History and Archaology of Ḥalab



Located at the crossroads of several trade routes from the 2nd millennium BCE, Aleppo was ruled successively by the Hittites, Assyrians, Arabs, Mongols, Mamelukes and Ottomans. It contains a lerge number of historical and archaeological sites dating back to different eras of its histoy. A 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. The old city of Aleppo reflects the rich and diverse cultures of its successive occupants. Many periods of history have left their influence in the architectural fabric of the city. Remains of Hittite, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ayyubid structures and elements are incorporated in the massive surviving Citadel. Aleppo is an outstanding example of an Ayyubid 12th century CE city with its military fortifications constructed as its focal point following the success of Salah El-Din against the Crusaders.

Featured Article: Aleppo Codex

The Aleppo Codex, also called the "Crown of Aleppo" is the earliest known Hebrew manuscript comprising the full text of the Bible. The Codex was written in Tiberias in the early tenth century (circa 920 CE) under the rule of Abbasid Caliphs, looted and transferred to Egypt at the end of the eleventh century CE, and deposited with the Jewish community of Aleppo in Syria at the end of the fourteenth century CE. In January 1958 CE the Aleppo Codex was brought to Jerusalem, where it remains until today. Together with the Leningrad Codex (which dates to approximately the same time as the Aleppo codex), it contains the Ben-Asher masoretic tradition. The Aleppo Codex was the manuscript used by Maimonides when he set down the exact rules for writing scrolls of the Torah, Hilkhot Sefer Torah ("the Laws of the Torah Scroll") in his Mishneh Torah. Explore >

Featured Article: Throne Hall of Aleppo Citadel

The throne hall was the most important Mamluk architectural contribution to the Citadel of Aleppo. Even though it has not survived in its authentic state, it remains one of the most visited spaces in the historic citadel. Following the sack of the citadel by the conqueror Timur, known to the West as Tamerlane, in 1400s, the Mamluk governors of Aleppo embarked on a large-scale reconstruction program. During the restoration of the citadel a magnificent throne hall was added on top of the twelfth-century fortified entrance complex. The new throne hall was the grandest space in the citadel and it was used for official functions and for entertaining by the rulers of Aleppo and by Mamluk sultans visiting from Cairo. Damaged in a devastating earthquake that struck Aleppo in 1822 CE, the throne hall was heavily restored in the second half of the twentieth century and does not survive in its original form. Explore >

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