The Great Palace at Anjar was built in the 8th century A.D. during the first Islamic dynasty, the Umayyad. That dynasty was defeated by its rival, the Abbasids, a hundred years later, and the city fell into ruin and was abandoned.
The ruins at Anjar were discovered by accident in 1949 when the swampy region was being drained to plant trees. In addition to the palace, the ruins include the predecessor of a modern-day shopping mall: a colonnade with approximately 600 shops.
Experts consider the architecture at Anjar to be unique, because of its blend of Roman design and Byzantine building techniques. The palaces feature arches and columns made of alternating layers of stone and brick, which might have been meant to prevent damage during earthquakes.