Up Catalog


     Krakow was first mentioned by a Cordoban merchant in 985 as a wealthy city on trade routes. It became a part of the Polish state in the 10th century. The map on the stamp shows the Staremiasto, the old town in Krakow. The modern map shows the same area.

SCN 2549

Bernard Wapowski ~ 1526

     The first "modern" map of Poland was compiled in 1526 and published in Marco Beneventano's edition of Ptolemy's Geographiae, by Bernard Wapowski, a canon and the King's secretary or treasurer. The map covered the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Because it seems unlikely that Wapowski would have developed all of the information used to produce the map himself, some believe that Nicholaus Copernicus (1473-1543) assisted him. It is known that Copernicus had become interested in cartography about 1510, and that in 1529 he made a map of the Prussian territories.
     A possible reference to Copernicus' involvement is hinted at by the portion of the map which appears on the stamp. Copernicus was born in Torün, which appears in the center of the map on the stamp.

SCN 2550

A. Buchowiecki ~ 1703

    The map on the stamp, Plan Krakowa, is by Andrzeja Stanisława   Buchowiecki, professor of mathematics in Cracow, 1703. The astrolabe is from the 17th century.

SCN 2553

Warsaw ~ 1839

     The site of Warsaw was occupied as early as the 10th Century. In the third partition of Poland in 1795 Warsaw was assigned to Prussia. It was seized by Napoleon's army in 1806, and in 1813 it was retaken by the Russians and incorporated into the Russian empire. The map is identified as deriving from the "Polish Kingdom Quartermaster," 1839.

SCN 2551

Zamosc ~ 1580

     Zamosc, a stronghold and a historical monument, situated in the South-East of Poland, was founded in 1580 by chancellor Jan Zamoyski. According to 16th century standards, it is a splendid example of the perfect town. The town was built in Italian Renaissance style and has retained its original layout to the present day, constituting a town planning system unique in the world scale.
     Jan Zamoyski, a humanist educated in Padua, a patron of literature, science and arts, wanted his town to be an authentic masterpiece. He handed the realization of his dream over to Bernardo Morando, a Venetian architect.
     Town construction lasted several years, but it was worth waiting for. A centrally located perfect square constitutes the Great Market Place, which is based on the antique tradition of forum publicum and is surrounded by Italian style arcades, which used to house merchant shops and wine-shops. The tenement houses are decorated with friezes, false fronts, reliefs, splendid portals, frescos and polychromes.
     The Market Place is dominated by the monumental Town Hall with a grand staircase. A 16th c. Renaissance cathedral, the most magnificent in Poland, is located nearby. In the cathedral, priceless altars and paintings, like "Zwiastowanie Najswietszej Marii Panny" ("Annunciation of the Holy Virgin Mary") by Carlo Dolei or series of paintings presenting life of St. Thomas, the patron of Zamosc, can be seen. The cast silver tabernacle is famous throughout Poland .
     The stronghold of Zamosc is famous for its fortifications. In the past, the town was surrounded by fortified walls with seven bastions and a moat. The fortifications proved especially useful during the 1648 Cossack war and the 1656 Swedish war. The fortifications were modified according to French military arrangements and protected the town from the Russian Army in 1813 and 1831. Several gates were built into the walls, the most famous being the Lubelska Gate.
     The plan on the stamp is based on
an engraving by Abraham Hogenberg after the works of Georg Braun, "Theatrum preciparum totius mundi urbium", 1618.

SCN 2384