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Bacchus Temple - Baalbak

  • archaelogical site

Baalbak, Baalbak district

Constructed during the first half of the 2nd century A.D., the Bacchus Temple has been remarkably well preserved. While the Great Temple was dedicated to the public cult of the Heliopolitan Triad, the little temple was apparently consecrated to a mysterious cult centered around the young god of Baalbak who was considered a solar god and a growth deity where birth and growth represent re-birth and immortality. Wine and other drugs, such as opium, may have been used by the worshippers and it was the carvings of grapes and poppies on the main doorjamb and some carved Bacchic scenes, which suggested the temple's identifications with Bacchus. Thirty-three steps lead up to the entrance and the whole structure sits on a platform five meters high. The entrance through the lofty monumental gate and the view of its ornate interior constitute one of the loveliest sights of Baalbeck. The stairs on either side of the doorway may have had some ritual function.