Anjar, An entire palace-city from the Umayyad dynasty today lies in ruins. The name “Anjar” is a modification of the Arabic “Ain Gerrha,” the name of an ancient city founded in this area in Hellenistic times.
In contrast with other historic cities in Lebanon that are still inhabited, such as Tyre, Saida, Beirut and Byblos, Anjar’s glory did not last long because of the Umayyad’s short-lived 100-year rule in the 8th century.
This iconic site once housed three grand palaces, Roman-inspired public baths, a residential area, a mosque and a commercial center. Its grand architectural scheme is made to be an almost perfect quadrilateral, with perpendicular streets and alleys that intersect at the city center. This tidy division into four quarters is based on earlier Roman city planning. Because Umayyad history is steeped with war and conquest, Anjar’s first people would have needed the defense and security of its tall walls and towers, which you’ll notice, are abundant features of the city’s architecture.
Most striking about the ruins are the fragile and slender columns that stand in sharp contrast to the massive and bulky anti-Lebanon mountain range. The city also lies near gushing springs that feed the Bekaa’s most vital water source, the Litani River. Anjar has been classified as a World Heritage Site by UNISCO.
There are a number of restaurants close to Anjar that offer fresh trout plus a wide array of Lebanese and Armenian dishes. Some of the restaurants are literally built over trout ponds. Anjar has no hotels, but lodging can be found in Chtaura 15 kilometers (nine miles) away.
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