Aleppo, (Halep) is an ancient city in the north of Sryia. Traders and merchants have travelled through this city for over a thousand years. And during Ramadan, as I wondered through the Great Bazaar. Men haggle over cuts of meat, women find new hijabs for their daugters, boys sell coffee and pistacio cake, donkey ridden by beduins carry exotic birds and cases of burgul wheat to sell – he see’s his frend selling saffron by the street.
“Asalem alakum keef halcum habiby!”
“Alhumdulilah, lesh, Ramadan!”
All comes to life at night here in this maze that is the Great Bazaar!
The Dead Cities
Ruins of the Byzantine Empire lay scattered on this heat scortched earth, like ghosts of the past, where Crusaders came, and Arabs, and now Tourists. The land is vast and flat here. The people who inhabited these lands must have been enduring people with dark skin and heavy wrinkles like the rocks they built their houses on.
The Persian Mosque
Outside the ancient Old City of Aleppo, among the towering apartments that look as if they have risen out of the very desert itself there is a grand monument. A massive new mosque built in the enchanting Persian style of Iran. We exlpore it’s vast rooms and are able to walk on top of the roof, witnessing the obscure skyline of Aleppo.
Aleppo looks as if it has risen out of the desert iteslf. This dry land echoes with calls to prayer and the clatter of mule’s hooves on dusty cobbled floors.
The charming souq of Aleppo is situated next to the cities central citadel. Aromas of perfume from the Gulf enchant the nostrils, and rugs from Iran fill tiny shops with an array of warm colours. Shop keepers great me and invite me in for tea. They expect nothing in return except for a good shake of the hands and an honest smile.
The New Town
The new town roads choke with traffic all moving at an easy un rushed pace. People barter and sell on just about every street corner, tiny shops are packed into every nooke and crany of the city, coffee stalls,news agents, ciggeratte vendors, and falfel stands. It’s a bombardment to the senses, you have to keeon your toes.
I leave Aleppo, bound for Hama. And I pass through barren lands where olive trees grown through tumbling ruins and the ground is red and dry. A few birds circle above, hoping to find some morsel of food. Dust blows around, small tornadoes form far off on the horizon, this land is alien to me, but great.