Romfilatelia introduces into circulation on Monday, October 14th, curent year, the joint stamp issue Romania-Malta entitled “Architecture, Palaces”, illustrating the Mogosoaia Palace in Romania and the Verdala Palace in Malta.
The diplomatic relations between Romania and the Republic of Malta were established on June 7, 1968, at the non-resident embassy level.
On the stamp with the face value of Lei 1.70 the Mogosoaia Palace, located 15 km from Bucharest, is depicted. It represents, practically, a harmonious historical complex consisting of the palace itself and its courtyard, the watchtower, the guest house, the ice-house and the church “Sfantul Gheorghe” located in the vicinity.
The palace, in Brancovenesc style, brings together Venetian, Byzantine and Ottoman architectural elements. The building, erected at the request of Prince Constantin Brancoveanu, was completed on September 20, 1702, according to the plaque on one of the sides of the palace. After Constantin Brancoveanu and his sons were executed in Constantinople, the palace was taken by the Ottomans and later redeemed by Stephen Cantacuzino, and returned to Constantin Brancoveanu, the nephew of the original owner.
After several changes of owner, in 1911, the palace, sold to George Bibescu, is given to his wife Martha Lahovary. The beauty of the palace is owed to Princess Martha who restored it after the damage suffered as a result of the German bombings of 1916. The renovation of the building was done under the guidance of the architect George Matei Cantacuzino and with the collaboration of the old Venetian architect Rupolo, who supervised an Italian team.
Throughout its existence, the palace had among its notable guests, personalities including names like Gheorghe Tattarescu, Pamfil Seicaru, Mihail Sebastian, Nicolae Iorga, Grigore Gafencu and french writers, Marcel Proust and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Also, Queen Elisabeta, a good friend of Martha Bibescu, was often a guest of honour at the palace.
After 1945, the Mogosoaia Palace was nationalized by the Communist regime. In 1957, the palace became a museum, today the host of the Brancovenesc art exhibition and the Aulic Tradition Museum, along with other temporary exhibitions. The interior is still in the process of restoration.
The Verdala Palace is illustrated on the stamp with the face value of Lei 8.50. The palace, inaugurated in 1586, is currently the official summer residence of the President of Malta. The architect was Girolamo Cassar, who was recognized for designing most of the buildings in Valetta. The structure presents elements of Renaissance architecture and it is assumed that the design may have been influenced by Villa Farnese in Caprarola.
The main building has two floors, while the corner towers have five floors, and the entire structure is surrounded by a moat. Although its outward appearance denotes elements of a fort, it was never meant to withstand an attack, the elements being symbolic and aesthetic. The building was completely restored during the reign of Sir William Reid in 1850, although restoration work was begun by Governor Frederik Cavendish Ponsonby.
Over the years, the building has been used as a military prison for French soldiers captured by the British and Maltese during the blockade of 1798-1800. Later, it was used as a silk factory until 1850, when Governor Sir William Reid ordered its complete restoration. Subsequently, it became the official summer residence of the British governors and a place of reference where guests of honour were found, among them the Empress of Russia (1909), the Emperor of Germany (1919) and the King of England (1943).
During World War I, the Palace was used as a campaign hospital, and during World War II it housed valuable works of art from the National Museum of Malta.
Romfilatelia thanks the “Brancovenesti Palaces” Cultural Center and the photographers Luca Emanuel Achim and Norbert Mintoff for the documentary support given to this postage stamps issue.