has been a prosperous
city since the 3rd millennium BC and has maintained its status through town
development and an increasing population.
Aleppo has played a vital role
in the history of the area from time of
Kingdoms. Until recently Aleppo has always been the center of the junction of
the ancient trade routes.
Aleppo is famous for its
with medieval fortress and the extraordinary souks (bazaars) with every
conceivable kind of article for sale.
Aleppo is also the second largest
city in Syria. It was and still the far distant trade center when
mentioned it in Macbeth and Othello.
The old city of
surrounded by a
incorporating defense towers and fortified gates built during the
period. A large part of Aleppo wall still standing.
Aleppo is also known for
its mosques and churches and is considered the third
city in the Islamic world because of the number of its mosques and schools.
contains exhibits from the stone age to modern times.
Aleppo has particularly interesting collection of
antiquities from some of the most ancient sites in Syria including Mari,
Ugarit, and Ebla, as well as objects found in the
Halaf and Ein Dara, in addition to remains from Greek, Roman, Arab and
above the Aleppo city, a ring of crenellated walls and towers rises
from a steep glacis, encircling a mass of ruins from every
period. It has always been extremely important, both
strategically and militarily. It was built in the days of Sayf
al-Dawla al-Hamadani, on the remains of earlier civilizations.
fortified entrance is a marvelous example of Arab military architecture. On
the north and south sides of Aleppo citadel, great towers rise above the moat. This moat, 20m
deep and 30m wide, emphasizes the fortress's proud isolation.
The main parts of
Aleppo citadel are: The throne room, the bathroom, the small mosque (Ibrahim's
mosque), the great mosque built in 1213 whose square minaret is 21 m high
and from which can be seen a splendid view. Inside Aleppo citadel there is a
small museum that contains relics uncovered during restoration and
also are the high walls of ancient Aleppo, with their fortified doors (Hadid
, Antakia, and Qinsrin) which are a fine example of Islamic military
Souqs and Commercial khans
In terms of
spaciousness and originality, the covered souqs of Aleppo, which extend for
more than 10 km, are the most striking in any Islamic city. The souqs of
named after the various crafts: hence, we find the souq of gold, the souq of
copper, cotton, etc. Traditionally, there is always a fountain in the center
and sometimes a little garden planted with jasmine and roses. Most of Aleppo souqs date back to the 15th century. They are living museums which depict
Aleppo khans (caravanserai) are
in the same area as Aleppo souqs, since they were used for
the accommodation of traders and their goods. These khans arte characterized
by their beautiful facades and entrances, their high arches and fortified
wooden doors. Some of these 'khans are: Jumruk (Customs), Wazir (Minister)
and Saboun (Soap).
Qal'at Sam'an (Saint
Simon) in aleppo
This citadel is 60 km north-west of Aleppo. It was named after the hermit
Saint Simon (Sam'an), a shepherd from northern Syria, who became a monk
after a revelation in a dream. Following Saint Simon's death in 459, the
Emperor Zenon ordered that a cathedral be built where the saint used to
The layout was original, centering on the famous column from which Saint
Simon used to preach. Four basilicas, arranged in the shape of a cross,
opened into an octagon covered by a dome, in the center of which stood the
It is a beautiful church built on the ridge of the hill where Saint
Simon had taken up "residence". Simplicity and harmony combine to make the
ruins of the Basilica of St. Simon (an earthquake destroyed parts of the
church less than half a century after it had been built) a masterpiece of
pre-Islamic art in Syria.
In the 10th century, some towers and walls were erected. It was then
called "Qal'at Sam'an" (Simon's Citadel). It became the center of conflict
between Byzantium and the Hamadani kingdom; in 986, the son of Sayf al-Dawla
al-Hamadani finally captured it.
Places to visit in Aleppo
- The National Museum; this includes in particular documents and relics from
Ebla and Mari.
Aleppo Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions.
- Al-Jami' al-Kabir (The Great Mosque), similar to the Omayyad mosque in
Aleppo Old schools, churches, mosques, baths and ancient houses, some dating back
to the 15th century, like the al-Bunduqiah (Venetian) Consulate, which
contains superb ornaments and antiquities.