Sunday, June 27, 2010

Postage stamps of Mount Athos

Mount Athos is a mountain on the peninsula of the same name in Macedonia calledAgion Oros in Greek (meaning Holy Mountain in English). Politically known in Greeceas the Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain, this is the home of twentyEastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within thesovereignty of the Hellenic republic.Mount Athos is only accessible by boat and the daily number of visitors is restricted.Only males are allowed entrance into Mount Athos and only males over the ageof 18 who are members of the Eastern Orthodox Church are allowed to live there!
Since 2008, the Hellenic Postal Service issues stamps for postal use only at the twopost offices of Mount Athos. The first set of five stamps was issued on the 16th ofMay 2008 and was followed by several others in 2008 and 2009.On the 11th of May of this year, the first set of 2010 has been issued depicting thefauna and flora of the area.Why do I speak about this? Because one of the stamp falls perfectly into mycollecting interests, as you will see.
The first stamp pictures the Mount Atho’s pansy (Viola athois) a species of wildflower endemic to Mount Athos.
The second stamp pictures a Judas tree (Cercis siliquastrum) a small tree withattractive pink flowers.

The third stamps pictures a Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) an evergreen shrub thatgives edible fruits which are used in some areas to make raki and other alcoholicdrinks.

The fourth one is the one that drew my attention: it pictures a European Tree frog(Hyla arborea), one of my favorite frog and probably the one which is the mostpictured on stamps.

The fifth stamp picture a tree heath (Erica arborea) a species of small trees. OnMount Athos its root is used to make spoons, letter openers and other small craftitems.

I personally have some doubts about the real postal needs for stamps issuedspecifically for Mount Athos. There is indeed a debate around this topic amongHellenic philatelists. But since those stamps are recognize by UPU then they can beincluded in my collection!

1 comment:

arrgianf said...

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