Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My first cover from Slovakia

Today I would like to share with you the first cover I received from Slovakia. Here it is.

The stamp located on the right corner has been issued on the 1st of January 2008 to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Slovak Republic. The Slovak Republic is a rather young country, although Slovaks are among the oldest European peoples. The history of this part of the world is rather eventful. The area of the present Slovakia has belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary for almost one millennium. At the end of the World War I in 1918, Slovaks created a common state with the Czechs – the Czechoslovak Republic. Following tensions between both peoples, the common state ceased to exist on 31 December 1992, and the independent Slovak Republic was declared on 1 January 1993, after what is sometimes referred as the velvet divorce.
The stamp depicts a map of the Slovak Republic highlighted by the national colours : blue, white and red. In the background of the stamp is a stylised emblem of the European Union (blue background with yellow stars), to remind that Slovak Republic joined the EU in 2004.
In the left corner of the stamp you can see the coat of arms of Slovakia composed of a silver double cross, elevated on the middle peak of a dark blue mountain consisting of three peaks. The meaning of the double cross seems to be a source of debate. One of the modern interpretation is that it represents Slovakia as an heir and guardian of the Christian tradition. But other interpretations exist. The three hills represent the three mountains : Tatra, Matra and Fatra (Matra being now located in Hungary). The same three hills can be seen on the coat of arms of Hungary, but in green colour. The coat of arms of Slovakia is also present on the national flag.
On the stamp, inside the borders of the map are the symbols of eight central towns of the self-governing regions into which the Slovak Republic is subdivided. Those eight regions are (from east to west) : Bratislava, Trnava, Trencin, Nitra, Zilina, Banska Bystrica, Presov, Kosice.

The second stamp was issued on the 6th of March 2008. It represents the city of Kuprina. Krupina is situated in the Banska Bystrica region. The stamp pictures the oldest town building, the Romanesque-Gothic church of the Birth of the Holy Mary, with an old fortification gate in the foreground. The upper left-hand of the stamp features the town’s coat of arms originating from the 13th century.

Just to be complete, one word about the face value of both stamps : T2 100 g corresponds to the postal rate of the 2nd class up to 100 g for domestic service, while T1 50 g corresponds to the rate of the 1st class up to 50 g - domestic service.

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