July 21, 2001 – Aleppo




Late start this morning because we are tired of our long day yesterday. But we walk at a good pace towards the citadel to have a good time in the souks.


After having lost our way near the visa renewal office, we arrive at the basement of the citadel. No visit today because we prefer to first test the atmosphere of the city by wandering in the souks, we will visit the citadel tomorrow morning. We go deep in the souks district by visiting of the caravanserais that were used as hotels but also as warehouses. They are all build on the same model: a square surrounded by buildings with on the second floor the hotel rooms and on the first floor the warehouse to stock goods. The entrance is often made of black and yellow stones.


At our first incursion in the souks, a necklace as a gift tempted me and it was my first purchase but I am not a professional in negotiation. I will have to learn fast in the next hours. A little further, we stop in front of a shop selling beautiful tablecloths. Jackpot for the seller, because he found 3 good customers who will buy 8 items after what we think was a good negotiation. But he offers us another item just to show us that he was the one who say the price. Massimo is also interested in a beautiful carpet so we go to another shop to see some pieces. They fall in love for a wonderful carpet and Massimo with his “student technical art” obtains 50% off the initial price, good deal for a handmade carpet. All of these purchases takes us more than 2 hours. It shows how patient you need to be to buy things at an acceptable price.


We resume our visit of the souks, they are really fabulous with the tight rays of light illuminating the alley.


Aleppo : the souks and the rays of light


The activity in the souks is important, we meet a lot of locals and hardly any tourist looking for something to buy. The merchants are located by items, we have the souk of jewelry, the souk of spices… where everybody is working to unload or load goods, to sell and buy with the use of donkeys or carriers because cars are forbidden in these alleys.


Aleppo : The souks in action


After all these “adventures”, we come back to the hotel to leave our morning purchase and be lighter to resume our discovery of Aleppo.


In the middle of the afternoon, we visit the Umayyad mosque of Aleppo that is currently in complete restoration so there is nothing to see. The visit is the occasion to wear the black capes.


Aleppo : Regular clothes to enter a mosque


We come back in the souks to stroll in the alleys. Suddenly I hear my name and when looking back I see Bertrand and Jacqueline in a shop talking with some merchants. It is a big surprise to see them here. Yesterday I tried to localize them in a hotel but I found no trace of them. We decide to have the dinner all together and after to have a drink. They have a lot of things to tell me since last Tuesday.


We go to Al Chabab. The menu is quiet good but not exceptional compared to the one of yesterday. Tonight it’s chicken for everybody and a Syrian beer. They tell us about their strange visit with a Syrian guy. During all the dinner, it is funny to speak French then English all the time because none of us is fluent in Italian, only Eugenia tries to speak French. Bravo !


We end the evening by having a drink in the famous hotel in Aleppo, the Baron Hotel on the terrace after a short rest in the lounge where famous people used to seat such as Lawrence of Arabia, Agatha Christie… Finally, we leave Bertrand and Jacqueline and I hope that I will see them again in Jordan. But first we will see them again tomorrow morning at the citadel.





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D1 : Lyons – Damascus

D2 : Damascus (1)  (2)

D3 : Damascus

D4 : Damascus – Palmyra

D5 : Palmyra – Hama

D6 : Hama – Apamea – Aleppo

D7 : Aleppo

D8 : Aleppo

D9 : Aleppo

D10 : Aleppo – San Simeon – Aleppo

D11 : Aleppo – Qalaat Al Saadin – Tartous (1)  (2)

D12 : Tartous – Krak des chevaliers – Beirut (1)  (2)

D13 : Beirut – Tripoli

D14 : Tripoli – Damascus

D15 : Damascus – Maaloula – Damascus

D16 : Damascus

D17 : Damascus – Bosra – Damascus

D18 : Damascus – Amman – Dead Sea – Amman

D19 : Amman – Jerash - Amman

D20 : Amman – Madaba – Amman

D21 : Amman – Kerak – Dana

D22 : Dana

D23 : Dana – Petra (1)  (2)

D24 : Petra

D25 : Petra

D26 : Petra – Wadi Rum

D27 : Wadi Rum – Aqaba

D28 : Aqaba

D29 : Aqaba

D30 : Aqaba

D31 : Aqaba

D32 : Aqaba - Amman

D33 : Amman

D34 : Amman – Lyons




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Last update : January 2002

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