The Bolshoi

The Bolshoi, Russia

c. 1896

What a magnificent building – one of my favorite memories was seeing the Bolshoi Ballet Troupe when they toured America.



The State Capitol in Austin, the Longhorn, the Alamo and Bluebonnets

Louisiana Map

Louisiana Map and Symbols

The Pelican State

Admitted to Statehood:  April 30, 1812

State Bird:  The Brown Pelican

State Flower: The Magnolia

State Tree:  The Bald Cypress

State Motto :  Union, Justice and Confidence

Nickname:  The Pelican State

South Carolina Map and Symbols

South Carolina Map and Symbols

Capitol ……….. Columbia

Area ………. 30,207 square miles

Statehood ……….. May 23, 1788 (8th state admitted)

Mottos ………. Animis opibusque parati (Prepared in mind and resources)

………. Dum spiro spero (While I breathe, I hope

Song ……….”South Carolina on my Mind”

State Bird ………. Carolina Wren

State Tree ………..  Palmetto

State Flower ……….. Yellow Jessamine

City Hall – Minsk, Belarus

City Hall – Svaboda Square

Minsk, Belarus

A City hall is a symbol of municipal government. During 16-19th centuries it was rebuilt several times. The building acquired its final classical appearance by the end of 18th century. There was the magistrate, which was given all the power in Minsk, a court, a guardhouse and an archival depository inside the City hall. From 1844 to 1847 a city theatre settled down in the City hall. On the Square nearby the City hall boisterous fairs were arranged where anyone could not only buy necessary goods and make real bargains but also enjoy the performances of strolling buffoons, laugh at amusing tricks of the trained bears and watch Batleika (Belarusian puppet theatre). In the early fifties of 19th century the building of City hall was completely demolished. At the beginning of the 21st century the City hall was rebuilt based on the archeological excavations and in accordance with the archival documents. Nowadays the building has a 19th century appearance. The chief architect is S.Baglasov (2003).

On the first floor of the City hall, where the Magistrate had been located, there is a reception room for the city authorities to meet delegations and honoured guests, on the ground floor there is an exhibition hall. The square which surrounds the City hall has also been reconstructed: as well as 100 years ago there are two broad paths with the landed pyramidal poplars, iron lanterns and retro styled benches. The territory around the rebuilt historical monument is paved with cobblestones. The prominent sculptor Vladimir Zhbanov’s life-sized sculptural composition “The carriage of governor” has been set up at the entrance of the building.

A 32-metres tower with weathercock is decorated with the clock and city’s coat of arms. The peculiarity of the clock is that at the beginning of each hour it performs a 19-second melody of the famous song of the distinguished Belarusian composer Igor Luchenok “My native Minsk is under the sky of cranes…” The street chiming clock doesn’t play only after the midnight until 6 o’clock in the morning.

On 13 September, 2002, on the eve of City Day of Minsk, in the City Hall, which the city administration decided to rebuild, the chairman of Minsk City Executive Committee Mikhail Pavlov laid down the foundation stone and a capsule with appeal to future generations. For Minsk, which architectural heritage sustained enormous damage, it has become a symbolic event.

In September 2004 during the celebration of City Day the restored City Hall welcomed its first visitors. The President of the Republic of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko took part in the solemn opening ceremony of the City Hall in November 2004.

Nowadays the City Hall is filled with new works of art, graphics, monumental and decorative and applied arts which reflect the basic stages of centuries-old history of Minsk. The copy of Minsk privilege of the Magdeburg right that the city received in 1499 is kept in the City Hall. The original is kept in Vilnius.

Minsk City Hall is a unique historical and architectural monument which thanks to the work of talented artists and architects is remarkable for its harmonic use of various kinds of art in its interior.

Bergen op Zoom

Grote Market, Stadhuis, Hotel de Draak

Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands

Phoenix Valley Bird Garden ~ Taiwan

Phoenix Valley Bird Garden

Fenghuang Bird Garden – Taiwan

The Phoenix Valley Bird Garden is located in the Phoenix Valley Scenic Area, not far from Sitou (Hsitou). This is the country's first aviary built with government investment. The serene and lovely bird park is home to more than a hundred rare and valuable birds from throughout the world. It is the large aviary in Southeast Asia, and contains the widest assortment of birds. This is a great place for combining learning with enjoyment.


Winter Trees from Germany

Let the sun shine in your heart

and if the wind is too frozen, 

the sun will surely blow away

all of the clouds

Winter trees and sun from Germany

Charles Irvin’s Weavers Shop

Charles Irvin’s Weavers Shop

Black Creek Pioneer Village

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Charles Irvin’s Weavers Shop is typical of a commercial weaver’s establishment in the late 1860’s.  In these shops, such goods as custom woven rag rugs and beautiful coverlets are produced.  Here a weaver operates the flying shuttle loom while her assistant winds wool for the shuttle.

Balchik, Bulgaria

Balchik, Bulgaria

The Balchik Palace is a palace in the Bulgarian Black Sea town and resort of Balchik in Southern Dobruja. The official name of the palace was the Quiet Nest Palace. It was constructed between 1926 and 1937, during the Romanian control of the region, for the needs of Queen Marie of Romania. The palace complex consists of a number of residential villas, a smoking hall, a wine cellar, a power station, a monastery, a holy spring, a chapel and many other buildings, as well as most notably a park that is today a state-run botanical garden.   – Wikipedia  Queen Marie was also a member of the  Bahá’í Faith and the palace has the iconography of multiple religions.

Interestingly, Queen Marie was a contributor to Maryhill Museum in Washington State.  For more information, click here

There is a Balchik Palace stamp on the card

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