My daughter and I reached Aleppo's souk by bus from Damascus, then by walking through progressively narrower streets, pretty much following the throng.
It was pistachio season and photogenic trays of nuts were on sale right and left. But the souk is great for not bring a tourists' pastiche. It has many rope stalls, plenty of domestic items - much like a UK everyday market with added panache and intimacy.
We ate rich, hot foule (beans with tahini and oil) in a cramped servery with men having their lunch break; then chatted to a young jeweller - I wear his earrings, inlaid with tiny dots of silver, back home in the Midlands. He then recommended a fabric shop and my front door now has a curtain embroidered with pomegranates.
The souk isn't enormous, but is a working place shot through with the skills and traditions of an ancient city.
To top it all you can climb up the ancient settlement and look out over the city, or just meander back to the bus chewing apricots, munching pistachios or pondering more textile purchases in the less atmospheric shops. Syria's many things, including tough for many, but here's a trip in which the old Middle East abuts the new and for that it sticks always in the mind.
Easy from arrival in Aleppo.
Google map: bit.ly/95ynN8
I owe my insights into even the least visited tourist attractions in and around Aleppo to the very friendly and competent Mahmoud Lababidi (which is why I know and love Aleppo more than Damascus). He is a qualified tourist guide and working as an English teacher at a local high school. He can also assist with the hire of a car and driver for day trips.
Mr Lababidi can be contacted by mobile phone no: 00963 (Syria) - 955276368 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aleppo is famous for its olive oil soap, much of which is mixed with other oils so there is a great choice.
The most precious of the regular combinations has 60% laurel oil and sells for 75 Syrian pounds (about 75p) per block. Try to track down a bar from Al Joubali soap factory in the old city.
Widely available in the souks of Aleppo
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