Photos taken last Friday, February 17, 2017 by Saleh Zakkour show hollowed halls of Khan Al-Nahasin, previously inhabited by coppersmiths at work. The street sign displays the name Adolphe Poche, homage to the Belgian consul of Austrian origin as well as the House of Poche located in the khan. Born in this historic house linking centuries of European travelers and diplomats to the Middle East, the late Madame Jenny Poche, daughter of businessman George Marash and the daughter of Adolphe Poche, most recently inhabited the house.  According to an interview with Madame Poche from the summer of 2011, her great-grandfather, a crystal merchant, first arrived in Aleppo from Bohemia in the early 19th century. The house itself dates back to the 16th century, even before the arrival of the Poche family, when it first housed the Consul of Venice.
Recent photos of ruins found along Al-Mutanabbi Street (Talaat Al-Bnouk) unearth claims of an ancient underground city. The ruins are located to the west of Sabaa Baharat Square and north of Old Aleppo’s Decumanus connecting the Citadel to the Souq Al-Madina, as we marked on Wikimapia. There is discussion as to whether these ruins date back to Hellenistic or Roman times, or whether they are simply the remains of what once were the lower levels of former buildings submerged under a paved road in the 1930s.
Featured on Humans of Aleppo #HoAHistory, group member Muhammad Sle posts recent photos of Al-Adiliyyah Mosque along with historical facts. Built between 963 AH/1555 AD and 965 AH/1557 AD, according to disputing sources, Muhammed describes the mosque’s cylindrical minaret with the length of the side measured at 15.6 meters, built in the square-shaped Ottoman style. He notes the courtyard’s rectangular shape with two entrances, one facing east and one west, and a central basin of water for ablution.
With an eye to the future, as well as recent photos and 360 video of the city published on Thursday, February 4, the Associated Press (AP) reports on the conversation surrounding the reconstruction of Aleppo. In their piece Rebuilding shattered Aleppo will take billions – and peace, Bassem Mroue and Sarah El Deeb note, on the one hand, the great risk posed by moving forward with reconstruction without a peace deal in place and, on the other hand, the urgent need to form rebuilding plans for the future of Syria.
In considering the risk, AP quotes Aleppo Project Fellow AlHakam Shaar who stresses the need to bring home exiled Aleppians, saying,“Any rushed reconstruction is dangerous and is likely to cut out the owners or the ex-residents as well.” Moreover, without a peace deal, in addition to excluding former inhabitants from the reconstruction process, the report notes that Western nations would not directly support support the government.
The first grand hotel of Aleppo, the Hotel Baron is remembered by Aleppians and the world alike for its historical glamor. Founded in 1911, the Baron is known for its famous clientele, including Lawrence of Arabia, Agatha Christie, President Theodore Roosevelt, and President Gamal Abdel Nasser among others. Located on the front line and featured in a number of articles since the start of the war, the Baron was most recently the subject of a BBC Outlook podcast with Mary Mazloumian of the family who founded the hotel. The podcast tells the history of the Baron’s extravagant opening as well as its more humanitarian spirit, with the Mazloumian brothers hosting those fleeing war from the Ottoman Empire.
Old Aleppo Revisited, a new series of biweekly posts on Mondays and Fridays, will feature the abundant authentic new imagery that is coming out on the web. Photos and descriptions are by Aleppians, including non-specialists, architects, and cultural heritage experts, who stayed in Western Aleppo and for the first time since late 2012 were able to visit these locations.
As an introduction to Old Aleppo Revisited, architect Louay Dakhel shares with us his analysis of the architectural effects on Al-Madrasa Al-Halawiyah, with much of its construction dating back to the Byzantine era, modestly featured on Facebook through photos he took on January 3, 2017.
He observes that about 95% of the structure is intact, with limited damage to a small part of one of the Byzantine columns in the prayer hall and just part of the half dome above these columns, as well as bullet marks on the external walls of the courtyard. Dakhel assesses that this minimal damage has no effect on its foundation and could easily be restored. Likewise, he notes that the Ayyubid mihrab is fully preserved behind a wall built for this purpose. He discerns the greatest effect to be on the woodwork, glass, and iron details, which have completely lost their architectural character.