We’ll start with another video:
If anything the souk in Aleppo is even more facinating (and labyrinthine) than its counterpart in Damascus. Like Damascus, the souk is in the heart of the old city, surrounding the great mosque and consisting of a seemingly infinite number of small covered passageways down which travel people, donkeys and increasingly, small suzuki pickups often no wider than the alley. The only major difference is that the whole city both new and old is overlooked by the magnificant citadel.
Many of the houses had overhanging wooden rooms which seemed straight out of the middle ages. Some of them even joined their counterparts on the other side of the alley.
We always seem to find ourselves in countries which have their leaders pictured on evertything from the whole side of a wall to photos in the tiniest shops. They are either of royalty or autocratic dictators – Ben Ali in Tunisia, the King in Thailand, King Hussein and King Abdullah in Jordan and the two latest presidents of Syria – Hafez and his son, the present incumbent, Bashir. And here he is, smiling benevolently down on his people
Everywhere in the Arab world you see doorknockers in the shape of Fatima’s hand – for good luck.
Nosing into two more old American cars.
The Baron Hotel is an institution in Aleppo. Built in 1909 when it was the only hotel for the rich and famous on their middle eastern tour, it hasn’t changed much since. We were shown the rooms that once hosted Agatha Christie and ex-President Hafez which by today’s standards were rather small and austere. I think only the plumbing had been upgraded and by the look of it not much. Despite its modest room rate – about $50 a night, we decided to just stay for a drink, taken in the atmospheric bar.
The citadel dominates Aleppo and provides an excellent 360 degree panorama of the city. Here is the main gate.
Here are some mote photos of our trip