Tourbet el Mtâoulé

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    • Day 10

      Ain Jar

      November 30, 2021 in Lebanon ⋅ ☁️ 24 °C

      Ancient Ain Jar (modern Anjar) is the only Umayyad city in Lebanon. It was founded in the early 8th century but lasted only about 50 years until the founder died and his heirs fought over the city, destroying it. It remained abandoned and buried until the early 20th century when Armenian refugees escaping the genocide settled here. They found the ruins when they started digging foundations for homes.
      Ain Jar means water source of flowing water and was named for the abundant water here. The Umayyads settled here for the water and proximity to Damascus, their home. (It's less than 7 km to the Syrian border.)
      As they had little if any knowledge of planning, engineering or construction, they hired Romans and Byzantines to build their city. Hence they have very Roman city: entirely on a grid with walls, defensive towers etc.
      The 1st picture looks along the Cardo Maximus or main street. There would have been a colonnade on both side with shops on the ground floor and residences above. I'm told there were 285 shops here. If you look closely, you can see openings along the center of the street. This is the 8th century drainage system that still works
      The 2nd picture is the grand palace we're the city was administered and the founder like bed. The 3rd picture is a niche in the Palace courtyard where a guard would stand. You can just make out the carvings of palm trees and camels, the symbols of the Umayyads. The 4th picture looks over the ruins of their mosque. The 5th picture is of the lesser palace or harem. And the last picture is over a Roman style bath house.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Tourbet el Mtâoulé, Tourbet el Mtaoule

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