Syria is part of those countries where I have lived and which gave me incredible emotions. Its ancient cities, monuments and its history have always fascinated thousands of tourists. Unfortunately, today, due to the internal situation, this country is no longer open to visit and many of its historical-artistic beauties have been destroyed or severely damaged.
It was said that a trip to Syria is not complete without a visit to the city of Aleppo. A city with an incredible history, ancient monuments and a citadel that once was a fortress so big as to protect not only Aleppo, but the whole of the Levantine region.
At 50 meters above the city, a ring of crenellated walls and towers rises from a steep slope, surrounding a mass of ruins from every era. The fortified entrance to the citadel is a marvelous example of Arab military architecture. On the north and south sides there are large towers above the moat which is 20 m deep and 30 m wide and which highlights the fortress’s isolation. The main parts of the citadel were the throne room with its beautiful chandelier, the small mosque and the great mosque built in 1213 AD with a 21-meter-high minaret with a splendid view of the city.
Aleppo was also known for the Umayyad Mosque, one of the largest and oldest in the city. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it was built by the Caliph Umayyad Suleyman around the eighth century AD and modified several times in the following centuries. At the south corner took place the Minaret, 45 meters high and built in 1090 DC in six different sections with an internal staircase consisting of about 170 steps.
A must for those who visited the city, it was the beautiful Souk, World heritage Site, divided into “khan” and covered for about 30 kilometers by stone arches, which made it truly unique: walking and getting lost in its narrow intersecting alleys was something unique, full of shops, stalls selling anything while the merchants were trying to attract the attention with their items, people carrying their goods inside alleys with donkeys or handcarts. In this market you lived the taste of ancient times, among goods, smells, colors and sounds of “one thousand and one nights”.
The vitality of this market was one of the main features that fascinated the visitor, who could also experience the charm of bargaining, trying to get the best price to buy the famous local products: soap, oil, spices, incense, silk and carpets . During my stay in Aleppo, I always enjoyed spending time in this crowded market, observing everyday life sitting in some funduq, drinking a mint tea or Arabic coffee and talking to local people always surprised and so curious about my knowledge of the Arabic language.
Unfortunately, this city remains only good memories because most of its beauties have been badly damaged or completely destroyed and the only thing you can still do is admire them through a pictures.