The City of Aleppo is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world and has been occupied from around 5000 BC. William Shakespeare makes reference to the city in his famous play 'Macbeth'.
The City lies 379 metres above sea level on a small group of hills with the Quweq river running through its centre. The Citadel dominates the view from a partially artificial mound rising 50 metres above the city.
The Arabic name for Aleppo is Halab and ancient legend traces this name back to Halib the Arabic word for milk. According to legend the prophet Abraham milked his cow on the hills of the citadel and gave the milk to fellow travellers.
Aleppo traditionally flourished as a trading hub. Positioned on the famous Silk Road, the city served the routes coming from India and the Euphrates region and from Damascus to the south. The first European consulate - the Venetian - was established in Aleppo - a sign of the city's commercial importance.
This trading route began to decline in importance when the Europeans began to use the cape route to India and later the route via the Suez Canal.