December 26, 2011

0083 - CZECH REPUBLIC (Plzeň) - The Benedictine Abbey of Kladruby

For several years I no longer follow the news neither on television nor on the radio, so that events, be they from Romania or from the wider world, reach to me only accidentally, like some echoes. That is why only today I found out of the death of Václav Havel, whom I highly commend as political person, as well as man, because, as Milan Kundera said: "Václav Havel's most important work is his own life". Thank you and God bless you, Mr. Havel, and hats off to the nation which gave birth to such a man. This day is dedicated to the Czech Republic.

This postcard contains an image of Kladrubý klášter (the Abbey of Kladruby), a large Benedictine monastery first cited in 1115 and located in the city with the same name, in Plzeň (Pilsen in German) region, whose name is very well known by beer drinkers (Hello, Jon!). Originally built in the Romanesque style (the longest in Bohemia - 85 m) under the reign of Vladislaus I, it was renovated in 1590 after a disastrous fire. The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary was rebuilt again between 1712 and 1726 by Giovanni Santini in his Baroque Gothic style. The italian architect didn’t hesitate to tear down the church’s towers and to replace them with a large cupola with a princely golden crown symbolizing the sepulchre of Vladislaus I. Since 1989, the abbey has been restored.

The abbey was dissolved during the secularising reforms of Emperor Joseph II. The abbot's princely revenue and territories made his naming a matter of considerable concern to the King of Bohemia, whose prerogative it was.During the church schism in the 14th century, King Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia dealt with the interference of vicar John of Nepomuk who had confirmed as abbot a candidate expressly not to Wencelaus' wishes. Furthermore he was the confessor of the queen of Bohemia and refused to divulge the secrets of the confessional. Eventually, on March 20, 1393 he was thrown into the river Vltava from Charles Bridge in Prague at the behest of Wenceslaus. John of Nepomuk was canonized in 1729 as the first martyr of the Seal of the Confessional, and is a patron against calumnies and, because of the manner of his death, a protector from floods. 

About the stamps
The first stamp (in the bottom left) is part of a set of two, Crafts: Historical stoves (art Nouveau and Art Deco), issued on October 20, 2010, designed by Michal Vitanovský and engraved by Bohumil Šneider. The one from the postcard, with the value of 10 CZK, shows an Art Nouveau stove, exposed to Troubky-Zdislavice Museum.

The two depicting a Sow-bread (1 CZK) and a Gailliardia (2.5 CZK) are part of a large series of definitive stamps, named Beauty Of Flowers, designed by Anna Khunová, and engraved by Bohumil Šneider:
2006.02.22 Daffodil (24 CZK)
2007.05.09 Sow-bread (1 CZK) - it’s on the postcard
2007.05.09 Tropaeolum (15 CZK)
2007.05.09 Geranium (23 CZK)
2007.12.12 Gaillardia (2.5 CZK) - it’s on the postcard
2008.01.30 Rose (10 CZK)
2008.03.19 Azalea (3 CZK) - it’s on other postcard
2008.03.19 Gerbera (21 CZK)
2010.09.29 Anemone (4 CZK)

The fourth stamp (6.5 CZK), Introduction of compulsory school attendance in the czech lands in 1774, designed by Jan Kavan and engraved by ubiquitous Bohumil Šneider, was issued on March 29, 2004. "Since the first World Teachers' Day declared by the UNESCO in 1994 the World Teachers' Day has been celebrated every year, on October 5, in more than 100 member countries. In 1774 the empress Maria Teresa introduced the compulsory school attendance in the Czech lands for children aged 6 to 12 in an attempt to improve significantly the general level of literacy of the population."

sender: Štěpánka / laguna (postcrossing)
sent from Lanskroun (Czech Republic), on 18.12.2011
photo: Ivan Rilich
design: Hana Prokopova

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