Iaat village, located 6km north-west from Baalbek, houses a free standing 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 monument left in Lebanon (such as the Kamouh Al Hermel).
The purpose of the column is unknown since no inscriptions were found on site.
However, freestanding columns may be considered as a physical victory testament of a certain battle that took place in the area, or a reminder to future generations of success during a particular emperor’s reign.
At one point, the column held an inscription that was removed at an unknown date, thus depriving scholars from identifying the exact construction period. 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.
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An overview of the column with its crepidoma (stylobate and the stereobate), the 14 drums and the capital