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Mexico

30 September 2020

Diplomatic Relations with Lebanon 75th Anniversary

(joint issue with Lebanon)

Mexico: Diplomatic Relations with Lebanon 75th Anniversary, 30 September 2020, Images from Servicio Postal Mexicanos Filatelia, Wikipedia, and private collection.

Technical Specifications:

Name: 75th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations, Mexico – Lebanon
Price: $ 22.00 Pesos $ 1.15 USD
Issue Date: 09/30/2020
Paper: Matte white couché, self-adhesive 110 g / m2
Designer: Nancy Torres López / Myrna Kalfayan
Colors: Multicolor
Format: Se-tenant pair
Perforation: Rouletted
Printing: Offset lithography
Gum: Self-Adhesive
Denominations: 7 new pesos, 15 new pesos
Print run: 50,000

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 $7 denomination depicts the Grand Temple and Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City while the $15 stamp pictures the Temple of Bacchus in Baalbek, Lebanon.


Templo Mayor

View of the Templo Mayor and the surrounding buildings in Mexico City, Mexico. Photograph taken by Mike Peel on 14 July 2015.
Model of Temple Mayor, prior to Spanish conquest at the Mexico City Metro Zócalo station. Photograph taken on 19 December 2006.

The Templo Mayor (Spanish for “[the] Greater Temple”) was the main temple of the Mexica peoples in their capital city of Tenochtitlan, which is now Mexico City. Its architectural style belongs to the late Postclassic period of Mesoamerica. The temple was called the Huēyi Teōcalli in the Nahuatl language. It was dedicated simultaneously to Huitzilopochtli, god of war, and Tlaloc, god of rain and agriculture, each of which had a shrine at the top of the pyramid with separate staircases. The spire in the center of the adjacent image was devoted to Quetzalcoatl in his form as the wind god, Ehecatl. The Great Temple devoted to Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc, measuring approximately 100 by 80 m (328 by 262 ft) at its base, dominated the Sacred Precinct. Construction of the first temple began sometime after 1325, and it was rebuilt six times. The temple was destroyed by the Spanish in 1521 to make way for the new cathedral.

The Zócalo, or main plaza of Mexico City today, was developed to the southwest of this archeological site, which is located in the block between Seminario and Justo Sierra streets. The site is part of the Historic Center of Mexico City, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987. It received 801,942 visitors in 2017.

Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral as seen in the 1940s. A Kodachrome photo by Chalmers Butterfield.
Mexico City Cathedral, with the Metropolitan Tabernacle to the right. Photograph taken on 21 December 2004.

The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven (Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de la Santísima Virgen María a los cielos) is the seat of the Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico. It is situated atop the former Aztec sacred precinct near the Templo Mayor on the northern side of the Plaza de la Constitución (Zócalo) in Downtown Mexico City. The cathedral was built in sections from 1573 to 1813 around the original church that was constructed soon after the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlan, eventually replacing it entirely. Spanish architect Claudio de Arciniega planned the construction, drawing inspiration from Gothic cathedrals in Spain.

Due to the long time it took to build it, just under 250 years, virtually all the main architects, painters, sculptors, gilding masters and other plastic artists of the viceroyalty worked at some point in the construction of the enclosure. This same condition, that of its extensive period of construction, allowed the integration into it of the various architectural styles that were in force and in vogue in those centuries, including the Gothic, Baroque, Churrigueresque, Neoclassical styles. The same situation allowed the cathedral to include different ornaments, paintings, sculptures and furniture in its interior.

Its realization meant a point of social cohesion, because it involved the same ecclesiastical authorities, government authorities, different religious brotherhoods as many generations of social groups of all classes.

It is also, as a consequence of the influence of the Catholic Church on public life, that the building was intertwined with events of historical significance for the societies of New Spain and independent Mexico. To mention a few, there are the coronation of Agustín de Iturbide and Ana María Huarte as emperors of Mexico by the President of the Congress; the preservation of the funeral remains of the aforementioned monarch; burial until 1925 of several of the independence heroes such as Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and José María Morelos; the disputes between liberals and conservatives caused by the separation of the church and the state in the Reform; the closure of the building in the days of the Cristero War; the celebrations of the bicentennial of independence, among others.

The cathedral faces south. The approximate measurements of this church are 59 metres (194 ft) wide by 128 metres (420 ft) long and a height of 67 metres (220 ft) to the tip of the towers. It consists of two bell towers, a central dome, three main portals. It has four façades which contain portals flanked with columns and statues. It has five naves consisting of 51 vaults, 74 arches and 40 columns. The two bell towers contain a total of 25 bells. The tabernacle, adjacent to the cathedral, contains the baptistery and serves to register the parishioners. There are five large, ornate altars, a sacristy, a choir, a choir area, a corridor and a capitulary room. Fourteen of the cathedral’s sixteen chapels are open to the public. Each chapel is dedicated to a different saint or saints, and each was sponsored by a religious guild. The chapels contain ornate altars, altarpieces, retablos, paintings, furniture and sculptures. The cathedral is home to two of the largest 18th-century organs in the Americas. There is a crypt underneath the cathedral that holds the remains of many former archbishops. The cathedral has approximately 150 windows.

Over the centuries, the cathedral has suffered damage. A fire in 1967 destroyed a significant part of the cathedral’s interior. The restoration work that followed uncovered a number of important documents and artwork that had previously been hidden. Although a solid foundation was built for the cathedral, the soft clay soil it is built on has been a threat to its structural integrity. Dropping water tables and accelerated sinking caused the structure to be added to the World Monuments Fund list of the 100 Most Endangered Sites. Restoration work beginning in the 1990s stabilized the cathedral and it was removed from the endangered list in 2000.

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