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Baalbek

Last updated: 18 March, 2024

This exceptional Roman temple complex is one of the best-preserved examples of Roman architecture in the world.

Situated on a hill overlooking the surrounding valley, the enormous site includes the remains of two exceptional Roman temples – the Temple of Bacchus and the Temple of Jupiter, the latter distinguished by its 6 remaining columns. Both date from the mid-1st century – the height of the Roman Empire.

The site was known as ‘Heliopolis’ (meaning Sun City in Greek) during Roman times, though it had been a site of worship since 8,000 BC. The current name derives from the Phoenician sky god, Baal; the Phoenicians (1500 BC – 300 BC) built the first significant temple here.

Logistics

Price from: £8
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The temple complex lies in the middle of the town of Baalbek, about 85km north-east of Beirut.

This is considered ‘Hezbollah territory’, it’s wise to go with a tour group or private driver who’s familiar with the area.

As there’s very little signage around the ruins, a tour guide can be very useful here. Many guides offer their services at the entrance for a small fee.

There are no stalls or restaurants inside the temple complex, so eat beforehand and bring plenty of water as the site involves quite a bit of walking.

When to do it

The site is open year-round daily, from dawn to dusk.

If you have the chance to go outside high season (July-August) you may very well end up having the place almost to yourself, which is an incredible experience.

High summer is uncomfortably hot, with temperatures close to 40°C, and unpleasantly busy.

Who to go with: tour operators

1

Our writer’s recommended tour operators to book with

YellowWood Adventures [Lebanon]

  • London, United Kingdom (UK)

YellowWood Adventures [Lebanon]

Well-regarded tour operator specialising in small group and private/bespoke tours to the undiscovered parts of Lebanon, including Baalbeck. They’re renowned for cultural & hiking tours that take the ‘lesser known path’, avoiding the crowds, but still taking in the main sights.

Round-ups

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Round-ups that include this experience

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Inspiration

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