Baalbek is close to the northernmost part of the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon, an area that is probably most recognizable to American readers vaguely as one of the locations of constant fighting in decades gone by during the various Lebanese “situations,” as they call them over here.
For me, it will always be a valley of good wine and one of the most amazing Roman ruins on the planet.
Baalbek, know as Heliopolis during the Roman period, was one of the most important cities in the region. During the reign of Augustus (1st century BCE), the three temples that make up the impressive complex were built to honor Jupiter, Venus, and Bacchus.
Yes, there is a Temple of Bacchus, the god of wine. Even better, it is the only surviving temple dedicated to Bacchus surviving anywhere in the world today.
So if you are a wine lover, Baalbek is a must see location, in my book.
Baalbek is a truly impressive site. It sits right in the middle of the modern town, in fact, my hostel and morning breakfast location had balconies that immediately overlooked the grounds. The surviving structures are in quite good shape.
I love ruins (more on that reasoning in an upcoming post), but Baalbek is one of the better ones I have seen anywhere, right up there with Jerash in Jordan and Palmyra in Syria, which is the subject of another upcoming photo journal.
O’ yea, and another bonus to checking out ruins in countries that people incorrectly think are too dangerous to travel to… there was not a soul on the grounds for the first hour I was there. Later about 4-5 people showed up. I bet there weren’t 20 visitors the entire day.
Beautiful ruins! Reminds me of the Forum in Rome. Really want to visit Lebanon! I’d never heard of this area but really want to visit because I met someone who lives there a few years ago.
In your time there, what have you thought of the area from a safety standpoint? Are Americans/Westerners well received?
They love Westerners in the Middle East. I have gotten amazing receptions in every country.
Those are some pretty awesome ruins! I must say, following your Middle Eastern adventures have really given me a new perspective on the area. Will definitely consider it for future trips…
Really glad to have put the Middle East more on your personal map. Great location for travel.
Looks amazing! I feel bad for not visiting these ruins while I was in Lebanon… I wish I’d read this before going!
Awwww, I almost hate pointing out how great they are if you were there and didn’t get a chance to see them. 🙁
I’m dying looking at these photos! This just heightens my desire to see so much of the Mediterranean.
the whole Med area is fabulous and frankly I need to get out and see a lot more of it soon!
Shouldn’t you look more festive if you are worshiping Bacchus? lol. Great photos! Looks like a beautiful destination. I’m impressed that there are so many Greco-Roman ruins in the Middle East. Makes you realize how far-flung the empire was.
LOL, I know. I hate photos of myself and doing it on a timer with the camera lying on the ground and running over was a bit hectic.
Gorgeous photos, and you add wine to that, SOLD.
Wine is one of the keys to life for me.
This is really attractive–in the magnet pulling me toward the Middle East meaning of attractive. Thanks for sharing your photos and letting me know about one more reason to go to the Middle East.
Glad to be a slight bit more pushing you to go there. It is a great spot in the world.
Some great shots here! Frankly, I didn’t know much about Lebanon but I’m seeing more and more about this place. Looks amazing.
Thanks for the complement on the photos — it was pretty easy to be good in this part of the world. 🙂
Yes please. Give me beautiful Lebanon! And a nice bottle of Chateau Ksara.
Ummmm, yummy. Me too, please!
At this rate you’ll find me at the Bacchus temple soon :p
Everyone keeps telling me “you should go to Lebanon!” – yes, I have to, looks so beautiful!
well, we should get a group, bring some wine and have a toast on the steps!
I’m a sucker for ruins too. The balcony views from your hostel and cafe must have been amazing!
it was so cool to be right there, next to the ruins, in my $8 a night room.
Wines, uncrowded ruins and clear blue skies. Does it get any better than this? Excellent job on this photo journal!
Coming from you, with your photo skills… high praise indeed. Thanks!
That’s a gorgeous set of photos on a beautiful looking day. What a treat not to be surrounded with tourists.
Have you tried the wine from Chateau Musar? – though I hear there are some up and coming wineries producing excellent wines. Those would be worth schleping back home.
I don’t think I had one of those, but I’d have to check my notes. The notes, of course, start quite legible and then…..
These look fantastic! Even more wonderful that you had them all (almost) to yourself
I know, the solitude was really fabulous. More on that topic in another ruin post soon.
Wow! Now that is an impressive Roman Ruin. You sold me. Wine and Ruins, I’m there! I don’t really know a lot about Lebanon, so I am really glad that you are sharing your travels through the Middle East. We can’t wait to explore it further.
Nice! I haven’t been there but if Bacchus hung out there, it must be cool.
That is so cool. I love playing in Roman ruins. I also love praying to Bacchus 🙂
Fantastic! I’d love to pitch a tent and sleep there 🙂
Adding anything on top of wine will impress me, but these are really interesting.
I love ruins! Sometimes I think I liked them better than non-ruined sites 🙂
I really need to get off my lazy butt and write about a few of the reasons I love them soon
I love that photo with the Lion head! I can’t wait to see Lebanon one day.
I am glad you got to see Baalbek Roman ruins. I grew up in bekaa valley. I traveled a lot to see ruins all over the globe. Baalbek is by far my favorite. But that could be because it has sentimental value too. I hope you went to the town of Zahle and tasted the wine. It has great wine not to mention the town is one of the most beautiful towns in Lebanon. Hence, it is nicknamed the bride of the Bekaa valley.