Tuesday, 16 July 2019

DESKTOP 2175 - SAN FRANCISCO, USA

San Francisco, officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the cultural, commercial, and financial centre of Northern California and the only consolidated city-county in California. San Francisco is about 121 km2 in area. It is located on the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula. It is the smallest county in the state. It has a density of about 7,124 people per km2, making it the most densely settled large city (population greater than 200,000) in the state of California and the second-most densely populated major city in the United States after New York City. The city and its surrounding areas are known as the San Francisco Bay Area, and are a part of the larger OMB-designated San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland combined statistical area, the fifth most populous in the nation with an estimated population of 8.7 million.

San Francisco (Spanish for Saint Francis) was founded on June 29, 1776, when colonists from Spain established Presidio of San Francisco at the Golden Gate and Mission San Francisco de Asís named for St. Francis of Assisi a few miles away. The California Gold Rush of 1849 brought rapid growth, making it the largest city on the West Coast at the time. San Francisco became a consolidated city-county in 1856. After three-quarters of the city was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco was quickly rebuilt, hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later.

In World War II, San Francisco was the port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theatre. After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, massive immigration, liberalising attitudes, along with the rise of the “hippie” counterculture, the Sexual Revolution, the Peace Movement growing from opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War, and other factors led to the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, cementing San Francisco as a centre of liberal activism in the United States. Politically, the city votes strongly along liberal Democratic Party lines.

A popular tourist destination, San Francisco is known for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Fisherman’s Wharf, and its Chinatown district. San Francisco is also the headquarters of five major banking institutions and various other companies such as Levi Strauss & Co., Gap Inc., Salesforce.com, Dropbox, Reddit, Square, Inc., Dolby, Airbnb, Weebly, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Yelp, Pinterest, Twitter, Uber, Lyft, Mozilla, Wikimedia Foundation, and Craigslist. It has several nicknames, including “The City by the Bay”, “Fog City”, “San Fran”, and “Frisco”, as well as older ones like “The City that Knows How”, “Baghdad by the Bay”, “The Paris of the West”, or simply “The City”. As of 2015, San Francisco was ranked high on world livability rankings.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Monday, 15 July 2019

DESKTOP 2174 - APARTMENTS

Higgledy-piggledy in Southbank, Melbourne, Australia...

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

DESKTOP 2173 - LAND MINE

A land mine is an explosive device concealed under or on the ground and designed to destroy or disable enemy targets, ranging from combatants to vehicles and tanks, as they pass over or near it. Such a device is typically detonated automatically by way of pressure when a target steps on it or drives over it, although other detonation mechanisms are also sometimes used. A land mine may cause damage by direct blast effect, by fragments that are thrown by the blast, or by both.

The use of land mines is controversial because of their potential as indiscriminate weapons. They can remain dangerous many years after a conflict has ended, harming civilians and the economy. 78 countries are contaminated with land mines and 15,000–20,000 people are killed every year while countless more are maimed. Approximately 80% of land mine casualties are civilian, with children as the most affected age group. Most killings occur in times of peace.

With pressure from a number of campaign groups organised through the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a global movement to prohibit their use led to the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, also known as the Ottawa Treaty. To date, 164 nations have signed the treaty.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

DESKTOP 2170 - BIRD OF PARADISE

Strelitzia reginae, commonly known as the crane flower or bird of paradise, is a species of flowering plant indigenous to South Africa. An evergreen perennial, it is widely cultivated for its dramatic flowers. In temperate areas it is a popular houseplant. 

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

DESKTOP 2168 - QUEBEC, CANADA

Quebec, also Québec, City of Québec, is the capital of the province of Quebec in Canada. In 2015 the city had a population of 540,994, and the metropolitan area had a population of 806,400, making it Canada’s seventh-largest metropolitan area and Quebec’s second-largest city after Montreal, which is about 260 kilometres to the southwest, respectively. Quebec is the second-largest French-speaking city in Canada after Montréal.

The narrowing of the Saint Lawrence River proximate to the city’s promontory, Cap-Diamant (Cape Diamond), and Lévis, on the opposite bank, provided the name given to the city, Kébec, an Algonquin word meaning “where the river narrows”. Founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America. The ramparts surrounding Old Quebec (Vieux-Québec) are the only fortified city walls remaining in the Americas north of Mexico, and were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 as the ‘Historic District of Old Québec’.

According to the federal and provincial governments, Québec is the city’s official name in both French and English, although Quebec City (or its French equivalent, Ville de Québec) is commonly used, particularly to distinguish the city from the province. In French, the names of the province and the city are distinguished grammatically in that the province takes the definite article (le Québec, du Québec, au Québec, respectively ‘the Quebec’, ‘from the Quebec’, ‘in the Quebec’) and the city does not (Québec, de Québec, à Québec, respectively ‘Quebec City’, ‘from Quebec City’, ‘in Quebec City’).

The city’s famous landmarks include the Château Frontenac, a hotel which dominates the skyline, and La Citadelle, an intact fortress that forms the centrepiece of the ramparts surrounding the old city. The National Assembly of Quebec (provincial legislature), the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec), and the Musée de la civilisation (Museum of Civilisation) are found within or near Vieux-Québec.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Monday, 8 July 2019

DESKTOP 2167 - SHADED

Taking a photo through the window over which a fine mesh shade was drawn. The light and shadows as the sun shines through the vegetation and shade make a good mosaic.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme, 
and also part of the Seasons meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

DESKTOP 2166 - YELLOWBOX BARK

The gumtrees are shedding their bark at the moment and the Yellowbox Gum is no exception. 

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.



Thursday, 4 July 2019

DESKTOP 2163 - APTENIA

Aptenia cordifolia is a species of succulent plant in the Aizoaceae (iceplant) family known by the common names heartleaf iceplant and baby sun rose. Perhaps the most common plant seen under this name is actually Aptenia 'Red Apple', a hybrid with red flowers and bright green leaves, whose parents are A. cordifolia and A. (Platythyra) haeckeliana. The true species of A. cordifolia has magenta purple flowers and more heart-shaped, mid-green, textured leaves.

Native to southern Africa, this species has become widely known as a hardy ornamental plant. This is a mat-forming perennial herb growing in flat clumps on the ground from a woody base. Stems reach up to about 60 centimeters long. The bright green leaves are generally heart-shaped and up to 3 centimeters long. They are covered in very fine bumps. 

Bright pink to purplish flowers appear in the leaf axils and are open during the day. The fruit is a capsule just over a centimetre long. The hybrid, Aptenia 'Red Apple', has, in some areas, escaped cultivation and now grows as an introduced species. Its far more vigorous growth and ability to root from small bits of stem makes it a poor choice for planting adjacent to wild lands as it can prove to be quite invasive and can become weedy.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

DESKTOP 2162 - ZEBRAS

Zebras at the Royal Melbourne Zoo. A zebra is an African wild horse with black-and-white stripes and an erect mane. It belongs to the genus Equus, family Equidae and there are three species, the common zebra (E. burchellii) seen here.

Melbourne Zoo is mindful that the welfare of the world’s wildlife is paramount, so the welfare of the animals in its care is of the utmost importance. The zoo's Animal Welfare Code sets out the zoo's animal welfare commitments and obligations. Zoos Victoria have a life-long duty of care to animals and are committed to ensuring that they are given the very best of care, provided with stimulation and housed in facilities that provide for their natural behaviours.

In association with other zoos around the world and with animal conservation groups, Zoos Victoria takes part in programs that foster animal species under threat of extinction and collaborates such that animal breeding programs in zoos helps to conserve animal diversity and species longevity around the world.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Nature Notes meme.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

DESKTOP 2161 - VALETTA, MALTA

Malta, officially known as the Republic of Malta (Maltese: Repubblika ta' Malta), is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km south of Italy, 284 km east of Tunisia, and 333 km north of Libya. The country covers just over 316 km2, with a population of just under 450,000 (despite an extensive emigration programme since the Second World War), making it one of the world’s smallest and most densely populated countries.

Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English. Malta’s location has historically given it great strategic importance as a naval base, and a succession of powers, including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, Normans, Sicilians, Spanish, Knights of St. John, French and British, have ruled the islands.

Valletta is the capital city of Malta, colloquially known as Il-Belt (“The City”) in Maltese. Geographically, it is located in the South Eastern Region, in the central-eastern portion of the main island of Malta having its western coast with access to the Marsamxett Harbour and its eastern coast in the Grand Harbour.

The historical city has a population of 6,444 as of March 2014, while the metropolitan area around it has a population of 393,938. Valletta is the southernmost capital of Europe and the second southernmost capital of the European Union after Nicosia. Valletta contains buildings from the 16th century onwards, built during the rule of the Order of St. John also known as Knights Hospitaller. The city is essentially Baroque in character, with elements of Mannerist, Neo-Classical and Modern architecture in selected areas, though the Second World War left major scars on the city, particularly the destruction of the Royal Opera House. The City of Valletta was officially recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980.

The official name given by the Order of Saint John was Humilissima Civitas Valletta—The Most Humble City of Valletta, or Città Umilissima in Italian. The city's fortifications, consisting of bastions, curtains and cavaliers, along with the beauty of its Baroque palaces, gardens and churches, led the ruling houses of Europe to give the city its nickname Superbissima—Most Proud.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.


Monday, 1 July 2019

DESKTOP 2160 - BENCHES

A superimposition of three different images of the same location, with the one bench acquiring a phantom twin, materialising from some other dimension perhaps?

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme.

Saturday, 29 June 2019

DESKTOP 2158 - DUCK

Meet Deirdre Duck at home in the Darebin Parklands in Melbourne!

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme,
and also part of the Weekend Reflections meme.

Friday, 28 June 2019

DESKTOP 2157 - BLUE SKY

On a fine Winter's day, a blue sky and sunshine compensate for the cold in the air.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

DESKTOP 2156 - TULIP

The tulip is a perennial, bulbous plant with showy flowers in the genus Tulipa, of which around 75 wild species are currently accepted and which belongs to the family Liliaceae. The genus's native range extends west to the Iberian Peninsula, through North Africa to Greece, the Balkans, Turkey, throughout the Levant (Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan) and Iran, North to Ukraine, southern Siberia and Mongolia, and east to the Northwest of China.
The tulip's centre of diversity is in the Pamir, Hindu Kush, and Tien Shan mountains. It is a typical element of steppe and winter-rain Mediterranean vegetation. A number of species and many hybrid cultivars are grown in gardens, as potted plants, or as cut flowers.

Tulips are spring-blooming perennials that grow from bulbs. Depending on the species, tulip plants can be between 10 cm and 71 cm high. The tulip's large flowers usually bloom on scapes with leaves in a rosette at ground level and a single flowering stalk arising from amongst the leaves.Tulip stems have few leaves. Larger species tend to have multiple leaves. Plants typically have two to six leaves, some species up to 12. The tulip's leaf is strap-shaped, with a waxy coating, and the leaves are alternately arranged on the stem; these fleshy blades are often bluish green in colour.

Most tulips produce only one flower per stem, but a few species bear multiple flowers on their scapes (e.g. Tulipa turkestanica). The generally cup or star-shaped tulip flower has three petals and three sepals, which are often termed tepals because they are nearly identical. These six tepals are often marked on the interior surface near the bases with darker colourings. Tulip flowers come in a wide variety of colours, except pure blue (several tulips with "blue" in the name have a faint violet hue).

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme .

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

DESKTOP 2155 - YARRA RIVER

The Yarra River in suburban Melbourne Australia on a Winter's morning. 

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Nature Notes meme.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

DESKTOP 2154 - CORVIN CASTLE, ROMANIA

Corvin Castle, also known as Hunyadi Castle or Hunedoara Castle (Romanian: Castelul Huniazilor or Castelul Corvinilor; Hungarian: Vajdahunyadi vár), is a Gothic-Renaissance castle in Hunedoara, Romania. It is one of the largest castles in Europe and figures in a top of seven wonders of Romania.

Corvin Castle was laid out in 1446, when construction began at the orders of John Hunyadi (Hungarian: Hunyadi János, Romanian: Iancu or Ioan de Hunedoara) who wanted to transform the former keep built by Charles I of Hungary. The castle was originally given to John Hunyadi’s father, Voyk (Vajk), by Sigismund, king of Hungary, as severance in 1409.

Built in a Renaissance-Gothic style and constructed over the site of an older fortification on a rock above the small Zlaști River, the castle is a large and imposing structure with tall towers, bastions, an inner courtyard, diversely coloured roofs, and myriads of windows and balconies adorned with stone carvings. The castle also features a double wall for enhanced fortification and is flanked by both rectangular and circular towers, an architectural innovation for the period’s Transylvanian architecture. Some of the towers (the Capistrano Tower, the Deserted Tower and the Drummers' Tower) were used as prisons.

The castle has 3 large areas: The Knights’ Hall, the Diet Hall and the Circular Stairway. The halls are rectangular in shape and are decorated with marble. The Diet Hall was used for ceremonies or formal receptions whilst the Knights’ Hall was used for feasts. In 1456, John Hunyadi died and work on the castle stagnated. Starting with 1458, new commissions were being undergone to construct the Matia Wing of the castle. In 1480, work was completely stopped on the castle and it was recognised as being one of the biggest and most impressive buildings in Eastern Europe.

The 16th century did not bring any improvements to the castle, but during the 17th century new additions were made, for aesthetic and military purposes. Aesthetically, the new Large Palace was built facing the town. A two-level building, it hosted living chambers and a large living area. For military purposes, two new towers were constructed: The White Tower and the Artillery Tower. Also, the external yard was added, used for administration and storage. The current castle is the result of a fanciful restoration campaign undertaken after a disastrous fire and many decades of total neglect. It has been noted that modern “architects projected to it their own wistful interpretations of how a great Gothic castle should look”.

Tourists are told that the Castle was the place where Vlad III of Wallachia (commonly known as Vlad the Impaler) was held prisoner by John Hunyadi, Hungary’s military leader and regent during the King's minority, for 7 years after Vlad was deposed in 1462. Later, Vlad III entered a political alliance with John Hunyadi, although the latter was responsible for the execution of his father, Vlad II Dracul. Because of these links, the Hunedora Castle is sometimes mentioned as a source of inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Castle Dracula. In fact, Stoker neither knew about Vlad’s alliance with Hunyadi, nor about Hunyadi’s castle. Instead, Stoker’s own handwritten research notes confirm that the novelist imagined the Castle Dracula to be situated on an empty top in the Transylvanian Călimani Mountains near the former border with Moldavia.

In the castle yard, near the 15th-century chapel, there is a 30 meter deep well. According to legend, this was dug by three Turkish prisoners to whom liberty was promised if they reached water. After 15 years they completed the well, but their captors did not keep their promise. It is said that the inscription on a wall of the well means: “You have water, but have no soul”. Specialists, however, have translated the inscription as: “He who wrote this inscription is Hasan, who lives as slave of the giaours, in the fortress near the church”. In February 2007, Corvin Castle played host to the British paranormal television program “Most Haunted Live!” for a three-night live investigation into the spirits reported to be haunting the castle. Results were inconclusive…

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

DESKTOP 2149 - CELOSIA

Celosia cristata is a member of the Amaranthaceae family, and is commonly known as cockscomb, since the flower looks like the head on a rooster (cock). It is called Chi Kuan in China. The plants are hardy and resistant to most diseases, and grow equally well indoors or out, though the perfect place is one with no shade and a well drained soil, as the plant is susceptible to fungal diseases. The plant is used frequently as an ornamental plant indoors. Their leaves and flowers can be used as vegetables. They are often grown as foods in India, Western Africa, and South America.
 
They are annual plants of tropical origin and are herbaceous meaning they lack a woody stem. They grow well in both humid and arid conditions, and their flowers can last for up to 8 weeks. A high number of seeds can be produced by each flower, up to 1,500 per gram. The plant often grows up to 30 cm in height, though many are smaller. The leaves are either green or bronze/maroon, depending upon the cultivar. The flower can be broken into three parts: their spikes, plumes and crests vary from one another but have standard commonalities—they are usually brightly coloured, usually red, yellow, pink, or orange, though other colours can be present. In some instances, a variety of colours are present in hybrids.

The plants are hardy and can be grown easily from the seeds. Since the plants are of tropic origin, they thrive in areas with tropical climate. However, they can also be grown in summer months in the colder climate. The plants being annual plants, grow for only about one fourth of a year. A soil temperature of about 16 °C is ideal for growth. The plants are relatively easy to grow and care for, having few insects that feed on them. Mites, though, are known to feed on the plants. The plants are also susceptible to leaf spotting, root rot and root strangulation. However the former two can be prevented by avoiding a damp soil and the latter by frequent weeding. Also wetting the leaf and flowers should be avoided as they can lead to fungal diseases.
 
This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

DESKTOP 2148 - XOANON

Xoanon | ˈzəʊənɒn | noun (plural xoana | ˈzəʊənə | )
(in ancient Greece) a primitive wooden image of a deity.
ORIGINEarly 18th century: from Greek; related to xein ‘carve’.


Totem poles of painted, carved wood in Vancouver, Canada, created by Indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast of North America. They variously portray family legends and lineage, spirituality, sacred or mythological beings, and culturally important animals, people or events.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

DESKTOP 2147 - PAPHOS, CYPRUS

Paphos (Greek: Πάφος [Pafos]; Turkish: Baf) is a coastal city in the southwest of Cyprus and the capital of Paphos District. In antiquity, two locations were called Paphos: Old Paphos, today at Kouklia, and New Paphos. The current city of Paphos lies on the Mediterranean coast, about 50 km west of Limassol (the biggest port on the island), which has an A6 highway connection. Paphos International Airport is the country’s second-largest airport. The city has a subtropical-Mediterranean climate, with the mildest temperatures on the island.

Paphos Castle (seen below) is located on the edge of Paphos harbour. It was originally built as a Byzantine fort to protect the harbour. It was then rebuilt by the Lusignans in the thirteenth century after being destroyed in the earthquake of 1222. In 1570 it was dismantled by the Venetians. After capturing the island, the Ottomans restored and strengthened it.

Throughout the ages it has seen many uses. It has served as a fortress, a prison and even a warehouse for salt during the British occupation of the island. More recently the castle serves as a backdrop to the annual open air Paphos cultural festival, which takes place in September. It was declared a listed building in 1935 and represents one of the most distinctive landmarks of the city of Paphos. Several archaeological excavations have taken place to investigate its past.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

DESKTOP 2142 - SOUTHERN BOUQUET

The flora of South Africa and Australia is very distinctive with quite a few rich botanical families that provide a diverse and amazing bouquet of flowers. The Proteaceae (banksias, grevilleas, waratahs) and Myrtaceae (eucalypts, bottlebrushes, titrees, lillipillis) especially are well represented.

Australia and New Zealand once formed part of a huge southern land mass now referred to as Gondwanaland, whereas northern hemisphere continents were once aggregated into Laurasia. Gondwanaland and Laurasia began to disaggregate about 160 million years ago. Prior to this time, the southern hemisphere land masses and India were connected into Gondwanaland, while North America, Europe and much of Asia formed Laurasia.

South Africa, Madagascar, India, South America, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Australia and various other fragments broke away and drifted northwards, leaving Antarctica behind. Australia and South America were the last major land masses to separate from Antarctica, Australia beginning slowly about 90 to 100 million years ago and establishing a deep ocean passage some 30 to 40 million years ago.

Here is a bouquet of the Gondwanaland flowers, readily available in florists throughout the world because of extensive flower exports from both South Africa and Australia.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

DESKTOP 2141 - WATER

Water is a compound of oxygen and hydrogen (chemical formula: H2O) with highly distinctive physical and chemical properties: it is able to dissolve many other substances; its solid form (ice) is less dense than the liquid form; its boiling point, viscosity, and surface tension are unusually high for its molecular weight, and it is partially dissociated into hydrogen and hydroxyl ions.

Water is a colourless, transparent, odourless, liquid which forms the seas, lakes, rivers, and rain and is the basis of the fluids of living organisms. It is ironic that our planet is called "Earth" as on its surface, water makes up 71% of the surface area... Without water life on earth as we know it could not exist.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Nature Notes meme.

Monday, 10 June 2019

DESKTOP 2140 - POROS, GREECE

Poros (Greek: Πόρος) is a small Greek island-pair in the southern part of the Saronic Gulf, about 58 km (31 nautical miles) south from Piraeus and separated from the Peloponnese by a 200 m wide sea channel, with the town of Galatas on the mainland across the strait. Its surface area is about 31 square kilometres and it has 3,780 inhabitants. The ancient name of Poros was Pogon.

Like other ports in the Saronic, it is a popular weekend destination for Athenian travellers. Poros consists of two islands: Sphairia (Greek: Σφαιρία), the southern part, which is of volcanic origin, where today's city is located, and Kalaureia (Greek: Καλαυρία), also Kalavria or Calauria (meaning 'gentle breeze'), the northern and largest part. A bridge connects the two islands over a narrow strait.

Poros is an island with rich vegetation. Much of the northern and far eastern/western sides of the island are bushy, whereas large areas of old pine forest are found in the south and center of the island. It has a good road network and adequate tourist infrastructure, which makes it a popular resort for short holidays.

The town of Poros, with its neoclassical edifices, is built amphitheatrically on the slopes of a hill. Its most famous landmark is a clock tower, built in 1927. The Archaeological Museum of Poros, at Korizis Square, houses findings from the Sanctuary of Poseidon, from ancient Troizen, and from other archaeological sites nearby. In the northern part of the island are the remains of the Sanctuary of Poseidon, the centre of the Kalaureian amphictyony. The exact date it was built is not known, although researchers estimate it to have been around 520 BC. The dimensions of the temple, which is of the Doric order, are 27.4×14.4 m. There are six columns on each short side and twelve on each long side. It was here that Demosthenes, the famous orator, poisoned himself with hemlock in 322 BC fleeing from the Macedonian Governor Antipatros.

Poros was the site of the first naval base in modern Greece, established in 1827 during the Greek War of Independence. Most of the activities of Poros naval base were moved to Salamis Naval Base in 1881. The site is still used today by the Hellenic Navy as a training centre for naval personnel. Though possessing no airport, Poros is easily accessible from Athens via ferry or hydrofoil. One can reach the island by car or bus from the adjacent mainland at Galatas. There is local bus service on the island from Poros harbour to the nearby towns of Neorio and Monastiri.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

DESKTOP 2139 - PARKLANDS

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

DESKTOP 2135 - FRINGE LILY

Thysanotus tuberosus, known as the common fringe-lily is a perennial herb in the Asparagaceae family, which is endemic to Australia. The generic name comes from the Greek θύσανος (thysanos) and means "tasselled", while species name tuberosus refers to the crisp tasting edible root.

The leaves are linear in shape, and round at cross section towards the top. The plant reaches a height from 20 cm to 60 cm tall and grows in a wide variety of situations, from semi-arid parts of south eastern Australia to coastal areas receiving more than 1300 mm of rain per year. The plants are often found in open country, heathlands or in dry sclerophyll woodland.

Flowers form from September to April. The three-petalled flowers are purple, with frilly edges, and only last for one day. They are among the more colourful wildflowers in Southeastern Australia. There two sub-species: The tepals are somewhat longer and wider in subsp. tuberosus, being 10 to 19 mm long, and around 10 mm wide. In subsp. parviflorus the inner anthers are smaller, and straight to slightly curved. Fringe-lilies are not often seen in cultivation despite their obvious beauty. Generally they have proved to be difficult to maintain in cultivation.

T. tuberosus should be grown in a well-drained sunny position. It is also suited to growing in a container. Propagation is relatively easy from seed which does not require any special pre-treatment.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Monday, 3 June 2019

DESKTOP 2133 - PALERMO, SICILY

Palermo is a city in Insular Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Metropolitan City of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old. Palermo is located in the northwest of the island of Sicily, right by the Gulf of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea. 

The city was founded in 734 BC by the Phoenicians as Ziz (flower). Palermo then became a possession of Carthage, before becoming part of the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire and eventually part of the Byzantine Empire, for over a thousand years. The Greeks named the city Panormus meaning “complete port”. From 831 to 1072 the city was under Arab rule during the Emirate of Sicily when the city first became a capital. The Arabs shifted the Greek name into Balarm, the root for Palermo’s present-day name. Following the Norman reconquest, Palermo became the capital of a new kingdom (from 1130 to 1816), the Kingdom of Sicily and the capital of the Holy Roman Empire under Frederick II Holy Roman Emperor and Conrad IV of Germany, King of the Romans. Eventually Sicily would be united with the Kingdom of Naples to form the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies until the Italian unification of 1860. 

The population of Palermo urban area is estimated by Eurostat to be 855,285, while its metropolitan area is the fifth most populated in Italy with around 1.2 million people. In the central area, the city has a population of around 676,000 people. The inhabitants are known as Palermitani or, poetically, panormiti. The languages spoken by its inhabitants are the Italian language, Sicilian language and the Palermitano dialect. Palermo is Sicily’s cultural, economic and touristic capital. It is a city rich in history, culture, art, music and food. Numerous tourists are attracted to the city for its good Mediterranean weather, its renowned gastronomy and restaurants, its Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque churches, palaces and buildings, and its nightlife and music. 

Palermo is the main Sicilian industrial and commercial centre: the main industrial sectors include tourism, services, commerce and agriculture. Palermo currently has an international airport, and a significant underground economy. In fact, for cultural, artistic and economic reasons, Palermo was one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean and is now among the top tourist destinations in both Italy and Europe. It is the main seat of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale. The city is also going through careful redevelopment, preparing to become one of the major cities of the Euro-Mediterranean area. 

Roman Catholicism is highly important in Palermitano culture. The Patron Saint of Palermo is Santa Rosalia whose Feast Day is celebrated on 15 July. The area attracts significant numbers of tourists each year and is widely known for its colourful fruit, vegetable and fish markets at the heart of Palermo, known as Vucciria, Ballarò and Capo.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

DESKTOP 2132 - ELEMENTAL

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme,
and also part of the Macro Monday meme.

Sunday, 2 June 2019

DESKTOP 2131 - BLACK SWANS

The Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) is a large waterbird, a species of swan, which breeds mainly in the southeast and southwest regions of Australia. The species was hunted to extinction in New Zealand, but later reintroduced. Within Australia they are nomadic, with erratic migration patterns dependent upon climatic conditions. Black Swans are large birds with mostly black plumage and red bills. They are monogamous breeders that share incubation duties and cygnet rearing between the sexes.

Described scientifically by English naturalist John Latham in 1790, the Black Swan was formerly placed into a monotypic genus, Chenopis. Black Swans can be found singly, or in loose companies numbering into the hundreds or even thousands. Black Swans are popular birds in zoological gardens and bird collections, and escapees are sometimes seen outside their natural range. These specimens (breeding pair and four cygnets) were snapped on the Yarra River right in the City of Melbourne.

This post is part of the Photo Sunday meme,
and also part of the Weekend Reflections meme.