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Lebanon Travel Guide - November 15, 2015, 10h53

The visit of this archeological site is a must! It is not too far from the impressive famous Baalbek site. Anjar is more discreet than Baalbek. It is a thrilling evidence of an old civilization’s presence in Lebanon.

Anjar is an old trade city. It was founded in the 8th century after Jesus Christ. It dates from the Omeyyades epoch, a Caliphs’ dynasty that ruled the Islamic world between 661 and 750. Surrounded by a seven-meter long and two-meter thick wall, this city is built on a rectangular plan of 370m over 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 distinctions.

An Atypical City

Anjar is the unique example of a trade center located in a land and not at the seaside. The city is located at the intersection of two important streets: the one that leads from Beirut to Damascus, direction: West-East, and the North-South street that crosses all the Bekaa and leads from Homs to Baalbek then to Southern Lebanon. 

Therefore, Anjar is crossed horizontally and vertically by two ways decorated with colonnades: Cardo Maximus and Documanus Maximus. This crossroads 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 Litany River.

Anjar is different from the other archeological sites of Lebanon: first of all, 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. Also, because it seems that it only lived for 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.

Ruins of the Islamic city of Anjar, Lebanon

Check on the site

When we go to the site today, we perfectly feel that 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 in the passages on which visitors stroll.

But in Anjar, it is not only about streets and relic shops where clients must follow each other. Other ruins must also 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 is of 45 x 32 meters. It included 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 his original state. We can also contemplate nowadays the rocks of origin.
  • 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.
#Heritage, #HistoricalSite
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