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Europa 2018: BRIDGES

Under the title Europa 2018, Romfilatelia introduces into circulation the postage stamp issue Bridges, topic selected for this year by PostEurop, a body of the Universal Postal Union, a specialized agency of the United Nations.

The issue consists of two stamps. The first stamp, with a face value of Lei 3.50, illustrates the Bridge of Lies in Sibiu, and on the second one, with a face value of Lei 16.00, is depicted the Anghel Saligny Bridge in Cernavoda, Constanta County.

In addition, the issue is completed by a special philatelic product, with a medal. The medal’s obverse renders, in the foreground, the portrait of the engineer Anghel Saligny (1854-1925), the designer of the bridge with the same name, a reproduction of the engraving made by the late artist Octavian Ion Penda, with a detail of the metallic structure of the bridge. Its reverse features, in the foreground, the stone construction of the bridge entrance, flanked by bronze statues of two infantrymen Dorobanti, symbol of respect for the heroes fallen in the War of Independence.

The Bridge of Lies in Sibiu, a true symbol of the city, was built in 1859, being the second bridge in Europe made of cast iron and the first on the Romanian territory. Still in operation, it links the two sectors of the Small Square, allowing the link between the Lower Town and the Upper Town.

Since the bridge was not built on supporting pillars, it was called in German Liegenbrücke, translated the lying bridge. The locals began to call it the bridge of lies because in the Transylvanian Saxon dialect, the word lying (lugenmarchen) is the homonym of the word lie.

The bridge, with 10.40 m length, it’s built over the former gate tower, and consists of four flattened cast iron arches, representing a technical premiere that also provides a remarkable balance between the resistance structure and the decoration made by fretwork. On the southern side, the circles with the maximum diameter are decorated with the coat of arms of Sibiu, and those on the north side with the inscription 1859, respectively Fredericus Hütte, the name of the owner of the factory where the bridge was moulded.

The Bridge of Lies is a tourist attraction not only due to its original figure, but also due to some legends in which it is presented as an enchanted deck, ready to break when a lie is spoken when crossing it, bringing the liar down to earth.

Beyond the legends, The Bridge of Lies remains one of the most beautiful bridges in Romania, in 2015 being included in the List of Historical Monuments in Sibiu County.

Cernavoda Bridge, originally called King Carol I Bridge, renamed later Anghel Saligny Bridge to honor Anghel Saligny, the designer and contractor of the bridge, was built between 1890 and 1895, to provide the rail link between Bucharest and Constanta. It was designed 30 m above the Danube, to allow the passage of vessels with the highest masts. When building it, Saligny brought two major innovations: the new beam system with consoles for the superstructure of the bridge and the use of mild steel instead of puddled iron, as a building material for bridge deck.

The metallic bridge, with its slender shape and laced bars, is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world. On the inauguration, during some great celebrations attended by King Carol I and Queen Elizabeth, it was considered the largest bridge in Europe, at that time, and the third longest in the world. After King Carol I beat the last silver rivet, the document of inauguration was built in the wall of the bridge and a religious service took place.

The durability of the bridge was tested by a freight train running at a speed of 60 km/h and a passenger train running at a speed of 80 km/h, coming especially from Bucharest, during which, convinced by the resistance of this great work, Anghel Saligny stood with the workers in a boat under the bridge. After returning to the Danube’s shore, Saligny joked in front of the audience: I knew it would last!

Anghel Saligny Bridge has been used for almost a century, until 1987, when a new bridge was built. The bridge is included in the List of Historic Monuments, under the name Carol I Bridge with “Dorobantii” statues. 

Romfilatelia thanks the photographer George Avanu for the support granted for the achievement of this postage stamp issue.  

 SPECIAL PRODUCTS: 

The special product, created into limited printing of 408 pieces, reunites in a joint topic, products belonging to philately and numismatics, through two valuable collection pieces: the block of two imperforated stamps and the medal on the obverse in the front, the portrait of the engineer Anghel Saligny (1854-1925), with a detail of the metallic structure of the bridge bearing his name and on the reverse features, in the foreground, the stone construction of the entrance bridge, flanked by bronze statues of two “Dorobanti”. The Certificate of authenticity presents the characteristics of the medal and the block of the issue is numbered from 001 to 408.