Postcards from Aleppo in happier times

Many blog entries, particularly photo posts, are designed to inspire others to visit a particular place. This one is a definite exception. No tourist is likely to being visiting Aleppo anytime soon. As I heard the depressing news from Syria I looked back at my photos of our trip there in 2009. Our happy memories are now tinged with sadness and fear for the city and its people.

At the time of writing Aleppo stands on the brink. The destruction of the city and the massacre of its civilian population is widely predicted. It may be a long time before tourists can ever visit Aleppo again and when they do, it may look very different to how it does in these photos. No-one can say what will happen to Aleppo but it’s reasonable to fear the worst.

Recent visits to Sarajevo and Cambodia remind me that places do emerge from the other side of hell and people eventually become neighbours again with their recent mortal enemies. The tragedy is that the lessons of these horrors are not learned and the cycle of bloodbaths around the world continue.

So I give you a selection of pictures from the city of Aleppo, taken in happier times. I hope the city’s inhabitants are soon again able to offer tourists the warm welcome we enjoyed and for which we remain grateful.

Aleppo Citadel after a storm

Aleppo Citadel after a fierce spring storm

Aleppo Citadel

16th century gateway to the Citadel busy with tourists

Aleppo Citadel

Entrance to the Citadel

Aleppo Citadel

Enjoying the view from the Citadel. The hill has been inhabited since the 3rd century BC

Aleppo Citadel

Theatre within the Citadel

Aleppo Citadel

Elaborate interior rooms in the Citadel

Aleppo Citadel

Stunning ceilings of the Ayyubid Palace within the Citadel

Aleppo Citadel

The domes of the Hammam

Aleppo Citadel

Aleppo Citadel by night

Satellite dishes in Aleppo

Satellite dishes in Aleppo

Shopping in the souk in the old town of Aleppo

Shopping in the souk in the old town of Aleppo

Catholic Cathedral in Aleppo

Syrian Catholic Church in Aleppo

Dinner in a beautiful old Aleppan house

Dinner (cherry kebabs) in the courtyard of a beautiful 17th century Aleppo house

Author Information

Freelance travel writer

3 Responses to “Postcards from Aleppo in happier times”

  1. My God
    Reading this post now, pulls deeply at the heart strings and the needless death and destruction that is still continuing there. It appears to late for this once wonderful city of Aleppo that you testified to on your visit there, yes things can be rebuilt but the loss of life cannot. The sheer hell the innocent children and civilians are enduring is truly beyond imagination. God bless them all

    August 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm
  2. Hal Peat #

    I think that adjective “happier” might be substituted with something more appropriate and less…ambivalent in a way that might be interpreted in wider ways than you wish. Maybe, just “quieter” times. Quiet, of course, implies no wider judgment than what it says. I read about Aleppo every day, and have done for some time now. To me, the horror is that it is seeming to shape up along with the rest of Syria, to be another Rwanda or Bosnia. Politicians talk about it in solemn tones, and then do precisely nothing. How it will all play out seems impossible to predict, other than that while a regime will face its death sentence eventually, too many innocent people have to face a death sentence in the shorter term.

    September 7, 2012 at 3:09 am
    • It’s a fair point Hal – I did struggle to find an appropriate word to use here, given the scale of the horror taking place. Were they happier times? For many perhaps the horrors took on a different, invisible dimension. Quieter, as you say, presumes, nothing.

      September 8, 2012 at 10:30 pm