The complex of temples at Baalbek is located at the foot of the south-west slope of Anti-Lebanon, bordering the fertile plain of the Bekaa at an altitude of 1150 m. The city of Baalbek reached its apogee during Roman times. Its colossal constructions built over a period of more than two centuries, make it one of the most famous sanctuaries of the Roman world and a model of Imperial Roman architecture.
The Temple of Jupiter, principal temple of the Baalbek triad, was remarkable for its 20 m high columns that surrounded the cella, and the gigantic stones of its terrace. The adjacent temple dedicated to Bacchus is exceptional; it is richly and abundantly decorated and of impressive dimensions with its monumental gate sculpted with Bacchic figures. The Round Temple or Temple of Venus differs in its originality of layout as well as its refinement and harmonious forms.
Baalbek, with its colossal structures, is a unique artistic creation and an eminent example of a sanctuary of the imperial Roman period. It is located on two historic trade routes, between the Mediterranean coast and the Syrian interior and between northern Syria and northern Palestine. Today the city, 85 km from Beirut, is an important administrative and economic centre in the northern Beqaa valley.
The origin of the name Baalbek is not precisely known. The Phoenician term Baal means ‘lord’ or ‘god’ and was the title given to the Semitic sky-deity. The word Baalbek may therefore mean ‘God of the Beqaa valley’ (the local area) or ‘God of the Town’,