No trip to Lebanon is complete without a
trip to Baalbek, originally called Heliopolis or City of the Sun, and once a
thriving Roman town. It is home to the largest Roman temple in the world. In
fact it is a complex of 3 important temples and several smaller ones. Visitors are fascinated by the sheer
dimensions of the stones that were used in the construction and the level of
preservation of these temples. The Temple of Bacchus is the best preserved
Roman temple in the world with intricate ceiling carvings that compel you to
walk with an upturned head. Observing the ornate carved friezes and niches one
feels dwarfed by the wealth and power exhibited by the monument. It is here
that the famous Festival of Baalbeck takes place every summer.
The Temple of Jupiter is largely in a state of ruin but has some real massive columns which give an idea of the grandeur it must have possessed 2,000 years ago. The six standing columns, part of the original 54, have become a symbol of the entire Baalbeck complex. The Temple of Venus is also within this complex but it is not accessible to visitors. A museum within the complex features treasures of the Roman Empire.
Location: 86 km north east of Beirut