Bishkek

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My first card from Kyrgyzstan comes from Anna. 🙂

Bishkek, formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan. The name is thought to derive from a Kyrgyz word for a churn used to make fermented mare’s milk (kumis), the Kyrgyz national drink. Founded in 1825 as a Khokand fortress of “Pishpek”, on 4 September 1860 the fortress was seized by Russian forces led by colonel Zimmermann. In 1926 the city was given name Frunze, after the Bolshevik military leader Mikhail Frunze. In 1991, the Kyrgyz parliament again changed the capital’s name to Bishkek.

Bishkek is a city of wide boulevards and marble-faced public buildings combined with numerous Soviet-style apartment blocks surrounding interior courtyards and, especially outside the city centre, thousands of smaller privately built houses. It is laid out on a grid pattern, with most streets flanked on both sides by narrow irrigation channels that water the innumerable trees which provide shade in the hot summers.

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Nu, pogodi!

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— Заяц! ЗА-АЕ-ЕЦ, ТЫ МЕНЯ СЛЫШИШЬ?
— Слышу, слышу.
— Ну, заяц, – погоди!

How many of you remember this legendary Soviet animated series? 😀 And for those of you who have never heard of “Nu, pogodi!” – that was the “Tom and Jerry” on the other side of the Iron Curtain. My parents grew up with Volk and Zayats, I grew up with them too, even though I was born after the fall of communism. That’s how big they were! And this card, well, it’s one of my all time favorites. Big thanks to Natalya, who sent it to me. 😀

Vintage: 20 years since Yuri Gagarin’s flight

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A 1981 commemorative postcard with matching stamps and a first day cover – what a gem! 😀

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (9 March 1934 – 27 March 1968) was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He was the first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961.

In his post-flight report, Gagarin recalled his experience of spaceflight, having been the first human in space: “The feeling of weightlessness was somewhat unfamiliar compared with Earth conditions. Here, you feel as if you were hanging in a horizontal position in straps. You feel as if you are suspended.”

Gagarin became an international celebrity, and was awarded many medals and titles, including Hero of the Soviet Union, the nation’s highest honour.