Baalbek: Temple of the Muses

Baalbek or Heliopolis (Ἡλιούπολις, "sun city"): town in the northern Bekaa valley, site of the largest sanctuary in the Roman world.

Court of Venus and the Muses

Eastern façade

Some two hundred meters southeast of the altars on the Great Court of the temple of Jupiter in Baalbek, and separated from it by a colonnaded street, was the complex of Venus and the Muses. It is a more or less square field - in fact, trapezoidal - surrounded by a colonnade; on the field are two small shrines. The square one was dedicated to the Muses; in the other one, facing the Jupiter temple, Venus was venerated.

Temple of the Muses

North face

The temple of the Muses is the oldest of the two. It was built in the first century and was, compared to the other buildings in Baalbek, rather simple. The building is remarkable because this podium-based structure, surrounded by columns that were engaged to the walls, is of a type that was popular in the Latin part of the Roman Empire: other examples are the temple of Portunus in Rome and the Maison Carrée in Nîmes. Modern specialists call it a pseudoperipteros temple.