Baalbek (Heliopolis)

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Baalbek is an ancient Phoenician city located in what is now modern-day Lebanon, in the northern part of the Beqaa Valley, a fertile area with plentiful springs. First settled at the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC, Baalbek was an essential waypoint on the Phoenician trade route from Tyre to Damascus and grew into an important pilgrimage where the god Baal, the sun god, was worshipped alongside his consort Astarte, the Queen of Heaven. The city, renamed Heliopolis (City of the Sun) by the Greeks, is now famous for its exceptionally well-preserved colossal sanctuary built during the Roman period and for its three main gods: Jupiter Heliopolitanus, Venus Heliopolitana, and Mercury Heliopolitanus. Baalbek is one of the most remarkably preserved complexes in the Middle East and Lebanon’s most celebrated archaeological attraction. It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.

Coordinates: 34° 0′ 22.81″ N36° 12′ 26.36″ E

The history of settlement…

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