- HERITAGE & HISTORY
Baalbak, Baalbak district
Hajar Al-Houbla (The Stone of the Pregnant Woman), located in Baalbak, in eastern Lebanon, is an enormous Roman monolith with many legends behind its name. Some say Hadjar Al-Hibla was named after a pregnant woman who convinced the people of Baalbak that she would move the giant pillar if they would provide her with food until she gave birth. Others say the name symbolizes an old belief that women who touch the stone will become more fertile. Still others say the name stems from legends of pregnant jinns, or genies, that were commanded to cut and move the stone. Hard science nevertheless confirms that the Stone of the Pregnant Woman and another ancient stone block beside it are together among the largest monoliths ever quarried. Weighing just over 1,000 tons, the stone block lies at a 900-meter distance from the temple complex. In the 1990s, a second ancient monolith even larger than the Pregnant Woman’s was discovered in the same quarry. The latest discovery, made in 2014 by the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, was that of a third and more gigantic monolith, found near the Stone of the Pregnant Woman, weighing over 1,600 tons. It is the largest intact stone block ever carved by human hands.