Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Åland sceneries 16.9.2009

Aland Post issued two news stamps featuring different sceneries in Aland. The stamps are based on magnificent photographs by Erkki Santamala and Andy Horner and feature a scene of Eckerö and a scene of Sund. These are additional stamps to the scenery stamps that have been issued annually by Aland.
Eckerö is the westernmost municipality of both Åland and Finland. From here, the Eckerö Line ferries depart for Grisslehamn on the Swedish side. Eckerö is well-known to all philatelists seeing that this is also where the traditional Postal Boat Race either departs or finishes. In Eckerö lies the fine old Post and Customs House from 1828 by the architects Carl Ludvig Engel and Carlo Bassi. The building is now a popular sight with a café, an art exhibition and a postal mail route museum. The Signhildskär island just off the coast of Eckerö is where, in the beginning of the 1800s, the Swedish army fought the final battle on ice, consequently losing Finland to the Russian Empire. The population of Eckerö is approximately 900 and tourism is an important source of income. Some twenty camping sites and holiday villages and almost as many cafés and restaurants are located here. Eckerö stamp motif is from Degersand: The Degersand beach in the village of Torp in southern Eckerö is a popular outing spot for Ålanders as well as tourists. Degersand, where Andy Horner took the photo, is the only landscape in Åland with sand dunes. The Eckerö FDC features shells. The Eckerö postmark is a feather.
Sund lies on the eastern side of main Åland, approximately 20 kilometers from Mariehamn, This municipality is rich in culture-historical surroundings with both the Kastelholm Castle and the ruins of the Bomarsund fortress (which I mentioned in an earlier post). Close to the Kastelmolm Castle lies the Jan Karlsgården open air museum, presenting a typical Åland farmstead at the end of the 19th century. Recurrent Midsummer celebrations and well-attended market on the first Saturday in Advent are popular arrangements. In the proximity of Jan Karlsgården and the castle, we find the prison museum Vita björn. There has been prisoners and warders in Kastelholm since the castle was built. Prisoners were first kept in the castle, the crown prison Vita björn was built in 1784 and used until 1975. Sund stamp motif Rock plateau: Erkki Santamala’s stamp photo is taken at the Lillnäsberget in Sund, the scenery of which is characterized by its diversity. At the top of this rock plateau standing some 60 meters above the sea, we find flat rock forests dominated by old pine trees. Below the steep and vertical descent of the rock lie a hazel grove and a small natural meadow, which is mowed every year. A picture from Skålberget adorns the FDC with the Sund stamp, and two ravens appear on the Sund postmark. My dear friend Ella sent me these two beautiful FDCs.

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