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Aleppo Syria Markets Friendly People

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Aleppo, Syria Markets Friendly People

The city of Aleppo comes in as the number two city in Syria to Damascus, but I am told that it is a better place than the country’s capital. I have always wanted to travel to Damascus, so I hope that Aleppo will not fog up my experience.

I do not think it will.

Aleppo is a good city, but it simply is not calling my name and luring me to stay. Tomorrow I will be off, and I am not sure if I will turn my head back for one last look as this ancient town fades from view behind me. I know that when I board that train I will be wholeheartedly looking forward.

A city of two million people, Aleppo is set up like many other cities of the old world in which an old city center had busted its seams and surrounded itself with a huge new city blanket. The old city is wrapped around a castle that costs $3 for foreigners to get inside, 30 cents for Syrians, 20 cents for students – the guard at the gate wouldn’t accept my 2 year past expired ISIC card so I did not go inside (the travel funds are unbelievably low these days).

Around the castle is a huge market that sells a lot of green olive soap and just about everything else that I would never ever want to buy (including hanging goat’s testicles that I assume meant to be turned into some sort of food). But walking through the market is good fun if you succeed in not being run over by the cargo trucks that somehow stuff themselves within the hairpin lanes and dodge the cameras of aspiring German and French photographers.

The people selling wares in this market are surprisingly cool. Their yells to foreigners are more invitations than cat calls and there are no touts to fight through. You can browse through the aisles of weird Middle Eastern things without being hassled.

There are a good deal of tourists in Aleppo but the vulture mindset has yet to infect the hearts of these markets vendors. You can still chat with people without them pressuring you to buy something. This is good. It shows that the heart of this city is still pure and has not succumbed to rampant greed. A traveler is still human here.

The people of Aleppo seem to have a deep sense on pride in themselves and their country.

“Welcome to Syria!” people call out to me at every turn.

I do not know how many times people have greeted me in the streets here just to meet and welcome me to their country.I cannot walk through the streets of Aleppo without someone stopping and asking if they could have their photo taken with me. The friendliness here is pure, there does not seem to be many hidden intentions to continuously try to decode. It is good to be in a city that seems to be genuinely welcoming without excessively grovelling for their the tourist buck.

Not one time in Aleppo has any vendor tried to severely rip me off. I am just learning the rounds of travel Arabic, and in my first couple days in Aleppo I could not understand anything. I could have been easily taken for more than a few rides and overcharged, but I wasn’t. I now know how to speak, understand, and read numbers in Arabic, as well as ask and comprehend basic questions.

I have now grown an outer shell of knowledge that makes me a little harder of a target to hit.

The Couchsurfing in this city was great. Chaya and I were hosted by a couple of French guys who make couchsurfing our way around the world worthwhile. We had fun.

Aleppo is good, but it is time to be moving on.


Market in Aleppo, Syria.


Spices in Syria.


Shoe repair shop in Aleppo.


With couchsurfing host in Aleppo, Syria.

Aleppo, Syria Markets Friendly People

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Filed under: Middle East, Syria

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3048 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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