National Museum, Aleppo
The Aleppo Archaeological Museum, a rather unattractive 1970s building, houses an excellent collection of Syrian archeological finds. The objects on display guide the visitor through time and every civilisation that existed in Syria from pre-historic to Islamic, and most were found in and around Aleppo. The entrance of the museum is decorated with replicas of wide-eyed basalt statues found at an Aramean temple in Tell Halaf, dating from 1000 BC, while the gardens surrounding the museum contain numerous original statues and other stone objects from the Graeco-Roman and Byzantine periods. When I visited in March 2008, parts of the museum were closed for dust-generating renovations, but no effort was made to move or protect the antique aftefacts!!! The guide who forced himself upon us turned out to be worthwhile as he was able to show us sections that were closed to the public. He certainly appreciated the tip we gave him afterwards. Photography is prohibited inside the museum, but not in the central courtyard or the surrounding gardens. Attached are photos from the permitted areas.
Note: All Syrian museums are closed on Tuesdays.
UPDATE: In early October 2012, the museum was damaged by the indiscriminate shelling by the Syrian government. In addition, there are reports of looting.
The National Museum in Aleppo is open and well lit, a sharp contrast to the museum in Damascus. I was allowed photography, also unlike the Damascus Museum. The collection isn't quite so loaded with priceless historic pieces as the Museum in Damascus, but there are many treasures from all epochs nevertheless. I like the entrance statues, which are actually reproductions of Aramaic origins, but I also like the many Byzantine era sculptures and mosaics. I encourae e-mail from anyone who can help me correctly classify the photos I have here.
In the summer of 2006 the museum was underging extensive renovation, so in places it was a bit like wandering around a building site, dotted with antiquities. Hopefully, when you visit, the work will have been completed, the airconditioning will be working again and all of the exhibits will be on display.
In spite of the dust and heat inside, I found this museam fascinating, because it contained statues and artefacts from many of the archaeological sites I had visited around Syria. Of special interest was the first hall which contains many exhibits from Ugarit, including statuettes, weapons, bronze and gold figurines and jewellery, and the third hall, which has the black basalt friezes from the base of the Hittite temple at Ain Dara. There are also Byzantine mosaics.
Opening hours:summer 9am-5.30pm; winter 9am-3.30pm
Don't be put off by the huge basalt figures with their strange staring eyes guarding the entrance to the National Museum in Aleppo. Once inside you will find much of interest, most from the northern part of Syria including many Bronze and Iron Age artifacts from Mari, Tell Brak, Ugarit and other ancient sites - strangely endearing statues of men and women with kohl-rimmed eyes, beautiful ivory carvings and a handsome bronze lion. The Classical and Byzantine section includes glass, pottery, coins and mosaics. A walk through the garden will reveal some lovely statuary and stelae. You may well find you have the place virtually to yourself , as we did.
The museum is open from 9-1 and 4-6, and is closed on Tuesday
The national museum of Aleppo is a must see for archaeologiy enthousiast, and especially those who are planning to cover the northern areas of Syria. There are extensive exhibits dedicated to the sites of Tell Brak, Tell Halaf, Tell Arslan tash and Tell Ahmar, as well as Mari and Hama. I guess it's more interesting to visit after having seen those sights. if you0re not a museum buff, however, I suggest to skip it and save your museum time for the one in Damascus
-The national museum.
-The museum of popular arts and traditions.
-Al Jami Al Kabir (the great Omayyad mosque).
-The old schools, churches, mosques, baths, and ancient houses.
-Hammam Yalbougha al Nassiri.
-Khan Esh'shouneh (the Souk for traditional handicrafts).
-The national museum. -The museum of popular arts and traditions. -Al Jami Al Kabir (the great Omayyad mosque). -The old schools, churches, mosques, baths, and ancient houses. -Hammam Yalbougha al Nassiri. -Khan Esh'shouneh (the Souk for traditional handicrafts).
The National Museum in Aleppo has extraordinary colonnade of giant granite figures that fronts the entrance. Admission SP150.