One of the main reasons I wanted to go to Aleppo was the massive fortified citadel.
I had come across someone’s photo of this place while looking around Syria on Google Earth. The photo was crazy: this huge mound in the middle of a city, with a gigantic portrait of the Syrian president hanging on the side flapping in the wind, with this brooding dark cloudy sky behind it. It was a damn scary sight and I wanted to see it in person (not really thinking that Id ever have the opportunity actually).
So when my chance came to get up to Aleppo I leapt at it. When I got there the weather had apparently improved, but it was still a very impressive sight.
I wanted to give my head a break from archaeological things a bit, so I didnt look at things in terms of periods and civilisations for once. It was refreshing to see things with an air of mystery again! For example, current excavations by a Dutch team on top of the citadel are unearthing these carved stones lining a courtyard. They look OLD, but dont ask me how old! I dont know! Tis is on top of the hill, in the middle of it, and they have dug down through about 5 metres of accumulated dirt to unearth this, the level that people once walked on.
Apart from my later interpretation given in the caption, this was a pretty magical thing to see. I wonder what the figures are supposed to be?
Gods? Characters from stories lost thousands of years ago? Or Both?
In a way, I like the mystery of these figures more than actually knowing what they were supposed to be in a million dry details. Sacrilegious words though they may be to some of my archaeological friends 🙂
The citadel in Aleppo has been used for thousands of years, and many different views have been seen through the gaps in its walls. Abraham from the bible milked sheep here, and the Neo-Hittites had their state capital here. Later, the Persians moved in and some of them would have watched the armies of Alexander the Great approaching, coming to take over, from the same spot where I now stood. Big events, nasty events full of fear and brutal reality.
Later still, a Roman emperor had a white bull killed up here, as an offering to Zeus.
Then Islam arrived and took over the hill.
People like you and me hid up here from Genghis Khan and the Mongols!
And which do you prefer, what you’re imagination suggests about the carved stone figures, or the murderous and terrifying reality of what actually went on here?