The Russian and Spanish posts issue two joint stamps in mutual recognition of the rich artistic and cultural heritage of both countries. The stamps are devoted to the Episcopal Palace in Astorga (León) and the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg.
Designed by architect Antoni Gaudí, the Episcopal Palace of Astorga was built between 1889 and 1915, although it wasn’t completely finished until the 1960’s. It was commissioned by Bishop Juan Bautista Grau after a fire destroyed the former Episcopal see. Gaudí’s design took into account the surrounding constructions but incorporated his particular trademark. The exterior is of white granite with slate roofs and four cylindrical towers surrounded by a moat.
The palace has a neo-Gothic medieval air, with battlements, towers and viewpoints. The highlight is the entrance portico with its splayed arches and open holes at the top, characteristic of Gaudi’s style The building comprises a cellar, ground floor, first floor- where the most beautiful rooms are such as the Episcopal offices and those of the bishop as well as the chapel- and the top floor or attic. The large stained glass windows provide the interior with plenty of light. The building, no longer an Episcopal office, now houses the Museum of the Paths since it is located in the Jacobean Way.
The Russian city of St. Petersburg was founded by Tsar Peter the Great from 1703 and is also known as Petrograd (the city of Peter) and Leningrad (in honour of Lenin). It has many grand and aristocratic monuments and one of them is the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood or Church of the Resurrection of Christ. This temple, designed by Alfred Parland, was built between 1883 and 1907 in the place where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and represents the architecture of the characteristic Russian Orthodox Church.
It has five golden domes glazed in different colours as well as several smaller onion-shaped ones and a bell tower whose bottom is covered with mosaics depicting the coats of arms of the Russian provinces. Both the interior and exterior are decorated with tiles and mosaics of different colours designed by renowned Russian artists. For the interior walls and vaults different types of marble and semiprecious stones have been used depicting scenes from the Scriptures. It is considered one of the most beautiful churches in St. Petersburg.
Title: Joint stamps issue Russia – Spain
Date of Issue: 17 July 2012
Denominations: 13p x 2