The neglected “Qubbat Dûris”

Qubbat Dûris was built in 1243 during the Ayyubid era. Its eight columns were probably borrowed from the ruins of the nearby Baalbeck Complex and were randomly assembled, one being upside-down. A dome used to exist atop these columns.

Unfortunately, the monument is totally neglected. It’s surrounded by buildings and I had to remove dozens of bottles and plastic bags to take some decent shots.

There are lots of myths and legends about Qubbat Dûris with no clear historical facts since it was robbed by treasure hunters long time ago.

Qubbat Dûris in 1908 by Margaret Thomas

Being located on one of Baalbeck’s main entrances, Qubbat Dûris used to be a great landmark for travelers. It can be spotted in many old photos, paintings and lithographs. The most iconic one was taken for Gertrude Bell in June 1900.

Gertrude Bell at Qubbat Dûris, June 1900

Gertrude Bell (1868–1926) or “Queen of the Desert” was a British traveler, writer, archaeologist and political officer best known for helping to establish modern Iraq after WWI. On her travels she developed a love for the Arab people. As she visited archeological sites, she learned Arabic and traveled deep into the desert. She became an expert in Archeology in countries rarely visited by Europeans. She was a truly remarkable woman in a male dominated world.

Many movies and documentaries were made about Bell and her famous photo in front of Qubbat Dûris was largely used.

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