Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ancient Finnish Castles 20.1.2014

The stamp year in Finland started on January 20th when a miniature stamp sheet/booklet representing ancient Finnish castles was released. It has been designed by Erik Bruun, one of the most respected graphic designers in Finland. He is well-known to the general public for numerous stamps, the last bills denominated in Finnish marks and highly popular nature and advertizing posters. 
The Ancient Castles stamp booklet contains six 1st class stamps that depict the Suomenlinna, Häme, Raseborg, Kastelholm, Olavinlinna and Turku castles. These ancient castles were strategically important buildings considering Finnish defense and trading. Currently, they comprise Finland's most important national heritage and sightseeing sites. A brief about them is given below:

Soumenlinna Sea Fortress.  Augustin Ehrensvard initiated the construction of the Sveaborg fortress in 1748. The fortress surrendered to the Russians in 1808 and, after Finland declared independence, the fortress was named “Suomenlinna”.
Hame Castle. This castle was founded in the late 13th century and was converted to a residential castle in the 18th century. A prison operated in the castle from 1837 to 1972.
Raseborg Castle was built in the 14th century. The castle was abandoned in the 16th century and it started to fall into decay. Renovation commenced in the late 19th century and continued well into the 1980s.
Kastelholm Castle was first mentioned in the contract of Queen Margaret in 1388. The Golden Era of the castle was in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Olavalinna Castle . Erik Axelsson Tott began the construction of this castle in 1475 to protect the Savo region. The history of Olavinlinna Castle is one of medieval sword fighting, roaring cannons and normal everyday chores of those days.
The construction of Turku Castle commenced in the 13th century to be the administrative castle of the crown. Later on, it was the renaissance castle of the dukeship of John III, the official residence of the Governor General, and also a prison.

“The antiquarian value of the castles was understood in the late 1800s and plans for their restoration began. In the 1930s, decades of work began to restore them. “Today, the castles are amongst Finland’s most important pieces of cultural heritage and most popular tourist destinations,” says Juhani Kostet, Director General of Finland’s National Board of Antiquities.
Hame Castle appears as a mirror image on a stamp due to an error with the original image. “Erik Bruun made the stamp based on an old photograph that the National Board of Antiquities gave him, which had at some earlier stage become a mirror image of the original. We believe that the stamp will be of interest to buyers despite – or even perhaps because of – the mistake and it will sell very well,” estimates TommiKantola, Product Manager from Itella Posti Oy.

Thank you Ella for this wonderful FDC. 

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