February 27, 2013

0529 PORTUGAL (Madeira) - Spectacular Funchal Harbour


The first territorial discovery of the Portuguese Age of Discovery (1419), Madeira is a archipelago located in the north Atlantic Ocean, at 400km north of Tenerife, Canary Islands. Since 1976, the three islands of the archipelago (Madeira, Porto Santo, and the Desertas) form, together with Savage Islands, one of the two Autonomous regions of Portugal (the other being the Azores), currently the second richest region of the country, after Lisbon. Noted for its wine, flowers, landscapes and embroidery artisans, as well as for its annual New Year celebrations that feature the largest fireworks show in the world, Madeira is a popular year-round resort.

Funchal, the capital city, was founded in 1424, few years after the discovery of the Island, and became, owing to its geographic location, an important maritime port (mainly as stop-over for caravels travelling between the Indies and the New World), while its productive soils have drawn many settlers. Unfortunately, it was also vulnerable to pirate attacks, the most important taking place in 1566, when it suffered a violent sack from the French corsairs. Here was exiled Charles I, the last Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, who died in 1922, being buried in Monte.

The city itself is nestled in a great natural amphitheatre, facing the blue Atlantic with a backdrop of dramatic mountains. Located amidst banana plantations and gardens where flowers bloom all year round in the shelter of the verdant mountains, it's an extremely lush, green and relaxed city. Funchal has also for many years been one of the Atlantic Cruise-ship’s main ports of call; with the Liner harbour right in the middle of the town. The approach to Funchal Harbour is well documented as one of the two most spectacular in the world, being on a par with Rio de Janeiro. Has become a tradition that most European Liners, on their maiden voyage, call here.

About the stamp
For the theme Visit... of Europa Stamps 2012, Correios de Portugal issued on May 9 a series designed by Atelier Acácio Santos / Helder Soares and depicting three of the most notable steamers that ever joined the Portugal's fleet, which linked this country (both mainland and islands) to the rest of the world:
• Príncipe Perfeito / Portugal (0.68 €)
• Santa Maria / Madeira (0.68 €) - it's on the postcard
• Funchal / Azores (0.68 €)

References
Funchal - Wikipedia
Funchal - Madeira Web
Europe 2012 - Visit...Madeira - Wopa Website


sender: Marius Vasiliu
sent from Funchal (Madeira / Portugal) on 05.02.2013
photo: Marcial Fernandes

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