Welcome to WDEOD, a site dedicated to sharing fifty year plus of one Englishwoman’s travels!
This post features photographs taken in the Lebanese site of Baalbek. It was awarded the UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1984 which was 21 years after Doris’ visit. The criteria fulfilled was that it displayed “Human creative genius” and “Significance in human history“.
Properly the site should be called Baʿalbek and in Arabic: بعلبك
A little history
The Romans arrived in the Phoenician city of Heliopolis (or so the Greeks called it) around 64BCE and built extensively for about 200 years. Before they arrived, the Phoenicians worshipped three gods (Baal-Shamash. Anta and Alyn) which were Romanised into Jupiter, Venus and Mars. The Temple of Jupiter was started first of all, initially under Augustus and then completed under Nero. Nowadays it only has six columns left because of earthquakes and people nicking bits for other sites. The immense sanctuary of Jupiter Heliopolitanus was lined by massive granite columns imported from Aswan (and also here and here) which Doris had visited the year previously.
The Great Court of Baalbek was begun during Trajan’s reign (98ce – 117ce) and contained various religious buildings and was surrounded by a splendid colonnade of rose granite columns.
The 2006 Lebanon war caused no direct damage but effects of nearby blasts caused some toppling and possible increase to cracks. Excavations have found evidence of Neolithic settlements and the largest ancient block.
I believe eleven of Doris’s sets of photographs and a few odd from fellow travellers survive. I have set up links to allow you to go to the other sets here.
The set of photographs is in two sections. Firstly, there are pictures taken on the way to the site and then, later, of the Temples and surroundings.
… and a Cedar in Lebanon
Second part – Baalbek
Before I scanned these particular slides, I have never even heard of Ba’albek. The site is immense and contains this building – The Temple of Bacchus. Initially the sheer size is not apparent and then you clock the people and the houses behind.
This is an Islamic niche in the Temple of Bacchus. It was probably where a statue stood and is now covered with arabic writing.