From a Russian postcard came these two (large!) beautifully designed stamps.
Until I researched, I had no idea they were a set of Russian-Spanish joint issue stamps.
They were issued a year ago, on June 27, 2012 in recognition of the rich artistic and cultural heritage of both countries.
The stamps show the Episcopal Palace of Astorga and Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood.
The Gaudi designed Episcopal Palace of Astorga was built between 1889 and 1915 in a modernisme style of Catalan. Astorga is in the northern province of Leon and this is one of only three buildings Gaudi designed that are not in Catalonia. It is built of white granite with a slate roof and has a moat surrounding it. Typical Gaudi features include the entrance with the splayed buttresses and chimneys integrated in the side facades. No longer used as an Episcopal office, it is now the Museum of the Paths since it is located in the Jacobean Way.
St Petersburg is home to the magnificent Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood (which has various names, including Church of the Resurrection, Church of our Savior on the Blood, Cathedral of the Ascension). Designed by Alfred Parland, it was built between 1883 and 1907 on the site where Tsar Alexander ll was assassinated and is dedicated to his memory. Commissioned by Alexander III for his father, it would be completed during Nicolas II reign. Funding was provided by the imperial family and many donors. This church is built in the medieval Russian style of romantic nationalism and has over 7500 square metres of mosaics completely covering the walls and ceiling. When finished it cost 4.6 million rubles (1 million rubles over budget).
The church was ransacked and looted during the Russian Revolution and was closed by the Soviets in the 1930s. In WWII during the Siege of Leningrad, it was used as a morgue. Now it is a Museum of Mosaics after undergoing 27 years of restoration (it reopened in 1997)
For Sunday Stamps. Click here to see the Spanish version of these stamps.