The anisotropic nature of intra-arterial echographic images is reported, and the source of this anisotropy is investigated using postmortem human iliac arteries. A 27 MHz transducer, mounted on an ultrasonic microscope, is used to quantify the angular dependence of the backscatter power versus the angle of incidence, and these results are correlated with histological findings. Besides the observed differences in the acoustic response of morphologically different tissues, significant variations in backscatter power are found in both media and internal elastic lamina due to variations in the angle of incidence. This angle dependence is caused by the dominant orientation of fibers in tissue layers and by the shape and size various scattering particles. The results indicate that long microscopic structures with one main orientation are responsible for the backscattered signal and that the angular-dependent response is related to the histologically determined orientation of these fibers. These results may have an impact on the assessment of intra-arterial echographic images.