Damascus: the covered Suq al Hamidiyeh, a general market. The street is part of a grid including the famous Street Called Straight, a few blocks to the south. The roof, supported on iron ribs, ends at the Umayyad Mosque, much as Jerusalem's Suq al Qattanin ends at the enclosure of the Aqsa Mosque.
Elsewhere on the grid: an ancient archway.
Hama's iconic waterwheels, since perhaps the 7th century lifting Orontes River water into two aqueducts, at different levels. The city has about 17 surviving norias, whose flow--for farm and town--is shared among users by time. Such wheels rim Asia: for more about them, see the 4-volume but very scarce Le Domaine Colonial Francais (Paris, 1929-30), a semi-official survey sponsored by the Colonial Union; it has illustrations of waterwheels from Morocco all the way to Vietnam.
A closeup of the knobbled, abused surface near Aleppo.
A surviving patch of arable land. The red color of the soil is typical of soils formed on limestone in a Mediterranean climate.
The citadel of Aleppo, ancient but dating in this form from about 1200, when it was rebuilt by Ghazi, son of Saladin. Its present ruin dates to the Mongol invasions, most recently in 1400. On the far left, the heavily fortified entrance.
The entrance to the citadel, which is mostly in ruin but contained a mosque and Ayyubid palace.
Better: the view downslope to the covered market, whose entrance is the tunnel-like blackness front-and-center.
Closeup of the entrance, with a long line of chimney-like skylights. This axis--about 700 meters long--is part of an extensive network of gridded streets, all covered. Flanking the market are caravansarais, where traders once arrived with their goods.
Merchandise tends to be grouped. Here, "farm-supply."
A private house in the al-Jubeilah district, on the other side of the citadel. All rooms are entered through doorways like this, off a square courtyard. Exit from the house is through another courtyard door that leads to a short tunnel that debouches on a narrow street.
West of Aleppo, the ruins of the Church of St. Simeon, or the Qala'at Semaan. It was built to commemorate the saintliness of Simon Stylites, who remained atop a column here for 37 years. There are four ruined basilicas, one of each side of the courtyard in which the column stood.
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