Baalbeck, Lebanon's greatest Roman treasure, can be counted among the wonders of the ancient world. The largest and most noble Roman temples ever built, they are also among the best preserved.
Baalbeck's temples were built on an ancient tell that goes back at least to the end of the third millennium B.C.
During the Hellenistic period (333-64 B.C.) the Greeks identified the god of Baalbeck with the sun god and the city was called Heliopolis or City of the Sun.
Those 6 columns shown in picture are the only still standing remains of the temple of Jupiter, The great Temple of the Sun, which was about 49 by 88 m (about 160 by 290 ft) and contained 58 Corinthian columns, each 22.9 m (75 ft) high and 2.2 m (7.25 ft) in diameter. The entablature was 4.3 m (14 ft) in height.
The temple appears to have been built on an artificial mound of earth, with great stones, or megaliths, employed to sustain this mass.
These magnificent columns are known to have been quarried in Aswan, Egypt but how they were actually transported by land and sea to Baalbek remains an engineering mystery.
The great mystery of the ruins of Baalbek, and indeed one of the greatest mysteries of the ancient world, concerns the massive foundation stones beneath the Roman Temple of Jupiter. Crafted blocks range in size from thirty to thirty three feet in length, fourteen feet in height and ten feet in depth, and weigh approximately 450 tons each.
Above the six blocks on the western side are three even larger stones, called the Trilithon, whose weight exceeds 1000 tons each. These great stones vary in size between sixty-three and sixty-five feet in length, with a height of fourteen feet six inches and a depth of twelve feet.
Another even larger stone lies in a limestone quarry a quarter of a mile from the Baalbek complex. Weighing an estimated 1200 tons, it is sixty-nine feet by sixteen feet by thirteen feet ten inches, making it the single largest piece of stonework ever crafted in the world.
Why these stones are such an enigma to contemporary scientists, both engineers and archaeologists alike, is that their method of quarrying, transportation and precision placement is beyond the technological ability of any known ancient or modern builders.
Various ‘scholars’, uncomfortable with the notion that ancient cultures might have developed knowledge superior to modern science, have decided that the massive Baalbek stones were laboriously dragged from the nearby quarries to the temple site. While carved images in the temples of Egypt and Mesopotamia do indeed give evidence of this method of block transportation - using ropes, wooden rollers and thousands of laborers - the dragged blocks are known to have been only 1/10th the size and weight of the Baalbek stones and to have been moved along flat surfaces with wide movement paths. The route to the site of Baalbek, however, is up hill, over rough and winding terrain, and there is no evidence whatsoever of a flat hauling surface having been created in ancient times.
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