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December 22, 2010

Anjar (Arabic: عنجر‎‎, meaning "unresolved or the running river"), also known as Haoush Mousa (Arabic: حوش موسى‎ / Ḥawsh Mūsá), is a town of Lebanon located in the Bekaa Valley. Some assume Anjar means unresolved in Armenian; however the name is coming from the Arabic meaning, which is the running river. The population is about 2,400, consisting almost entirely of Armenians. The total area of its territory is about twenty square kilometers (7.7 square miles). In the summer, the population swells to 3,500, as members of the Armenian diaspora return to visit there.


Anjar was resettled in 1939 with several thousand Armenian refugees from the Musa Dagh area of Turkey. Its six neighborhoods are named after the six villages of Musa Dagh. The refugees were aided by the French government.

Anjar's six neighborhoods are:

  • Haji Hababli
  • Kabusia
  • Vakif
  • Khodr Bek
  • Yoghun Oluk
  • Bitias

Anjar also contains a special sector containing the Anjar antiquities and ruins.

Religion and Education

The majority of Anjar's Armenians are Armenian Apostolics (Orthodox) and belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church and Holy See of Cilicia. Armenian Apostolic Saint Paul Church is the second largest Armenian church in LebanonThe Armenian Apostolic community has its own school now known as "Haratch Calouste Gulbenkian Secondary School". In 1940, by the initiative and zealous efforts of the chief editor of the Armenian Haratch newspaper in Paris, Mr. Shavarsh Missakian, who organized a contribution campaign among the Armenians living in France, the "Haratch" Elementary School was built next to the newly established St.Paul church. The school was considered a gift from the Armenians living in France. The official opening of the school took place in 1941. The administration of the "Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation" made donations for expansions and new building for the school and the school was named in the name of Calouste Gulbenkian as Calouste Gulbenkian Secondary School

There are also minorities of Armenian Catholics. Our Lady of the Rosary Armenian Catholic Church in Anjar serves as church for the Armenian Catholics who also run the Armenian Catholic Sisters School. In the beginning, the school had two divisions, St. Hovsep for the male students and Sisters of Immaculate Conception for the female students. In 1954, these two departments were united. 1973 saw the official opening of the Aghajanian Orphan House, already serving as an Armenian Catholic orphanage since 1968.

The Armenian Evangelical Church of Anjar is in operation to serve Anjar's small Armenian Evamgelical community. Very notably the Protestant community had its secondary school. The school started in 1948 by Sister Hedwig Aienshanslin as part of her missionary work in Anjar. In 1953, the school, which had already become an intermediate school, was promoted into a secondary school. It has day classes as well as boarding faciliies for students from other regions who stay there throughout the winter.

Anjar Antiquities

Formerly known as Gerrha, a stronghold built by Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid ibn Abdel Malek in the 8th century, the site was later abandoned, leaving a number of well-preserved ruins. (The present-day name derives from Arabic Ayn Gerrha, or "source of Gerrha".) The famous Umayyad ruins are now a World Heritage Site.

Anjar during the Lebanese Civil War

The Syrian Army chose it as one of its main military bases in the Beqaa Valley and more disturbingly in the eyes of most Lebanese as the headquarters of its feared intelligence services. The Syrians have since then withdrawn from the town. This has caused great economic hardships for the people of Anjar. During the civil war Komandan and his allies were instramental in the defence of the town against any arab disturbance.

Anjar Today

The people of Anjar are eager to make their town a major Lebanese tourist attraction once again. It has been made more difficult because of the widespread fear of the Middle East by most Westerners.


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