|Baalbeck is a city in eastern Lebanon famous chiefly for its magnificent, excellently preserved Roman temple ruins. It was a flourishing Phoenician town when
the Greeks occupied it in 331 B.C. They renamed it "Heliopolis" (City of the Sun).
It became a Roman colony under the Emperor Augustus in 16 B.C..On its acropolis, over the course of the next three centuries, the Romans constructed a monumental ensemble of three temples,
three coutyards, and an enclosing wall built of some of the most gigantic stones ever crafted by man. Some tourists believe that the construction can only be attributed to extra-terrestial artwork.
At the southern entrance of Baalbeck is a quarry where the stones
used in the temples were cut. A huge block, considered the largest
hewn stone in the world, still sits where it was cut almost 2,000
years ago. Called the "Stone of the Pregnant Woman", it is
21.5m x 4.8m x 4.2meters in size and weighs an estimated 1,000 tons.
Stone of the Pregnant Woman
Do not miss this follow-up article by Alan Alford:
Mystery of the Stones at Baalbek >>
The Temples In History
For centuries the temples of Baalbeck lay under meters of rubble,
obscured by medieval fortifications. But even in ruin the site
attracted the admiration of visitors and its historical importance
The first survey and restoration work at Baalbeck was begun by
the German Archaeological Mission in 1898. In 1922 French scholars
undertook extensive research and restoration of the temples, work
which was continued by the Lebanese Directorate General of
Baalbeck's temples were built on an ancient tell that goes back
at least to the end of the third millennium B.C. Little is known
about the site during this period, but there is evidence that in the
course of the 1rst millennium B.C. an enclosed court was built on
the ancient tell. An altar was set in the center of this court in
the tradition of the biblical Semitic high places.
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. At this time the ancient enclosed
court was enlarged and a podium was erected on its western side to
support a temple of classical form. Although the temple was never
built, some huge construction from the Hellenistic project can still
be seen. And it was over the ancient court that the Romans placed
the present Great Court of the Temple of Jupiter.
Aerial view of the Acropolis
The temple was begun in the last quarter of the 1rst century
B.C., and was nearing completion in the final years of Nero's reign
(37-68 A.D.). the Great Court Complex of the temple of Jupiter, with
its porticoes, exedrae, altars and basins, was built in the 2nd
century A.D. Construction of the so-called temple of Bacchus was
also started about this time.
The Propylaea and the Hexagonal Court of the Jupiter temple were
added in the 3rd century under the Severan Dynasty (193-235 A.D.)
and work was presumably completed in the mid-3rd century. The small
circular structure known as the Temple of Venus, was probably
finished at this time as well.
When Christianity was declared an official religion of the Roman
Empire in 313 A.D., Byzantine Emperor Constantine officially closed
the Baalbeck temples. At the end of the 4th century, the Emperor
Theodosius tore down the altars of Jupiter's Great Court and built a
basilica using the temple's stones and architectural elements. The
remnants of the three apses of this basilica, originally oriented to
the west, can still be seen in the upper part of the stairway of the
Temple of Jupiter.
After the Arab conquest in 636 the temples were transformed into
a fortress, or qal'a, a term still applied to the Acropolis today.
During the next centuries Baalbeck fell successively to the
Omayyad, Abbasid, Toulounid, Fatimid and Ayyoubid dynasties. Sacked
by the Mongols about 1260, Baalbeck later enjoyed a period of calm
and prosperity under Mamluke rule.
The temple complex of Baalbeck is made up of the Jupiter Temple
and the Bacchus Temple adjacent to it. A short distance away is the
circular structure known as the Temple of Venus. Only part of the
staircase remains of a fourth temple dedicated to Mercury, on Kheikh
Temple of Jupiter
The first view the visitor has of Baalbeck is the six Corinthian
columns of the Great Temple (or "Jupiter Temple")
thrusting 22 meters into the skyline. Built on a podium seven meters
above the Court, these six columns and the entablature on top give
an idea of the vast scale of the original structure.
The complex of the Great Temple has four sections: the monumental
entrance or Propylaea, the Hexagonal Court, the Great Court and
finally the Temple itself, where the six famous columns stand.
The Temple of Jupiter is one of the most impressive Temples in
It measures 88x48 meters and stands on a podium 13 meters above the
surrounding terrain and 7 meters above the courtyard. It is reached
by a monumental stairway.
Originally surrounded by 54 external columns, most of these now
lie in fragments on the ground. The six standing columns are joined
by an entablature decorated with a frieze of bulls and lions' heads
connected by garlands.
The Podium is built with some of the largest stone blocks ever
hewn. On the west side of the podium is the "Trilithon", a
celebrated group of three enormous stones weighing about 800 tons
It was decided to furnish the temple with a
monumental extension of the podium which, according to Phoenician
tradition, had to consist of no more than three layers of stone. The
fact remains that this decision initiated the cutting, transporting
and lifting of the largest and heaviest stones of all times. Not
only had a wall of 13 meters in height to be composed of three
ranges of stones, but in the interest of appearance the middle
blocks were made of a length four times their height. Adding to this
a depth equal to the height of the stones, they had to be of a
volume of up to 400 cubic meters per block, corresponding to a
weight of almost 1000 tons. Technically, the builders of Baalbeck
proved that they could do it, since three such blocks of the middle
layer are in place, but in terms of time they did not succeed - the
podium remained incomplete. Nevertheless, so awe-inspiring were
those blocks to all beholders ever after, that Baalbeck was known
for a long time primarily as the site of the three stones, the
Do not miss this article by Alan Alford:
Mystery of the Stones at Baalbek >>
Everybody who has traveled to Egypt, Mesopotamia,
South America and many ancient places has seen it: the astonishing
craftsmanship of these ancient stoneworkers. The precision fit of
large stone blocks is eminent in both the Old and New World. It is
hardly imaginable, that all of this should have been done by pure
manual work alone. This very interesting link, Ancient
Stone Technology, also includes theories of Professor
Davidovits from the Geopolymer Institute in France.
In short, his theory is that the 2 million blocks of limestone that
make up the core of the pyramid of Chufu (Cheops), have not been cut
into shape, but the limestone was solved in water, brought to the
building place in small portions and then the blocks were cast in
situ. Even more interesting are his ideas on the precision-fit
Inca walls: He puts forward a technique to soften the stone by use
of acid plant extracts!
Another interesting website is STONE
TECHNOLOGY. The ancient Egyptians were masters in working with
stone. These pages document photographic evidence, historical
research and contemporary debates on stone technology. Topics
include predynastic stonewares, straight saws, circular saws, tube
drilling and lathes - Photos, Research Papers and Newsgroup Debate
Location: Aswan Egypt
Height: 41.75 meters
Weight: 1185 tons
Base: 4.2 meters
This 3000 years old obelisk in the Aswan quarry
shows us an amazing feat of technology and archaeologists have
learned much about the techniques of stone-cutting from examining
this abandoned monument and from the tools which have been left
behind (it developed a flaw during quarrying and was never
completed, left to lie still attached to the living rock.)
If it had been extracted and erected as originally
conceived, the Unfinished Obelisk would have stood 41.75 m (137
feet) tall and weighed 1,185 tons, dwarfing all others (the
largest survivor, the Lateran obelisk in Rome, rises 105 feet and
weighs "only" 455 tons.)
|Unfinished Obelisk. The granite
quarries of ancient Aswan lay beside the Nile, thus
providing easy access to boats for transporting this prized
building stone to sites downstream. A crack in the granite
stopped the cutting of what would have been an enormous
obelisk (estimated at more than 40 meters high). Now the
abandoned partially carved obelisk gives us information
about how ancient stonecutters worked.
Photo © 2001 Mary
by Michel M. Alouf, Tedd St Rain (Introduction)
At one time, the worldwide fame of the ruins at
Baalbek drew huge numbers of tourist crowds. In the present
day, a trip to Baalbek is extremely difficult and
considerably dangerous. Luckily, the former curator of the
site, Michel M. Alouf, made his years of research available
in this heavily illustrated work. The massive multi-level
platform found at Baalbek, is believed by some scientists to
be one of the "only" prediluvial sites that
survived the flood. At a much later time, it became very
well known to the Romans, who desecrated the site to build
their magnificent temples. In fact, the largest Roman
temples ever built were not in Rome, but were found at
Baalbek. One of the most puzzling aspects of the ruins at
Baalbek are the 1,000-plus ton stones which formed part of
the original temple platform. A recent visit to the site
allowed inspection of these large stones, and of the one at
the quarry (pictured on the cover), where new measurements
were taken which revealed the largest and most precisely cut
stone at the Trilithon may weigh in at over 1,500 tons. The
largest modern cranes in the world would have difficulty in
lifting, let alone moving, these massive limestone blocks,
and yet there they sit. These stones, and many other aspects
of this important historical site are described at length in
this handy reference guide.
in Egypt: Pharaonic Stone Masonry
by Dieter Arnold
This book traces methods of Egyptian stone construction
during the pharaonic period, from the construction of the
step pyramids at Saqqara to the obelisks of Tuthmosis III to
the temples of Rameses II at Thebes. Dr. Arnold covers all
aspects of building, including planning, measuring,
quarrying and production, transporting heavy monuments,
building, digging shafts, repairing damages, and securing
tombs. Richly illustrated with photos and field drawings by
the author, ancient representations of building activities,
and illustrations of tools and objects in museum
collections, this book offers a frank appraisal of current
knowledge of the process of Egyptian stone construction.
The Parthenon Code: Mankind's History in Marble
by Robert Bowie Johnson Jr.
The DaVinci Code
The Bible Code is Bogus.
The Parthenon Code is True and Real, and It Tells the Story
of Humanity's Origin.
The Parthenon Code is a startling
testament to the validity of Scripture. Greek Myth and
Genesis tell the same story from opposite viewpoints.
What is the Parthenon Code?
The Parthenon Code is a simple method of
expression devised by ancient Greek artists to communicate
religious ideas and historical information to the everyday
citizens of Greece. The messages were very simple and far
less abstract than writing. We can compare them to other
types of visual language such as stained-glass windows in
the Medieval period, and even comic strip panels and
story-boards for television in our own day.
I call it the Parthenon Code because it was on
Athena’s temple that this artistic communication reached its
highest, and in many ways, its most straightforward and
simple form. The seven sculptural themes on the outside of
the temple and Athena’s gold and ivory idol-image on the
inside portrayed interconnected truths about Greek origins.
These historical and religious truths all appeared in
similar ways on vase-paintings or on other temple
sculptures, or on both. Greek artists went to great pains to
tell us who they were and where they came from. It’s time we
took them seriously.
“Where does Greek myth come from?” By the grace
of God, we have answered her question. We know now that
Greek myth is the true story of the origins of the human
race, a story told from a rebellious religious orientation
that leaves out the Creator of heaven and earth, and shuns
His prophets. And we’ve learned that the Parthenon
sculptures were the Greek artists’ ultimate expression of
the “myths” of Zeus-religion, and of man as the measure of
all things. But “O, the depth of the riches and the wisdom
and the knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His judgments,
and untraceable His ways!” (Romans 11:33). What the Greeks
meant to be an unparalleled, intricately chiseled monument
to the glory of mankind turns out to be a detailed history
of mankind’s delusion, and a clear-cut validation of the
truth of the Word of God.
Other books by Robert Bowie Johnson Jr.:
Books by Alan Alford
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