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 that were worshiped at the temple – 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 82,608, mostly Shia Muslims.