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Syrian Cities

Southern Provinces

Damascus
Historical Spots of Damascus
Damascus Province

Mid-West Provinces

Homs
Palmyra
Hama
Apamea
Syrian Coast
Summer resorts
Historical Spots

North-Eastern Provinces

Aleppo
Raqa
Deir Ezzor

 


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'.
 

Ever 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.
 

VISITING ALEPPO

  • The Aleppo Citadel

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 militarily architecture.

  • 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 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 (Soap).

Places 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 in Damascus.
-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.

- Qala'at Samaan (St. Simeon)

  • The Church of Qalb Lawzi (Idleb)

  • Ebla (tel Mardikh- Idleb)

  • Palaces of Semi Desert

     

  • Rasafeh

  • 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 onwards.
     

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