The ruins of Heliopolis (Baalbek)
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Where have we been in each country:

Europe - Turkey - Iran - Pakistan - India - Nepal - China

India - Pakistan - Iran - Turkey - Syria - Jordan - Lebanon - Syria - Turkey - Europe

Reisverhalen, grensovergangen, de auto en de opdrachten in het Nederlands

Route in the Middle East
Date GPS Location Story
12 - 13
April 2004
N3426'10.1"
E3550'23.4"
Tripoli
(33 m)
A comfortable city, but we found the suqs and the famous Crusader castle somewhat disappointing. Maybe we are getting spoiled.
11 April 2004 N3316'20.4"
E3511'51.6"
Tyre
(sea level)
In the 4th century BC Tyre was an island, so Alexander the Great had to build a bridge to conquer the city. Remains of that bridge are actually still visible, but the main attraction is the Roman hippodrome. Although most of the building is missing, it is the best preserved Roman hippodrome in the world. Ben Hur was not present when we visited the site, unfortunately.
10 April 2004 N3333'54.3"
E3522'31.3"
Sidon
(sea level)
A Crusader castle, a Phoenician temple (Echmoun) and Arab suqs with a soap factory are the major attractions of Sidon (Saida). None of them is really spectaculair, but imagine every place on Earth would be speculair.
9 April 2004 N347'13.8"
E3538'46.3"
Byblos
(17 m)
Nope, this is not the place where the first edition of the Bible was printed. However, both Byblos and the Bible are named after the Greek word for papyrus. Although of great historical importance, the ruins of the neolithic, Phoenician, Greek, Roman and Crusader buildings are not so impressive.
7 - 8
April 2004
N3353'49.9"
E3530'40.6"
Beirut
(18 m)
It is easier to destroy a city than to rebuild one, but the Lebanese have shown impressive results in both (although the Israeli cluster bombs appeared to be the most effective in the first job by far). Nowadays Beirut is again a classy city, a piece of the Cote d'Azure in the Middle East.
The temple of Bacchus
5 - 6
April 2004
N3400'20.2"
E3612'25.0"
Baalbek
(1151 m)
The Roman temples at Baalbek are a must see. The temple of Jupiter used to be the biggest temple in the Roman Empire and the six remaining columns are still awesome, even though they are just columns. In remarkable good shape is the smaller temple of Bacchus. It is the best preserved Roman temple in the world. Although smaller than the temple of Jupiter, it was (and is) still bigger than any temple in Rome itself.
The might and engineering skills of the Romans disappeared so suddenly that the invading Arabs a few hundred years later thought that the temples were built by the mythical king Solomon. Ironically, king Solomon hardly left any archeological evidence of his existence at all!

Pictures of Lebanon and the Middle East
Overland by car, carnet de passages, insurance, etc.
GPS coordinates and Google Earth
Wadi Rum, Jordan Deosai Plains, Pakistan Nepal
Asia Overland Spectacular Pakistan Sacred places

Picture copyright owned by Erwin Voogt.
Please contact me first if you want to use any of these pictures for any purpose.