The beautiful, burning souk of Aleppo

I arrived in Aleppo, Syria at about 6am on the morning of Eid-ul-Fitr in 2003. Eid is the Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Most places were closed, so I spent the first few hours of the day walking around with my backpack until I found the most horrible room I have ever stayed in. Let me put it this way,
you could shower and go to the toilet at the same time. It cost $1 per night.

After I got “settled,” I somehow wondered into Al-Madina Souq, in the walled, ancient old city. The covered souk (“market”) is in the heart of the city. It’s approximately 13 kilometres long and one of the largest covered souks in the world. And as with all souks in the Middle East, you can find pretty much anything there.

The Old City of Aleppo has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. I was very sad to hear about the Syrian uprising and civil war, which is now destroying it. Major attacks launched by the Free Syrian Army on 25 September 2012 resulted in the destruction, ruin and burning of many sections of Souq al-Medina and other medieval buildings.

[Below] This guy had a nice, white ass.

The souq is (was) an active trade centre for imported luxury goods, such as: spices and dyes from India, coffee from Damascus, and raw silk from Iran. Local products include wool, agricultural products and soap.

[Below] Try telling these guys that sewing is for sissies.

[Below] CD's and DVD's. This was before the Justin Bieber era, so these guys were probably discussing their favourite track on the latest Britney Spears album. I think she was still relatively normal back then.

[Below] A Syrian water fountain and cup, complete with herpes. This is at the entrance to the markets, embedded in the wall. Really cool.

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