Baalbek is 86 kms. from Beirut and 1050 m. high in altitude. You have to take the main international Damascus Highway winding up Lebanon's mountains, pass villages like Aley, Bhamdoun, Sofar, Dahr el-Baidar, Chtaura, Zahle, Riyak and then to Baalbek.
Baalbek is nested in a plain between the parallel ranges of Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountains. It is one of the world's greatest historical sites, the most gigantic complex of Roman temples ever built, its columns are the tallest ever erected, its stones the largest ever used.The Acropolis of Baalbek is the largest and best preserved corpus of Roman architecture left to us. Its temples, dedicated to Jupiter, Venus and Bacchus (larger than Parthenon in Athens), were built in the second and third centuries A.D. The ruins present a majestic ensemble: two temples, two courtyards preceded by propylaea (ceremonial entrances), and huge blocks particularly the three which each measure between 19-20m. by 4.5m by 3.6m., and a boundary wall upon which Arab architecture has left its traces. Six immense columns (20m.) still soar upwards from the holy place where the Temple of Jupiter once stood.
Baal-Bek, or town of Baal (who was a Phoenician god) gave the name to the town that still is in use.
For a number of years Baalbek's flooflit mercurial columns presided over the annual renowned international festival which featured theater groups, orchestras, ballet troupes and performers from all parts of the world.