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Notes on the Geography of Syria (Aleppo): Aleppo As It Was

This is an assortment of photos mostly of Aleppo but including a few from Damascus, Hama, and the Church of St. Simeon.

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Syria (Aleppo): Aleppo As It Was picture 1

The covered Suq al Hamidiyeh in Damascus.  The street is part of a grid including the famous Street Called Straight, a few blocks to the south.  The roof, supported on iron ribs, ends at the Umayyad Mosque, much as Jerusalem's Suq al Qattanin ends at the enclosure of the Aqsa Mosque.

Syria (Aleppo): Aleppo As It Was picture 2

Elsewhere on the grid: an ancient archway.

Syria (Aleppo): Aleppo As It Was picture 3

Hama's iconic waterwheels, since perhaps the 7th century lifting Orontes River water into two aqueducts, at different levels.  The city has about 17 surviving waterwheels or norias, whose flow--for farm and town--is shared among users by allocating the flow to different users at different times.

Syria (Aleppo): Aleppo As It Was picture 4

A closeup of the knobbled, abused surface near Aleppo.

Syria (Aleppo): Aleppo As It Was picture 5

A patch of arable land. The red color of the soil is typical of soils formed on limestone in a Mediterranean climate.

Syria (Aleppo): Aleppo As It Was picture 6

The ancient citadel of Aleppo, dating in this form from about 1200, when it was rebuilt by Ghazi, son of Saladin.  Its present ruin dates to the Mongol invasions, most recently in 1400.  On the far left, the heavily fortified entrance.

Syria (Aleppo): Aleppo As It Was picture 7

The entrance to the citadel, which is mostly in ruin but contains a mosque and Ayyubid palace.

Syria (Aleppo): Aleppo As It Was picture 8

Better: the view downslope to the covered market, whose entrance is the tunnel-like blackness front-and-center.

Syria (Aleppo): Aleppo As It Was picture 9

Closeup of the entrance, with a long line of chimney-like skylights. This axis--about 700 meters long--is part of an extensive network of gridded streets, all covered.  Flanking the market are caravansarais, where traders once arrived with their goods.

Syria (Aleppo): Aleppo As It Was picture 10

Inside.

Syria (Aleppo): Aleppo As It Was picture 11

Merchandise tends to be grouped.  Here, "farm-supply."

Syria (Aleppo): Aleppo As It Was picture 12

Truffles.

Syria (Aleppo): Aleppo As It Was picture 13

Nuts.

Syria (Aleppo): Aleppo As It Was picture 14

A private house in the al-Jubeilah district, on the other side of the citadel. All rooms are entered through doorways like this, off a square courtyard. Exit from the house is through a door that leads from the courtyard to a short tunnel that debouches on a narrow street.

Syria (Aleppo): Aleppo As It Was picture 15

West of Aleppo, these are the ruins of the Church of St. Simeon, or the Qala'at Semaan.  It was built to commemorate the saintliness of Simon Stylites, who remained atop a column here for 37 years. There are four ruined basilicas, one at each side of the courtyard in which the column stood.

Syria (Aleppo): Aleppo As It Was picture 16

Detail.

Syria (Aleppo): Aleppo As It Was picture 17

Detail.


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