Ancient City of Aleppo

Ancient City of Aleppo © Silvan Rehfeld

Located at the crossroads of several trade routes from the 2nd millennium B.C., Aleppo was ruled successively by the Hittites, Assyrians, Arabs, Mongols, Mamelukes and Ottomans. The 13th-century citadel, 12th-century Great Mosque and various 17th-century madrasas, palaces, caravanserais and hammams all form part of the city's cohesive, unique urban fabric.

Due to the tremendous escalation of the armed conflict, the Ancient City of Aleppo has been severely damaged since 2013 including by bombardments, targeted explosions, and fire.

Damage Assessment Overview

  • At least 121 historical buildings have been damaged or destroyed - equal to 30-40 per cent of the World Heritage property area - in addition to the destruction of more than 1500 shops of the Suq.
  • The 11th century Minaret, the prayer hall, and the main gate of the Omayyad Mosque have been destroyed.  The mosque’s courtyard and all of its decorative elements have also suffered severe damage, as did the surrounding neighbourhood.
  • The wooden Minbar has been dismantled and transferred to an unknown location.
  • Important damage to the Citadel’s gate has been reported.
  • The Citadel is being used for military purposes and bombs placed in underground tunnels in the area surrounding it have caused at least three violent explosions. Consequently, the Citadel as a whole and its surroundings are at high risk of great damage.
  • Damage to the gates of the city wall has occurred, including Bab al-Hadid, Bab Qinnasrin, Bab Antakya and Bab al-Nasr; to some of the most important Islamic architecture buildings, including Bimaristan Arghun al-Kamili, Khan Al-Wazeer, Khan al-Gumruk, Khan al-Saboun, Hammam al-Sarraj and Hammam Bab al-Hadid; and to most historic houses of the Jdeideh quarter, including Beit Wakil, Beit Ghazaleh (the decorative elements of which have been stolen), and Dar Zamaria (which has been totally destroyed).
  • The Waqifiyya Library has been damaged due to a fire.

August 2014  - The ongoing fighting in the Ancient City of Aleppo has reached the monumental Citadel of Aleppo, located on the city's hilltop, rising above the souks, mosques and madrasas of the old walled city. UNESCO sources have reported armed groups are located within the fortress and shells are falling nearby. The Citadel’s outer walls, main gate and iron doors have, as a result, have been damaged.

There were already confirmed reports from sources in Aleppo in July, that the historic Grand Serail Al-Sarāy al-Kabir, located directly opposite the Citadel, the Carlton Hotel, and other buildings around the Citadel have been devastated by large explosions, which have also impacted neighbouring infrastructure in the Old City. The Yalbogha Hammam is also occupied by military groups.

Before and after images of the Grand Serail

Pictures showing the destruction of a number of histrorical buildings (date not known)

Omayyad Mosque

Al-Adliya Mosque

The Suq (before and after pictures)

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