Travel Photos I: Beqaa Valley and Baalbek, Lebanon

Now after that florid introduction to this tiny operation, I’m naturally going to follow up with, um, pictures of places I’ve been. Why? Because I think heritage should be seen and shared by as many people as possible (responsibly and sustainably, of course). Also? Because I don’t want this blog to be either completely serious or rarely used. Posting travel photos is fun and it keeps the blog in use even when I do most of whatever work I can give to this project on Twitter (don’t forget to follow @heritage_alert).

I’m still a little embarrassed to say that I didn’t even have a passport until I was in my late 20s, when on a bit of an impulse I took a job that involved moving overseas for at least a year (turned out to be around a year and a half). I was lucky to be working in a place that was very centrally located to a lot of places I’d always dreamed about visiting and in a job that wasn’t all that well-defined but offered generous vacation time, so as long as my work got done I could do plenty of traveling. The first place I visited was Lebanon, partly because I had some work to do there but equally for the sightseeing.

These photos are of Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley, located in the eastern part of the country. Beqaa is Lebanon’s chief agricultural region, home in particular to the country’s wine industry, whose history goes back to 2 millenia before Alexander the Great according to the evidence. We stopped at a high point to take some pictures of the valley:

Beqaa Valley

Beqaa Valley

Beqaa Valley 2

Beqaa Valley

The real highlight of the trip to the Beqaa Valley, for me, was the chance to see the Roman ruins at Baalbek (named Heliopolis by the Greeks and known by that name in Roman times). Three temples were located at Baalbek, to the gods Jupiter, Venus, and Bacchus, who had been identified with a triad of local deities by the Romans. Today very little of the temple to Venus still stands, but a bit more of the temple to Jupiter is still up and quite a bit of the temple of Bacchus.

Baalbek: Temple of Bacchus

Baalbek: Temple of Bacchus

Baalbek: Altar Area from the Temple of Bacchus

Baalbek: Altar Area from the Temple of Bacchus

Baalbek: Mosaic from the Temple of Bacchus

Baalbek: Mosaic from the Temple of Bacchus

Baalbek: Entrance to the Temple of Jupiter

Baalbek: Entrance to the Temple of Jupiter

Baalbek: Frieze from the Temple of Jupiter

Baalbek: Frieze from the Temple of Jupiter

Baalbek: Altar Area in the Temple of Jupiter

Baalbek: Altar Area in the Temple of Jupiter

Baalbek: Remains of the Temple of Venus

Baalbek: Remains of the Temple of Venus

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