The Baalbeck International Festival
is the oldest and most known cultural event in the Middle East
and the eastern Mediterranean
. Since 1955, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have flocked to the city of Baalbeck
in the Beqaa Valley
to attend the annual festival. Classical music, dance, theater, opera, and jazz as well as modern world music are performed each July and August in the ancient Roman Acropolis
, one of the largest and well preserved Roman temples ever built.
The festivals date back to the mid 20th century with the first organizing activities being held in 1955. After one year president Camille Chamoun
named it the Baalbeck International Festival, which become a governmental institution whose goal was to promote tourism and Lebanese culture. The festival took the months of July and August as its period of festivities in the ruins of the Roman temples. In 1966, it established a drama school for the promotion of works done by Lebanese authors. After the Lebanese Civil War
and the cessation of activities, the festival reopened for incoming spectators. Cultural events such as classical music, opera, jazz, modern world music, Lebanese Nights, rock and pop music as well as ballet and theater regained their past location with over 40000 yearly spectators watching in the unique historic setting of Baalbek.