Christian Quarter, Aleppo
Jedida means new in Arabic so letterly means new quarter,
Mainly resindent are Armenians and Maronite who settled in Aleppo some time ago Christians in Aleppo have a good high life stype mostly working in business.
A new modern district when affluent people christian live,Is new Aleppo area. The district quickly Is also the place for nightlife and full of restuarants.
Most young people go there for drinks and food.
There is a surprising variety of churches and cathedrals in Aleppo's Christian Quarter - Armenian Catholic, Greek Catholic, Syrian Catholic, Latin Catholic; Maronites; Syrian Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox; Chaldeans and even a small Protestant presence. Most are crowded together in the Jdaide Quarter, the legacy of Syria's early Christian heritage, Ottoman tolerance and the refuge given to the survivors of the Turkish massacres of the Armenians in the first quarter of the 20th century.
Nowadays Syria is one of the few Middle Eastern countries where Christian may not only practice their religion freely , but may build new churches and educate their children in church schools.
A walk through the Jdaide on a Sunday morning, when the church bells are ringing and everyone is off to church, is to think yourself in another world.
Situated just to the north of the old city, the Jdeideh Quarter, which translates to "New" Quarter, isn't quite so new. It is a medieval district of town filled with charming narrow cobbled alleys, intricately decorated ancient façades and large mansions. The quarter was created in the 16th century (i.e., very "new" compared to the old city) initially to accommodate Christian immigrants, mostly Maronite and Armenians, who settled in Aleppo for its lucrative commercial opportunities. Christians held a special status in Aleppo by acting as intermediaries to European merchants which helped increase their community's wealth, as evidenced by the numerous palaces in this quarter. Jdeideh eventually became the main Christian neighbourhood of the city where many churches, of numerous sects, relocated. These sects include Maronite, Greek Catholic, Armenian Catholic and Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Syriac and others. Although much of the Christian population (which makes up 25% of Aleppo's total) has now moved to the adjacent and newer Aziziyeh neighbourhood, Jdeideh has experienced a revival in recent years seeing many of its mediaeval domed mansions converted into restaurants and boutique hotels. Jdeideh now has some of Aleppo's best restaurants and its most charming hotels, as well as many antique shops.
One of a mosaic of churches in the Jdeideh Quarter, the Church and Convent of Mar Assia (Saint Assia) serves the Syrian Catholic community in Aleppo. It is located along a small street with several late 19th century churches hidden from sight behind high walls and imposing doors. These churches are accessible during the day when the gates are open.
Located in Jdeideh, the Christian Quarter of Aleppo, the Arab Evangelical Church of Aleppo was built in 1848. Its appearance is rather European but with minor Aleppine nuances. It serves a smaller Christian community in the mosaic of sects in Aleppo.
Within Al Jdeida, the Christian quarter, is the Maronite Church, built in the 19th century - certainly a new building relative to other points of interest in the old city and even within Al Jdeida itself. Except for symbolisms relating to Muslim-Christian mix of Syrian societies (and I should say, a model version of harmony), the church has little to offer in terms of architectural qualities. Spend a few minutes here to view the stained glass icon on the altar's ceiling, the Arabic-designed main door, and the sword-wielding statue of St Elie on the church courtyard.
Literally "the new" in Arabic, Al Jdeida is relatively younger than the city's old quarters (area around the Great Mosque and Citadel) built mainly during the Ottoman period. It is a charming area of narrow stone-laden streets and intimate high-walled passages occasionally criss-crossed by vaulted archways. Blazing red mailboxes as well as flashy doorw with their ubiquitous clenched fist knockers - an Allepine icon (see opening picture) - add color and character to the place.
From these alleys, the whole place may seem deserted as most of the activities take place inside the wall-enclosed living quarters that look inward into trellised courtyards. Some of these homes, such as Beit Wakil, have been restored and converted to commercial uses such as hotels and restaurants. Beit Wakil is now a boutique hotel (with a very good restaurant - see restaurant tips), and is open to visitors who wish to have a glimpse of how grand these houses are (see separate tip on Beit Wakil). Al Jdeida is the traditional haunt of affluent merchant families, mainly Christians (hence, the place is called Christian Quarters sometimes) and money was certainly no object during the construction of these mini-palaces.
If you don't have the budget or staying in restored places is not your thing, you might still want to visit Beit Wakil at the Al Jdeida area. This boutique hotel is a lovingly-restored 18th century mini-palace that offers a great chance to see how life used to be lived behind Al Jdeida's walled homes.
Beyond the 'ordinary' black Aleppine door, almost everything here is extraordinary - the domed ceiling over the main lobby soars to about three floors high, the lovely courtyard surrounded by latticed vine-covered balcony, the intricate stonework on the walls - you get the idea. The staff are friendly and do allow non-guests to wonder around the hotel.
The hotel also houses a good restaurant (see restuarant tip) and an underground bar.
In the 19th century, a new modern district, called Aziziyeh, developed adjacent to Jdeideh. Wealthy Aleppines, who were predominantly Christian merchant families, populated the new district with its wide avenues and European-style apartment blocks and villas. The district quickly became the location for the bourgeoisie, as well as Europeans and their consulates, all of whom relocated from Jdeideh and old Aleppo. Aziziyeh, today, remains a wealthier part of Aleppo and mostly Christian. It has retained much of the 19th and early 20th century architecture with its mix of European and Eastern architecture. The district also contains much of Aleppo's nightlife and many restaurants.
The Greek Catholic Church was built in 1849 and serves one of Aleppo's largest Christian communities. Greek Catholics are also known as Melkites, an eastern church in full communion with Rome and the Pope. This church is located on Farhat Square in Jdeideh Quarter, next to the prominent Maronite Cathedral.
Built in 1873, the St. Elias Maronite Cathedral serves the Christian Maronite community of Aleppo. The cathedral is located in the heart of Jdeideh, the old Christian Quarter, and is one of the more prominent churches in Aleppo. Although not the largest Christian sect in the city, the Maronites are well represented and have strong ties to Lebanon. Their church is an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Pope.
The imposing Syriac Catholic Church dominates a large square on As-Sulaimaniya Street in the Aziziyeh District. It is a modern looking church, very unlike the traditional Aleppine style, and was probably built in the 1950s.
With its four slender minarets and silver domes, al-Tawhid Mosque is quite the looker. This elegant mosque, of relatively recent construction, is located in the predominantly Christian neighbourhood of Aziziyeh amid several churches. It is a testament to the exemplary religious tolerance of Syrian society.
The busy squares, church plazas and main shopping streets in the Christian (Jdaide) quarter are a great contrast to the narrow stone-lined lanes that connect them. Here all is hushed and very private but behind the high walls and solid doors are beautiful old houses and courtyards, some of which are now hotels and restaurants that you can visit, even if you are not staying or eating there. In Sissi Street you'll find the Beit Wakil Hotel, the most authentically restored of all of these. Others are schools, and if you knock and ask politely it may be possible to have a peek inside. We were invited in to the school across the way from the Beit Wakil to hear the Patriarch of the Armenian Church address the assembled students and their parents in the lovely tree-shaded courtyard there. Something similar may come your way.