(Roman Temples - 60 km from Beirut)
A maze of limestone formations known as "houses of ghosts" welcomes the
visitor to Faqra.
Situated at an elevation of 1550m, Faqra is famous for its
temples and its good skiing. The temples of Qalaat Faqra are the most
extensive Roman ruins of all Mount Lebanon. The site is dominated by a huge
tower 15 meters square, which originally had a third story and a
pyramid-shaped roof. An interior staircase leads up to the top. A Greek
inscription on the northeast corner of the tower and another above the door
indicate that the building was restored by the Roman Emperor Claudius in 43
AD. The temple site is also the venue of a summer cultural festival.
About 50m northwest of the tower is a large altar, probably associated with the tower itself. Not far away is a colonnaded altar. The main temple, dedicated to a "very great god," is a rewarding place to
explore, with its restored columns and the remains of an altar. It had a square courtyard, which was surrounded by a colonnade on three sides. Continuing down the slope you reach the small temple, dedicated to "the Syrian goddess," a local form of the goddess Atargatis. Also note the basin in the floor and the benches along the side wall. This temple was made into a church in the 4th century AD.