What is…

Greek: Ἡλιούπολις —transliteration: Hēlioúpolis

Temple of Jupiter in Baalbec in Syria as seen in 1800s. Photographer: Anonymous.
Temple of Jupiter in Baalbec in Syria as seen in 1800s

also known as: Baalbek, Baalbeck, Heliopolis in Syria, Coelesyria

This ancient idolatrous city was called Heliopolis by the Greeks, i.e., “the city of the sun” or “sun city” because of its famous Temple of the Sun — a temple devoted to the heathen god Jupiter (Zeus). A Temple of Bacchus is also located here.

Venus was also worshipped here, as well as the local Semitic god Ba'al Haddu.

Some have supposed that this was Solomon’s “house of the forest of Lebanon” (1 Kings 7:2; 10:17; 2 Chronicles 9:16); others identified it with Baal-gad.

Baalbec was a city about 42 miles northwest of Damascus. It was one of the most splendid of Syrian cities, existing from a remote antiquity.

After sustaining several sieges under the Muslims and others, it was finally destroyed by an earthquake in 1759. Its ruins are very large.

Article Version: July 2, 2021