Bearing witness: The Destruction of the great city of Aleppo, the second oldest city in the world, Part two.

Google earth map of the centre of the  Old city of Aleppo

Google earth map of the centre of the Old city of Alepp0

In part two of my documentation of the destruction of the Old City of Aleppo, I would like the viewer to read it in reference to my Part one:

https://alisariram.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/bearing-witness-i-present-to-you-aleppo-a-city-that-predates-written-history-the-second-oldest-inhabited-city-in-the-world-as-it-was-and-as-it-has-become-after-the-deadly-shadow-of-assad-fell-upon/

This part of my documentation of the cultural damage to Aleppo will be updated as I receive new information.

Part two lists the main monuments, historical buildings and heritage sites in Aleppo, while marking the damage inflicted upon historical Aleppo, from extremely bad to moderate, in italics and by underlining combined with an asterisk(*) when possible. Images will be used to show, when possible, the state of the monuments before and after. I might have to divide this part into two, using a Part three, if it gets too long. Nobody  is able at the present circumstances to tell or fully document the extent of the terrible damage inflicted upon Aleppo by a regime that respects nothing and believes in nothing but its survival and the rebellious desperate, disparate  opposition which is desperately trying to carve out of the biblical ruin a new destiny for Syria. Therefore what I have marked as damaged or destroyed are the buildings and monuments of which I have seen pictures showing  the damage that has befallen them, or whose  destruction have been authenticated by reliable sources. The actual damage to heritage might be much much worse than we are able to estimate or prove. Many of the old houses in the historic old quarters of the city and these quarters themselves sustained severe damage by artillery fires and bombardment from the government forces  which leveled some of them to the ground. It took a long time and much effort to compile the following information, but I was driven to undertake to do it by the escalation of the conflict and the irretrievable nonredeemable losses of the Syrian people.

Map of the walled city of Aleppo

Map of the walled city of Aleppo

 

Some of the passages in this study are in Arabic because I am too tired to translate. Finally I owe Wikipedia, which has been one of my sources, a lot of gratitude.

The mosques of Aleppo

  • *Al-Shuaibiyah Mosque, also known as al-Omari, al-Tuteh and al-Atras mosque, is the oldest mosque in Aleppo, built in 637. It absorbed the ancient Roman triumphal arch, which once marked the beginning of the decumanus. The building was entirely renovated in 1146 and 1401. It is known for its 12th century kufic inscriptions and decorations.
  • *al-Nuqtah Mosque(Arabic: مسجد النقطة‎ – Mosque of the Drop [of the blood of Husayn] ) is a mosque located on Mount Jawshan. A plaque within the mosque suggests that the site was converted from a monastery in 944 AD
  •  

Umayyads

**The Great Omayyad Mosque built in 715-717 AD. (Jāmi‘ Bani Omayya al-Kabīr), founded c. 715 by Umayyad caliph Walid I and most likely completed by his successor Sulayman. The building contains a tomb associated with Zachary, father of John the Baptist. Construction of the present structure for Nur al-Din commenced in 1158. However, it was damaged during the Mongol invasion of 1260, and was rebuilt. The 45 m-high tower (described as “the principal monument of medieval Syria”)[18] was erected in 1090–1092 under the first Seljuk sultan,Tutush I. It has four façades. (Wikipedia)

The Great Omayyad Mosque (before destruction)

The Great Omayyad Mosque (before destruction)

©Great Mosque art ( constructed image by Alisar Iram)

©Great Mosque art ( constructed image by Alisar Iram)

The Courtyard of the Great Omayyad Mosque before burning.  Image by Tarek Basmaje

The Courtyard of the Great Omayyad Mosque before burning. Image by Tarek Basmaje

I tried to document the stages of the damage that was inflicted upon the Great Mosque during the tug of war between the Assadi army and the rebel fighters.

1.Damage occulting during the first occupation of the Syrian army. 2.  Damage occurring as the rebels tried to oust them out. 3. Damage occurring by fire breaking out as a result of the fighting. 4. Damage occurring in the aftermath of the fire. 5. More damage occurring as a result of shelling and firing rockets while the Syrian army tried to regain control.

All these skirmishes and attempts at breaking into the Mosque resulted in severe damage to the structure and the interiors which consumed its decorations and ornamentation. The women prayer section of the Mosque was completely destroyed. The Minmbar which was made of carved wood and  inlaid with ivory and precious woods, one of two only of its kind, the second being the restored Minbar (pulpit) in Al-Aqsa Mosque, disappeared. The main gate to the Mosque was damaged and other parts of its walls in the attempts to penetrate it by the fighters. The splendid minaret of the Mosque also sustained considerable damage by shelling and occupation by the army. The beautifully laid courtyard also suffered damage in various parts.

The minbar of the Great Mosquewhich has reportedly disappeared

The minbar( pulpit) of the Great Mosque which has reportedly disappeared

The Great Mosque after destruction

The Great Mosque after destruction. Below, up to date image image

Hammadanids and and Zengids

Please note that some mosques were also teaching mosques and had madrasas annexed to them

Alhaliawiya mosque and madrassa before it was damaged by the fighting.  Note the rare beautiful carved mihrab. I am hoping against hope that it was not destroyed

Alhalawiya mosque and madrassa before it was damaged by the fighting. Note the rare beautiful carved mihrab. I am hoping against hope that it was not destroyed

A-Halawiya mosque and madrasa after  it was damsged

A-Halawiya mosque and madrasa after it was 

damaged

Al-Kamiliya Mosque, details.  Have we lost all this loveliness?

Al-Kamiliya Mosque, details. Have we lost all this loveliness?

Al-Kamiliya mosque after bombing and shelling. This is how it looks from outside.  Do we know how it looks from inside?

Al-Kamiliya mosque after bombing and shelling. This is how it looks from outside. Do we know how it looks from inside?

Al-Adiliya Mosque, selected details

Al-Adiliya Mosque, selected details

Al-Adiliya Mosque after destruction

Al-Adiliya Mosque after destruction, what a loss?

 The Madrasas  of Aleppo

The Mihrabs of the Madrassa Halawiya

The Mihrabs of the Madrasa Halawiya

Saving the Minbar of the Madrasa Halawiya

Saving the Minbar of the Madrasa Halawiya

*So far, eighteen  mosques and madrasas were damaged, some very severely, including  some of the most important and beautiful. 

Kasal Al-Harami Mosque, damaged by the fighting

Kasal Al-Harami Mosque, damaged by the fighting

Mosques which have sustained damage by fighting

Mosques which have sustained damage by fighting, assembled by Alisar Iram

The mihrab of Al-Faradis madrasa.  I hope it was not lost to us as a result of the damage to mosque

The splendid inlaid marble mihrab of Al-Faradis madrasa. I hope it was not lost to us as a result of the damage to mosque

*The Citadel

It is a large fortress built atop a huge, partially artificial mound rising 50 m above the city, dates back to the first millennium BC. Recent excavations unearthed a temple and 25 statues dating back to the first millennium BC. Many of the current structure dates from the 13th century. The Citadel had been extensively damaged by earthquakes, notably in 1822. Please see my Part One of this study: https://alisariram.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/bearing-witness-i-present-to-you-aleppo-a-city-that-predates-written-history-the-second-oldest-inhabited-city-in-the-world-as-it-was-and-as-it-has-become-after-the-deadly-shadow-of-assad-fell-upon/

Part of the walls of the citadel were damaged by the shelling , while it remains impossible now to assess to damage inside the castle owing to the army occupation of the site and the exchange of fire between them and the rebels. One of the main portals (the outer) of the castle was severely damaged when it was blown up by some of the rebels during the fighting with the regular army.

The Citadel of Aleppo

The Citadel of Aleppo

The Citadel of Aleppo, details

The Citadel of Aleppo, details, assembled by Alisar Iram

The citadel of Aleppo, damage to the walls

The citadel of Aleppo, damage to the walls

The Citadel of Aleppo. damage to the outer portal, the front gate

The Citadel of Aleppo. damage to the outer portal, the front gate

The front gate to the Citadel

The front gate to the Citadel

The *gate was destroyed when the fighters used explosives in order to penetrate into the Castle. 

 Gates of Old Aleppo

Museums

  • National Museum of Aleppo.
  • Museum of the popular traditions known as the Aleppine House at Beit Achiqbash in Jdeydeh.
  • Aleppo Citadel Museum.
  • *Museum of medicine and science at Bimaristan Arghun al-Kamili. (Some damage reported)
  • Aleppo Memory Museum at Beit Ghazaleh in Jdeydeh.
  • Zarehian Treasury of the Armenian Apostolic Church at the old Armenian church of the Holy Mother of God, Jdeydeh.

Other historical sites and Churches

      –The Forty Martyrs   Armenian Apostolic cathedral of 1429, located in Jdeydeh quarter.

    *Mar Assia al-Hakim Church   Syrian Catholic church of the 15th century in Jdeydeh.

      The Dormition of Our Lady   Greek Orthodox church of the 15th century in Jdeydeh.

-Churches of Jdeydeh Christian quarter such as the *Maronite Saint Elias Cathedral,* the  Armenian Catholic Cathedral of Our Mother of Reliefs and the Melkite Greek  Catholic Cathedral of Virgin Mary.

–   The Central Synagogue of Aleppo or al-Bandara synagogue, completed as early as the 9th century by the efforts of the Jewish community

  • Al-Matbakh al-Ajami, an early 12th century palace located near the citadel, built by a Zengid emir. The building was renovated during the 15th century. It was the home of the Popular Traditions Museum between 1967-1975.
  • *Al-Shibani Church*School of the 12th century, an old church and school of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary located in the old city, currently used as a cultural centre.
  • Al-Sheibani madrasa

    Al-Shibani madrasa and church

  • Dar Rajab Pasha, a large mansion built during the 16th century near al-Khandaq street. During the first decade of the 21st century, the house was renovated and turned into an important cultural centre with a nearby large theatre hall.
  • *Beit Janbolat, an old palace built at the end of the 16th century by the Kurdish ruler of Aleppo Hussein Pasha Jan Polad.
  • ombolat in Bab Al-Nasr area

    Beit Jombolat in Bab Al-Nasr area

  • Beit Marrash, an old Aleppine mansion located in al-Farafira quarter, built at the end of the 18th century by the Marrash family.
  • Bab al-Faraj Clock Tower, built in 1898-1899 by the Austrian architect Chartier.[14]
  • Grand Seray d’Alep, the former seat of the governor of Aleppo, built during the 1920s and opened in 1933.
  • National Library of Aleppo, built during the 1930s and opened in 1945.[15]

The most significant historic buildings of Jdeydeh Christian quarter include:[16]

  • Beit Wakil, an Aleppine mansion built in 1603, with unique wooden decorations. One of its decorations was taken to Berlin and exhibited in Pergamon Museum, known as the Aleppo Room.
  • Beit Ghazaleh, an old 17th century mansion characterized with fine decorations, carved by the Armenian sculptor Khachadur Bali in 1691. It was used as an Armenian elementary school during the 20th century.
  • *Dar Zamaria, built at the end of the 17th century and owned by Zamaria family since the early 18th century. Nowadays, the house is turned into a boutique hotel.
  •  Damage to Asia Mar Al-Hakim Chiurch

    Damage to Asia Mar Al-Hakim Chiurch

    Mar Elias Church

    Mar Elias Church

    Photo: ‎Alep : dommages causées à une ancienne église حلب : اثار الدمار الذي لحق بكنيسة قديمةAleppo : Old Chruch damaged‎

    The destruction of an old church in Aleppo. The name has not been mentioned.

    Zamaria House in the Christian quarter

    Zamaria House in the Christian quarter

Libraries

*The Waqfiyya Library of the Great Omayyad Mosque ( All the collection was burnt down when the library was set on fore.

-The National Library

 Al-Waqfiya Library  Which was byrnt with all its collections of old manuscripts and books

Al-Waqfiya Library Which was burnt with all its collections of old manuscripts and books

Please see: https://alisariram.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/the-library-of-the-great-omayyad-mosque-in-aleppo-the-waqfiyya-library-goes-up-in-flames/

In part three of this documentation, I am going to cover the souks, the khans and the hammams of Aleppo and list the damage caused to them by the bombardment from the skies and the fighting on the ground.

I am indebted for many of my images to:

Le patrimoine archéologique syrien en danger الآثار السورية في خطر

And to:

Protect Syrian Archaeology حماية الآثار السورية

https://www.facebook.com/apsa2011?fref=ts

Their inages are© copyrighted

Thanks to all my other sources of images. I apologize for sometimes being unable to give due credits. Speed is very important during the process of documentation. It might be helpful  to mention  that this  documentation in not profit making.

© Alisar Iram

 

 

About alisariram

I am an artist, a writer and a researcher. I know Arabic and English . I am interested in music and art of every description. I like to describe myself as the embodiment of a harmonious marriage between two cultures which I value and treasure.
This entry was posted in Aleppo, Alisar's art, Alisar's notes and articles, Art, Destruction, Images, Syrian Archaeology and antiquities, Syrian Heritage and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Bearing witness: The Destruction of the great city of Aleppo, the second oldest city in the world, Part two.

  1. Pingback: Bearing witness: The Destruction of the great city of Aleppo, the second oldest city in the world, Part two. | alisariram

  2. magnificent issues altogether, you just gained a emblem
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  3. Pingback: Bearing witness: The destruction of the Old City of Aleppo, the second oldest city in the world, Part three | alisariram

  4. Pingback: Bearing witness: the destruction of the Old city of Aleppo, the second oldest city in the world, Part three continued | alisariram

  5. michele ghazaleh isenhower says:

    I am a descendant of the ghazaleh family my maiden name is ghazaleh, I am wondering if beit ghazaleh is standing

  6. JayEim says:

    michele ghazaleh isenhower, I think your facts are blurred. We do not have any Michele Ghazale in our linage. The Ghazale House is Nasri Ghazale and family. Any other Ghazale family might be related to another family branch but not to such house.

    • alisariram says:

      It is not clear to me whar precisely you are objecting to. I wrote, getting my information from the Internet after a long search:
      Beit Ghazaleh, an old 17th century mansion characterized with fine decorations, carved by the Armenian sculptor Khachadur Bali in 1691. It was used as an Armenian elementary school during the 20th century.
      Please point to the specific information you think is wrong proving to me its validity and I am ready to make the necessary alterations. I have some new information about the house derived from the Archicves of Aleppo which I shall be posting soon with others.

  7. JayEim says:

    You have misunderstood my post or probably I did not make myself clear.

    My post is addressed to michele ghazaleh isenhower who claims to be from the Ghazale family of the Ghazale House – Beit Ghazale. I simply need to put matters straight as we do not have any Michelle or any female whatsoever left from our Ghazale family…..unless she is the daughter of one of my four cousins…..who never mentioned that they have such daughter!
    Maybe she is related to another family as we have many families who use the same or similar name and they have no relation whatsoever with the Ghazale House and family.

    My apologies for the confusion, but the post was not addressed to you.
    We value your work and are grateful for all your efforts.

    Thank you

    • alisariram says:

      Thank you very much for this clarification. I shall post both comments and it might be that the person whose attention you wish to attract will read them.

  8. alisariram says:

    Reblogged this on alisariram and commented:

    I am reposting my articles on the destruction of Aleppo, published in my blog last year, in support of the campaign #savealeppo
    https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/savealeppo?source=feed_text&story_id=620138741412888

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