Saturday, April 19, 2008


Anjar is 58 km east of Beirut, a completely different from any other archaeological experience you'll have in Lebanon. At other historical sites in the country, different epochs and civilization are superimposed one on top of the other Anjar is exclusively one period, the Umayyad.

Anjar was built in the neighborhood of an ancient stronghold called Gerrha by Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid bin AbdulMalek in the early 8th century. Today the name of Gerrha is retained in the word Anjar which simply means "Source of Gerrha" (Ayn Gerrha).

It was once a commercial center on the caravan route as well as summer and hunting resort for the Umayyad dynasty. Inside the city's strong fortifications the remains of streets, three palaces, souqs (bazaars), two hammams (public baths) and a mosque. The walls of the Caliph's Great Palace are still largely intact, with clues to the former presence of forty towers. There are indications that there may once been a Roman castle on the hill as there are traces of fluted columns, formerly engaged to the walls, with niches between intended to hold statues.

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