About place: Baalbek

There are many cities of ancient civilizations scattered worldwide. Some of them attract by their beautiful scenery, say, Machu Picchu. The other ones have impressive sizes, such as Petra or Angkor-Wat. However, only Baalbek located in the valley of Becaa (Lebanon) is a real mystery for both historians and scientists who can not understand what technologies that ancient civilization should have to move and elevate megalithic stones of Baalbek.

In order to get the essence of the problem you should know that earlier scientists wondered how the ancient Egyptians could build their pyramids of stone slabs weighing 50-70 tonnes, or how the inhabitants of Easter could erect their stone idols (moai) of 80 tonnes. There were even suggested hypotheses of extraterrestrial origin of those constructions. But now it has been scientifically proven that blocks of similar sizes could be transported by humans with the help of log rollers.

However, foundation stones of Baalbek called Trilithon are quite a different story. Each of them weighs about 800 tonnes. Quarry was 1 kilometer of the temple. How then could ancient people deliver these stones and elevate them to the height of 5 meters? The answer to this question has yet to be found.

Today's cranes could elevate such stones but they couldn’t move them. In theory, you could design crawler cranes that would allow to elevate and transport the stones, but for the purpose you'd also need to build a special road with perfectly smooth surface.

It means that even now, in XXI century with its advanced level of construction technolo-gies, you could transport 800 tonne slabs only theoretically. And what technologies had those who build the temple of Baalbek several thousand years ago? And besides, the road from the quarry to the construction site was rough going among stony hills. Also, it is quite clear that log rollers couldn’t be used to transport the stones, as they would be instantly splayed under the weight of 800 tonnes. And if not logs than what?

There also remained in the quarry a stone of 1000 tonnes that was carved and prepared for transportation. It is the biggest processed stone in the world. Its size and weight are just over-whelming.

As no scientific explanation of how they could transport and put in place slabs of 800-1000 tonnes several thousand years ago, there began to emerge the most incredible ideas. Surely, there were variants of their extraterrestrial origin. However, there were even more curious suppositions: 1) they were built by the king Solomon who had djinns in his service, 2) they were built by the mythic giant Nimrod together with other giants, 3) they were built by the Adam's son Cain after he killed Abel, 4) they were built by the giants with the help of masto-dons, the animals twice as big as elephants, 5) they were built through teleportation, the same way as magician Merlin transferred stones for Stonehenge, 6) they were built by Noah after the Deluge, having moved there from Mount Ararat. Of course, all this is very interesting.

However, so much for mysteries. Historically, Baalbek is also very interesting. The word ‘Baalbek’ comes from the cult of Baal worshipped by the Phoenicians. Baalbek was first men-tioned in ‘Armana letters’ of XIV B.C., so you can refer it to one of the most ancient cities in the world. However, detailed descriptions of the city were made only in the time of Alexander the Great, who gave it a new name – Heliopolis (the city of Sun).

Until nowadays the ruins of Roman period mainly survived. When approaching the temple complex, you see a giant stair leading to the main entrance colonnade. Up to a hundred people can stand on it abreast. From the stair you get into a hexagonal yard made in the form of a hexagram. There starts a road to the main square of the Acropolis. In the middle of the square there was placed the Altar where they offered up sacrifices to different gods, first to the Phoenician god Baal, then to Egyptian god Aten, and finally to Roman god Jupiter.

Beyond the Altar there located the biggest temple of Baalbek – the temple of Jupiter (90 meters long and 50 meters wide). In ancient times it was surrounded by 52 columns con-nected with one another with a frieze. Until today there survived only six columns. The diame-ter of each column was 3 meters, and its height exceeded that of six-story building. They were the tallest columns in the world. The weight of each column was 45 tonnes. Aside from the main platform there located the temple of Bacchus (Dionysus). It is inferior to the temple of Jupiter by its sizes, but is better decorated.

However, as we've already said it, the main attraction of Baalbek isn’t Roman temples but rather the foundation they stand on. All scientists agree that the foundation and temples were built in different times (i.е., the foundation was built much earlier than the temples).

Most of stones that the temple is based on weigh at most 300 tonnes. The south-eastern wall of the temple consists of nine rows of the stones. There are another six 300-tonne slabs in the south-western wall of the temple, and upon them (at the height of 5 meters above the ground) the very megalithic stones are placed that are collectively called Trilithon. Each block weighs 800 tonnes.

You should visit Baalbek, if you travel over Lebanon. Also, it would be a very interesting tour, if you spend your vacations in Syria. But unfortunately, you can not go to Baalbek from Israel because of political conflicts between the two countries (the border is closed).

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