Temple of Bel, Palmyra, Syria

The temple was dedicated in 32 AD to the Semitic god Bel, part of the triad with the lunar god Aglibol and the sun god Yarhibol, which formed the center of religious life in Palmyra. 

The site was occupied in pre-Roman times with a former temple that is usually referred to as the “first temple of Bel” or the “Hellenistic temple”. The walls of the temenos (sanctuary) and propylaea (gateway) were constructed in the late first and early second centuries AD. Most of the Corinthian columns of the inner colonnades still show pedestals where the statues of the benefactors stood.

In antiquity, Palmyra was an important city located in an oasis 134 miles northeast of Damascus.  It had long been a vital caravan stop for travelers crossing the Syrian desert and was known as the Bride of the Desert.