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Saintes on new stamp from France

Saintes on new stamp from France
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The new French stamp is dedicated to the city of Saintes, and depicts its sight of interest - the Abbaye-aux-Dames and a detail of the second arch of the entrance portal representing a winged ox, symbol of St. Luke.

A bit of history from StampNews.com:

Saintes, capital of Saintonge, the heart of the Charente-Maritime, has a rich cultural past. The Abbaye-aux-Dames is one of the finest examples of Romanesque art.

This abbey, founded in the XIth century by Geoffroy Martel, Count of Anjou, and his wife Agnes de Bourgogne enjoyed a rich endowment of land and territorial property which enabled the abbey to exercise real spiritual and temporal power for several centuries.

Having a community of up to a hundred of Benedictine nuns, it suffered the pangs of the Hundred Years War, two major fires and the Wars of Religion. Served as jail and barrack after the Revolution, the church was restored and returned to religion in 1939.

In 1988, François Mitterrand inaugurated the renovated unit which combines multiple uses (housing, cultural space, music, worship).

The Ancient Music Festival, born under the leadership of a few enthusiasts in the early 1970s, has contributed to the revival of the site and provided the impetus for its rehabilitation.

Thus, being a tourist mecca, the Abbaye-aux-Dames lives under the sign of music culminating in the Festival of Saintes, appointment of internationally renowned musicians and popular among music lovers.

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