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

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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