Thursday, 17 December 2015

Pedal Power

Three cyclists pedal across Winter Square, two turn to gaze towards the photographer.  Were they friends of the photographer or was it  just serendipity they were cycling past?  I would love to know their story but they will remain forever, enigmatic, captured in a moment of time. The date is c1903, the year of St Petersburg's 200th birthday which was celebrated by the aristocracy in February 1903 at the Winter Palace with what was called the "last spectacular ball in the history of the Empire" when they all dressed up in 17th Century Costume. November would bring a massive storm when many rushed down to see the flooding River Neva's huge waves.

The card came with
one of the brown bear definitives and a pine tree (Pinus stankewiczii) from the 2015 Flora of Russia set.  The dusting of snow on the cones is appropriate because my postcard was sent by Diana in Siberia.

How the species were chosen for the stamp set is interesting.  In 2014 millions of people took part in a vote for the green symbols of each of Russia's 85 regions.  The choices of Moscow (oak) St Petersburg (Acer) Crimea (High Juniper) and Sevastopol (the stamp shown) were used for the set.  An interesting political choice, two centres of power and a geographical area annexed by Russia in 2014.  All of the 'green symbols' will be planted in the 'Avenue of Russia' located in the famous Victory Park gardens in Sevastopol which has plants that represent all Russia's climate zones and is a big draw for tourists and  botanical enthusiasts.

Pinus stankewiczii is a species endemic to Crimea first identified in 1905 by the Russian and Polish forestry specialist Waclaw Stankiewicz (1866-1940) 

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