Aleppo on Fire
At the end of the Silk Road, Aleppo has been famous for 1000′s of years…
Aleppo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Excavations has documented human habitation 6 mill BC, and cuneiform tablets unearthed in Mesopotamia from the 3rd mill BC tells that already at that time Aleppo was considered a commercial and military hotspot in the Near East.
In the Middle Ages it was repeatedly under siege or sacked by a series of foreign armies – Byzantine, Arabs, Crusaders, Mongols, Egyptian Mamluks and later Ottomans. In between it was a huge bustling city with more than 300.000 inhabitants. However, after the Suez Canal opened for business in 1869 the city rapidly declined.
Due to this, the city until now was a derelict place remarkable for at medieval heritage – The 13th-century citadel, the 12th-century Great Mosque and various 17th-century madrasas, palaces, caravanserais, souq and hammams – which secured it a place on the list of UNESCO World Heritage in 1986.
Until recently, Aleppo has been experiencing a noticeable revival and was slowly returning to the spotlight. It recently won the title of the “Islamic Capital of Culture 2006″, and has also witnessed a wave of successful restorations of its historic landmarks.
However, yesterday ,29 September, many sections in the Al-Madina Souq and other medieval buildings in the ancient city were destroyed, ruined or burnt on as a result of a major battle taking place between the armed groups of the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Armed Forces. UNESCO officials say that five of Syria’s six world heritage sites have already been damaged, including the Crac des Chevaliers, one of the world’s best preserved crusader castles.
Read the full story at The Daily News and Analysis
Follow the breaking news at Reuters
A collection of links have been gathered at Archaeologik