An installation displaying "I ♥ Baalbeck"
A few miles from the swamp from which the Litani
(the classical Leontes) and the Asi
(the upper Orontes
) flow, Baalbek may be the same as the manbaa al-nahrayn
("Source of the Two Rivers"), the abode of El
in the Ugaritic Baal Cycle
discovered in the 1920s and a separate serpent incantation.
Baalbek was called Heliopolis during the Roman Empire
, a latinisation
of the Greek Hēlioúpolis
(Ἡλιούπολις) used during the Hellenistic Period
meaning "Sun City"
in reference to the solar cult
there. The name is attested under the Seleucids
However, Ammianus Marcellinus
notes that earlier "Assyrian
" names of Levantine
towns continued to be used alongside the official Greek
ones imposed by the Diadochi
, who were successors of Alexander the Great
In Greek religion
was both the sun
in the sky and its personification
as a god
. The local Semitic god Baʿal Haddu
was more often equated
or simply called the "Great God of Heliopolis",[b]
but the name may refer to the Egyptians' association of Baʿal
with their great god Ra
It was sometimes described as Heliopolis in Syria
: Heliopolis Syriaca
) to distinguish it from its namesake in Egypt
. In Catholicism
, its titular see
is distinguished as Heliopolis in Phoenicia
, from its former Roman province Phoenice
. The importance of the solar cult is also attested in the name Biḳāʿ al-ʿAzīz borne by the plateau surrounding Baalbek, as it references
an earlier solar deity and not later men, named Aziz
. In Greek
and Roman antiquity
, it was known as Heliopolis
. It still possesses some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in Lebanon, including one of the largest temples of the empire. The gods that were worshipped there (Jupiter
, and Bacchus
) were equivalents
of the Canaanite
. Local influences are seen in the planning and layout of the temples, as they vary from the classic Roman design. 
of Baalbek has been debated indecisively
since the 18th century. Cook
took it to mean "Baʿal
(Lord) of the Beka
as "City of the Sun". Lendering
asserts that it is probably a contraction of Baʿal Nebeq
of the Source" of the Litani River
proposes a Semitic adaption of "Lord
Bacchus", from the classical temple complex.
The hilltop of Tell
Baalbek, part of a valley to the east of the northern Beqaa Valley
shows signs of almost continual habitation over the last 8–9000 years.
It was well-watered both from a stream running from the Rās-el-ʿAin spring
SE of the citadel
and, during the spring
, from numerous rills formed by meltwater from the Anti-Lebanons
later credited the site's foundation to a colony of Egyptian
The settlement's religious, commercial, and strategic importance was minor enough, however, that it is never mentioned in any known Assyrian
unless under another name.
Its enviable position in a fertile valley, major watershed, and along the route from Tyre
should have made it a wealthy and splendid site from an early age.
During the Canaanite
period, the local temples were largely devoted to the Heliopolitan Triad
: a male god (Baʿal
), his consort (Astarte
), and their son (Adon
The site of the present Temple of Jupiter
was probably the focus of earlier worship, as its altar
was located at the hill's precise summit and the rest of the sanctuary raised to its level.
A 1921 bird's eye view reconstruction of the Baalbek temple complex, according to the 1901-1904 German excavation findings.
Roman Heliopolis and its surroundings in the 2nd and 3rd centuries.
During Classical Antiquity
, the city's temple
to Baʿal Haddu was conflated
first with the worship of the Greek sun god Helios
and then with the Greek and Roman sky god
under the name "Heliopolitan Zeus
" or "Jupiter
". The present Temple of Jupiter presumably replaced an earlier one using the same foundation;[e]
it was constructed during the mid-1st century
and probably completed around AD 60.[f]
was a beardless golden
god in the pose of a charioteer
, with a whip
raised in his right hand and a thunderbolt
and stalks of grain in his left;
its image appeared on local coinage and it was borne through the streets during several festivals throughout the year. Macrobius
compared the rituals to those for Diva Fortuna
and says the bearers were the principal citizens of the town, who prepared for their role with abstinence, chastity, and shaved heads.
In bronze statuary
attested from Byblos
, he was encased in a pillarlike term
and surrounded (like the Greco-Persian Mithras
) by busts representing the sun, moon, and five known planets
In these statues, the bust of Mercury is made particularly prominent; a marble stela
in Transalpine Gaul
shows a similar arrangement but enlarges Mercury into a full figure.
Local cults also revered the Baetylia
, black conical stones considered sacred to Baʿal
One of these was taken to Rome by the emperor Elagabalus
, a former priest "of the sun" at nearby Emesa
who erected a temple for it on the Palatine Hill
Heliopolis was a noted oracle
site, whence the cult spread far afield, with inscriptions to the Heliopolitan god discovered in Athens
, and near the Wall
The Roman temple complex grew up from the early part of the reign of Augustus
in the late 1st century BC until the rise of Christianity
in the 4th century. (The 6th-century chronicles of John Malalas
, which claimed Baalbek as a "wonder of the world
credited most of the complex to the 2nd-century Antoninus Pius
, but it is uncertain how reliable his account is on the point.)
By that time, the complex housed three temples on Tell Baalbek: one to Jupiter Heliopolitanus (Baʿal), one to Venus Heliopolitana
(Ashtart), and a third to Bacchus
. On a nearby hill, a fourth temple was dedicated to the third figure of the Heliopolitan Triad
(Adon or Seimios
). Ultimately, the site vied with Praeneste
as the two largest sanctuaries in the Western world.
The emperor Trajan
consulted the site's oracle
twice. The first time, he requested a written reply to his sealed and unopened question; he was favorably impressed by the god's blank reply as his own paper had been empty.
He then inquired whether he would return alive from his wars against Parthia
and received in reply a centurion
's vine staff
, broken to pieces.
In AD 193, Septimius Severus
granted the city ius Italicum
His wife Julia Domna
and son Caracalla
in AD 215; inscriptions in their honour at the site may date from that occasion; Julia was a Syrian native whose father had been an Emesan
priest "of the sun" like Elagabalus
The town became a battleground upon the rise of Christianity
Early Christian writers such as Eusebius
(from nearby Caesarea
) repeatedly execrated the practices of the local pagans in their worship of the Heliopolitan Venus. In AD 297, the actor Gelasinus
converted in the middle of a scene mocking baptism
; his public profession of faith provoked the audience to drag him from the theater and stone him to death
In the early 4th century, the deacon Cyril defaced many of the idols
in Heliopolis; he was killed and (allegedly) cannibalised
Around the same time, Constantine
, though not yet a Christian, demolished the goddess' temple, raised a basilica in its place, and outlawed the locals' ancient custom of prostituting women before marriage. Bar Hebraeus
also credited him with ending the locals' continued practice of polygamy
The enraged locals responded by raping and torturing Christian virgins.
They reacted violently again under the freedom permitted to them by Julian the Apostate
The city was so noted for its hostility to the Christians that Alexandrians
were banished to it as a special punishment.
The Temple of Jupiter, already greatly damaged by earthquakes,
was demolished under Theodosius
in 379 and replaced by another basilica (now lost), using stones scavenged from the pagan complex.
The Easter Chronicle
states he was also responsible for destroying all the lesser temples and shrines of the city.
Around the year 400, Rabbula
, the future bishop of Edessa
, attempted to have himself martyred by disrupting the pagans of Baalbek but was only thrown down the temple stairs along with his companion.
It became the seat of its own bishop as well.
Under the reign of Justinian
, eight of the complex's Corinthian columns
were disassembled and shipped to Constantinople
for incorporation in the rebuilt Hagia Sophia
sometime between 532 and 537.Michael the Syrian
claimed the golden idol of Heliopolitan Jupiter was still to be seen during the reign of Justin II
(560s & 570s),
and, up to the time of its conquest by the Muslims, it was renowned for its palaces, monuments, and gardens.
The ruins of a Baalbek mosque c. 1900
The probable remains of a medieval mosque
in front of some of the Mamluk
Baalbek was occupied by the Muslim army
in AD 634 (ah
or under Abu ʿUbaidah
following the Byzantine defeat at Yarmouk
in 637 (ah
either peacefully and by agreement
or following a heroic defense and yielding 2,000 oz (57 kg) of gold, 4,000 oz (110 kg) of silver, 2000 silk vests, and 1000 swords.
The ruined temple complex was fortified under the name al-Qala'
but was sacked with great violence by the Damascene caliph Marwan II
in 748, at which time it was dismantled and largely depopulated.
It formed part of the district of Damascus under the Umayyads
before being conquered by Fatimid Egypt
In the mid-10th century, it was said to have "gates of palaces sculptured in marble and lofty columns also of marble" and that it was the most "stupendous" and "considerable" location in the whole of Syria.
It was sacked and razed by the Byzantines under John I
raided by Basil II
and occupied by Salih ibn Mirdas
, in 1025.
In 1075, it was finally lost to the Fatimids on its conquest by Tutush I
emir of Damascus
It was briefly held by Muslim ibn Quraysh
, emir of Aleppo
, in 1083; after its recovery, it was ruled in the Seljuks' name by the eunuch Gümüshtegin
until he was deposed for conspiring against the usurper Toghtekin
Toghtekin then gave the town to his son Buri
. Upon Buri's succession to Damascus on his father's death in 1128, he granted the area to his son Muhammad
After Buri's murder, Muhammad successfully defended himself against the attacks of his brothers Ismaʿil
and gave Baalbek to his vizier Unur
In July 1139, Zengi
, atabeg of Aleppo
and stepfather of Mahmud, besieged Baalbek with 14 catapults. The outer city held until October 10 and the citadel until the 21st,
when Unur surrendered upon a promise of safe passage.
In December, Zengi negotiated with Muhammad, offering to trade Baalbek or Homs
for Damascus, but Unur convinced the atabeg to refuse.
Zengi strengthened its fortifications and bestowed the territory on his lieutenant Ayyub
, father of Saladin
. Upon Zengi's assassination in 1146, Ayyub surrendered the territory to Unur, who was acting as regent for Muhammad's son Abaq
. It was granted to the eunuch Ata al-Khadim
who also served as viceroy of Damascus.
In December 1151, it was raided by the garrison of Banyas
as a reprisal for its role in a Turcoman raid on Banyas.
Following Ata's murder, his nephew Dahhak
, emir of the Wadi al-Taym
, ruled Baalbek. He was forced to relinquish it to Nur ad-Din
after Ayyub had successfully intrigued against Abaq from his estates near Baalbek. Ayyub then administered the area from Damascus on Nur ad-Din's behalf.
In the mid-12th century, Idrisi
mentioned Baalbek's two temples and the legend of their origin under Solomon;
it was visited by the Jewish
traveler Benjamin of Tudela
Baalbek's citadel served as a jail for Crusaders
taken by the Zengids as prisoners of war
In 1171, these captives successfully overpowered their guards and took possession of the castle from its garrison. Muslims from the surrounding area gathered, however, and entered the castle through a secret passageway shown to them by a local. The Crusaders were then massacred.
Three major earthquakes occurred in the 12th century, in 1139, 1157, and 1170.
The one in 1170 ruined Baalbek's walls and, though Nur ad-Din repaired them, his young heir Ismaʿil
was made to yield it to Saladin
by a 4-month siege in 1174.
Having taken control of Damascus on the invitation of its governor Ibn al-Muqaddam
, Saladin rewarded him with the emirate of Baalbek
following the Ayyubid victory at the Horns of Hama
in 1175. Baldwin
, the young leper king of Jerusalem
, came of age the next year, ending the Crusaders' treaty with Saladin.
His former regent, Raymond of Tripoli
, raided the Beqaa Valley
from the west in the summer, suffering a slight defeat at Ibn al-Muqaddam's hands.
He was then joined by the main army, riding north under Baldwin and Humphrey of Toron
they defeated Saladin's elder brother Turan Shah
in August at Ayn al-Jarr
and plundered Baalbek.
Upon the deposition of Turan Shah
for neglecting his duties in Damascus, however, he demanded his childhood home
of Baalbek as compensation. Ibn al-Muqaddam did not consent and Saladin opted to invest the city in late 1178 to maintain peace within his own family.
An attempt to pledge fealty to the Christians at Jerusalem
was ignored on behalf of an existing treaty with Saladin.
The siege was maintained peacefully through the snows of winter, with Saladin waiting for the "foolish" commander and his garrison of "ignorant scum" to come to terms.
Sometime in spring, Ibn al-Muqaddam yielded and Saladin accepted his terms, granting him Baʿrin
, Kafr Tab
, and al-Maʿarra
The generosity quieted unrest among Saladin's vassals through the rest of his reign
but led his enemies to attempt to take advantage of his presumed weakness.
He did not permit Turan Shah to retain Baalbek very long, though, instructing him to lead the Egyptian troops returning home in 1179 and appointing him to a sinecure in Alexandria
Baalbek was then granted to his nephew Farrukh Shah
, whose family ruled it for the next half-century.
When Farrukh Shah died three years later, his son Bahram Shah
was only a child but he was permitted his inheritance and ruled til 1230.
He was followed by al-Ashraf Musa
, who was succeeded by his brother as-Salih Ismail
who received it in 1237 as compensation for being deprived of Damascus
by their brother al-Kamil
It was seized in 1246 after a year of assaults by as-Salih Ayyub
, who bestowed it upon Saʿd al-Din al-Humaidi
When as-Salih Ayyub's successor Turan Shah
was murdered in 1250, al-Nasir Yusuf
, the sultan of Aleppo
, seized Damascus and demanded Baalbek's surrender. Instead, its emir did homage and agreed to regular payments of tribute.
took Baalbek in 1260 and dismantled its fortifications. Later in the same year, however, Qutuz
, the sultan of Egypt
, defeated the Mongols and placed Baalbek under the rule of their emir in Damascus.
Most of the city's still-extant fine mosque and fortress architecture dates to the reign of the sultan Qalawun
in the 1280s.
By the early 14th century, Abulfeda
was describing the city's "large and strong fortress".
The revived settlement was again destroyed by a flood on 10 May 1318, when water from the east and northeast made holes 30 m (98 ft) wide in walls 4 m (13 ft) thick.
194 people were killed and 1500 houses, 131 shops, 44 orchards, 17 ovens, 11 mills, and 4 aqueducts were ruined, along with the town's mosque and 13 other religious and educational buildings.
In 1400, Timur
pillaged the town,
and there was further destruction from a 1459 earthquake.
Baalbek & environs, c. 1856
In 1516, Baalbek was conquered with the rest of Syria
by the Ottoman
sultan Selim the Grim
In recognition of their prominence among the Shiites
of the Beqaa Valley
, the Ottomans awarded the sanjak of Homs
and local iltizam
concessions to Baalbek's Harfush family
. Like the Hamadas, the Harfush emirs were involved on more than one occasion in the selection of Church officials and the running of local monasteries.
Tradition holds that many Christians quit the Baalbek region in the eighteenth century for the newer, more secure town of Zahlé
on account of the Harfushes' oppression and rapacity, but more critical studies have questioned this interpretation, pointing out that the Harfushes were closely allied to the Orthodox Ma'luf family of Zahlé (where indeed Mustafa Harfush took refuge some years later) and showing that depredations from various quarters as well as Zahlé's growing commercial attractiveness accounted for Baalbek's decline in the eighteenth century. What repression there was did not always target the Christian community per se. The Shiite 'Usayran family, for example, is also said to have left Baalbek in this period to avoid expropriation by the Harfushes, establishing itself as one of the premier commercial households of Sidon
and later even serving as consuls of Iran.
From the 16th century, European tourists
began to visit the colossal and picturesque ruins.[i]Donne
hyperbolised "No ruins of antiquity have attracted more attention than those of Heliopolis, or been more frequently or accurately measured and described."
Misunderstanding the temple of Bacchus as the "Temple of the Sun", they considered it the best-preserved Roman temple
in the world.
The Englishman Robert Wood
's 1757 Ruins of Balbec
included carefully measured engravings that proved influential on British and Continental Neoclassical architects
. For example, details of the Temple of Bacchus's ceiling inspired a bed
by Robert Adam
and its portico inspired that of St George's
During the 18th century, the western approaches were covered with attractive groves of walnut trees
but the town itself suffered badly during the 1759 earthquakes
, after which it was held by the Metawali
, who again feuded with other Lebanese tribes.
Their power was broken by Jezzar Pasha
, the rebel governor of Acre
, in the last half of the 18th century.
All the same, Baalbek remained no destination for a traveller unaccompanied by an armed guard.
Upon the pasha's death in 1804, chaos ensued until Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt
occupied the area in 1831, after which it again passed into the hands of the Harfushes.
In 1835, the town's population was barely 200 people.
In 1850, the Ottomans finally began direct administration of the area, making Baalbek a kaza
under the Damascus Eyalet
and its governor a kaymakam
Emperor Wilhelm II
and his wife passed through Baalbek on November 1, 1898,
on their way to Jerusalem. He noted both the magnificence of the Roman remains and the drab condition of the modern settlement.
It was expected at the time that natural disasters, winter frosts, and the raiding of building materials by the city's residents would shortly ruin the remaining ruins.
The archaeological team he dispatched began work within a month. Despite finding nothing they could date prior to Baalbek's Roman
and his associates worked until 1904
and produced a meticulously researched and thoroughly illustrated series of volumes.
Later excavations under the Roman flagstones in the Great Court unearthed three skeletons
and a fragment of Persian
pottery dated to the 6th–4th centuries BC. The sherd
In 1977, Jean-Pierre Adam
made a brief study suggesting most of the large blocks could have been moved on rollers with machines
blocks, a process which he theorised could use 512 workers to move a 557 tonnes (614 tons) block.
"Baalbek, with its colossal structures, is one of the finest examples of Imperial Roman architecture at its apogee", UNESCO
reported in making Baalbek a World Heritage Site
When the committee inscribed the site, it expressed the wish that the protected area include the entire town within the Arab walls, as well as the southwestern extramural quarter between Bastan-al-Khan, the Roman site and the Mameluk mosque of Ras-al-Ain. Lebanon's representative gave assurances that the committee's wish would be honoured. Recent cleaning operations at the Temple of Jupiter discovered the deep trench at its edge, whose study pushed back the date of Tell Baalbek's settlement to the PPNB Neolithic
. Finds included pottery sherds
including a spout dating to the early Bronze Age
In the summer of 2014, a team from the German Archaeological Institute
led by Jeanine Abdul Massih of the Lebanese University
discovered a sixth, much larger stone suggested to be the world's largest ancient block
. The stone was found underneath and next to the Stone of the Pregnant Woman ("Hajjar al-Hibla") and measures around 19.6 m × 6 m × 5.5 m (64 ft × 20 ft × 18 ft). It is estimated to weigh 1,650 tonnes (1,820 tons).
A detail from a 1911 map of Turkey in Asia, showing Baalbek's former rail connections
A map of Israeli bombing during the Second Lebanon War
. Baalbek was a major target, with more than 70 bombs dropped.
On the evening of 1 August 2006,
hundreds of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)
soldiers raided Baalbek and the Dar al-Hikma
or Hikmeh Hospital
to its north ("Operation Sharp and Smooth
"). Their mission was to rescue two captured soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser
and Eldad Regev
, who were abducted by Hezbollah
on 12 July 2006. They were transported by helicopter
and supported by Apache helicopters
and unmanned drones
was acting on information that Goldwasser and Regev were at the hospital. al-Jazeera
and other sources claimed the IDF was attempting to capture senior Hezbollah officials, particularly Sheikh Mohammad Yazbek
The hospital had been empty for four days, the most unwell patients having been transferred and the rest sent home.
No Israelis were killed;
Five civilians were abducted and interrogated by the Israelis, presumably because one shared his name with Hassan Nasrallah
, the secretary general of Hezbollah;
they were released on August 21.
Another 9 civilians were killed on August 7 by a strike in the middle of Brital
, just south of Baalbek, and by the subsequent attack on the car leaving the scene for the hospital.
On August 14, just before the ceasefire took effect, two Lebanese police and five Lebanese soldiers were killed by a drone strike while driving their van around the still-damaged road through Jamaliyeh.
Conservation work at Lebanon's historic sites began in October.
The ruins at Baalbek were not directly hit but the effects of blasts during the conflict toppled a block of stones at the Roman ruins and existing cracks in the temples of Jupiter and Bacchus were feared to have widened.
Frederique Husseini, director-general of Lebanon's Department of Antiquities, requested $550,000 from Europeans to restore Baalbek's souk and another $900,000 for repairs to other damaged structures.
1911 diagram of the ruins after the Puchstein
(Facing SW, with the Temple of Jupiter labelled "Temple of the Sun")
The Tell Baalbek temple complex, fortified as the town's citadel during the Middle Ages,
was constructed from local stone, mostly white granite
and a rough white marble
Over the years, it has suffered from the region's numerous earthquakes, the iconoclasm
of Christian and Muslim lords,
and the reuse of the temples' stone for fortification and other construction. The nearby Qubbat Duris
, a 13th-century Muslim shrine
on the old road to Damascus, is built out of granite columns, apparently removed from Baalbek.
Further, the jointed columns were once banded together with iron; many were gouged open
or toppled by the emirs of Damascus to get at the metal.
As late as the 16th century, the Temple of Jupiter still held 27 standing columns
out of an original 58;
there were only nine before the 1759 earthquakes
and six today.[when?]
The complex is located on an immense[vague]
raised plaza erected 5 m (16 ft) over an earlier T-shaped base consisting of a podium, staircase, and foundation walls.[j]
These walls were built from about 24 monoliths
, at their lowest level weighing approximately 300 tonnes (330 tons) each. The tallest retaining wall, on the west, has a second course of monoliths containing the famous "Three Stones
: Τρίλιθον, Trílithon
a row of three stones, each over 19 m (62 ft) long, 4.3 m (14 ft) high, and 3.6 m (12 ft) broad, cut from limestone
. They weigh approximately 800 tonnes (880 tons) each.
A fourth, still larger stone is called the Stone of the Pregnant Woman
: it lies unused in a nearby quarry 800 m (2,600 ft) from the town.
Its weight, often exaggerated, is estimated at 1,000 tonnes (1,100 tons).
A fifth, still larger stone weighing approximately 1,200 tonnes (1,300 tons)
lies in the same quarry. This quarry was slightly higher than the temple complex,
so no lifting was required to move the stones. Through the foundation there run three enormous passages the size of railway tunnels.
The temple complex was entered from the east through the Propylaeum
) or Portico,
consisting of a broad staircase rising 20 feet (6.1 m)
to an arcade of 12 columns flanked by 2 towers.
Most of the columns have been toppled and the stairs were entirely dismantled for use in the nearby later wall,[k]
but a Latin inscription remains on several of their bases stating that Longinus, a lifeguard of the 1st Parthian Legion
, and Septimius, a freedman, gilded their capitals with bronze
in gratitude for the safety of Septimius Severus
's son Antoninus Caracalla
and empress Julia Domna
Immediately behind the Propylaeum is a hexagonal forecourt
reached through a threefold entrance
that was added in the mid-3rd century by the emperor Philip the Arab
Traces remain of the two series of columns which once encircled it, but its original function remains uncertain. Donne
reckoned it as the town's forum
Badly preserved coins of the era led some to believe this was a sacred cypress
grove, but better specimens show that the coins displayed a single stalk of grain instead.
The rectangular Great Court to its west covers around 3 or 4 acres (1.2 or 1.6 ha)
and included the main altar
for burnt offering
, with mosaic
basins to its north and south, a subterranean chamber
and three underground passageways 17 ft (5.2 m) wide by 30 ft (9.1 m) high, two of which run east and west and the third connecting them north and south, all bearing inscriptions suggesting their occupation by Roman soldiers.
These were surrounded by Corinthian porticoes
, one of which was never completed.
The columns' bases and capitals were of limestone; the shafts were monoliths of highly polished red Egyptian granite
7.08 m (23.2 ft) high.
Six remain standing, out of an original 128.
Inscriptions attest that the court was once adorned by portraits of Marcus Aurelius
's daughter Sabina
, Septimius Severus
, and Velius Rufus
, dedicated by the city's Roman colonists.
was richly decorated but is now mostly ruined.
A westward-facing basilica was constructed over the altar during the reign of Theodosius
; it was later altered to make it eastward-facing like most Christian churches
The Great Court of ancient Heliopolis's temple complex
The Temple of Jupiter—once wrongly credited to Helios
—lay at the western end of the Great Court, raised another 7 m (23 ft) on a 47.7 m × 87.75 m (156.5 ft × 287.9 ft) platform reached by a wide staircase.
Under the Byzantines
, it was also known as the "Trilithon
" from the three massive stones in its foundation and, when taken together with the forecourt and Great Court, it is also known as the Great Temple.
The Temple of Jupiter proper was circled by a peristyle
of 54 unfluted Corinthian columns
10 in front and back and 19 along each side.
The temple was ruined by earthquakes,
destroyed and pillaged for stone under Theodosius
and 8 columns were taken to Constantinople
) under Justinian
for incorporation into the Hagia Sophia
Three fell during the late 18th century.
6 columns, however, remain standing along its south side with their entablature.
Their capitals remain nearly perfect on the south side, while the Beqaa
's winter winds have worn the northern faces almost bare.
blocks weigh up to 60 tonnes (66 tons) each, and one corner block over 100 tonnes (110 tons), all of them raised to a height of 19 m (62.34 ft) above the ground.
Individual Roman cranes
were not capable of lifting stones this heavy. They may have simply been rolled into position along temporary earthen banks from the quarry
or multiple cranes may have been used in combination.
They may also have alternated sides a little at a time, filling in supports underneath each time.
The Julio-Claudian emperors
enriched its sanctuary in turn. In the mid-1st century, Nero
built the tower-altar opposite the temple. In the early 2nd century, Trajan
added the temple's forecourt, with porticos
of pink granite
shipped from Aswan
at the southern end of Egypt
The Temple of Bacchus
—once wrongly credited to Jupiter[m]
—may have been completed under Septimius Severus
in the 190s, as his coins are the first to show it beside the Temple of Jupiter.
It is the best preserved of the sanctuary's structures, as the other rubble from its ruins protected it.
It is enriched by some of the most refined reliefs and sculpture to survive from antiquity
The temple is surrounded by forty-two columns—8 along each end and 15 along each side
—nearly 20 m (66 ft) in height.
These were probably erected in a rough state and then rounded, polished, and decorated in position.[n]
The entrance was preserved as late as Pococke
but the keystone
of the lintel
had slid 2 ft (1 m) following the 1759 earthquakes
; a column of rough masonry was erected in the 1860s or '70s to support it.
The 1759 earthquakes
also damaged the area around the soffit
's famed inscription of an eagle,
which was entirely covered by the keystone's supporting column. The area around the inscription of the eagle was greatly damaged by the 1759 earthquake
The interior of the temple is divided into a 98 ft (30 m) nave
and a 36 ft (11 m) adytum
on a platform raised 5 ft (2 m) above it and fronted by 13 steps.
The screen between the two sections once held reliefs of Neptune
and his dolphin, and other marine figures
but these have been lost.
The temple was used as a kind of donjon
for the medieval Arab and Turkish fortifications,
although its eastern steps were lost sometime after 1688.
Much of the portico was incorporated into a huge wall directly before its gate, but this was demolished in July 1870 by Barker[who?]
on orders from Syria
's governor Rashid Pasha
Two spiral staircases in columns on either side of the entrance lead to the roof.
The Temple of Venus—also known as the Circular Temple or Nymphaeum
—was added under Septimius Severus
in the early 3rd century
but destroyed under Constantine
, who raised a basilica in its place.Jessup
considered it the "gem of Baalbek".
It lies about 150 yd (140 m) from the southeast corner of the Temple of Bacchus.
It was known in the 19th century as El Barbara
or Barbarat el-Atikah
(St Barbara's), having been used as a Greek Orthodox
church into the 18th century.[o]
The ancient walls of Heliopolis had a circumference of a little less than 4 mi (6 km).
Much of the extant fortifications around the complex date to the 13th century
reconstruction undertaken by the Mamluk
following the devastation of the earlier defenses by the Mongol
army under Kitbuqa
This includes the great southeast tower.
The earliest round of fortifications were two walls to the southwest of the Temples of Jupiter and Bacchus.
The original southern gateway with two small towers was filled in and replaced by a new large tower flanked by curtains,[clarification needed]
probably under Buri
Bahram Shah replaced that era's southwest tower with one of his own in 1213 and built another in the northwest in 1224; the west tower was probably strengthened around the same time.
An inscription dates the barbican
-like strengthening of the southern entrance to around 1240.
Qalawun relocated the two western curtains[clarification needed]
nearer to the western tower, which was rebuilt with great blocks of stone. The barbican was repaired and more turns added to its approach.
From around 1300, no alterations were made to the fortifications apart from repairs such as Sultan Barkuk
's restoration of the moat in preparation for Timur's arrival.
Material from the ruins is incorporated into a ruined mosque north of downtown
and probably also in the Qubbat Duris
on the road to Damascus
In the 19th century, a "shell-topped canopy" from the ruins was used nearby as a mihrab
, propped up to show locals the direction of Mecca
for their daily prayers
Tomb of Husayn's daughter
Under a white dome further towards town is the tomb of Kholat, daughter of Hussein
and granddaughter of Ali, who died in Baalbek while Husayn's family was being transported as prisoners to Damascus.
Heliopolis (in Phoenicia; not to be confused with the Egyptian bishopric Heliopolis in Augustamnica
) was a bishopric under Roman and Byzantine rule, but it was wiped out by Islam.
In the Latin rite, the Ancient diocese was only nominally restored (no later than 1876) as Titular archbishopric
of Heliopolis (Latin) / Eliopoli (Curiate Italian), demoted in 1925 to Episcopal Titular bishopric
, promoted back in 1932, with its name changed (avoiding Egyptian confusion) in 1933 to (non-Metropolitan) Titular archbishopric of Heliopolis in Phoenicia
The title has not been assigned since 1965. It was held by:
- Titular Archbishop: Luigi Poggi (1876.09.29 – death 1877.01.22) on emeritate (promoted) as former Bishop of Rimini (Italy) (1871.10.27 – 1876.09.29)
- Titular Archbishop: Mario Mocenni (1877.07.24 – 1893.01.16) as papal diplomat : Apostolic Delegate to Colombia (1877.08.14 – 1882.03.28), Apostolic Delegate to Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras (1877.08.14 – 1882.03.28), Apostolic Delegate to Ecuador (1877.08.14 – 1882.03.28), Apostolic Delegate to Peru and Bolivia (1877.08.14 – 1882.03.28), Apostolic Delegate to Venezuela (1877.08.14 – 1882.03.28), Apostolic Internuncio to Brazil (1882.03.28 – 1882.10.18), created Cardinal-Priest of S. Bartolomeo all'Isola (1893.01.19 – 1894.05.18), promoted Cardinal-Bishop of Sabina (1894.05.18 – death 1904.11.14)
- Titular Archbishop: Augustinus Accoramboni (1896.06.22 – death 1899.05.17), without prelature
- Titular Archbishop: Robert John Seton (1903.06.22 – 1927.03.22), without prelature
- Titular Bishop: Gerald O'Hara (1929.04.26 – 1935.11.26) as Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, USA) (1929.04.26 – 1935.11.26), later Bishop of Savannah (USA) (1935.11.26 – 1937.01.05), restyled (only) Bishop of Savannah–Atlanta (USA) (1937.01.05 – 1950.07.12), promoted Archbishop-Bishop of Savannah (1950.07.12 – 1959.11.12), also Apostolic Nuncio (papal ambassador) to Ireland (1951.11.27 – 1954.06.08), Apostolic Delegate to Great Britain (1954.06.08 – death 1963.07.16) and Titular Archbishop of Pessinus (1959.11.12 – 1963.07.16)
- Titular Archbishop: Alcide Marina, C.M. (1936.03.07 – death 1950.09.18), mainly as papal diplomat : Apostolic Delegate to Iran (1936.03.07 – 1945), Apostolic Administrator of Roman Catholic Apostolic Vicariate of Constantinople (Turkey) (1945–1947) and Apostolic Delegate to Turkey (1945–1947), Apostolic Nuncio to Lebanon (1947 – 1950.09.18)
- Titular Archbishop: Daniel Rivero Rivero (1951 – death 1960.05.23) (born Bolivia) on emeritate, formerly Titular Bishop of Tlous (1922.05.17 – 1931.03.30) as Coadjutor Bishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia) (1922.05.17 – 1931.03.30) succeeding as Bishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra (1931.03.30 – 1940.02.03), Metropolitan Archbishop of Sucre (Bolivia) (1940.02.03 – 1951)
- Titular Archbishop: Raffaele Calabria (1960.07.12 – 1962.01.01) as Coadjutor Archbishop of Benevento (Italy) (1960.07.12 – 1962.01.01), succeeding as Metropolitan Archbishop of Benevento (1962.01.01 – 1982.05.24); previously Titular Archbishop of Soteropolis (1950.05.06 – 1952.07.10) as Coadjutor Archbishop of Otranto (Italy) (1950.05.06 – 1952.07.10), succeeding as Metropolitan Archbishop of Otranto (Italy) (1952.07.10 – 1960.07.12)
- Titular Archbishop: Ottavio De Liva (1962.04.18 – death 1965.08.23) as papal diplomat : Apostolic Internuncio to Indonesia (1962.04.18 – 1965.08.23).
Baalbek has a mediterranean climate
(Köppen climate classification
) with significant continental influences. It is located in one of the drier regions of the country, giving it an average of 450mm of precipitation (compared with 800-850mm in coastal areas) annually, overwhelmingly concentrated in the months from November to April. Baalbek has hot rainless summers with cool (and occasionally snowy) winters. Autumn and spring are mild and fairly rainy.
- St Barbara (273–306)
- Callinicus of Heliopolis (c.600-c.680), chemist and inventor
- Abd al-Rahman al-Awza'i (707–774)
- Qusta ibn Luqa (820–912), mathematician and translator
- Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir (1070s–1162)
- Bahāʾ al-dīn al-ʿĀmilī (1547–1621), Lebanese-Iranian scholar, philosopher, architect, mathematician, astronomer
- Rahme Haider (born 1886), American lecturer from Baalbek
- Khalil Mutran (1872–1949), poet and journalist
- Abraham Awada (1922–2012), businessman; father of Juliana Awada, First Lady of Argentina.
- Harfush dynasty
- Israa Seblani (born 1991), Lebanese-American doctor
In popular culture
- ^ Also spelled Ba'labek, Balbec, Baalbec and Baalbeck.
- ^ The name also appears in the Hellenized form Balanios and Baal Helion in records describing the acts of Theodosius's reign.
- ^ The Egyptian priests' claims that Heliopolis represented a direct descendant of Ra's cult at Iunu, however, is almost certainly mistaken.
- ^ Commonly mistaken by European visitors to have been the one described in the Biblical First Book of Kings.
- ^ Daniel Lohmann wrote that, "due to the lack of remains of temple architecture, it can be assumed that the temple this terrace was built for was never completed or entirely destroyed before any new construction started..."[page needed] "The unfinished pre-Roman sanctuary construction was incorporated into a master plan of monumentalisation. Apparently challenged by the already huge pre-Roman construction, the early imperial Jupiter sanctuary shows both an architectural megalomaniac design and construction technique in the first half of the first century AD."
- ^ "It is apparent from a graffito on one of the columns of the Temple of Jupiter that that building was nearing completion in 60 A.D."
- ^ Coins of Septimius Severus bear the legend col·hel·i·o·m·h: Colonia Heliopolis Iovi Optimo Maximo Helipolitano.
- ^ It is mentioned, inter alia, by Sozomen and Theodoret.
- ^ Notable visitors included Baumgarten (1507), Belon (1548), Thévet (1550),von Seydlitz (1557), Radziwiłł (1583),Quaresmio (1620), Monconys (1647), de la Roque (1688), Maundrell (1699),Pococke (1738), Wood and Dawkins (1751),Volney (1784), Richardson (1818),Chesney (1830), Lamartine (1833),Marmont (1834), Addison (1835), Lindsay (1837), Robinson (1838 & 1852),Wilson (1843), De Saulcy (1851), and Frauberger (19th c.).
- ^ "Current survey and interpretation, show that a pre-Roman floor level about 5 m lower than the late Great Roman Courtyard floor existed underneath".
- ^ The staircase is shown intact on a coin from the reign of the emperor Philip the Arab.
- ^ The inscriptions were distinct in the 18th century but becoming illegible by the end of the 19th:
[i. o.] m. diis helivpol. pro sal.
[et] victoriis d. n. antonini pii fel. avg. et ivliæ avg. matris d. n. cast. senat. patr., avr. ant. longinvs specvl. leg. i.
[ant]oninianæ capita colvmnarvm dva ærea avro inlvminata sva pecvnia ex voto l. a. s.
[i. o.] m. pro sal[vte] d. [n.] imp. antonin[i pii felicis...]
[...sep]timi[vs...] bas avg. lib. capvt colvmnæ æneum avro inl[vminat]vm votvm sva pecvnia l. [a. s.]
- ^ It has also been misattributed to Apollo and Helios. The locals once knew it as the Dar es-Sa'adeh or "Court of Happiness".
- ^ The cornice of the exaedrum in the northwest corner remains partially sculpted and partially plain.
- ^ In the 1870s and '80s, its Metawali caretaker Um Kasim would demand bakshish from visitors and for use of the olive oil lamps used to make vows to St Barbara.
- ^ إتحاد بلديات غربي بعلبك [West Baalbeck Municipalities Union] (in Arabic), 2013, retrieved 8 September 2015
- ^ "Mohafazah de Baalbek-Hermel". Localiban. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
- ^ Wolfgang Gockel; Helga Bruns (1998). Syria – Lebanon (illustrated ed.). Hunter Publishing, Inc. p. 202. ISBN 9783886181056.
- ^ KTU 1.4 IV 21.
- ^ KTU 1.100.3.
- ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Baalbek". UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
- ^ Amm. Marc., Hist., Bk XIV, Ch. 8, §6.
- ^ a b c Jessup (1881), p. 473.
- ^ a b c d e f Cook (1914), p. 550.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t EI (1913), p. 543.
- ^ Mishnah, Maaserot 5:8
- ^ Brit. Mus. Add. 12150.
- ^ Eusebius, Theophania, 2.14.
- ^ Burkitt (1904), p. 51.
- ^ Overbeck (1865), p. 196.
- ^ Arastu (2014), p. 616.
- ^ a b "Arabic" (PDF), ALA-LC Romanization Tables, Washington: Library of Congress, 2015
- ^ Josh. 11:17.
- ^ 1 Kings 9:17–18.
- ^ Song of Songs 8:11.
- ^ Amos 1:5,
- ^ Jessup (1881), p. 468.
- ^ Jessup (1881), p. 453.
- ^ "Lebanon, Baalbek", Projects, Berlin: German Archaeological Institute, 2004, archived from the original on October 11, 2004, retrieved 8 September 2015
- ^ a b c d e Jessup (1881), p. 456.
- ^ Hélène Sader.[where?]
- ^ Jessup (1881), p. 470.
- ^ 1 Kings 7:2–7.
- ^ Jessup (1881), p. 454.
- ^ a b Radziwiłł (1601).
- ^ Josephus, Ant., XIV.3–4.
- ^ Pliny, Nat. Hist., V.22.
- ^ Strabo, Geogr., Bk. 14, Ch. 2, §10. (in Greek)
- ^ a b Ptolemy, Geogr., Bk. V, Ch. 15, §22.
- ^ Rowland (1956).
- ^ a b c Macrobius, Saturnalia, Vol. I, Ch. 23.
- ^ a b Cook (1914), p. 552.
- ^ Macrobius, translated in Cook.
- ^ a b Graves (1955), p. 40–41.
- ^ a b c Jessup (1881), p. 471.
- ^ a b c d e f Cook (1914), p. 554.
- ^ Cook (1914), p. 552–553.
- ^ Cook (1914), p. 553.
- ^ Ulpian, De Censibus, Bk. I.
- ^ Sozomen, Hist. Eccles., v.10.
- ^ Theodoret, Hist. Eccles., III.7 & IV.22.
- ^ Bar Hebraeus, Hist. Compend. Dynast., p. 85.(in Latin)
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Cook (1914), p. 556.
- ^ a b c d e f g h Cook (1914), p. 555.
- ^ Niebuhr, Barthold Georg; Dindorf, Ludwig, eds. (1832). "σπθʹ Ὀλυμπιάς" [CCLXXXIX]. Chronicon Paschale. Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae (in Greek and Latin). I. Bonn: Impensis ed. Weberi. p. 561.
- ^ CMH (1966), p. 634.
- ^ a b Venning & al. (2015), p. 109.
- ^ EI (1936), p. 1225.
- ^ Venning & al. (2015), p. 138.
- ^ Venning & al. (2015), p. 141–142.
- ^ Jessup (1881), p. 475–476.
- ^ a b c Alouf (1944), p. 94.
- ^ a b c Humphreys (1977), p. 52.
- ^ Lock 2013, p. 63.
- ^ a b Runciman (1951), p. 410.
- ^ Sato (1997), p. 57.
- ^ a b Baldwin (1969), p. 572.
- ^ Köhler (2013), p. 226.
- ^ a b c Lyons & al. (1982), pp. 132–133.
- ^ Sato (1997), p. 58.
- ^ Venning & al. 2015, p. 299.
- ^ a b Jessup (1881), p. 476.
- ^ a b Alouf (1944), p. 96.
- ^ le Strange, 1890, p.xxiii.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n EI (1913), p. 544.
- ^ Stefan Winter (11 March 2010). The Shiites of Lebanon under Ottoman Rule, 1516–1788. Cambridge University Press, Page 166.
- ^ Coote, James, "Adam's Bed: 16 Varieties of (Im)propriety", Center for American Architecture & Design, Austin: University of Texas School of Architecture, retrieved 5 May 2009
- ^ "History", St George's Church Bloomsbury, 2007, retrieved 25 July 2009
- ^ a b Wiegand (1925).
- ^ "Baalbek", World Heritage List, New York: UNESCO World Heritage Centre, 2015, retrieved 8 September 2015.
- ^ Ludvigsen, Børre (2008), "Lebanon: Railways: Background", Al Mashriq: The Levant, Halden: Østfold University, retrieved 16 September 2015
- ^ a b c Ludvigsen, Børre (2008), "Lebanon: Railways: Riyaq–Homs", Al Mashriq: The Levant, Halden: Østfold University, retrieved 16 September 2015
- ^ a b c Butters, Andrew Lee (2 August 2006), "Behind the Battle for Baalbek", Time, retrieved 8 September 2015
- ^ a b Nahla (2 August 2006), "Minute by Minute:: August 2", Lebanon Updates, Blogspot, retrieved 2 August 2006
- ^ HRW (2007), p. 127–128.
- ^ HRW (2007), p. 164–165.
- ^ a b c Karam, Zeina (4 October 2006), "Cleanup to Start at Old Sites in Lebanon", The Washington Post, reprinted from the Associated Press, retrieved 8 September 2015
- ^ a b c d e f Jessup (1881), p. 459.
- ^ a b c d Cook (1914), p. 560.
- ^ Hastings (1898), p. 892.
- ^ Jessup (1881), p. 465.
- ^ a b c d e f g Jessup (1881), p. 466.
- ^ Cook (1914), p. 558–559.
- ^ a b c d e Cook (1914), p. 559.
- ^ Cook (1914), p. 565.
- ^ Jessup (1881), p. 460.
- ^ a b Jessup (1881), p. 462.
- ^ Cook (1914), p. 564.
- ^ a b c d e Jessup (1881), p. 458.
- ^ a b c Jessup (1881), p. 467.
- ^ Michel M. Alouf -History of Baalbek 1922 "After the defeat and murder of Hossein by the Ommiads, his family was led captive to Damascus; but Kholat died at Baalbek on her way into exile."
- ^ Nelles Guide Syria – Lebanon -Wolfgang Gockel, Helga Bruns – 1998 – Page 202 3886181057 "Ensconced under a white dome further towards town are the mortal remains of Kholat, daughter of Hussein and granddaughter of."
- ^ "Titular See of Heliopolis in Phœnicia, Lebanon". www.gcatholic.org.
- ^ "Climate: Baalbek". Climate-Data.org. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
- ^ Syaifullah, M. (26 October 2008), "Yogyakarta dan Libanon Bentuk Kota Kembar", Tempo Interaktif, archived from the original on 2009-08-18, retrieved 25 January 2010
Sources and external links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Baalbek
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Baalbek
- Google Maps satellite view
- Panoramas of the temples at Lebanon 360 and Discover Lebanon
- Archaeological research in Baalbek from the German Archaeological Institute
- GCatholic – Latin titular see
- Baalbeck International Festival
- Baalbek Railway Station (2006) at Al Mashriq
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