Baalbek Temple Complex – The impressive Roman archeological site in Baalbek

The temple complex is considered an outstanding archaeological and artistic site of Imperial Roman Architecture. The complex in Baalbek is made up of three edifices: The temple of Jupiter, the Temple of Bacchus, and the circular shaped Temple of Venus. There is a fourth temple named after the deity, Mercury, from which remained only a pile of rubble. Probably the construction of the temples dates from the end of the 3rd millennium BC.

The Temple of Jupiter was destroyed, and out of its 54 columns, only six are standing

The Temple of Jupiter is a colossal Roman temple, the largest of the Roman world and served as an oracle and was dedicated to Jupiter Heliopolitanus. It is not known who commissioned or designed the temple, nor exactly when it was constructed. Work probably began around 16 BC. The columns of the temple were 22 meters high with a diameter of nearly 2.5 meters.

The Temple of Bacchus probably commissioned by the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius (c. 138-161 AD). Ιs one of the best preserved and grandest Roman temple ruins. The temple is about 65 meters long, 35 meters wide and 30 meters high, making it only slightly smaller than the Temple of Jupiter.

The Temple of Bacchus / Image source

The Temple of Aphrodite is a circular temple that was probably added under Septimius Severus in the early 3rd century. The temple was transformed into a church in the Byzantine era, dedicated to Saint Barbara, who is still the patron Saint of Baalbek.

Earthquakes and war raids left their traces on these temples throughout the ages. As a result, they were destroyed and rebuilt in the middle Ages. In the 1890s, a German archeological expedition was the first to undergo excavation and repair works. In 1922, archeological researchers and French architects continued to excavate. After Lebanon’s Independence in 1943, the General Directorate of Antiquities in Lebanon took over the responsibility of supervising the project.

The remains of the Propylaeum / Image source

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