Baalbek is an ancient Phoenician city located in what is now modern day Lebanon, north of Beirut, in the Beqaa Valley. Inhabited as early as 9000 BCE, Baalbek grew into an important pilgrimage site in the ancient world for the worship of the Phoenician sky-god Baal and his consort Astarte, the Queen of Heaven (the name `Baalbek' means Lord Baal of the Beqaa Valley). The center of the city was a grand temple dedicated to Astarte and Baal and the ruins of this early temple remain today beneath the later Roman Temple of Jupiter Baal.
The cornerstones of the earlier temple have been found to weigh over 100 tons and the retaining wall monoliths weigh, each, 300 tons, leaving present-day archaeologists, scientists and historians mystified as to how the stones were moved, where from, and in what way they could have been manipulated into place. These blocks, and another one mile from Baalbek which weighs over 900 tons, are known today as the Baalbek Stones and have been the subject of much debate, study and conjecture over how they were moved and arranged. Further questions arise as to why such massive stones were necessary at the site and why the columns of the temple are also larger than they needed to be.