Temple of Eshmoun
Located near the ancient city of Sidon, the Temple of Eshmoun is a Phoenician temple to Eshmoun, the god of Healing. The site dates back to the 7th century BCE, and appears to have been occupied until the 8th Century CE, with construction of the temple beginning circa 530 BCE under king Eshmunazar II.
Archaeologically, the temple represents several phases. The initial Babylonian construction consists of a ziggurat like structure and Torus mouldings. This was covered in the Persian era by an ashlar podium of limestone, which stands 22 metres high. This once featured a Greco-Persian marble temple, of which only a few fragments remain. The sanctuary itself was extended during the Hellenistic period and an ornate chapel of Astarte was constructed I the 4thcentury BCE. It features a paved pool, a granite throne, two sphinxes and two lions. Interestingly, the throne is carved in the Egyptian style. The walls of the chapel are carved with hunting scenes.
Roughly coterminous with the construction of the chapel Astarte is the alter of Eshmun itself. The white marble alter stands on limestone and is adorned with marble blocks, Hellenistic relief sculptures and mouldings in a symmetrical composition. The entire complex features an elaborate hydraulic system which brings water from the Ydll spring. Roman additions include large marble columns, a monumental staircase with mosaics and a nymphaeum, though the site was in decline by the Roman period.
Today, the site has been heavily pillaged, and many of the features of the temple have been reduced to rubble or are no longer visible