Aleppo

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Reported on:
Mon, 09/23/2013 - 11:00
Thousands Years Of History and Shopping

How do you summarize almost 10,000 years of history? It’s not easy to say the least; and archaeologists haven’t even begun to decipher the long history of Syria’s city of Aleppo; and the city is still going strong.

The entire region of Aleppo has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and experts are constantly finding out more and more about this ancient and exciting city.

Because of Aleppo’s long history you’ll find a myriad of architectural styles. There’s everything from 19th century Baroque, to the medieval, with Chinese and Normal styles, too. Within the Aleppo region you’ll even find remnants of ancient Christian Byzantine architecture and a 4th century Roman basilica, as well.

Aleppo’s Citadel (a castle, actually) is one of the best examples of medieval architecture in the world, found right in the center of the Old City. Oh, it’s a museum, too.

Another awesome museum in Aleppos is the Popular Traditions Museum, housed in a fantastically restored 18th century building.

Even older is the Central Synagogue of Aleppo, built in the 9th century. It was destroyed and rebuilt several times over the last ten centuries; and recently renovated in the 21st century.

As with many ancient cities, Aleppo is a walled city with nine entry gates; many of which are still preserved today with names like the Bab al-Hadid, Bab al-Nairab, and Bab al-Faraj.

Since Syria is a Muslim country there are many mosques throughout Aleppo. The Al-Sahibiyah Mosque was built in the mid-14th century, the Al-Otrush in 1409, and in the Great Mosque of Aleppo (b. 715) houses the tomb of John the Baptist’s father, Zachary.

There aren’t many festivals in Aleppo, but the ones it does have are utterly smashing. The Syrian Song Festival is a blessing to the ears; and the Silk Road Festival is a celebration of the town’s former location on this ancient trade route.

Shopping was always big in Aleppo, which is why you’ll find a 13km long suq (or Medina) where you’ll find all sorts of locally grown/made goods, raw silk (Aleppo was on the old Silk Road), spices, and coffee; which is pretty strong if you’re not used to it.

But, with all the sites to see in Ancient Aleppo, you’ll have plenty of time to get used to it.