To Aleppo With Love – Introduction, Part 1

January 16th, 2015

Dimah - - Introduction 99n 500

Above: This is my necklace, it is the name of the city “Aleppo”, in Arabic “Halab” and is written like this حلب

Aleppo (Halab حلب) is the largest city in Syria, and the oldest city in the world (12,200 years old). Aleppo was ruled successively by the Hittites, Assyrians, Akkadians, Greeks, Romans, Umayyads, Ayyubids, Mameluks and Ottomans who left their stamp on the city. The old city of Aleppo reflects the rich and diverse cultures of its successive occupants. Many periods of history have left their influence in the architectural fabric of the city. Characterized with its large mansions, narrow alleys, covered souq and ancient caravanserais, the Ancient City of Aleppo became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.

Since 2012, Aleppo is exposed to destruction, and the losses in ancient and modern city are tremendous. At least 121 historical buildings have been damaged or destroyed – equal to 30 – 40 per cent of the World Heritage property are, in addition to the destruction of more than 1500 shops of the Souq.

What happened in Old Aleppo is a crime against humanity and history, the old city with its monuments belong to all the people of the world. This targeting has resulted in great loss in the components of Syria’s archaeological heritage, which can be added to a long list of painful losses that cannot be replaced.

I will leave you now with photos showing Aleppo “Before and After”:

Aleppo 500

Above: Aleppo Landmarks. Click on picture for larger image

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Above: Signs showing directions to different landmarks in Old City of Aleppo . Click on picture for larger image

Dimah - - Ancient Aleppo 500

Above: The destruction in the Old City of Aleppo. Click on picture for larger image

And here are photos showing the destruction of a number of historical buildings:

Dimah - - Ummayad 1

Dimah - - Ummayad 2

Above: The Great Mosque of Aleppo (The Grand Ummayad Mosque of Aleppo) الجامع الأموي الكبير بحلب

It is the largest and one of the oldest mosques in Aleppo. It was built in the beginning of 8th century. However, the current building dates back to the 11th century through the 14th century. The minerate was built in 1090, and was destroyed during the war in April, 2013 (look at first photo).

Dimah - - Ummayad 3

Dimah - - Ummayad 4

Above: Inside the Great Mosque of Aleppo

Dimah - - Mehmendar

Above: Mahmadar Mosque جامع المهمندار

It is one of the oldest mosques in Aleppo, It is located in the Ancient part of the city, north to the Citadel of Aleppo. It was built in the 14th century, and was partially destroyed in 2012.

Dimah - - Kmaliyeh

Above: Kamaliya Mosque جامع الكمالية

It was built in 1764, and the minerate was destroyed in 2013.

Dimah - - Adeliyeh

Above: Al-Adiliyah Mosque جامع العادلية

It is a mosque complex in Aleppo, located to the west of the Citadel. The mosque was built by ottoman governor of Aleppo Muhammad Pasha in 1551. It is considered to be one of the oldest mosques of the Ottoman period in Aleppo after the Khusruwiyah Mosque.

Dimah - -Khsrwiyeh-

Above: Al-Khusruwiyah Mosque and Madrasa جامع ومدرسة الخسروية

It is a mosque complex in Aleppo, located southeast of the Citadel. The mosque was commissioned by Khusraw [Hüsrev] Pasha while he was governor of Aleppo under Sultan Suleiman I. It was designed by the renowned court architect Mimar Sinan. It was built in 1546, and was almost entirely destroyed in summer 2014.

Dimah - - Othmaniyeh

Above: Al-Uthmaniyah Madrasa and Mosque مدرسة وجامع العثمانية

It is a madrasa complex in Aleppo, it was built in 1728.

Dimah - - Sultaniyah

Above: Al-Sultaniyah Madrasa and Mosque مدرسة وجامع السلطانية

It is a madrasa complex in Aleppo, it was built in 1223, and was partially destroyed in 2014.

Dimah - - Zawiyeh

Above: Al-Zawia Al-Saiadiyah (Dar Al-Fatwa) الزاوية الصيادية، دار الفتوى

The house of Fatwa Issuance, it was built in 1879, and was destroyed in 2013.

Dimah - - Farahat Squarer

Above: Farhat Square ساحة فرحات

It is located in Al-Jdeideh quarter, it is named after the Archbishop Jermanos Farhat (1670 – 1732) who founded the Maronite library. A statue of the Archbishop was placed in the square for his 200th anniversary in 1934. Three churches surround the square.

Dimah - - St Elias 1

Dimah - - St Elias 2

Above: Saint Elias Cathedral كاتدرائية القديس مار إلياس

It is an Eastern Catholic (Maronite) church in Aleppo, Syria, located in the Christian quarter of Jdeideh. It is named after Elijah the prophet. The church was built in 1873 on the place of the old Maronite church. It was renovated in 1914

Dimah - - Fourty Cathedral

Above: Forty Martyrs Cathedral كاتدرائية الأربعين شهيداً

It is a 15th-cantury Armenian Apostolic church located in the old christian quarter of Al-Jdeideh. It was destroyed on April 2015.

Dimah - -Hammam Yalbugha

Above: Hammam Yalbugha حمّام يلبغا الناصري

Hammam Yalbugha is a Mamluk-era public bath (“hammam”) in Aleppo, Syria. The hammam was built in 1491 by the Emir of Aleppo Saif ad-Din Yalbugha al-Naseri. It is located next to the entrance of the Citadel of Aleppo.

Dimah - Zamaria 1

Dimah - - Zamaria 2

Above: Dar Zamaria Hotel فندق دار زمريا

Dar Zamaria was a traditional 19th century Ottoman-style house, originally home to the Zamaria family. Like many of the old homes in Al-Jdeideh quarter, Dar Zamaria was converted into a hotel in the late 1990s when Aleppo went through a boutique tourism revival of sorts.

Dimah - -Dar Zamaria 500

Above: Photos of Dar Zamaria taken by me in 2008. Click on picture for larger image

Dimah - - Carlton

Above: Carlton Citadel Hotel فندق الكارلتون

The Carlton Citadel is situated inside a 150 year old building that faces the entrance of the 13th century Citadel, which along with the rest of the Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was destroyed in 2014.

Dimah - - Grand Sarai

Above: Grand Serail of Aleppo مبنى السراي الكبير

The Grand Serail is the former seat of the governor of the Syrian city of Aleppo. It was built between 1928 and 1933 to serve as the main government building in the city. It was opened in 1933 during the period of the mayor Nabih Martini. The building is located to the south of the Citadel of Aleppo and adjacent to its main entrance.

Dimah - -Khan Al-Wazir

Above: Khan Al-Wazir طلعة خان الوزير

Dimah - Souq Before 500

Above: Al-Madina Souq سوق المدينة  . Click on picture for larger image

Al-Madina Souq is the covered souq-market located at the heart of the Syrian city of Aleppo within the walled ancient part of the city. With its long and narrow alleys, Al-Madina Souq is the largest covered historic market in the world, with an approximate length of 13 kilometers. Most of the souqs date back to the 14th century and are named after various professions and crafts, hence the wool souq, the copper souq, and so on. Aside from trading, the souq accommodated the traders and their goods in khans (caravanserais) scattered within the souq. Other types of small market-places were called caeserias (قيساريات). Caeserias are smaller than khans in size and functioned as workshops for craftsmen. Most of the khans took their names after their function and location in the souq, and are characterized by beautiful façades and entrances with fortified wooden doors.

Al-Madina Souq is part of the Ancient City of Aleppo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986.

Dimah - - Souq After 500

Above: Many sections of the souq in the ancient city were destroyed, ruined or burnt as a result of the war. Click on picture for larger image

Dimah - - Aleppo Citadel 1 500

Above: The Citadel Of Aleppo قلعة حلب . Click on picture for larger image

The Citadel of Aleppo is a large medieval fortified palace in the centre of the old city of Aleppo, northern Syria. It is considered to be one of the oldest and largest castles in the world. Usage of the Citadel hill dates back at least to the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. Subsequently occupied by many civilizations including the Greeks, Byzantines, Ayyubids and Mamluks, the majority of the construction as it stands today is thought to originate from the Ayyubid period. An extensive conservation work has taken place in the 2000s by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in collaboration with Aleppo Archeological Society. Dominating the city, the Citadel is part of the Ancient City of Aleppo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. The Citadel has received significant damage in the ongoing war.

Dimah - - Aleppo Citadel 2

Above: The Main Gate of the Citadel

Dimah - - Aleppo Citadel 3

Above: Ayyubid Hammam inside the Citadel

Dimah - - Aleppo Citadel 4

Above: Windmill inside the Citadel

Dimah - - Aleppo Citadel 5 500-

Above: Damage of the gate

Dimah - -Aleppo Citadel 6 500

Above: Different photos showing how the Citadel is affected. Click on picture for larger image

Dimah - - Aleppo Citadel 8 500

Above: An explosion destroyed a section of the wall of Aleppo’s ancient Citadel. This happened in July 2015. Click on picture for larger image

Dimah - - Aleppo Citadel 9 500

Above: An explosion destroyed a section of the wall of Aleppo’s ancient Citadle. This happened in July 2015. Click on picture for larger image

Dimah - - Citadel 90 500

Above: The destroyed section of the wall of Aleppo’s ancient Citadel. This happened in July 2015. 

Dimah - - Aleppo CItadel 7 500

Above: This is a photo of the Citadel taken on 11/01/2015, Aleppo was covered with snow. Click on picture for larger image

This is the end of this post. Of course, I didn’t cover everything but I did the post to give you an idea about what’s going on in this great city.
Note: I collected the photos from different source on the net, and made them as “before and after”, but photos were not taken by me.

Next post will be an introduction about Aleppine cuisine, then I’ll start to post Aleppine recipes with step by step photos as usual.

Thanks everyone for reading and following the blog. Stay tuned !

Read “Part 2” here: To Aleppo With Love – Introduction, Part 2

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19 Responses to “To Aleppo With Love – Introduction, Part 1”

  1. sarvenaz says:


    Le prophète Mohammad (PBSL) n’a jamais détruit une synagogue ou une église, comment se fait-il que des énergumènes se proclamant musulmans détruisent les mosquées, assassinent leurs frères, détruisent tout sur leur passage comme s’ils étaient des sauterelles affamées ?

  2. So sad, I am so sad about the destruction of Aleppo even though I am convinced that this war, like all other wars, will end someday. Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to put together this series of posts on what is probably the most fascinating city in the entire Near East.

  3. marie says:

    Trois fois je suis allée à Alep. J’ai adoré. La vie, le peuple syrien,l’accueil l’ambiance le charme et la beauté de l’Orient.
    Aujourd’hui j’ai honte de faire partie des humains. Bon courage.

  4. Dearest Dimah,
    I have always heard that Aleppo is the heart of Levantine cuisine, and it is a tragedy now that I hear the children of Aleppo are dying of starvation and malnourishment. The tragedy of Syria is heart-breaking for everyone in the middle-east, cities once spoke about with great deference such as Aleppo, it is very difficult for us to see it crumbling before our eyes. These photos remind me of before and after shots of Kabul, that one cannot help but brood over… Thank you for sharing such an eye-opening post, may Allah (swt) send his blessings to the people of Syria, and I truly wish we see the day there is a free and prosperous Syria once again within our lifetimes inshAllah :-)

    • Dimah says:

      MyKabulKitchen: Thank you so much for your warm words of sympathy and kindness. There is always hope that Syria can find peace again, inshAllah.
      Thank you for stopping by and for following the blog, It is always a pleasure to hear from you ♡

  5. Olga says:

    Breathtaking and speechless I am now. Though I don´t live in Syria I am half syrian and I often have nightmares about the war.
    Great job you are doing showing the world what´s going on in Syria. Shame on humanity that they are not doing anything to stop it.

    Keep posting, I love your blog!!

    • Dimah says:

      Olga: I’m so sorry about nightmares you have. We all hope that Syria will find peace someday.
      Thank you for your kind words and encouragement, it truly means a lot to me.
      Thank you ♡

  6. naguy says:

    Dear Dimah,
    i am speechless before such pictures, the old city of Aleppo… all the history, civilisations, priceless art and architecture… aside from the human tragedy…
    you’re doing a great job with this post to shed light on this great city’s past, present and hommage to it’s wonderful cuisine.

  7. Layla says:

    Such a shame wallah, rabena yte7m menhom wallah

  8. Ghalia says:

    Hi Dimah,
    You have done such a wonderful job collecting pictures, and valuable information. I’m from Aleppo & left it after finishing 8th grade (48 years ago) but my heart has always been there. I visited frequently in the summers & my last visit was in 2009 before the horrible war started. Your collections are so uplifting and heart breaking at the same time.
    Thank you for your great effort in informing us of history…past & present.
    May God bless you always.

    • Dimah says:

      Ghalia: I miss Aleppo so much :-( I live in Dubai and my last visit to Aleppo was in 2009, too
      Thank you so much for stopping by and for your words of encouragement ♡♡♡

  9. Sandra says:

    Why don’t you put the sources of the pictures below them? It isn’t your own photography no?

    • Dimah says:

      Sandra: I can’t specify what is the original source for each photo here, if you search you will find these photos everywhere. But I collected the photos and made them as “Before and After”.
      P.S: All photos on my website are taken by me, except in this post.

  10. Lukas says:

    It so sad to see damages caused by “civil” war, only hope that this ends soon.

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