Hey there! My name is Ingrid Aswad and in this quick travel guide I will be introducing you to the extraordinary Baalbek Ruins of Lebanon and sharing my experience there. I’m someone who is half German and half Lebanese but I grew up in Lebanon and still currently live here.
For someone who has lived in Lebanon their whole life, I have only just realized that for such a small country there is so much to see and explore here. My curiosity for hidden gems led me to explore different areas in Lebanon and fully immerse myself in these amazing secret destinations.
Exploring the “City of the Sun” in Lebanon
Places like the Baalbek Ruins are so incredible yet hardly anyone knows about them. When you hear stories of this place, it’s like a fairytale. Named the “City of the Sun”, this site is home to one of the richest histories in the country. It has long been a place I wanted to see – and it was worth the visit! You can visit 100 times and still leave with new feelings every time.
My trip to the ruins was a planned trip I did with my partner. I recommend visiting Baalbek with some friends or with your partner. A tour guide specifically for the ruins is always available at the entrance if you would like that experience. For those who prefer a tour company, there are many reliable ones that can be booked in advance that offer different packages.
My favorite part (I say this as a tourist in my own country) was everything! Walking past each place, you get a sense of indescribable magic. But if I had to choose one spot it would be the Temple of Bacchus. Describing this place is hard, you need to see it for yourself, but I say it’s epic!
The whole trip there was memorable. The hustle and bustle of the tourists, noise of the cars and shouts of the souvenir vendors make you feel like you stepped out of the country you lived in for the past 24 years of your life, and into a whole new world. I have always loved ancient history and walking through these structures holds you captive with the stories they tell.
Fascinating History of the Baalbek Ruins
Growing up in Lebanon means we learn about the ruins at school in our history books. However, nothing compares to actually seeing the ruins up close for yourself. Here are some interesting facts about these structures:
- Some of the cornerstones of Baalbek weigh 100 tons – an incredible amount of weight to move considering the technology back then.
- The Temple of Jupiter has high columns over 20 meters high.
- Alexander the Great conquered this site around 330 BCE. He then renamed it to Heliopolis which translates to the “City of the Sun”.
Where to Stay near the Baalbek Ruins
I’m a fan of the guesthouses that are scattered around the area. They are the definition of authentic Lebanese homes and hospitality. One of the most beautiful ones in Baalbek is called L’annexe. In the nearby villages like Zahle you have other guest houses called Domaine De Chouchene, and cute hotels like the Grand Kadri Hotel and Beit el Kroum Boutique Hotel.
Need to Know Before you Go
My first and most important tip for anyone visiting Baalbek is to go with a local, whether it be a guide or with locals or family who live in Lebanon and speak Arabic. Having someone there who can communicate with the locals in the area will make the trip much easier and more practical.
A second tip would be to take your time exploring the area around the ruins. Meet the locals and learn about their daily routines. Experiencing the traditions in the area is always a plus as it differs in every region. Lastly, my final tip would be to enjoy the whole experience and take in the beauty of this amazing and historic sight. You will absolutely love the Baalbek Ruins!