Day 7: Aleppo
Aleppo Travel Blog› entry 15 of 54 › view all entries
Setting out early in the morning, the souq was still deserted when we passed through it on our way to the citadel.
Nothing could have prepared us for the immensely impressive citadel. By now we had seen a fair share of impressive castles and fortresses, but each time we visit a new one my jaw drops once again.
A narrow stone bridge led us over the moat to a massive guard tower. It is not hard to see why in 800 years this Muslim citadel had never been conquered.
Once inside it was a maze of tiny streets and partially restored houses, gates and arches. Several buildings had been completely restored, including a mosque (what else), a bath house and an amphitheatre. It wasn’t exactly clear to me whether the Mamluk muslims also enjoyed theatre from time to time, or whether it was inspired by the remains of Roman cities elsewhere in the country.
We topped our trip to the citadel with a nice coffee on a terrace atop one of the guard towers, overlooking the entire city. There are worse places to enjoy a cuppa in the sun.
In the afternoon we went to the National Museum, where it became clear just how rich a history this country has. So far we’d visited 12 historic sites, with 3 more to go, however, throughout the country there are over 200 important archeological sites from different eras. For the remaining 185 sites we’d have to make do with the posters and relics in the museum.
In the evening we had dinner in restaurant Beit Al-Sissi, a stunning 17th century mansion, or Khan, turned into a restaurant. It was a very atmospheric and nice dinner, lying on an original Arabian sofa, sipping excellent local beer, listening to a piano player who alternated popular classical tunes with French chansons.
Somewhat less pleasant was the bill. We didn’t mind so much that this was the most expensive dinner we’d had so far on our trip, we had anticipated that. No, it was the 10% surcharge for the piano fee. What the f…?!?!? Piano fee?!?! The music had been nice, sure, but had I known I would have paid money to have him shut up!
And then the waiter slyly added that the bill was excluding service, so if we’d be so kind to leave a tip as well…
Well, that’s a mistake we won’t make again soon. Tomorrow we’re going to a small place with plastic furniture and paper table cloths again. Just as much fun (and often even better)