March 14, 2017

2983 ITALY (Veneto) - Venetian Arsenal - part of Venice and its Lagoon (UNESCO WHS)

2983 View of the Entrance to the Arsenal by Canaletto, 1732.

The Venetian Arsenal is a complex of former shipyards and armories clustered together in the city of Venice. Owned by the state, the Arsenal was responsible for the bulk of the Venetian republic's naval power during the middle part of the second millennium AD. It was "one of the earliest large-scale industrial enterprises in history". Its construction began around 1104, and became the largest industrial complex in Europe before the Industrial Revolution, spanning about fifteen percent of Venice. It is located in the Castello district of Venice, and it is now owned by the state.

With high walls shielding the Arsenal from public view and guards protecting its perimeter, different areas of the Arsenal each produced a particular prefabricated ship part or other maritime implement, such as munitions, rope, and rigging. These parts could then be assembled into a ship in as little as one day. An exclusive forest owned by the Arsenal navy, in the Montello hills area of Veneto, provided the Arsenal's wood supply. It produced the majority of Venice's maritime trading vessels, which generated much of the city's economic wealth and power.

The Arsenal's main gate, the Porta Magna, was built around 1460 and was the first Classical revival structure built in Venice. Two lions taken from Greece situated beside it were added in 1687. One of them, Piraeus Lion, has runic defacements carved in it by invading Scandinavian mercenaries during the 11th century. In the late 16th century, the Arsenal's designers experimented with larger ships as platforms for heavy guns. The largest was the galleass, used at the Battle of Lepanto against the Ottoman. The galleon, also developed here, was a slimmer version of the merchant round ship.

In 1593, Galileo Galilei became a consultant to the Arsenal, advising military engineers and instrument makers and helping to solve shipbuilders' problems, many of them relating to matters of ballistics. He was also responsible for creating some major innovations in the production and logistics of the Arsenal. Significant parts of the Arsenal were destroyed under Napoleonic rule, and later rebuilt to enable the Arsenal's present use as a naval base. It is also used as a research center and an exhibition venue during the Venice Biennale, and is home to a historic boat preservation center.

Venetian Arsenal is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Venice and its Lagoon, about which I wrote here

About the stamps

The maxicard, and of course also the stamp, were issued on October 21, 2015, to mark the 10th Venice Regional Seapower Symposium for the Navies of the Mediterranean and Black Sea Countries, which was held between 21 and 23 October 2015. The Venice Symposium is the leading forum in the Wider Mediterranean Region, hosting the largest gathering of Navy Leaders, Organizations and Agencies with a key role in the maritime dimension. The purpose of the Regional Seapower Symposium for the Mediterranean and Black Sea Countries is to create a forum where the leaders of the regional Navies can meet and discuss about their common challenges and strengthen mutual co-operation.

The stamp on the back of the maxicard is part of the series of definitive stamp about which I wrote here.

About the postmark I wrote here.

Venetian Arsenal - Wikipedia
Venice Regional Seapower Symposium for the Navies of the Mediterranean and Black Sea Countries - Italian Navy official website

Sender: Radu Tusan
Sent from Venice (Veneto / Italy), on 31.01.2017 

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