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Credit: Andre Yacoubian

HOUSE OF POCHE: THEN AND NOW

by Nora Palandjian, The Aleppo Project on February 24, 2017

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. [1] 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.[2] 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.

 

In spring 2013, the Association for the Protection of Syrian Archaeology (APSA) conducted site visits and assessments, documenting the state of the house and, a few months later, moving out transportable objects to be preserved, per the photos below. [3] To display the stark contrast from less than a decade, Andre Yacoubian recently posted the featured before and after photo displaying the house’s interior. The photo from 2009 emits an atmosphere seemingly unchanged over the centuries while the recent photo from 2017 is almost unrecognizable save for the hanging chandelier.

 

 

[1] Andrew F. Lawler (July/August 2011). Spine of the Silk Roads. Saudi Aramco World, Vol. 62 No. 4. Available from: http://archive.aramcoworld.com/issue/201104/spine.of.the.silk.roads.htm

[2] Ibid.

[3] Association for the Protection of Syrian Archeology (2013). Aleppo: Report on the work carried out in the house of Belgian consul in the old city of Aleppo. 05.07.2013. Available from: http://apsa2011.com/apsanew/aleppo-report-on-the-work-carried-out-in-the-house-of-belgian-consul-in-the-old-city-of-aleppo-05-07-2013/

Nora Palandjian, The Aleppo ProjectHOUSE OF POCHE: THEN AND NOW