Aleppo Castle (Syria)

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The Aleppo Castle is a large medieval fortified palace in the center of the old city of Aleppo, northern Syria. It is considered one of the oldest and largest castles in the world. Use of the citadel hill dates back at least to the mid-third millennium A.C. .. Subsequently occupied by many civilizations, including the Greeks, Byzantines, Ayyubids and Mamluks, the majority of the building as it stands today is thought to be from the Ayyubid period. A vast conservation work has taken place over the years 2000 the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in collaboration with the Archaeological Society of Aleppo. Overlooking the city, the citadel is an ancient city of Aleppo, a UNESCO World Heritage since 1986.

The need to protect the citadel walls was dictated by the first expeditions of the Crusaders in the Holy Land and later by the Mongol invasions. Past the danger of external attacks the citadel became the residence of the Mamluks who built their palace. After crossing the bridge over the moat daring it cross the imposing front door beyond which there are the salt gifts connected by a series of stairs and corridors. The throne room is famous for its carved wooden ceiling. The flat top of the hill is occupied by two mosques, the Great Mosque, the Citadel and the other dedicated to Abraham by the severe style. For the rest of the soil is occupied by a series of excavations that have brought to light, among other things, the foundations of the Ayyubid palace destroyed by the Mongols. The amphitheater is not ancient but a modern implementation where data are shows for tourists ranging from classical operas in dances of dervishes.

The aleppini proudly claim an unbroken history of 5000 years. The first documents that cite belong to the archives of the Hittites, Mari and Ebla in the second millennium BC, where it appears as the capital of the Amorite kingdom of Yamkhad. The city was conquered by the Hittite king Mursili I, in 1600 BC, leaving a political vacuum in northern Syria until the beginning of the fifteenth century BC, when it was annexed to the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni. The Hittite king Shuppiluliuma in 1473 BC reconquest of the city, which becomes religious seat Hittite Empire.

In 1274 BC the king of Aleppo Telepinu participates with forces hittite the famous Battle of Kadesh took place on the banks of the Orontes, not far from the city. The battle marked the end of expansion to the north of the Egyptians.

After the fall of the Hittite with the invasion of the Sea Peoples (1190 BC), Aleppo form one of the smallest states in the neo-Hittite, and the Aramean element had the upper hand among the population, as in the whole of northern Syria; In fact later Aleppo became the capital of an Aramaic kingdom.

Tiglath-Pileser I, in the eleventh century BC, invaded the Hittite empire and founded the Assyrian Empire, which was finally included with the victory Shalmaneser III at the Battle of Qarqar (853 BC), the city of Aleppo, which from that moment It retains a single ground of prestige and the famous ancient sanctuary of the storm god, Hadad.

The Chaldean or Neo-Babylonian briefly replace the Assyrians in 612 BC, and in turn defeated by Cyrus the Great (539 BC), the founder of the Achaemenid. It is set up the administrative system of satrapies.

In 333 BC Aleppo was conquered by Alexander the Great, and is called 'Beroea' by his successor Seleucus I Nicator, which strengthens it for military purposes, and is annexed to the satrapy of Babylon. He was part of the Seleucid Empire until the arrival of the Romans; but, between the second and first centuries BC, he suffered for the dynastic struggles within the ruling family and the town was also conquered by Armenian king Tigranes.

In 64 BC Pompey annexed Syria to the Roman Republic; The city then becomes part of the Roman Empire before, and then the Byzantine Empire
In 540, the city was destroyed by the Sassanid king Khosrow I and was rebuilt and fortified by the Emperor Justinian.

With the advance of the Arab power in the sixth century, the aleppini open the doors of the city to Khalid ibn al-Walid in 637. Under the Umayyads the prosperous cities, and then declined when the Abbasids moved the capital of the Caliphate in Baghdad and destroyed all works Umayyad (left with the facility of the great Mosque). The dynasty of hamdanid dynasty, which began with 'Ali Sayf al-Dawla, that made Aleppo independent Caliph, reigned from 944 to 1003 and, just with Ali Sayf, still remembered in Aleppo, defends the city against the attacks of the Byzantine emperor Nicephorus Phocas who, in 962, it is able to sack the city but not to conquer the Citadel.

Later the city fell under the control of the Shiite Fatimids in 1015, some Bedouin tribes in 1024, of the Banu'Aqil family in 1080, the Seljuk Turks in 1086 and urtuchide Sunni dynasty in 1117.

During the Crusades, the city was besieged, without success, by the Christians in 1098 and, in 1124, comes to the aid of the atabeg Seljuk city of Mosul,'Imād al-Din Zangi.

Nur al-Din Zangi (1128-70), son of Zangi and atabeg of Mosul, Aleppo becomes the focus of Islamic reaction against the crusaders and, at his death, passes to the Kurdish Saladin, founder of the Ayyubid dynasty, which brings together under one guide various Islamic factions and ending the third crusade. The son of Saladin, al-Zahir Ghazi, dug the ditch and covered it with the slope of the Citadel stones.

In 1138 the city suffered much damage due to a catastrophic earthquake that causes about 250,000 deaths.

The city was conquered and devastated during the Mongol raids in Palestine in 1260. The Mamluks in 1292 reconstruct the Citadel which was destroyed again in 1400 with the invasion of Tamerlane.

In 1516 Aleppo passes under the Ottomans by Selim I, who defeated the Mamluks in Syria and Egypt. It shall state the residence of a Wali (governor), and in the four centuries following the city remains one of the most important commercial ports in the world, concurring with the caravan routes of Asia and Arabia with links to the Mediterranean Sea in the ports of Tripoli and Alexandretta. It must see in Muslim pilgrimages to Mecca.

In 1822, a terrible earthquake kills 60% of the population of the city, which in a few decades, and rises again at the end of that century again reaches one hundred thousand inhabitants.

Following the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1920 was given the French protectorate in the area currently including in the states of Syria, Lebanon and Israel, in addition to the Alexandretta area, which is sold arbitrarily by the French to the new Turkish State, thus depriving her of Aleppo historic harbor.

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Castles in Syria

Aleppo Castle

Mount Simeon

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Latitude: 36.1996708
Longitude: 37.1627062
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Map of Aleppo Castle