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Baalbek

Listed under Archaeological Sites in Lebanon.

  • Photo of Baalbek
  • Photo of Baalbek
  • Photo of Baalbek
Photo of Baalbek
Photo by flickr user upyernoz
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In the hills of Lebanon stands the temple complex of Baalbek, one of the most enigmatic holy places of ancient times. According to orthodox archaeological theory, the story of Baalbek goes back approximately 5000 years. Excavations around the Roman Temple of Jupiter have uncovered remains dating to the Early Bronze Age (2900-2300 BC). During the 1st millennium BC, the Phoenicians chose the site of Baalbek for a temple to their Sun-god Baal and legends tell that Baalbek was the birthplace of Baal. Next came the Seleucid and Roman Empires and it is to the Romans (64 BC – 312 AD) that archaeologists attribute the many and massive temple foundations of Baalbek.

The Roman city at Baalbek, called Heliopolis or the City of the Sun and dedicated to the sun god Jupiter, does contain the largest stone structures ever built in the Roman Empire. The Romans, however, did not have the engineering or construction skills necessary for the carving and placement of the enormous blocks of stone which underlie their own constructions. The courtyard of the Jupiter temple, completed around 60 AD, is situated upon a platform, called the Grand Terrace, which consists of a pre-Roman outer wall formed of immense, finely crafted and precisely positioned blocks. These blocks of stone, ranging in weight from 450 tons to 1200 tons, are the largest pieces of stonework ever crafted in the world. Why these stones, as large as 69 feet long by 14 feet wide, are such an enigma to contemporary scientists is that their method of quarrying, transportation and placement is beyond the technological ability of any known ancient or modern builders. These great blocks of stone show extensive evidence of wind and sand erosion that is absent from the Roman temples, indicating their construction dates from a far earlier age. Finally, the stones of Baalbek show stylistic similarities to other cyclopean stone walls at verifiably pre-Roman sites such as the Acropolis foundation in Athens, the foundations of Myceneae, and the megalithic constructions of Ollyantaytambo in Peru and Tiahuanaco in Bolivia.

More on Baalbek from Sacred Sites.

Written by  Martin Gray.

Other expert and press reviews

“Baalbek”

This Phoenician city, where a triad of deities was worshipped, was known as Heliopolis during the Hellenistic period. It retained its religious function during Roman times, when the sanctuary of the Heliopolitan Jupiter attracted thousands of pilgrims. … Read more...

Written by press. UNESCO

“Baalbeck”

The Roman ruins in Baalbeck are worth any travel and accommodation inconveniences, although the impact they had on me has been slightly dampened due to having just recently visited Petra in Jordan at the time of writing this article. We were lucky enough… Read more...

Written by  Joshua Kirton. Continue reading on uncoveringthelevant

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