Baalbek, Lebanon

Find out where the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountains are, because on the plain sitting between them is one of the world’s greatest historic sites, Baalbek. It’s basically a temple dating back to Roman times. When you observe the columns and stones that had gone into making this edifice, you’ll soon learn they’re the tallest and largest ever used in a structure like this.

Baalbek Bacchus Temple

Baalbek Bacchus Temple

Baalbek Trivia

They also call the place The Acropolis of Baalbek and it sits only 86 kms from Beirut in the Middle East. An easy way to get to the place is on the international Damascus Highway, where you’ll pass villages that serve as adequate landmarks. Keep your eyes peeled for Sofar, Chtaura and other villages along your route.

When translated, Baalbek stands for ‘town of Baal’. Who is Baal? He was a Phoenician God who had many a pagan practice, not all of it too savory, associated with him. You’ll also find mention of him in the Bible.

Temple of Jupiter

Temple of Jupiter

This site has been the source of hundreds of rumors, from government conspiracies to aliens, but what’s just as fascinating about Baalbek is the history about the place. It stands there like something out of the pages of a tome that got lost centuries ago and has been found at long last. Being one of the best preserved specimens of Roman architecture, Baalbek was first built sometime in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.

You may assume this ruin, standing on a plain that’s at an altitude of 1050 m., is small. In essence, it has two courtyards with ceremonial entrances called Propylaea, two temples and don’t forget those gigantic stone blocks which you simply have to see to believe and bits of Arab influence on the boundary walls. At 20 m. tall, you’ll find six towering columns reaching up from where the Temple of Jupiter once stood. There are temples to Venus and Bacchus too, the latter of which is much bigger than Athens’s Parthenon.

Temple of Venus

Temple of Venus

With all this and more on offer, you can’t resist a visit to this place. It may not have anything by way of modern entertainment or regional culture, but the amazing museum hereabouts and the temple itself more than compensates for that deficit. After all, with such grandeur standing before you, you’ll feel you just stepped into a parallel dimension anyway.

Best time to visit Baalbek

Baalbek can be visited any time of the year, but if cold weather and a little snow aren’t your thing it’s best you don’t go there in winter. This is one extensive site you won’t forget for as long as you live. Take plenty of photographs and be sure to respect the site by not littering. After all, Roman gods once dwelled here, and a blood-thirsty Phoenician one before them.

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