Tuesday, January 29, 2013

1999 Europa - Famous City Parks in Helsinki and Turku 15.3.1999

The Esplanade in Helsinki and the island Ruissalo in Turku in all their luxuriant verdure adorn the Europa stamps, which were issued on March 15th, 1999. Parks and Reserves  were the theme of that year’s joint stamp series of all European postal administrations.

     The stamps are designed by Asser Jaaro. For the FIM 2.70 stamp, depicting the Esplanade, he has used Markku Ulander’s photograph of the park at its most beautiful: a popular place for a stroll and for meeting your friends on a lovely summer’s day. The FIM 3.20 stamp, dedicated to Ruissalo, features an aerial photograph by Pentti Harala, emphasizing both the lushness and the size of the area.

     To the inhabitants of Helsinki, the Esplanade, affectionately called “Espa”, is the real heart of the city. In the old days, it was a romantic promenade as well as a venue for many elevated national festivals, but this beautiful oasis in the center of the city, offering recreation of all sorts, is extremely popular with the inhabitants of today’s Helsinki as well. The northern walk leads to the theater and to the monuments honoring the great authors Zachris Topelius and Eino Leino, whereas the center of the park is dominated by the statue of the Finnish national poet, Johan Ludvig Runeberg. In the south, the market place and the Kappeli restaurant, rich in tradition, invite you to enter the world of exciting tastes.

The Ruissalo island is located in Turku, at the northwest coast of the Gulf of Finland and the mouth of the river Aura. It has a surface area of 870 hectares, of which approximately a half is forested. Nowadays the most popular nature resort and recreation area in Turku, it was a royal hunting ground in the 16th century. It was bequeathed to the City of Turku in the 1840’s on the condition that the unique nature in the area would be well preserved. Finland’s largest oak forests can be found in Ruissalo. This island of oak and lime trees and hazels is also the habitat of almost 260 species of birds and, for instance, 19 endangered species of butterflies. The Turku University botanical gardens as well as some architectually valuable villas from the 19th century are also situated on the island. Ruissalo is included in the Natura 2000 program of the European Communities, and there are plans to turn it into a national city park. 
Thank you my dear friend Merja for this nice FDC.

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