Hello Syria (December 3rd - December 13th)(continued)
We spent the evening walking through the old parts of town and ate a delicious kebab at a local kiosk, something I would regret later but at the time was delicious. We entered the inner courtyard of the Omayyed Mosque as the call to prayer started and men were rushing off, shoes in hand to the prayer carpets.
One thing I always make a habit of when I get into a City is to find a coffee shop and an English newspaper but that presented an unexpected problem here in Aleppo. I could find a few coffee shops serving Turkish coffees and Lattes (I chose the Lattes since it actually tastes like coffee) but for 2 days could not find a newspaper. I don't think I have ever been somewhere where I had a hard time finding a newspaper. No newspaper kiosks, none for sale in the numerous small shops or grocery stores etc. On Saturday, I finally found a small place that sold a few and I picked up the English paper, a week out of date. I tried for days to find a bookstore but gave up as no one I asked had any idea.
Aleppo is famous for its large Citadel that dominates the center of Aleppo. It is surrounded by a moat 20 meters deep and 30 meters wide and is situated 50 meters above the City. Once you walk up into the Citadel you are met with the inner courtyard surrounded by walls that you can walk around. The inner portion has remains of a mosque, massive fortification doors, an amphitheater and other ruins.
You can also get a panoramic view of the large and polluted City.
As with most cities in the Muslim world there is a large Souk or Bazaar. The Aleppo Souk contains 10 kilometers of stalls with spices, meat, clothing, soap etc. I heard there were stalls with camel meat hanging on hooks but I only saw examples of lamb and sheep. As with the large markets of Istanbul, it gets a little overwhelming with the noise, smells and commotion, definitely something to take in moderation.