Azores Self-Adhesive Stamps
Fajãs – Azores
Found on almost all nine islands, particularly in São Jorge, the fajãs — flat lands “squeezed” between the deep sea and verdant cliffs — are awe-inspiring for their extraordinary beauty. The Azoreans have worked hard for centuries to cultivate these lands of difficult access, usually very fertile, in order to feed themselves and their families. Nowadays, most of these lands are no longer cultivated and only a few people live in these areas. However, the fajãs are widely sought after by tourists, as is the case of d’Além Norte fajã. Inhabited only over the summer months, visitors must walk a long, steep path and climb many stone steps to reach it and discover a magical place, full of charm.
Owing to their size and unique features, the Caldeira do Santo Cristo is one of the most remarkable fajãs. Considered a natural reserve, this fajã features an underwater cave and a lagoon, the only place in the entire archipelago where oysters can be found. Also remarkable is the Cubres fajã, for its crystal-clear lagoon.
Europa — Forests
Celebrated in 2011, the International Year of Forests aimed to draw attention to the importance of this natural, renewable and diverse, albeit fragile, resource – the forests. Conservation, sustainable development and the need to take action against the biggest environmental threats, such as deforestation, desertification and climate change, are some of the challenges faced by present and future generations.
Portuguese forests boast great diversity, both in terms of indigenous and exotic species. The forestry sector is one of the most dynamic activity sectors in the Portuguese economy, accounting for a significant percentage of exports. This is also the case of the Azores, a true Nature sanctuary. The archipelago benefits from a favourable climate and a privileged geographical location, which have allowed the conservation of large forest areas (beech, lancewood, holly, juniper and heather forests) where indigenous species can be found, some of which dating back to the Tertiary Period. Exotic species were introduced into the islands when the Azores were colonised, namely the Japanese cedar, the pine tree, the acacia and the hydrangea, a truly iconic species.
Europa — Visit...
During the second half of the 20th century, a magnificent fleet of liners connected Portugal to the rest of the world, carrying thousands of passengers to and from Europe, Africa and America. This period represented a golden era for the Portuguese merchant navy.
In 2012, when air travel had largely exceeded maritime travel, CTT launched the Visit... stamp issue, featuring three of the most emblematic liners in the Portuguese fleet, reminding tourists that travelling by sea is also an option to visit Mainland Portugal, Madeira and the Azores.
The Azores stamp features the sole survivor of the old maritime fleet, the Funchal liner. Launched in 1961, with a view to promoting tourism on the islands, the Funchal was considered the best ship ever built to navigate in the waters of the Azores. Despite its long periods in harbour, we can still recall the times when the Funchal crossed the Atlantic Ocean to dock at the Faial port, amidst the intense scent of the sea and the gigantic shadow of Mount Pico, where it was received by the hospitable dwellers of the “Blue Island”, as Faial was dubbed by Raul Brandão.
Beekeeping – Azores
The Apis mellifera iberica Goetz arrived in the Azores nearly six centuries ago, when the colonisation of the archipelago began and the first settlers soon realised that the great diversity of Azorean flora lent itself to the production of superior quality honey.
A wide variety of nectar sources can be found in the Azores: in addition to the white clover, found on all the islands, the passion flower can be found in São Miguel, the cabbage flower in Terceira, citrus groves in São Jorge, and camellias, azaleas and hydrangeas in Flores – resulting in a multifloral honey. The monofloral honey from the Pico Island is obtained from frankincense flowers, whereas Santa Maria honey is produced from pennyroyal and purple viper’s bugloss.
The approximately five thousand beehives currently managed in the Azores produce a honey of recognised quality. A symbol of the archipelago, Azores honey has been granted PDO status. Azoreans make the most of the pollinating action of bees, as beekeeping also contributes to environmental protection and to increasing the productivity of crop yields.
Gardens of Portugal
Situated in the Valley of Furnas, in São Miguel, the Terra Nostra Park is a sheltered site, located inside the crater of a dormant volcano. Its history started over 200 years ago, when the land was bought by Thomas Hickling, who built a house, a garden and a thermal water tank at the location. However, the Park was most actively developed during the 19th century, while owned by the Viscounts of Praia: the serpentine channel was built, as were several caves, boxwood paths and lanes lined with orange trees. Many of the trees that still predominate in some areas of the Park were planted at the time, including trees imported from faraway lands, such as North America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and China.
The Park and its gardens came into decline and started showing signs of degradation in the beginning of the 20th century. However, the area was restored in 1935 by the Bensaude family. Currently occupying 12.5 hectares, the Park boasts a vast botanical heritage, which is renewed every season. In addition to the thermal water tank, the Ginkgo biloba avenue, represented on this stamp, is an iconic feature of this bicentenarian park.