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Things to do in Baalbeck

Best attractions to visit in Baalbeck

1. Temple of Bacchus - Baalbeck

Temple of Bacchus

It is one of the best preserved temples in the Roman world, and was constructed during the first half of the 2nd century AD. Carvings of grapes and poppies on the main entrance of the temple indicate that worshipers used wine and opium in their cult. Some Bacchic scenes were also carved and suggest the dedication of this temple to Bacchus, equivalent to a local growth and regeneration deity. It is a peripteral temple with a 42 column peristyle surrounding the cella. One of the things to in Baalbek is to admire The columns that support an entablature connected to the wall of the cella by enormous slightly curved flagstones which form a richly decorated coffered ceiling. Part of the ceiling, which collapsed on the ground, carries the relief of a snake biting Cleopatra. The gate, in its turn, is regarded as one of the most beautiful gates of the Roman world for its delicate decoration. A Mamluk tower on the south-eastern angle of the Temple of Bacchus acted as residence to the governor of the citadel, and behind the strengthened wall and the temple of Bacchus we can see a Ayoubide mosque.

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2. Temple of Jupiter - Baalbeck

Temple of Jupiter

The archeologists agree to allot the large Temple to Jupiter Hadad. This temple of the Sun, which was built under the reign of the Emperor Nero (54-68 AD) covered an area of 88 by 48 meter and was built on a podium of 7 meters height above the great court and 13 meters above the surrounding terrain. This podium named 'Trilithon' is made of three huge hewn stones each weighing 1000 tons. Only six of the 54 external columns remain standing nowadays, the others lie in fragments on the ground. The columns supported an architrave, decorated with a frieze of bulls and lions heads connected to each other by garlands. In the middle of the courtyard stands the naos which held the divinity's statue. One of the things to do in Baalbeck is to experience the whole point behind the building of such extravagant temples as it was thought that giants did the job, due to the wonder of a massive construction. The Romans tried to influence the Christianity threat by building this temple resembling the power and the gods of the Roman Empire

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3. The Hexagonal Forecourt - Baalbeck

The Hexagonal Forecourt

There is a Propylaea, a monumental gateway to the hexagonal court, built during the first half of the 3rd century. This open ceiling court of 50 meters wide was surrounded by 30 columns. One of the things to do in Baalbeck is to grasp the idea behind the Four rectangular exedras, richly decorated by alcoves in a refined shell or square form sheltered the most outstanding divinities of the empire. Between the end of the 4th century and the beginning of the 5th, the Hexagonal Court was transformed into a church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The current situation gives only a partial idea of the antique magnificence of the place. As per the Archaeological Institute of America recent research implies that it was the finest classical achievement of an axial plan that we till this day are aware of. Going there and discovering the axial plan on foot and maybe imagining an exile plan! Or maybe a true game of hide and seek with your traveling companions! would be one of the fun things to do in Baalbeck.

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4. Hajar Al Hubla (Stone of the Pregnant Woman) - Baalbeck

Hajar Al Hubla (Stone of the Pregnant Woman)

At the southern entrance of the city of Baalbeck, the City of the Sun; lies one of the most important quarries of the region. Its stones were well appreciated by the Romans and used to build their monuments, especially the temples. The largest hewn stone of the quarry is the "Stone of the Pregnant woman". This huge stone is similar to the three huge stones that form the base of the Jupiter temple. It's dimensions are 21.7m by 4.8 m by 4.2 m, a volume of 500 m3 and weighs about 1000 tons. The stone of the South as others call it as well is not just one of the things to do in Baalbeck, a monolith Is not just a massive stone! It was intended to be part of a future trilithon to extend the Roman temple. Other than the existing history that would leave you wondering how and why; the challenge of imagining what could’ve been is one of the things to do in Baalbeck and the Stone of the Pregnant woman similar to other monoliths discovered later are the puzzle pieces still lying there.

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5. Baalbeck Festival - Baalbeck

Baalbeck Festival

Created back in 1955, the Baalbeck Festival is considered one of the oldest celebrations in Lebanon’s history and a prestigious event in the Middle East. The festival comprises of several music programs which include jazz, opera, classical songs as well as song and dance. The main mission is to celebrate artistic endeavor with an exciting celebration amidst unstable geopolitical environments and bring the people of the Lebanon together. Tourists flock to the town just to take part in it which was one of the aims of President Chamoun when he first proposed it. The festival came to a stop during the Lebanese Civil War but it was continued once it was over. Renamed the Baalbeck International Festival, the event is a main cultural activity in the country and attracts people from across the globe to Baalbeck which is located in the Beqaa Valley in the country. It is held each year in July and August in the Roman Acropolis so if you want to take part in the festivities, best plan your trip in those months. Bring the family along and make memories along the way. The event will not disappoint since it will give you a unique look at the Lebanese way of life.

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