Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Turkey

Postcard showing Sultan Ahmed Mosque and the Sea of Marmara beyond. It was built between 1609 and 1619 by Sultan Ahmet I, who decided to build a large mosque in Istanbul to reassert Ottoman power following losses in Central Europe and Persia. It incorporates some Byzantine Christian elements of the neighboring Hagia Sophia with traditional Islamic architecture and is considered to be the last great mosque of the classical period. Part of the Historic Areas of Istanbul World Heritage site. Many thanks and teşekkürler to my Mum for sending this to me while on holiday.

Stamp on the left is the 1998 definitive of Kemal Atatürk, seen as the founder of modern Turkey (and a first-rate Dracula impersonator, by the looks of it). Stamp on the right is from a 2000 set of four about crocuses, and features the snow crocus, Crocus chrysanthus. It is native to Turkey and the Balkans and flowers very early in the spring, often pushing up through the snow.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Malta

Multiview postcard of Malta, showing the country's namesake Maltese Cross, the harbour of capital city Valetta, with fortifications forming part of the City of Valletta World Heritage site, and some traditional wooden fishing boats. Thank you and grazzi ħafna to friend Sam who went to Malta to visit relatives.

Stamps are from a 2002 set of four on endangered species, showing seahorses of the Mediterranean. Shown are the long-snouted seahorse, Hippocampus guttulatus, and the short-snouted seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, both of which live in the waters around Malta.