Set 36 miles (58 km) outside the capital city of Beirut, the ancient city of Anjar is literally a Lebanon attraction unlike any other. While many of the ruins in Lebanon existed under a multitude of rulers, the fortified city of Anjar was occupied solely by the Umayyad dynasty during the 8th century AD when it flourished for a mere number of decades. This city's Opulent rulers eventually fell to the Abbasids, but at one point their influence stretched from the valleys of India to the shores of southern France. With the exception of a mosque in nearby Baalbek, Anjar is the only place in Lebanon which provides an example of the Umayyad period.
Located in the fertile Beqaa valley amid the Anti-Lebanon mountains and along a prosperous trade route between Beirut and Damascus, Anjar made a perfect summer retreat for the ruling dynasty.
Chic, sexy and ultra-modern, downtown Beirut can once again be considered the “pearl of the Middle East”. A booming coastal metropolis in the midst of an economic revival, a city once divided by 15 years of civil war is now home to high end stores, trendy restaurants, and a modern population living among thousands of years of history.
Travelers to Beirut can relish in the simple pleasure of sipping a thick coffee at an outdoor café or people watching along the Corniche, a three-mile coastal promenade where bullet holes still riddle the well-manicured palm trees. Visitors can similarly amble along the newly constructed Zaitunay Bay esplanade where private yachts moored offshore bear witness to Beirut’s surging wealth.
Though Beirut has no shortage of easy transport, travelers can take pleasure in strolling in the pedestrian mall around Nejmeh Square and gawk at the masterfully planned architecture.