Aleppo, the capital of Syria, is a city with ancient roots dating back to the early Bronze Age — around 2400 B.C.E. Alexander the Great conquered the city in 333 B.C.E., and Constantine the Great's mother built a cathedral there in the 5th century — the Great Byzantine Cathedral of Saint Helena.
Unfortunately, Syria is going through a civil war and much of the fighting has taken place in Aleppo. It is not advisable to travel to Aleppo because of this extreme political unrest and the unstable government. Global Affairs Canada urges all Canadians to leave Syria. Much of the fighting has taken place near the main airports in Aleppo. Leaving Syria is possible by crossing the Lebanese border, but this is also high-risk as it is also recommended to avoid all nonessential travel to Lebanon.
The Canadian Government offers a resource, Travel Advice and Advisories, to educate travellers on conditions in various locations around the globe. Here, travellers can check online for updated information on entry and exit guidelines, specific health conditions and hazards, natural disasters, and where to find help and resources.
Renting a Car in Aleppo
No car hires are available at the airport, Aleppo International, and many flights do not run consistently. Since travel to the region is frowned upon, getting a reliable car hire is not currently feasible.
Driving in Aleppo
Although driving in Aleppo is possible, travelers would be ill-advised to do so. With ongoing fighting and an unstable environment, drivers will be putting themselves and passengers at risk.
Safe Practices While in Aleppo
If travellers do find themselves in Aleppo, they should not wear or display any valuables that may draw attention. This includes jewelry, clothing, handbags and other accessories. Travellers should dress conservatively at all times and keep a close eye on their belongings. The Canadian Embassy in Damascus is currently closed, but travellers may try contacting the American Embassy in Damascus.
Things to See in Aleppo
With thousands of years of history, Aleppo has tons to see, from ancient ruins to beautiful mosques as well as other landmarks.
The ancient ruins at the Aleppo Citadel are awe-inspiring, and the area offers amazing view of the city. Dating back to the third millennium B.C.E., this Islamic landmark has Greek, Roman, and Byzantine influences. The confluence of these cultures has shaped Aleppo's identity. The Saint Simon Citadel is another ancient architectural marvel. It's one of the oldest surviving churches of its kind.
Aleppo was once a hub on the famed trade route known as the Silk Road. A famous bazaar with foreign goods was held up until about 2010. The tradition dates back centuries. Historically, imported Chinese luxuries like silk and porcelain, Indian spices, Italian glass and crystal, along with perfumes, soaps and fabrics from the Far East, were sold here and caravanned out to other regions.
The Great Mosque of Aleppo is another sight to be seen. It was an agora during the Hellenistic period, and it is said that the father of John the Baptist, Zechariah, is buried there.
If travellers are in Aleppo, they should try to leave the country as safely and as soon as possible. Resources are available to help with transport to neighboring nations. Other destinations in Africa to consider visiting include Morocco, South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Find the best deals on hotels and car rentals in these destinations in just seconds on the Skyscanner app.