Who is Responsible for Baalbek’s Temples Distortion?

A group of activists protested 2 weeks ago because of the unprofessional restoration which distorted the sculptures especially the Temple of Bacchus.

Baalbeck, Lebanon’s greatest Roman treasure, can be counted among the wonders of the ancient world. The largest and most noble Roman temples ever built, they are also among the best preserved. “Although the Temple of Baalbek is a Roman temple, is still viewed as Lebanese heritage amongst the people, and considered one of the most phenomenal historical symbols in the world and dates back to almost 200 A.D.” Said Paula Nawfal, the president of Citizenship club at LAU. “Therefore, its history, location and design has augmented its importance which made it a praise Lebanese monument.” Added Paula.

The Council for Development and Reconstruction has started with preservations and restorations of the temples and the archaeological constructions of Baalbeck in 2015 with funding from the World Bank. In addition to the participation of Lebanese and Italian experts as well as specialists from the International Council on Monuments and historical sites (ICOMOS) and UNESCO. “Experts are here to improve the structures of the temples, not to ruin it.” Said Mhamad Awada, the Head of the Tourism Committee at Baalbeck. “These temples are exposed to natural factors that are harming the temples, so it is a must to clean up the first layer in order to maintain them.”

On the other hand, activists who opposed this decision described the cleaning of Bacchus temple as “aggressive”. “The differences between the temples before and after the cleaning is clear in the naked eye” Said Ali, the tour guide at Baalbeck temples. “The loss of the first layer of these monuments resulted a loss in their historical value.” He added. Ali described the differences between the old Bacchus temple. “Here are the sculptures of dancing girls inside the Bacchus temple which was the first night club in the history, they are fade now.”

The municipal of Baalbeck denied all the charges that this decision is an aggressive one. “ The cleaning process was done with the best techniques(laser), and according to specific criteria.” Noted Mhamad Awada.

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