As many of you may know, Aleppo is my favourite city I have ever visited.
We all know the fate that befell this metropolis inhabited for the past 6,000 years that is situated on the ancient Silk Road.
I won’t dwell on the horrendous occurrences of the last 9 years though, but will show things as they were in 2009 when I had the privilege to visit.
A citadel was first constructed on the site in the third century BC, the current structure being built in the 12th Century and enlarged by the Ottomans in the 16th Century.
It has the unfortunate title of having the most occupiers of any garrison in history. Occupants have been the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Seleucids, Romans, Sassanids, Ayyubids, Mongols, Mamluks & the Ottomans before returning to Syrian control.
The covered souk was constructed in the 13th Century and was much the same when i visited hundreds of years later.
As well as selling all the usual herbs, spices, nuts, sweets, pots & pans etc. from small shops arranged around a labyrinth of alleys, the speciality was soap made from olive oil.
The Great Mosque
Completed between the 8th & 11th Centuries on the site where a church once stood, it is said to house the remains of Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist.
It was most famous for its 45 metre high minaret which developed a pronounced lean having been struck by lightning.
Old Town Hammam
No visit to an Arabic country would be complete without a scrub & pummeling in the hammam.
Aleppo was no exception and a superbly preserved treat.
The first storey of the hotel was built in 1909, a second added in 1911 and finally a third storey in 1940.
Famous guests have included Charles De Gaulle, Agatha Christie, Rockefeller & Lawrence of Arabia, Hamish & I being slightly less feted short-term residents!
Aleppo Train Station
We took a train to the Mediterranean port city of Latakia, travelling through Idlib Province to get there.
As you might have expected the station was a tad run down and the trains past their best, but what a fabulous experience.
The city beginning with the letter A that I would most like to visit that I haven’t yet? Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
How about you?
So there you have my first entry into this year’s challenge.
Look out for B tomorrow.