Baalbek (بعلبك‎ or Baʿalbek in Arabic) is a city in the Bekaa valley in central Lebanon at an altitude of 1150m. The Bekaa (or Beqaa) valley is predominantly Shiite and Baalbek is considered a stronghold of the Hezbollah movement. As such, both Baalbek and the Bekaa valley are in the travel advisories of many countries, although travel to these places is perfectly safe.
The main reason to visit Baalbek is the Roman temple complex. This has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1984, due to the outstanding artistic value and excellent preservation statues of the temples.
In ancient times the Phoenician city was known as Heliopolis during the Hellenistic period. When the Romans took over Lebanon they further developed the religious site with additional temples.
Currently the site consists of the ruins of the temple of Venus, which are located outside of the fenced compound. Within the compound, the first structure is the Propylaea followed by a hexagonal court. After this comes a large court with ruins of buildings and columns. To the rear are the ruins of temple of Jupiter. On the side is the temple of Bacchus, which is the best preserved structure in the Baalbek temple complex.
How to get to Baalbek
Baalbek can be reached by car (87km, 1:30-2:00 hours), bus or shared taxi from Beirut. It can be done as a daytrip from Beirut, although it is advisable to base oneself in the Bekaa valley, for instance in Chtoura.
Accomodation
Accomodation in Baalbek is relatively limited. It is better to stay elsewhere in the Bekaa valley, or to come from Beirut.
01 Panorama view of Baalbek 02 Sayyida Khawla shrine 03 Shops
04 Roman ruins and Venus temple 05 Baalbek Roman ruins
06 Propylaea 07 Propylaea 08 Group of four columns 09 Staircase 10 Roman columns
11 Roman ruins 12 Forecourt area
13 Hexagonal courtyard 14 Corinthian columns
15 Corinthian capitals 16 Corinthian capitals 17 Corinthian columns
18 Baalbek temple wall 19 Roman ruins in Baalbek 20 Wall and columns
21 Corinthian columns 22 Temple of Bacchus 23 Roman ruins in Baalbek 24 Baalbek ruins
25 Great court 26 Roman wall ruins 27 Roman wall ruins
28 Temple fragments 29 Temple fragments 30 Temple of Bacchus 31 Temple of Bacchus
32 Temple of Bacchus 33 Hexagonal star 34 Staircase to Bacchus temple
35 Bacchus temple 36 Temple of Bacchus 37 Corinthian capitals in Bacchus temple 38 Temple of Bacchus 39 Temple of Bacchus
40 Lion statue 41 Temple of Venus 42 Street in Baalbek 43 Ajami restaurant
44 Al Waleed Amawi mosque 45 Roman ruins at dusk 46 Roman ruins at dusk
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