the court (see Orlando di Lasso, Heinrich Schuetz and later Mozart and Richard Wagner). During the 16th century Munich was a centre of the German counter reformation, and also of renaissancearts. Duke Wilhelm V commissioned the Jesuit Michaelskirche, which became a centre for the counter-reformation, and also built the Hofbräuhaus for brewing brown beer in 1589. The Catholic League was founded in Munich in 1609. In 1623 during the Thirty Years' War Munich became electoral residence whenMaximilian I, Duke of Bavaria was invested with the electoral dignity but in 1632 the city was occupied byGustav II Adolph of Sweden. When the bubonic plague broke out in 1634 and 1635 about one third of the population died. Under the regency of the Bavarian electors Munich was an important centre of baroque life but also had to suffer under Habsburg occupations in 1704 and 1742.

In 1806, the city became the capital of the new Kingdom of Bavaria, with the state's parliament (the Landtag)and the new archdiocese of Munich and Freising being located in the city. Twenty years later Landshut University was moved to Munich. Many of the city's finest buildings belong to this period and were built under the first three Bavarian kings. Later Prince Regent Luitpold's years as regent were marked by tremendous artistic and cultural activity in Munich (see Franz von Stuck and Der Blaue Reiter).

World War I through World War II

Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, life in Munich became very difficult, as the Allied blockade of Germany led to food and fuel shortages. During French air raids in 1916, three bombs fell on Munich. After World War I, the city was at the centre of much political unrest. In November 1918 on the eve of revolution, Ludwig III and his family fled the city. After the murder of the first republican premier of Bavaria Kurt Eisner in February 1919 by Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley, theBavarian Soviet Republic was proclaimed. When Communists had taken power, Lenin, who had lived in Munich some years before, sent a congratulatory telegram, but the Soviet Republic was put down on 3 May 1919 by the Freikorps. While the republican government had been restored, Munich subsequently became a hotbed of extremist politics, among whichAdolf Hitler and the National Socialism rose to prominence.

In 1923 Hitler and his supporters, who were then concentrated in Munich, staged the Beer Hall Putsch, an attempt to overthrow the Weimar Republic and seize power. The revolt failed, resulting in Hitler's arrest and the temporary crippling of the Nazi Party, which was virtually unknown outside Munich.

The city once again became a Nazi stronghold when the National Socialists took power in Germany in 1933. The National Socialist Workers Party created the first concentration camp at Dachau, 10 miles (16 km) north-west of the city. Because of its importance to the rise of National Socialism, Munich was referred to as the Hauptstadt der Bewegung ("Capital of the Movement"). The NSDAP headquarters was in Munich and many Führerbauten ("Führer-buildings") were built around the Königsplatz, some of which have survived to this day.

The city is known as the site of the culmination of the policy of appeasement employed by Britain and France leading up to World War II. It was in Munich that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain assented to the annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland region into Greater Germany in the hopes of sating the desires of Hitler's Third Reich.

Munich was the base of the White Rose, a student resistance movement from June 1942 to February 1943. The core members were arrested and executed following a distribution of leaflets in Munich University by Hans and Sophie Scholl.

The city was heavily damaged by allied bombing during World War II—the city was hit by 71 air raids over a period of six years.


After US occupation in 1945, Munich was completely rebuilt following a meticulous and – by comparison to other war-ravaged West German cities – rather conservative plan which preserved its pre-war street grid. In 1957 Munich's population passed the 1 million mark.

Munich was the site of the 1972 Summer Olympics, during which Israeli athletes were assassinated by Palestinian terrorists in the Munich massacre, when gunmen from the Palestinian "Black September" terrorist group took hostage members of the Israeli Olympic team.

Most Munich residents enjoy a high quality of life. Mercer HR Consulting consistently rates the city among the top 10 cities with the highest quality of life worldwide—a 2007 survey ranked Munich as 8th. The same company also ranks Munich as the world's 39th most expensive city to live in and the most expensive major city in Germany. Munich enjoys a thriving economy, driven by the information technology, biotechnology, and publishing sectors. Environmental pollution is low, although as of 2006 the city council is concerned about levels of particulate matter (PM), especially along the city's major thoroughfares. Since the enactment of EU legislation concerning the concentration of particulate in the air, environmental groups such as Greenpeace have staged large protest rallies to urge the city council and the State government to take a harder stance on pollution.Today, the crime rate is low compared to other large German cities, such as Hamburg or Berlin. This high quality of life and safety has caused the city to be nicknamed "Toytown" amongst the English-speaking residents. German inhabitants call it "Millionendorf", an expression which means "village of a million people".

Hofbräuhaus and Oktoberfest

The Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, arguably the most famous beer hall worldwide, is located in the city centre. It also operates the second largest tent at the Oktoberfest, one of Munich's most famous attractions. For two weeks, the Oktoberfest attracts millions of people visiting its beer tents ("Bierzelte") and fairground attractions. The Oktoberfest was first held on 12 October 1810 in honour of the marriage of crown prince Ludwig to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festivities were closed with a horse race and in the following years the horse races were continued and later developed into what is now known as the Oktoberfest. Despite its name, most of Oktoberfest occurs in September. It always finishes on the first Sunday in October unless the German national holiday on 3 October ("Tag der deutschen Einheit"-Day of German Unity) is a Monday or Tuesday-then the Oktoberfest remains open for these days.

Culinary specialities

Weisswürste with süßer Senf (sweetmustard) and a Brezn (Pretzel).

The Weißwurst ('white sausage') is a Munich speciality. Traditionally eaten only before 12:00 noon – a tradition dating to a time before refrigerators – these morsels are often served with sweet mustard and freshly baked pretzels. Leberkäs, Bavarian baked sausage loaf, often served with potato salad, is another delicacy of the region.

The most famous soup might be the Leberknödel Soup. Leberknödel is a bread dumpling seasoned with liver and onions.

Schweinsbraten (pot roasted pork) with Knödel (dumplings made from potatoes and/or white bread) and Kraut (cabbage) or a Schweinshaxe(pork knuckle) are served as lunch or dinner. Beuscherl, a plate of lung, heart and spleen is also served with dumplings.

Popular as dessert is the Apfelstrudel (apple) strudel with vanilla sauce, the Millirahmstrudel a cream cheese strudel, Dampfnudeln (yeast dumplings served with custard) or Auszogene, a fried pastry shaped like a large donut but without a hole. And there is also the famousPrinzregententorte created in honour of the prince regent Luitpold.

Some specialities are typical cold dishes served in beergardens: Obatzda is a Bavarian cheese delicacy, a savoury blend of smashed mellow camembert prepared with cream cheese, cut onions and spicy paprika (and sometimes some butter). It's often served in the beer gardens along with Radi, white radish cut in thin slices and salted, and Münchner Wurstsalat, Munich's famous sausage salad with thinly sliced Knackwurst marinated in vinegar and oil with onions on a bed of lettuce. Popular grilled meals include Steckerlfisch which is usually Mackerel, but may also be a local fish, such as trout or whitefish, speared on a wooden stick, grilled and smoked on charcoal—the typical feature is the crispy skin. Another classic is A hoibs Hendl (half a grilled chicken). A Mass (die Maß) is a litre of beer, a Radler consists of half beer and half lemonade.

Local beers

Munich is famous for its breweries and the Weissbier (or Weizenbier, wheat beer) is a speciality from Bavaria. Helles with its translucent gold colour is the most popular Munich beer today, although it’s not old (only introduced in 1895). Helles and Pils have almost ousted the Munich Dark Beer (Dunkles), which gets its dark colour from burnt malt, the most popular beer in Munich within the 19th century. Starkbier is the strongest Munich beer, containing 6–9 percent alcohol. It is dark amber and has a heavy malty taste. It is available and popular during the Lenten Starkbierzeit (strong beer season), which begins on or before St. Joseph’s Day (19 March). There are around 20 major beer gardens, with four of the most famous and popular being located in the Englischer Garten and the largest one in the Hirschgarten.



DE-1073790 261 - ая открытка

Country: Germany

Distance: 1,128 km

Travel time:  13 days

On postcard: Sometimes things go up and down...but I´m always there for you!



CZ-138400 260 - ая открытка

Country: Czech Republic

Distance: 764 km

Travel time:  9 days


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FI-1220012 259 - ая открытка

Country: Finland

Distance: 560 km

Travel time:  11 days



IT-150890 258 - ая открытка

Country: Italy

Distance: 1,419 km

Travel time:  13 days

On postcard: Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca, Bologna

The Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca is a basilica church in Bologna, northern Italy, sited atop Colle or Monte della Guardia, in a forested hill some 300 metres above the plain, just south-west of the historical centre of the city.

While a road now leads up to the sanctuary, it is also possible to reach it by traversing a long (3.5 km) monumental roofed arcade (Portico di San Luca) consisting of 666 arches, which was built in 1674-1793. It was meant to protect the icon as it was paraded up the hill. A yearly procession proceed from the church of San Pietro in the centre of Bologna to the Sanctuary along this path. Originally the arches held icons or chapels erected by the patron family.

The Sanctuary was meant to house a miraculous icon of the virgin. A church or chapel existed atop the hill for about a thousand years. The present church was constructed in 1723 using designs of Carlo Francesco Dotti. The lateral external tribunes were built by Carlo Francesco's son Giovanni Giacomo using his father's plans. The centrally planned sanctuary has painted artworks byDomenico Pestrini, Donato Creti (2nd chapel on right); Guido Reni (Assumption in 3rd altar on right), Giuseppe Mazza in chapel of St. Anthony of Padua, Vittorio Bigari (frescoes), and Guercino (sacristy). Stucco works are by A. Borelli and G. Calegari and statues by A. Piò.



FI-1222581 257 - ая открытка

Country: Finland

Distance: 755 km

Travel time:  8 days



GR-20841 256 - ая открытка

Country: Greece

Distance: 1,653 km

Travel time:  15 days

On postcard: Komotini

Komotini (Greek: Κομοτηνή, Turkish: Gümülcine) is a city in Thrace, northeastern Greece. It is the capital of the periphery of East Macedonia and Thrace and of the Rhodope peripheral unit. It is also the administrative center of the Rhodope-Evros super-prefecture. The city is home to the Democritus University of Thrace, founded in 1973. Komotini is home to a sizeable Turkish-speaking minority, which constitutes 50% of the city's population.


The city stands at an altitude of 32-38m on the Thracian plain near the foothills of the Rhodope Mountains. There is little urban planning in the older parts of city, in contrast to more recently developed quarters. According to the 2001 census, the municipality's population amounts to 61,501, a number that does not include approximately 13,000 resident students, trainees and soldiers. There are two airports near Komotini. The nearest is in Alexandroupoli (65 km), and the other is in Kavala (80 km). It has rail and bus links to all continental Greek cities as well as Istanbul, and the good provincial road network has been supplemented by the new Egnatia Odosmotorway.



Komotini has existed as a settlement since the 2nd century AD. That is confirmed by archaeological finds of that era up until the 4th century. It is also confirmed by an inscription on the ruins of the 4th-century Byzantine wall, that are visible at various sites in the city, which reads "Theodosiou Ktisma" = Building of Theodosius. The inscription was discovered by the Komotini-born Prof. Stilponas Kyriakidis and the then mayor Sofocles Komninos. It is said that the township 'Komotini' originates from the 5th century and is linked to the daughter of the painter Parrasios from Maroneia. During the Roman age it was one of the several fortresses along the Via Egnatiahighway which existed in the Thrace area. The most important city of that period was neighbouring Maximianopolis, former ThracianPorsulis or Paesoulae (which was renamed to Mosynopolis in the 9th century). Komotini was a Via Egnatia hub on its northern route through the Nymphaea Pass which lead to the Ardas Valley, Philippopolis (modern Plovdiv) and Byzantine Berroe (modern Stara Zagora).

Eastern Roman/Byzantine Era

The city's history is closely connected with that of Via Egnatia, the Roman trunk road which connected Dyrrhachium with Constantinople. The Roman emperor Theodosius I built a small rectilinear fortress on the road at a junction with a route leading north across the Rhodope Mountainstoward Philippopolis. During the Byzantine period, the city belonged to the Theme of Macedonia, whilst from the 9th century it could be found within the newly founded theme of Boleron. For most of its early existence the settlement was overshadowed by the larger town of Mosynopolis to the west, and by the end of the 12th century, the place had been completely abandoned. In 1207 following the destruction of Mosynopolis by theBulgarian tsar Kaloyan, the remnant population fled and established themselves within the walls of the abandoned fortress. Since then the population had been increasing continuously until it became an important town within the area. In 1331 John Kantakouzenos referred to her asKoumoutzina in his account of the Byzantine civil war of 1321–1328. In 1332 Andronikos III Palaiologos set camp in Komotini to face Umur Beyof Smyrna at the Panagia village close to the Panagia Vathirryakos (Fatirgiaka) monastery. However, Umur departed without a battle. In 1341 the historian Nikephoros Phokas referred to the town with its current name. In 1343, during the civil war between John VI Kantakouzenos and John V Palaiologos, Komotini along with the neighbouring forts of Asomatos, Paradimi, Kranovouni and Stylario joined Kantakouzenos' side. John VI Kantakouzenos escaped to Komotini to survive from a battle with the army of the Bulgarian brigand Momchil near the already ruined Mosynopolis.

Ottoman Era

In the Ottoman Era, Komotini was known as Gümülcine or Ghumurdjina. The city continued to be an important hub connecting the capital city of Constantinople with the European part of the Empire, and grew accordingly. Many monuments in the city today date to this era. In 1361, Gazi Evrenos conquered the town and thus a long period of Ottoman rule began. Many local families fled at that time to Epirus and founded the Koumoutzades village (modern Ammotopos, Arta). Even there they were persecuted and some of them found refuge in Tropaia of Gortynia. The bond between the inhabitants of Komotini, Ammotopos and Tropaia exists to this day. Komotini then belonged to the Edirne villayet and was the seat of the Komotini Kaza. After the end of the Ottoman rule, the town extended its boundaries beyond its walls. Komotini maintained its mostly Greek profile up to the end of the 16th century. In 1548 the French tourist Pierre Bellon stated that "the city is inhabited by Greeks and a few Muslims". Mass relocation of Uruks from the depths of Asia Minor and the islamisation of Pomaks were required to reinforce the Muslim population of the city. A Jewish community has also been described. During the Ottoman rule many armed insurgent Greek groups existed in the area, which forced Ahmed III to order their dissolution with poor results. During the Greek War of Independence Komotini's inhabitants contributed substantially with Ioannikios (later bishop), Aggelis Kirzalis and Captain Stavros Kobenos (members of the Filiki Eteria organisation). During the following decades Komotini progressed financially due to the processing and trade of tobacco. Greeks took advantage of the religious liberty granted by the Ottomans and completely controlled the economic activity of the city. The mansions that can be found today in the streets of Komotini (such as Stalios, Malliopoulos, Peidis) were built in that era. After the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, a new wave of Muslim refugees arrived in Komotini. During that period the area found itself under Bulgarian pressure which originated in the rise of Bulgarian nationalism. In 1880 a Girls School and a Boys Urban School were functioning. In 1885 the cultural association 'Omonoia' was founded and it contributed in the cultural life of the city by presenting theatrical plays and concerts. Great benefactors such as Nestor Tsanaklis (builder of the Tsanakleios School, Dimitrios Sintos etc. rose during that era. Remarkable people that were born in Komotini include Alexandros Symeonidis (Professor of Medicine at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) and Victoria Margaritopoulou (one of the first Greek female doctors).

Jewish Community

Writings in the area of ancient Maroneia confirm the presence of Jews in the area. In the 16th century the Jewish community of Komotini consisted of Sephardite Jews who were textile and wool merchants. Many of the Jews had come to Komotini as immigrants from Edirne and Thessaloniki. The community was concentrated within the ancient walls of the city where the Synagogue was built in the 18th century. It was destroyed during WWII. In 1900 there were 1,200 Jews. In 1910 the Alliance Israelite Universelle School started functioning. Greek, French and Hebrew were taught in the school. In 1912–13 many Jews moved to larger cities such as Thessaloniki and Istanbul. After the liberation of Komotini (May 1920) the Israelite community of Komotini had a Cultural Club and Charity organisations. During the Bulgarian occupation, the Bulgarians (Nazi allies) arrested 863  Jews and sent them to the concentration camp of Treblinka where they were exterminated (28 survived the Holocaust). In 1958 the Israelite community was dissolved due to lack of members. In 2004 the municipality of Komotini created a memorial (southern entrance of Central Park) for the victims of the Holocaust.

First Balkan War

During the First Balkan War, Bulgarian forces captured the city, only to surrender it to the Greek army during the Second Balkan War on July 14, 1913. In this period, a short-lived independent state, the Provisional Government of Western Thrace, was established in Western Thrace. Komotini was declared as capital city of that state. The Treaty of Bucharest, however, handed the city back to Bulgaria. Despite various schemes by Greek inhabitants to avoid Bulgarian occupation, the city was part of Bulgaria until the end of World War I. During this period, the city had the Bulgarian name Гюмюрджина Gyumyurdzina. In 1919, in the Treaty of Neuilly, Komotini was handed back to Greece, along with the rest of Western Thrace.

Modern Komotini

Komotini is, nowadays, a thriving commercial and administrative centre. It is heavily centralised with the majority of commerce and services based around the historical core of the city. Getting around on foot is therefore very practical. However, traffic can be remarkably heavy due to the daily commute. In the past, a river used to divide Komotini into two parts. In the 1970s, after repeated flooding episodes it was eventually diverted and replaced by the main avenues of the city.

Heart of the City

At the heart of the city lie the evergreen Municipal Central Park and the 15 m-high WW2 Heroes' Memorial, locally known as 'The Sword'. The revamped Central square or Plateia Irinis (Square of Peace) is the focus of a vibrant nightlife boosted by the huge number of students living in the city. The Old commercial centre is very popular with tourists as it houses traditional shops and workshops that have long vanished from other Greek cities. In addition, in the northwestern outskirts of the city (Nea Mosinoupoli) locals and tourists alike flock into a modern shopping plaza: Kosmopolis Park, which houses department stores, shops, supermarkets, a cinema complex, cafés and restaurants. The area stretching from Kosmopolis to Ifaistos is gradually becoming a retail destination in its own right.

Culture and Entertainment

Komotini began life as a Byzantine Fortress built by the Emperor Theodosius in the 4th century AD. The ruins of this quadrangular structure can still be found NW of the central square. Komotini has several museums including the Archaeological, Byzantine and Folklore museums. SW of the central square one can find the Open-air Municipal Theatre, which hosts many cultural shows and events such as the cultural summer (πολιτιστικό καλοκαίρι = politistiko kalokairi). There is a Regional Theatre (DIPETHE) whose company produces many plays all year round. 6 km NE of Komotini is the Nymfaia forest. It has recreational facilities which comprise trails, courts, playgrounds and space for environmental studies. The forest is divided by a paved road which leads to the ruins of yet another Byzantine fortress and the historical (WWII) fort of Nymfaia.



NL-805255 255 - ая открытка

Country: Netherlands

Distance: 980 km

Travel time:  19 days



FI-1212028 254 - ая открытка

Country: Finland

Distance: 570 km

Travel time:  10 days



SG-49122 253 - ая открытка

Country: Singapore

Distance: 9,432 km

Travel time:  7 days

On postcard: Ah Meng

Ah Meng (circa 18 June 1960 – 8 February 2008) (Chinese: 阿明) was a female Sumatran Orangutan and a tourism icon of Singapore. She was smuggled from Indonesia and kept illegally as a domestic pet before being recovered by a veterinarian in 1971. She was then eleven years old and was given a home at the Singapore Zoo.

Ah Meng was the head of her small clan, which lives in a large enclosure with about twenty other orangutans. She had five children and became a grandmother in 1990.

She belonged to the Sumatran Orangutan species, a rarer breed of orangutan now critically endangered due to illegal logging and poaching. There are about only 7,500 Sumatran Orangutans left in the wild in the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia. Ah Meng died on 8 February 2008.

Celebrity life

Family of Ah Meng and her offspring: (from left) Satria, Sayang and Riau

Ah Meng was the poster girl of the Singapore Zoo. Pictures of her have been used in Singapore's tourism advertisements worldwide. She has also been featured in over 30 travel films and more than 300 articles. Some of the foreign dignitaries and celebrities that visited Ah Meng included Prince Philip and Michael Jackson.

Due to her early years being raised by a family, Ah Meng was more approachable by humans than other primates in her clan. Due to her interactive nature, she was the first to host the Zoo's 'Breakfast With Ah Meng' programme, whereby visitors would eat their morning meal and then have a photograph taken with the orangutan. By allowing visitors to interact closely with Ah Meng and other orangutans, the Singapore Zoo aims to raise public awareness of the importance of preserving the orangutan's natural habitat as well as of other environmental issues.

In 1992, the Singapore Tourism Promotion Board conferred Ah Meng a "Special Tourism Ambassador" award in recognition of her contribution to tourism in Singapore. She was the first non-human recipient of the award. She received a certificate and a stack of bananas.

As she aged, her public appearances became less frequent for fear of subjecting her to stress.


- In March 1982, during the shooting of a promotional video at MacRitchie Reservoir, Ah Meng climbed a tree and stayed there for three nights. On her way down, she fell seven stories and broke her right arm.

- In March 1992, Ah Meng attacked a research student who spent much time with Ah Meng's long-time keeper, Alagappasamy Chellaiyah. Though some individuals claim this was done out of "jealousy," human observers need to be very cautious of the emotions they attribute to animal behavior; this incident was not incited by the feeling of jealousy people are accustomed to.


Ah Meng died on 8 February 2008 due to old age. She was 48 years old, or 95 orangutan years, and is survived by two sons, Hsing Hsing and Satria, and three daughters, Medan, Hong Bao, and Sayang, as well as six grandchildren.

On 10 February 2008, a high-profile memorial service for Ah Meng was held before a crowd of 4000 visitors at the Singapore Zoo.

As a tribute to her, the next orangutan born at the Singapore Zoo will be named Ah Meng Junior. A durian tree will be planted at her grave because durian was her favourite fruit. A life-sized bronze statue forged in her image was also unveiled.



FI-1215797 252 - ая открытка

Country: Finland

Distance: 543 km

Travel time:  3 days

On postcard: Card by Lisi Martin – Happy Day of Friendship



US-1330427 251 - ая открытка

Country: USA

Distance: 6,414 km

Travel time:  5 days

On postcard: Cape Cod

Cape Cod, often referred to locally as simply the Cape, is a cape in the easternmost portion of the state of Massachusetts, in theNortheastern United States. It is coextensive with Barnstable County. Several small islands right off Cape Cod, including Monomoy Island, Monomoscoy Island, Popponesset Island, and Seconsett Island, are also in Barnstable County, being part of municipalities with land on the Cape. The Cape's historic and maritime character and ample beaches attract heavy tourism during the summer months.

Cape Cod was formed as the terminal moraine of a glacier, resulting in a peninsula in the Atlantic Ocean. In 1914, the Cape Cod Canal was cut through the base or isthmus of the peninsula, forming what may be loosely described as an island. The Cape Cod Commission refers to the resultant landmass as an island; as does the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in regards to disaster preparedness.

Unofficially, it is one of the biggest barrier islands in the world, shielding much of the Massachusetts coastline from North Atlantic storm waves. This protection helps to erode the Cape shoreline at the expense of cliffs, while protecting towns from Fairhaven toMarshfield.

Road vehicles from the mainland cross over the Cape Cod Canal via the Sagamore Bridge and the Bourne Bridge. The two bridges are parallel some four miles apart, with the Bourne Bridge to the west, and the Sagamore to the east. In addition, the Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge carries railway freight as well as tourist passenger services.

Geography and political divisions

The elevation of Cape Cod is from 306 feet (93 m), at the top of Pine Hill, in the Bourne portion of the Massachusetts Military Reservation to sea level.

The body of water located between Cape Cod and the mainland, bordered to the north by Massachusetts Bay, is Cape Cod Bay; west of Cape Cod is Buzzards Bay. The Cape Cod Canal, completed in 1916, connects Buzzards Bay to Cape Cod Bay; to shorten the trade route between New York and Boston by 62 miles. To the south of Cape Cod lie Nantucket Sound; Nantucketand Martha's Vineyard, both large islands, and the mostly privately owned Elizabeth Islands.

Cape Cod incorporates all of Barnstable County, which comprises 14 towns: Bourne, Sandwich, Falmouth, Mashpee, Yarmouth,Harwich, Dennis, Brewster, Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown and one city: Barnstable. Two of the county's fourteen towns (Bourne and Sandwich) include land on the mainland side of the Cape Cod Canal.

In the 17th century the designation Cape Cod applied only to the tip of the peninsula, essentially present-day Provincetown. Over the ensuing decades, the name came to mean all the land east of the Manomet and Scusset rivers - essentially the line of the 20th century Cape Cod Canal. Now, the complete towns of Bourne and Sandwich are widely considered to incorporate the full perimeter of Cape Cod, even though small parts of these towns are located on the west side of the canal. The canal divides the largest part of the peninsula from the mainland and the resultant landmass is loosely referred to as an island. Additionally some "Cape Codders" – residents of "The Cape" – refer to all land on the mainland side of the canal as "off-Cape."

For most of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, Cape Cod was considered to consist of three sections:

The Upper Cape is the part of Cape Cod closest to the mainland, comprising the towns of Bourne, Sandwich, Falmouth, andMashpee. Falmouth is the home of the famous Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Marine Biological Laboratory as well as several other research organizations, and is also the most-used ferry connection to Martha's Vineyard. Falmouth is composed of several separate villages, including East Falmouth, Falmouth Village, Hatchville, North Falmouth,Teaticket, Waquoit, West Falmouth, and Woods Hole, as well as several smaller hamlets that are incorporated into their larger neighbors (e.g., Davisville, Falmouth Heights, Quissett, Sippewissett, and others).

The Mid-Cape includes the towns of Barnstable, Yarmouth and Dennis (Not including Dennis Port). The Mid-Cape area features many beautiful beaches, including warm-water beaches along Nantucket Sound, e.g., Kalmus Beach in Hyannis, which gets its name from one of the inventors of Technicolor, Herbert Kalmus. This popular windsurfing destination was bequeathed to the town of Barnstable by Dr. Kalmus on condition that it not be developed, possibly one of the first instances of open-space preservation in the US. The Mid-Cape is also the commercial and industrial center of the region. There are seven villages in Barnstable, including Barnstable Village, Centerville, Cotuit, Hyannis, Marstons Mills, Osterville, and West Barnstable, as well as several smaller hamlets that are incorporated into their larger neighbors (e.g., Craigville, Cummaquid, Hyannisport, Santuit, Wianno, and others).The villages of Yarmouth are South Yarmouth, West Yarmouth and Yarmouth Port. There are five villages in Dennis including, North Dennis, East Dennis, and South Dennis. Dennis Port is considered to be a Lower Cape area.

The Lower Cape traditionally included all of the rest of the Cape, or the towns of Harwich, Brewster, Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown. Dennis Portwhich is a village of Dennis is said to be a part of the Lower Cape. The Lower Cape area includes the Cape Cod National Seashore, a national park comprising much of the outer Cape, including the entire east-facing coast, and is home to some of the most popular beaches in the United States, such as Coast Guard Beach and Nauset Light Beach in Eastham. Stephen Leatherman, aka "Dr. Beach", named Coast Guard Beach the 5th best beach in America for 2007. The major villages of Harwich are Harwich Port, Harwich Center, South Harwich, Pleasant Lake, West Harwich, East Harwich and North Harwich. Chatham's major villages are North Chatham, West Chatham and South Chatham. Brewster is mainly three areas South Brewster, West Brewster and Brewster (CDP). Orleans major villages are East Orleans and South Orleans. Eastham is mainly divided into North Eastham. Wellfleet major village is South Wellfleet. Truro main area is North Truro and Provincetown has one major village.

"Upper" and "Lower"

The terms "Upper" and "Lower" derive from early usage and reliance on scaled maps and charts. When one travelled to the east, one went down the scale (toward zero at Greenwich, England). On the other hand, travel to the west was up the scale. To this day, on nearby Martha's Vineyard, "Up Island" is the western section and "Down Island" is to the east. And in Maine, the eastern portion of the state is called "Down East." Also, prevailing fair weather winds out of the southwest have been used as the basis for the designations, as winds have traditionally been a basis for directional descriptions by European settlers and their descendants in eastern North America. That is, one would be travelling "down [wind]" to the east with a westerly wind at one's back.

The best known colloquial reference, however, is the "arm" shape of the peninsula as it appears on maps and charts, thus making the southern portion of the Cape the "Upper Arm",Orleans the "Elbow," and the north-south portion that is most like an Atlantic barrier island, the "Lower Arm." Some even refer to Provincetown as the "Hand," with its various points (e.g., the current Race Point, Wood End, and Long Point) as fingers.

In the late nineteenth century, as the Cape began drawing more vacationers and artists on retreat, the nautical nomenclature and potential negative connotation of referring to the towns from Orleans to Provincetown as the "Lower Cape," lost favor to the simpler "Outer Cape."