Siddhesh Joshi

Aleppo

Country  Syria
Area  190 km2
Region  Arab States
District  Mount Simeon
Governor  Aleppo Governorate
Mayor  Ayman Hallaq
Population  2.302 million (2005)

Aleppo ( Arabic: ? / ALA-LC: ?alab, ) is the largest city in Syria and serves as the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,132,100 (2004 census), it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant. For centuries, Aleppo was the Syrian regions largest city and the Ottoman Empires third-largest, after Constantinople and Cairo.

Map of Aleppo

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Aleppo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world; it has been inhabited since perhaps as early as the 6th millennium BC. Excavations at Tell as-Sawda and Tell al-Ansari, just south of the old city of Aleppo, show that the area was occupied since at least the latter part of the 3rd millennium BC; and this is also when Aleppo is first mentioned in cuneiform tablets unearthed in Ebla and Mesopotamia, in which it is noted for its commercial and military proficiency. Such a long history is probably due to its being a strategic trading point midway between the Mediterranean Sea and Mesopotamia (i.e. modern Iraq).

The burial place of shaykh abdullah sirajuddin from halab


The citys significance in history has been its location at the end of the Silk Road, which 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, also to Turkey. Finally, the isolation of Syria in the past few decades further exacerbated the situation, although perhaps it is this very decline that has helped to preserve the old city of Aleppo, its medieval architecture and traditional heritage. It won the title of the "Islamic Capital of Culture 2006", and has also witnessed a wave of successful restorations of its historic landmarks, until the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011 and the Battle of Aleppo.

Geography and climate

Aleppo Beautiful Landscapes of Aleppo

Aleppo lies about 120 km (75 mi) inland from the Mediterranean Sea, on a plateau 380 m (1,250 ft) above sea level, 45 km (28 mi) east of the Syrian-Turkish border checkpoint of Bab al-Hawa. The city is surrounded by farmlands from the north and the west, widely cultivated with olive and pistachio trees. To the east, Aleppo approaches the dry areas of the Syrian Desert.

Aleppo Beautiful Landscapes of Aleppo

The city was originally founded a few kilometres south of the location of the current old city, on the right bank of Queiq River which arises from the Aintab plateau in the north and runs through Aleppo southward to the fertile country of Qinnasrin. The old city of Aleppo lies on the left bank of the Queiq. It was surrounded by a circle of eight hills surrounding a prominent central hill on which the castle (originally a temple dating to the 2nd millennium BC) was erected. The radius of the circle is about 10 km (6.2 mi). The hills are Tell as-Sawda, Tell ??ysha, Tell as-Sett, Tell al-Y?sm?n (Al-?aqaba), Tell al-Ans?ri (Y?r?qiyya), ?an at-Tall, al-Jall?m, Ba?s?ta. The old city was enclosed within an ancient wall that was last rebuilt by the Mamluks. The wall has since disappeared. It had nine gates and was surrounded by a broad deep ditch.

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Occupying an area of more than 190 km2 (73 sq mi), Aleppo is one of the fastest growing cities in the Middle East. According to the new major plan of the city adopted in 2001, it is envisaged to increase the total area of Aleppo up to 420 km2 (160 sq mi) by the end of 2015.

Aleppo has a cool steppe climate (Köppen: BSk). The mountain series that run along the Mediterranean coast, namely Mount Alawites and Mount Amanus, largely block the effects of the Mediterranean on climate (rain shadow effect). The average temperature is 18 to 20 °C (64 to 68 °F). The average precipitation is 395 mm (15.55 in). 80% of precipitation occurs between October and March. Snow is rare. Average humidity is 58%.

History

Aleppo in the past, History of Aleppo

Aleppo has scarcely been touched by archaeologists, since the modern city occupies its ancient site. The site has been occupied from around 5000 BC, as excavations in Tallet Alsauda show.

Aleppo in the past, History of Aleppo

Aleppo appears in historical records as an important city much earlier than Damascus. The first record of Aleppo comes from the third millennium BC, in the Ebla tablets when Aleppo was referred to as Ha-lam, some historians such as Wayne Horowitz identify Aleppo with the capital of an independent kingdom closely related to Ebla, known as Armi, although this identification is contested. the city had a religious Importance, The main temple of the storm god Hadad was located on the citadel hill in the center of the city, and the city was known as the city of Hadad.

Naram-Sin of Akkad mention his destruction of Ebla and Armani/Armanum, in the 23rd century BC. but the identification of Armani in the inscription of Naram-Sim as Armi in the Eblaite tablets is heavily debated, as there was no Akkadian annexation of Ebla or northern Syria.

In the Old Babylonian period, Aleppos name appears as ?alab (?alba) for the first time. Aleppo was the capital of the important Amorite dynasty of Yam?ad. The kingdom of Yam?ad (c. 1800–1525 BC), alternatively known as the land of ?alab, was the most powerful in the Near East during the reign of Yarim-Lim I. Yam?ad was devastated by the Hittites under Mursilis I in the 16th century BC. However, it soon resumed its leading role in Syria when the Hittite power in the region waned due to internal strife.

Taking advantage of the power vacuum in the region, Parshatatar, king of the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni instigated a rebellion that ended the life of Yamhad last king Ilim-Ilimma I in c. 1525 BC, Subsequently Parshatatar conquered Aleppo and the city found itself on the frontline in the struggle between the Mitanni, the Hittites and Egypt. Niqmepa of Alalakh who descends from the old Yamhadite kings controlled the city as a vassal to Mitanni and was attacked by Tudhaliya I of the Hittites as a retaliation for his alliance to Mitanni. Later the Hittite king Suppiluliumas I permanently defeated Mitanni and conquered Aleppo in the 14th century BC, Suppiluliumas installed his son Telepinus as king and a dynasty of Suppiluliumas descendents ruled Aleppo until the Late Bronze Age collapse.

Aleppo had cultic importance to the Hittites for being the center of worship of the Storm-God. this religious importance continued after the collapse of the Hittite kingdom in the 12th century BC, when Aleppo became part of the Syro-Hittite kingdom of Palistin, whose king renovated the temple of Hadad which was discovered in 2003.

At the beginning of the 1st millennium BC, Aleppo became part of Bit Agusi (which had its capital at Arpad) . Bit Agusi along with Aleppo was conquered by the Assyrians In the 8th century BC and became part of the Neo-Assyrian Empire until the late 7th century BC, before passing through the hands of the Neo-Babylonians and the Achamenid Persians.

Nearby attractions and the Dead Cities

Aleppos western suburbs are home to a group of historical sites and villages which are commonly known as the Dead Cities. Around 700 abandoned settlements in the northwestern parts of Syria prior to the 5th century, contain remains of Christian Byzantine architecture. Many hundreds of those settlements are located in Mount Simeon (Jabal Semaan) and Jabal Halaqa regions at the western suburbs of Aleppo, within the range of Limestone Massif. Dead Cites were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011, under the name of "Ancient Villages of Northern Syria".

The most notable Dead cities and archaeological sites in Mount Simeon and Mount Kurd near Aleppo include: the Kalota Castle and churches northwest of Aleppo, the Kharab Shams Byzantine basilica of the 4th century, the half-ruined Roman basilica in Fafertin village of 372 AD, the old Byzantine settlement of Surqanya village northwest of Aleppo, the 4th-century Basilic church of Sinhar historic settlement, the Mushabbak Basilica dating back to the second half of the 5th century, the 9th-century BC Assyrian settlement of Kafr Nabo, Brad village and the Saint Julianus Maronite monastery (399–402 AD) where the shrine of Saint Maron is located, the 5th-century Kimar settlement of the Roman and Byzantine eras, the Church of Saint Simeon Stylites of the 5th century, the Syro-Hittite Ain Dara temple of the Iron Age dating back to the 10th and 8th centuries BC, the ancient city of Cyrrhus with the old Roman amphitheatre and two historic bridges, etc.

Economy

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.

Culture

Aleppo Culture of Aleppo

Aleppo is considered one of the main centres of Arabic traditional and classic music with the famous Aleppine Muwashshahs, Qudud Halabiya and Maqams (religious, secular and folk 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 field are Sabri Mdallal, Sabah Fakhri, Shadi Jamil, Abed Azrie and Nour Mhanna. Many iconic artists of the Arab music like Sayed Darwish and Mohammed Abdel Wahab were visiting Aleppo to recognize the legacy of Aleppine art and learn from its cultural heritage.

Aleppo Culture of Aleppo

Aleppo is also known for its knowledgeable and cultivated listeners, known as sammia or "connoisseur listeners". Aleppine musicians often claim that no major Arab artist achieved fame without first earning the approval of the Aleppine sammia.

Aleppo hosts many music shows and festivals every year at the citadel amphitheatre, such as the "Syrian Song Festival", the "Silk Road Festival" and "Khan al-Harir Festival".

Museums

  • National Museum of Aleppo.
  • Museum of the popular traditions known as the Aleppine House at Beit Achiqbash in Jdeydeh.
  • Aleppo Citadel Museum.
  • Museum of medicine and science at Bimaristan Arghun al-Kamili.
  • Aleppo Memory Museum at Beit Ghazaleh in Jdeydeh.
  • Zarehian Treasury of the Armenian Apostolic Church at the old Armenian church of the Holy Mother of God, Jdeydeh.
  • Cuisine

    Aleppo Cuisine of Aleppo, Popular Food of Aleppo

    Syrian cuisine in general, and especially Aleppine cuisine, has a very wide selection 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. The International Academy of Gastronomy in France awarded Aleppo its culinary prize in 2007. But in fact, Aleppo was a food capital long before Paris, because of its diverse communities of 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 kebab, kibbeh, dolma, hummus, ful halabi, zaatar halabi, etc. Ful halabi is a typical Aleppine breakfast meal: fava bean soup with a splash of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and Aleppos red peppers. The zaatar of Aleppo (thyme) is a type of Syrian oregano which is very popular among Arabs, Armenians and Turks.

    The kibbeh is one of the favourite foods of the locals, and therefore the Aleppines have invented more than 17 types of kibbeh dishes, which is considered a form of art for them. These include kibbeh prepared with sumac (k?bbe s?mm??iyye), yogurt (k?bbe labaniyye), quince (k?bbe safarjaliyye), lemon juice (k?bbe ??m?a), pomegranate sauce and cherry sauce. Other varieties include the "disk" kibbeh (k?bbe ?r??), the "plate" kibbeh (k?bbe b??f??a or k?bbe b??niyye) and the raw kibbeh (k?bbe nayye). Kebab Halabi -influenced by Armenian and Turkish tastes- has around 26 variants including: kebab prepared with cherry (kebab karaz), eggplant (kebab banjan), chili pepper with parsley and pine nut (kebab khashkhash), truffle (kebab kamayeh), tomato paste (kebab hindi), cheese and mushroom (kebab maju?a), etc. The favourite drink is Arak, which is usually consumed along with meze, Aleppine kebabs and kibbehs. Al-Shark beer -a product of Aleppo- is also among the favourite drinks. Local wines and brandies are consumed as well.

    Aleppo is the origin of different types of sweets and pastries. The Aleppine sweets, such as mabrumeh, siwar es-sett, balloriyyeh, etc., are characterized by containing high rates of ghee butter and sugar. Other sweets include mamuniyeh, shuaibiyyat, mushabbak, zilebiyeh, ghazel al-banat etc. Most pastries contain the renowned Aleppine pistachios and other types of nuts.

    Syrian cuisine in general, and especially Aleppine cuisine, has a very wide selection 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. The International Academy of Gastronomy in France awarded Aleppo its culinary prize in 2007. But in fact, Aleppo was a food capital long before Paris, because of its diverse communities of 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.

    Aleppo Cuisine of Aleppo, Popular Food of Aleppo

    The city has a vast selection of different types of dishes, such as kebab, kibbeh, dolma, hummus, ful halabi, zaatar halabi, etc. Ful halabi is a typical Aleppine breakfast meal: fava bean soup with a splash of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and Aleppos red peppers. The zaatar of Aleppo (thyme) is a type of Syrian oregano which is very popular among Arabs, Armenians and Turks.

    The kibbeh is one of the favourite foods of the locals, and therefore the Aleppines have invented more than 17 types of kibbeh dishes, which is considered a form of art for them. These include kibbeh prepared with sumac (k?bbe s?mm??iyye), yogurt (k?bbe labaniyye), quince (k?bbe safarjaliyye), lemon juice (k?bbe ??m?a), pomegranate sauce and cherry sauce. Other varieties include the "disk" kibbeh (k?bbe ?r??), the "plate" kibbeh (k?bbe b??f??a or k?bbe b??niyye) and the raw kibbeh (k?bbe nayye). Kebab Halabi -influenced by Armenian and Turkish tastes- has around 26 variants including: kebab prepared with cherry (kebab karaz), eggplant (kebab banjan), chili pepper with parsley and pine nut (kebab khashkhash), truffle (kebab kamayeh), tomato paste (kebab hindi), cheese and mushroom (kebab maju?a), etc. The favourite drink is Arak, which is usually consumed along with meze, Aleppine kebabs and kibbehs. Al-Shark beer -a product of Aleppo- is also among the favourite drinks. Local wines and brandies are consumed as well.

    Aleppo is the origin of different types of sweets and pastries. The Aleppine sweets, such as mabrumeh, siwar es-sett, balloriyyeh, etc., are characterized by containing high rates of ghee butter and sugar. Other sweets include mamuniyeh, shuaibiyyat, mushabbak, zilebiyeh, ghazel al-banat etc. Most pastries contain the renowned Aleppine pistachios and other types of nuts.

    References

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