Baalbek is named after the Phoenician god Baal for whom it is thought to have been a
sanctuary -- Baal being one of the several names for the Syrian sun-god
the Greeks it was known as Heliopolis (City of Sun). The Roman God Jupiter, to whom
a magnificent temple was built, was yet another name of the god Baal of
Hadad. Baalbek is
86 Km from Beirut over the mountains, on the main highway to Damascus as far as Chtaura
where the road to Baalbek bifurcates north.
Baalbek is a small town outstanding for its acropolis considered among the most important
Roman ruins, and largest in the world.
In this enclave situated in the midst of gardens stand two temples, two courtyards, with
propylaea and enclosure overbuilt in the Arab period. Of the temple of Jupiter at
the top of a monumental staircase only six majestic columns remain while the temple of
Bacchus is in relatively good state and a fine example of what the other sanctuaries
looked like. Outside the acropolis stands the temple of Venus rare in its refinement
and graceful architecture.
During the summer months the acropolis comes to life with an international festival of
music theater and dance that features top talent from all over the world along with
Lebanese theater and folklore troupes (Baalbek
International Festivals) . The flood-lit temples form a magnificent backdrop for
performances which attract and audience just dazzling in its elegance and sophistication.