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Syria: Aleppo Citadel

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Aleppo Citadel | Syria | Asia

[Visited: May 2003]

Walking down the streets in the old part of Aleppo, you turn a corner and your eye is struck by a walled structure on what looks like a hill. As you come closer, it seems that the hill is always higher. When you reach the road that runs around the citadel, the moat opens up under you and the walls of the citadel seem massive. A steep bridge on the Southern side of the citadel leads to a tower with high doors, which once was the first defensive line against intruders. Now, this is where you buy your ticket.

Picture of Aleppo Citadel (Syria): Bridge leading to Aleppo Citadel

As you approach the entrance, it becomes clear that the designers did everything to make the fortification impossible to invade. The main doors are on the right as you enter, which makes it more difficult to ram them. Once inside, the corridor takes several 90 degree turns to slow down anyone who made it this far. Apart from this, there are massive doors which are decorative now, but which were a formidable obstacle once closed. Moreover, there is almost no light inside. There are only a few holes in the ceiling through which rays of sunlight shed some light in the darkness of the corridor.

Picture of Aleppo Citadel (Syria): Portal inside Aleppo Citadel

Just before reaching the exit of this castle and reaching the inside of the citadel, you can enter a small door and climb up to the Byzantine Hall and the Royal Palace. The latter has been restored completely and especially its wooden ceiling is radiating beauty from above. It is a pity you are not allowed to walk right under it to have a better view. Once outside, you can walk around the citadel, which for a large part lies in ruins. There are two mosques (one of which on the spot where Abraham is said to have milked a cow). The main attraction of the citadel is the magnificent view of the Aleppo and its surroundings.

Picture of Aleppo Citadel (Syria): Defensive tower and bridge, Aleppo Cathedral
Picture of Aleppo Citadel (Syria): Detail of bridge of Aleppo Citadel
Picture of Aleppo Citadel (Syria): Decoration above massive door in Aleppo Cathedral
Picture of Aleppo Citadel (Syria): Inside Aleppo Cathedral
Picture of Aleppo Citadel (Syria): Ceiling in throne room, Royal Palace, Aleppo
Picture of Aleppo Citadel (Syria): Aleppo Cathedral from below

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