Aleppo: Wikis


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Nickname(s): Al-Shahbaa
Aleppo is located in Syria
Location in Syria
Coordinates: 36°13′N 37°10′E / 36.217°N 37.167°E / 36.217; 37.167
Country  Syria
Governorate Aleppo Governorate
District Jabal Sam'an
 - Head of Municipality Ma'an Al-Shibli
 - Total 220 km2 (84.9 sq mi)
Elevation 379 m (1,243 ft)
Population (2008 estimate)
 - Total 3,000,000
Area code(s) 21
Website Aleppo Municipality

Aleppo (Arabic: حلب[ˈħalab], Turkish: Halep, other names) is a city in northern Syria, the second largest Syrian city and the capital of the Aleppo Governorate; the Governorate extends around the city, covering an area of 18,482 km² with a population of more than 5,315,000 (2008 estimate),[1] making it the largest Governorate in Syria by population. Aleppo is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world; it knew human settlement since the eleventh millennium B.C. through the residential houses that were discovered in Tell Qaramel.[2] It occupies a strategic trading point midway between the Mediterranean Sea and the Euphrates. Initially, Aleppo was built on a small group of hills surrounding the prominent hill where the castle is erected.[3] The small river Quwēq (قويق) runs through the city.

For centuries and as recently as the 19th, Aleppo was Greater Syria's largest city, and the Ottoman Empire's third, after Constantinople and Cairo. Although relatively close to Damascus in distance, Aleppo is distinct in identity, architecture and culture, all shaped by a markedly different history and geography.

The city's significance in history has been its location at the end of the Asian Silk Road that passed through central Asia and Mesopotamia. When the Suez Canal was inaugurated in 1869, trade was diverted to sea and Aleppo began its slow decline. At the fall of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, Aleppo ceded its northern hinterland to modern Turkey, as well as the important railway connecting it to Mosul. Then in the 1940s it lost its main access to the sea, Antioch and Alexandretta (Iskenderun), also to Turkey. Finally, the isolation of Syria in the past few decades further exacerbated the situation. Though perhaps it is this very decline that has helped to preserve the old city of Aleppo, its mediaeval architecture and traditional heritage. Aleppo is now experiencing a noticeable revival and is slowly returning to the spotlight. It recently won the title of the "Islamic Capital of Culture 2006", and has also witnessed a wave of successful restorations of its treasured monuments.



Coin of the Umayyad Caliphate, based on a Sassanian prototype, copper falus, Aleppo, Syria, circa 695 CE.

Aleppo was known to antiquity as Khalpe, Khalibon, and to the Greeks as Beroea. During the Crusades, and again during the French Mandate, the name Alep was used: "Aleppo" is an Italianised version of this. However, the ancient name of the city, Halab, is of obscure origin. Some have proposed that Halab means 'iron' or 'copper' in Amorite languages since it was a major source of these metals in antiquity. Halaba in Aramaic means white, referring to the color of soil and marble abundant in the area. Another proposed etymology is that the name Halab means "gave out milk," coming from the ancient tradition that Abraham gave milk to travelers as they moved throughout the region [1] (p. 53). The colour of his cows was ashen (Arab. shaheb), therefore the city is also called "Halab ash-Shahba'" (he milked the ash-coloured).


Because the modern city occupies its ancient site, Aleppo has scarcely been touched by archaeologists. The site has been occupied from around 5000 BC, as excavations in Tallet Alsauda show. It grew as the capital of the kingdom of Yamkhad until the ruling Amorite Dynasty was overthrown around 1600 BC. The city remained under Hittite control until perhaps 800 BC before passing through the hands of the Assyrians and the Persian Empire. Alexander the Great took over the city in 333 BC, where Seleucus Nicator changed the name of the settlement into Beroea, after Beroea in Macedon. Aleppo remained under Greek rule for 300 years before becoming ruled by the Roman Empire, when the Romans conquered Syria in 64 BC.

The city remained part of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire before falling to Arabs under Khalid ibn al-Walid in 637. In 944, it became the seat of an independent Emirate under the Hamdanid prince Sayf al-Daula, and enjoyed a period of great prosperity, being home to the great poet al-Mutanabbi and the philosopher and polymath al-Farabi. The city was sacked by a resurgent Byzantine Empire in 962, while Byzantine forces occupied it briefly from 974 to 987. The city and its Emirate became an Imperial vassal from 969 until the Byzantine-Seljuk Wars. The city was twice besieged by the Crusaders—in 1098 and in 1124—but was not conquered.

On August 9, 1138, a deadly earthquake ravaged the city and the surrounding area. Although estimates from this time are very unreliable, it is believed that 230,000 people died, making it the fifth deadliest earthquake in recorded history.

The city came under the control of Saladin and then the Ayyubid Dynasty from 1183.

Ancient City of Aleppo*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

State Party  Syria
Type Cultural
Criteria iii, iv
Reference 21
Region** List of World Heritage Sites in the Arab States
Inscription history
Inscription 1986  (10th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

On January 24,[4] 1260 the city was taken by the Mongols under Hulagu in alliance with their vassals the Frank knights of the ruler of Antioch Bohemond VI and his father-in-law the Armenian ruler Hetoum I.[5] The city was bravely defended by Turanshah, but the walls fell after six days of bombardment, and the citadel fell four weeks later. The Muslim population was massacred, though the Christians were spared. Turanshah was shown unusual respect by the Mongols, and was allowed to live because of his age and bravery. The city was then given to the former Emir of Homs, al-Ashraf, and a Mongol garrison was established in the city. Some of the spoils were also given to Hethoum I for his assistance in the attack. The Mongol Army then continued on to Damascus, which surrendered, and the Mongols entered the city on March 1, 1260.

In September, the Egyptian Mamluks negotiated a treaty with the Franks of Acre which allowed them to pass through Crusader territory unmolested, and engaged the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut on September 3, 1260. The Mamluks won a decisive victory, killing the Mongols' Nestorian Christian general Kitbuqa, and five days later they had re-taken Damascus. Aleppo was recovered by the Muslims within a month, and a Mamluk governor placed to govern the city. Hulagu sent troops to try and recover Aleppo in December. They were able to massacre a large number of Muslims in retaliation for the death of Kitbuqa, but after a fortnight could make no other progress and had to retreat.[6]

The Mamluk governor of the city became insubordinate to the central Mamluk authority in Cairo, and in Autumn 1261 the Mamluk leader Baibars send an army to reclaim the city. In October 1271, the Mongols took the city again, attacking with 10,000 horsemen from Anatolia, and defeating the Turcoman troops who were defending Aleppo. The Mamluk garrisons fled to Hama, until Baibars came north again with his main army, and the Mongols retreated.[7]

On October 20, 1280, the Mongols took the city again, pillaging the markets and burning the mosques. The Muslim inhabitants fled for Damascus, where the Mamluk leader Qalawun assembled his forces. When his army advanced, the Mongols again retreated, back across the Euphrates. Aleppo returned to native control in 1317.[citation needed]

In 1400, the Mongol-Turkic leader Tamerlane captured the city again from the Mamluks.[8] He massacred many of the inhabitants, infamously ordering the building of a tower of 20,000 skulls outside the city.[9]

Aleppo in 1912, centered on its citadel mound

The city became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1516, when the city had around 50,000 inhabitants. Reference is made to the city in 1606 in William Shakespeare's 'Macbeth.' The witches torment the captain of the ship the Tiger which was headed to Aleppo from England but endured a 567 day voyage before returning unsuccessfully to port. Reference is also made to the city in Shakespeare's 'Othello' when Othello speaks his final words (ACT V, ii, 349f.): "Set you down this/And say besides that in Aleppo once,/Where a malignant and a turbanned Turk/Beat a Venitia and traduced the state,/I took by th' throat the circumcised dog/And smote him--thus!" (Arden Shakespeare Edition, 2004).

The city remained Ottoman until the empire's collapse, but was occasionally riven with internal feuds as well as attacks of the plague and later cholera from 1823. By 1901 its population was around 125,000. The city revived when it came under French colonial rule but slumped again following the decision to give Antioch to Turkey in 1938–1939.

Aleppo was named by the Islamic Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) as the capital of Islamic culture in 2006.[10]


There is a relatively clear division between old and new Aleppo. The older portions were contained within a wall, 5 km in circuit with nine gates. The huge medieval castle in the city – known as the Citadel of Aleppo – occupies the center of the city.


Historical Aleppo

The entrance of the Citadel

Historically, the old city of Aleppo was built around the acropolis where the citadel stands today. Aleppo flourished under many civilizations and developed a highly organized social, religious and economical structure early on in history. Being subjected to constant invasions and political instability, the inhabitants of the city were forced to build cell-like quarters and districts that were socially and economically independent. Each district was characterized by the religious and ethnic characteristics of its inhabitants. One of the finest examples of a cell-like quarter in Aleppo is Jdeydeh. After Timur Leng invaded Aleppo in 1400 and destroyed it, the Christians migrated out of city walls and established their own cell in the north western region of the city. The inhabitants of Jdeydeh, were mainly brokers who facilitated trade between foreign traders and local merchants. The quarter houses some of the finest churches, court yard houses and palaces, some of which were converted into museums, schools, hotels and restaurants.

Suqs and Khans

Entrance to the main suq (view from the citadel)
Inside the suq

The city's strategic trading position attracted settlers of all races and beliefs who wished to capitalize on the commercial roads that met in Aleppo from as far as China and Mesopotamia to the east, Europe to the west, and the fertile crescent and Egypt to the south. It is therefore not surprising to find the largest covered market, or suq, in the world in Aleppo with approximately 12 hectares. The Medina, as it is locally known, is an active trade centre for imported luxury goods, such as raw silk from Iran, spices and dyes from India, and coffee from Damascus. The Medina also is home to local products such as wool, agricultural products and soap. Most of the souqs date back to the 14th century and are named after various professions and crafts, hence the wool souq, the copper souq, and so on. Aside from trading, the souq accommodated the traders and their goods in khans (caravanserais) scattered in the souq. The khans also take their names after their location in the souq and function, and are characterized by their beautiful facades and entrances with fortified wooden doors.

The most important suqs include:

  • Suq Al-Attareen (Permufers Suq)
  • Suq Khan Al-Nahhaseen (Coopery Suq)
  • Suq Al-Haddadeen (Balcksmiths' Suq)
  • Suq Al-Saboun (Soap Suq)
  • Suq Al-Atiq (the Old Suq)
  • Al-Suweiqa (Suweiqa means small suq in Arabic)
  • Suq Al-Hokedun (Hokedun means the spiritual house in Armenian)

The most famous khans include:

  • Khan Al-Wazir
  • Khan Al-Harir (Silk Khan)
  • Khan Al-Shouneh
  • Khan Al-Gumrok
  • Khan Khayer Bek
  • Khan of Venetians

Historic buildings

Byzantine and lately Mamluk hall of the citadel
The Grand Seray d'Alep next to Khusruwiyah Mosque
  • The Citadel, a large fortress built atop a huge, partially artificial mound rising 50 m above the city. The current structure dates from the 13th century and had been extensively damaged by earthquakes, notably in 1822.
  • Madrasa Halawiye, built in 1124 on the original site of the Cathedral of St. Helen, where, according to tradition, a Roman temple stood also. Then Saint Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, built a great Byzantine cathedral there. When the Crusaders were pillaging the surrounding countryside, the city's chief judge converted St. Helena's cathedral into a mosque, and finally in the middle of the 12th century, Nur al-Din founded a madrasa or religious school here. Parts of the 6th century Christian construction, turned into an Islamic school after the Crusaders invasion, and including 6th century Byzantine columns, can be seen in the hall. It has also a fine 14th century mihrab.
  • Madrasa Faradis ("School of the Paradise"), defined "the most beautiful of the mosques of Aleppo".[11] It was built by the widow of malek Zahir in 1234–1237, then regent for Nasir Yusuf. Notable is the courtyard, which has a pool in the middle surrounded by arches with ancient columns, sporting capitals with a honeycomb pattern. The same style characterizes the domes of the prayer hall. Also fine is the mirhab, decorated with arabesque motifs.
  • Madrasa Moqaddamiye, the oldest theological school in the city (1168), with a porch sporting arabesque medallions. It was also converted to this use after the Crusades.
  • Madrasa Zahiriye (1217).
  • Madrasa Sultaniye, begun by malek Zahir and finished in 1223–1225 by his son al-Aziz. Noteworthy is the mirhab of the prayer room.
  • Madrasa Al-Uthmaniyah (1730).
  • Khanqah AL-Farafra, a 13th century sufi monastery (1237).
  • Bimaristan Arghun al-Kamili, an asylum which worked from 1354 until the early 20th century.
  • Beit Achiqbash, Beit Ghazaleh and Bait Dallal, 17th-18th centuries houses in the Jdeydeh quarter, showing fine decorations, nowadays turned into museums.
  • National Library of Aleppo.
  • Clock Tower of Bab Al Faraj.
  • Grand Seray d'Alep, the former seat of the governor of Aleppo.

Religious buildings

Minaret of the Great Mosque
Cathedral of the Forty Martyrs of the Armenian church
  • Great Mosque of Aleppo (Jāmi‘ Bani Omayya al-Kabīr), founded c. 715 by Umayyad caliph Walid I and most likely completed by his successor Suleyman. The building contains a tomb associated with Zachary, father of John the Baptist. Construction of the present structure for Nur al-Din commenced in 1158. However, it was damaged during the Mongol invasion of 1260, and was rebuilt. The 45 m-high tower (described as "the principal monument of medieval Syria")[11] was erected in 1090–1092 under the first Seljuk sultan, Tutush I. It has four façades with different styles.
  • Khusruwiyah Mosque completed in 1547, designed by the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan.
  • Al-Nuqtah Mosque ("Mosque of the drop [of blood]"), a Shī‘ah mosque, which contains a stone said to be marked by a drop of Husayn's blood. The site is believed to have previously been a monastery, which was converted into a mosque in 944.
  • al-Adeliye mosque, built in 1555 the governor of Aleppo Muhammed Pasha. It has a prayer hall preceded by an arcade, with a dome, a mihrab with local faience tiles.
  • Al-Saffahiyah mosque, erected in 1425, with a preciously decorated octagonal minaret.
  • the Ayyubid-era al-Tuteh Mosque, which includes the ancient Roman triumpal arch, which once marked the beginning of the decumanus. It has 12th century kufic inscription and decorations.
  • Al-Qaiqan Mosque ("Mosque of the Crows"), with two ancient columns in basalt near the entrance. It includes a stone block with a Hittite inscription.
  • The small funerary al-Otrush mosque, begun in 1403, in Mameluke style. It has a highly decorated entrance portal in the fine façade.
  • Altun Bogha Mosque (1318).
  • Al-Tavashi mosque (14th century, restored in 1537), with a great façade decorated with colonnettes.
  • Al-Shibani School-Church is an old Sunday school and church of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary located in the old city, currently used as museum and exhibition centre.
  • Cathedral of the Forty Martyrs an Armenia church of the 15th century located in Jdeydeh quarter.
  • Mar Assia Al-Hakim Syriac Catholic church of the 15th century in Jdeydeh.
  • Our Lady of Assumption Greek Orthodox church of the 15th century in Jdeydeh.
  • Many other churches in Jdeydeh Christian quarter such as the Maronite Saint Elias Cathedral, the Armenian Catholic Cathedral of Our Mother of Reliefs and the Melkite Greek Catholic Cathedral of Virgin Mary.
  • The Central Synagogue of Aleppo or Al-Bandara synagogue, built circa 1200 by the Jewish community; renovated recently by the efforts of Aleppine Jewish migrants in USA.


The old city of Aleppo has had nine historical gates:

  • Bab al-Hadid (باب الحديد) (Iron Gate).
  • Bab al-Maqam (باب المقام) (Gate of the Shrine).
  • Bab Antakeya (باب انطاكية) (Gate of Antioch).
  • Bab al-Nasr (باب النصر) (Victory Gate).
  • Bab al-Faraj (باب الفرج) (Gate of Deliverance).
  • Bab Qinnasrin (باب قنسرين) (Gate of Qinnasrin).
  • Bāb Jnēn (باب الجنان) (Gate of Gardens).
  • Bab al-Ahmar (باب الأحمر) (Red Gate).
  • Bab al-Nairab (باب النيرب) (Gate of Nairab).


Musicians from Aleppo, 18th century

Aleppo is considered one of the main centres of Arabic tradiional and classic music with the famous Aleppine Muwashshahs, Qududs and Maqams (religious and secular poetic-musical genres). Aleppines in general are fond of Arab classical music, the Tarab, and it is not a surprise that many artists from Aleppo are considered pioneers among the Arabs in classic and traditional music. The most prominent figures in this filed are Sabri Mdallal, Sabah Fakhri, Abed Azrie and Nour Mhanna. Aleppo hosts many music festivals every year, the most popular one is the Syrian Song Festival which is being organized every two years in the citadel amphitheatre. Many iconic artits of the Arab music like Sayed Darwish and Mohammed Abdel Wahab were visiting Aleppo to recognize the leagcy of Aleppine art and learn from its cultural heritage.

Threats to the ancient city

Randomly erected modern buildings within the old city

As an ancient trading centre, Aleppo has impressive suqs (shopping streets), khans (commercial courtyards), hammams (eastern baths), madrasas (religious schools), mosques and churches which are all in need of more care and preservation work. After World War II, the city was significantly redesigned; in 1952 the French architect André Gutton had a number of wide new roads cut through the city to allow easier passage for modern traffic. In the 1970s, large parts of the older city were demolished to allow for the construction of modern apartment blocks. As awareness for the need to preserve this unique cultural heritage, Gutton's master plan was finally abandoned in 1979 paving the way for UNESCO to declare the Old City of Aleppo a World Heritage Site in 1986. Several international institutions have joined efforts with local authorities to rehabilitate the old city of Aleppo by accommodating contemporary life while preserving the old one. However, the governorate and the municipality are implementing serious programmes directed towards the enhancement of the old city and Jdeydeh quarter.

Tourism and amusement

Hammam Al-Nahhaseen
The Public Park of Aleppo

Being one of the oldest cities in the world and a major centre on the ancient Silk Road, Aleppo has a number of impressive and attractive structures, in addition to the natural beauty of the region. The most splendid landmarks of the city around the citadel are the suqs, the old baths (hammams), the khans with numerous religious and cultural centres. On the other hand, the city has a large number of different modern facilities which attract tourists from all over the world, such as many luxurious hotels, casinos, bars and restaurants with their famous Aleppine foods and kebabs (grills). Many old Arabic and Armenian houses in the old city and Jdeydeh quarter are redesigned nowadays, to be used as oriental hotels, piano bars, pubs and restaurants.

  • Famous hammams of Aleppo include: Hammam Yalbugha Al-Nassiri, Hammam Al-Nahhaseen and Hammam Bab Al-Ahmar.
  • The Public Park of Aleppo which was opened in the 1940s is the largest in Syria. It is located in Aziziyeh area, where Quwēq river breaks through the green park.
  • Museums: The National Museum of Aleppo is a journey throughout the history of Syrian civilizations, while the Aleppine House or Beit Achiqbash in Jdeydeh is the museum of popular traditions of Aleppo. The old Armenian church of the Holy Mother of God is curruntly turned into the Zarehian Museum of the Armenian Apostolic Church, also located in Jdeydeh quarter.
  • The Blue Lagoon is a water park located just outside Aleppo. It has several pools, toboggans, bars and restaurants.
  • There are many cinema halls in the city; most of them are located on Baron street, among them is the famous Cine d'Alep.
  • Club d'Alep with its summer and winter branches. The private club with around 600 local members has a unique tradition, being the only one of its type in the Syrian Arab Republic. The club is known for bridge games and other trick-taking card games.

Nowadays, a new wave of visitors is rediscovering this ancient trading centre, as tensions between Damascus and Washington begin to ease, as well as due to the recent loosening of visa restrictions with Turkey.

Nearby attractions

The Church of Saint Simeon (Samaan) near Aleppo, is one of the oldest standing Christian churches in the world

Aleppo is surrounded with plenty of historical sites, the Dead Cities, which are a group of 700 abandoned settlements in northwest Syria around the city of Aleppo. Those cities date back to before the fifth century B.C and contain many remains of Christian Byzantine architecture.

Important dead cities include:

  • Church of Saint Simeon Stylites, a well preserved church dates back to the 5th century, located about 30 km (19 mi) north-west of Aleppo.
  • Ebla, an ancient ruined Aramaic city, about 55 km (34 mi) south-west of Aleppo.
  • Brad, an ancient settlement, 35 km (22 mi) west of Aleppo; the site of Saint Julianus Maronite monastery (built between 399-402 A.D) where the shrine of Saint Maron is located.
  • Ain Dara temple, an Iron Age Syro-Hittite temple, located 55 km (34 mi) north-west of Aleppo.
  • Cyrus, an ancient city 70 km (43 mi) north-west of Aleppo; the site of "Nabi Houri church", an old Roman amphitheatre and two old Roman bridges on Afrin river.
  • Kimar settlement near Basuta village, 33 km (21 mi) north-west of Aleppo. A historical village of the Roman and the Byzantine eras, backs to the fifth century A.D, contains many well-preserved churches, towers and old water reservoirs.
  • Mushabbak Church, an ancient Roman basilic of the late 5th century A.D, located around 20 km (12 mi) west of Aleppo. The temple is one of the best preserved churches in the "Dead Cities".
  • Qalb Lozeh Church ("Heart of the Almond"), is one of the most celebrated ecclesiastical monuments in Syria dating back to the second half of 5th century, located 65 km (40 mi) west of Aleppo.
  • Bab Al-Hawa village, 45 km (28 mi) west of Aleppo on the Turkish border; the site of many old churches of the fourth century A.D and a well preserved historical gate from the sixth century A.D.

Many other sites and dead cities in the area, are located on various distances around Aleppo such as Serjilla, Bara, Qal'at Najm, Deir Meshmesh, Deir Amman, Tell A'ade Church, etc.

The western regions around Aleppo are characterized with beautiful natural landscapes, scenic views and a mild weather, which made the area a popular and touristic destination, such as Basuta village, Kafar Janneh village and Midanki lake.


Trade & Industry

The main role of the city was as a trading place throughout the history, as it sat at the crossroads of two trade routes and mediated the trade from India, the Tigris and Euphrates regions and the route coming from Damascus in the South, which traced the base of the mountains rather than the rugged seacoast. Although trade was often directed away from the city for political reasons, it continued to thrive until the Europeans began to use the Cape route to India and later to utilize the route through Egypt to the Red Sea.

The commercial traditions in Aleppo have deep roots in the history. The commercial chmaber of Aleppo which was founded in 1885, is one of the oldest chambers in the Middle East and the Arab world. According to many historians, Aleppo was the most developed commercial and industrial city in the Ottoman Empire after Constantinople and Cairo.

Nowadays, Aleppo has the most developed commercial and industrial plants in Syria, therefore, it is considered the commercial and industrial centre of the republic. The most developed industrial sectors in the city are: textiles, electricals, chemicals, software, agricultural and food industries. Aleppo is also famous for manufacturing precious metals and stones.

The industrial city of Aleppo in Sheikh Najjar district is the largest in Syria and the region. It covers an area of 4412 hectares in the north-east of Aleppo, with an investment of 2 billion US dollars as of the end of 2009. The industrial area is still under development. It is envisaged to open hotels, exhibition centres and other structures within the industrial city.

The old traditional crafts are well-preserved in the old part of the city. The hard laurel Aleppo soap has a worldwide fame.


The replenished square next to the citadel

Aleppo is one of the fastest growing cities in Syria and the Middle East. Large numbers of villagesr and inhabitnts of other Syrian districts are migrating to Aleppo in an effort to find better job opportunities, a fact that always causes more pressure in all aspects with a growing demand on new apartments and dormitories. New districts and residential communities have been built in the suburbs of Aleppo, with many of them are still under construction.

Two major construction projects are scheduled in Aleppo: the "Old City Revival" project and the "Reopening of the stream bed of Quwēq River". The Old City revival project has completed its first phase with the end of 2008 while the second phase kicked off with the beginning of 2010. The purpose of the project is the reservation of the old city of Aleppo with its souqs and khans, and the replenishment of the narrow alleys of the old city and the roads around the citadel. The second project is directed towards the revival of the flow of Quwēq River, demolishing the artificial cover of the stream bed and the enhancement of the stream banks along the river in the city centre. The flow of the river was blocked during the 1960s by the Turks, hence turning the river to a tiny sewage channel, a fact that led the authorities to block the stream bed through an artificial cover. In 2006, the flow of pure water was restored through the efforts of the Syrian government, thus granting a new life to the Quwēq River.


The Maronite Saint Elias Cathedral
Narrow street in the Christian quarter of Jdeydeh

Nearly three quarters, or 70%, of Aleppo's inhabitants are Sunni Muslims, mainly Arabs, but also Kurds and other ethnicities, including Adyghe and Albanians, Assyrians/Syriacs, Bosnians, Bulgarians, Chechens, Circassians, and Kabardin. Aleppo has one of the largest Christian communities in the Middle East (probably the second after Beirut), and the most diverse Christian community in the Orient. Between 15% and 20% of the population are members of Orthodox congregations, particularly the Syriac Orthodox Church amongst the Syriac community in Aleppo. The majority of the Syriac Christians in Aleppo speak Armenian, since they are from the city of Urfa in Turkey, where Armenian was widely spoken. Although Aleppo was known to have a large Christian population before the 20th century, the influx of Armenian and Syriac refugees caused the city's Christian population to swell greatly. Apart from adherents of the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church, there were also many Catholics from the Syriacs and Armenian population who came and increased the Catholic presence in the traditionally Eastern Orthodox city. The Christian Arab population of Aleppo also happens to be very varied, with Maronite and Latin Catholics, Nestorian and Syriac Orthodox being among the other congregations represented, as well as many other different denominations.

A Jewish woman and a couple of Bedouins, 1873

There are several areas within the city, inhabited with a majority of Christian and Armenian population, such as the old Christian quarter of Jdeydeh. Among the newly built Christian districts of Aleppo are the areas of Aziziyeh, Sleimaniyeh and Meydan. Nowadays there are around 43 operating church buildings in the city, belong to different eastern Christian denomiantions.

The city has had a large Jewish population since the times of King David. The great synagogue housed the 10th century AD Aleppo codex. That codex is now housed in Jerusalem. Following the 1947 Aleppo Riots, most of Aleppo's 10,000 Jewish residents aimed to migrate to Israel, as part of the Jewish exodus from Arab lands.[12]

Up to day, the properties and houses of the Jewish families which were not sold after the migration, remain uninhabited under the protection of Syrian Government. Most of these properties are in Al-Jamiliyah and Bab Al-Naser areas, and the neighborhoods around the Central synagogue of Aleppo. Eventually, the Syrian government lifted restriction on its Jewish citizens with the sole condition that they did not travel to Israel to settle there. Most travelled to the USA, where a sizeable Syrian Jewish community currently exists in Brooklyn, New York. Today, only a handful of Jewish families still live in Aleppo, and many of the buildings such as the synagogue and the Jewish school remain empty, and are only used rarely for special events and religious ceremonies.


Chemins de Fer Syriens head quarters building, Aleppo


Aleppo was one of the first parts of Syria to obtain railway connection, with the Ottoman Empire building the Baghdad Railway through the city in 1912. The connections to Turkey and onwards to Ankara still exist today, with a twice weekly train from Damascus. It is perhaps for this historical reason that Aleppo is the headquarters of Syria national railway network, Chemins de Fer Syriens. As the railway has a relatively slow speed of passage, much of the passenger traffic to the port of Latakia had moved to road based air-conditioned coaches. But this has reversed in recent years with the 2005 introduction of South Korean built DMU's proving regular bi-hourly express service to both Latakia and Damascus, which miss intermediate stations.


Aleppo International Airport (IATA: ALP, ICAO: OSAP) is the international airport serving the city. The airport serves as a secondary hub for Syrian Arab Airlines. Airlines serving the airport include: Air Arabia, Armavia, Bahrain Air, bmi (London-Heathrow), Buraq Air, EgyptAir (Cairo), Elbrus-Avia (Nalchik), Flydubai (Dubai), Germania (Berlin-Tegel), Jazeera Airways (Kuwait), Kuban Airlines (Krasnodar), Royal Jordanian (Amman), Sama Airlines (Dammam), Syrian Pearl (Damascus) and Turkish Airlines.

Aleppo International Airport


Aleppo University, Faculty of Economics

As the main economical centre of Syria, Aleppo has a large number of educational institutions. Along with the Aleppo University, there are state colleges and private universities which attract large numbers of students from other regions of Syria and the Arab countries. The number of the students in Aleppo University is more than 60 thousand. The university has 18 faculties and 8 technical colleges in the city of Aleppo.

As of 2010, there are three private universities operating in the city: Private University of Science & Arts (PUSA), Gulf University (GU), and Mamoun University for Science & Technology (MUST).

Branches of the state conservatory and the fine arts school are also operating in the city.

Aleppo is home to several private Christian & Armenian schools, and two international schools: International School of Aleppo and Lycée Français d'Alep.


The most favourite and popular sport in Aleppo is football. Aleppo has many football clubs, among which only Al-Ittihad of Aleppo, plays in the Syrian National Football League's top division for the season 2009–2010.

Here is a list of five major sport clubs in the city of Aleppo:

Ettihad of Aleppo
Jalaa Club
Al-Yarmouk Sports Club
Ourubeh Club

Al-Ittihad is the biggest and most popular club in Syria. Al-Ittihad has its own stadium with a capacity of 12,000 spectators. But because of the huge number of their supporters, they use the city's main stadiums, Al-Hamadaniah Stadium and the Aleppo International Stadium. While 2nd division teams like Al-Horriya and Al Yarmouk, use the April 7th Municipal Stadium which can serve around 17,000 spectators.

Basketball is also very popular in Aleppo. Four clubs out of 12 in Syrian Basketball top division are from Aleppo. On the other hand, five clubs from Aleppo are included in the women's top division. The clubs of Aleppo are totally dominating the basketball leagues in Syria, especially Jalaa and Al-Ittihad. Al-Yarmouk and Al-Horriya are also included in the top division, both in men's and women's compitions, while Ourubeh club plays in the women's top division and the in men's second division.

Too many types of sports are also being practiced by the mentioned clubs and other small clubs. Tennis, Handball, Volleyball, Table Tennis and Swimming are among the favorites.


The Syrian cuisine in general and especially the Aleppine cuisine is very rich of its multiple types of dishes. Being surrounded by olive, nut and fruit orchards, Aleppo is famous for a love of eating, as the cuisine is the product of fertile land and location along the Silk Road. Therefore, it's not a surprise that the International Academy of Gastronomy in France awarded Aleppo its culinary prize in 2007.[13] But in fact, Aleppo was a food capital long before Paris, because of its diverse communities combined by Arabs, Kurds, Armenians, Circassians and a sizable Arab Christian population. All of those groups contributed food traditions, since Aleppo was part of the Ottoman Empire.

The city has a vast selection of different types of dishes, such as kabab, kibbeh, hummus, ful halabi, za'atar halabi, etc. Ful halabi, is a typical Aleppine breakfast meal: fava bean soup with a splash of olive oil, lemon juice and Aleppo's red peppers. The kibbeh is one of the most favourite foods for the locals, and that's why the Aleppines have invented more than 17 types of kibbeh dishes, which is considered a form of art for them. The most favourite drink is Arak, which is usually consumed along with meze and Aleppine grills and kibbeehs. The za'atar of Aleppo is a type of Syrian oregano which is very favourite among Arabs, Armenians and Turks.

Aleppo is the origin of many different types of sweets and pastries. The Aleppine sweets are characterized to contain high rates of ghee butter and sugar, such as mabrumeh, swar es-sett, balloriyyeh, etc. Other sweets include mamuniyeh, shuaibiyyat, mushabbak, zilebiyeh, ghazel al-banat etc.


The ancient city was built on a group of small hills such as Tell Sawda, Tell Aysha, Tell As-Sett, etc. Nowadays the city lies about 120 km (75 mi) inland from the Mediterranean Sea, on a plateau 380 meters above sea-level, 45 kilometers east of the Syrian-Turkish border checkpoint of Bab Al-Hawa. The old city of Aleppo enclosed in its walls and gates, lies on the east of Quwēq river. The city is surrounded with fertile agricultural farms from the north and the west, widely cultivated with olive and pistachio trees. On the other hand, Aleppo approaches the dry areas of the Syrian Badiyeh (Syrian desert) in the east.


Climate data for Aleppo
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 17
Average high °C (°F) 10
Average low °C (°F) 1
Record low °C (°F) -13
Precipitation mm (inches) 89
Source: BBC Weather[14] 2009-12-07

Program for Sustainable Urban Development in Syria

The old city as seen from the citadel

The “Program for Sustainable Urban Development in Syria” (UDP) is a joint undertaking of the German Development Cooperation GTZ, the Syrian Ministry for Local Administration and Environment (MLAE), and several other Syrian partner institutions. The program promotes capacities for sustainable urban management and development at the national and municipal level. Four components have been agreed as major fields of cooperation during the first phase (2007–2009):

  1. Urban development in the city of Aleppo; this includes further support to the rehabilitation of the Old City, as well as to a long-term oriented city development strategy (CDS) and the management of informal settlements.
  2. Rehabilitation of the Old City of Damascus; this will build on instruments and experiences established during the urban rehabilitation support for Old Aleppo.
  3. Promoting support structures for municipalities; this includes capacity building, networking, and promoting municipal strength in the national development dialogue.
  4. Policy advice on urban development; rapid urbanization in Syria requires adequate legislative and institutional frame-conditions as well as specific promotional programs for urban development.

The UDP cooperates closely with other interventions in the sector, namely the EU-supported 'Municipal Administration Modernization' program. It is planned to operate from 2007 to 2016.

International relations

Twin towns—Sister cities

Notable people

Photo gallery

Preceded by
Capital of islamic culture
Succeeded by

See also


  1. ^ Central Bureau of Statistics (2008). Damascus, Syria.
  2. ^ Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archeology. "Pre- and Protohistory in the Near East: Tell Qaramel (Syria)". Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  3. ^ Alexander Russell, ed (1856). The Natural History of Aleppo (1st ed.). London: Unknown. p. 266. 
  4. ^ Jackson, Peter (July 1980). "The Crisis in the Holy Land in 1260". The English Historical Review 95 (376): 481–513. 
  5. ^ "Histoire des Croisades", René Grousset, p. 581, ISBN 226202569X.
  6. ^ Runciman, p. 314.
  7. ^ Runciman, pp. 336–337.
  8. ^ Runciman, p. 463.
  9. ^ Battle of
  10. ^ حلب عاصمة الثقافة الإسلامية-Aleppo the Capital of Islamic Culture. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
  11. ^ a b Burns, Russ (1999). Monuments of Syria. New York, London. p. 35. 
  12. ^ Walter P. Zener, "A Global community - the jews from aleppo, syria", pp. 35, 82.
  13. ^ "NPR web: Food Lovers Discover The Joys Of Aleppo". 
  14. ^ "Average Conditions Aleppo, Syria". BBC Weather. Retrieved 2009-12-07. 
  15. ^ "Partner Cities of Lyon and Greater Lyon". © 2008 Mairie de Lyon. Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  16. ^ "Jamahir newspaper: 28 January 2010". 

External links

Coordinates: 36°13′N 37°10′E / 36.217°N 37.167°E / 36.217; 37.167

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Asia : Middle East : Syria : Aleppo

Aleppo (حلب‎) is the second largest city in Syria - population 1.7 million.

The Aleppo Citadel
The Aleppo Citadel
As it is in any muslim country, the call to prayer is called out from mosques five times a day starting in the early morning. It can be a beautiful sound.

The people of Aleppo were possibly the most friendly people that I have met in my travels. Regular folk on the street will offer you a chair if you seem tired and then offer you some water or tea.

Aleppo is a fairly conservative city. Dress appropriately to avoid any problems and to avoid standing out too much. Men should wear regular shirts and long pants and women should not wear anything that is too revealing. If you follow that simple dress code you should not have any problems. Headscarves are not necessary unless you want to enter a mosque but even then grey cover-all robes are available at no extra charge.

There are no hostile feelings towards Americans or Westerners in general (although Americans tend to be subjected to more scrutiny by the authorities than other nationalities). You could, however, find yourself in trouble if you engage in open criticism of and against the Syrian government or the president. Your best bet is to avoid political conversations all together just to avoid any possible problems. If you do engage in political discussions with Syrians, be aware that they might face intense questioning by the secret police if you are overheard. As a general rule, always assume that you are being watched by the plainclothes policemen (mukhabarat). You will notice that not many uniformed policemen can be seen in the streets, but this is because the police have a wide network of plainclothes officers and informants.

Friday is a holy day and most shops and historic sites are closed so plan accordingly for this.

Stealing is looked down upon and thus is not very common. Crime is generally low and you should feel safe to walk around in any part of the city at any time day or night. But as in any city, its a good idea to keep an eye on your belongings, particuarly in the suk.

Meals are a bit later than in the U.S. but similar to the times in some European countries. Lunch is from 1 to 3 and dinner around 8pm. Syrians take a siesta in the middle of the day, from about 3 to 6, but this means that the night life is very active. You can return to the markets and public squares that you visited during the day and by 10pm they will be bustling with people selling food and treats and drinks. It is a like a street fair every night.

Aleppo is a beautiful and historic city that anyone who is considering a trip to the Middle East should go see.

Get in

Aleppo is close to the main border crossing with Turkey. You will need a visa to enter into Syria. It is typically more convenient to secure a visa in your home country as the consulates in Turkey do not usually issue tourist visas. How you get the visa varies by country so check with a travel agent or consult. Citizens of the predominantly Arab nations, as well as Turkish citizens as of 2009, do not require a visa.

At the border, most nationalities can secure a 2 week transit visa in 20-30 minutes. American passport holders, however, will have to wait between 3 to 10 hours to secure a transit visa, as the border guards must fax Damascus to check with Syrian intelligence, and may be turned away. A transit visa is US$16, payable in USD or SYP. Each border post has a branch of the Central Bank of Syria to exchange currencies. There are no facilities for credit/debit cards. Travellers cheques are also not accepted.

Remember that there is a departure fee of 550 SYP.

Get around

Taxis are everywhere, probably more taxis than people. They are easy to take and very affordable but just make sure it is a licensed taxi.

Minibuses: Called "serveece", these are small white vans that drive around and you can hop on and off by signalling to the driver. 10 lira per journey. They get very full in rush hours.

Rental Cars: Hertz and other rental car agencies are available in Aleppo but the driving can be very hectic and if you are not accustomed to driving in a place with few rules and almost no regard for street signs you should probably not attempt to drive on your own.

  • The citadel sits on a hill in the center of the city and is visable from almost anywhere. Usage of the Citadel hill dates back at least to the middle of the 3rd millennium BC, but the current structure dates from the 13th century. There are tours daily. It costs 150 SP to enter or 10 SP with a student card, as of November 2007. Once inside, there are no signs or explanations of the site so a guidebook is handy. There is a cafe inside the Citadel.
A quiet moment in the Aleppo Souq on Friday
A quiet moment in the Aleppo Souq on Friday
  • The Souq: There are multiple souqs in the city including a covered section. All of the shopping you could want to do from gold and silver, boxes, clothing, fabric and soaps can be found in the various souqs. Bargaining is encouraged and if you know Arabic it will get you a much better price.
  • Bimaristan Arghan is a beautiful mental hospital turned into a museum. Entrance is free and you can wander around and look at exhibits, which include old medical equipment, herbs, biographies of famous Arab scientists and other interesting tidbits. The main atractions, however, are the courtyard and two separate spaces reserved for the mentally ill.
  • Saint Simeon's basilica (Qalaat Sam'aan): Located 30 miles outside of Aleppo this is an old church that was dedicated to the famous hermit, St Simeon the Stylite. This church was built around the pillar on which Simeon lived and prayed and became a major centre of pilgrimage. There are guided tours. The grounds are beautiful and it is nice to get away from the city for a day. The best way to get there is to hire a taxi in Aleppo to go the whole way, or more economically to take a microbus to the nearest town and bargain with the driver to take you the extra 2km to the church.
  • The Great Mosque: There are many mosques in the city but this is the largest and most ornate.


Walk around the city at least a few times to really get a feel for what it is like. It is a vibrant and lively place that will continually surprise you. Any amount of time spent walking around the city will reveal another historical site or point of interest. Check out the Christian section of the city to see a different part of Aleppo. If you want to shop for clothes, al-Telal street is bustling nearly every night with crowds checking out the shops and street stands piled high with every type of clothing imaginable.


Gold: Although the prices are as high as they have ever been, gold is still a worthwhile purchase here. There is a special gold pattern called the Aleppo weave or chain that is made only in Aleppo. All gold is sold by weight and is 22 karot.

Boxes: Aleppo is also famous for its intricate inlay work that can be found in boxes of all shapes and sizes. These boxes are beautiful and can be found at almost all of the shops in the souq. A great, affordable gift to take home.

Wraps/Tablecloths: There are many nice wraps that can be worn as shawls or used as tablecloths that are also available everywhere in the souks. Another good gift.

Sweets with pistachios
Sweets with pistachios

Sweets: Pistachios are everywhere in Aleppo and accordingly there are many different kinds of sweets made from the pistachio. These usually come in a decorative box and are yet another good gift.

Coffee and spices: It is impossible to walk through the souq without being caught up in the scent of freshly ground coffee and spices like cumin. You can also buy very ornate pots to make your coffee in.

Soap: One of the most famous Aleppine products is its olive oil soap. Many factories produce this using traditional techniques. The price varies from about 70SP per kilo to as much as 400 SP or more depending on the proportion of olive and laurel oil, prices and assortment is better in the shops just in the 2 roads south of the Clock Tower rather than in the Souq's tourst traps, even if most shop keepers speak very little English (prices per kilo are clearly shown).


Common Syrian street food like falafels and shwarma are excellent and available throughout the city. In the souks you will also find tiny restaurants with a few stools serving up dishes like Fuul (pronounced “fool”), a bean soup served with fresh bread, onions and mint. If you are really adventurous, look for the men frying curry-flavoured pancakes near the entrance to the souk. The pancakes are wrapped in bread and topped with hot sauce. Also try and buy some of the freshly made pita bread that is sold everywhere as it is delicious.

For breakfast, a fresh glass of juice (40 SP for a large glass of mixed juice, 50 SP for takeaway) and cheese sandwich (15 SP) can be had from the juice stands near the clock tower. Many cafes also serve great ice cream for a treat.

If you are tired after a day of wandering around the souk, try one of the cafes near the base of the citadel. They offer light snacks and drinks, including a wide range of coffees and refreshing glasses of minted lemonade.

Travellers on a strict budget should be prepared to eat very similar meals everyday as there is not a lot of variety in the diet at the cheaper end of the range.

There are plenty of good restaurants around and meals are very affordable.

  • Beit Sissy [1]. A particularly good choice. It has a beautiful courtyard and their shish kebab in cherry sauce is out of this world!
  • Yasmeen House. In the Christian Quarter, this restaurant may be a little hard to find but once inside you can dine in a lovely covered courtyard. The menu is extensive with plenty of mezze, salads and meat dishes and offers some variety from the standard street fare. Alcoholic drinks are available.
  • Sheraton Hotel. It may seem wrong to come to Syria and head for the Sheraton but they do offer an excellent buffet breakfast for 600 SP which, if you're willing to splurge, makes a nice change from the typical Syrian fare and will set you up well for a day of exploring. They also do a fine cup of coffee.
  • Kaser Al Wali (Kaser Al Wali), Al-Jdaideh, Aleppo (Zoukak Al-Arbaeen, Al-Jdaideh, Aleppo - Syrian Arab Republic), 00963 21 4461389 (, fax: 00963 21 3322336), [2]. Kaser Al-Wali, a new offspring of Wanes Restaurants, invites you to take a step back in time to enjoy the nostalgic atmosphere and the reminiscent of the old town of Aleppo. Kaser Al-Wali was launched in 2005 in a 300-year old mansion where you will truly enjoy a unique dining experience in a historic atmosphere.  edit
  • Al- Challal*


Alcohol is permitted but not widely available. You can find stores selling liquor on a few streets near the clocktower. Try Zaki al-Arsuzi (across from Al Kommeh restaurant) and Jbrail Dalal streets. Restaurants and hotels that cater to Westerners will generally serve alcoholic beverages.

There is one local beer, called Al-Sharq, while the Damascus brew Barada may also be found. Neither are exactly lethal - 3.7% and 3.4% respectively.

A wide range of other beers from the Middle East and Europe can also be found, usually about 50 SP for a large can, along with wines from Syria, Lebanon and France, starting at 150 SP a bottle.

Arak is a local aniseed liquor which can be found at some small shops.



Al-Gawaher – perhaps the best backpacker spot in Aleppo. Rooms have satellite TV and both en suite and shared bathrooms are very clean. Many have balconies and others overlook a common area, where travellers often meet to chat. The rooftop gives great views over the city and is another nice spot to spend the evening. Staff are friendly and English is spoken. Tours can be arranged to the Dead Cities, Apamea and other sites. The only possible downside is that staff are late risers and so getting breakfast can be a problem. Rooms cost 350 SP for a single, 500 SP for a double (November 2007) and 1200 SP for a double with bathroom (June 2009). Breakfast is not included. There is, however, free coffee and tea available 24/7.

Hotel Green Star – Around the corner from the Al-Gawaher on Sharia Hammam Al Tal (next to the Sheraton parking entrance off the Clock Tower end of Bab El Faraj - it could not be more central - 021 2239157), it also has a nice roof terrace but the atmosphere is not nearly as lively. The rooms come with sinks and fans or aircom. There are no TVs in the rooms but two shared ones: one in the lounge and the second one on the top floor. Try and get one on the top floor that opens onto the roof terrace. Staff speak a little English but is very helpfull. A double with shared bathroom goes for 600 SP as of November 2007 and 350 SP for a bed in a 3 bed "dorm" as of Oct 07. Breakfast is not included. In Janurary 2009: many kinds and sizes of rooms, from small singles for 300 Syrian Liras (no bath but aircom) upwards.

Mid range

Tourist Hotel - Well known for having sparkling clean bathrooms, perhaps the cleanest in all of Syria according to some reports.

Hotel Somar – It's nothing fancy but rooms here are clean with satellite TV, bathrooms and a little shared courtyard. The price is a bit expensive, however, compared to the budget hotels, which offer rooms of a similar standard. A double with en suite bathroom is 1200 SP as of November 2007. Breakfast is not included.

Ramsis Hotel
Ramsis Hotel
Ramsis Hotel
Ramsis Hotel
  • Ramsis Hotel, Tel: 00963 21 2111102 - Fax: 00963 21 2216700 - Web: (), [3]. Very centrally located close to the citadel and old Christian quarter, one minute away from the museum. Ramsis Hotel is a three-star, deluxe hotel, The hotel is accommodated with very comfortable and well-furnished 28 rooms and 8 suites, a street side cafeteria (Down Town Cafe), an open terrace restaurant ( The Green Roof ), a gift shop, a news-stand and internet access .  edit

Accommodation Facilities:

• Dry cleaning

• Elevator

• Family-friendly

• Internet connection

• Restaurant

• Room service

• Safe

• Shops

• Shoe shine

• Shuttle services

Room Facilities:

• Air conditioning

• Heating

• AM/FM Clock Radio

• Satellite television

• Free internet connection

• Refrigerator

• Safe in room

• Telephone

• Toiletries

• Hair dryer

• Bathroom scale

The Baron Hotel
The Baron Hotel
  • Baron Hotel. A colonial throwback whose former guests include Agatha Christie (who wrote much of Murder on the Orient Express here), T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Ariabia), Ataturk and Teddy Rosevelt. The Hotel is rather run down, but this only adds to its charm. Many rooms have recently been renovated and are in a reasonable shape. But in general it is rather grotty for its price. If you cannot afford to stay here or would stay where the locals do, it is definitely worth the effort to pop into the bar to have a drink and marvel a showpiece at a bygone era.  edit
  • Sheraton, 00963 21 212 1111 (fax: 00963 21 212 1136), [4]. Very centrally located close to the citadel and old Christian quarter. Has a pool and several restaurants. $140 for a standard room with king bed..  edit
  • Beit Wakil, (From Jdeideh Square, walk down the street into the old city and turn right at the first alley, called Sissi Street), 00963 21 2117083 (, fax: 00963 21 2117082), [5]. a great small boutique hotel in the Christian quarter. Renovated old building with a nice courtyard. The restaurant is very good but a bit touristic. $121 for a double..  edit
  • Dallal House, Al Jdaidah, Al-Telal Entrance, P. O. Box: 8812 Aleppo, Syria (Raheb Bouhaira Str.,Al Jdaidah, Al-Telal Entrance), 00963 21 2121155 (, fax: 00963 21 2119433), [6]. Dallal House was built in 1826. Formerly, it was an old church and a monastery and now it is converted to a hotel.  edit
  • ISIS Hotel, City Center (Al-Jalla Club, Alazizieh, Aleppo, Syria), 00963 21 2126345 (, fax: 00963 21 2126348), [7]. ISIS Hotel offers comfortable and contemporary "Life Style", ideal for tourists, family and businesspeople. It is classified under the A Category standards of four stars.  edit

Park hotel: Telephone +963212233283 Fax: +963212233250 website:

Two minutes away from the Train station , located in the middle of the city Center " Baghdad Station Street" Park hotel offers many facilities. It's affordable and only ten minutes walk to the city center . 5 minutes by car to the old souks . Facililties include

  • Free WiFi internet access in all around the hotel with high speed line
  • Laundry and pressing service
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off service.


The only internet access in the old town and near the main attractions (the Citadel, the Souq and the Grand Mosque) can be found at Tara Cafe. It is located in the underground lair of the caravansaray of the Adlliyah Mosque and provides standard rates for internet access. It is not an internet cafe per se, but rather a cafe that provides internet access as a service on laptops that can be rented on the hour.

The closest internet cafe to most of the budget hotels, in the Bab al-Faraj area, is the Concord, which is in an ice cream parlor and cafe by the same name. It charges 100 SP an hour, however, which is outrageous for Aleppo and Syria and general.

The other internet cafe within walking distance is at Adam Cafe, across the street from the Baron Hotel. Nevertheless, the internet cafe is located in the bottom story of an all-male tea house which may make female customers feel uncomfortable. If you wander around the new Christian quarter of al-Aziziyeh you can find many internet cafes like Area 51, Montana and Kool Net which charge only 50 SP an hour for high speed access. All of the aforementioned cafes provide discount cards for chunks of time.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

(There is currently no text in this page)


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




  • (UK) IPA: /əˈlɛpəʊ/

Proper noun




  1. A city now in northern Syria, formerly an important city in the ancient world.


Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Town of ancient and of modern Syria, and capital of a Turkish vilayet of the same name, between the Orontes and Euphrates rivers; situated on the banks of a little desert stream, Nahr-el-Haleb, seventy miles east of Alexandretta, its seaport on the Mediterranean. Formerly it derived its importance from being on the route to Bagdad and southern Persia; and it is said to have contained at one time as many as 200,000 souls. It can boast of sheltering one of the oldest Jewish communities, mentioned in Ps. lx. Though only ten days' journey north of Damascus, it was traditionally regarded, in letters of divorce (see Get), as the most northerly point a Palestinian Jew might visit without being considered a traveler, the southern limit being Alexandria in Egypt. In the sixteenth century one of the routes to India still passed through it, and on account of this the city became one of the great attractions for the Jews who traveled eastward.

The Aleppo Code and Other Manuscripts.

Though the synagogue in Aleppo has many modern additions, Abbé Chagnot is of opinion that portions of it were erected as early as the fourth century. It contains several inscriptions, some carved in its walls, others painted on them; one dating as early as 833, another as late as 1861; the former in a chapel ( (missing hebrew text) ) said to have been erected by Ali ben Nathan ben Mebasser ben (missing hebrew text) . The date is furnished in the usual way by starring letters in a Biblical quotation. The chief peculiarity of the structure is a raised pulpit, known as Elijah's Seat. Several chapels surround the main building; the one on the extreme west, behind the Ark, and corresponding to the ladychapel of a European cathedral, is a damp shrine, with a stone sarcophagus, in which are preserved four Biblical manuscripts, the pride of the Aleppo Jews. The greatest superstitious reverence is attached to the codex now in Aleppo, which is ascribed to Aaron ben Asher; it bears note of its dedication to the (missing hebrew text) and (missing hebrew text) (missing hebrew text) , that is, to the Rabbinites of Jerusalem, and of its subsequent delivery to the Jerusalem Synagogue of Cairo, as well as of its having originally belonged to an inhabitant of Bassora, and to the Karaite community of Jerusalem.

Modern Aleppo.

The codex, from its accentuation and general character, can hardly be of earlier date than the twelfth century; nor can it be the original written in 922. The epigraphs must have been copied from another manuscript, itself perhaps not the first. The other three manuscripts are: (1) Pentateuch (text and Targum) with full Masoretic lists, finished (probably in Italy) on the 15th of Tammuz, 1101 (1341); (2) Pentateuch with the commentary of Rashi in the margin and sundry additions of Ibn Ezra, Naḥmanides, and Joseph Caro; (3) a huge but beautifully illuminated Masoretic Pentateuch with the Hafṭarot and the five Megillot. The synagogue is also the meeting-house of the congregants. On an upper floor is the rabbinical school with a fairly good Hebrew library. Stored near the roof of one of the chapels is a genizah, from which, in times of drought, the dust is removed and carried with much ceremony to the Jewish cemetery and there buried with fervent prayers for rain. There are said to be about 10,000 Jews in Aleppo, each of whom must pay a poll-tax. Besides the various primary schools, where Hebrew and Arabic are taught, there is a boys' school, founded by the Alliance Israélite Universelle in 1869, with 250 pupils, of whom 96 pay for tuition. There is also a school for girls, with 195 pupils, of whom 79 pay. The latter was founded in 1889.

In the matter of dress the Jewesses of Aleppo adopt a costume resembling that of their Mohammedan sisters—a long black cloak enveloping them from head to foot, the face alone being visible. The girls in the Alliance school wear European dress.

Books are very rare in the city, but manuscripts abound, fifteen Hebrew ones having been recently collected there in two days. One was a unique diwan of secular poetry by Eleazer ha-Bable probably composed in Aleppo ("Jew. Quart. Rev." xi. 682). A printing-press for Hebrew was set up in Aleppo in 1898. In a private library there a Masoretic Bible, finished in 1307, has been found; this library also contains a cabalistic work, (missing hebrew text) , written in Cochin in 1497.

Prominent Members of the Community.

Benjamin of Tudela visited Aleppo in 1173, when he found a Jewish community of 1,500 souls with three noteworthy rabbis attending to their spiritual needs: Moses Alconstantini, Israel, and Seth. Petahiah of Ratisbon was there between 1170 and 1180, and Al-Ḥarizi fifty years later. The former calls the citadel the palace of King Nour-ed-din, and says that there were 1,500 Jews in Aleppo, of whom the chief men were Rabbis Moses Alconstantini, Israel, and Seth. Al-Ḥarizi, author of the "Taḥkemoni," like Maimonides, has much to say of the Aleppo Jews (Makamat, Nos. 18, 46, 47, 50). In 1195 the leading Jew was Joseph ibn Aknin, who had migrated from Europe by way of Egypt, where he was the friend of Maimonides, who wrote for him the "Moreh Nebukim." Other men of learning were Azariah and his brother Samuel Nissim, the king's physician Eleazer, Jeshua, Jachin Hananiah, and Joseph ben Ḥisdai. Al-Ḥarizi thought very little of the Aleppo poets, of whom he mentions Moses Daniel and a certain Joseph; the best was Joseph ben Ẓemah, who had good qualities but wrote bad verse. Their piety must have been extreme, for Eleazer is held up to scorn for having traveled on the Sabbath, although at the sultan's command.

In 1401 the Jewish quarter was pillaged, with the rest of the city, by Tamerlane; and a Jewish saint died there after a fast of seven months. In the sixteenth century Samuel Laniado ben Abraham and in the seventeenth century Ḥayyim Cohen ben Abraham were representative authors. The "MeḲor Ḥayyim" of the latter was published at Constantinople in 1649, and at Amsterdam by Menasseh ben Israel in 1650. Other Aleppo worthies are Isaac Lopes in 1690, Isaac Berakah in the eighteenth century, and Isaac Athia about 1810.

For four centuries the Jews of Cochin (India) have been in close relation with those of Aleppo. Wessely, in his edition of Farrisol's travels, publishes as an appendix a letter by Ezekiel Rechabi to Tobias Boas, relating how his father came to Cochin in 1646.

Aleppo was in touch with Italy as well as with India. Many Aleppo books were published in Italy; notably the ritual of the Aleppo Jews, recently discovered by A. Berliner and described in his "Aus Meiner Bibliothek."

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.
This article needs to be merged with Aleppo (Catholic Encyclopedia).

Simple English

Aleppo (Arabic: حلب ['ħalab], Turkish: Halep, Greek: Αλέππο, other names) is a city in northern Syria. It has 1,671,673 inhabitants (2008).


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