Merry Christmas from Bulgaria, vol. 2

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This card was given to me as a gift at a gas station after fueling the car. The card is printed for the Bulgarian Red Cross, as part of a program named “Hot Lunch” that helps disadvantaged children. The gas station chain has bought 150 thousand Christmas cards – that means they endowed about 150 thousand bulgarian levs (about 75 thousand euro) to the Bulgarian Red Cross. Way to go, Lukoil! 🙂

Merry Christmas from Poland, vol. 2

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Oh, let me tell you something about the power of complaining and its relation to postcards. Once you start complaining about a lost or long travelling card, the said card usually arrives in the next couple of days. 😀 The other day my pen pal Agnieszka asked me if I’ve received her Christmas card (I hadn’t) and voila, the card arrived the very next day. 😀

The Bosphorus Bridge and The Maiden’s Tower

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This gorgeous Turkish card came as a surprise from Filiz. 🙂 It pictures the Bosphorus bridge (above) and the Maiden’s Tower (below).

The Bosphorus Bridge, also called the First Bosphorus Bridge or simply the First Bridge is one of two suspension bridges spanning the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul, Turkey; thus connecting Europe and Asia (the other one is the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, which is called the Second Bosphorus Bridge.) The bridge is located between Ortaköy (on the European side) and Beylerbeyi (on the Asian side). The Bosphorus Bridge was the 4th longest suspension bridge span in the world (and the longest outside the United States) when it was completed in 1973. At present, it is the 21st longest suspension bridge span in the world.

The Maiden’s Tower, also known as Leander’s Tower (Tower of Leandros) since the medieval Byzantine period, is a tower lying on a small islet located at the southern entrance of the Bosphorus strait 200 m from the coast of Üsküdar in Istanbul, Turkey. There are many legends about the construction of the tower and its location. According to the most popular Turkish legend, a sultan had a much beloved daughter and one day, an oracle prophesied that she would be killed by a venomous snake on her 18th birthday. The sultan, in an effort to thwart his daughter’s early demise by placing her away from land so as to keep her away from any snakes, had the tower built in the middle of the Bosphorus to protect his daughter until her 18th birthday. The princess was placed in the tower, where she was frequently visited only by her father. On the 18th birthday of the princess, the sultan brought her a basket of exotic sumptuous fruits as a birthday gift, delighted that he was able to prevent the prophecy. Upon reaching into the basket, however, an asp that had been hiding among the fruit bit the young princess and she died in her father’s arms, just as the oracle had predicted. Hence the name Maiden’s Tower.

Tharu Girls

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This awesome postcard from Nepal, my first one from there, comes from Vanessa. It took 3 months for the card to arrive, but it was totally worth the wait, since I really love it! Thank you, Vanessa! 😀

The Tharu people are an ethnic group indigenous to the Terai, the southern foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal and India. The Tharus are recognized as an official nationality by the Government of Nepal. The Tharu people themselves say that they are a people of the forest. In Chitwan, they have lived in the forests for hundreds of years practicing a short fallow shifting cultivation. They planted rice, mustard, corn and lentils, but also collected forest products such as wild fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants and materials to build their houses; hunted deer, rabbit and wild boar, and went fishing in the rivers and oxbow lakes. The spiritual beliefs and moral values of the Tharu people are closely linked to the natural environment. The pantheon of their gods exhibits a large number of deities that live in the forest.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

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My very first postcard from South Korea comes from Yeongji. It pictures the Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, which is part of the Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Gyeongbokgung Palace is a royal palace located in northern Seoul, South Korea. First constructed in 1395, later burned and abandoned for almost three centuries, and then reconstructed in 1867, it was the main and largest palace of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty. The name means “Palace” [Gung] “Greatly Blessed by Heaven” [Gyeongbok]. In the early 20th century, much of the palace was destroyed by Imperial Japan. Since then, the walled palace complex has been gradually restored back to its original form. As of 2009, roughly 40% of the original number of palace buildings still stand or have been reconstructed.

Gyeonghoeru, also known as Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, is a hall used to hold important and special state banquets during the Joseon Dynasty. It is registered as Korea’s National Treasure No. 224 on January 8, 1985. The first Gyeonghoeru was constructed in 1412, but was burned down during the Japanese invasions of Korea in 1592. The present building was constructed in 1867 on an island of an artificial, rectangular lake that is 128 m wide and 113 m across.