Europa – Ancient Postal Routes


Commemorative postage stamps

Year of issue: 2020

In stock


Throughout the history, any strong and well-organised country had a developed network for communications and transport. The Ottoman Empire, within which was Serbia, had a network consisting of tatars (post riders) with a large number of horses, menzulanas (relay stations), inns and caravanserais.

Apart from the tatars, public proclamations and orders were carried from 17th century by pedestrian messengers - sahiyas, especially on shorter distances and in difficult terrains where pedestrians were quicker than horses. Sahiyas were hardy, lean people, armed, dressed appropriately, and wore jingle bells under the left knee as a sign of recognition. The jingling announced their arrival in a populated place, and the bells helped them keep the rhythm while striding

In time, they started to deliver also private letters and small parcels for a fee, and passed the news on recent events, fairs, prices, contagions, and all that was relevant at the time for daily life of the people.

After the Second Serbian Uprising, when it was necessary that the news be passed on foot, quickly, by relay stations and at shorter distances, Prince Miloš used his tatars. The tatars, sahiyas, and later postmen who travelled on coaches used the well-developed and established network of menzulanas over four main road routes (Belgrade-Radujevac, Belgrade-Aleksinac, Belgrade-Mokra Gora and Belgrade-Loznica). This network was organised on the Sava and the Danube, while ferries and boats, and, later, ships, comprised the important link in the swift and safe conveyance of mail.

Expert collaboration: Ljiljana Đorđević, Senior Custodian, PTT Museum, Belgrade.

Artistic realization of the issue: MA Boban Savić, academic painter.


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