19 April 2012

Ancient City of the Sun

The second stop on our tour was at Baalbeck, also known as Heliopolis. To quite Wikipedia: It is Lebanon's greatest Roman treasure, and it can be counted among the wonders of the ancient world (woot that's two for me now!), containing some of the largest and best preserved Roman ruins.

This is what the city would have looked like.

Here is what remains of the Temple of what was originally thought to be Venus. My tour guide said they now believe it was actually for a goddess of fertility (I forget the name she gave though-she moved us through very quickly).

 Entrance to the city. No idea about the film crew there.

 These niches were believed to hold statues of Greek gods or muses.

After the death of Alexander the Great Heliopolis, or City of the Sun, changed hands a great deal. At one time the main courtyard was covered with a wooden roof and these chambers were added when it served as a Christian church. There was also a mosque built in the city during another period.

 All the remains of the Temple of Jupiter, which was the largest of the city's temples, are these six pillars.

 Of which I took many pictures.

From many angles.

What is most intact is the Temple of Bacchus. While it looked pretty darn large to me, it was a lesser temple in the city in it's day.

 As viewed from the Temple of Jupiter.


 Once again I *heart* Photoshop effects.

 I'm not sure exactly where this fit but I believe it was once part of the outer wall.

 The carving on some of the fallen stones is still very clear and must have been amazing in it's glory.

Baalbeck is not very far from Beirut. I'm very glad some friends suggested I go see this as I would have been very sad to have missed it. If you're ever in Lebanon definitely make room for a visit here in your schedule!

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