World Heritage sites on United Nations-Czech Republic joint issue
By Denise McCarty
As part of its long-running World Heritage series, the United Nations Postal Administration is participating in a joint-issue with the Czech Republic’s Ceska Posta. The stamps depict sites in the Czech Republic that have been inscribed on the World Heritage list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, known as UNESCO.
The UNPA will issue six stamps, two for each U.N. post office, on Sept. 8, and Ceska Posta is scheduled to issue two stamps Sept. 7.
Two of the stamps, the 47¢ U.N. stamp for use from the post office at U.N. headquarters in New York City, and the 27-koruna Czech Republic stamp, feature scenes of Prague.
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The historic center of Prague was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1992. UNESCO said, “Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe in terms of its setting on both banks of the Vltava River, its townscape of burger houses and palaces punctuated by towers, and its individual buildings.”
The Czech Republic stamp focuses on two of the city’s famous landmarks: Prague Castle and Charles Bridge. Boats in the river also can be seen in the illustration.
The other Czech Republic stamp, a 16kc denomination, and the 1.50-franc U.N. stamp for use from the post office at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, highlight the Lednice-Valtice cultural landscape.
In the 12th century, a massive castle stood on this area. In the 14th century, the House of Liechtenstein obtained a share of the land and, a few centuries later, began to make major changes.
A Czech Republic tourism website describes the area today: “Majestic chateaux surrounded by a romantic landscape. The kaleidoscope of blooming flower beds in the French garden transitions effortlessly into a forest-like English garden. The glimmering surface of the ponds is adorned with the soft blooms of water lilies and the well-maintained footpaths are lined with aristocratic buildings that served their owners’ needs for entertainment and relaxation. All of this was created over the centuries by the Liechtenstein dynasty — with the help of Mother Nature.”
The Lednice-Valtice cultural landscape was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1996.
More baroque architecture can be found on the $1.15 U.N./New York stamp and the 1fr U.N./Geneva stamp.
The $1.15 stamp depicts the Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc, which was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 2000.
Another tourism website provides background of this memorial in Moravia: “The column, which is a towering 35 meters [about 115 feet] high, was built between 1716 and 1754 in honour of God, the Catholic Church and the faith and as thanksgiving for the ending of a plague which had ravaged Moravia between the years 1713 and 1715. It is in fact the biggest cluster of Baroque statues in one sculpture group in the whole of Central Europe!”
The 1fr stamp features the gardens and castle at Kromeriz, inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1998 as “an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens.”
The castle was originally built as the summer residence of the Olomouc bishops and archbishops. It underwent a major reconstruction in the late 17th century due to damage during the Thirty Years War (1618-48). At the same time, the formal gardens were created.
The two stamps for use from the post office at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria, are denominated €0.68 and €1.70. They honor the UNESCO World Heritage sites at Kutna Hora and Cesky Krumlov, respectively.
The full title of the Kutna Hora World Heritage site is “Kutna Hora/ Historical Town Centre with the Church of St. Barbara and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec.”
It was inscribed on the list in 1995 as “an outstanding example of the medieval town whose wealth and prosperity was based on its silver mines.”
Construction on a church named after the patron saint of miners, St. Barbara, was started at the end of the 13th century, and continued in stages through 1905. It is “a jewel of the late Gothic period,” according to UNESCO.
The original Cathedral of Our Lady of Sedlec was built in only 30 years, beginning in 1300, according to the Kutna Hora website. However, it was burned by the Hussites in 1421 and left in ruins until 1700 when it was rebuilt by the baroque architect Jan Blazej Santini Aichil.
The historic center of Cesky Krumlov in the southern part of the Czech Republic was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1992. Located on the banks of the Vitava River, the town was built around a 13th-century castle of the Vitkovici family who ruled the area at the time.
The castle complex includes 40 buildings and palaces and a large park, and the old town has numerous more protected buildings. Often described as a fairy-tale town, it is a popular tourist destination.
The designs of the Czech stamps are based on photographs taken by L. Svacek.
Sergio Baradat of the United Nations designed the U.N. World Heritage stamps. Each stamp measures 50 millimeters by 35mm and is perforated gauge 14½ by 14¾.
Cartor of France printed the stamps by offset in sheets of 20.
The printing quantities are 110,000 each of the 47¢ and $1.15 stamps; 100,000 each of the €0.68 and €1.70; and 90,000 each of the 1fr and 1.50fr.
Prestige booklets with stamps, text and illustrations also will be issued for the World Heritage stamps.
According to UNESCO, “What makes the concept of World Heritage exceptional is its universal application. World Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located.”
With its World Heritage list, UNESCO “seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.”
The first stamps in the UNPA World Heritage series, issued Nov. 19, 1997, feature China’s terra-cotta warriors.
These stamps also commemorated the 25th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention.
The second World Heritage set, issued Dec. 4, 1998, highlighted Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna.
From 1999 through 2015, various World Heritage sites from the following countries or regions were honored on stamps: Australia, March 19, 1999; Spain, Oct. 6, 2000; Japan, Aug. 1, 2001; Italy, Aug. 30, 2002; the United States, Oct. 24, 2003; Greece, Aug. 12, 2004; Egypt, Aug. 4, 2005; France, June 17, 2006; South America, Aug. 9, 2007; Germany, May 7, 2009; Nordic Countries, May 5, 2011; Africa, Sept. 5, 2012; China, April 11, 2013; Taj Mahal, India, July 16, 2014; and Southeast Asia, June 5, 2015 .
For ordering information for the U.N. World Heritage stamps, visit online; email firstname.lastname@example.org; telephone 800-234-8672; fax 212-963-9854; or write to UNPA, Box 5900, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163-5900.
The online shop of Ceska Posta is found here.
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