The Ade Syria Tour - Day 7 - Aleppo Citadel and Hama

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December 25th 2008
Published: December 28th 2008
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Merry Xmas everyone! Obviously when we woke up this morning it was xmas day. How exciting. We had a very busy xmas breakfast at the buffet in the silk road restaurant in the hotel. For some reason there were an awful lot of people there as well. We think they were from another tour group. After eating our yummy breakfast we went upstairs to open our pressies. Most exciting as good presents were had all around.

We met Abdul in the foyer of the hotel at 9am and we started our xmas sightseeing day (after father had a wee fight with the hotel staff whilst trying to pay the bill.)

The first stop of the day was the Aleppo Citadel. This is a natural hill that is in the middle of Aleppo forming part of the old town of Aleppo. It was amazing. So well preserved and reconstructed. Most of the Citadel dates from 1209 but the site has been settled since the early bronze age like most of the rest of Syria. We obtained the services of a guide for the tour again and this guide turned out to be the Director of the Citadel and has guided in the past Jimmi Carter and his wife, the King and Queen of Spain, Martin Sheen and now the Ade family of Auckland, NZ. How exciting (for him).

He was an excellent guide and was so knowledgeable about the site as he has worked there for 35 years. You walk up into the site through the opening fortress. This fortress has 5 gateways in order to confuse attackers. Apparently the crusaders tried to attack the citadel but couldn’t gain a foothold (which you can see from the walls) . Very impressive. Each of the entry gates was protected with arrows and burning oil! I would imagine that you would lose a lot of soldiers trying to attack this place.

The citadel (which is a city within walls on the top of a hill) had the most amazing sewage and rain water network with the freshwater all linking into this most enormous underground cistern. It was enormous! And right beside it underground was the jail where naughty people were dropped down into from road level (and they couldn’t get out again). I think if you were convicted of a crime there it was a one way ticket.

Dad, The guide and IDad, The guide and IDad, The guide and I

Aleppo Citadel
also saw the royal palace, that the son of Saladin built, and the Royal Hamman. The Royal Hamman was amazing. The really had the flavour of architecture understanding when to build ceilings high and when to build then low. They even had water pipes and drainage channels and a rudimentary air conditioning system.

Towards the end of the tour our guide showed us the meeting room. This was one of the most beautiful rooms that I have seen in a long time. The ceiling was spectacular (check out the photos) and is dated at about 500 years.

After we had finished visiting the citadel we left Aleppo behind us in the dust and headed off towards Hama which would be our home for the night. On the way we stopped off to have a delicious xmas lunch at a little restaurant called the Tower Café. Abdul ordered us the most wonderful food for lunch, yummy bread and vegetables and meat. It was delicious (we may have eaten a bit much).

At lunch Abdul’s friend told him about this mosaic floor that had only recently been found and Abdul decided that we should try and find it, in the town of ???? (a place that can't remember the name of). And boy are we glad that we did. It was really quite amazing. We couldn’t find it at first and Abdul had to ask directions a few times. When we finally found the correct building it was all shut up so Abdul asked someone walking down the street what to do and that person went off to go and find the security guard who was apparently in a house nearby. So after a few minutes the guard came and let us in the building and we saw the mosaic floor. At first it didn’t really look all that great. It was huge (approx 20m x 20m) but it was all the same kind of color and didn’t really have that much of an impact. And the building over the mosaic was FREEZING!. However the guard got out some water and proceeded to spray down the mosaic and it just came to life. It was incredible. The difference between it wet and dry was astounding. They need to have it wet down all the time.

Additional photos below
Photos: 9, Displayed: 9


The beautiful Meeting Room roofThe beautiful Meeting Room roof
The beautiful Meeting Room roof

in the Aleppo Citadel
An interesting way to travelAn interesting way to travel
An interesting way to travel

OSH would not approve
Xmas Day LunchXmas Day Lunch
Xmas Day Lunch

Dad, Me and Abdul

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