Temple of Baalshamin

The Temple of Baalshamin was an ancient temple in the city of Palmyra, Syria, dedicated to the Canaanite sky deity Baalshamin. The temple's earliest phase dates to the late 2nd century BC;[1] its altar was built in 115 AD,[2] and the temple was substantially rebuilt in 131 AD. The temple would have been closed during the persecution of pagans in the late Roman Empire in a campaign against the temples of the East made by Maternus Cynegius, Praetorian Prefect of Oriens, between 25 May 385 to 19 March 388.[3] With the spreading of Christianity in the region in the 5th century AD, the temple was converted to a church.[4]

Temple of Baalshamin
معبد بعل شمين
The Temple of Baalshamin in 2010
Shown within Syria
LocationPalmyra, Syria
Coordinates34.553401°N 38.269941°E / 34.553401; 38.269941
TypeTemple
History
MaterialStone
Founded131 AD
Cultures Palmyrene
Site notes
Excavation dates1954–1956
ConditionRestored, August 2015
OwnershipPublic
Public accessInaccessible (in a war zone)
TypeCultural
Criteriai, ii, iv
Designated1980 (4th session)
Part ofSite of Palmyra
Reference no.23
State Party Syria
RegionArab States
Endangered2013–2015 (destroyed)

In 1864, French photographer and naval officer Louis Vignes was the first to photograph the temple following his expedition to the Dead Sea under the sponsorship of the Duc du Luynes.[5]

It was one of the most complete ancient structures in Palmyra.[4] In 1980, UNESCO designated the temple as a World Heritage Site.

In 2015, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant demolished the Temple of Baalshamin after capturing Palmyra during the Syrian Civil War.