Al-Hatab Square

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Al-Hatab Square
Native name
Arabic: ساحة الحطب‎‎
Jdeydeh square Alp.JPG
Al-Hatab Square
Location Aleppo, Syria
Coordinates 36°12′26″N 37°09′25″E / 36.20722°N 37.15694°E / 36.20722; 37.15694Coordinates: 36°12′26″N 37°09′25″E / 36.20722°N 37.15694°E / 36.20722; 37.15694
Built 1420s
Al-Hatab Square is located in Aleppo
Al-Hatab Square
Location of Al-Hatab Square in Aleppo

Al-Hatab Square (Arabic: ساحة الحطب‎‎) is one of the oldest squares in the Syrian city of Aleppo. It is located in the old Jdeydeh Quarter, outside the historic walls of the Ancient City of Aleppo.


Jdeideh (red outline) sited outside Aleppo's walls with Sahat Farhat (west) Sahat Al Hatab (east) highlighted in blue.

In 1400, the Mongol-Turkic leader Tamerlane captured the city of Aleppo from the Mamluks.[1][2] He massacred many of the inhabitants, ordering the building of a tower of 20,000 skulls outside the city.[3] After the withdrawal of the Mongols, all the Muslim population returned to Aleppo. In contrast, Christians who left the city during the Mongol invasion, were unable to resettle back in their own quarter in the old town, a fact that led them to establish a new neighborhood in 1420, built at the northern suburbs of Aleppo outside the city walls, to become known as al-Jdeydeh (Jdeideh) Quarter (for "new district" in Arabic).[4]

Al-Hatab Square became the centre of this newly established quarter and was surrounded with many churches, hammams, khans, caravanserais and caeserias.[5] A number of these structures were built on earlier Byzantine foundations. The square and khans quickly became one of the busiest commercial hubs of the city.[6]

The 1850 massacre of Christians in Aleppo took place in the neighbourhood around Al-Hatab Square.[7]

Renovation and Revitalisation[edit]

Film set on the renewed Al Hatab Square in 2005

By 2011 the area had underdone a revitalisation process[8] and became home to many boutique hotels housed in historic buildings such as the Zamaria House,[9] and museums such as the Beit Ghazaleh and Beit Achiqbash.[10]

The square, which had once been previously been built over with trader´s sheds, was rehabilitated as a shared public space.[11][12] Its expanse, and the streets around it, went on to foster a vibrant mix of Syrian families and foreign tourists.[13][14] This civic project, as part of a plan to protect the Old City of Aleppo,[15] began in 1995 came with some controversy regarding land speculation, land use and its impact on existing residents.[16] The project was also a recipient of international award for urban planning and renewal.[11][17]

The square was a popular destination, especially for visitors passing through the narrow alleyways of Aleppo's Old City—it was home to many shops of antiques and handmade jewellery.[18][19] The famous ful parlor Abu Abdo was also located near the square.[6][20]

Recent Developments[edit]

Al Hatab Square and Aleppo´s Jdeydeh district suffered catastrophic damage in April 2015

Sahat Al Hatab suffered catastrophic damage during the Syrian civil war that began in Aleppo in 2012.[21][22] A series of huge underground explosions that took place under the square in April 2015 devastated it and the local area.[23][24][25]

Al Hatab Square, and its Al-Jdayde (Jdeideh) Quarter, found itself on the front line from the beginning in what became a war of attrition between combatant forces.[26] The area, like much of the old city, remained a closed militarized zone for most of this period and was heavily damaged from fighting.[27] The Jdayde Hotel on Hatab Square has been destroyed.[28]

Sources and Further Reading[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gillespie, Alexander (2011-10-07). A History of the Laws of War: Volume 3: The Customs and Laws of War with Regards to Arms Control. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 129. ISBN 9781847318411. 
  2. ^ Runciman, Steven (1987-12-03). A History of the Crusades. CUP Archive. p. 463. ISBN 9780521347716. 
  3. ^ "Battle of Aleppo -". Retrieved 2016-12-09. 
  4. ^ [citation needed]
  5. ^ Eldem, Edhem; Goffman, Daniel; Masters, Bruce (1999-11-11). The Ottoman City Between East and West: Aleppo, Izmir, and Istanbul. Cambridge University Press. pp. 39–40. ISBN 9780521643047. 
  6. ^ a b Darke, Diana (2010-01-01). Syria. Bradt Travel Guides. ISBN 9781841623146. 
  7. ^ Commins, David; Lesch, David W. (2013-12-05). Historical Dictionary of Syria. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810879669. 
  8. ^ "New York Times - Aleppo, Syria, Preserves the Past by Enhancing the Present". 26 December 2010 – via 
  9. ^ Atlioglu, Dr Yasin (2012-09-30). "ORIENT: Aleppo Burns – Dar Zamaria, Sisi House and much of Souq reported Burned- Syria Comment". ORIENT. Retrieved 2017-01-01. 
  10. ^ Booth, Marilyn (2010-01-01). Harem Histories: Envisioning Places and Living Spaces. Duke University Press. pp. 217–8. ISBN 0822348691. 
  11. ^ a b Booth, Marilyn (2010-01-01). Harem Histories: Envisioning Places and Living Spaces. Duke University Press. p. 218. ISBN 0822348691. 
  12. ^ Jaber, Sylvia (2013). "Dissertation -- Urban streets : towards sustainable mobility in Arabic cities". Universität Stuttgart 01 Fakultät Architektur und Stadtplanung: 318 – via Online Publikationen der Universität Stuttgart. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Haddad, Rema George (2009). Changes in the nature of governance of public spaces in the historic city centre. ROS Theses Repository: Dissertation Heriot-Watt University School of the Built Environment. p. 140 – via 
  15. ^ Cobb, Elvan (2010). "Cultural Heritage in Conflict: World Heritage Cities of the Middle East". University of Pennsylvania Scholarly Commons. pp. 56–64. Retrieved 1 Jan 2016.  External link in |website= (help)
  16. ^ Bairs-Zars (2010), Bernadette (2010). Developing heritage: activist decision-makers and reproducing narratives in the Old City of Aleppo, Syria. Thesis Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning. 
  17. ^ "Aleppo — Joan Busquets | Harvard University Press". Retrieved 2017-01-01. 
  18. ^ Ouroussoff, Nicolai (2010-12-26). "Aleppo, Syria, Preserves the Past by Enhancing the Present". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-12-09. 
  19. ^ Simmons, By Gail. "Aleppo, Syria: a cultural guide". Retrieved 2017-01-01. 
  20. ^ Amudi83 (2010-09-18), Foul shop in Aleppo (Syria) the best one in the city, retrieved 2017-01-01 
  21. ^ "Syria: Christians take up arms for first time". Retrieved 2016-12-09. 
  22. ^ "The Antiquities Directorate of Aleppo inspected the damage at both Beit Ghazaleh & Beit Ashiqbash20/08/2016 - عدد القراءات : 1116". Retrieved 2016-12-09. 
  23. ^ jdeideh jdayde (2015-04-30), Al Jdeideh Jdayde April 2015 Sahet Al-Hatab Square Aleppo, retrieved 2016-12-09 
  24. ^ "Damage Assessment of Aleppo, Aleppo Governorate, Syria (10 Jul 2015)". ReliefWeb. 2015-07-22. Retrieved 2016-12-09. 
  25. ^ "ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives Weekly Report 38 (April 27, 2015)". ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives. 2015-05-28. Retrieved 2017-01-03. 
  26. ^ "Aleppo's famed Old City left 'unrecognisable' by war". Al-Monitor. 2016-12-30. Retrieved 2016-12-30. 
  27. ^ "Aleppo's famed Old City left 'unrecognisable' by war". Al-Monitor. 2017-01-01. Retrieved 2017-01-01. 
  28. ^ UNOSAT (December 20, 2016). "SYRIA Aleppo City / Jebel Saman District / Aleppo Province Imagery analysis:18 September 2016" (PDF). UN. Retrieved Jan 5 2017.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)