Dominating the whole of Aleppo, the Citadel is one of the most important historic monuments of the old city and one of the middle east's most impressive medieval fortresses. It was also worthy of being listed, along with the Old City of Aleppo, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The natural hill on which it was built rises from the ground like a volcano, and is known to have been inhabited since at least the 16th century BC and probably even earlier, and to have been the site of the Graeco-Roman Acropolis. However, the citadel, as we see it today, was largely constructed in the 12th century AD on the rubble of previous civilisations, from Hittite and Seleucid/Greek to Roman and Byzantine. Several additions to the citadel were later made, most notably the 16th century AD Mamluke palace built over the imposing entrance. A visit to Aleppo is incomplete without a stop at the Citadel, which offers excellent panoramic views over the old city.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: As reported in the media, a section of the wall of the Citadel of Aleppo collapsed on 11th July 2015 in an explosion in an underground tunnel. Both government forces and rebels blamed the other.
The doorway into the Citadel at the top of the ramped bridge is located on the right hand side. It was deliberately placed on the side in order to prevent attackers from forcing their way into the citadel. Above the doors are the most interesting intertwined snake carvings along with Arabic inscriptions. Past the doors is a zigzag of corridors with vaulted ceilings, designed deliberately to disorient potential attackers, leading to the main grounds of the citadel.
UPDATE: In August 2012, there was damage to the citadel's entrance caused by fighting between Bashar al-Assad's army and the Free Syrian Army.
During the Ayyubid period, under the reign of Saladdin's son al-Zaher Ghazi in the 12th century, a tremendous amount of construction occurred within the citadel that turned it into a city within a city. Of the most prominent works were the two imposing gateways and the six arches that support the ramped bridge connecting them. In the 15th century, the Mamluke governor, Seif el-Din Jakam, built the Mamluke palace over the upper gateway, adding to its immensity. The façade of the palace is exquisitely decorated with subtle Mamluke-period motifs and muqarnas (stalactite) carvings. A museum is housed within this palace. The monumental gates and the palace on top are perhaps the most incredible structure in the Citadel.
UPDATE: In August 2012, there was damage to the citadel caused by fighting between Bashar al-Assad's army and the Free Syrian Army. Sadly, the Mediaeval doors in the first (lower) gateway of the citadel have been blown to pieces and small sections of the first ramp were destroyed.
One of the most striking features of the Citadel is the ramped bridge and the six tall arches supporting it. The bridge leads to the upper tower gate and crosses over the moat which surrounds the hill. The man-made moat was once filled with water and was designed to enhance the Citadel's defence system. Both the bridge and the moat date from the 12th century, during the Ayyubid period of rule.
UPDATE: In August 2012, parts of the 12th century ramp suffered severe damage as a result of the reckless fighting between Bashar al-Assad's army and the Free Syrian Army.
The heart of attraction in the middle of the city. .
A Fortress surrounded by many buildings that stretched widely around it forming like a cobweb.
Today it is one of the most impressive historical highlights for the visitor which is an extraordinary specimen of Arabic fortification of the middle Ages.
In the olden times the Citadel itself was a city centered within the city of Aleppo. The inhabitants had residential palaces and baths, religious mosque and shrines, military arsenal, training grounds, defense towers and the entrance block and also amphitheater. It was purposely made to provide a strategic site for military fortresses to safeguard and protect the agricultural areas of the land.
For about 190 years the Citadel was heavily damage by the earthquake and it remained its ruins presently and for a long period of time.
Since 12 years a major project was initiated to restore the Citadel of Aleppo under Aga Khan Historic Cities Program. The Amphitheater is renewed and now used for open-air concerts and summer festivals. The Citadel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for more than 25 years now.
Open: winter 9am-4pm,
The main reason to visit Aleppo is to see the wonderful old citadel that sits on a hill in the middle of the city which is now the biggest city in Syria and i believe that it has been inhabited for 7,000 years. The citadel is enclosed by a 5 km wall with 9 gates and the present construction was completed 800 years ago. Be careful not to get lost inside while wandering around the narrow alleyways.
The early 13th century Ayyubid Palace has amazing structures inside the citadel it makes it extra shiney and wonderful. the entrance is stunning I was flabgusted when I saw it its luster of its unique.
The Citadel Review
Aleppo's citadel one of the oldest in the world. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.it has stunning views over all of Aleppo.
About 33 m above the hill elliptical shape. Surrounded by a stone wall of 44 defensive towers of different sizes, a length of about 900 m and a height of about 12 m, and support columns of stone found in accidental iron nails. Large stone wall dating back to before the Islamic conquest, the middle of the Ayyubid, and Mamluk small it is.
Opening hours: winter 9am-4pm, summer 9am-6pm. Closed Tuesdays.
The Citadel of Aleppo is a large medieval castle located in the old city of Aleppo. Heavily restored, the citadel has seen the civilizations of the Greeks, Byzantines, Ayyubids and Mamluks come and go. Due to its prominence in Aleppo, the citadel has been accorded some form of iconic status in the city. No visit to Aleppo is complete without visiting the citadel.
This beautiful castle has 5000 years history. It stayed from Great Iskender times but there is also lions from 2000 BC: All roads climb thru to the castle. At Eyyubids time 500 people could live in it. Royal palace's wooden parts s magnificient. All castle is so...
Aleppo's citadel is the biggest in the world. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It stands atop an imposing hill just to the east of the old city and commands spectacular views over all of Aleppo.
This site has been important for at least 3,000 years. The first major structure built here was a temple dating back to the 10th century BC. The first fortifications were erected by the Seleucids around 350 BC. The citadel was a mliitary headquarters for the Muslims during the 12th century in their wars with the Crusaders, and its defenses were strengthened during this period with a moat and with stone cladding on the lower slopes of the hill. Further fortifications were added by the Mamluks from the 13th to 16th centuries. The citadel was only successfully stormed once in its history, by Tamerlane's Mongol army in 1400.
Today the massive walls encircling the citadel present an imposing sight as you crane your neck to look up at them.
You enter the citadel across an entrance bridge over the now dry moat. You then climb a passageway through a monumental gateway. Inside the citadel there are numerous buildings, including a palace, two mosques and an amphitheatre.
Opening hours: winter 9am-4pm, summer 9am-6pm. Closed Tuesdays.
The Citadel rises over 50m above the streets of Aleppo and is a must-see when visiting. After going through the impressive gateway, you can walk up the hill past a series of doors to see the remains of the Ayyubid Palace. There is a baths complex here and throne room and a chance to climb on to the upper battlements to take in the great view. There are several Mosques as well as an amphitheatre and a small museum (separate fee) and cafe. The Citadel is open: 9am-6pm in summer/9am-4pm in winter. Closed Tues. Small entrance fee and guides are available.
The Citadel is perhaps Aleppo's best known historical attraction - and for good reason. It stands high and mighty on the eastern end of the old city area keeping watch over the city.
Standing on a strategic, natural mound, it is as historic as Aleppo itself. It is believed that the mound was a place of worship before it became a fortification with a more military function. The Seleucids are thought to have built the first defensive structures in around 300 BC. But much of what could be seen today were built during the Mamluk rule (1250-1517 AD). The Citadel played an important role during the time of the Crusades serving as power base for the Muslims.
Allot at least one hour for exploration. Some of the more interesting features of the Citadel are the stepped bridge entrance, the steel plated doors, the cistern and underground prison, the remains of an Ayyubid Palace with its colorful entrance, and a 13th century grand mosque which has been restored.
Around this grand mosque is a cafe where you could hang out for a while and soak in the great views. Not surprisingly, the Citadel is one of the most strategic places in Aleppo to take aerial photos of this historical city.
During my visit in early December 2007, the area surrounding the Citadel is being dolled up for tourists and cafés have sprung up and are doing brisk business. It's a great place to chill out after a tour of the Citadel and the souq area.
The Byzantine invasion of Aleppo in the 10th century heightened the need to revive the use of the citadel for defensive purposes. This resulted in significant reconstruction in the ensuing years. However, it was not until the arrival of the Ayyubid dynasty in the 12th and 13th centuries that the Citadel developed into a city within a city. During this period, palaces, hammams and mosques were constructed, including the surviving Ayyubid Palace. It has a beautiful portal with bi-coloured geometric designs. Behind the palace is the royal hammam with its labyrinthine halls and domed chambers.
The smaller of the two mosques inside the Citadel is often referred to as the Mosque of Abraham. It is said that the mosque was built on the site where Abraham milked his cow. This theory is made more significant by the fact that the city's name, Halab in Arabic, is derived from the verb "to milk". Many thousands of years later, more precisely in the 12th century AD, the Zengid ruler Nour el-Din, built this small mosque to commemorate the event. But I wonder, how did the cow reach the top of the mound?!