A commemorative First Day Cover (FDC) has also been issued. Motif: Equestrian statue of Charles the Great, early 9th century, bronze, 23.5 cm, Paris, Louvre. Map of Europe around the year 800 with marked borders of the Frankish empire and regions where there were Croats, and the drawing of St. Donatus’s church in Zadar, beginning of the 9th century. CHARLES THE GREAT The foundations of western Europe, the one we know today, were laid by a great European ruler of the past, Charles the Great, as long as 1200 years ago. On Christmas Day 800 years ago he was crowned Emperor by Pope Leon III in Rome, thus symbolizing continuity and strong ties to the vanished Roman Empire, rivalry against Byzantium, but also the birth of a new, different Europe, whose centre has been moved from the Mediterranean to the northwest of the continent. This is the reason why this most powerful ruler who has emerged after the fall of the Roman Empire has long since been called "the father of Europe". His fundamental leading idea was the restoration of the Roman Empire, the so-called Renovatio Imperii, but so that the empire Imperium Romanum should become the Christian Imperium Romanum Cristianum. This fact is the sublimation of the long-year rule of Charles the Great, from 768 to 814. He has, as a matter of fact, connected the Church and State with his strong hand in such a way, that the foundations of the complete medieval structure of authority has been laid in all European countries. Charles the Great has completely changed the monumental landscape of Europe. Only during his reign there were 27 new cathedrals built in his Empire, 232 new monasteries, more than 100 palaces and courts, with the ones in Aachen and Metz being his favourites. This architectural activity is without equal by its intensity almost to the most recent times. All these objects were luxuriously equipped with sculptures, pictures, artefacts, and material taken from Roman monuments was also often used, in this way stressing the continuity with ancient times. The age of Charles the Great’s reign is exceptionally important for the Croatian regions. At the end of the 8th century he attached Istria to his empire, and on the Pannonian region, the present-day Slavonia, he defeated the Avars, and thus implemented a defined political organization. At the beginning of the 9th century he fought against Byzantium, helped by the Croats, on the territory of the former Roman province of Dalmatia. After the Aachen Peace in 812 he made a breakdown of spheres of interest possible. In this way the coastal towns of Osor, Krk, Rab, Split, Dubrovnik and Kotor fell to Byzantium, while in the great hinterland Charles supported Croats to become Christianized. He also helped the establishment of the first Croatian principality. This is also one of the reasons why we should mark the celebration of the anniversary of Charles the Great’s crowning in Rome.