Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Allepo and the biggest Souk in the Middle East

Much of Allepo is a modern concrete city which sprawls around the hillsides displaying some quite ugly buildings.

Allepo 7

Modern Building

Yet within the older quarters, are some of the most delightful buildings showing the original architectural style. Their preservations

 Old Buildings 2

has perhaps been helped by the fact that the Old Town is a Unesco

Old Buildings 1

World Heritage Site (WHS) – designation certainly seems to work in that

Old Buildings 3 Sisi Restaurant

all of the WHSs which we have visited in the past few months seem to be taking care to preserve their heritage.

In the centre of town is the almost obligatory citadel standing on a natural mound – the citadel never fell to direct force because of its design and location.

Old Allepo

Above is the same scene as below but taken in 1911

 Citadel Causway

If you wanted to take the citadel, having fought your way through the first gate, then up the steep ramp and across a drawbridge (no longer there),


you would then have to get into through the main gate, passing through numerous ambush points and places where boiling oil would be poured over you.

Citadel Moat

The moat which surrounded the citadel was steep with high walls at the top of the mound.

Citadel Doorway

Inside the citadel are the usual examples of fine stonework

Throne Room 

the magnificent throne room

Throne Room Ceiling

with an impressive ceiling plus an array of dungeons, mosques, bathhouses etc.

Mosque Dressed  Mosque 2

In the old town, there are a number of mosques. At the Great Mosque, we again had to dress appropriately, but this time I (Paul) was given a gold hemmed cloak

Mosque 1

before proceeding into the central square of the mosque with its fountains and finely decorated buildings.

Allepo possesses one of the most famous Souks in the Middle East with supposedly 12kms of narrow alley ways packed full of shops.


Allepo Soap is very famous and comes in various qualities and ages

Souk Shop 1 

this gentleman is expounding on the beneficial properties of his soap and showing us how to tell old soap from new soap.

 Shop 3 

This butcher’s shop is unlikely to meet Food Hygiene requirements anywhere else in the world. To fully explore the Souk would take a number of days and considerable determination to withstand the constant entreaties to buy whatever is on sale even if you do not want it!

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