Kitai Gorod means China Town in Russian, however this area is in no way connected with China or Chinese. It is perhaps the most interesting area in Moscow, as it is the center of the city's club life and culture.
Most of the buildings here are a mix of traditional, 'art noveau', and monumental Soviet-era architecture. Kitai Gorod is a home to Lubyanka, where former KGB still resides; a favourite place to go out (with so many cafes, bars, and clubs); and just a nice area to walk around. Kitai Gorod is really tranquil, there are many small streets, interesting courtyards, a small green park and ponds. (source)
Hungary is a landlocked country in the Carpathian Basin in Central Europe. Its capital is Budapest. The official and vernacular language is Hungarian, which is part of the Finno-Ugric family, thus one of the four official languages of the European Union that are not of Indo-European origin. Until recently, it was listed as one of the 15 most popular tourist destinations in the world. It attracts about 7 million visitors a year. The country is home to the largest thermal water cave system and the second largest thermal lake in the world (Lake Hévíz), the largest lake in Central Europe (Lake Balaton), and the largest natural grasslands in Europe (Hortobágy). (source) Thank you Lajos!
Karpathos is the second largest of the Greek Dodecanese islands, in the southeastern Aegean Sea. The island includes the municipality of Karpathos plus the community of Olympos. Part of Olympos also extends north to the neighboring Saria Island. From its remote position Karpathos has preserved many peculiarities of dress, customs and dialect, the last resembling those of Crete and Cyprus.
The island is located about 47 kilometers southwest of Rhodes, in the part of the Mediterranean which is called, after it, the Carpathian Sea. (source)
Thank you Anneliese!
Bahrain, officially Kingdom of Bahrain (literally: "Kingdom of the Two Seas"), is a small island country in the Persian Gulf ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. While Bahrain is an archipelago of thirty-three islands, the largest (Bahrain Island) is 55 km long by 18 km wide. Saudi Arabia lies to the west and is connected to Bahrain via the King Fahd Causeway, which was officially opened on 25 November 1986. Qatar is to the southeast across the Gulf of Bahrain.
The planned Qatar Bahrain Causeway will link Bahrain and Qatar as the longest fixed link in the world. Bahrain is also known for its oil and pearls. The country is also the home of many popular structures such as the Bahrain World Trade Center and the Bahrain Financial Harbour, and also the home of many skyscrapers, including the proposed 1,022 m high Murjan Tower. The Bahrain International Circuit is also located here, and is the place where the popular Bahrain F1 Grand Prix takes place. (source) Thank you Mogusa!
Tunisia is the northernmost country in Africa. Its area is almost 165,000 km², with an estimated population of just over 10.3 million. Its name is derived from the capital Tunis located in the north-east. Tunisia is the smallest of the nations situated along the Atlas mountain range. The south of the country is composed of the Sahara desert, with much of the remainder consisting of particularly fertile soil and 1,300 km of coastline.
It is an export-oriented country, in the process of liberalizing its economy while politically it is a dictatorship in all but name. Tunisia has an authoritarian regime in the guise of a procedural democracy led by Zine El Abidine Ben Ali who has governed as President since 1987 and has systematically diminished freedom of press and political pluralism while keeping appearances of democracy. (source)
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and known as Ceylon before 1972, is an island country in South Asia, located about 31 kilometres off the southern coast of India. As a result of its location in the path of major sea routes, Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia.
It has also been a center of the Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times and is one of the few remaining abodes of Buddhism in South Asia, as well as being a bastion of Hinduism. The Sinhalese community forms the majority of the population; Tamils, who are concentrated in the north and east of the island, form the largest ethnic minority. The island also boasts the first female Prime Minister in the modern world, Sirimavo Bandaranaike. The country is famous for the production and export of tea, coffee, coconuts, rubber and cinnamon - which is native to the country. (source)
Thank you Denis!
Iceland is a European island country located in the North Atlantic Ocean on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It has a population of about 320,000 and a total area of 103,000 km2. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík, with the surrounding areas in the southwestern region of the country being home to some two-thirds of the national population. Until the 20th century, the Icelandic population relied largely on fisheries and agriculture. In 1994, the nation became party to an agreement that established the European Economic Area, thus allowing it to diversify from fishing to economic and financial services.
In recent years, Iceland has been one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world. In 2007, it was ranked as the most developed country in the world by the United Nations' Human Development Index, and the fourth most productive country per capita. In 2008, the nation's banking system systematically failed, causing significant economic contraction and political unrest that led to early parliamentary elections making Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir the country's Prime Minister. (source) Thank you Heidi!
Utah is a western state of the United States. It was the 45th state admitted to the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,784,572 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the sixth most urbanized in the U.S. The name "Utah" is derived from the name of the Ute tribe and means "people of the mountains" in the Ute language. It is one of the most religiously homogeneous states in the Union. Between 41% and 60% of Utahns are reported to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the Mormon Church), which greatly influences Utah culture and daily life.
The state is a center of transportation, information technology and research, government services, mining, and a major tourist destination for outdoor recreation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's population estimates, Utah was the fastest growing state in the United States as of 2008. (source) Thank you Suzanna!
Friesland is a province in the north of the Netherlands. Friesland has 643,000 inhabitants (2005) and its capital is Leeuwarden with 91,817 inhabitants, in the center of the province. Fryslân distinguishes itself from the other eleven provinces through having its own language. It is mainly an agricultural province. The famous black and white Frisian cattle and the well known black Frisian horse originated here. Tourism is another important source of income, principal greatest tourist destinations including the lakes in the south west of the province, and the islands in the Wadden Sea in the north. Technology companies such as Asset Control have also set up base in Friesland. (source)
Thank you Diana!
North West England is one of the nine official regions of England. It has a population of 6,853,200 and comprises five ceremonial counties of England – Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, and Cheshire.
North West England is bounded on the west by the Irish Sea and on the east by The Pennines mountain range. The region extends from the Scottish Borders in the north to the Welsh Mountains in the south. The highest point in North West England (and the highest peak in England) is Scafell Pike, Cumbria, at a height of 978 m.Two large conurbations, centred on the cities of Liverpool and Manchester, occupy the south of the region and are its largest centres of population. The north of the region, including northern Lancashire and Cumbria, is largely rural. (source) Thank you Merlyn!
Gothic Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Kostel Nanebevzetí Panny Marie), built in the first half of the 14th century, creates together with its Renaissance bell-tower architectural dominant of the Slavonice historic centre.
Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is three-aisle basilical structure with presbytery in two fields of church's cross-vault and with pentagonal enclosing. South-oriented chapel of the Virgin Mary, built up in the second half of the 14th century, is interesting also thanks to well preserved Gothic frescoes. The nave, originally with flat ceiling, was covered by a Gothic cross-vault in the 15th century. The church's choir comes from the 17th century, and in early 18th century were added two Baroque chapels (St. Anthony and Our Lady of the Sorrows). The Renaissance bell-tower was built at place of former sacristy in 1502. (source)
Halti is the highest fell (mountains, or certain types of mountainous landscape, in Scandinavia, the Isle of Man, and parts of England) in Finland, at 1,328 m above sea level, and thus the highest point in the country. The Halti fell is located in the municipality of Enontekiö in the province of Lapland at the border between Finland and Norway. The summit of Halti at 1,365 m is actually in Norway and it is known as Ráisduattarháldi. Halti was dimensioned and mapped by Finnish Erkki Perä. (source) Thank you Marika!
Heilongjiang: Snaking along the arctic periphery of China’s northernmost province and forming the border that separates China from the austere expanse of Siberia is the Black Dragon River. Known in Chinese as Heilongjiang, the region is a winter wonderland of Russian-spired cities and Manchurian villages. (from the card)
I have been lucky with lotteries lately :)
Flying squirrels are a tribe of 44 species of squirrels (family Sciuridae). Flying squirrels are not capable of sustained flight, instead they glide between trees, with flights recorded to 90 meters. The direction and speed of the animal in midair is varied by changing the positions of its two arms and legs, largely controlled by small cartilaginous wrist bones. This changes the tautness of the patagium, a furry parachute-like membrane that stretches from wrist to ankle. It has a fluffy tail that stabilizes in flight. The tail acts as an adjunct airfoil, working as an air brake before landing on a tree trunk. Flying squirrels can easily forage for food in the night, given their highly developed sense of smell, where they hunt for fungi, nuts, fruits and bird eggs. (source)
Marja sent me a new map card for my collection too! :)
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously as a kingdom and then as a duchy, Brittany was a fief of the Kingdom of France. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain (as opposed to Great Britain). It is characterized as one of the six Celtic nations.
Brittany occupies a large peninsula in the north west of France, lying between the English Channel to the north and the Bay of Biscay to the south. Its land area is 34,023 km². In January 2007 the population of historic Brittany was estimated to be 4,365,500. (source)
The flag of Brittany is called the Gwenn-ha-du, which means white and black in Breton. The flag's dimensions are not fixed, and may vary from 9:14 cm to 8:12 m. The flag is not only used by cultural associations or autonomists but by everyone in general. The Breton flag is unusual in that it does not have any colours. The flag was created in 1923 by Morvan Marchal (1900–1963). He used as his inspiration the flags of the United States and Greece as these two countries were seen at that time as the respective symbols of liberty and democracy.
The nine horizontal stripes represent the traditional dioceses of Brittany into which the duchy was divided historically. The five black stripes represent the French or Gallo speaking dioceses, while the four white stripes represent the Breton speaking dioceses. The ermine canton recalls the ducal arms of Brittany. (source)