Located in a corner of the Biqāʿ Valley, midway along the ancient route linking Beirut to Damascus, ʿAnjar remains one of the most significant—though least understood—Umayyad foundations in Greater Syria. With a plan shaped in strict accordance with the criteria of Hippodamian urbanism, the town constitutes a unique trait d’union between the classical urban tradition and the foundations of the early Islamic empire. This notwithstanding, and despite the importance of the site having been recognized and emphasized by many scholars, its origins, history, purpose, and patronage remain major enigmas in the field. This paper will discuss some insights surfaced from an analysis of the mosque‒dār al-imāra complex in ʿAnjar with the aim to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the site’s use and meaning in the Marwānid period.
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