Lebanon: Baalbek – Temple of Jupiter

Temple of Jupiter is the largest Roman temple ever built. It was constructed between 16 BC-60 AD on the western side of the ancient Heliopolis and put on top of a massive rectangular stone platform, itself 7m high (the single slab stones used in the platform’s construction are some of the largest ever used). The Corinthian columns of the Temple of Jupiter were 20m high and 2.5m in diameter and weighing 800 tons each, also the largest in the Roman world. There were a total of 54 columns – 10 on the front and back and 19 on each side. In the center of the temple stood a golden statue of Apollo on a chariot with a lighting bolt in his hand. Series of earthquakes ruined the temples, columns and stones where pilfered and used for other construction (8 of the columns were used in Constantinople for Haagia Sofia). Wars and conquests demolished almost everything else, and today only 6 columns remain standing, but still what a spectacular site!