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Aleppo is one of the longest-surviving cities of the ancient and Islamic Middle East. Until recently it enjoyed a thriving urban life—in particular an active traditional suq, which has a continuous tradition going back centuries. Its tangle of streets still follow the Hellenistic grid and above it looms the great Citadel, which contains recently-uncovered remains of a Bronze/Iron Age temple complex, suggesting an even earlier role as a ‘high place’ in the Canaanite tradition.
In the Arab Middle Ages, Aleppo was a strongpoint of the Islamic resistance to the Crusader presence. Its medieval Citadel is one of the most dramatic examples of a fortified enclosure in the Islamic tradition. In Mamluk and Ottoman times, the city took on a thriving commercial role and provided a base for the first European commercial factories and consulates in the Levant. Its commercial life funded a remarkable building tradition with some hundreds of the 600 or so officially-declared monuments dating from these eras, and its diverse ethnic mixture, with significant Kurdish, Turkish, Christian and Armenian communities provide a richer layering of influences on the city’s life.
In this volume, Ross Burns explores the rich history of this important city, from its earliest history through to the modern era, providing the first English treatment of this fascinating city history, accessible both to scholarly readers as well as to the general public interested in a factual and comprehensive survey of the city’s past.