Records show that Aleppo (or Haleb as it is called locally), was an important city already around 1800 BCE. Aleppo became an important and strategic place in the Middle East since the Roman Empire. It has been a linchpin in the Ottoman Empire, and still now continues to serve as a crossroads between Syria, Lebanon and countries more to the South, and Turkey and the countries to the North. It was an important trading city, and served for traders from the South to move North, and traders from the North to move South.
Nowadays, Aleppo has been rediscovered as a trading city, especially for tradesmen from the former Soviet republics. Many places have signs in Russian. While the main attraction of the city might be the citadel, Aleppo has other, hidden areas that deserve a visit. There is the Christian quarter, where you can find old coble-stoned streets, a small souq and various churches and cathedrals. Besides, it has a strong Armenian influence which for instance shows in Armenian signs.
While Aleppo now is large city with more than one million inhabitants, its old city centre is still fairly small and can easily be explored on foot. Apart from the Christian quarter, the most interesting places in Aleppo are the enormous souq, which runs under a roof and where you can find anything from colourful spices and fresh meat, to oil lamps and jewellery. Then there are mosques - unfortunately, the Grand Mosque was under complete reconstruction when I visited. Close to the Citadel, there is a traditional hammam where you can have a bath and massage. Apart from these sights, another asset of Aleppo is the very friendly population which is always curious to talk to you, help you and make you feel at home.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Aleppo (Syria). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Aleppo. Read more about this site.