It is here that the myth of Venus and Adonis was born. The
story goes that while out hunting, Adonis was killed by a
wild boar. Venus (the Phoenician goddess Astarte), who was
his lover, tried to save him but she was too late. And so it
is the blood of Adonis that each spring turns the torrential
river to red.
Across from the grotto are the remains of the Roman Temple
of Venus. Walk down the stone steps at the side of the
structure to appreciate its massive size. A curved tunnel,
still visible beneath the foundations, was used to channel
Although the temple was destroyed by the Christian Emperor
Constantine (285 - 337 AD), it was later rebuilt by Julian
the Apostle (362 - 363). The Adonis-Astarte fertility rite
continued in Lebanon into the 5th century AD.