Monday, 21 February 2011

Liechtenstein’s Panorama–Valley Landscape

The first two stamps in the “Liechtenstein Panorama” series highlight the “valley landscape”.  The panoramic photograph reproduced on the stamps is by the Ruggell photographer Josef Heeb.These stamps were issued by Liechtenstein Post on September 2010.

The panoramic photograph was taken in the middle of the Ruggell marsh in a slowly dispersing morning mist. The view shown is from the north looking south. Far away in the background one can see the Mt. Pizol massif in the Sarganserland.

Although the picture most people have of Liechtenstein is determined by the mountain world of the Lower Alps, in reality it is the valley landscape divided in two by the Rhine which for centuries has influenced the fate of this country’s people. It was on the valley’s elevated parts (such as Gutenberg or Eschnerberg) which offer protection against the Rhine floods that the first settlements came into being some 7 000 years ago, and the Rhine  which linked Rome with the Empire’s northern provinces and later became one of the most important trade routes between northern and southern Europe. This continuous contact with the throngs of people passing through the Rhine valley, along with the ideal conditions for profitable farming, had a significant influence on the people’s character and habitual way of life.


On the “East” stamp (face value CHF 1.00) one can see the gently rising summit of the Eschnerberg together with the Liechtenstein Dreischwestern massif. Both these heights are still in shadow.


On the “West” stamp (face value CHF 1.00) the mountains of the Alvier chain in St. Gallen canton are already bathed in the soft light of the morning sun as it rises over the Liechtenstein mountains. At the centre of the stamp is a white willow, characteristic of this area and called “Felba” in the local dialect.

The combined view of the East stamp and the West stamp.

The Nature Reserve of Spain 2010

The Spain Post  devoted to three nature reserves very different in their orographic characteristics and ecosystems and issued three stamp depicted the nature reserve  on July 19, 2010.

The Parque Nacional de Picos de Europa extends over the autonomous communities of Asturias, Cantabria and Castilla y León occupying a surface area of 64.660 hectares amongst the eastern, central and western massifs of the Picos de Europa. In the higher summits, Naranjo de Bulnes, Peña Vieja or Torrecerredo at 2.600 m high, only bushes adapted to the cold winter temperatures grow. Lower down, there are meadows and a large variety of trees such as oaks, birches, chestnut trees and beech trees. There are many protected animal species like the Cantabrian brown bear or the Iberian Wolf and the most representative animals are the Cantabrian chamois, foxes and roe deer. It was declared national park in 1995.
The Parque Nacional de Monfragüe is located in the towns of Plasencia and Trujillo (Cáceres) and expands over a surface area of 18.000 hectares. Alongside big and out-jutting rocks, this park is one of the most representative of Mediterranean forest and brushwood. In the shady areas there is a thick scrubland of strawberry tree, laurustinus and heather growing with blockhead trees and Portuguese oaks. In the sunny areas there are Holm oaks, wild olive trees, rosemary, rockrose and peduncle. Habitat in the park includes more than 250 vertebrate species including the black vulture, the Egyptian vulture, the Spanish Imperial eagle, owls and black storks. Amongst the mammals the habitat includes boars, roe deer, deer, lynx, genet cats and wild cats. It was declared national park in 2007.
The Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada  located between the provinces of Granada and Almería, spreading over more than 70 villages .Due to the height difference between the different areas of the park ranging from 300 m to 3.484 m there is a wide variety of ecosystems in the mountain areas, forest and basins. In the highest levels only species endemic of these mountains can survive and at lower levels bushes of juniper and Spanish broom grow. In the mountain slopes there are oaks, pine trees, beech and juniper trees. The bird habitat includes Spanish imperial eagles, imperial owls and Bonelli’s eagle. Amongst the mammals there are badgers, foxes and wild cats. In the riverbanks there is a wide variety of birds, reptiles and amphibians. It was declared national park in 1999.

The Lovrenc lakes on Pohorje

Slovenia Post issued the stamp featured The Lovrenc lakes on March 27, 2009.

The Lovrenc lakes, the largest high swampland in Slovenia and one of the most important in Southern Europe, are a specially protected part of the largest Slovenian Forest Reserve Ribnica-Lovrenc lakes. The tiny lakes are situated on the ridge in water sources of Radolnja, Mislinja and Velka and present a natural and tourist site of special interest on Pohorje.

The swampland was formed as a mineral swamp on a corrugated impermeable surface. With the accumulation of peat, the marshes turned into a high swampland, which developed 8000 years ago. The lakes are true bogs, which were formed as erosion surfaces, since the ground of all lakes is progressing to peat. The swampland has no surface inflow. It is fed exclusively by surface water; therefore, the number of lakes is variable (11 to 22), depending on the volume and durability of standing water.

The vegetation of high swamplands is rare and specific. One of the the typical plants of the high swampland is the rotund-leaf-form sundew (Drosera Rotundifolia), a vulnerable species, which is indicated on the stamp of the first day. It is a plant with small, white blossoms on approximately 10 cm-long stems; it has superiorly adapted to the life in peat swampland ground. It is a carnivorous plant and gains organic substances from bodies of smaller insects, which are being caught by sticky hair on its leaves.
Source of the topographic map, which is indicated on the stamp: Public Information Slovenia, © Surveying and Mapping Authority of the Republic of Slovenia, National Topographic Map.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Vacations at Gibraltar

The theme for the 2004 Europa stamp issue is Vacations . Therefore Gibraltar Post issued the stamp set comprised of 4 stamps depicted Vacation places of Gibraltar.
The Rock of Gibraltar is one of the best-known landmarks in the world. It is strategically located at the crossroads of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It also finds itself between two continents that are vastly different, Europe and Africa. All this makes it a unique, vibrant and safe destination.
Whilst in Gibraltar, you are able to see sites like the famous Rock Apes, St Michael's Cave, the Great Seige Tunnels and even go dolphin watching. Apart from these attractions, there are a whole host of other activities and places you can visit. You can tour the World War Two tunnels (there are 53 km of tunnels inside the Rock), Lower St Michael's Cave or the Museum.

Gibraltar's pedestrian shopping areas and marinas boast a multitude of VAT free shops, bars and restaurants that cater for your every need.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Panoramic Views of Gibraltar

The Rock of Gibraltar lies at the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula. It covers seven square kilometres dominated by the famous limestone rock which rises to 425m above sea-level at its highest point and towers above the Strait of Gibraltar, the strategic waterway which connects the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean.Africa lies directly opposite just 9 miles away and the Moroccan City of Tangier is 32 miles away at the western end of the Straits.

The name Gibraltar is derived from the Arabic name Jabal Tariq meaning “mountain of Tariq”, or from Gibel Tariq, meaning “rock of Tariq”. It refers to the geological formation, the Rock of Gibraltar, and the Berber Umayyad general Tariq ibn-Ziyad, who led the initial incursion into Iberia in advance of the main Moorish force in 711. Earlier, it was known as Mons Calpe, one of the Pillars of Hercules.
The Pillars of Hercules has its origin in Greek mythology, named after the ancient Greek hero Heracles (Hercules in Latin).
By doing so, he connected the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and formed the Strait of Gibraltar. One part of the split mountain is Gibraltar and the other is either Monte Hacho .
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