Theme Week Lebanon – Baalbeck

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 - 01:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Bon voyage, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean
Reading Time:  4 minutes

© Baalbek Museum/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Baalbek Museum/cc-by-sa-3.0

Baalbeck is a town in the Beqaa Valley of Lebanon situated east of the Litani River. Known as Heliopolis during the period of Roman rule, it was one of the largest sanctuaries in the empire and contains some of the best preserved Roman ruins in Lebanon. The gods worshiped at the temple, the triad of Jupiter, Venus and Bacchus, were grafted onto the indigenous deities of Hadad, Atargatis and a young male god of fertility. Local influences are seen in the planning and layout of the temples, which vary from the classic Roman design.

Baalbeck is home to the annual Baalbeck International Festival. It is the most significant cultural festival in the Middle East. The town is about 85 km (53 mi) northeast of Beirut and about 75 km (47 mi) north of Damascus. It has a population of approximately 83,000.

Temple of Bacchus © BlingBling10/cc-by-sa-3.0 Temple of Jupiter © Jan Hilgers © Baalbek Museum/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911
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Temple of Bacchus © BlingBling10/cc-by-sa-3.0
The history of settlement in the area of Baalbeck dates back about 9,000 years, with almost continual settlement of the tell under the Temple of Jupiter, which was a temple since the pre-Hellenistic era.

“Baalbeck, with its colossal structures, is one of the finest examples of Imperial Roman architecture at its apogee”, UNESCO reported in making Baalbeck a World Heritage Site in 1984. When the committee inscribed the site, it expressed the wish that the protected area include the entire town within the Arab walls, as well as the southwestern extramural quarter between Bastan-al-Khan, the Roman site and the Mameluk mosque of Ras-al-Ain. Lebanon’s representative gave assurances that the committee’s wish would be honored.

Even if it is hard to imagine today, the Lebanon‘s capital Beirut, Iran‘s capital Tehran or Afghanistan‘s capital Kabul were not only the most progressive cities in the Near and Middle East, but in some cases even more western and more open-minded than some cities in the west and that in the Muslim world. This also included efforts to achieve equality between men and women, some of which went further than the movements in Europe and the USA. Today you can only watch it in old films and documentaries. Tragically, however, that was also the beginning of the downfall of the countries or the rise of Islamist extremists and terrorists. While the country’s elites gathered in the capitals, mostly well to very well educated, poor religious illiterates continued to live in the provinces, who lived on meager agriculture, representimg the exact counter-model of the way of life in the capitals. On the one hand they felt rightly left behind, on the other hand they had the impression that the only thing they had, namely their religion, would be denigrated by the western way of life. So one thing led to another via various detours and to today’s situations in which almost everyone is equally poor and has no serious prospects for the future, led by a badly corrupt elite.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Wikipedia Baalbeck, History of Lebanon, Culture of Lebanon, Lebanese cuisine, Tourism in Lebanon, Economy of Lebanon, Politics of Lebanon, Human rights in Lebanon, Wikitravel Lebanon, Wikivoyage Lebanon and Wikipedia Lebanon (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.








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