Baalbek — a cyclopean temple complex of the Ancient world in Lebanon
Ancient wonders of Baalbek — the legacy of biblical characters. Lebanese Arabs believe that their country is the history of the ancient city of Baalbek. The complex of temples at Baalbek were built and rebuilt over almost 2000 years, so it’s not only the history of Lebanon. Baalbek embodies the history of the Ancient world. Baalbek is considered so ancient that tradition is credited with its construction Cain, son of Adam. Cain found shelter here after because of envy killed his brother Abel and was cursed by fratricide by God Yahweh. According to another legend, Baalbek was built by Nimrod — one of the biblical kings, and in this matter he was helped by the giants.
Baalbek — a live embodiment of history. Baalbek is one and a half hour drive from the Lebanese capital. The first written mention of the city dates back to the XIV century BC when the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten erected a temple of the Sun God. In Phoenician times the city served as a sanctuary where they worshipped the Supreme God Baal (hence the name Baalbek). In 332 BC Alexander the great conquered Phoenicia and Baalbek included in the composition of his powerful state. After the death of Alexander Velikogo the collapse of the Empire in Baalbek, the Greeks came and renamed the temple complex at Heliopolis, or city of the Sun. Under the Romans, Baalbek was at its peak — he was not only a place of worship Heliopolitanus to Jupiter, Bacchus and Venus, but also an important trading center in the middle East. Arabs conquered the city in 637 ad, renamed it al-Qala (“Fortress”). In the middle ages, Baalbeck was playing the role of a strategically important fortress, but around 1400 it was ruined by Tamerlane, and frequent earthquakes completed the picture of decay.
Baalbek in Lebanon is “an example of architectural megalomania”. German archaeologists have rediscovered Baalbek in 1898 — 1905 suggested that cyclopean temples are the creation of extraterrestrial civilizations.
Actually, the Baalbek ruins belong to the Roman architects. The great temple of Jupiter (I century ad) has long inspired travelers with a sense of admiration for the skill of its creators. The Arabs believed that he was raised up by the biblical king Solomon, only because he obeyed the Djinn, and no one except the gins, would not be able to lift 800-ton monolithic blocks. To move one block, it required the combined efforts of 40 thousand people. The size of the monoliths of the temple competes with the pyramid of Cheops, the largest of the boulders which weigh in at 50-80 tons. The sanctuary of Jupiter was 90 meters long and 50 meters wide, and around the perimeter was 50 Corinthian columns, exceeding the height of 6-storey building! To our days have survived 6 columns 20 meters high. The striking precision with which 300-800 ton blocks fit together — between them is difficult to get even a needle. No wonder in 1936, architect I. Sobolev called Baalbek “example of architectural megalomania”. The temple of Bacchus (II century ad) is less than the sanctuary of Jupiter, but still much better. His column is higher than in the world famous Greek temple the Parthenon. In the design of the sanctuary used stone bas-reliefs, devoted to the cult of wine — amphora, and grapes. The temple of Venus, built with the Septimia the Emperor Severus (193-211.), is considered the most elegant building of Baalbek.
It is a rotunda (circular building), topped by a dome. The rotunda is connected by a portico that rests on two rows of columns, 4 in each.
Festival in Baalbek. Every year the peace of the gods violate the sound of music and a vibrant, long Smolnaya the applause — for many years, since 1956, in Baalbek hosts an international music festival, one of the most prestigious in the middle East. Here, Roman ruins perform classical and contemporary music, Opera and jazz.