December 31, 2008

EU Capital Cities

This year the Polish Post has prepared a fourth edition of the "EU Capital Cities" series issued since 2005. The stamps are accompanied by five first day envelopes FDC and one anniversary date stamp, used in Warsaw 1 Postal Office. By now we have seen representative buildings of Budapest, Berlin, Dublin, Lisbon, London, Ljubljana, Luxembourg, Madrid, Paris, Riga, Rome, Stockholm, Tallinn, Valetta and Vilnius.

Prague - the Charles Bridge
Famous for the beautiful architecture Czech capital was established upon the joining of two cities of the early Middle Ages: Hradčany and Vyšehrad. The representative for ages seat of the Czech rulers was handed over in the 16th century to the house of Habsburg, and at the same time to be dominated by Vienna. Only the so called Czech National Revival in the 19th century restored the city's previous character. Prague was again the capital city in 1918 upon the creation of Czechoslovakia. In 1993 after the split of Czechoslovakia, the city became the capital city of the Czech Republic.

The Charles Bridge (by 2nd half of the 19 century called the Stone Bridge or the Prague Bridge) connects two districts: Malá Strana and Staré Mesto. It is 515 meters long and approximately 9.5 meters wide. It was built in the 14th century (replaced the 12th century Judith Bridge destroyed by flood), by 1741 was the only bridge on the Vltava river. Its Gothic character has been emphasised by the towers protecting the bridge. The famous 30 statues of saints were added only in the times of baroque.

Stamp Issue: 2008-10-24
number 4246

December 29, 2008

Gustave Alexandre Eiffel

Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel
(1832-1923), French engineer and builder, most famous for the construction of the tower in Paris that bears his name. Born in Paris, his family included artisans and timber and coal merchants. Eiffel was educated at the Lycée Royal in Dijon and the College Sainte-Barbe in Paris, and he graduated from the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures in 1855, joining a company that produced steam engines. 

In 1858 the company was granted a contract to erect a railway bridge in Bordeaux. Eiffel oversaw the construction with such success that in 1866 he founded his own company and soon became known for his wrought-iron structures. Starting in 1872 he attracted foreign contracts, and in 1877 he erected over the Douro River in Porto (Oporto), Portugal, a steel arch bridge 160 m (525 ft) in height.

Eiffel's work combined expert craftsmanship and graceful design, qualities that are evident in the Garabit viaduct in France. Completed in 1884, it was for a time the highest bridge in the world, winning Eiffel's factory a worldwide reputation for excellence. Eiffel cast Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi's colossal statue Liberty Enlightening the World, which was dedicated in New York in 1886. Soon after, he began work on his greatest project, the building of the Eiffel Tower. It was completed in 1889 for the celebration of the centennial of the French Revolution (1789-1799). The imposing tower—constructed of 7,000 tons of iron in 18,000 parts held together by 2,500,000 rivets—rises to a height of 300m (984 ft), and continues to dominate the Paris skyline. In the early 1890s Eiffel gave up the daily management of his business and became absorbed in the new science of aerodynamics. 

Stamp Issue: 1982

December 19, 2008

Landmark Bridge of India

Mahatma Gandhi Setu
Located at Patna, Bihar, is popularly known simply as Ganga Bridge. It stands at the place where Mahatma Gandhi crossed the river long back to go to Champaran, where he laid foundations ofstruggle that was to dislodge British, and hence the name. Opened to traffic on 02.03.1982 by the then Prime Minister, late Smt. Indira Gandhi, this is the longest single river bridge in the world. The bridge consists of 45 intermediate spans of 121.065 meters each, and two end spans of 63.53 meters each, having a total length of 5,565 meters. The superstructure of the bridge is a pre-stressed cantilever construction. The completion of the Mahatma Gandhi Setu marks a milestone in the history ofthe economic development of Bihar.

Vidyasagar Setu
The modern cable bridge known as Vidyasagar Setu lies across the river Hoogly. Affording a panoramic view of the skyline of Kolkata, it itself contributes to the grandeur of the city’s new skyline. Better known locally as the second Hoogly Bridge, built to provide an additional connector between the twin cities of Kolkata and Howrah. Apart from Howrah Bridge, Vidyasagar Setu is 823 meters long, and 35 meters wide. Supported on four foundations, the height of the steel pylons over pillars is 120 meters. With a 4% longitudinal gradient, the bridge provides navigational clearance of 33.87 meter to 34.38 meter over the highest level to ensure safe passage underneath, of the international cargo ships, which cater to Kolkata Port. The bridge has also been connected with flyovers and ramps on either side to provide uninterrupted flow of traffic from both, the Kolkata and Howrah ends. This unique and longest cable stayed bridge, constructed at a cost of Rs. 380 crores, was thrown open to the nation by the hon’ble Prime Minister of India on 10th October 1992.

Howrah Bridge
The famous Howrah Bridge is one of the best known landmarks of Kolkata, a virtual ‘Gateway of Kolkata’, and an inseparable icon of the city, sharing a totemic relationship with its growth and evolution. The construction of a new ‘Suspension type balanced Cantilever Bridge’, without any intermediate pier, was conceived after the First World War, by a Committee chaired by the famous Bengali engineer and industrialist Sir R.N. Mukherjee after taking into account the hydraulic factors and the flow pattern of the river. A technological marvel, its construction was supervised by a newly formed specialized body viz., ‘The Howrah Bridge Commissioners’. Out of the 26,500 tonnes of steel used, around 3000 tonnes were imported and the rest was indigenously sourced through TISCO. The Bridge was opened to traffic in February, 1943, dismantling the earlier floating bridge. It was renamed as ‘Rabindra Setu’ on 14th June 1965, but continues to be referred to as Howrah Bridge in the popular lexicon. A suspension type balanced cantilever bridge, this is the fourth cantilever bridge in the world, with a central span of 1500 ft. between the centres of its main towers. Its anchor arms are 325 ft. long and the cantilever arms 468 ft. long at both ends, while the middle suspended span is 564 ft. The main towers soar 280 ft, high above the monoliths and are 76 ft. apart at the top. The bridge deck width is 71 ft., with two footpaths of 15 ft. on either side.

Pam ban Setu
Opened to traffic in 1914, the Pamban Bridge, also known as the Pamban Viaduct, forms part of the Rameswaram meter gauge section in Madurai Division of the Southern Railways. Constructed over 100 to 300 feet wide reef lying submerged between the mainland of India and the Island of Rameswaram, this bridge was built over the Palk Straits to reduce the gap in the rail systems between India and Sri Lanka (then Ceylon). The distance of 36 kms between Dhanushkodi, off Rameswaram Island, and Talaimannar, the railway terminus of Sri Lanka, was linked by ferry service, and direct rail cum ferry journey tickets were issued at both ends. ~ 2.06 kms long, the Pamban Bridge has 146 span of 40 feet clear, including one Scherzer lift span, which measure 213 feet, and remains a marvel of technology and a visual treat.

Stamp Issue: 2007-08-17

December 10, 2008

Bridges and Viaducts of Luxembourg

Centenary of the Adolphe Bridge
The Adolphe Bridge in Luxembourg, also called the New Bridge, opened to traffic on 24 July 1903. Built during the reign of Grand Duke Adolphe, whose name it bears, this year it celebrates its one hundred years of existence. When it was opened, this engineering project, built as an extension of Boulevard Royal to connect the western half of the upper city to the Bourbon Plateau and the central train station district, was the largest stone arch bridge ever constructed and was admired by engineers around the world. A heterogeneous combination of classical concepts and reinforced concrete, the bridge, 153 m long, features a large double arch with a span of 85 m overhanging the Pétrusse valley 42 m below. It has become a symbol of the capital and is also at the heart of the celebrations for Luxembourg National Day when it is the venue for a traditional fireworks show.

Stierchen Bridge
By following the Corniche path from the Bock rock down to the "Grund Gate", a narrow zig-zagging path leads you to the bottom of the valley and to a small footbridge, the "Stierchen". This small stone bridge in the lower town of Luxembourg called "Grund", is part of the Wenceslas wall (Wenzelsmauer), fortifications which have been added to the World Heritage List by UNESCO. The medieval Stierchen bridge dates back to the end of the 14th century whereas the wall of which it forms a part was reinforced in the 16th century to meet the needs of the artillery.

The Victor Bodson Bridge (Hesperange Viaduct)
The Victor Bodson Bridge, also known as the Hesperange Viaduct, is located on the southeast freeway bypass of Luxembourg City and spans the Alzette valley at a height of 40 m in order to connect the plateaus of Howald and Itzig. The work is a symmetric cable-stayed structure with a single central concrete pylon 61 m in height and a sheet of radial cables, each half-sheet composed of 16 cables with lengths varying from 42 to 140 m. Viewed from far away the structure resembles a majestic sailing ship. The most unusual characteristic of the bridge, however, is the curve (R = 1,750 m) of the path it follows, a very rare feature for a cable-stayed bridge.

Stamp Issue: 2003-04-10