The Aleppo Citadel
A magnificent enormous fortress, the Aleppo Citadel, is sometimes considered to be one of the oldest in the region. The hill the Citadel stands on is supposed to date back to the 16th century BC, when the Amorites were in control. However the earliest remains that have been uncovered only go back as far as the 10th century BC when the Neo Hittites raised a temple on this site. Later it was said Abraham milked his cow there. It became a citadel under the Seleucids. Saladin’s son, Ghazi, used it as both residence and fortress and it suffered from the Mongol invasions in 1269 and 1400.
The present structure and designs of the Aleppo citadel is Ghazi’s work. The sole entrance to the Citadel is through the outer tower in the south. This defended the stone arched bridge, which covered the 22m moat. The magnificent gateway is almost a castle in itself. The door is placed on a sidewall with a close wall facing it to limit the space needed to ram the door down. As you go in, there is a bent entrance that goes right, left, left, right, right, and then left. This is to slow down attackers. There are three gates with carved figures at each. In the court there is a cistern (Byzantine) and a few brick vaults, probably dungeons. The pitch dark of the inside of the gateway is to strengthen the contrast between light and dark so that it would be impossible for attackers to see.
Several of the structures seen outside at the top of the mound, are being excavated and restored. But there are 2 mosques, one is the Mosque of Abraham (where Abraham was said to have milked his cow) and the other one is the Great Mosque of the Citadel. This second mosque is quite beautiful in its appeal, a stone paved court and a fountain with 3 evergreens lie in the center of it. The residence or Ayyubid palace is also a great feature of the citadel. This palace includes an iwan, and a Hammam. You will also find a modern built Amphitheater used for entertainment and civil occasions.