Baalbeck, also known as Baalbek (Arabic: بعلبك / ALA-LC: Baʻalbik, Lebanese pronunciation: [ˈbʕalbik]) is a town in the Beqaa Valley of Lebanon situated east of the Litani River. Known as Heliopolis (Greek: Ἡλιούπολις) during the period of Roman rule, it was one of the largest sanctuaries in the empire and contains some of the best preserved Roman ruins in Lebanon. The gods worshiped at the temple, the triad of Jupiter, Venus and Bacchus, were grafted onto the indigenous deities of Hadad, Atargatis and a young male god of fertility. Local influences are seen in the planning and layout of the temples, which vary from the classic Roman design.
Baalbeck is home to the annual Baalbeck International Festival. The town is about 85 km (53 mi) northeast of Beirut and about 75 km (47 mi) north of Damascus. It has a population of approximately 72,000, mostly Shia Muslims.
There has been much conjecture about earlier levels at Baalbeck with suggestions that it may have been an ancient settlement. The German expedition in 1898 reporting nothing prior to Roman occupation. Recent archaeological finds have been discovered in the deep trench at the edge of the Jupiter temple platform during cleaning operations. These finds date the site Tell Baalbeck from the PPNB neolithic to the Iron Age. They include several sherds of pottery including a teapot spout, evident to date back to the early bronze age. Previous excavations under the Roman flagstones in the Great Court unearthed three skeletons and a fragment of Persian pottery dated to around 550-330 BC. The fragment featured cuneiform letters and images of figurines.