– Left Damascus and traveled to Hashabany. We rode along the turnpike
road for several miles. Were in the valley of the Barada all day. In some
portions of this winding river are beautiful falls and cascades –
every here and there water falling at the depth of 20 feet was the greatest
extent of any we saw. At Arbela we passed by an old Roman Road and an aqueduct
cut out of the solid rock. Saw the entrance to some old tombs, one said
to be that of Seth. After leaving these we were caught in several brisk
showers and reached Hashabany about six o’clock.
April 22 – Sunday – Baalbak- We are now encamped in the first court, which is in the form of a hexagon of the Temple of the Sun. The ruins are magnificent – they consist of three temples – that of the Sun, the temple of Jupiter and the Circular temple, only six columns remain in good preservation. It is beyond my powers of description to give any detailed account of these ruins, but that you may form some idea of their extent I will copy a few measurements of the diameter and height of the columns of the great temple and the length of its substructure. The columns on each side of the peristyle were nineteen in number and at each end there were ten; only six now remain in good preservation. Their diameter at the base is 7 ft. 3in. and at the top 6ft. 6in. Their height including base and capital 75 ft. Over this rises the entablature, 14 feet more, which is decorated with a profusion of fretwork and sculpture. Their symmetry is so perfect that one can scarcely credit their vast magnitude until they stand besides them. The peristyle stood on massive walls nearly 50 feet high. In the Western Wall we saw three enormous stones, one 64 feet long, the others 63 and 63.8 inches. It was from these that the great temple took the name by which it was long called – The Three Stones. We saw the quarries where these massive stones were obtained and wondered how they were conveyed to their places. We think there must have been giants in those days. We saw one block in the quarry not quite detached, measuring 68 feet in length.
The temple of Jupiter is one of the most perfect and the most magnificent monuments of ancient art in Syria. The interior is richly ornamented. The great portal is the gem of the building. It was 81 ft. wide and 42 high; round the sided and on the top runs a border 4 ft. wide elaborately sculptured, representing fruit, flowers and ___ leaves in high relief; little figures of cupids holding bunched of grapes. A century ago the Circular Temple ran used by the Greek Christians as a church but it is now totally abandoned and threatens soon to become a heap of ruins. All in and around these temples are heaps of rubbish and stones caused by earthquakes and the ravages of the Saracens who made a fortress of them. The wall built up before the entrance of the temple Jupiter was built by them. The only entrance to this noble structure is by a hole at its base. These ruins have been the wonder of ages. The stone of which they were constructed is white limestone, somewhat crystalline in its structure. We notice in almost every stone square holes evidently intended for the iron bars by which they were supposed to have been moved. Some are a foot square.
While we were in Damascus we visited the American Consul, __________.
He served us with coffee in very small cups held by silver receivers.
He is a Christian – has written several books and besides his influence
with the natives is of great assistance to the resident missionaries.
His wife came in to see us. She was amused at our style of dress and quite
curious concerning it. We called on the missionaries, who were very pleasant,
especially Mr. Crawford from New York.