Saturday, 1 September 2018

Germany: The Harz

On 9th August the German Post issued, at least for me, another highlight stamp of 2018, because the Harz mountains were chosen as next addition for the series Wild Germany. As the Harz is not far away from where I live, I was there short before the stamp was issued and bought some cards to get special postmarks. The cards and covers came back between the 13th and 20th August.

The Harz is the northernmost German Mittelgebirge and the highest mountain range in Northern Germany. It is known for its diverse flora and fauna, beautiful nature and its many myths and legends. In and around the Harz are various UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the Harz itself is a UNESCO Global Geopark. The Harz National Park was founded in 2006, when two national parks in Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt were merged. 

With matching stamps:
Wild Germany - Harz (issued 09-08-2018)
Mushrooms (from set of three) (issued 09-08-2018)
Baby Animals (from set of two) (issued 02-01-2018)
with a special postmark showing an old narrow gauge railway

The Brocken is the highest peak of the Harz and also the highest peak of Northern Germany. It has always played a role in legends and has been connected with witches and devils. The most famous adaption of these legends is found in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's play Faust. Today it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany.

With a matching souvenir sheet:
Harz National Park (issued 04-07-2002)
with a special postmark showing a mountain spruce forest on the Brocken

As there was not enough space on the card for the new stamp and the souvenir sheet, I got the postmark with the new stamp on a cover as well.

The last Eurasian Lynx of the Harz was shot in 1818, but starting in 2000 it was brought back to the national park. Today it is probably the most famous animal of the region.

With matching stamps:
Wild Germany - Harz (issued 09-08-2018)
with First Day Special Postmark
Reintroduction of Wild Animals (from set of two) (issued 09-02-2012)

The Harz Narrow Gauge Railways cross the Harz since 1887. There are nearly 400 bridges and one tunnel on the three routes (Brocken Railway, Selke Valley Railway, Trans-Harz Railway). Every year nearly 1,1million passengers use the 25 steam locomotives running between the 48 train stations. The Harz Narrow Gauge Railways were declared a historic monument in 1972 and have the longest coherent narrow gauged route network in Germany (140 km).

With matching stamps:
125 years Harz Narrow Gauge Railways (issued 09-02-2012)
Wild Germany - Harz (issued 09-08-2018)
with the same special postmark as on the first card

For the issue of the new stamp there was also the possibility to get covers or cards cancelled on a train ride to the Brocken. The cover I used for this special procedure thus have a special postmark on the backside that is only available on the Brocken.

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