If you haven't heard the news, the incredible ruins of Baalbek will be accessible for free to the public from Sept. 17 to Oct. 17!
Located in Lebanon's fertile Bekaa region, visitors to the ancient temples normally pay an entrance fee of 15,000 Lebanese lira ($10). However, in conjunction with The Silent Echo contemporary art exhibition displayed at the historic site, the fee will be waived for a month.
“[The exhibition will feature] art works by international artists from China, the United States, France and Lebanon,” Culture Minister Raymond Areiji said, according to The Daily Star .
“This artistic gathering brings together the aim of promoting contemporary art and embracing historical sites, and [a reminder of] the constant need to preserve ruins.”
So, if you'll be in Lebanon during September or October, this is the perfect time to experience one of the most incredible historic sites the world has to offer. Designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ruins will definitely wow you with their grandeur.
Here are 5 epic facts about the ancient monuments.
1. UNESCO describes the site as "one of the most famous sanctuaries of the Roman world and a model of Imperial Roman architecture."
The impressive temples were among the most famous holy sites in the Roman world and were constructed over a period of more than two centuries. Pilgrims journeyed to worship at the site from all corners of the Roman empire.
2. Baalbek was a sacred site long before the Romans however.
Dating back to at least the end of the third millennium B.C., the site was used to worship semitic deities. Before the Romans, the Greeks referred to the site as Heliopolis or City of the Sun, associating the site with the god of the Sun.
3. Jupiter, Venus, Mercury and Bacchus were worshipped at the site during Roman times.
Remarkably intact, the temple of Bacchus has stood the test of time. The temple of Jupiter features impressive 20 meter high columns and gigantic stones comprising its terrace. These two temples are the highlights noted most by visitors to the site.
4. The temples were obscured and buried by medieval fortifications for centuries.
During the crusades and throughout the centuries, the ancient monuments of the site were buried and incorporated into newer structures. Various military and regional forces occupied the site over the course of history, following the fall of the Roman empire.
5. Restoration work began at the site in 1898 by the German Archaeological Mission.
Later, in 1922, the French continued the work of the Germans. Restoration and preservation has continued since then under the control of the Lebanese Directorate General of Antiquities. Associations from Germany and France are still heavily involved in the preservation and maintenance of the site.