Cyrene – Ancient Greek city in present-day Libya

The State of Libya is a country in North Africa. Over centuries this area was influenced and controled by different cultures and nations: Berber tribes, Phoenicians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Ottomans, Italians… I received this postcard without any indication of what exactly is pictured here, but thanks to the amazing modern technologies (Google Reverse Image Search), I found out that this postcard depicts The Temple of Apollo at Cyrene (top) and Ancient Greek baths in Cyrene (bottom).

Cyrene was founded in the 7th century BC, and was the oldest and most important Greek city in North Africa. The city became one of the greatest intellectual and artistic centers of the Greek world, and was famous for its medical school, learned academies, and architecture. Today it is an archeological UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Interesting fact: The modern name of “Libya” is an evolution of the “Libu” name, from Greek Λιβύη, generally encompassing the people of Cyrenaica and Marmarica. The “libu” name likely came to be used in the classical world as an identity for the natives of the North African region.

Libya postcard

Libya stamp postmark

Lake Piso – lagoon in Liberia

Lake Piso is a saltwater lake in Liberia, West African country. It is the largest lake in the country. Lake Piso has an open connection to the Atlantic Ocean, making it a tidal lagoon. The lake basin is known for the richness of its biodiversity, its diverse ecosystems and its natural beauty. The people living in the vicinity of the lake depend on the lake for fishing, and also on the high-quality diamonds that are being mined from the rivers flow into Lake Piso.

Liberia postcard


Liberia stamp postmark

Beiteddine Palace, Lebanon

Beiteddine Palace in Lebanon was designed by an Italian architect, and built between 1788 and 1818. Throughout the years it served as the Emir’s residence, as a government residence, as an administrative office, and as the summer residence of the Lebanese President. Today it hosts the annual Beiteddine Festival and the Beiteddine Palace Museum.

Lebanon postcard

Envelope I received it in:

Lebanon stamps postmark

Riga, Latvia

Riga is the capital of Latvia — Eastern European country set on the Baltic Sea. It is the largest of the three Baltic capitals. Riga is famous for its old town, which is UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city was founded in 1201, and today is home to about 600k people.

I’ve been to Riga a few times when I was a kid visiting relatives, but don’t remember the city much. I do remember that’s there I saw a skateboard for the first time ever 🙂

Riga Latvia postcard

Latvia stamp postmark

Buddha Park in Laos

Xieng Khuan – Spirit City – also known as Buddha Park is a sculpture park near Vientiane, Laos. The open-air park has over 200 sculptures of various sizes depicting figures from Buddhist and Hindu traditions and lore. It was founded in 1958, and the sculptures themselves are mostly cast in reinforced concrete. So, they are not ancient and carved from stone, as it may appear! Still, even though it’s not officially a temple, locals often worship here see it as a holy place.

It is also amazing, that is was built by one man — Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat. He was a fairly poor man with no artistic training. But studied both Buddhism and Hinduism and had a desire to see the two religions integrated.

Laos postcard

Laos stamps postmark

Tree of Life in Rukh Ordo, Kyrgyzstan

I received this postcard blank in envelope, without any indication what it depicts. After a little research shows that pictured are “Tree of Life”, and, possibly, a monument to Kurmanjan Datka – woman-diplomat and greatest statesperson in the history of Kyrgyzstan. The place is “Rukh Ordo” — a cultural complex and open-air museum in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan.

The “Tree of Life” was the first exhibit of this complex. It resembles a blooming Japanese sakura tree, proudly towering over the endless expanse of Issyk-Kul lake. However, all pictures I saw of it do not have any monuments right next to it. Perhaps, it was a temporary composition in year 2011 the country celebrated 200th birth anniversary of their national hero? I’m yet to learn more about this postcard.

Kyrgyzstan postcard

And this is the envelope it came in:

Kyrgyzstan cover postmark


Gračanica, Serbian town in Kosovo

Gračanica is a town located in central Kosovo —  de-facto independent, partially recognized state. This town of more than 10,000 mostly Serbian people is centered around the Gračanica Monastery, ten kilometers east of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. The image of this postcard: Fresco of Saint King Milutin, the founder of Gračanica Monastery, originated between 1319 and 1321.

According to Wikipedia, the Gračanica municipality was supposed to become part of the Community of Serb Municipalities after the 2013 Brussels Agreement, however this still hasn’t been implemented yet despite the promises from the Prishtina government. Still, we can see Serbian post, not Kosovar, was used when this postcard was sent: Serbian stamp is used. Also interesting, if I read the postmark correctly, it shows the name of the town in both Serbian and Albanian languages: Gračanica and Graçanicë.

Kosovo postcard

Kosovo Serbian post postmark


Kiribati – an island country

“Health, Peace and Prosperity” — is the motto of the Republic of Kiribati. The motto I can stand behind! Kiribati (pronounced Kiribass, which surprised everyone I know when they heard it for the first time) is an island country in the Pacific Ocean. It consists of 33 islands, of which only 20 are inhabited. The islands are scattered over a vast area of ocean along the equator. The rising sea levels, a result of global warming, will be disastrous for the islands of Kiribati, as many of them are atolls that rise no higher than some 8 meters. It’s not surprising that fish is the bulk of the country’s production and exports, as well as dried coconut kernels from which coconut oil is expelled. Coconut palms dominate the landscape on each island. Another interesting export item is hand-caught ornamental fish (for aquariums)!

Postcard from Kiribati

Kiribati Stamp and Postmark

Friends: Lizu.Am – Hamshen Armenian dictionary

This post is not related to postcards, philately, or postal services.

Recently, I was helping a friend in his work on creation of Hamshen Armenian online dictionary, and in this post  I just want to introduce the project. As postcards collectors, we learn a lot about remote places, foreign cultures, and history. So, this might be of some interest to visitors of this site.

Hamshen (or Hemshin) Armenians are an ethnic group, who are originally from Hemşin districts in the province of Rize, Turkey. Today numbering as many as 150,000, they live in Turkey, Russia (mostly my hometown of Sochi), and Abkhazia. Hamshen Armenians speak their own, archaic Western Armenian dialect – Homshetsma , and Аccording to the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages, the Hamshen dialect is classified as “Definitely endangered” (children no longer learn the language as a ‘mother tongue’ in the home). And this was a primary reason for creating this project — to help keep this language alive.

The project is a work in progress. It’s currently a Hamshen Armenian – Russian dictionary, but there are plans to expand it for English, include more reading and learning materials in this dialect, and to create features that would help to crowdsource / expand the dictionary base.

Please check it out, and read up on this small part of World’s history and culture.

Hamshen ArmenianHamshen Armenian ethnic folklore dance postcard of the internetz.