Iaat village, located 6km north-west from Baalbek, houses a freestanding column.
Measuring around 18 meters height, the structure has a unique architecture, and might probably be the only column known to date in Lebanon that holds the following characteristics:
- It is erected on a crepidoma - a wide solid foundation consisting of four steps, where the topmost step is called stylobate and the three lower steps are called stereobate
- It consists of a base and 14 drums - a series of solid stones set one upon the other, without mortar, and toped by a Corinthian capital
- It is one of the best preserved, free-standing monuments of antiquity left in Lebanon (such as the Kamouh Al Hermel)
The purpose of the column is unknown since no inscriptions were found.
However, freestanding columns may be considered as a physical victory testament of a certain battle that took place where the structure is erected, or a reminder to future generations of success during a particular emperor’s reign.
Another theory is that it might be a half-way marker between Niha temples and Baalbek temples for pilgrimage .
At one point, the column held an inscription that was removed at an unknown date, thus depriving scholars from identifying the exact construction date. Some scholars believe that the monument might date back to the late Hellenistic era, since its architecture follows a Hellenistic design.
Scroll down to enjoy the pictures and to locate the site on the map.
Tour Operator & Tour Guide
Highways and Byways of Lebanon - Frank and Laure Skeels
La Vie Religieuse Au Liban Sous L'Empire Romain - Julien Aliquo
Exploration of Smart Ways Lebanon by the Phoenicians’ Route - LAU-Louis Cardahi Foundation
An overview of the column with its crepidoma (stylobate and the stereobate), the 14 drums and the capital