Aleppo and St Simeon
Aleppo Travel Blog› entry 6 of 8 › view all entries
Aleppo has grown and flourished since the 3rd millennium BC, its streets and bazaars echoing over the centuries to the sounds of Persian, Roman and Muslim invaders. Sacked by the Mongols in 1260 the city was revived under the Ottomans, with many of its now famous khans and souks being a direct product of their influence.
This morning we will take a walk through its streets, wandering into the souks and visiting the famed Citadel that still dominates the city’s historic heart. Occupying a natural mound that rises some 50 metres above the surrounding streets, the Citadel, with its impressive moat, stone glacis and grandiose gateway, dates from the Ayyubid period and the reign of Saladin’s son, Al Zaher Ghazi.
This afternoon we then drive to the nearby 5th century monastery of St Simeon, a structure considered by many to be one of the most important Christian monuments of the early Byzantine era.
After his death, a beautiful church was built around the sacred column and, in spite of centuries of conflict that saw it endure the Muslim invasions of the 7th century and its sacking by the Fatimids in the 11th, the monastery remained a pilgrimage site until the 12th century, when it was finally abandoned.
After our visit we return to Aleppo and have time to have a wonder in the bazzar and have a beer in the legendar Barons Hotel. Built in 1909. Agatha Christie wrote her book Murder on the Orient Express in room 203 and Lawrence of Arabia also stopped by and is said to have taken potshots at the wildlfe from the verandah of the bar.