Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Baalbek


       


In the autumn of 1964 my wife, Ruth Johnson Foley, and I made a brief visit to Baalbeck. Baalbek is a town in northeastern Lebanon, not far from Damascus, the capital of Syria. Ou tour was a part of a two-week cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean aboard the Greek owned ship S.S.Mt.Acropolis. This 17,000 ton ship was built in 1939 in Camden, NJ, for the Grace Lines and chirstened Santa Clara, and sailed from the U.S. east coast through the Panama Canal ro the Pacific coast of South America. Our cruise included about 125 passengers, mostly Europeans. The ship stayed at Beirut for a full day, during which we were able to visit Baalbek and Damascus. I do not know how many of the passengers took this shore excursion, since we traveled in taxis, rather that in buses.

(click on an image for a larger version)
In 1964 Beirut was a lovely city, the "Paris of the East" [Click to enlarge]
[Click to enlarge] The road to Baalbek and Damascus climbs through rugged mountains
Main Street of Baalbek
[Click to enlarge]                      [Click to enlarge]
 
During the first to third centuries of the common era the Romans built an enormous complex of temples in Baalbek. It was called Heliopolis at that time. A search of the Internet showed an unusual scarcity of photographs of these ruins, so I have scanned my Kodachrome slides and present them here. Baalbek was the subject of extensive reconstruction, largely funded by Rockefellers. It has been inaccessible to tourists during the past thirty or more years because it is a center for the Hezbollah militia. who occupy a large part of Lebanon and conduct a guerilla war against Israel.

[Click to enlarge]

Entrance to the Temples

[Click to enlarge]

Pieces of ruins have been sorted for possible reconstruction

[Click to enlarge]
[Click to enlarge]
[Click to enlarge]
[Click to enlarge]
[Click to enlarge]

A Christian Church

[Click to enlarge]
[Click to enlarge]
[Click to enlarge]

Remains of much older structures underly the Roman ones.

[Click to enlarge]

My wife and an English friend

[Click to enlarge]

[Click to enlarge]

Remains of the Temple of Jupiter
These monolithic columns, some around 30 meters long, came from Aswan in Egypt.

After visits to Eqypt, I can conceive of the columns being floated down the Nile and across the Mediterranean, but carrying them across the mountains of Lebanon to Baalbek is an amazing feat.

[Click to enlarge]
[Click to enlarge]
[Click to enlarge]
[Click to enlarge]
[Click to enlarge]
[Click to enlarge]
These beautiful ceilings may have explained the Roman preference for couches.
[Click to enlarge]
[Click to enlarge]

[Click to enlarge]

 

Gerard M Foley

Gerry Foley