Monaco

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The above postcard shows Le Grand Casino de Monte Carlo which first opened it’s doors in 1858 and marks the start of the major success story of this small state. Due the casino success, the principality could afford not to collect tax from Monegasques by 1869 and continues to do so until now.

I once had the pleasure to visit and play in this casino when I was working on a cruise ship in 2003 and I have to say that this was a very exciting evening. Seeing many people playing roulette on different tables, loosing and winning thousands of dollars, euros and pounds in minutes. I certainly did give it a try with roulette and was up for most of the evening until one gets cocky and the casino wins it all – what a shame!

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This postcard shows the Oceanographic Museum, which is especially impressive to watch from the sea side when it towers about 80 meters above a cliff and just looks monumental.

The above 2 postcards have arrived recently in my mail box and are a gift and very nice surprise from Malyss (http://chroniclesfromtheshore.blogspot.co.uk/), a fellow blogger from the French Riviera. Thanks to her reading about my project and helping me to complete the collection of capital cities on postcards.

Did you actually know that Monaco is the second smallest country in the world? It is also the most densely populated country int he world. not bad for such a little state.

Monaco is really worth a visit at any time and I would certainly like to return one day, maybe even when the Monaco Grand Prix is in town. it must be such a fantastic experience to see Formula One cars racing through this quite small city.

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Vilnius

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Thanks to Laima from Leeds, who sent me this postcard from her home town Vilnius in Lithuania. It shows the Gediminas’ Tower which is part of the Upper Castle where you can have a wonderful view over the old town of Vilnius. The Old Town of Vilnius is one of the best preserved medieval old towns in Northern Europe.  It is a place where some of Europe’s greatest architectural styles – gothicrenaissancebaroque and neoclassical – stand side by side and complement each other. Therefore, it became an UNESCO world heritage site in 1994. Well worth a visit from what I could look up on the internet and certainly on my bucket list to visit.

If you have been to Vilnius, what other places will be of interest?

Flag of Russia

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Thanks to a fellow postcrosser, I am able to cross of another country from my missing flag collection list – Russia.

The flag of the Russian Federation is a tricolor flag consisting of three equal horizontal fields; white on the top, blue in the middle and red on the bottom.

The flag was first used as an ensign for Russian merchant ships and only became official in 1896. The flag continued to be used by the Russian Provisional Government after the Tsar was toppled in the February Revolution and was not replaced until the October Revolution which established the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic – the world’s first constitutionally socialist state. From that time period, a 1:2 red flag featuring the abbreviated name “RSFSR” (“РСФСР“) was used, until replaced in 1954 with the universal design of the Soviet flag with a blue stripe along the mast. It was not until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 that the tricolour was brought back as the official flag of the new Russian Federation. The modern era flag underwent a proportion change in 1993 and has been official since 2000.

Brasilia

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The above postcard shows the Cathedral of Brasilia, also know as “Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady Aparecida”. This Roman Catholic cathedral was built by Oscar Niemeyer in 1970. The concrete columns give it a very futuristic look and before reading about it, I would have never guessed that this was a house of god.

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This postcard shows the National Congress of Brazil which houses the  Federal Senate (the upper house) and the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house). The Senate represents the 26 states and the Federal District.

 

Both cards were sent by Jamilia on a private postcard swap. Many thanks! This is the first capital in South America that I am covering in my blog and I feel that project is now really starting to progress as I am receiving a lot of cards recently.

I have been to some cities in Brazil, such as Rio and Fortaleza, when I was working on a cruise ship, but never managed to see Brasilia as it is situated in the Brazilian Highlands in the west of the country. The city was founded on 21st April 1960, to move the capital from Rio de Janeiro to a more central location. It was planned and developed by some famous architects of the time,  Lúcio Cost , Oscar Niemeyer and  Roberto Burle Marx. Due to the modernistic architecture, Brasilia was chosen to be an UNESCO world heritage site in 1987.

St. Basil’s Basilika

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This lovely postcard has reached me recently and shows the St. Basil’s Basilika in Moscow. It is also known as the Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat or Pokrovsky Cathedral and is situated on the Red Square. It is a Russian Orthodox Church and one of the most famous buildings in Moscow. It was built in the 16th century on orders from Ivan The Terrible to commemorate the capture of Kazan.

When you have been to Moscow which places did you visit?

Budapest

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This is a beautiful view of the Hungarian Parliament building standing directly on the banks of the Danube. It is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary and the largest building in the country. Did you know that the banks of the Danube are a UNESCO world heritage site?

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The above postcard shows an aerial view of the Matthias Church at the heart of Buda’s Castle District.IMG_0001

This gorgeously artistic postcard was sent to me by one my friends in Budapest and shows the St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest. It is named in honour of Stephen, the first King of Hungary and is a really impressive building.

I had the luck to travel several times to Hungary and was visiting Budapest once. I can only recommend to everybody to visit Hungary and meet these lovely and welcoming people. Hungary and Budapest have a long history and there is a lot to explore. Did you actually know that Budapest was only formed in 1873 when the cities Buda, Pest and Obuda were unified?

Have you been to Hungary? What was your favourite memory?