Book review ALEPPO The Rise and Fall of Syria’s Great Merchant City

ALEPPO                                                                                                   
The Rise and Fall of Syria’s Great Merchant City
By Philip Mansel
Published by I B Tauris
ISBN 9781784538477
Price £9.99 Paperback

Aleppo, once a beautiful and world city, is now a city in ruins, bombed by the Syrian air force, threatened by ISIL, its population decimated. Philip Mansel reveals the little-known but vibrant history of Aleppo, one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, for the first time in English. Collating a rich array of contemporary accounts by British and French consuls and merchants who for 400 years called Aleppo home, Mansel uncovers a cultural melting pot, famed in the Ottoman Empire for its souks, its food and its music. We learn how Aleppo was a crossroads of East and West, where Muslims, Christians and Jews lived and traded together in peace for five centuries. In this timely book Mansel describes Aleppo’s decline from a pinnacle of cultural and economic power. It is a poignant testament to a city shattered by Syria’s civil war, and a warning to other world cities, from London and Paris to Dubai.

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