The Aleppo Citadel
magnificent enormous fortress, the Aleppo
Citadel, is sometimes considered to be one of the oldest in the
region. The hill the Citadel stands on is supposed to date back to
the 16th century BC, when the Amorites were in control. However the
earliest remains that have been uncovered only go back as far as the
10th century BC when the Neo Hittites raised a temple on this site.
Later it was said Abraham milked his cow there. It became a citadel
under the Seleucids. Saladin's
son, Ghazi, used it as both residence and fortress and it suffered
from the Mongol invasions in 1269 and 1400.
present structure and designs of the Aleppo citadel is Ghazi's work.
The sole entrance to the Citadel is through the outer tower in the
south. This defended the stone arched bridge, which covered the 22m
moat. The magnificent gateway is almost a castle in itself. The door
is placed on a sidewall with a close wall facing it to limit the
space needed to ram the door down. As you go in, there is a bent
entrance that goes right, left, left, right, right, and then left.
This is to slow down attackers. There are three gates with carved
figures at each. In the court there is a cistern (Byzantine) and a
few brick vaults, probably dungeons. The pitch dark of the inside of
the gateway is to strengthen the contrast between light and dark so
that it would be impossible for attackers to see.
of the structures seen outside at the top of the mound, are being
excavated and restored. But there are 2 mosques, one is the Mosque
of Abraham (where Abraham was said to have milked his cow) and the
other one is the Great
Mosque of the Citadel. This second mosque is quite beautiful in
its appeal, a stone paved court and a fountain with 3 evergreens lie
in the center of it. The residence or Ayyubid palace is also a great
feature of the citadel. This palace includes an iwan, and a Hammam.
You will also find a modern built Amphitheater used for
entertainment and civil occasions.