For most people in a Muslim-majority country like Syria, Friday is a day of rest. Shops and cafes mostly close until the afternoon when Friday prayers are over and then business builds only slowly towards the evening rush. For many young Aleppians, it was meant to be a lazy morning. For me, an Armenian, I had to wake up early to go to school. But Friday mornings will always make me think of three things: a breakfast of the best ful in the world, delicious Syrian sweets – Shuebiyat or Zlebyeh — and drinking coffee by Aleppo’s citadel.
Before the conflict in Syria, on any busy street in Aleppo on a Friday morning you would see a long queue in front of one small shop. Everyone in the line, including children, would be carrying a big bowl and would be waiting to take home fool, the traditional breakfast of choice for the people of Aleppo.