Aleppo or Halab (حلب‎)


Location: Aleppo Governorate Map

Aleppo is a second largest city in Syria. It is also one of the oldest cities in the World. History of Aleppo stretches for five thousand years. Situated North of Damascus in Aleppo Governorate it was an important stopping point of Silk Road. Much of its glory and beauty is due to its strategic location on the intersections of trade routes.


How to orient yourself

The citadel of Aleppo with its characteristic oval shape extends to the center of the old city, entirely surrounded by the souks and their inextricable system of alleys.

Suq Al-Attarin (perfume market) extends from the western flank of the citadel to the Antioch Gate (Bab Antakieh) and is considered the oldest part of the city. Here is the Great Mosque of Aleppo.

The more recently built city extends north and north-west of the souk area to the train station and beyond.

The east-west oriented Al Khandaq Avenue serves as a dividing line between the souq area and the Jdeydeh (Literally: "The New") neighborhood. This hinges on Al Hatab square and has welcomed Christian elements since the time of the Mamluks, mostly of Armenian origin or Maronite beliefs who enriched themselves through trade as evidenced by their opulent mansions that have survived the passage of time. The churches of the various Christian denominations and the Museum of Popular Arts are located in Jdeydeh.

Al Telal avenue separates the Christian neighborhood from that of Azizieh where the national museum and the famous Baron hotel are located. This is the tourist district of Aleppo with affordable hotels and restaurants.

The Public Gardens (Al Adiqa al Amma) are located towards the train station. Very well looked after, they host a few restaurants and some internet cafes.

Beyond the railway lines is the university district with some higher category hotels.


Travel Destinations

The oldest monument in the city is an 11 km long aqueduct, built by the Romans. A huge wall, 10 m high and 6.5 m thick, with seven gates, separates the city from the outskirts. The covered courtyard (bazaar) opens onto several streets, the whole consists of vaults and is illuminated from above through windows made partly in special domes. Aleppo has 7 large churches along with 3 monasteries and the El-Yalawe mosque in the old Roman style, originally built as a church by Empress Helena. The main export items and at the same time the main products of the country are wool, cotton, silk, wax, pistachios, soap, tobacco, wheat, which are exported mainly to France and Turkish harbors. The industry is limited to silk products. Residents of Aleppo mainly consider themselves Sharifs, that is, descendants of Muhammad. Another pride of the residents is the Citadel, the base of which rises 50 meters above the city. For a long time, the entire city lay within the citadel, and only in the 16th century, after Aleppo came under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, the city began to gradually grow outside the fortress walls.

The tomb of the poet Nasimi is located in Aleppo.


Historical Buildings

Aleppo Citadel, a large hilltop fortress rising 50m above the city. Dating back to the 1st millennium AD. e., some details were completed in the 13th century. It was damaged as a result of earthquakes, in particular in 1822.
Madrasah Halauie, built in 1124 on the former site of the Cathedral of St. Helena. Then Saint Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, built a large Byzantine cathedral there. When the invading Crusaders sacked the city, the city's chief judge converted St. Helena's Cathedral into a mosque, and finally, in the mid-12th century, Nur ad-Din founded a madrasah, or religious school, here.
Al-Matbah Al-Ajami, an early 12th-century palace located near the citadel, was built by the emir Maj ad-Din bin Ad-Daya. It was renovated in the 15th century. In 1967-1975, the Museum of Folk Traditions was located here.
Al-Shibani cultural center of the 12th century. The ancient church and school of the Franciscan Missionary of Mary, located in the old city, currently functions as a cultural center.
Moqaddamia Madrasah, one of the oldest theological schools in the city, was built in 1168.
Zahiriye Madrasah. Built in 1217 south of Bab El-Maqam, along Az-Zir Ghazi.
Sultaniye Madrasah, begun by the governor of Aleppo Az-Zahir Ghazi and completed in 1223-1225 by his son Malik Al-Aziz Muhammad.
Al-Firdaus Madrasah is a mosque called “the most beautiful mosque in Aleppo.” It was built by the widow of the governor of Aleppo Az-Zahir Ghazi in 1234-1237. Notable is the courtyard, which has a swimming pool in the middle, surrounded by arches with antique columns.
National Library of Aleppo. It was built in the 1930s and opened in 1945.
Grand Seray d'Alep is the former residence of the city governor; was built in the 1920s and opened in 1933.
Khanqa Al-Farafirah, a Sufi monastery built in 1237.
Bimaristan Arghun al-Kamili, a refuge that operated from 1354 until the beginning of the 20th century.
Dar Rajab Pasha is a large mansion built in the 16th century near Al Khandaq Street. Recently[when?] the house was restored and turned into a large cultural center with a theater hall inside.
Beit Jonblat is an old palace built at the end of the 16th century by the Kurdish ruler of Aleppo, Hussein Pasha Jan Polad.
Al-Uthmaniya Madrasah, an Islamic school located in the northern part of Bab An-Nasr. It was founded by the Ottoman Pasha Al-Duraqi in 1730 and was originally called the Ridaiya Madrasah.
Beit Marrash. An old Aleppo mansion located in the Al-Farafira quarter. It was built at the end of the 18th century by the Marrash family.
Chapel of Bab Al-Faraj. Built in 1898-1899 by the Austrian architect Cartier.

The most famous historical buildings of the Christian quarter of Zhdeide
Beit Ajikbash, an old Aleppo house built in 1757. Since 1975, it has housed the Museum of Folk Traditions, displaying Aleppo art.
Beit Ghazaleh. A 17th-century mansion, decorated by the Armenian sculptor Khachadur Bali in 1691. There was an Armenian school here in the 20th century.
Beit Dallal, that is, "Dallal House", was built in 1826 on the site of an old monastery, currently functioning as a hotel.
Beit Wakil, an Aleppo mansion built in 1603, attracts with its unique wooden decorations. One of these sets was taken to Berlin and exhibited in the Pergamon Museum, known as the Aleppo Room.
Gift Basil. House from the early 18th century, converted into a business school in 2001.
The Gift of Zamaria, built at the end of the 17th century and owned by the Zamaria family since the beginning of the 18th century. Currently it is a boutique hotel.



Aleppo Museum
Museum of Folk Traditions "Aleppo House" in Beit Achikbash, Zhdeide
Aleppo Citadel Museum
Museum of Medicine and Science in Bimaristan Arghun al-Kamili
Aleppo Memorial Museum in Beit Ghazala, Jdeida
Museum of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the old Armenian Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Zhdeide



Bab el-Hadid (en: Bab al-Hadid) (باب الحديد) (Iron Gate).
Bab El-Maqam (en: Bab al-Maqam) (باب المقام) (Gate of the Tomb).
Bab Antakeya (باب انطاكية) (Gate of Antioch).
Bab El-Nasr (en: Bab al-Nasr) (باب النصر) (Gate of Victory).
Bab El-Faraj (en: Bab al-Faraj) (باب الفرج) (Gate of Liberation).
Bab Qinnasrin (باب قنسرين) (Qinnasrin Gate).
Bab Jnen (باب الجنان) (Gate of Gardens).
Bab El-Ahmar (en: Bab al-Ahmar)(باب الأحمر) (Red Gate).


Religious buildings

The Great Mosque of Aleppo (Jami el-Kabir) or Umayyad Mosque, founded in 715 by Walid I and most likely completed by his successor Suleiman. The building contains the tomb of Zechariah, father of John the Baptist. The mosque was damaged during the Mongol invasion in 1260, and was restored. It has four facades of different styles.
Khusruwiyah Mosque, completed in 1547, was designed by the famous Ottoman architect Sinan.
Al-Nuqtah Mosque ("Mosque of a drop (of blood)"), Shiite mosque. It is believed that the site was previously a monastery, converted into a mosque in 944.
Al-Adeliya Mosque, built in 1555 by the governor of Aleppo, Muhammad Pasha.
Al-Saffahiya Mosque, built in 1425, with wonderfully designed octagonal minarets.
Al-Qaiqan Mosque ("Mosque of the Crows"), with two ancient basalt columns at the entrance. The mosque contains a stone block with Hittite inscriptions.
Altun-God mosque (1318).
Al-Tawashi mosque (XIV century, restored in 1537), with a large facade decorated with columns.
Cathedral of the Forty Martyrs (en: Cathedral of the Forty Martyrs) is an Armenian church in Zhdeid (XVI century).
Central Synagogue of Aleppo - built ca. 1200 by the Jewish community.
Maronite, Syrian Orthodox, Catholic and many other churches in the old Christian quarter of Jdeide.


Dead cities

Aleppo is surrounded by many historical monuments and ancient remains of dead cities. They are a group of 700 abandoned settlements in northwestern Syria. These cities date back to the 5th century BC and contain elements of Byzantine architecture.

The most important dead cities and archaeological sites in the Jebel Semaan (Mount Simeon) region include:
Kalota Castle, located 20 km northwest of Aleppo. It was built as a Roman temple in the 2nd century AD. After the conversion to Christianity, in the 5th century, the temple was turned into a basilica. As a result of the wars between the Hamdanids and the Byzantines, the church was turned into a castle in the 10th century. Two churches near the castle are well preserved: the eastern church, built in 492, and the western church (6th century).
Basilica of Harab Shams, one of the oldest and best preserved Christian buildings in the Levant. The Byzantine church, which lies 21 km northwest of Aleppo, dates back to the 4th century.
Fafertin Church, a dilapidated Roman basilica dating from 372 AD, is located 22 km northwest of Aleppo. According to Aleppo historian Abdallah Hajjar, this basilica is considered one of the oldest church buildings in the world.
The village of Surkaniya, located 23 km northwest of Aleppo, is the remains of an old Byzantine settlement with a dilapidated chapel from the 6th century.
Kafr Qira is a settlement in the village of Burj Heydar, located 24 km northwest of Aleppo. There are many dilapidated Christian buildings dating back to the 4th and 6th centuries.
The historical settlement of Sinhar, or Simhar, is located 24 km northwest of Aleppo. Situated in an isolated valley, the village was inhabited between the 2nd and 7th centuries. The Sinhar Church is one of the oldest churches in Syria and dates back to the 4th century, and there is a 6th century chapel nearby.
Basilica of Mushabbak. Well-preserved churches from the second half of the 5th century (about 470) are located 25 km west of Aleppo, near the city of Daret Azze.
Barjaka or Burj Suleiman is a village, a historical settlement located 26 km northwest of Aleppo; site of an old hermitage tower with well-preserved chapels from the 6th century.
Church in the village of Sheikh Suleiman, located 28 km west of Aleppo. There are 3 ancient churches in the village: a ruined church, which is located in the center of the settlement; the well-preserved southern basilica, built in 602; and the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, dating from the 5th century, which is considered one of the most beautiful churches in northern Syria. There is also a hermitage tower in the northern part of the village.
Kafr Nabo, 29 km west of Aleppo. This is an old Assyrian settlement of the 9th century BC and the site of an old Roman temple, which was later converted into a church. There are many well-preserved residential buildings from the 5th and 6th centuries.
Brad, a city located 32 km west of Aleppo; has many old basilicas, such as the Maronite monastery of St. Julian of Anazar (399-402 AD), where the temple of St. Maron is located, and the basilica in the northern part of the village, built in 561.
The settlement of Kimar is located 35 km northwest of Aleppo. The village of Roman and Byzantine eras, dating from the 5th century AD, contains many well-preserved churches, towers and old water tanks.
Temple of Saint Simeon the Stylite (Deir Semaan), a well-preserved and one of the most famous ecclesiastical monuments in Syria, dating from the 5th century. It is located approximately 35 km northwest of Aleppo. Deir Semaan is one of the oldest Christian churches in the world.
The village of Sugane, located 40 km northwest of Aleppo. There are two dilapidated churches and old reservoirs here.
Ain Dara, an Iron Age Syro-Hittite temple (c. 10th to 8th centuries BC), is located 45 km northwest of Aleppo. Known for its resemblance to Solomon's Temple as described in the Bible. The surviving sculptures depict lions and sphinxes (comparable to the cherubs of the First Temple). However, Solomon's Temple was built around 1000-900 BC, and Ain Dara already existed by that time. Ain Dara was built either in honor of Ishtar, the goddess of fertility, or in honor of the female goddess Astarte, or in honor of the deity Baal Hadad - this question remains controversial.
The village of Bab al-Khawa, located 50 km west of Aleppo on the border with Turkey; a site with a large number of old churches from the 4th century and well-preserved gates from the 6th century AD.
Quiros (also known as Khurus, Arabic: حوروس‎, or Ayyupolis) is an ancient city located 65 km north of Aleppo; it houses the ancient temple of Cosmas and Damian (known as the Temple of Nabi-Uri), as well as an old Roman amphitheater and two old Roman bridges.


Getting here

By plane
Aleppo has an international airport where Syrian Air planes stop from Milan-Malpensa and Rome-Fiumicino. A bus service provides connections to the center but taxis are not at all expensive.

On the train
The train station is quite centrally located. Passenger trains connect Aleppo to Latakia and Damascus. Trains from the Syrian capital arrive late at night so you will need to consider booking a sleeper. International trains coming from Gaziantep (Türkiye) stop in Aleppo


Where to eat

The cheapest restaurants are located in the Hotel Baron area. The only Italian restaurant is located inside the Poulman Al Shahba hotel in the university district.


Where stay

Modest prices
Spring Flower Hostel (Near National Museum), ☎ +963-21-212 2790.
Mar Simaan AlAmoudi Student's Hostel, ☎ +963 21 464 0304. Hostel managed by the Syriac Orthodox archdiocese of Aleppo and almost always occupied by students who attend summer courses.
Hanadi, Bab jneen, ☎ +963 21 223 8113. 1 star hotel with very clean rooms in a restored old building. The rooms have private bathrooms and are equipped with air conditioning. The use of the washing machine is free for customers. Trips to the dead cities and the Basilica of San Simeone are offered.

Average prices
New Omayad (Near Baron Hotel), ☎ +963 21 00963, +963 21 211410. Very simple rooms with private bathroom and (noisy) air conditioning.

High prices
Hotel Baron, ☎ +963 21 221 0880, fax: +963 21 221 8164. Famous hotel built in 1911 by the two Armenian brothers of the Mazloumian family. Lawrence of Arabia stayed in room 202 and Agatha Christie in 203. During her stay, the novelist worked on writing the first part of her novel "Murder on the Orient Express". The hotel has preserved the atmosphere of the time intact but lacks modern comforts.
Chahba Cham Palace (Across the stadium and the railway lines towards the university district), ☎ +963 21 227 0100, +963 21 266 1600, fax: +963 21 227 0140. The most luxurious of Aleppo hotels. Swimming pool, tennis courts, fitness room, two cinema rooms.



In ancient times, Aleppo was known under the name Halpe or Halibon, and the Greeks and Romans called it Veroia (ancient Greek Βέροια, lat. Beroea). During the Crusades and then during the French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon, the city was called Aleppo in Italian, instead of Aleppo. However, the origin of Aleppo's ancient name "Halab" is unclear. Some suggest that "Halab" means "iron" or "copper", since it was the main producer of these metals in ancient times. "Halaba" means "white" in Aramaic, with proponents citing the color of the soil and the abundance of marble in the area. Another explanation comes from folk etymology and is that the name is Arabic. حَلَبَ‎, "Halaba" means "milk (milk)", referring to the ancient legend that Abraham gave milk to travelers. They asked each other “حَلَبَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ؟, Halaba Ibrahiym?”, that is, “Doil Ibrahim (Abraham)?” The color of his cow was red (Arabic: شَهَبٌ‎, shaheb), so the city is called حَلَبُ الشَّهْبَاءُ‎, “Halab al-Shahba”.

In 2003, the German archaeologist K. Kohlmeyer discovered two statues (of a god and a king) during excavations at the Temple of Adad in the citadel of Aleppo, and the beginning of the inscription in Luwian hieroglyphs on the royal statue reads: “I am Taita, hero, king of the country of Palestine. I dedicated the image to my master, the god of the Storm of Aleppo..." (translated by A. V. Safronov)



Aleppo is located 120 km from the Mediterranean Sea, at an altitude of 380 m above sea level, 45 km east of the Syrian-Turkish border. The city is surrounded by agricultural land to the north and west, where pistachio and olive trees are cultivated. In the east, Aleppo is surrounded by the Syrian Desert. The city was founded a few kilometers south of the old city's location, on the right bank of the Kueike River; the old part of the city lies on the left bank of the river. It was surrounded by 8 hills, forming a circle with a radius of 10 km, in the center of which was the main high hill. A fortress dating back to the 2nd millennium BC was built on this hill. These hills are called Tell al-Sauda, Tell Aisha, Tell al-Sett, Tell al-Yasmin, Tell al-Ansari (Yarukiyya), An at-Tall, al-Jallum and Bahsita. The old part of the city was surrounded by an ancient wall consisting of nine gates. The wall was surrounded by a wide, deep ditch.

With an area of 190 km², Aleppo is one of the fastest growing cities in the Middle East. The city's development plan, adopted in 2001, envisaged expanding the total area of Aleppo to 420 km² by the end of 2015.



Aleppo's climate is very close to the Mediterranean. At the same time, the mountain plateau on which the city is located significantly reduces the warming effect of the Mediterranean Sea during the winter months, which makes winter in Aleppo much colder than in other Mediterranean cities, although it is shorter. In terms of the average January temperature, winter is comparable to winter on the southern coast of Crimea, with stable night frosts observed at night, with a warm day, although the weather changes very often.

In some years, serious cold snaps are possible, reaching −5 °C, and occasionally −10 °C. Snow often falls, some winters are snowy and are accompanied by the formation of temporary snow cover. Windy, damp weather dominates in winter. Summer is very hot, and there is practically no precipitation. However, it also begins and ends earlier than in Mediterranean cities. Temperatures average +36 °C during the day, but often rise above +40 °C. Spring in Aleppo begins roughly in the second half of February and lasts until the end of April. Autumn in Aleppo is very short, and only occurs in November.



Aleppo is one of the most ancient cities in the world; it was inhabited in the 6th millennium BC. Excavations at Tell al-Sauda and Tell al-Ansari (south of the old part of the city) show that the area was inhabited in the second half of the 3rd millennium BC. Aleppo is mentioned in Hittite inscriptions, in the Mari inscriptions on the Euphrates, in central Anatolia, and in the city of Ebla, where it is described as one of the main centers of trade and military art.


Ancient world

The Ancient East

Aleppo appears in historical records much earlier than Damascus. The first mention of it dates back to the 3rd millennium BC. e., when Aleppo was the capital of the independent kingdom of Ebla. The city was known as Armi in Ebla and as Armanum in Akkad. Naram-Sin, king of Akkad (or his grandfather, Sargon the Ancient), destroyed Ebla and Arman in the 23rd century BC.

In the late Babylonian period, Aleppo was first mentioned under the name Halab (Halap, Halba). The city was the capital of the Amorite kingdom of Yamhad. The Kingdom of Yamhad (Arabic: يمحاض‎) (c. 1800–1600 BC), also known as the “land of Aleppo,” was the strongest and most powerful kingdom in the Middle East at the time.

Yamhad was destroyed by the Hittites under Mursili I in the 16th century BC. However, Aleppo soon resumed its leading role in Syria when Hittite forces in the region weakened due to internal strife.

Taking advantage of the anarchy in the region, Parrattarna, king of the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni, conquered Aleppo in the 15th century BC. Subsequently, Aleppo found itself on the front line in the struggle between Egypt, Mitanni and the Hittite kingdom. Hittite Suppiluliuma I defeated Mitanni and conquered Aleppo in the 14th century BC. Aleppo had cult significance for the Hittites: it was the center of worship of the weather god.

When the Hittite kingdom collapsed in the 12th century BC Aleppo became part of the Aramean Syro-Hittite kingdom of Arpad, and later it became the capital of the Aramean Syro-Hittite kingdom of Hatarikka-Luhuti. In the 9th century BC Aleppo became part of the Neo-Assyrian Kingdom, and later the Neo-Babylonian Kingdom and the Achaemenid Empire.



Alexander the Great conquered the city in 333 BC. Seleucus Nicator founded a Greek settlement here (c. 301-286 BC) and named it Veria, after the city of Veria in the Macedonian Empire.

Beria remained under Seleucid rule for almost 300 years. Roman rule ensured the stability and security of Northern Syria for more than three centuries.

During the Roman era, the population in northern Syria increased markedly, and it also grew during the rule of the Byzantines in the 5th century. In late antiquity, Beria was the second largest city after Antioch, the capital of Syria; and the third largest city in the Roman Empire. Archaeological evidence suggests high population densities in villages and towns between Antioch and Berea in the 6th century AD. Currently, these settlements contain ancient houses and churches, such as the Church of St. Simeon the Stylite. Saint Maron was probably born in this region: his tomb is in Brad, west of Aleppo.

Berea is mentioned in 2 Mac. 13:3.


Middle Ages

The Sassanids invaded Syria at the beginning of the 7th century. Aleppo was soon conquered by the Arabs under the leadership of Khalid ibn Walid in 637. In 944 it became the seat of the independent emirate of the Hamdanid prince Sayf al-Dawla, and the city flourished as the home of the great poet Al-Mutanabbi and the philosopher Al-Farabi. The city was retaken by the Byzantines in 962 and was part of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine) from 974 to 987. Aleppo and its emirate became a vassal state from 969 until the Byzantine-Selju Wars. From 1024 to 1080, with short interruptions, the city was ruled by the Mirdasid dynasty. Aleppo was besieged twice by the Crusaders, in 1098 and 1124, but was not conquered.

An earthquake that occurred in 1138 destroyed the city and its surroundings. One cannot rely entirely on estimates at the time, but it is nevertheless believed that 230,000 people died, thus making it the fifth deadliest earthquake in human history.

Aleppo fell to Saladin and then to the Ayyubid dynasty in 1183.

On January 24, 1260, Aleppo was taken by the Mongols led by Hulagu along with the knights of Prince Bohemond VI of Antioch and his father-in-law, King Hethum I of Armenia. The city was poorly defended by the Ayyubid Turan Shah: the walls collapsed after six days of bombardment, and the citadel after four weeks. Many Muslims and Jews died, and the Christian population was spared. Since the Mongols respected Turan Shah for his bravery, they did not kill him. Then the city was handed over to the former emir of Homs, al-Ashraf Musa, and a Mongol garrison was established in the city. The award was also given to Hethum I for his assistance in the capture of Aleppo. Mongol troops then marched towards Damascus and it surrendered. The Mongols entered Damascus on March 1, 1260.

In September 1260, the Mamluks negotiated a treaty with the Franks of Acre that allowed them to pass through the Crusaders unhindered, and engaged the Mongols (see Battle of Ain Jalut) on September 3, 1260. The Mamluks were victorious, killing the Mongol commander Kitbuku, and five days later they recaptured Damascus. The Muslims captured Aleppo within a month, and the Mamluk governor was left to rule the city. In December of that year, Hulagu sent troops to try to retake Aleppo. The Mongols killed a large number of Muslims in revenge for the death of Kitbuki, but since they failed to capture the city within two weeks, they were forced to retreat.

In October 1271, the Mongols managed to capture Aleppo again, defeating the Turkmen troops defending the city and an army of ten thousand from Anatolia. The Mamluk garrisons fled to the city of Hama, but Baybars returned with his army to defend Aleppo and the Mongols retreated.

On October 20, 1280, the Mongols retook Aleppo, robbing markets and setting fire to mosques. The city's Muslim inhabitants fled to Damascus, where the Mamluk leader Al-Mansur Qalauun was gathering his forces. As his army approached Aleppo, the Mongols retreated again, returning across the Euphrates.

In 1400, the Turkic leader Tamerlane recaptured the city from the Mamluks. Many residents were killed, and a tower of thousands of human skulls was built outside the city. After the departure of the Mongols, the entire Muslim population returned to Aleppo. But the Christians who fled the city during the Mongol invasion were unable to move back to their quarter in the old part of the city. This led them to create a new quarter in 1420, built outside the city walls, in the northern suburbs of Aleppo. This new quarter was called al-Jdeideh ("new area" in Arabic).


New time

In the 19th century, two major Jewish pogroms took place in the city. In 1947, following the formation of Israel, a major pogrom took place in the city, as a result of which a mass exodus of Jews to Israel began.


Civil War

In 2012, during the Syrian Civil War, the city became the scene of fierce fighting between anti-government rebels and terrorist groups on one side and government forces on the other. The active phase of the fighting began in the summer of 2012.

Initially, the confrontation involved mainly moderate opposition groups and government troops, as well as Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units. Gradually, radical Islamist groups, including the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State, began to play an increasingly important role among the anti-government forces, and numerous allied armed groups (mainly Shiite militias from Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan) entered the war on the side of the government. as well as military advisers from Iran. With the start of the Russian military operation in Syria in September 2015, the Russian Aerospace Forces joined the armed confrontation in Aleppo, carrying out air and missile strikes against rebel and terrorist groups.

As the country's largest city by population and considered the "economic capital of Syria" before the war, Aleppo was seen by parties to the conflict and experts as having great strategic and political importance, with the battle for control of the city as a decisive front. This led to the protracted and fierce nature of the fighting, which led to massive destruction of urban infrastructure and large losses among the civilian population.

Having attacked the city in the summer of 2012, rebel groups quickly captured approximately 40% of its territory. Their further progress, however, was stopped, and in 2012-2013 the situation became a dead end. The militants managed to cut the strategic Damascus-Aleppo highway, for control of which fierce battles began.

On January 15, 2013, powerful explosions occurred on the territory of the local university. The explosion killed 80 people and injured about 150 people, including students and refugees housed on the university grounds.

On March 12, Syrian troops and rebels resumed fighting for Aleppo International Airport, and rebels also attacked the Nairab and Mannah air bases near the airport. On March 19, the nerve gas sarin was used in the Aleppo suburb of Khan al-Asal, killing 15 people.

By October 2013, half the city was held by government forces, the other half by various rebel factions. The city's population has dropped from 2.5 million to less than 1 million since the conflict began.

In 2014-2015, the Syrian army, supported by allied militias and Iranian troops, carried out a series of successful operations that laid the groundwork for the future encirclement and assault of the city.

On March 4, 2015, a powerful explosion occurred near the Syrian Air Force intelligence building in Aleppo. The rebels detonated an explosive device in a tunnel located under the intelligence service building. More than 30 people died.

On the night of July 12, a powerful tunnel explosion in the Old City severely damaged the wall of the Aleppo Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The beginning of the Russian military operation in Syria in September 2015 made it possible to radically change the situation in Syria in favor of the government of Bashar al-Assad, unblock Aleppo, and subsequently establish control over the entire territory of the city.

In February 2016, the Syrian army, in a successful offensive, surrounded Aleppo from the north, cutting off the militants' supply lines from the Turkish border.

During the 2016 summer campaign, the army completed the complete encirclement of the city and began its siege. According to estimates as of September 2016, about 250 thousand people remained in the eastern part of Aleppo (controlled by the opposition and terrorists), and 1.5 million people in the western part (controlled by government forces).

On July 28, Russia, together with the Syrian authorities, launched a humanitarian operation in Aleppo. Three humanitarian corridors were opened for the civilian population, and a fourth for militants to exit.

In August, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) expressed concern about the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the city, particularly in eastern Aleppo. Later, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that there was a high probability of humanitarian disaster in the city.

The presence of a humanitarian catastrophe was pointed out at the end of September by the UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O’Brien. At the same time, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon accused Syria and Russia of war crimes - the use of incendiary and bunker bombs against residential areas of Aleppo.

On November 15, 2016, with massive air and missile support from the Russian Aerospace Forces, the Syrian army launched an offensive to capture the uncontrolled (eastern) part of the city, which a month later led to the collapse of the militants’ defensive lines and the city’s transition to government control. By mid-December 2016, the city was completely occupied by government forces.

By the evening of December 22, 2016, the city finally came under the control of government forces.

After the liberation of the city, its residential areas were repeatedly subjected to mortar and rocket attacks from militants, which led to new casualties.



Aleppo suffered greatly during the fighting, with many local landmarks damaged or destroyed. Many manufacturing plants in the country's economic capital were looted.

In July 2019, the central city market “Al-Saktyya”, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, was restored.

In August 2019, the restoration of housing and infrastructure of the city was still ongoing. By the fall of 2019, a number of industrial production facilities had been restored. Refugees who returned to the city took part in the reconstruction of Aleppo



The majority of Aleppo residents are Muslim Arabs. The Christian population consists of Armenians, Greeks, Maronites, Syrian Catholics; There are Jewish and American Protestant communities.


Historical data

At the beginning of the 19th century, Aleppo was inhabited by 200 thousand inhabitants; the city had extensive industry and trade, its factories supplied the entire East with silk, paper, wool and brocade fabrics. But an earthquake, plague and cholera undermined his well-being. According to the historian from Aleppo, Sheikh Kamel al-Ghazzi (1853-1933), the population of the city before the devastating earthquake of 1822 was 400 thousand people. Then, due to cholera and plague (1823 and 1827, respectively), the population of Aleppo dropped to 110 thousand people. In 1901, the total population of Aleppo was 108,143 people, of which 76,329 (70.58%) were Muslims, 24,508 (22.66%) were Catholic Christians; and Jews - 7306 (6.76%). The Christian population increased significantly with the influx of Armenian refugees (following the 1915 Armenian genocide) and Syrian Christians from other cities. After the arrival of the first group of Armenian refugees (1915-1922), the population of Aleppo in 1922 became 156,748 people, of which Muslims accounted for 97,600 inhabitants (62.26%), Catholic Christians - 22,117 (14.11%), Jews - 6580 (4.20%), the number of Europeans in the city was 2652 (1.70%), Armenian refugees - 20,007 (12.76%) and others - 7792 (4.97%).

The second flow of Armenian refugees towards Aleppo was caused by the withdrawal of French troops from Cilicia in 1923. More than 40,000 Armenians arrived in the city between 1923 and 1925, and Aleppo's population reached 210,000 by the end of 1925, of which Armenians made up more than 25%.

According to historical data presented by Sheikh Ramel al-Ghazzi, the vast majority of Christians in the city of Aleppo were Catholics, until the last days of Ottoman rule. The growth of Orthodox Christians is associated, on the one hand, with the arrival of Armenian and Syrian Christians who survived in Cilicia and southern Turkey; and on the other hand, with the arrival of a large number of Orthodox Greeks from the Sanjak of Alexandretta, after its annexation in favor of Turkey (1939).

In 1944, the population of Aleppo was about 325,000 people, where 112,110 (34.5%) were Christians (of which 60,200 were Armenians). Armenians made up more than half of Aleppo's Christian community until 1947, while many left for Soviet Armenia as part of the Armenian repatriation (1946–1967).


Current state

Aleppo is the most populous city in Syria, with a population of 2,181,061 people (2004). According to official estimates announced by the Aleppo City Council, the city's population reached 2,301,570 by the end of 2005. More than 80% of Aleppo's residents are Sunni Muslims. These are primarily Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens. Other Muslim groups include Circassians (Circassians, Kabardins, Adygeis), Chechens, Albanians, Bosniaks and Pomaks.

According to estimates in 2010, the final report of the Aleppo urban development project carried out by the city municipality and GTZ as part of the joint Syrian-German program for sustainable urban development, the city's annual population growth over the next ten years was expected to be about 2.7% per year, and the population will reach 3.6 million inhabitants.

One of the largest Christian communities in the Middle East, Aleppo was home to many Eastern Christians before the war, mainly Armenians, Syrian Christians and Melkite Greeks. Before the war, more than 250 thousand Christians lived in the city, accounting for about 12% of the total population. A significant number of Syrian Christians in Aleppo are from the city of Urfa (Turkey) and speak Armenian. A large community of Christians belongs to the Armenian Apostolic, Syrian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox churches. There were many Catholics in Aleppo, including Melkite Greeks, Maronites, Latins, Chaldeans, and Syrian Catholics. Several areas of the city have a predominantly Christian and Armenian population, such as the old Christian quarter of Zhdeide. The modern Christian areas are called Aziziyah, Sulaymaniyah, Ghare de Baghdad, Urube and Meydan. There are 45 active churches in Aleppo belonging to the above-mentioned denominations.

The Arabic-speaking population of Aleppo speaks a Northern Syrian dialect called Shawi.



Aleppo is a mixture of several architectural styles. Numerous invaders, from the Byzantines and Seljuks to the Mamluks and Turks, have left their marks on the city's architecture for 2,000 years. There are various buildings from the 13th and 14th centuries, such as hotels, Muslim schools and hammams, Christian and Muslim buildings in the old part of the city and the Zhdeide quarter. This quarter contains a large number of houses from the 16th and 17th centuries that belonged to the Aleppo bourgeoisie. In Aziziye there are houses of the 19th and early 20th centuries in the Baroque style. The new Shahba quarter mixes various architectural styles: neoclassical, Norman, oriental and even Chinese styles.

Aleppo is completely paved with stone, in some places with large white blocks.

While the old city is characterized by a large number of mansions, narrow streets and covered markets, the modern part of the city features wide roads and large squares such as Saadallah al-Jabiri Square, Freedom Square, President Square and Sabaa Bahrat Square.


Old city

There is a fairly clear division between old and new Aleppo. The old part is enclosed within walls that form a 5 km long circle with nine gates. A huge medieval castle, known as the Aleppo Citadel, lies in the center of the ancient part. It was built like an acropolis.

Historically, Aleppo constantly changed hands, was under the control of different states, and the political situation was unstable. In this regard, residents built separate quarters, divided along religious lines, which were socially and economically independent. A good example of such neighborhoods is the famous Christian quarter of Zhdeide.

The old city of Aleppo can be divided into two parts: the old part and Jdeide. As already described above, the old part was built inside the walls, while Zhdeide is a Christian quarter built at the beginning of the 15th century, after the Mongol troops left the city. After Tamerlane invaded Aleppo in 1400 and completely destroyed it, Christians were forced to leave. But in 1420 they created their own quarter in the north-west of the city - the Zhdeide quarter. Residents of this area were mainly engaged in brokerage: they were intermediaries between foreign traders and local merchants.

The total area of the ancient city is about 3.5 km². More than 120 thousand inhabitants live here.


Markets and caravanserais

The strategic location of this trading city attracted people of all races and beliefs to use the commercial roads as the Silk Road passed through Aleppo. The largest indoor market in the world is located in Aleppo, with a length of 13 kilometers. Al-Madina, as it is known here, is a trading center where luxury goods such as raw silk from Iran, spices and dyes from India, and coffee from Damascus are imported. In al-Madina you can also find locally made products: wool, agricultural products and the famous Aleppo soap. Most of the markets were built in the 14th century, they are named after various professions and crafts: wool market, copper market and so on. In addition to goods, the market also houses khans, or caravanserais (Arabic: كاروانسرا‎). Caravanserais are characterized by beautiful facades and entrances with wooden doors.

The most famous markets and caravanserais (khans) of the ancient city:
Khan Ak-Qadi, built in 1450, is one of the oldest caravanserais in Aleppo.
Khan Al-Burgul, built in 1472.
Souk As-Sabun, or Soap Khan, built in the early 16th century, is located next to the soap shops.
Souk Khan An-Nahhasin, or copper market. Built in 1539. Known for its traditional and modern shoes, it contains 84 stores.
Khan Ash-Shuneh was built in 1546. It sells traditional Aleppo crafts.
Suk Khan Al-Harir, or silk khan. Built in the second half of the 16th century, it has 43 stores and specializes mainly in textile trade.
Souq Khan Al Ghumroq, or Customs Khan, a textile shopping center with 55 shops. Built in 1574, Khan Al-Gumrok is considered the largest khan in ancient Aleppo.
Souq Khan Al-Wazir, built in 1682, is considered the main cotton market in Aleppo.
Souq Al-Attareen, or herbal market. Traditionally it was the main spice market in Aleppo. It currently operates as a textile sales center with 82 stores.
Souk Az-Zirb, or Souk Az-Zarb. Coins were minted here during the Mamluk period. Currently, this market has 71 shops, most of which deal in textiles and basic needs of the Bedouins.
Souk Al Behramiya has 52 grocery stores and is located next to the Behramiya Mosque.
Souq Al Haddadin is a market of old traditional blacksmiths and consists of 37 shops.
Souq Al Atiq, or the old market, specializes in the sale of leather and includes 48 shops.
Souq Al-Siyag, or jewelry market, consists of 99 shops and is the main center for jewelry trading in Aleppo and the entire country.
The Khan of the Venetians was the home of the Venetian consul and Venetian merchants.
Souq An-Nisuan, or women's market, is a place where you can find everything a bride needs: accessories, clothes, and so on.
Al-Suweiqa, or Sueikat Ali (suweiqa means "small market" in Arabic), is a large market that contains shops mainly specializing in home and kitchen equipment.

Many traditional khans also function as markets in the Christian quarter of Zhdeide:
Souq Al-Hokedoun or "Khan al-Quds". Hokedun means "spiritual house" in Armenian, as it was built as an inn for Armenian pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. The old part of Hockedun dates from the late 15th and early 16th centuries, while the new part was built in the 17th century. It has now grown into a large market with numerous shops specializing in clothing trade.
As-Salibe, the center of old Christian cathedrals.
Souq As-Suf or wool market, surrounded by old churches.
Bawabat Al-Kasab, wood products store.



The city's main economic role is as a trading place, and it is located at the crossroads of two trade routes and mediates trade with India. It continued to prosper until the Europeans began using the sea route to India around the Cape of Good Hope and then using the route through Egypt to the Red Sea. Since then, the city has seen a decline in agricultural exports to surrounding regions, mainly wheat, cotton, pistachios, olives and sheep.

The main industries are textile, chemical, pharmaceutical, agro-processing, electrical equipment, and alcoholic beverages. Tourism is also developed. Aleppo is the largest urban agglomeration in the Syrian Republic and the largest industrial center, employing more than 50% of the country's industrial workers and generating an even larger share of export earnings.

Aleppo is located in a very favorable area for agriculture.



Tourism was developed in the city. The main tourist places are Aleppo Fortress (411,880), Aleppo Citadel Museum (31847), National Museum (24090). There are 3 five-star hotels, 11 four-star hotels, 8 three-star hotels, 11 two-star hotels, 61 one-star hotels, 11 hostels.