Europa 2017 - Castles
Postal administrators around Europe have issued a joint-stamp issue with the theme 'Castles'.
Castles are fortified structures built during medieval times as a form of defence. One prominent feature of a castle is a tower that helped to defend the castle or citadel.
Malta's EUROPA 2017 stamps feature two towers, which served as defence, particularly during the period of the Knights of St John.
Artist Cedric Galea Pirotta designed the set. One stamp features the St Agatha Tower, also known as the Red Tower, built in 1647 during the reign of Grand Master Lascaris de Castellar. The Tower commands views over Mellieha Bay, Comino as well as Gozo. When built it held five cannon and its strategic position ensured that signals could be relayed all the way to Valletta. It was painted red so it could be easily visible from as far as Naxxar and Mdina. During the British period, it was used as a defence post and also as a radar station by the Armed Forces of Malta. In 2015, the Tower was awarded a Certificate of Excellence by the popular travel website, TripAdvisor.
The 2.19 stamp depicts the Gourgion Tower in Xewkija, Gozo which was built in 1690 by Giovanni Gourgion who was the personal secretary of Grand Masters Gregorio Carafa and Adrien de Wignacourt.
Legend has it that on its site the people of Gozo heard St Paul preaching from as far as Malta following his shipwreck in AD 60. For two and a half centuries, the building served as a fortress against pirate attacks. Unfortunately, it was demolished in 1943 to make way for an airfield that was considered necessary for the Allied invasion of Sicily.
Stone inscriptions, various carvings and coats of arms were salvaged at the time of demolition and are today found in Gozo's Museum of Archaeology in Victoria. Ironically, the airfield was only used just once. While the Allied Forces had offered to rebuild it or compensate financially, the owners chose the latter.
EUROPA stamps are issued by European postal administrations and bear the official EUROPA logo.
Since the first issue in 1956, EUROPA stamps have been a tangible symbol of Europe's aim for closer integration and cooperation. These stamps underline cooperation between European postal administrations and seek to promote philately. They also build awareness of the common goals, roots, culture and history of Europe.
Technical DetailsIssue Date: 09.05.2017
Designer: Cedric Galea Pirotta
Size: Stamp: 13.9 x 14.0(comb), Sheet:158mm x 150mm, Stamp:44mm x 31mm
Values: €0.59, €2.19