Aanjar, 58 kilometers from Beirut, is completely different from any other archaeological experience you'll have in Lebanon. At other historical sites in the country, different epochs and civilizations are superimposed one on top of the other. Aanjar is exclusively one period, the Umayyad.
Lebanon's other sites were founded millennia ago, but Aanjar is a relative newcomer, going back to the early 8th century A.D. Unlike Tyre and Byblos, which claim continuous habitation since the day they were founded, Aanjar flourished for only a few decades. Other than a small Umayyad mosque in Baalbeck, we have few other remnants from this important period of Arab history.
Aanjar also stands unique as the only historic example of an inland commercial center. The city benefited from its strategic position on intersecting trade routes leading to Damascus, Homs, Baalbeck and to the South. This almost perfect quadrilateral of ruins lies in the midst of some of the richest agricultural land in Lebanon. It is only a short distance from gushing springs and one of the important sources of the Litani River.
Today's name, Aanjar, comes from the Arabic Ain Gerrha, ''the source of Gerrha'', the name of an ancient city founded in this area by the Arab Ituraens during Hellenistic times. Aanjar has a special beauty. The city's slender columns and fragile arches stand in contrast to the massive bulk of the nearby Anti-Lebanon mountains, an eerie background for Aanjar's extensive ruins and the
memories of its short but energetic moment in history.
Aanjar is open daily. Close to the ruins of Aanjar are a number of restaurants which offer fresh trout plus a full array of Lebanese and Armenian dishes.
Some of the restaurants are literally built over the trout ponds. Aanjar has no hotels but lodging can be found in Chtaura 15 kilometers away.