LibanPost | Philatelic World

Lebanon

30 September 2020

Diplomatic Relations with Mexico 75th Anniversary

(joint issue with Mexico)

Lebanon: Diplomatic Relations with Mexico 75th Anniversary, 30 September 2020. Images from eBay.

Technical Specifications:

Issued on: 2020-09-30
Size: 60 x 40 mm
Colors: Multicolor
Format: Se-tenant pair
Printing: Offset lithography
Denominations: 2 x 5000 ل.ل
Print run: 25,000

Relations between Mexico and Lebanon stretch further before their official establishment of diplomatic relations. Beginning in 1878, several thousand Lebanese migrants (primarily Christian Maronites) left their homes, which at the time were under Ottoman occupation and later followed by French colonization; and immigrated to Mexico. Today, over 500,000 people in Mexico are of Lebanese origin ranking Mexico the fourth biggest country hosting a Lebanese community outside of Lebanon.

After gaining independence from France in 1943; Lebanon and Mexico established diplomatic relations on 12 June 1945. In 1947, diplomatic missions were established in each country’s capitals respectively, and ambassadors were appointed. In 1975, Lebanon experienced a civil war and for security reasons, the embassy of Mexico in Beirut closed in June 1982 to only re-open in 1996. Since then, Mexico has maintained an embassy in Lebanon throughout the various violent outbreaks in Lebanon and during Israeli attacks in the country.

Avenida Líbano street marker in Mérida, Yucatán. Photograph taken on 30 March 2014.

In June 2000, Mexican Foreign Minister Rosario Green became the first highest ranking Mexican official to visit Lebanon. In Lebanon, Foreign Minister Green met with Lebanese President Émile Lahoud. In September 2010, Lebanese President Michel Sleiman became the first Lebanese head-of-state to pay an official visit to Mexico and met with Mexican President Felipe Calderón.

In February 2015, Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil arrived to Mexico to discuss the festivities for celebrating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between both nations. In May 2015, Mexican Foreign Minister José Antonio Meade paid an official visit to Lebanon. Since September 2015, Mexico has military experts and two soldiers assigned to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, based in the south of Lebanon and currently maintains 30 personnel in the country. In November 2015, the Patriarch of the Maronite Church, Bechara Boutros al-Rahi paid a visit to Mexico and met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

In November 2017, Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil paid a visit to Mexico to attend the Lebanese Diaspora Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Cancún.

For the 75th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Lebanon and Mexico stamps, the stamps are both denominated at 5,000 Lebanese pounds.  The stamp on the left depicts the Templo Mayor (Grand Temple) and Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City while the right-hand stamp pictures the Temple of Bacchus in Baalbek, Lebanon


Temple of Bacchus

A photograph of the eastern entrance of the Temple of Bacchus at Baalbek by Bonfils taken between 1870 and 1885, misidentified in French as the “Gate of the Temple of Jupiter”. This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3b16182
The temple of Bacchus at Baalbek, Lebanon. Photograph taken on 29 August 2004.

The Temple of Bacchus is part of the Baalbek temple complex located in the broad Al-biqā (Bekaa Valley), Lebanon. The temple complex is considered an outstanding archaeological and artistic site of Imperial Roman Architecture and was inscribed as an UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984. This monument to Bacchus is one of the best preserved and grandest Roman temple ruins; its age is unknown, but its fine ornamentation can be dated to the second century CE.

The temple was probably commissioned by Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius (r. AD 138-161). No information was recorded about the site until a 4th-century Greek conquest, by which point the temple would likely have been closed due to the persecution of pagans in the late Roman Empire. When the complex fell into disrepair, the Temple of Bacchus was possibly protected by the rubble of the rest of the site’s ruins.

It was not until 1898-1903 that a German Expedition excavated two of the large temples and began reconstructions on the site. In 1920 The State of Greater Lebanon was proclaimed and protections and repairs of the site were mandated by the Lebanese government.

In the mid-1970s the Lebanese civil war broke out and protections of the site ceased as Al-Biqā became a stronghold for Palestinian, Hezbollah and Syrian forces. In 1984 the ruins at Baalbek were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Preservation of the site began in the 1990s following the end of the war.

The German Archaeological Institute’s Orient Department has done a number of archaeological excavations and research on The Temple of Bacchus and the entire temple complex. The site is continually being researched and assessed, such as documentation of reliefs and sculptures, archaeozoological research on fauna in the ruins, urban development and its relationship to Baalbek. All current research on Bacchus and Baalbek from the Orient Department of The German Archaeological Institute can be found on their website.

The temple is 66 m long, 35 m wide and 31 m high, making it only slightly smaller than the Temple of Jupiter. The podium on which the temple sits is on an East-West axis. The peripheral wall is adorned by a colonnade of forty-two unfluted Corinthian columns with Ionic bases, nineteen of which remain upright. There are eight columns along each end and fifteen along each side — nearly 20 m (66 ft) in height. These were probably erected in a rough state and then rounded, polished, and decorated in position. The columns support a richly carved entablature, which includes an architrave with a three-banded frieze that is decorated with alternating bulls and lions and cornice ornamented with geometric and floral patterns.

Inside, the cella is decorated with Corinthian pilasters flanking two levels of niches on each side. The parapets are decorated with dancing Maenads, supporting the attribution of the temple to Bacchus. The interior of the temple is divided into a 98 ft (30 m) nave and a 36 ft (11 m) adytum or sanctuary on a platform raised 5 ft (2 m) above it and fronted by 13 steps.

The entrance was preserved as late as the 16th century, but the keystone of the lintel had slid 2 ft (1 m) following the 1759 earthquakes; a column of rough masonry was erected in the 1860s or ’70s to support it. The earthquakes also damaged the area around the soffit’s famed inscription of an eagle, which was entirely covered by the keystone’s supporting column. Some historic Roman coins depict the structure of this temple along with Temple of Jupiter.

The Temple is enriched by some of the most refined reliefs and sculpture to survive from antiquity. There are four sculptures carved within the peristyle that are believed to be depictions of Acarina which would make them the first recognizable representations of mites in architecture.

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