12 Months, 12 Stamps - Gipuzkoa
In 2019, the last province chosen for the 12 MONTHS 12 STAMPS series is dedicated to GIPUZKOA. Its heavenly beaches, heritage towns, farmhouses surrounded by spectacular mountains, and a wide variety of culture and cuisine make Gipuzkoa a diverse place where each district has its own personality. Different elements appear on the stamp, forming the letter G:
Its capital, Donostia-San Sebastián, is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The bay of La Concha, with the island of Santa Clara in the centre, is undoubtedly the best-known image of this city, and the balustrade of the Paseo de la Concha has appeared in many photographs.
Metal gears represent the industrial activity of the province.
Cuisine is another great attraction of the area - gourmets will find Gipuzkoa hard to beat, with all kinds of flavours, aromas and textures to suit all palates. The delicious and varied pintxos on the countertops of all the bars delight visitors here every day. Idiazabal cheese is another of the culinary emblems of the province, a mature pressed cheese originally made by shepherds from unpasteurized milk from Latxa and Carranzana sheep. It usually weighs 1-3 kilos, and comes either smoked or unsmoked, according to the culinary traditions of the different valleys.
A bottle of txacolí, found everywhere in the province, a lively young wine that pairs perfectly with fish and seafood. Its quality is defined by the characteristic influence of the local environment and the grape varieties, grown in sunny vineyards protected from the cold north winds, as well as the care taken in its production. There are white, barrel-fermented white, rosé and red varieties to choose from.
Txistera for playing Jai Alai: This ball game can be considered a universal sport, and has been practised since ancient times in many different ways. Its Spanish name, ‘pelota’, is thought to come from the Latin ‘pila’, and the Romans may have introduced it to the rest of Europe. The variety of the game known as ‘chistera’, ‘joko-garbi’ or ‘punta-balea’ is probably the best-known around the world.
The bottom of the stamp features the Chapel of San Telmo on a geological formation known as flysch. This chapel has always been a popular destination for pilgrims and visitors. Perched on a cliff, it seems to climb over the rocky layers of the Zumaia flysch. Its location is surely no coincidence, in a place that must always have seemed magical. From its portico you can see rock formations representing 60 million years of the earth’s history. Today it is one of the most photographed images of the Basque coast, and being the setting of the climactic wedding in the popular comedy “Ocho apellidos vascos” (Spanish Affair) has only made it more popular.
As in the rest of the series, the bottom of the stamp repeats a colour - white - from the province’s flag, here flanked on one side by the coat of arms and on the other by a stone lauburu. Literally translated as four heads (lau=four and buru=head), it is an ancient mythological symbol representing the sun. The whirling shape evokes the circular movement of sun and stars. Found in one form or another in most of Europe, it was passed from tribe to tribe, although it is mainly associated with the Celtic tradition. It is a sign of good luck and represents the sun that drives away the influence of evil. For this reason it is common to see lauburus engraved in stone on the doors of many houses and farmhouses.