Distance between the Syrian Cities
Flag and Anthem
Historical Spots of Damascus
This is the second capital of Syria (350 km north of
Damascus), and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in
history. Abraham is said to have camped on the acropolis which, long
before his time, served as the foundation of a fortress (where the
Aleppo citadel is standing now). He milked his grey cow there, hence
Aleppo's name:'Halab al-Shahba'.
since the 3rd millennium B.C., Aleppo has been a flourishing city,
with a unique strategic position. This position gave the city a
distinctive role from the days of the Akkadian and Amorite kingdoms
until modern times. It was the meeting-point of several important
commercial roads in the north. This enabled Aleppo to be the link in
trade between Mesopotamia, the Fertile Crescent and Egypt.
The Amorites made it their capital in the 18th century B.C.
50 m above the 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.
The citadel's fortified entrance is a marvelous example of Arab
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 are named after various
crafts: hence, we find the souq of gold, the souq of copper, cotton,
etc. Traditionally, there is always a fountain in the centre and
sometimes a little garden planted with jasmine and roses. Most of
these souqs date back to the 15th century. They are living museums
which depict mediaeval life.
The khans (caravanserai) are in the same area as the souqs, since
they were used for the accommodation of traders and their goods.
These khans are characterised by their beautiful facades and
entrances, their high arches and fortified wooden doors. Some of
these khans are:Jumruk (Customs), Wazir (Minister) and Saboun
to visit in Aleppo:
-The National Museum; this includes in particular
documents and relics from Ebla and Mari.
-Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions.
-al-Jami' al-Kabir (The Great Mosque), similar to the Omayyad mosque
-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.
It is located south of the Euphrates and north of the
Syrian semi-desert, 160 km south-east of Aleppo and 30 km south of
the Aleppo-Raqqa road.
Rasafeh palace was the residence of Hisham ibn Abdul Malik, the
third Omayyad Caliph, whose age was a golden one, due to his great
interest in the arts and in architecture. He had several palaces
built in various parts of Syria. He was in favor of simplicity and
modesty; this is why he chose Rasafeh as his residence. There, he
died and was buried.
The palace was originally a church, built to commemorate a Roman
officer (St.Sergius), who died in defense of Christianity in the 4th
century. In 616, the church was invaded by the Persians, robbed and
destroyed. When Hisham ibn Abdul Malik became a caliph in the 8th
century, he built two beautiful palaces on its site. Later, the
Abbassids invaded and destroyed what the Caliph Hisham had built.
Very little of the ruins of the Mar Sarkis church remain. Parts of
the church have been used as a mosque; inscriptions in both Arabic
and Greek, engraved on the walls, indicate that the Christians and
the Muslims co-existed peacefully in Syria from the 13th century