Situated North of Beirut stand ones of Lebanon’s greatest treasures, the Baalbek ruins. An impressive cluster of Roman temples to a triad of gods, Jupiter, Venus and Mercury stand as a monument to centuries of Roman occupation.
In the heart of the Bekaa Valley, Baalbek was a bustling trading post linking two main trade routes and connecting the Eastern Roman Empire in Damascus to the Mediterranean Sea where produce could be transported to all corners of Byzantine.
Known as Heliopolis, Baalbek was revered by the Greeks as being home to the sun god. Subsequent centuries of occupation saw Baalbek Lebanon successfully made a Roman township under the reign of Julius Caesar.
The importance attributed to Baalbek led to the construction of some of the biggest religious temples to be found in the world. The Baalbek ruins are set over a sprawling complex of fallen columns and crumbling structures. However, thanks to years of renovation some magnificent examples of Roman architecture still stand today. The site is a major draw for tourists visiting Lebanon and it is considered among many archaeologists to be a true wonder of the ancient world.
3 Baalbek temples stand as significant monuments above the rest of the Baalbek ruins, the temples of Jupiter, Bacchus and Venus.
Of one of the largest Roman temples to be ever constructed, only six of the original 54 columns remain standing upright from the Baalbek temple of Jupiter. Each column reaches 22 meters in height and dominates the landscape from its raised position, the centre piece of which once stood the Great Court.
Remarkably well preserved, the Temple of Bacchus stands
as a fine example of Imperial Roman architecture. The
temple remains one of the best Roman temples of the Baalbek
ruins and perhaps the most well preserved Roman structure
to be found in the continent. Much mystery remains over
the purpose of this temple. While smaller than the Jupiter
temple, it still towers above many other similar monuments
in the world including the Parthenon in Athens.
The smallest of the Baalbek ruins is the temple of Venus. Having been utilized during the latter years of the Roman Empire, Venus was converted into a Church following the rise of Christianity.
Additional to the Baalbek site, a lone remaining staircase betrays the once grand Temple of Mercury.
You can easily spend an entire day exploring the ancient cities soaring temple columns and intricate stonework. Guided tours offer a great insight into both Roman history and Lebanese culture. Surrounding Baalbek Lebanon is also a number of other Roman remains and Islamic sites including an Umayyad Mosque. A visit to these sites makes a good addition to the Baalbek temple ruins.
Annually Baalbek comes alive with the Baalbek festivals. Almost unrivalled throughout the Middle East, the Baalbek festivals consist of drama, music and light shows staged throughout the Baalbek Lebanon complex sending you on a journey through Lebanese folklore. Showcasing the height of Lebanese culture, the Baalbek festivals provide an unforgettable experience for any visitor.