Post in Portugal - 500 years

Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações

There are few stories as exciting as that of the post. Humankind’s ancient and constant need to exchange messages led to first kings and the states employing all of the resources within their reach to overcome distance.


The painting by José Pedro Roque Martins Barata.

Belongs to CTT Correios de Portugal/Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações collection.

Pilgrims, squires, horse couriers, stagecoaches and traveling post offices were used successively over the centuries to deliver missives to their destinations.

The painting by José Pedro Roque Martins Barata.

Belongs to CTT Correios de Portugal/Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações collection.

Artistic Heritage - Painting
The painting highlights 20th-century artworks by José Pedro Roque Martins Barata and Maria Keil. Belongs to CTT Correios de Portugal/Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações collection.

This work represents four stages in the journey along the Lisbon-Porto Mail Coach route inaugurated in 1855. The route is shown on the map of Portugal, which highlights the coastline and identifies the changing stations.

Traveling by day.

The supper.

Changing horses.

Staying overnight.

At the same time, the postage stamp was invented and access to correspondence democratized through home delivery.

In the 20th century, through innovation, modernization, the creation of new services and the introduction of new technologies to the postal sector, the circulation of correspondence and goods became as fast and efficient as it is today.

In the 1940s Maria Keil produced a number of panels on the theme of the carriage of mail to decorate the public area of the Funchal Central Post Office.

Postal Heritage
This group of 19th and 20th-century pieces is part of the CTT Correios de Portugal/Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações collection. Amongst them is a board with the mail collection times, a postal weighing scale by Lourenço de Araújo, a “Directorate of Mail” plaque, a " Directorate of Mail” box, a “1st District” letter box and a No. 824 pillar box.
Artistic Heritage - Tapestry
The production of tapestries in Portalegre began in 1946 and was the product of the initiative of two friends, Guy Fino and Manuel Celestino Peixeiro, who wanted to revive the tradition of hand-stitched carpet making in the city. The CTT Correios de Portugal/Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações collection includes a tapestry produced by the Manufactura de Tapeçarias de Portalegre which closely interpreted the original cartoon by Luís Filipe de Abreu in 1982.
Postal Patrimony - Transportation
The regular carrying of post by mail coaches began in England in 1784. A regular mail service began in Portugal in 1798 when the Lisbon-Coimbra road was opened. Two models are shown from the CTT Correios de Portugal/Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações collection: an English mail coach and a French mail coach, both from the 19th century.
Heritage Documentary - Photo
In the 1920s and 30s, Francisco Santos Cordeiro took outstanding photographs of communication facilities, equipment and services. Belongs to CTT Correios de Portugal/Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações collection.
Heritage Documentary - Poster
Advertising poster designed to encourage the use of the mail, telegraph and telephone services, as well as explore a commercial advertising service for the general public. Belongs to CTT Correios de Portugal/Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações collection.

Take a look on exhibition Overcoming Distance: Five Centuries of Communications in Portugal

The history of the post is, after all, a history of successes and an excellent way to discover the history of the evolution of the world.

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