`Anjar Travel Guide

  • Small Palace on the left (Nov 2005)
    Small Palace on the left (Nov 2005)
    by MM212
  • Surviving shops - March 2005
    Surviving shops - March 2005
    by MM212
  • Things to Do
    by MM212

`Anjar Things to Do

  • Shops Along the Cardo

    Seen in the attached photo are the remains of the small shops that once lined the cardo maximus of Aanjar. In its short existence, the town benefited from its location on an intersection between the short trade route from Damascus to the coastal towns of Lebanon, and the longer route from Palestine to Baalbek and northern Syria.

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  • The Hammam

    Located just east of the cardo maximus, near the entrance to the site, are the remains of the baths (hammam) of Aanjar. Two mosaic floors have survived fairly well, at least in fragments. The ovens for heating the water can also be seen along with some discs that supported the raised floor of the hypocaust.

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  • The Small Palace

    The Small Palace was located in the north-east quadrant, at the corner where the cardo and decumanus intersected. It is thought to have served as the private quarters of the rulers, whereas the Great Palace served as the public quarters. Unlike the Great Palace, only the foundation walls and a couple of arches from the Small Palace have survived.

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  • Residential Quarters

    The north-west and south-west quadrants of the city of Anjar consisted mainly of residential dwellings. Only the foundation of these modest buildings can be seen beyond the cardo and decumanus (see attached photo).

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  • Decumanus Maximus

    The decumanus maximus, the smaller avenue, runs east-west through the city and crosses the cardo maximus at the point where the Tetrapylon is erected. A few of the arched porticoes along the decumanus are still standing upright. The small palace and the mosque are situated along this avenue.

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  • Cardo Maximus

    The layout of this Omayyad city is based on a Graeco-Roman plan, divided into four quarters with two main avenues running through it. The cardo maximus, the north-south thoroughfare, was the main one and it intersected the decumanus maximus in the middle where the Tetrapylon currently stands. This avenue was bordered by arched porticoes containing...

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  • The Mosque on Mount Saint Elias

    This Mosque, built on a hill called Mount Saint Elias (Jabal Mar Elias), is visible from around Aanjar. It frequently offers a postcard picture because of its hilltop situation against the snow-covered mountains in the background. What's also striking is that it is a mosque built on a hill named after a Christian saint - only in the Middle East!

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  • The Mosque

    Remains of the only mosque in the ancient city of Aanjar are located just north of the Great Palace. Only the foundation can be traced (seen in the foreground of the photo).

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  • The Great Palace

    The Great Palace is the highest remaining structure in Aanjar, albeit in ruins. Beautiful Byzantine-style arches on Roman-style Corinthian columns (reused from nearby Roman ruins) define where the central courtyard of this Omayyad palace once stood. Elegant Byzantine motifs decorate the doorways. The combination of three distinct civilisations,...

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  • The Tetrapylon

    The four Corinthian columns of the Tetrapylon mark the centre of Aanjar. They were erected at the point of intersection of the cardo maximus with the decumanus maximus, the two avenues dividing the city into four quarters. Much like other Corinthian columns in Aanjar, these were transported from nearby Roman ruins, probably from Baalbek, and reused...

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  • The Baths

    The main city baths are probably the first part of Aaanjar you will wnder around as they are just inside the main entrance, to the left, shaded by trees. They are very similar in style to Roman baths, having three main sections: a changing area, a bathing area and a sitting area. The floors were once completely covered with mosaics, but only two...

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  • Decumanus Maximus

    The decumanus maximus is the main east-west road through the city, and intersects with the cardo maximus at the tetrapylon. It is a bit more neglected and overgrown than the cardo maximus.

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  • The Tetrapylon

    A tetrapylon is an arrangement of four groups of four columns, marking the intersection of the two main roads, the cardo maximus and the decumanus, at the centre of classical cities. The one at Aanjar is actually quite similar to the one at Palmyra., but only one of the four sets of columns is still standing.

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  • Cardo Maximus

    The cardo maximus was the main street of Aanjar. It was not dissimilar from the high street of a modern town, and was lined with hundreds of small shops. You can still see these lining both sides of the street, and as I wandered in each one, I wondered what they once sold. I guess a lot of them sold local produce, such as olive oil and dried figs,...

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  • The Great Palace

    The great palace is the most impressive building at Aaanjar. It was built by Walid I, the sixth Umayyad caliph, early in the eighth century. One of the walls is still largely intact as well as some of the columns and arches, so it is easy to envisage how beautiful it must have looked 1300 years ago.

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  • City Walls

    Most of Aaanjar is surrounded by a sturdy city wall along which there are several defensive towers. This is the first thing you will see as you approach Aanjar and the last as you walk away.

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  • The Residential Area

    The main residential area, where the ordinary citizens of Aanjar lived, is to the right of the cardo maximus, as you walk in, on the opposite side to the palaces. As in most ancient cities I have visited, it is the most overgrown and neglected part of the site.

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  • The Shops

    Over 600 shops have been discovered at Aanjar, neatly lining the cardo maximus and decumanus maximus. They are all about the same size and most of them have just one entrance opening onto the mains street, although a few in the centre also have a rear entrance.

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  • The Little Palace

    The little palace was actually the royal harem of Aanjar. It is indeed smaller and in a more ruinous state than the caliph's great palace. but, if you examine it carefully, you can find some interesting little carvings of birds and foliage.

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  • Anjar ---the Umayyad city ruins

    Go early and enjoy these amazing ruins in peace and quiet.There are some problems with this site: some of the restoration is extremely debatable! Our guide told us that many experts believe that stones have been placed in totally inappropriate places. There are mosaics to be seen, mystery steps which seem to be facing the wrong direction and a...

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  • Aanjar, overview

    The location of Aanjar in the Beeka Valley with the Lebanon and Chouf mountains at the background is wonderful.Except the most striking structures like the Omayyad palace and the tetrastyle, we saw remains of another palace, more arcades, baths, shops, houses and the wall and gates around the site.The site is open from 8 am till sunset.

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  • Umayyad palace with arches

    The most striking of the remains of the Umayyad palace in Aanjar are the elegant tiers of arches, that betray a Byzantnie touch.After the very Roman lay-out and outlook of Aanjar at first glance this palace was a nice surprise for us.We enjoyed the fact, that we were walking there alone during our visit and had all the opportunity and time to...

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  • Aanjar, Umayyad palace

    The most striking and beautiful building in the Aanjar site you can find in the south east part, the great Umayyad palace, residence of the khalifs.The great palace has an impressive structure. Around the quadrangular courtyard of 20 M lenght were high, graceful arches in a kind of Byzantine style.

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  • Aanjar, tetra style

    The Cardo Maximus and the Decumanus Maximus were flanked by hundreds of shops in the old days with wide arcades in front.The columns of the arcades were all different in size and type and crowned with different capitals too, most looking byzantine.600 shops are still uncovered.At the crossing of the two mainstreets stands the Tetrapylon,...

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`Anjar Restaurants

  • by marcopaulette Written Jun 6, 2006

    The restaurant is next to water cascades, so you can hear the waterfall as you eat and it gives you a sense of coolness and freshness. It is a family restaurant, so expect children to be playing around. They have they own playground, though. The food is very good, they have all the traditionnal mezzé dishes such as hommos, foul, tajin, grape leaves, etc, but also trouts, kebab choices and frog legs, if you like this delicacy. The service, as always in Lebanese restaurants, is fast and efficient.

    Favorite Dish: Trouts are a specialty in the region, they are worth trying for basic healthy food.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

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`Anjar Transportation

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo

    by MalenaN Written Jul 6, 2005

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    To go to Aanjar you take a minibus from Cola station to Chtaura, where you change to a service taxi. To go to Cola station I paid 1000 LL for the service taxi (I said alf (1000) as I stopped it but thought the driver was going to say 2000 LL, which he didn't). The minibus from Cola to Chtaura was 3000 LL and it took about 1 hour. The service taxi to Aanjar from Chtaura was 2000 LL (and that was what everyone had told me). Leaving Aanjar the man at the ruins said I should pay only 1000 LL for the service to go back to Chtaura. To get the service back I walked down to the main road and there I just waited a few minutes before a service came. Back in Chtaura the bus was just about to leave for Beirut.
    Back in Beirut I wanted to go to Hamra. From Cola there are three city buses going there, number 1, 3 and 12. The city bus cost 500 LL.

    Road signs in three languages
    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Road Trip
    • Budget Travel

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`Anjar Warnings and Dangers

  • uglyscot's Profile Photo

    by uglyscot Written Aug 4, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When visiting 'Anjar , and any archaeological site for that matter, it is not ethical to remove anything from the site.
    When we were at 'Anjar one of the party picked up a piece of broken pottery , a potsherd, and was holding when when one of the site guides, not our guide, was giving a short lecture. He noticed she was holding it and started shouting at her, saying it was forbidden to take anything from the site, because at some future date archaeologists might try to put things together.
    The poor girl was mortified.
    Tour guides should warn their clients of this beforehand.

    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel

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`Anjar Off The Beaten Path

  • Majdal Aanjar

    About 3km south of Aanjar lies the small village of Majdal Aanjar with a small acropolis containing a Roman temple in partial ruins. The temple, which was built on a hill towering above the village, is thought to occupy the site that had been used for worship since before the arrival of the Romans. It is said that the temple contains some...

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  • Inscription on column

    There is a lone column, with a Greco-Roman inscription on it. It used to stand at the entrance of a Byzantine church, but was later re-erected here. The inscription states that criminals and other undesirables are forbidden to enter here.

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  • Beeka Valley, lake of Qaraoun

    After our visit to Aanjar we drove further to the south in the Beeka Valley. First along the Chouf Mountains at the westside of the Valley. The landscape is very scenic, many rocks, small fields in between and a lot of goats. Looking to the east, we had a lovely view at the Lake of Qaraoun. We continued our way around the lake and had a stop at the...

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