The Umayyad city of Anjar was founded by the caliph Walid bin Abd El-Malik at the beginning of the 8th century AD. Situated at the foot of the Anti-Lebanon mountains, the site occupied a vital location during the period of the antique and medieval Bekaa: it sits at the intersection of the roads from Homs to Tiberias and from Beirut to Damascus.
The current site constitutes the most complete Umayyad set, and witnessed the succession of civilisations in the region.
Anjar was built with a grid layout and measures 374m x 308m. Along the external enclosure there are 36 semi-circular towers and 4 corner towers. Two main streets run along the north-south and the east west axes (Cardo and Decumanus). In the centre there is a four column structure called Tetrapylon. In the southwest of the Anjar site there are the ruins of a large palace, immediately adjacent to the ruins of a mosque.
After the initial construction Anjar was redeveloped in later periods, between the 11th and 13th centuries AD.
The adjacent modern city of Anjar was resettled in 1939 with several thousand Armenian refugees from Turkey.
How to get to Anjar
Anjar can be visited as a daytrip from Beirut (59km, 1:20 hours), either by car or bus. It has no own airport.
It's possible to stay in Anjar (one hotel) or in the Bekaa valley for instance in Chtoura or Zahlé (or in Beirut and do a daytrip).
01 Corinthian column 02 Anjar city ruins 03 Shop 04 Arches 05 Tetrapylon
06 Cardo maximum 07 Houses along Cardo 08 Arches
09 Shops along Cardo Maximum street 10 Shops along Cardo Maximum street
11 Cardo maximum 12 Grand palace
13 Grand palace ruins 14 Grand palace ruins 15 Grand palace
16 Grand palace 17 Grand palace arches 18 Column 19 Path between houses 20 Arches
21 Arch 22 Anjar panoramic view 23 Anjar citadel 24 Tetrapylon
25 Arches in small palace 26 Small palace ruins 27 Small palace ruins 28 St Paul Armenian church 29 St Paul Armenian church 30 Funerary stele
31 St Paul Armenian church 32 Tree-lined alley 33 Tree-lined alley 34 Al-Shams restaurant
35 Anjar citadel
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©Copyright Alfred Molon