Baalbek, Lebanon

A Tour of Baalbek - September 21-24, 2005

Section 2 - The Hexagonal Court

E. L. Nebrija

Kaftoun.com



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Entrance to Hexagonal Court

Entrance to Hexagonal Court

Entrance to Hexagonal Court

Hexagonal Court Arab Arches

Hexagonal Court Arab Arches

The arches are an addition by the Arabs during their reign here from 636 AD until the onslaught by the Mongols in the 13th century.

Hexagonal Court Arab Arches

Hexagonal Court Arab Arches

The arches and the archers’ windows were added by the Arabs who reigned in this area starting in 636 AD.

Hexagonal Court

Hexagonal Court

Wendy Nebrija in the center of the Hexagonal Court.

Fallen Capitals at the Hexagonal Court

Hexagonal Court

Fallen capitals showing the detail of the sculpture of ovum (eggs) which the Romans considered as symbols of fertility and the continuation of life.

The Great Courtyard

The Great Courtyard

The Great Courtyard is the heart of the Jupiter Temple. Underneath lie the ancient settlement and most probably an older sanctuary. During the Roman period, all the older remains disappeared under a high podium surrounded by three of its sides by a colonnaded portico (1). Semi-circular and rectangular exedras (2) richly decorated with statues standing in their niches, opened on the portico. During important religious feasts, various cities built there their market stands. On the steps going down to the courtyard, were placed several pedestals for statues (7) with votive inscriptions mentioning the names of the donors. Of utmost importance for the cult of Jupiter Heliopolitanus were the two high altars (4,5) on the flat roof of which sacrifices were offered, the two ablution basins (3) and two freestanding columns (6). All three elements – altars, basins, and columns – played an important role in pre-Roman oriental cults. The importance of the Great Courtyard for the cult is also clear during the early Christian period since the 5th century AD; the two altars were destroyed and replaced by a basilica (8) the remains of which were removed in the 20th century in order to investigate the Roman temple.

The Great Courtyard

The Great Courtyard

The Great Courtyard

The Great Courtyard

The Great Courtyard

The Great Courtyard

Courtyard Inscriptions

The Great Courtyard

Fallen Capitals and Votive Inscriptions in The Great Courtyard

The inscription on the right is from the base of a statue honoring Jupiter. IOMH means “Iovi Optimo Maximo Heliopolitano” - "Jupiter the Most High, the Most Great of Heliopolis”.

The Great Courtyard - Half-dome Niche

Half-dome niche on the south wall of the Great Courtyard. The statues that used to adorn these niches have been smashed by mobs or carried away by ancient invading rulers. The rest found their way to European museums in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Half-dome niche

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