A Very Old Souq

There is evidence that Aleppo has been continuously inhabited for 8000 years. It may be older than Damascus, but it’s less charming and tourist-friendly, so it gets less visitors. Aleppo is a city for it’s inhabitants, full of people going about their daily chores, unpolished and unsanitized.

If you think it’s tricky getting though a souq crowded with tourists taking photos and clinging to tours, try one filled with grannies doing their morning grocery shopping. Here’s a typical situation: You are getting pelted in the knees and back by the bags of an impatient granny. You’d like to move out of the way but there is a giant wooden cart filled with strange gelatinous items to your right, an entire animal carcass hanging on the building to the left and the entire population of Aleppo forming an immovable mass directly in front of you.

The sane thing to do is escape the souq and find a nice place to eat, maybe a terrace where you can watch the motion of daily life without suffocating in it. You are always rewarded for this decision with amazing mezze at very good prices in a plush and exotic environment. And if you need the clean break of escapism for an evening, the Christian Quarter serves very nice Italian food with wine.

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