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Temple of Bacchus

The Temple of Bacchus was one of the three main temples at a large complex in classical antiquity, at Baalbek in Lebanon. The temple was dedicated to Bacchus (also known as Dionysus), the Roman god of wine, but was traditionally referred to by Neoclassical visitors as the "Temple of the Sun". It is considered one of the best preserved Roman temples in the world. It is larger than the Parthenon in Greece, though much less famous.

The temple was commissioned by Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius and designed by an unknown architect c. 150 AD, and built close to the courtyard in front of the larger temple of Jupiter-Baal. When the temple complex fell into disrepair, the Temple of Bacchus was protected by the rubble of the rest of the site's ruins. The temple is 66m long, 35m wide, and 31m high. Its walls are adorned by forty-two unfluted Corinthian columns, nineteen of which remain upright in position standing 19 m high. The columns support a richly carved entablature. Inside, the cella is decorated with Corinthian half-columns flanking two levels of niches on each side, containing scenes from the birth and life of Bacchus. The adyton (inner shrine) stands above a flight of steps.

In 1984, several ruins of Baalbek, including the Temple of Bacchus, were inscribed as a World Heritage Site.


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