Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Šiauliai 1923

This is a cover sent in 1923 from the Žemės ūkio kooperatyvų sąjunga „Gamintojas” in Šiauliai to Taastrup, Denmark. Žemės ūkio kooperatyvų sąjunga „Gamintojas” was one of the numerous trade unions of coorperatives established throughout Lithuania during the early 1920's. In 1927, Gamintojas was eventually absorbed by „Lietūkis“, another agricultural coorperatives union based in Kaunas.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Ukmergė 1899

Вилыкомıр / Vilkomir (now Ukmergė, Lithuania) 

Бердичев / Berdichev, Киевская губерния / Kiev gubernia

Клинцы / Klintsy,  Черниговская губерния / Chernigov gubernia

ГордѢевка / Gordejevka, Черниговская губерния / Chernigov gubernia

This is a postal stationery sent in 1899 from Вилыкомıр / Vilkomir (now Ukmergė, Lithuania) to ГордѢевка / Gordejevka, Черниговская губерния (Chernigov gubernia), now spelled Гордеевка / Gordeevka in modern Russian. What's interesting about this cover is not the front but rather the back of the cover with multiple of postmarks for a non-registered, non-express just regular domestic postal transaction. It is a bit confusing for the readers who are not really familiar with cyrillic alphabets so I'm gonna first list down the postmarks in chronological order:

1. front: Вилыкомıр / Vilkomir (now Ukmergė, Lithuania) 3 February 1899
2. back: Бердичев / Berdichev, Киевская губерния / Kiev gubernia (now Бердичів / Berdychiv, Ukraine) 8 February 1899 - the postmark uses the abbreviation "Киевск. г." / Kievsk. g.
3. back: Клинцы / Klintsy, Черниговская губерния / Chernigov gubernia, (now it is part of Bryansk Oblast, Russian Federation) 9 February 1899 - the postmark uses the abbreviation "Черниг. г." / Chernig. g.
4. back: ГордѢевка / Gordejevka, Черниговская губерния / Chernikov gubernia (now Гордеевка / Gordeevka, Bryansk Oblast, Russian Federation) 10 February 1899 - the postmark uses the abbreviation "Черниг. г." / Chernig. g.

What I don't get in this, is: why sending via Kiev gubernia? It's probably easier to understand if I post a map so I've looked the driving route from Бердичів / Berdychiv, Ukraine to Гордеевка / Gordeevka, Russia on Google map with Vilnius on it as well. Here it is:
Car route from Berdychev to Gordeevka via Kiev and Klintsy on Google map

Looking on this map, you can see this totally wasted and useless 500km journey by sending first to Berdychiv, Ukraine. I do not have any concrete evidence but after couple days of research, I have come up with 2 possible reasons.
Normally, most of the mail going from Vilnius to Chernigov gubernia at that time, it would go via Minsk and Gomel which is pretty much a straight line and literally the shortest way, there was even a railway post for it. For some reason, it couldn't take this route and instead went through the railway post Vilnius - Rovno (now Rivne, Ukraine). Berdychiv is located in the middle of the railway line Rovno - Kiev, itself has a station and is an important railway junction. But it still doesn't explain why Berdychiv and not a Kiev or Rovno connection postmark.
Now the second possible reason. When I was looking at Berdychiv on an old Imperial Russian map I was very confused to find a town called Гордевка / Gordevka (now Гордіївка / Gordiivka, Ukraine) right next to Berdychiv. Doesn't it sound familiar? Gordeevka, Russia and Gordevka, Ukraine, I think that it could have been a simple mistake of destination by the post office.

Whatever the conclusion, I really had fun researching those locations and the postmarks. That what really counts anyway, isn't it?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Žagarė 1924

This is a Russian new year's postcard locally used in 1924 within the town of Žagarė. I know the card is not in perfect shape but I bought it anyway because it is damaged in a right way which gives somehow an authenticity of the antiqueness. I'm not sure how to describe it exactly. Žagarė is definitely not a big town so it is in a way unusual to see a locally used card. But why use a new year card on 29th of February? hm... beats me... I know that the Russians used to celebrate new year in January 17 (or are they still?) according to the Gregorian calender but still there is a big gap between February 29.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Šakiai 1941

prewar Šakių „Žiburio“ gimnazija

Šakiai 1941

This is a postcard sent in 1941 from Šakiai to Berlin - Steglitz, Germany, during the first Soviet annexation. The picture of the postcard is Šakių „Žiburio“ gimnazija („Žiburys“ gymnasium in Šakiai) taken sometime in prewar period. This gymnasium still exists today in Šakiai and is still up running. The red hand-stamped seal is the Third Reich censorship seal. Postcards during the first Soviet annexation 1940-41 is pretty rare, especially when it comes to regional towns.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The 25th anniversary of the Baltic Way 2014

Issued on 23 August 2014, 30000 copies

I'm not a big fan of modern Lithuanian postage stamps but this one caught my eyes because the attractive design. It is a souvenir sheet commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Baltic Way (Baltijos Kelias in Lithuanian), also called the Baltic Chain. It was a peaceful mass demonstration involving over 2 million people forming a human chain of 670 km stretching from Tallinn, Estonia to Vilnius, Lithuania via Riga, Latvia. This has been one of the major event that drove the political atmosphere towards the independence of the three Baltic Republics.
This souvenir sheet is a joint issue with other Baltic Republics. The denomination of the stamps are in Lithuanian Litas and Euros because Lithuania has joined the Euro in 01.01.2015, 3 months after the issue of this sheet.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Smalininkai 1906

Schmalleningken (now Smalininkai) - Hotel Deutsches Haus and the pier

TPO Bahnpost Pogegen - Schmalleningken / Pagėgiai - Smalininkai

This is a postcard sent in 1906 from Schmalleningken (now Smalininkai, Lithuania), East Prussia to Санкт-Петербург / Sankt-Peterburg, Russia. Schmalleningken was an important center on the eastern edge of Memelland having a pier facing Memel / Nemunas River and a railway connection. The postmark is a railway post (Bahnpost) of the line Pogegen (now Pagėgiai, Lithuania) - Schmalleningken. The picture of the postcard is also interesting as well, with the large steam boat "Herold" with lots of passengers getting ready to leave the pier in front of the hotel Deutsches Haus.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Kaunas 1920 - Postcard of Zapyškis

This is a postcard of Szapjeshischki (now Zapyškis, Lithuania) sent in 1920 from Kaunas to Germany. The German name Szapjeshischki probably comes from the Polish name of Zapyškis which is Sapieżyszki. The church you see on the picture is what makes this little town with a population of 250 famous, one of the finest surviving example of a gothic structure in Lithuania. If you ever have a chance to visit Kaunas by your own transportation, I would strongly recommend to make a short detour through Zapyškis to see this church of St. John the Baptist.