European Countries United by Castles on Postage Stamps

May 04, 2017

On 29 April, Lietuvos Paštas issued two new postage stamps. This year, the series of postage stamps “Europe” issued by post offices of all European countries has been decorated with impressive castles of the Old Continent, including the castles of Biržai and Klaipėda.

A series of two postage stamps “Europe. Castles” has been created by artist Domantas Vildžiūnas. One of the postage stamps portrays the castle of Biržai, and the other – the castle of Klaipėda. The number of each of the two postage stamps issued is equal to 80 thousand. The nominal value of each postage stamp is EUR 0.81.

“Philately is a mirror of history which not only reflects the images of the past, but also establishes new dialogues and fosters communication. As of old, Lithuania has been famous for its castles. Majestic beauty of defence structures has been extensively described in literature and glorified by poets. We are happy to be able to introduce the country’s historical heritage, in the form of a postage stamp, to the entire Europe,” says Rasa Kruopaitė-Lalienė, Head of the Corporate Affairs Department of Lietuvos Paštas.

This year saw the 61st edition of the series “Europe” of postage stamps seeking to create a more closely integrated Europe and strengthen friendship and cooperation.

The castle of Biržai was constructed on the southern shore of Lake Širvėna. This is the only bastion-type fortress in Lithuania, which has also been best preserved in northern-eastern Europe.

Following the building of a dam at the confluence of the rivers Apaščia and Agluona in 1575, the year 1586 witnessed the construction of embankments, a representative palace, an evangelical reformed church, an arsenal, food warehouses, barracks and other buildings. The fortress and the town formed an exceptional and solid defence complex. The bastion-type castle in the Renaissance style, the construction of which was concluded in 1589, currently represents an invaluable monument of history and architecture.

At present, the palace of the castle houses the Biržai regional museum “Sėla” and a town library.

While Klaipėda saw the construction around it of a chain of mounds and castles intended for the protection against Vikings and other enemies. Following the occupation of Klaipėda by the Teutonic Order, the city was granted Magdeburg rights, lay and ecclesiastical governments of the city were formed and the construction of a castle and churches was started.

In written sources, the castle of Klaipėda was first mentioned on 29 July 1252 – in a document whereby the master of the German Order and the bishop of Kuršas agreed on the construction of a castle between the rivers Nemunas and Danė. The castle was called Memelburg. For many centuries, the castle suffered from aggressive attacks, was burned, destroyed and reconstructed again.

Currently, the site of the castle houses a museum. Visitors are invited to see excavated remains and the foundations of the castle. In the museum of the castle, visitors can walk on the oldest pavement of Klaipėda, which was laid in the 16th century.

Annually, Lietuvos Paštas issues 25–27 postage stamps on average. Lietuvos Paštas also provides the services of couriers as well as logistics and financial mediation services.