June 26, 2015

1692 FRANCE (Hauts-de-France) - Tour du Guet in Calais in 1906

Calais overlooks the Strait of Dover, the narrowest point in the English Channel, which is only 34km wide here, and is the closest French town to England. Due to its position, Calais since the Middle Ages has been a major port and a very important centre for transport and trading with England. It was a territorial possession of England between 1347 and 1558. The old part of the town, Calais proper (known as Calais-Nord), is situated on an artificial island surrounded by canals and harbours. In its centre is the Place d'Armes, in which stands the Tour du Guet, or watch-tower, a structure built in 1214, when Philip I, Count of Boulogne built fortifications in the town.

The 39m heigh tower was damaged by a 1580 earthquake, being restored in 1606. When Louis XIV became seriously ill at Calais in 1658, a reckless boy lit the fire to the hall which temporarily served as royal stables, and the structure of the tower suffered serious damage. It took no less than 30 years before the damage were repaired. Until 1905 the tower was home for lookouts. In peacetime they guided the firefighters by indicating the direction of fire, and in wartime, they watched the movement of enemy troops. During the night, the watchmen blew in a horn every half hour, announcing that the things are fine in the town. Since 1818 the tower was used as a lighthouse, until 1848, when a new lighthouse was built by the port. During WWI it served as a military post, being completed with a dovecote for carrier pigeons.

About the stamp
The stamp, depicting the painting Fruit bowl and maps (1912-1913), by Georges Braque, is part of the series Cubism, issued on July 16, 2012.

Calais - Wikipedia
Tour du Guet (fra) - Wikipedia

Sender: Marius Vasilescu
Sent from Calais (Nord-Pas-de-Calais / France), on 21.08.2012

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