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Day Five~ February 5th~ Lebanon

the columns of the temple of Jupiter~ Baalbak~ Lebanon

Mystery and history are around every corner in Lebanon. It is really astounding to think about how many pieces of the human puzzle are contained in that tiny country. One of the most impressive historical sites is what my niece used to call as small child ‘the broken house’ 🙂

Baalbek, Baalbak, ancient Heliopolis, are names attributed to one of Lebanon’s greatest Roman treasures, and one of the ancient wonders of the world. Baalbek is on of the largest sanctuaries that stood as evidence to the great wealth and power of the Roman Empire at the time. The hill that the monumental remains stand on is known to have been settled for over 9000 years. After the time of Alexander the great, the sanctuary was named Heliopolis (city of the sun), and in its Jupiter temple, Trajan the Roman emperor consulted the oracle wether he would come back alive after his war against the Parthians.The god answered him with a vine shoot cut into pieces…

The complex contains the remains of the temple of Jupiter, Venus, and Bacchus. On a nearby hill is a 4th temple dedicated to Mercury. Other minor structures were added by Nero and Trajan.

As a world heritage site, today Baalbak hosts every year a great arts and music festival.

Boris Eifman ballet in Baalbek~ July 2010
art history inspiration LEBANON Photography time Travel

For the love of mystery in history…

The columns of the temple of Jupiter, Baalbeck, Lebanon

The simple fact of us humans living on a sphere that spins around and around repetitively marking our days and nights, forces us to register the concept of “time” passing. And “time” haunts us all and controls every aspect of our lives, doesn’t it?

Even in childhood; my little 6 year old daughter must know exactly and at all times how many minutes are left on a long flight that we are on (and we travel a lot!)

In youth; the impatience we have to see a loved one again, that time seems to torture us and pass slower than ever when we are apart, and then ironically at the speed of light when we are together.

And then as we age, it becomes our mortal enemy if we let it. We rush to hide the traces of its passing on our faces and our bodies and we succumb to the greatest fear of all: that of being no more.

How much easier would life be if we could accept the inevitable and embrace the laws of nature and the passing of time?

I remember clearly being a 5 year old and after contemplating the night sky for a long time, I asked my grandmother what was at the end of all this black space? Were we enclosed in something and if we were, then what is outside this enclosure? Did this space go on forever and ever? Why can’t my brain grasp this concept? and on and on…

I remember my grandmother turning to me and saying that if I keep questioning God, then he is sure to strike me down! Well that did not scare me one bit. I have been questioning ever since and loving every second of dwelling on these mysteries.

Places like Baalbeck ( temple of Jupiter, photo above), stir these questions in me again and again. And no I am not looking for definite answers of what it was like living there and then? What would they think if they saw the performances that we are having in these sacred temples now? What was the purpose of them  building such exquisite and magnificent structures? Did they serve their purpose? Are we humans on the right track? Are we lost and worried about all the wrong things?…

I love the process of questioning and the mystery in it. As for the answers, I am in no rush.

Someone extremely wise once said : “Stand still, for truth cannot be fetched. It comes when you make demand of it.” R. Armin

Boris Eifman Ballet performance in Baalbeck, July, 2010