April 6, 2013

0588 LITHUANIA (Klaipėda) - Curonian Spit (UNESCO WHS)

The Curonian Spit (Kuršių nerija) is a 98 km long, thin, curved sand-dune spit that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast. Its southern portion lies within Kaliningrad Oblast (Russia) and its northern within southwestern Lithuania. The width of the spit varies from a minimum of 400m in Russia to a maximum of 3,800 m in Lithuania. In 2000 Curonian Spit was included in UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, shared by the two countries, because it is considered "an outstanding example of a landscape of sand dunes that is under constant threat from natural forces", and also a cultural heritage due to its old fishing settlements and the buildings erected at the end of the 19th century.


The Curonian Spit is home to the highest moving (drifting) sand dunes in Europe, with an average height of 35m. Its location means it's frequently visited by migratory waterfowl. In 19th century it became a recreational centre: Juodkrante became famous as a health resort as early as 1840 and Nida, Preila and Pervalka were given official recognition in this category in 1933. In the centre, Nida, the largest settlement on the Spit, has a linear plan based on a single main street that runs parallel to the lagoon. Its main building it's the cottage of Thomas Mann (in both postcards). The german writter (1875-1955), 1929 Nobel Prize laureate, best known for the novel Doctor Faustus and the novella Death in Venice, came to Nida (then Nidden) on holiday and so liked the area that he built a summer house there to which his family came every year in the early 1930s. The house is superbly positioned among pine trees above the Curonian Lagoon. It is now a museum with information about the writer's work, and also a venue for conferences and music recitals.

About the stamps
On the first postcard
The first stamp is part of the definitive series Wooden Sacral Architecture of Lithuania, about which I wrote here.

The second stamp was issued on July 3, 2010, to commemorate the 600th Anniversary of the Battle of Zalgiris, known in the history of Poland as the Battle of Grunwald and in Germany and other Western countries as the Battle of Tannenberg. It is considered one of the most important historical events of Lithuania and one of the largest battles which took place in the Medieval Europe. It took place on the 15th of July 1410 between the Teutonic Order and the joint forces of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland led by the King of Poland Jogaila and the Grad Duke of Lithuania Vytautas. Due to the Lithuanian army’s manoeuvre performed by Vytautas, namely false retreat, the Crusaders were surrounded and defeated. The outcome of the battle meant the collapse of the Teutonic Order’s power and the halt in expansion to neighbouring territories.

On the second postcard
The stamp, illustrating the White-tailed sea eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), belongs to the series The Red Book of Lithuania. Forest Fauna and Flora, about which I wrote here.

Curonian Split - Wikipedia
Curonian Split - UNESCO World Heritage Site
Thomas Mann Museum - Museums of Lithuania
Lithuania celebrates 600th Anniversary of Battle of Grunwald - Stamp News

sender 1: Milda Kriukaite (direct swap)
sent from Kaunas (Aukštaitija / Lithuania), on 13.01.2013
photo: Antanas Varanka

sender 2: Vaida Velutyte (direct swap)
sent from Utena (Aukštaitija / Lithuania), on 10.05.2012
Photo: Ajonda

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