"Cradled in a bowl of dry hills in northern Syria, the city of Aleppo presents an austere facade to those entering her ancient gates. Serious, tightlipped, sober - the adjectives often applied to her people convey a dignity befitting Aleppo's age, for she vies with Damascus and Sana'a as the oldest existing city in the world. Though eclipsed by the political and economic hegemony of modern Damascus, Aleppo preserves more purely the essence of a traditional Arab city."
Since I was keen to see the Citadel at Aleppo, we decided to fly from Cairo to Aleppo instead of Damascus, and then drive south to Damascus. It a short 2 hour flight, and the city appeared to be of a reasonabe size, at least aerially.
As we drove from the airport to the hotel, there was something that kept bothering me, but I could not put my finger on it, till my young son quipped "mom, why are all the women wearing the niqaab?" He had got it, spot on! I could not see a single woman on the streets who was not wearing a niqaab or was not dressed in a full black robe wearing a hijaab. If this had been Saudi, I would not have been surprised, but no one had warned me about Syria being orthodox as well!
Drove into the Sheraton which is the only 5 star property in Aleppo and I must admit it was a very nice property. the staff was friendly, helpful and spoke English. Built around a central courtyard,
it has a couple of lovely restaurants including a poolside barbeque where we thought we would do dinner.