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Aanjar - A view from our expert author
The ruins in Aanjar are a must-see for any visit to the Bekaa Valley © Paul Doyle
The town evokes a splendid aura of peace and tranquillity, set in very picturesque surroundings against the snowy backdrop of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains.
With an area of only some 20km2, Aanjar is more a village than a town. Around 58km from Beirut and close to the Syrian border, the area takes its name from a large spring, Ain Gerrha, a few kilometres northeast of Aanjar’s main archaeological site. It is also often referred to locally as Haouch Moussa or Moses’ Farm. It has a small, almost exclusively Armenian, population numbering around 2,500 and was settled by those fleeing the 1915 genocide in Turkey, and their descendants.
Today the town evokes a splendid aura of peace and tranquillity, set in very picturesque surroundings against the snowy backdrop of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains, and offers some fine waterside dining of mezze, Armenian food and the local speciality, farmed trout, at many of its restaurants. But the main draw of Aanjar is its much earlier historical settlement built during the Umayyad period, which has left a beautiful and unique architectural legacy from the earliest years of Islamic rule.