If only the remains of the Roman temples located in Baalbek in Lebanon remain, a virtual visit today offers a faithful reconstruction of this place steeped in history.
Northeast of Beirut, the city of Baalbek in Lebanon houses gigantic remains of Roman temples among the largest and best preserved of Roman architecture, including the temple of Bacchus, the temple of Venus, the temple of the Muses and the temple of Jupiter which still has six columns of 22, 5 meters high by more than 2 meters in diameter.
Built nearly 5,000 years ago by the Phoenicians, this ancient Lebanese city welcomes many visitors every year, amazed by the architectural feat of the Roman Heliopolis and its spiritual dimension. The site rests on Neolithic foundations dating back 10,000 years and sits at the source of the main rivers of the lush Bekaa Valley, making it the epicenter of life and fertility.
A free application to discover the temples of Baalbek at their peak
Today in ruins, a virtual reconstruction allows us to rediscover the temples at the time of their apogee, in 215 AD. Set up by the Lebanese General Department of Antiquities, the German Archaeological Institute and the American company specializing in virtual tours of Flyover Zone archaeological sites, this device is the result of two years of research and work.
“It was inconceivable not to include Baalbek in the list of our tourist destinations, explains Bernard Frischer, founder of Flyover Zone, to the American magazine The National. It was the site of one of the most important oracles of the ancient world, dedicated to Zeus. Everyone came to ask the oracle whether to get married, take a trip or start a business. “
The tour of the temples of Baalbek, accessible through a free application available on smartphones, tablets and computers, will guide the viewer through the ancient Lebanese city in areas inaccessible to visitors, as well as parts of the temple destroyed by earthquakes and the looting of stones during the Christian reign.
An immersive experience
360-degree panoramas of the temples were made by drones and then reconstructed in 3D in high resolution.
The 40-minute guided tour – in French, English, German and Arabic – offers 38 different stops, allowing you to explore the site in an immersive way. “I wanted to use software similar to that of an architect to design a future building or restore an old building, detail Bernard Frischer. You can go inside the buildings, between the aisles, it’s very realistic! “
Originally scheduled for August 2020, the project launch was overshadowed by theexplosion at the port of Beirut of August 4, 2020. With this new device, the Lebanese General Department of Antiquities hopes to revitalize the tourism sector in the country, to bring visibility to this classified site. Unesco World Heritage and increase the number of potential visitors.
“If you think that Rome is great, is that you have not yet discovered Baalbek “, concludes with The National Henning Burwitz, architect and archaeologist at the German Archaeological Institute.