The Souk & Khans
Aleppo souk, unlike the Damascus
one, is covered by stone archways for about 30km. This makes it the
longest covered souk in the Middle East. Once the most important
trade area in Syria, a complicated maze of narrow cobbled streets
forms this magnificent Bazaar.
Apart from the Khans, there are many separate souks: cloth,
yarns, gold, Women's clothes, and the spice souk (where you can
enjoy a wonderful mixture of odors.)
The central trading positions are Khan Al Gumruk, Khan Al Nahasin,
Khan Al Sabun, and Khan Al Wazir.
al Gumruk (Khan of customs and excise) was built in 1574. It is
definitely the largest of Aleppo's khans, and it was
constituted of banks, and the consulates of French, English and
Dutch commerce. This Khan still houses over 250 shops.
Khan al Nahasin (Khan of coppersmiths) is where you will
find the oldest continuously inhabited house in Aleppo,
the house of the former Belgian consul, Adolphe Poche. It has been
maintained almost exactly as it was 4 centuries ago. Poche, a
descendant of both Venetian and Austrian origin, was born in this
house and became the Belgian consul in 1937. The house contains
antiques of old Aleppo, and Syrian archaeological treasures. To get
admission into this house, you will need permission from the Belgian
al Sabun (Khan of soap) is sometimes considered one of the
greatest examples of Mameluke architecture in Aleppo.
Beautiful detailed carvings are abundant, and can be seen on the façade
and around the window on top of the main entrance.
Khan al Wazir (Khan of the minister) was built as a
caravanserai in the 17th century. It is one of the most famous in Aleppo.
It is beautifully decorated; especially the black and white stoned
door, and the ornamented outer window frames.