This is the second of nine issues showing castles from the 18 districts of mainland Portugal. For each stamp, a bilingual booklet with a miniature sheet incorporating the district’s coat of arms was produced.
The Guimarães castle in the district of Braga is considered the ‘cradle of Portugal’ as it is believed to be the birthplace of Afonso Henriques, who would lead the Portucale County to independence and be Portugal’s first king. Although the castle was built in the 10th century, its current form dates from the 15th century. By the mid-17th century the castle was in ruins, and in the 19th century the town was considering demolishing the castle and reuse its stones for paving the roads. Reconstruction started in the 1930s, towards the commemoration of the double independence centenaries in 1940.
The Bragança castle in the district of the same name is one of Portugal’s best kept castles. Built 700m over the sea level, its walls enclosed the historic centre of the town, an area of 3 hectares. The initial structure is from the 12th century and the current form dates from the 15th century. The castle played a key role in the various wars between Portugal and Castile (and then Spain) over the centuries, due to its location close to the north-eastern border of Portugal. The 34m tall keep, shown on the stamp, is mainly built from granite and shale, which is common in the region. Nowadays it houses a military museum.
Both castles were classified as national monuments in 1910.
The set was designed by José Luís Tinoco (stamps) and José Bénard Guedes (coats of arms), lithographed by the Mint on enamelled paper sheets of 5×10 stamps with perforation 12×12½ and a phosphor band, and circulated from 10 April 1986 to 31 December 1992. Hundred thousand booklets were made for each castle.
- Castelo de Bragança, Portuguese Wikipedia, accessed 23 January 2015