Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Portugal - The Belém Palace

The Belém Palace

With the first centenary of the implantation of the Republic in Portugal drawing near, the purpose of this stamp issue is to make known the Belém Palace, in Lisbon, an important referent of democracy since it is the official residence of the President of the Republic.

Founded in 1559 by the House of Vimioso and regenerated a century later by the House of Aveiras, the Belém Palace was bought by King John V in 1726 as a summer resort for the court, which actually was why the court was spared during the earthquake on November 1, 1755. Detached from the Crown’s assets in 1908, the Republic adopted it as official residence for the heads of State, who have lived there or used it merely as a work place.

Located on the right bank of the Tagus estuary, the palace was part of an estate built on a slope facing the river, which gives it a natural and privileged amphitheatrical shape. The farmland was transformed into a public garden and the riding hall and the guard house were transformed in 1904 and 2004 into the National Coach Museum and the Museum of the Republic, respectively. In the vicinity, the most important buildings are the Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower, a sixteenth century group of buildings declared world heritage sites by UNESCO in 1983.

The Palace, which structural core is made up of five distinct buildings – quite discernible in the engraving reproduced on one of the stamps – is surrounded by a refreshing network of vegetation, caves and waterfalls, inherited from the best Baroque landscape architecture. Its interior preserves the evidences of the successive decorative interventions that have enriched the palace throughout the centuries and which this stamp issue seeks to divulge.

The philatelic block discloses the classicising language of the famous “Sala das Bicas” (Fountain Room), while on the remaining stamps one identifies decorative art details – sculptures and golden woodwork, paintings and ceremonial silverware – from this National Belém Palace that holds 450 years of history.

Données Techniques
Technical Data

Émission / issue:
2009 / 09 / 17

Timbres-post / stamps:
€ 0,32 – 330 000
€ 0,47 – 230 000
€ 0,57 – 200 000
€ 0,68 – 230 000
€ 0,80 – 200 000
€ 1,00 – 245 000

Bloc / souvenir sheet:
avec 1 timbre / with 1 stamp
€ 2,50 – 67 000

Design: Folk Design / Vasco Marques
photos: José Manuel / Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal

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