The UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Aleppo is Syria’s largest city, although not the capital (that’s Damascus). Having been inhabited since perhaps as early as the 6th millennium BC, it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on earth, an ancient trading city steeped in history, sitting, as it does, at the western end of the old Silk Road.

al-Madina souq Aleppo, Syria

Walking in an empty section of Al-Madina Souq in Aleppo, Syria. May 9th 2008

A souq is a market in any Arabized or Muslim city. Aleppo’s Al-Madina Souq is the largest covered historic market in the world, a fascinating & atmospheric 13 kilometre (8 mile) labyrinth of covered medieval lanes selling all manner of produce. When I visited it was a Friday, the Muslim day of rest. It was quiet & walking the lanes was an eerie experience, one I remember fondly.

The Syrian city of Aleppo as seen from the walls of the city's fort. Aleppo, Syria. May 9, 2008.

The Syrian city of Aleppo as seen from the walls of the city’s fort. Aleppo, Syria. May 9, 2008.

A section of the empty al-Madina souq in Aleppo, Syria. May 9, 2008.

A section of the empty al-Madina souq in Aleppo, Syria. May 9, 2008.

A section of the fort in Aleppo, Syria. May 9, 2008.

A section of the fort in Aleppo, Syria. May 9, 2008.

As statue in a park in Aleppo, Syria. May 9, 2008.

As statue in a park in Aleppo, Syria. May 9, 2008.

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