The city of Baalbek (Arabic: “بعلبك“) in Lebanon is situated right in the heart of the Bekaa valley. Baalbek is a predominantly Shia city with roughly 80.000 inhabitants. Most foreign visitors visit Baalbek for its massive Roman ruins. The city is a stronghold of Hezbollah and features one of the country’s most beautiful mosques, called Sayyeda Khawla. Khawla (السيدة خولة بنت الحسي) was a daughter of Imam Hussein and is allegedly buried in this mosque. The mosque is an example of Iranian Islamic architecture, because it was built with Iranian money. The mosque is open for interested non-Muslims as well and has a lovely little gift shop with religious souvenirs.
After numbers of foreign tourists to Lebanon dropped remarkably after 2011, many of the cities tourist facilities, hotels and restaurants have been closed, but the city remains one of Lebanon’s highlights nonetheless.