24 January 2013

Aleppo's Ancient Architecture

Aleppo is the biggest city and economic hub of Syria. It is also one the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. It possibly dates back to the sixth millennium BC. It was one of the cities on the Silk route and so it has a long history of trade.

After the Suez canal was constructed, trade was diverted to the sea, and trade in Aleppo slowed down. But this meant that the medieval architecture and traditional heritage of the old city was preserved, that is, until the recent war started destroying it.

Throughout history, Aleppo has been ruled by Romans, Byzantines, Seljuqs, Mamluks and Ottomans.[1] So there is various architectural styles. The old city is characterized with large mansions, narrow alleys and covered souqs

The old city is characterized with its large mansions, narrow alleys and covered souqs. There are also various 13th and 14th century constructions in the ancient city, such as such as khans, Quranic schools, hammams (Turkish baths) and religious buildings

There numerous 16th and 17th-century houses of the Aleppine bourgeoisie, featuring stone engravings, there is  Baroque architecture of the 19th and early 20th centuries; there is even Neo-classic, Norman, Oriental and even Chinese architecture.[2]

As Aleppo was constantly subjected to invasions and political instability, the inhabitants built cell-like quarters and districts that were socially and economically independent. Each district was distinguished by the religious and ethnic characteristics of its inhabitants.

The Syrian uprising began on 15 March 2011. Damascus and Aleppo were largely uninvolved until 19 July 2012, when rebel forces stormed the city in a battle for control, against Bashar al-Assad's government army.


  1. The city is so grey... it looks almost like a city from Eastern Europe or some other former Soviet country...

  2. Replies
    1. Yeah, it really was quite old and beautiful. I shudder to think what it looks like now, after almost two years of shelling as a result of the civil war. Poo! :(

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  4. I've been in Aleppo and Damascus before the civil war, and I know how beautiful the architechture is in these two cities. I hope I can visit both again.

    1. Hi Arash, thanks for your comment. Yes, I hope Syria will soon have peace and that we can all visit again.


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