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An Akrine (Qasr Naous)


The first temple of An Akrine. Photo Jona Lendering.
The first temple of An Akrine
An Akrine: town in northern Lebanon, site of the Roman temple complex called Qasr Naous.

In Antiquity, the two Roman temples that are now called Qasr Naous must have been quite a sight. They are situated on a hilltop, some 600 meters above the sea, and must have been visible from a great distance. Today, the view is breathtaking.

The first temple, the one in the east, has survived pretty well. Like the sanctuary at Machnaqa, it is surrounded by an enclosure (a temenos) with a decorated entrance gate (propylaea). In front of the temple, the remains of an altar are visible, while a substantial part of the temple itself is still standing: the whole platform, two columns with Corinthian capitals, and part of the walls. You can recognize the remains of a staircase like the one in the large temple in Niha and the temple of Bacchus in Baalbek, which proves that there was a second floor inside the cult room. Another similarity is the presence of an (inaccessible) crypt.
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The propylees of the first temple of An Akrine. Photo Jona Lendering. The first temple of An Akrine. Photo Jona Lendering. The first temple of An Akrine. Photo Jona Lendering. The first temple of An Akrine. Photo Jona Lendering.
Propylaea of the first temple
The first temple
The first temple Altar in front of the first temple
The first temple of An Akrine. Photo Jona Lendering. Remains of the staircase in the first temple of An Akrine. Photo Jona Lendering. The crypt of the first temple of An Akrine. Photo Jona Lendering. The first temple of An Akrine. Photo Jona Lendering.
Propylaea of the first temple Traces of the staircase
The crypt of the first temple
Roof decoration of the first temple
The Sun God near the second temple of An Akrine. Photo Jona Lendering.
The Sun God near the second temple of An Akrine
From the description by the nineteenth-century scholar Ernest Renan, who visited the place in 1860-1861, we know that the lintel of the door of the first temple, which is now missing, was decorated with a winged sun disk: a motif that can also be found elsewhere and originated in Egypt and can also be found in the temple at Sh'him.

The second temple of An Akrine, a bit to the west of the first sanctuary, is also surrounded by an enclosure with a gate; you can see that an earthquake must have taken place, because the big stones of the gate (which is perfectly preserved) are no longer on their bases.

This sanctuary is less well-preserved, and it would seem that it was destroyed in Antiquity; people have taken the stones from the ruin and have regrouped them to restore the monument, but something has prevented the rebuilding. A relief with the face of the Sun God is now laying in the grass in front of the ruin.

Propylaea of the second temple at An Akrine. Photo Jona Lendering.
Ruin of the second temple at An Akrine. Photo Jona Lendering. Acroterion of the second temple at An Akrine. Photo Jona Lendering.
Propylaea of the second temple
Ruin of the second temple
Acroterion of the second temple

Finally, it must be noted that north of the first temple, the remains of several houses can be seen. This settlement seems to be quite late.

A satellite photo of the two Roman temples at An Akrine can be seen here.
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2012
Revision: 30 Dec. 2012
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