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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Venice in Peril (February 7, 1972)

The format of the stamp is horizontal. A turquoise blue frame, on the left and bottom side of the stamp, encloses a view of Venice. The caption ‘Venice in Peril’, lying below the illustration, and the words ‘Pakistan’ in Urdu Bengali, and English on the left side of the stamp, are in reverse against a turquoise blue background. 1 he symbol of UNESCO on the top. of the turquoise panel on the left and the word ‘Paisa’ value ‘20’ and the word ‘Postage’ at the bottom of the stamp on the left are in black.
“Oh Venice! Venice! when thy marble walls
Are level with the waters, there shall be
A cry of nations o’er thy sunken halls.
A loud lament along the sweeping seal
“Ode on Venice” — Byron
VENICE (VENEZIA), a city and seaport of Italy, occupying one of the most remarkable sites in the world, at the head of the Adriatic, between the mountains and the sea, lies in that part of the Lombard plain which is known as the Veneto. The whole of this plain has been formed by the debris swept down from the Alps by the rivers. On a group of mud banks about the middle of the lagoon of Venice stands the city of Venice. The soil is an oozy mud. The whole site of Venice is dominated by the existence of one great main canal, the Grand Canal, which, winding thro-ugh the town in the shape of the letter 5, divides it into two equal parts. It is usually affirmed that the State of Venice owes its origin to the barbarian invasions of north Italy; that it was founded by refugees from the mainland cities who sought refuge from the HUNS in the 1mpregnable shallows and mud banks of the lagoons. Venice, like Rome and other famous cities, was an asylum city.
The Continuous growth of Venice can be traced through the successive styles of Byzantine, Gothic, early Re-naissance and late Renaissance architec-ture. The two most striking buildings in Venice, St. Mark’s and the Doge’s Palace, at once give us an example of the two earlier styles, the Byzantine and the Gothic. Both are so capricious in development and in decoration that they may more justly be considered as unique specimens rather than as typical examples of their respective styles. Fine examples of Venetian Byzantine palaces - at least of the facades-are still to be seen on the Grand Canal and in some of the small canals. Besides all this, Venice is rich in Gothic Architecture, the Ducal Palace, Gothic Churches and Palaces, modern buildings, paintings, institutions and libraries.
“According to the special study made by UNESCO, 47 per cent of Venice’s buildings are in need of repair, 16 per cent are gravely dilapidated and 50 per Cent are damp-infested. The renovation of housing in Venice is an urgent task, but the cost will be enormous.
On November 4, 1966, at Venice, the sea breached the protecting dykes in several places and rose to nearly two meters above street level. On that very day Florence had sustained heavy damage because of the Arno, rising in spate.
The General Conference of Unesco-meeting in Paris for its fourteenth session in Nov. 1966 unanimous1y adopted a resolution, declaring that the damage to the artistic and historic monuments and treasures of Florence and Venice consti-tutes a grave loss to the cultural heritage of all mankind’ and appealing to the spirit of fellowship of Member States to assist, to the fullest extent of their means, the efforts of the Italian people and authorities to preserve and restore cultural property that has been or is in danger of being damaged. At the request of the Italian Government, Unesco is co-ordinating the international aid provi-ded for both Florence and Venice. To this end, it has started a trust fund, for public and private contributions. UN-ESCO’ s immediate contribution to the work of restoration-in the form of equipment, of services of experts and Consultants, and of funds-is important. What does primarily concern UNESCO is the impairment of the cultural heritage constituted by Venice, which has been described as a museum set upon the waters’. The role of UNESCO is to promote, in close co-operation with the Italian authorities, large-scale action to safeguard the artis-tic and historical monuments of Venice and develop the latter as a cultural centre, taking into account the need to ensure that activities undertaken in the city as a whole and its environs-lagoons and mainland-should be consonant both with its natural and architectural char-acteristics and with its age—old cultural vocation
The Pakistan Post Office is, in response to the appeal of the UNESCO, issuing a commemorative Postage Stamp of 20 Paisa denomination on 7.2.1972, to focus public attention on this impor-tant issue, and thus joins the large community of nations who are interested in preserving for future generations the artistic heritage of Venice.