Baalbeck in Lebanon is Lebanon’s greatest Roman treasure, can be counted among the wonders of the ancient world. The largest and most noble Roman temples ever built, they are also among the best preserved.
Best Time to Visit
The best times to visit Baalbeck for ideal weather are March to June or October to December based on average temperature and humidity.
Top Places to Visit in Baalbek
1. The Great Temple or “Jupiter Temple”
The first view the visitor has of Baalbeck is the six Corinthian columns of the Great Temple thrusting 22 meters into the skyline. Built on a podium seven meters above the Court, these six columns and the entablature on top give an idea of the vast scale of the original structure. The complex of the Great Temple has four sections: the monumental entrance or Propylaea, the Hexagonal Court, the Great Court and finally the Temple itself, where the six famous columns stand.
2. The Little Temple or the “Temple of Bacchus”
Next to the Jupiter complex is a separate building known as the Temple of Bacchus. Constructed during the first half of the 2nd century A.D., it has been remarkably well preserved. Thirty-three steps lead up to the entrance and the whole structure sits on a platform five meters high. The entrance through the lofty monumental gate and the view of its ornate interior constitute one of the loveliest sights of Baalbeck. The stairs on either side of the doorway may have had some ritual function. The 15th century tower at the corner of this temple is a good example of the Mamluke fortifications of Baalbeck. From the top of the tower a view can be had of the surrounding area.
3. The Round Temple or the “Temple of Venus”
The gem-like temple southeast of the acropolis was built in the 3rd century A.D.
Its design and size, as well as its orientation towards the Great Temple, set it apart from the other Baalbeck temples. These attributes also help identify it as the temple of the Fortune of Baalbeck, that is the tutelary divinity of the City, under the protection of its great gods. It was not by accident that during the Byzantine period it was converted into a church dedicated to Saint Barbara, who is the patron saint of Baalbeck to this day. Near the Temple of Venus are the remains of “The Temple of the Muses”, dating from the beginning of the 1st century A.D.
4. The Great Mosque
In front of the acropolis entrance, this mosque dates from the 7th-8th centuries of the Omayyad period. Built on what was the site of the Roman forum and later a Byzantine church dedicated to St. John, the mosque re-uses granite and limestone columns. There is a square minaret in the north-west corner of the courtyard.
5. Qubbat al-Amjad
On Sheikh Abdallah Hill are the remains of the Zawiya – Mosque and tomb of “Sheikh Abdallah Al-Youmînî”, built under the rule of Al-Amjad, grand nephew of Saladin and governor of Baalbeck between 1182 and 1230. It was constructed of stones from the neighboring temple of Mercury.