For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Yammoune.


Yammouneh, El Yammoûné
The Naba al-Arbain spring of Yammoune
The Naba al-Arbain spring of Yammoune
Country Lebanon
5,300 ft (1,600 m)
 • Total7,000 of the Chreif family عشيرة آل شريف
Yammoune is located in Lebanon
Shown within Lebanon
Location25 kilometres (16 mi) northwest of Baalbek
Coordinates34°08′00″N 36°01′00″E / 34.133333°N 36.016667°E / 34.133333; 36.016667
CulturesRoman, Ancient Greece, Phoenicia
Site notes
Public accessYes

Yammoune is a lake, nature reserve, village and municipality situated 27 kilometres (17 mi) northwest of Baalbek in Baalbek District, Baalbek-Hermel Governorate, Lebanon. The village has a few hundred inhabitants.[1][2]

Ancient Roman temple

There are the ruins of a Roman temple (possibly with phoenician-greek origins) in the village that are included in a grouping of Roman Temples of the Beqaa Valley. It is said to be dedicated to Venus[3] (or possibly also Astarte, before the Roman era in the region). Part of two enclosure walls and the temple foundations remain intact.[1] Many inscriptions, written in Latin were found at the temple site.[4] A few Ancient Greek inscriptions were also found.[5] It is considered likely to be initially very small and of Phoenician origin, but it was greatly enlarged and improved by the Romans[6]

All that remains of the Roman temple today is a retaining wall of limestone blocks which goes down to the lake level. Beneath are supposed to be subterranean chambers. Presumably dedicated to Venus-Astrate, legend has it that when Typhon made war against the heavens, it was at Yammouneh that Venus changed herself into a fish...A great water cavern west of the temple fills the lake each year, although at other times it may appear almost dry. Luxurious Roman villas used to occupy the area between the cavern and the temple and numerous altars, statues and other elements have been discovered nearby. [7]

Ernest Renan visited the site and discovered sections of a frieze and parts of pediment attributed to the temple. A partly broken cockle shell with a figure of a goddess with outstretched arms was also found recently during ploughing by a tractor.[8] The ancient name of Yammoune is not known however some have suggested that it was once the location of a Festival of Adonis.[2][9]

The temple is situated on a hill, approximately 300 metres (980 ft) from the main spring in the area, the Naba al-Arbain. It lies next to the lake where it is considered ancient worshippers took pilgrimage from the temple at Afqa to purify themselves in the temple waters.[2] Michael Alouf found a statue of Adonis in the temple, carrying an ear of corn in one hand and a quivver and a lamb in the other. He stored the statue at a museum he founded in the ruins of Baalbek.

Alouf also found a Roman road measuring 200 metres (0.12 mi), located 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) southeast of the lake. He also found another square building measuring approximately 12 square metres (130 sq ft) next to this road. The building was constructed of large stones and an Ancient Greek inscription was found inside. He considered it an ancient guardhouse or watchtower for protection of travellers. He suggested that oracles were consulted at the temple in connection with Queen Zenobia, who legend tells, sent offerings to the goddess by placing them on the lake. If the offerings sunk to the floor of the lake, then the goddess had accepted them. If the offerings floated, then they had been rejected and gave a bad omen to Palmyra and the surrounding lands.[10]

Eusebius records that the Emperor Constantine destroyed a temple of Venus 'on the summit of Mount Lebanon.'[11] and probably it was this pagan temple dedicated to Venus.

During the 1970s Ali Akbar Mohtashamipur lived in Yammoune whilst receiving military training at a Fatah camp. He later held a number of senior posts in the Iranian government. He wrote about the village “Their men are courageous and mostly armed ... They don’t submit to government authority and don’t pay for water and electricity. They have fought several times with neighbouring Christian villages and have won. They like the [Shiite] clergy.”[12]


The village lies on the Yammoune Fault line, a geological fault responsible for several historical earthquakes in the area. A new section of the fault was discovered in 2010 by Ata Elias of the American University of Beirut. They studied samples from a trench in Marjahine that will allow them to improve dating on historical earthquakes and better predict future ones.[13]

Lake Yammoune

Lake Yammoune is home to Lebanon's only endemic fish, Pseudophoxinus libani.[14] In Phoenician Mythology, the goddess Astarte turned herself into a golden fish in Yammoune lake to escape from the vengeance of Adonis's wrathful brother Typhon.[1]

The lake is filled from a water cavern to the west of the temple has only one outflow, through a big hole and Robert Boulanger suggested that it might dry up entirely at the end of summer.[1] The valley of Ouyoun Ergush leads from Yammoune towards Marjhine.[15]

A network of rock-cut irrigation channels and watercourses lead from Lake Yammoune to provide irrigation for the region of the Beqaa Valley around Baalbek.[16]

Possible early sanctuary of El

Marvin H. Pope (Yale University) identified the home of El in the Ugaritic texts of ca. 1200 BCE, described as "at the source[s] of the [two] rivers, in the midst of the fountains of the [two] deeps",[17] with this famous lake and Afqa, source of the river Adonis on the other side of the mountain, which Pope asserted was closely associated with it in legend.[18]

Yammoune nature reserve

The area has been classed as a scientific and cultural nature reserve since 1998 and is known for distinguishing juniper trees.[6] The area is popular as a hiking trail.[19]


  1. ^ a b c d Robert Boulanger (1955). Lebanon. Hachette. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Nashrat al-Āthār wa-al-ʻImārah al-Lubnānīyah. Direction Générale des Antiquités. 2008. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  3. ^ George Taylor (1971). The Roman temples of Lebanon: a pictorial guide. Les temples romains au Liban; guide illustré. Dar el-Machreq Publishers. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  4. ^ Kevin Butcher (19 February 2004). Roman Syria and the Near East. Getty Publications. pp. 230–. ISBN 978-0-89236-715-3. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  5. ^ Marcus Niebuhr Tod (1979). The Progress of Greek Epigraphy: The progress of Greek epigraphy, 1937–1953. Ares. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  6. ^ a b Collectif; Jean-Paul Labourdette; Dominique Auzias (1 June 2011). Liban. Petit Futé. pp. 284–. ISBN 978-2-7469-3699-7. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  7. ^ Robert Boulanger
  8. ^ Colin Thubron (8 June 2011). The Hills Of Adonis. Random House. pp. 147–. ISBN 978-1-4464-8366-4. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  9. ^ Kevin Butcher (19 February 2004). Roman Syria and the Near East. Getty Publications. pp. 460–. ISBN 978-0-89236-715-3. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  10. ^ Michel M. Alouf; Tedd St Rain (1999). History of Baalbek. Book Tree. pp. 31–. ISBN 978-1-58509-063-1. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  11. ^ Eusebius 'Life of Constantine' III.54
  12. ^ Hirst, David (2010) Beware of Small States. Lebanon, battleground of the Middle East. Faber and Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-23741-8 p.177
  13. ^ Study uncovers new segment of Yammouneh fault line, The Daily Star (Lebanon), 3 November, 2010.
  14. ^ Jaradi, Ghassan Ramasdan., State & Trends of the Lebanese Environment, Chapter 5, Biodiversity and Forests, United Nations Development Programme for the Lebanese Ministry of the Environment, p. 157, 2010.
  15. ^ Gale (October 2002). Who's Who in Lebanon 2003–2004. Gale Group. ISBN 978-2-903188-20-7. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  16. ^ James Stevens Simmons; Tom French Whayne; Gaylord West Anderson; Harold Maclachlan Horack; United States Surgeon-General's Office: Preventive Medicine Service (1944). Global epidemiology: a geography of disease and sanitation. J.B. Lippincott company. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  17. ^ ARI, p. 72.
  18. ^ Pope, "El in the Ugaritic Texts", (Vetus Testamentum, Supplement, II) 1955:61ff; approvingly reviewed by W. F. Albright, in Journal of Biblical Literature 75.3 (September 1956:255-257), who remarked, "However, the identification of El's home with a place in Phoeniciadoes not mean that it was not also at a great distance in a cosmic 'never never land'". The "cultic geography" of Adonis, including Afqa, is inspected by Brigitte Soyez in the opening section of Byblos et les fêtes des Adonies (Leiden: Brill) 1977.
  19. ^ DHIAFEE Program, Suggested tours.
{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?