The Syria of today offers tourists as much a cultural experience as a sightseeing one, where ancient history provides a fascinating backdrop to everyday life on the streets                          



Husn Suleiman

About 20 Km away from Safita is Husn Suleiman, or the Temple of Zeus Baotocecian. This has been the center for cult worship since about 1000 years. The first temple built here was constructed by the Persians. 

The remains seen now date back to the Romans, although they still occupy the site of a Semitic or Canaanite temple set up for the worship of Baal. Baal was later merged with the Greek correspondent Zeus and was known as Zeus Baotocecian. What remains of the temple is of Roman construction and was built between the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. The flourishing of this cult was quite extraordinary, especially as Constantine had proclaimed Christianity as the religion of the empire. 

The layout of this temple is very typically Syro-Phoenician. It embodies a large roofless compound with a central cella that houses the altar. This resembles the layout at the Temple of Bel in Palmyra and the Temple of Jupiter at Baalbek in Lebanon, especially the use of gigantic stones. There are four gates to the temple and each gate is decorated with porticos of eight columns and figures of eagles that are barely recognizable. 

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