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Umayyad city of Anjar

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Archaeological site
Historical site
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Umayyad city of Anjar

A visit to this archeological site is a must! Not too far from the impressive renowned Baalbek site, Anjar is a testament to an old civilization’s presence in Lebanon.

An old trade city, Anjar was founded in the 8th century after Jesus Christ. It dates back to the Omeyyades epoch, a Caliphs’ dynasty that ruled the Islamic world from 661 to 750. Surrounded by a seven-meter long and two-meter-thick wall, this city is built on a rectangular plan of 370m by 310m, in accordance with the model of the city and the Roman camp. This point is surprising: even though this city was founded by Caliph Al-Walid the 1st (668-715), the sixth Omeyyade Caliph, it looks like a Roman city… This is only one of its many distinctions.

An Atypical City

Anjar is the unique example of a trade center located on land as opposed to on the seaside. The city is located at the intersection of two important streets: the one that leads from Beirut to Damascus from West-East, and the North-South street that passes through Bekaa and leads from Homs to Baalbek then to Southern Lebanon. 

Therefore, Anjar is at a crossroads, decorated with colonnades: Cardo Maximus and Documanus Maximus. This crossroad’s strategic position was ideal for trade. Moreover, this city was situated in a rich agricultural Lebanese zone, near one of the most important sources of the Litani River.

Anjar is different from the other archeological sites of Lebanon: firstly, because of the difference of the relics discovered in the Cedar Land, it seems that it has been relatively founded at the beginning of the 8th century after Jesus Christ. Secondly, because it seems that it only lasted a few decades and therefore does not hold traces revealing the presence of successive societies having been established through the epochs. Archeologists have given back life to this city in the fifties.

Visit the Site

When we visit the site nowadays, we feel like we are entering a little city in which only foundations remain. With a little bit of imagination, we can easily complete the walls, build roofs for the houses, and see the merchants walking through the passages on which visitors stroll.

But in Anjar, it is not only about streets and relic shops, there are other ruins that must be visited:

  • The Grand Palais (the Big Palace): it was the first monument discovered in 1949. The restoration operations have allowed the reconstruction of a wall as well as the main arcades.
  • The ruins of the Mosque (in the north of Le Grand Palais): This mosque boasts a size of 45 x 32 meters. It includes two public entrances as well as a private one for the Caliph.
  • The Petit Palais (the Little Palace): Covered with rich patterns of the pure Greco-Romanian tradition, the Petit Palais has preserved its original state.
  • The Thermes (the Termal Baths): Just like the Romanian thermal baths, those of Anjar are divided into three sections: a big room that allowed social mingling as well as three other rooms for cold, warm, and hot water.
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Anjar +
Zahle District, Beqaa Governorate
Characteristics and classifications
Dynasty & Civilization (2) +
Heritage Classification (1) +
World Heritage Site
Period of History (1) +
8th century