Baalbek is currently a small settlement, in ancient times it was a magnificent temple city in Lebanon, between the ridges of Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon. The broad valley between these two mountain ranges is called El-Beqa’a, or the Lowlands, and in ancient times was called Coele-Syria, that is, “Low Syria.” In Egyptian and Assyrian inscriptions, this city is called Baalbek, because the god Baal (Baal) was once worshiped here. See citypopulationreview.com for weather information.
The city is located at an altitude of 1117 m above sea level, between the Litani and Orontes rivers, in a fertile region on the ancient caravan routes leading to Damascus and Tire. Baalbek was once one of the most sacred places on earth, and its temples were among the wonders of the ancient world.
Today, Baalbek attracts history hunters, lovers of antiquities and mysteries, and those who dream of solving one of the biggest mysteries of modern archeology.
How to get there
To get to Baalbek, you need to fly from Moscow to Beirut on one of the daily flights, which will take you about 4 hours and will cost from 20,000 RUB. From the capital of Lebanon, take a taxi or a bus and go to Baalbek, keep within 40–50 USD at prices.
It is better to leave Beirut for Baalbek before dark: there is never enough time for everything interesting in this epicenter of antiquity.
Secrets of Baalbek
An almost mystical story is connected with this city: when archaeologists “rediscovered” it, many came to the conclusion that it was the fruit of the construction of extraterrestrial civilizations that explored the solar system in ancient times. Some suggested that the ancient people possessed incredible technology, or argued that this was the work of giant people.
It was hard to believe that the huge blocks of the Baalbek terrace are the result of only human labor without the use of any high-tech mechanisms. Today, Baalbek attracts history hunters, lovers of antiquities and mysteries, and those who dream of solving one of the biggest mysteries of modern archeology. So, if when choosing a vacation spot you set yourself the goal of not only basking in the sun, but also learning a lot of new, interesting and mysterious things, then you are undoubtedly on the right track. By the way, being led by the desire to unravel the secrets of centuries and civilizations, get ready to meet with traces of the presence of extraterrestrial civilizations and giants that really existed in antiquity. But first things first.
It is believed that the Phoenicians founded Baalbek, and then Alexander the Great conquered it, renaming it Heliopolis, which in our opinion means the City of the Sun, and for good reason, because the sun is the first thing that you will get in excess upon arrival in Baalbek. Then in the 1st c. n. e. the city came under the rule of Ancient Rome, then temples were built here that have survived to this day – Jupiter, Venus and Bacchus. That’s all, but not everything is so simple, and you, lovers of riddles and secrets, have something to break your head over.
Temples of Baalbek
The first riddle: who built the temples after all? According to scientists, the Roman authorities chose the best architects for this grandiose construction, and the construction of the temple of Jupiter was already completed under the famous Nero. However, this temple complex is an order of magnitude larger than any structure created by the Romans and, more than strange, not a word is said about it in the Roman archives! And this is absolutely not typical of the Romans, who in those distant times did not miss a single opportunity to once again point out their merits in the construction of the next masterpiece of architecture.
The columns of the temple, 22 m high, are perfectly polished, as if someone in the 1st century. n. e. processed them on a lathe, the building blocks on which the temple rests consist of stones weighing 300 and 800 tons, ideally adjacent to each other at a height of 7 m above the ground, so that even a needle cannot be inserted between them. In the 5th century BC e. the gigantic terraces of Heliopolis were ranked among the wonders of the world – and rightly so. In addition, under the temple there is a complex system of underground passages up to 3 meters wide and 2.5 meters high.
After the monitoring, it turned out that not a single modern construction company would undertake such an installation!
The neighboring temples – the temple of Venus and the temple of Bacchus – cannot be compared with the temple of Jupiter. They fully correspond to the possibilities of the times of the Roman Empire… Many attribute this grandiose structure to the creations of the creators of the Tower of Babel, which means in the time before the Flood. So think about who really was its creator.
South Stone of Baalbek
This gigantic stone block – 23 m long, 5.3 m wide and 4.55 m high, weighing 1000 tons – was cut down with ordinary chisels. This is the largest processed stone in the world, so huge that a person who has climbed onto it looks like an insect on a large suitcase. Contrary to the assertion sometimes encountered, the so-called South Stone was not at all thrown by the builders along the road and was not lost during transportation – it remained lying in the quarry and was not even completely separated from the rocky foundation. The slope of the block is given by the general slope of the surface that the rock mass had in this place.
The southern stone of Baalbek is the largest stone in the world, so huge that a person who climbs it looks like an insect on a large suitcase.
The huge stone platform of Baalbek is equidistant between the pyramids of Giza and Mount St. Catherine – one of the most sacred places in the world – in the Sinai Peninsula. Mount Sinai and Mount St. Catherine together form an imposing double-headed peak that corresponds to the two main pyramids of Giza. Is it possible to imagine that such a geometric correspondence (Giza – Sinai – Baalbek) arose by chance? Perhaps it is you who will uncover the secrets of Baalbek and change the pages of the history of the world.
Excursions to Baalbek, as a rule, are made from Beirut. Tourists are driven through the Lebanese mountain ranges along the Beka Valley. The opportunity to admire the mountainous Mediterranean landscapes is another advantage of such tours. This city is very hospitable, the residents love tourists and will be happy to tell you about all the local attractions, treat you to delicious cakes and local wine, the taste of which will be remembered for a long time. However, in any case, most excursion programs in Baalbek include a tasting of Lebanese wines.
Both in Beirut and in Baalbek itself, it will not be difficult to find a Russian-speaking guide.
Today Baalbek is also famous for the International Festival of Classical and Folk Music. The festival was founded in 1955, since then it has been held annually. The duration of the festival is 4 weeks, usually in July-August. The guests of this festival of music and art were even world-famous stars.
Excursion to Baalbek, without any doubt, you will remember for a long time. It is unlikely that somewhere else you will see such grandiose structures preserved from ancient times. The power, grandeur, strength, beauty of the temple complex will amaze and enchant you at first sight. And the amount of the unknown on this beautiful island of antiquity is enough to bring new discoveries and impressions with you, returning here again and again.