Known for its historic and religious attractions, the city of Aleppo in Syria compares with Damascus as the second oldest inhabited city in the world. Visitors to Aleppo can see the ancient Byzantine, Islamic and Ottoman eras in the city's architecture in mosques and other buildings. Markets and cultural baths allow visitors to experience ancient civilization as the city's way of life.
Located between Antioch Gate and the Citadel, the experience of shopping in the medieval times attracts visitors to the Aleppo markets. Through various souks, or market stalls, vendors sell much of the same type of goods as they did centuries ago -- wool, copper, and the famous embroidered tablecloths, silk, carpet and gold jewelry. A labyrinth of alleys fill the market covered by vaulted arches creating its medieval feel.
For the attraction of relaxation and culture in a historical setting, visitors can experience Aleppo baths at Al Nuhassien, Al Bayad, and Al Yalbagha. At Aleppo baths -- built between the 12th and 15th centuries -- you can socialize, eat and smoke hookah, which is a traditional way of smoking through a tube of water. The bathing process starts with a 50 degree shower followed by relaxation in a warm chamber with a fire or warm stone benches. In the steam bath chamber, an attendant uses a glove of rough goat hair to clean your skin using laurel oil soap. Once the bath is completed, you can relax with a cup of black tea or a traditional salty Ayran yogurt drink.
Recognized as one of the most important citadels in Syria, the attraction of the Aleppo Citadel represents history, architecture, and religion. During the Byzantine era and Islamic era the citadel protected the citizens of Aleppo. Exposed to attacks and earthquakes, the citadel stands as an architectural wonder. The throne hall, royal palace, mosque, baths, and prison remained resilient and survived the hazards.
Great Mosque of Aleppo
Founded in 715, the Great Mosque of Aleppo attracts visitors for its ancient history. After damage during the Mongol invasion, the mosque was rebuilt with a tower known as a minaret. Built as a hexagon, the minaret stands at approximately 147 feet with a famous black and white stone paved courtyard. Visitors can see ancient Arabic inscriptions, ornaments and patterns on the minaret. Inside the mosque rests the tomb of Zachary, father of John the Baptist.
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