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:
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.
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
**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”) was erected in 1090–1092 under the first Seljuk sultan,Tutush I. It has four façades. (Wikipedia)
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.
Hammadanids and and Zengids
- 1. Sheikh Mohsen mosque, Hammdanids, 962 AD
- 2. Al-Seeda mosque, Zengid
- 3. Al-Tersusi mosque, Zengid, 1146 AD
- 4. Al-Saleheen mosque, Zengid, 1105 AD
- 5. Mosque of Al-Madrasah al Sharafeya, 1242 AD
- *6. Khanqah Al-Farafira mosque (named after Farafira city in Egypt)
- 7. Mosque of Sheikh Ma’rouf Bin Jamr, 1193 AD
- 8. Mosque of Meeru (Shanqos mosque), 1220 AD
- 9. Mosque of Al-Sheikh Hammoud, 1146 AD
- 10. Al-Zaherya complex, 1219 AD
- 11. Mosque of Sidna Hamza, 1156 AD
- 12. Al-Zawya Al-Hilaleya mosque, 1213 AD
- 13. Al-Atabkeya mosque, 1223 AD
- 14. Mosque of Abu-Zer, 1198 AD
- 15. Mosque of Al-Mustadameya (Ibn Al-Nafees mosque), 1223 AD
- 16. Al-Sultaniyah Madrasa, 1223 AD
- 17. Al-Sahibiyah mosque
- 18. Al-Saffahiyah mosque
- 19. Mosque of Sheikh Ali Al-Hindi
- 20. Bawakib mosque 1885 AD
- 21. Al-Ebn mosque 16th century
- *22. Mosque of Qastel Harami, 1490 AD
- 23. Al-Midani mosque, 16th Century
- 24. Al-Mar’ashlee mosque, 1246 AD
- 25. Nouredin mosque, 1327 AD
- 26. Mosque of Al-Zaki, 1300 AD
- 27. Sheikh Amr Al-Wafa’e Al-Ba’aj mosque, 1336 AD
- 28.Al-Qarnaseya Complex
- *29. Al-Mehmendar mosque, 13th century
- 30. Mosque of Senekli, 1215 AD
- 31. Al-Hariri mosque
- 32. Complex of Al-Naseriya, 1323 AD
- 33. Al-Bezazi mosque
- 34. Al-Mawazeeni mosque, 1394 AD
- 35. Al-Rumi mosque, 1366 AD
- 36. Mosque of Ebis
- 37. Mosque of Abu Yehya Al-Kawkabi\
- 38. Mosque of Suleyman Al-Ayyubi
- 39. Al-Otrush Mosque, built in 1398 in Mamluk style. It is famous for its deco façade and the entrance which is topped with traditional Islamic muqarnas
- 40*Al-Fustuq mosue, 1349, near Khan Al-Wazir
- 41. Mosque of Banuqsa, 1386 AD
- 42. Mosque of AL-Tun Bogha, 1318 AD
- 43. Arslan Dada mosque, Seljuk, 1115 AD
- 44. Mosque of Maqdemiya, Seljuk, 1168 AD
- 45. Turkmanjek mosque, 1503 AD
- 46. Khusruwiyah Mosque, 1544 AD
- *47. Al-Adeliyah mosque 1557
- 48. Al-Qaiqan mosque
- 49. Gheyour Bek mosque 1930 AD
- 50. Zaki Pasha mosque 1898 AD
- 51. Al-Malkhana mosque (Al-Mawlaweya Tikkeya)
- 52. Al-Shaboura mosque (Kheir Allah mosque)
- 53. Sa’ad Allah Al-Jabki mosque
- 54. Al-Shara’asus Mosque
- 55. Qastal Al-Mesht mosque, 1637 AD
- 56. Seya Jan mosque, 1577 AD
- 57. Al-Kilani mosque
- 58. Al-‘Aryan mosque, (Al-Sha’rani mosque), 1896 AD
- 59. Al-Zawya Al-Aqiliya mosque, 1796 AD
- 60. Konbor mosque, 1752 ad.
- 61. Al-Fera mosque, (Al-Anjak mosque), 1622 AD
- 62. Mosque of Al-Sharaf
- 63. Mosque of Seeta, 1471 AD
- 64. ,*Al-Fustuq mosue, 1349, near Khan Al-Wazir
- 65. Haj Mousa mosque
- 66. Souk Al-Zahawi mosque, 1803 AD
- 67. Ma’lak Al-Sabou mosque, 1524 AD
- 68. Al-Saffahiyah Mosque, erected in 1425 AD
- *69.Al-Tawashi mosque built in 1398 ( Mamluk) and restored in 1537.
- * 70 Al-Bahramiya mosque, 1583
- *71 Al-Isma‘iliyya Moaque
Please note that some mosques were also teaching mosques and had madrasas annexed to them
The Madrasas of Aleppo
- *Al-Shadbakhtiyah Madrasa, 1193 AD (Ayyoubid), also known as Maarouf Mosque. At risk.
- Al-Zahiriyah Madrasa, built in 1217 outside the city walls to the south of Bab al-Maqam,.
- Al-Sultaniyah Madrasa, 1223 AD
- Al-Firdaws Madrasa, defined as “the most beautiful of the mosques of Aleppo”.It was built in 1235 outside the city walls to the southwest of Bab al-Maqam gate.
- *Al-Kamiliyah Madrasa and mosque, built between 1230-37(Ayuybid) outside the city walls.*
- Al-Sharafiyah Madrasa, located to the northeast of the Great Mosque.
- Al-Turantaiyah Madrasa, located outside the city walls to the east of Bab al-Nairab, built between 1241-51
- Al-Ahmadiyah Madrasa, opened in 1724 in al-Jalloum district.
- *Al-Uthmaniyah Madrasa, located near Bab al-Nasr, 1730*
- *Al-Halawiyah Madrasa, built in 1124 on the site of Aleppo’s 5th century Great Byzantine Cathedral of Saint Helena*
- Al-Muqaddamiyah Madrasa, located in the Khan al-Tutun alley, was originally a church before 112
- Al-Sultaniyah Madrasa, 1223–1225
- Al-Firdaws Madrasa 1235–1236,
- *Al-Kiltawiya mosque and madrasa, built in the 14th century*
- * Khanqah al-Farafira, a 13th century Sufi monastery built in 1237.*
- *Al-Faradis madrasa, Mamluk*
- *Al-Shibani Madrasa
*So far, eighteen mosques and madrasas were damaged, some very severely, including some of the most important and beautiful.
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 *gate was destroyed when the fighters used explosives in order to penetrate into the Castle.
Gates of Old Aleppo
- *Bab al-Hadid (Iron Gate)
- Bab al-Ahmar (Red Gate, completely ruined)
- Bab al-Nairab (Gate of Nairab, completely ruined)
- Bab al-Maqam* (Gate of the Shrine)
- *Bab Qinnasrin (Gate of Qinnasrin)
- *Bab Antakeya (Gate of Antioch)
- Bāb Jnēn (Gate of Gardens, completely ruined)
- *Bab al-Faraj* (Gate of Deliverance, completely ruined)
- *Bab al-Nasr* (Victory Gate, partially ruined)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The most significant historic buildings of Jdeydeh Christian quarter include:
- 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.
*The Waqfiyya Library of the Great Omayyad Mosque ( All the collection was burnt down when the library was set on fore.
-The National Library
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
Protect Syrian Archaeology حماية الآثار السورية
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