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About Lebanon

This 8th century Islamic city was discovered and identified in the early 1950s. Anjar was built by the Damascus-based Umayyad rulers around 660-750 AD. The site is not alike other sites in Lebanon belonging to different epochs, but only to the Ummayad.

Anjar is a unique historical example of an inland commercial center, benefiting from a strategic position on intersecting trade routes leading to Damascus, Homs, Baalbeck and to the South. The ruins lie amidst some of the richest agricultural land in Lebanon and is one of the important sources of the Litani River.

Along both sides of the streets there are evenly spaced columns that were one parts of an arcade. The great or main palace itself was the first landmark to emerge in 1949 when Anjar was discovered. To the north of the palace are the sparse remains of a mosque, the second palace much finer and more intricate engravings , rich in motifs borrowed from the Greco-Roman tradition.

The 114,000 square-meter site has graceful arches, intricate carvings and symbols suggesting that the architects of Anjar followed Roman-Byzantine traditions. The two main avenues connecting the city gates, from east to west and north to south, divided the town into four quarters. Both avenues were lined with mosques, baths, livestock pens, palaces and residences.

The Ruins
The Grand Palace was the first landmark to emerge in 1949 when the site was first discovered.
The palace encloses a 40-square meter courtyard dividing the palace into two identical parts, one of which has now been partially reconstructed. Just to the north of the first palace is a ruined mosque originally constructed on the side of a yet older and larger one on the northern side of this same east-west avenue lies another palace. The ruins of Anjar, the Omayyad town which bestrides a road in the Beqaa, against a background of mountains may stir in his imagination echoes of the Thousand and One nights.

On either side of the avenues of the site stand the columns of a graceful arcade with a large number of shops sheltered under its arches. These columns are different both in size and form, Roman influence can be seen in them as well as Byzantine craftsmen, as was the custom of the time. The main features of Arab architecture, however, predominate. The two major avenues mark out the four main areas of the town with its mosques and public baths, depots for stocking food, common residences and two striking palaces. The first discovery unearthed from the stand s of Aanjar was one of these palaces lying on the south side of the main east west avenue.

Numerous shops suggest that Anjar served as a commercial center. Near the archaeological site is an oasis of springs which provide an idyllic setting for Anjar's restaurants. Fresh trout and Armenian specialties are among the most popular items.


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