Taide’s Weblog

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An Ottoman House

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Time seemed to be standing still in Aleppo´s Old City. In the mild autum wind, I could hear some drilling noise from a construction site. I walked closer, and it seemed that they were rebuilding a place that had been decaying ever since the big earthquakes of the 19th century. Now the building was brought back to life, and they used a lot of material from the old original rubble. The workers saw me watching, and invited me to take a closer look.

carving out Old Aleppo
One of them was using a rather fresh block of concrete to mill one or several Koran sura into it. The owner of the house joined us. As we both spoke Italian, he explained that the craftsman had been working on this piece of concrete for about a week already. Some of his most important tools were dentist tools.

The circular ornament fitted right into the place above a door where it was to replace its lost original.

chiselled with a dentist´s tools

The owner then showed me another building, some minutes footwalk away, and on entry, I was back into the Ottoman era of Aleppo. Everything was covered by dust, and all the wooden work appeared to be decayed, but you could see the big picture of what this house had been, and what it was to become again.

He had lived in Italy for many years, and when he was offered the buidling in his home town´s old neighbourhood, he leapt at it, put a protecting roof of corrugated iron above it, and then started waiting. Meantime, the GTZ had started modernising the old town, and the properties had started gaining value. He is thinking about turning his house into a small luxury hotel for Western tourists.

It is probably bound to become one of the Old City’s most precious stones.


Written by taide

April 23, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Posted in Syria, Turkey

Tagged with , , ,

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