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Niha Temples

Baalbek District

· Bekaa Valley

Niha occupies the two sides of a watered valley which, digging out the terraces of the Sannine foothills, leads to the east on the Bekaa plain.

According to a Latin inscription found on site (IGLS 6, 2936), the current name of the village retains the ancient toponym Nihatha, the final ending of which fell following its transposition into Arabic. In Roman times, this locality located in the center of a township, Pagus Augustus, was inhabited by a community made up of Roman pilgrims and settlers.

The inhabitants of Nihatha could pay homage to a divine triad similar to that of Baalbek, with the difference that the gods who compose it retain their Semitic names: alongside the couple formed by the supreme god Hadaranes and the goddess Atargatis (the Dea Syria Nihathena) perhaps stands a young minor consort whose name is unknown, but whose appearance is said to be similar to that of the Heliopolitan Mercury.

Two temples are located on site, dedicated to the Gods mentioned previously.

One can find beautiful and well preserved bas-relief in both structures.

The big temple rests on a three-sided podium which compensates for the fairly steep slope of the land. The image of the priest Narcissos is carved in high relief on the front face of the left framing wall of the staircase.

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