Baalbek: A Special Flavor this Fall.

Baalbek, where can I start?

No words are enough to describe your colossal beauty and your historical value. You’ve been carrying centuries of heritage on your shoulders, carrying the weight of history in tons of ruins, and carrying Lebanon’s greatness and pride, all alone. You are Lebanon’s greatest Roman treasure, yet you’ve been left with no one to admire your beauty but seasonal flocks of tourists…

Despite everything, you’re still standing, hoping your glory days will be back. Perhaps you’re also smiling a little bit today, knowing that after long enough, your UNESCO world site heritage is in the spotlight again, and not for its yearly summer festivals this time. This time and for the first time, your world-famous Roman ruins will be home for a first-of-its kind contemporary art exhibition that will attract locals and foreigners alike for a whole month.

The Silent Echo exhibition, organized by French non-profit curatorial platform Studiocur/art, will take place as of tomorrow, September 17, in your archaeological museum, featuring the works of nine local and international artists who aim at reflecting, through art installations, a dialogue between contemporary art and heritage. The exhibition will show how art can stimulate your past, how your heritage can be revived and your culture celebrated, how your outstanding historical value will never fade, and how you can be on the world’s map of contemporary art.

Archaeological museum of Baalbek
Archaeological museum of Baalbek

For more info about the event, check more details here.

Visitors of the exhibition will also have free access to the Jupiter, Venus and Bacchus temples during the whole month of the event, till October 17(Below pictures of the temples and ruins were taken during my last visit to Baalbek).

baalbek temples-notesofatraveler.com
Ruins of Baalbek

baalbeck temples-notesofatraveler.com

baalbek-notesofatraveler.com

They can also enjoy Baalbek’s many beautiful landmarks, mainly:

The Palmyra hotel

Built in 1874, Palmyra Hotel is synonym of Baalbek itself. Having hosted famous international icons and Lebanese artists over centuries and witnessed history for many an era, Palmyra is a landmark itself not to be missed in Baalbek.  Visit the hotel for a coffee on the terrace, to check its authentic charm and its priceless collection of art pieces, or maybe to enjoy a night in this iconic place.

Palmyra hotel, lobby.
Palmyra hotel, lobby.
Palmyra Hotel, Annex. (photo by Booking.com)
Palmyra Hotel, Annex. (photo by Palmyra Hotel)

The Mercury stairs

The Mercury stairs are all what remains from the fourth temple that was dedicated to Mercury. 40 meters long, the immense staircase is located on Sheikh Abdallah hill. Climbing the hill from the side facing the Palmyra hotel offers a breathtaking panoramic view on the town, its Acropolis, and the vast plains of the Bekaa.

Section of the staircase
Section of the staircase

The Stone of the Pregnant Woman

The “Stone of the Pregnant Woman” or “Hajar al-Hibla” is the largest ancient carved stone in the world, located on the side of the city’s entrance. The monolith was said to be found in a quarry because it could have been damaged during its transport.

pregnant stone baalbeck

St. Barbara Cathedral

What is nowadays the Saint-Patron of the city of Baalbek used to be a part of the Temple of Venus or the “round temple”. It wasn’t transformed into a church until the Christian era.

The Umayyad Great Mosque

The Great Mosque dates from the Umayyad period (early eight-century) and is located in front of the entrance of the Roman archeological site. It was turned into the St. John Byzantine Church in the 4th-5th century, and incorporates granite and limestone columns taken from the site.

great mosque-baalbek
Inside of the mosque (pic by umayyad.eu)

Coffee in the Square

Take the time to walk round the down and enjoy a coffee in one of the many outdoor cafes in the main square of the town.

Sfiha Baalbakiyeh

Don’t miss the famous typical dish of Baalbek, the Sfiha, which is another version of Lahm Baajeen, but made in miniature pies. Delicious!

sfiha (1)
(picture by Rana Tanissa)

For more tips on what to do in Baalbek, check Baalbek’s Municipality’s website.

Baalbek, I promise that you will not be deserted this fall, and I hope that your “City of the Sun” will always be shining.