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.
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.
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: