September 18, 2017

3153 POLAND (Podlaskie) / BELARUS (Grodno / Brest) - Białowieża Forest (UNESCO WHS)

The Białowieża Forest World Heritage site, on the border between Poland and Belarus, is one of the last and largest remaining parts of the immense primeval forest that once stretched across the European Plain. Situated on the watershed of the Baltic Sea and Black Sea, this transboundary property is exceptional for the opportunities it offers for biodiversity conservation. It is home to the largest population of the heaviest land animal of the continent, the European bison (Bison bonasus) (almost 25% of the total world's population).

September 17, 2017

3152 VIETNAM (Red River Delta) - Millennial Anniversary of Hanoi

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city by population (7.7 million people in 2015). In 1010, Lý Thái Tổ, the first ruler of the Lý Dynasty, moved the capital of Đại Việt (literally Great Viet) to the site of the Đại La Citadel. Claiming to have seen a dragon ascending the Red River, he renamed the site Thăng Long (Soaring Dragon) - a name still used poetically to this day. This is considered the birth date of Hanoi. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam.

September 16, 2017

3151 FRANCE (Saint Barthélemy) - Islets at sunset

Around the Saint Barthélemy island are several small satellite islets, generally rocky, uninhabited. Some of them are part of a marine nature reserve that covers 1.200 ha, and is divided into 5 zones all around the island to form a network of protected areas, established with the objective of conserving coral reefs, sea grass beds and marine life.

3150 MYANMAR (Mon State) - Kyaiktiyo Pagoda

Also known as Golden Rock, Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is a well-known Buddhist pilgrimage located in the northern part of the Tenasserim coast, at an elevation of 1,100 m above mean sea level, on top of the Kyaiktiyo hill, on the Paung-laung ridge of the Eastern Yoma mountains. It is a small pagoda (7.3m) built on the top of a granite boulder covered with gold leaves pasted on by its male devotees. Presently, women are not allowed into the inner sanctuary of the rocks vicinity, but are permitted in the outer balcony and the lower courtyard of the rock.

0433-0436, 1597, 3149 ITALY (Lombardy) - Milan

1597 Milan: 1. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II;
2.  Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral); 3. Teatro alla Scala; 4. Sforza Castle

Posted on 27.12.2012, 21.05.2015, 16.09.2017
Strategically placed at the gateway to the Italian peninsula, in the fertile Po Valley, Milan and the surrounding region of Lombardy have been the subject of constant disputes over the centuries. Celts, Romans, Goths, Lombards, Spaniards, French and Austrians have all ruled the city at some stage of its history and for the most part, the city has capitalised on its position and has emerged today as the undisputed industrial, commercial, financial and cultural powerhouse of Italy, and a leading global city, part of the so-called Blue Banana.

3149 Milan: 1.  Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral); 2. Teatro alla Scala;
3. Sforza Castle; 4. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II; 

The city is a major world fashion and design capital, and its museums, theatres and landmarks attracts over 6 million annual visitors. Because Milan has always been a rich city, it has been also a place full of famous artists and offers a particular assortment of buildings and monuments. There was a change of culture and art in the Renaissance with big a contribution in the period of the Neoclassicism.

0433 Milan - Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square)

The most important church is the Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral), dedicated to Saint Mary Nascent, the third largest church in the world. It occupies the most central site in Roman Mediolanum. Saint Ambrose's 'New Basilica' was built on this site at the beginning of the 5th century, with an adjoining basilica added in 836. The old baptistery, constructed in 335, still can be visited under the cathedral, being one of the oldest Christian buildings in Europe. When a fire damaged cathedral and basilica in 1075, they were later rebuilt as the Duomo.

0434 Milan - Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral)

In 1386, Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo began construction of the cathedral, following the newest trends in European architecture. A French chief engineer, Nicolas de Bonaventure, was appointed, adding to the church its Rayonnant Gothic, a French style not typical for Italy, and in 1399 another French architect, Jean Mignot, was called from Paris. Many others have contributed to the construction, because the cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete, the last gate being inaugurated in 1965. The plan consists of a nave with four side-aisles, crossed by a transept and then followed by choir and apse. The height of the nave is about 45m, the highest Gothic vaults of a complete church. The roof of the cathedral is renowned for the forest of openwork pinnacles and spires, set upon delicate flying buttresses.

0435 Milan - Aerial view of Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square)

The Duomo is located, of course, in Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square), the main piazza (square) of the city, created in the 14th century and gradually developed ever since. Its current plan is largely due to architect Giuseppe Mengoni, and dates back to the second half of the 19th century. The buildings that mark its sides, with the exception of the Duomo itself and the Royal Palace, were introduced by Mengoni's design, the most notable addition being the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II arcade. In the centre of the piazza was placed in 1896 the statue of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of the united Italy. The last major change to the piazza occurred during the Fascist era.

0436 Milan - Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is the oldest shopping mall in Italy, originally designed in 1861 and built by the same Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877. The structure is formed by two glass-vaulted arcades intersecting in an octagon covering the street connecting Piazza del Duomo to Piazza della Scala, more accurate The Duomo and the Teatro Alla Scala. The central octagonal space is topped with a glass dome. On the ground of the central octagonal, there are four mosaics portraying the coat of arms of the three Capitals of the Kingdom of Italy (Turin, Florence and Rome) plus the Milan's. The Galleria is often nicknamed il salotto di Milano (Milan's drawing room), due to its numerous shops and importance as a common Milanese meeting and dining place.

September 12, 2017

3148 MEXICO (Yucatán) - The Ribbon Dance in Chichen Itza

3148 The Ribbon Dance in Chichen Itza,
during the celebration of the March equinox

The Ribbon Dance (El Baile de las Cintas) is portrayed in every website, guidebook, or history book about Yucatán; the image of men and women in colorful dress, dancing in a circle around a pole, each participant holding on to a brightly colored ribbon, is iconic. The dance has its roots in Bavaria, where in the 14th century was named Maiphahl (maypole). Danced also in England and the Low Countries, it reached Spain during the reign of Charles V, as the Danza del Cordón (Rope Dance).

September 11, 2017

3147 ROMANIA (Harghita) - The virgin forest from Tinovul Luci Nature Reserve

Virgin forest is a natural woodland where tree and shrub species are present in various stages of their life cycle and as dead wood in various stages of decay, with a more or less complex vertical and horizontal structures. In virgin forests the dynamics inherent to living systems are connected to ecological properties of the dominant tree species, impact of other organisms and to the impact of abiotic factors related to the substrate, climate and to the complex of topography and water table.

September 10, 2017

3146 POLAND (Pomerania) - Hel Lighthouse

Situated at the eastern tip of the Hel peninsula, Hel Lighthouse guides ship traffic into Gdańsk Bay and the Bay of Puck. It has its origins in the 16th century when a fire was lit on the church tower at a height of 35m to guide ships. The structure burned down. In 1638 locals asked Gdańsk authorities to build a lighthouse on the peninsula. After deliberation, a wooden structure was erected circa 1640, with a range of about 6 miles. In 1667 it burned down, too. The construction of the first brick lighthouse (which was 41.7m high) started in 1806, but due to civil wars the effort dragged on until 1826.

September 7, 2017

3145 SINGAPORE - Van Kleef Aquarium

Van Kleef Aquarium was an oceanarium located in Fort Canning Park facing River Valley Road, opened in 1955 and demolished in 1998. It was named after Karl Willem Benjamin Van Kleef, a Dutch residend in Singapore in the 19th and early 20th century, who donated his fortune to the Singaporean government to build the aquarium after his death. When the aquarium opened it contained 6,500 marine creatures of 180 different species.

3144 CZECH REPUBLIC (Prague) - Prague astronomical clock - part of Historic Centre of Prague (UNESCO WHS)

The Prague astronomical clock, mounted on the southern wall of Old Town Hall in the Old Town Square, was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still operating. Its oldest part, the mechanical clock and astronomical dial, was made by clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň and Jan Šindel, then later a professor of mathematics and astronomy at Charles University. Later, presumably around 1490, the calendar dial was added and the clock facade was decorated with gothic sculptures.

September 5, 2017

3143 GERMANY (Bavaria) - The chapel of Virgin Mary in Sankt Englmar

Built in 1979 with the help of some sponsors, but also of the volunteers, this tiny and secluded chapel, located in Maibrunn district of Sankt Englmar, was dedicated to the Mother of God. It serves both locals as well as guests, and forest trek path visitors, as a place of retreat.

September 3, 2017

3142 MALAYSIA (Johor) - Sultan Ismail Building in Johor Bahru

Located in Kota Iskandar, Iskandar Puteri, Johor Bahru District, in the Malayan state of Johor, Sultan Ismail Building is the meeting places for the Johor State Legislative Assembly. The architecture is a distinctive blend of Moorish-Andalusian and Johor-Malay design. There are two distinctive skylights: one shaped like a diamond and another like a pineapple, a symbol of Johor's economic prosperity. Integrated within the Hall are symbolisms of Johor's past and bright future, such as black pepper motifs. There are also many lush gardens, such as the Musk Lime Garden and Potpourri Garden.

September 2, 2017

3141 FINLAND (Uusimaa) - Kiasma

Kiasma is a contemporary art museum located on Mannerheimintie in Helsinki and opened to the public in 1998. The museum exhibits the contemporary art collection of the Finnish National Gallery founded in 1990, its central goal being to make contemporary art better known and strengthen its status. The building itself, a major architectural landmark of Helsinki, was designed by American architect Steven Holl. Kiasma is Finnish for chiasma, a term that describes the crossing of nerves or tendons or the intertwining of two chromatids, the thread-like strands of a chromosome.

August 31, 2017

3140 FRANCE (Saint Barthélemy) - St Barths Bucket Regatta

3140 The yacht Parsifal III during St Barths Bucket Regatta 

Gustavia, the main town and capital of the island of Saint Barthélemy, is known as a haven for yachting, with many events being held there each year. One of the most important is St Barths Bucket Regatta, which is taking place every year over three days, usually in the month of March. It is open to cruising yachts whose length is 30.5m (100ft) or greater. The first regatta in St Barths itself was held in 1995 with four yachts; ten years later, 26 boats competed in the race, and in 2017 no less then 38.

August 30, 2017

3139 GREECE (Crete) - Cretan Traditional Costumes

Located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea, separating the Aegean from the Libyan Sea, Crete has a fascinating culture and it's people can boast an amazingly varied heritage of influence from miscellaneous cultures and civilisations. Crete itself is renowned for being the home of one of the earliest, if not the earliest, civilisations of the world, the Minoan civilisation. There followed the Dorians, the Egyptians, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Venetians, and the Otomans.

August 29, 2017

3138 ROMANIA (Prahova) - Poiana Izvoarelor Chalet

3138 Poiana Izvoarelor Chalet in 1980's

Located in the Bucegi Mountains, on the southeastern slope of the Diham Mountains, in the glade of the same name (Poiana Izvoarelor means Springs' Glade), at the edge of a beautiful fir forest, Poiana Izvoarelor Chalet (rom) (1455m) is the main starting point for many excursions to the northeast's steep of the Bucegi Mountains and to the peaks and forests of Diham. The scenery offered is worth the effort to get there. All around, the Baiu Mountains, Colţii Morarului (Miller's Fangs), and Caraiman Peak can be admired in a complete silence.

3137 ITALY - The map and the flag of the country

Located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino and Vatican City (the last two are enclaves within Italy). Due to its shape, it is often referred as lo Stivale (the Boot). With 61 million inhabitants it is the fourth most populous EU member state. Its capital city is Rome, one of the birthplaces of Western civilisation and the first ever metropolis. Without The Eternal City, the world wouldn't have been the same.

August 27, 2017

3136 POLAND (Pomerania) - Ustka Lighthouse

Ustka Lighthouse is located in the town with the same name (formerly Postomino), on the Polish coast of the Baltic Sea. The lighthouse stands at the base of the eastern breakwater of Ustka's harbour - protecting the port's entrance way. Ustka was a very important coastal town for the nearby Słupsk - for transportation of goods and Baltic travel. In 1871 a mast was constructed nearby the harbour's admiralty station; powered by an oil lamp on the mast. It shone with a red light and was visible at a distance of 6 nautical miles.

August 26, 2017

3135 UKRAINE (Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast) - Church of Saint Elijah in Yaremche

Yaremche (Yaremcha until 2006) is a mountain resort, the most famous tourist center of Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, located at the altitude of 550-585 m above sea level, on picturesque valley of the Prut River. It was first mentioned in 1787, but the villages of Dora and Yamna, which not long ago entered the city boundaries, have somewhat earlier history (14-15th centuries). Passing through the village of Dora, can be seen two delicate wooden sacred buildings: the Church of the Holy Prophet Elias and a belfry nearby, built in 1937.

August 24, 2017

3134 SWITZERLAND (Ticino) - The Monte Brè funicular and Lake Lugano

Lake Lugano, named after the city of Lugano, is a glacial lake which is situated on the border between southern Switzerland and northern Italy. Well-known mountains and tourist destinations on the shores of the lake are Monte Brè to the east, Monte San Salvatore west of Lugano, and Monte Generoso on the south-east shore. The lake is 48.7km2 in size, 63% of which is in Switzerland and 37% in Italy, has an average width of roughly 1km, a maximum depth of 288m  found in the northern basin.