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Whatever the nature of the pre-Roman worship at Baalbek, its veneration of Baal created a hybrid form of the god Jupiter, generally referred to as Jupiter Heliopolitan.

The Romans also assimilated the worship of the goddess Astarte with that of Aphrodite or Venus, and the god Adonis was identified with Bacchus.

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While a great deal of much needed restoration work was performed by these archaeologists, the analysis of the ancient origins and use of the site was limited by the prevailing academic view of prehistory which does not recognize the possibility of sophisticated civilizations in early Neolithic or pre-Neolithic times.

Particular structures at the Baalbek ruins can, however, only be explained by recourse to such extremely ancient cultures.

Biblical passages (I Kings, IX: 17-19) mention the name of King Solomon in connection with a place that may be ancient Baalbek (“And Solomon built Gezer and Beth-Horon, the lower, and Baalath and Tadmor in the wilderness”), but most scholars are hesitant to equate this Baalath with Baalbek and therefore deny any connection between Solomon and the ruins.

Because the great stones of Baalbek are similar, though far larger, than the stones of the temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, archaic myths had arisen that Solomon erected both structures.

The ruins of Baalbek, situated on a large hill (1150 meters) with an expansive view over the adjoining plains, are bordered on two sides by the town of Baalbek and on the other sides by agricultural land belonging to local farmers.

Within the sprawling complex are a profusion of temples and platforms filled with a stunning collection of fallen columns and sculptures.

The name Heliopolis, by which Baalbek was known during Greco-Roman times, derives from Greek association with the site beginning in 331 BC.

Meaning ‘City of the Sun’, the name was also used by the Ptolemies of Egypt between 323 and 198 BC, in order to express the importance this holy site held for the Egyptians.

The Phoenician term may mean 'God of the Bekaa valley' (the local area) or ‘God of the Town’, depending on different interpretations of the word.

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