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Vilnius Panorama

Kaart ontvangen van Ieva

Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 as of 2010.   The first known written record of Vilnius as the Lithuanian capital is known from 1323. Vilnius is situated in south-eastern Lithuania at the confluence of the Vilnia and Neris Rivers.  The postcard gives a view on the business district.

It is for the first time that an original drop-shaped postage stamp is dedicated to the participation of Lithuania in a world exhibition.
The main topic of the exhibition EXPO Zaragoza 2008 (Spain, June –September 2008) was "Water and Sustainable Development".

Vilnius Cathedral with Bell tower  ( 2x )

Kaart ontvangen van Daliama

Kaart ontvangen van Adomas

The Cathedral of Vilnius is the main Roman Catholic Cathedral of Lithuania. It is situated in Vilnius Old Town, just off of Cathedral Square. It is the heart of Lithuania's Catholic spiritual life.  It is believed that the first church on this location was already there in the 13th century. A lot of constructions and reconstructions followed.
The Cathedral and the belfry were thoroughly renovated from 2006 to 2008. The facades have been covered with fresh multicolor paintwork, greatly enhancing the external appearance of the buildings and their elements which had not been renovated since the Restoration of Lithuania's independence in 1990.

On the hill on the upper side of the photo you'll see Gediminas' Tower, the only remaining part of the Upper Castle in Vilnius, Lithuania.
The first fortifications were built of wood by Duke of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Gediminas. Later the first brick castle was completed in 1409 by Grand Duke Vytautas. Some remnants of the old castle have been restored, guided by archeological research.

The stamp on the first postcard is from the parallel emissions on a yearly theme by European member countries. The Europa theme for 2010 was "Children's Books". This stamp interestingly depicts a book and numbers, not a reading book.

Lithuania post issued a set of two postage stamps featuring a girl and a boy reading a book as a part of stamp issued in the series of Europa 2010. Date of issue was May 8, 2010. Left: calculation book, right reading book.

The stamp on the second postcard depicts Justinas Vinco Vienozinskis (1886-1960), a famous Lithuanian painter, primarily of portraits and landscapes. Vienozinskis studied in Moscow and Krakow.
In 1922 he founded the Kaunus Art School where he was director and teacher. 
In 1940 he also began teaching in Vilnius.



Vilnius: TV toren

Kaart ontvangen van Rüta

Vilnius is de hoofdstad van de Baltische staat Litouwen. Sinds het uiteenvallen van de Sovjet-Unie in 1991 is Litouwen een zelfstandige Republiek.
De stad Vilnius schijnt al in de 12e eeuw te hebben bestaan. De historische binnenstad met een wirwar van kleine straatjes en meer dan 40 kerken staat sinds 1994 op de Werelderfgoedlijst van UNESCO.
De afgebeelde TV-toren is echter uiterst modern. Deze toren die 326 meter hoog is heeft op 165 meter hoogte een bezoekerscentrum (the "Milky Way") met een bar.

De afgebeelde postzegel is gewijd aan de Olympische Winterspelen van Vancouver in 2010.

Vilnius:  The Church of St.Anne

Kaart ontvangen van Laima

De St.Anne kerk is één van de mooiste gebouwen en een symbool van Vilnius. Het is een gotisch meesterwerk uit de 16e eeuw, gebouwd met 33 soorten stenen en heeft prachtige torenspitsen met metalen kruizen.
Prachtige foto's van de buitenkant en de inrichting zijn te zien op

St.Anne's Church is a Roman Catholic church in Vilnius' Old Town, on the right bank of the Vilnia River. It is a prominent example of both Flamboyant Gothic and Brick Gothic styles. St. Anne's is a prominent landmark in the Old Town of Vilnius that enabled the district to be included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
According to a well-known legend, Emperor Napoleon, after seeing the church during the Franco-Russian War in 1812, expressed a wish to carry the church home with him to Paris 'in the palm of his hand'.
The church was renovated in the period 1902-1909 when the towers were restored. In 2009 the roofing was replaced.

Depicted on this stamp from 2009 is Mecislovas Reinys.
Mečislovas Reinys (1884 – 1953) was the Lithuanian Roman Catholic bishop, a professor at Vytautas Magnus University, a Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and a social activist who publicly condemned racism and national hatred. Mečislovas Reinys was imprisoned by the Soviets after refusing to collaborate with the KGB and sent to Vladimir Prison, where he died in 1953.
Some interesting point: He successfully defended his doctoral thesis in Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 1912. With his fellow students he worked at organizing a Lithuanian students' league.



Kaunas: Town Hall

Kaart ontvangen van Urte

Kaunas  is met 368.917 inwoners (stand: januari 2004) de tweede stad van Litouwen, na Vilnius. De stad ligt aan de Memel, ongeveer honderd kilometer ten westen van de hoofdstad Vilnius. In het Interbellum vervulde Kaunas de functie van hoofdstad, aangezien Vilnius toen tot Polen behoorde.
Op de kaart het Stadhuis (Town Hall) op het Rotuses plein. Dit gebouw wordt ook wel ‘de witte zwaan’ genoemd. De bouw is begonnen in 1542 en verkreeg uiteindelijk verschillende bouwstijlen: Gotisch, barok en het vroege Classicisme. Het stadhuis was het centrum van Kaunas in de middeleeuwen. In 1970 werd het gebouw grondig gerestaureerd.
Tegenwoordig wordt het ook veelvuldig gebruikt voor huwelijken. In het gebouw is ook een keramisch kunst museum gevestigd.

The Town Hall of Kaunas (Lithuanian: Kauno rotuse) stands in the middle of the Town Hall Square at the heart of the Old Town, Kaunas, Lithuania. The structure dates from the 16th century. It houses a Museum of Ceramics.

De postzegel vraagt aandacht voor de 37e Europese Basketball Competitie die dit jaar (2011) in Kaunas wordt gehouden van 31 augustus tot 18 september.
Op de postzegel is een basketbal afgebeeld in een ring met de Litouwse kleuren van de Nationale vlag.

The stamp dedicated to the European Men's Basketball Championship is not the first stamp issued for this occasion. To commemorate the 3rd European Men's Basketball Championship held in Kaunas in May 1939, a series of 3 stamps was issued by Lithuania Post.
The European Men's Basketball Championship of 2011 will be held from August 31 until September 18. The 24 strongest European men's basketball teams will compete for medals and qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games.



Kaunas: Arch-Cathedral Basilica

Kaart ontvangen van Aurelija

First time mentioned in 1413, but at that time it looked completely different from now, it didn’t had a tower and was way smaller, even the whole roof was way lower.
In 1660 major renovations started, but it was like a curse often fires and wars slowed down renovation works.
Renovations were competed only in 1771 after 111 years of struggle. Probably it wouldn’t have been finished ever, but Stanislovas Augustas (Lithuanian-Polish commonwealth king) wanted to promote Christianity especially in this region. In 1775 impressive altar was build.
Church hasn’t changed much since then. Only some minor renovations have been done.
Some of Lithuania’s Christian intelligents are buried in vaults under the church. The most famous one is Samogitian bishop Motiejus Valancius.
Church is mainly in gothic style, but there are some parts from renaissance or baroque.

De kaart toont een deel van de Katholieke Kathedraal van Kaunas (gewijd aan de Apostelen Petrus en Paulus). De eerste bebouwing voor dit Godshuis was waarschijnlijk in 1413.
De kerk werd verschillende keren verwoest en weer herbouwd of verbouwd.
Op 6 september 1993 bracht Paus Johannes Paulus II een bezoek aan deze kathedraal.

De postzegel op de kaart is uitgegeven op 6 november 2010 samen met nog een andere zegel als "Kerst- en Nieuwjaarszegels". Afgebeeld is een soort kerstbal met stemmige kleuren.

Tiblisi: Georgian Ministry of Highway Construction

Kaart ontvangen van Irma

Irma sent me the above postcard, which depicts an extraordinary building in Tblisi (in Georgia).
The Georgian Ministry of Highway Construction is a building in Tbilisi, Georgia.
It was designed by architects George Chakhava and Zurab Jalaghania for the Ministry of Highway Construction of Georgian SSR and finished in 1975.   The engineer was Temur Tkhilava.

Today it is a property of the Bank of Georgia. The building is planned to have a new main entrance and underground lobby, as well as being completely renovated inside to a modern office space. The current renovation and design is under the direction of Architectural Group and Partners.

The structure consists of a monumental grid of interlocking concrete forms. Five horizontal parts with two storeys each seem to be stapled on top of each other. Three parts are oriented at an east-west axis, at a right angle to the slope, two are north-south oriented, along the slope. The structure rests on and hangs from three cores. They contain the vertical circulation elements like stairs and elevators. The highest core has 18 storeys.

The building is now abandoned. Apparently it will be no longer maintained due to lack of money by political and economic failures. Probably it is going to ruin.
An impression with photos of the current situation (ex 2010) can be seen on the next link:

Het Ministerie voor de bouw van snelwegen was misschien wel produktief in het veld, maar het eigen kantoor kon men niet onderhouden.

De twee linker postzegels van Lithouwen (resp. uit 2008 en 2009) zijn uit een "permanente serie" met afbeeldingen van houten kerken.
De grotere zegel toont het portret van Vladas Mikénas, een beroemde Lithouwse schaakkampioen, uitgegeven bij het 100e geboortejaar van Mikénas.

The outstanding Lithuanian chess player Vladas Mikenas was born in Tallinn (Estonia) in 1910. In 1931, he settled in Lithuania and took part in the first Championship of the Baltic Countries held in Klaipeda. In 1932, the book Šachmatu vadovelis (Chess Manual) written by V. Mikenas was published; it was the first book on chess published in the Lithuanian language.
In the years 1931–1939, he represented Lithuania in five Chess Olympiads, always at the first board.
In 1950, he established the Chess and Draught Club of Lithuania and occupied the position of the director until 1970.
In the years 1950–1990, he led chess sections in various periodicals.
V. Mikenas was the first Lithuanian chess player awarded the International Master title by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) in 1950; in 1987, FIDE awarded him the Honorary Grandmaster title.
In 1983, he won the European Team Correspondence Chess tournament.
In the period 1983–1985, he was the chief arbiter of the World Chess Championship.
V. Mikenas belonged to chess players who were playfully called “killers of champions”. This outstanding player has won against A. Alekhine, M. Botvinnik, V. Smyslov, M. Tal (world champions) and D. Bronstein, P. Keres, S. Flohr, E. Bogoljubov, M. Vidmar, G. Stahlberg, G. Maroczy. The best ELO rating of V. Mikenas is 2669.
Mikenas System was named after Vladas Mikenas. It is also called the Flohr-Mikenas System.

Stamp Issue date: 17-4-2010
Artist R. Tumasonis.
Offset. Art paper. Stamp – 34,5x30 mm. Perf.14.
Sheet of 50 stamps (5x10). The upper margin of a sheet is with inscription.
Face value:2 Lt.
Edition: 300 000.
Printed in "Österreichische Staatsdruckerei GmbH" printing-house in Austria (Vienna).



Lithuania: Trakai Castle

Kaart ontvangen van Saulè

Trakai Island Castle (Lithuanian: Trakų salos pilis) is an island castle located in Trakai, Lithuania on an island in Lake Galvė. The castle is sometimes referred to as "Little Marienburg". The construction of the stone castle was begun in the 14th century by Kęstutis, and around 1409 major works were completed by his son Vytautas the Great, who died in this castle in 1430. Trakai was one of the main centres of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the castle held great strategic importance.

One of the postage stamps that were used on this postcard (the blue one in the righthand corner) depicts the Trakai castle. This stamp is one of a series of 3 with different castles from 1995.

Trakai: Castle

Kaart ontvangen van Dalie

Trakai Island Castle (Lithuanian: Traku salos pilis) is located in Trakai, Lithuania on an island of Lake Galve. The castle is sometimes referred to as "Little Marienburg". The construction of the stone castle was begun in the 14th century by Kestutis, and around 1409 major works were completed by his son Vytautas the Great, who died in this castle in 1430. Trakai was one of the main centers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the castle held great strategic importance.
After World War II, a major reconstruction project was begun in 1946; active work started in 1951-1952. The major portion of the reconstruction was finished in 1961. The castle was reconstructed in a 15th century style.
Trakai Island Castle is now a major tourist attraction.

De postzegel van Litouwen is er een uit de Europa-uitgiftes van 2010. Het thema was toen "Kinderboeken". Het betreft hier blijkbaar geen leesboek, maar een rekenboek, gezien de cijfers 1, 2 en 4 die uit het boek springen.
De stempel is van Klaipeda - Lietuva.




Nida: pavasaris (springtime)

Kaart ontvangen van Eglè

Nida (German: Nidden) is a resort town in Lithuania, located on the Curonian Spit (next to a lagoon). It has only 1650 residents and is the administrative center of the Neringa municipality.  Nida Airport is located in the town. Nida is the westernmost point of Lithuania and the Baltic States.
The postcard shows the peaceful village behind the sand dunes, unspoiled and clean. Behind the dunes at the left side one can see a lighthouse.  The original lighthouse was built in 1874, was destroyed in the war and rebuilt in 1945 and 1953.
Famous visitors to this place were a.o. Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. The writer Thomas Mann lived in Nida in 1930-1932.

The postage stamp on this postcard depicts the Battle of Zalgirio musini, also called Battle of Grunwald or Battle of Tannenberg.
This battle took place on July 15, 1410 with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland and  ranged against the Knights of the Teutonic Order.
It was the decisive engagement in the Polish-Lithuanian-Teutonic War (1409-1411) and one of the greatest battles of medieval Europe.
The stamp refers to this historic battle which took place 600 years ago.
See Wikipedia for an extensive description of the Battle.


Nida: Panorama and House of Thomas Mann

Kaart ontvangen van Brigita

Another card from Lietuva with Nida as the subject.
This card shows a Panorama of the small city and the House of the writer Thomas Mann, who lived in this city for a while.

The common theme of the "Europa" emissions in 2009 was Astronomy. In Lithuania (Lietuva) a portret of Galileo (1564-1642) was chosen.
Next to Galileo the stamp depicts a view on the moon as seen through the Galileo telescope which is seen in front of the moon.
More on Galileo and other astronomers including postage stamps is seen here:



Siauliai (retrocard)

Kaart ontvangen van Jovita

This retro-postcard shows the city center of Siauliai in the northern part of Lithuana. The city was destroyed for 80% in the second world war. It has been rebuilt into an economically important city.  In the background is the Petrus and Paulus Cathedral.

The "Battle of the Sun" (Saules musiui) took place in the vicinity of Siauliai in 1236 between the Knights of the Sword and the local tribes. The Knights lost the battle. That occasion is often regarded as the start of Lithuania.

Op 22 september 1236 werd de "Slag van de Zon" (ook wel Slag bij Saule genoemd) uitgevochten tussen de lokale (heidense) Samogitians en de (katholieke) Ridders van het Zwaard. De lokale Litouwers wonnen de strijd. Ruim 50 ridders werden gedood.
De strijd inspireerden de omliggende volkeren zich te verenigen tot een nieuwe staat.
De hier genoemde slag wordt wel als het ontstaan van Litouwen beschouwd. In de geschiedenis staan de oorlogen in het Baltische gebied ook bekend als de "Noordelijke Kruistochten".