Towering high above the Beqaa plain, their monumental proportions proclaimed the power and wealth of Imperial Rome. The gods worshipped here, the Triad of Jupiter, Venus and Mercury, were grafted onto the indigenous deities of Hadad, Atargatis and a young male god of fertility. Local influences are also seen in the planning and layout of the temples, which vary from the classic Roman design.
Baalbek is home to the annual Baalbeck International Festival. The town is located about 85 km north east of Beirut, and about 75 km north of Damascus. It has a population of approximately 72,000.
Heliopolis, the City of the Sun
When Alexander the Great conquered the Near East in 334 BC, Baalbek was renamed Heliopolis, Helios Greek for sun and Polis Greek for city. The city retained its religious function during Greco-Roman times, when the sanctuary of the Heliopolitan Jupiter-Baal was a pilgrimage site. Trajan's biographer records that the Emperor consulted the oracle there. Trajan inquired of the Heliopolitan Jupiter whether he would return alive from his wars against the Parthians. In reply, the god presented him with a vine shoot cut into pieces. .
I am sharing with you a simple, delicious recipe from the Baalback Region; it’s called Sfeeha Baalbakieh, which means meat pastries from Baalback. Sfeeha used to be prepared by the farmers when they have a freshly cut lamb meat. they will finely chop it with their sharp big knives, add some chopped onions and tomatoes from the garden, and some spices for flavouring. The mix used in stuffing some dough prepared in advance and turned into meat pastries called Sfeeha, as a flat pastries with closed sides pressed together to seal the dough and to keep the juice from running out, also will keep the meat tender and tasty. The farmer's wife would bake the pastries in a wood Tanour Oven similar to Tandoori Oven.
1/2 kg (16 oz) ground lamb meat , ground beef, or a mix of both
P.S.: for safety reason, try to cook the meat couple of minutes just to change color and you dont see any red in the meat. Cool before mixing.
The best Meat Pastries , easy to prepare, full of flavours and can be served hot as first course with yogurt and cucumber salad, or warm as an appetizer.
Prepare a sponge for 10 minutes then knead the dough.
Mix everything together